Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year ~ New Goals

And its a good thing too!  One of my goals for 2015 is to become more focused.  While I feel I'm that way with my projects, I forget to take time for other things.  Life, blog, me.  It's so easy to push things to the side.  After all there is always tomorrow.   

When you get a groove going, time flies.
Donald Fagen

My groove has gyrated for most of the year and it needs a good old fashioned rest! Maybe a little oil and a little cleaning to boot!

The short version is I plan on taking time to not sew!  Crazy talk, I know!  This is what I would like for 2015:  

I want to design.  I want to get these crazy ideas into pattern form.  I'm thinking this may be a good time to get EQ7.  If it helps...I'm all for it!

Become a better blogger.  More posting.  I want to share processes, tutorials, patterns and ideas.  Acknowledge those who inspire me on a daily basis.

Take a day or two for everyday life.  Smell the roses a little more.

I also would love to start submitting projects/ideas to quilt related magazines.  You just never know!  I was very lucky to have had two magazine features with my pillow designs. I still cannot believe it!  Maybe one day I can get a quilt featured!

I have even thought about hosting a link-up.  I know, I know.  I was thinking about something a little 'out there'.  It would be sewing/quilting/crafty-ish related.  Just different. This will be last on the list, I'm not sure I would be able to wrangle enough interest!  It doesn't hurt to think about it!

Okay, so there it is ~ my little bitty list.  I seriously am hesitant to post this list.  We all know things happen, the best laid plans sometimes go sideways. But I'll give it a go!

My first year of blogging has been amazing!  I have learned so much and as I have said before's time to take the training wheels off... take this baby to the next level! 

Thank you for reading, following, commenting and encouraging.  The support I have had is amazing.  I have made some wonderful friends, met people I never would have had the chance to meet and learned a great deal this year.  If it wasn't for my Etsy shop and customers, I most likely would have never found my creative voice!


I'm hoping I become a better 'Pilot' in 2015 ~ balancing is an act I'm not the best at!

Now let's welcome the New Year ~ full of things that have never been!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

...when all through the house...
not a creature was stirring not even a mouse:
the stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

What a wonderfully classic story written in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore.  I loved reading it to my children so many years ago.  Settling in bed, reading this story and knowing their little imaginations were on overload!  

Back then, I loved to cross stitch.  My little piece of solace at the end of the day.  A couple of my favorite pieces I made were children's stockings.  

This belongs to Brittney (Britt), my oldest child.  She taught me to quilt, encouraged it ~ so I find it ironic that on the toe of this stocking is a quilt.  
I made this in 1987 when Britt was the ripe old age of one!

My son Taylor loves music.  He has several guitars and an amp the size of Cleveland in his room.  Again, his stocking is a reflection of his love for music and was made in 1991.

Each year these stocking come out of the box and become a little more special.  I don't know about you, but the years have flown by!  It can't possible be that long ago!  

Crazy yet ~ these stockings I made for my husband and about 'artsy crafts sequin overkill'!  

Let's say these were made before we had children and leave it at that!

Rudolph's 'twice removed cousin' visited us the other day.  What a lovely surprise!  It always amazes me to see this in my backyard!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Priceless To Me!

Imagine the year 1939.  

Imagine being a little girl, seven or eight years old.  Maybe a little girl like this one.


I can imagine this little girl looking through the Sears catalog.  Turning each page with care. 

Carefully picking out that one perfect gift for Christmas.  

Wishing and hoping it would be under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning!

And then, carefully opening your gift...hoping...excitement growing with each piece of tape pulled off! 

When finally you see it!  

I can imagine this little girl letting out a squeal, having a smile from ear to ear and thinking this is the greatest gift in the world!

This little sewing machine all bright and shiny.

Just waiting to mend a doll dress.

Sew a bonnet.  Oh, the plans for this little gift!

It's little needle is now broken off.  The dust and rust have settled in.  It has a few imperfections to be sure.  

You may have figured out that that little girl is my Mother.  She has a way of telling stories so much better than I do.  Growing up having nothing much more than your imagination ~ perhaps that is the reason.  

She knew her Mama had to scrimp and save for this little gift.  She knew.  Back then you cherished every gift.  You knew you were lucky to get anything, let alone something brand new.  Which is why this little sewing machine was carefully kept and put away for all these years. 

My Mom has picked some of her cherished pieces from childhood, written poems for each piece and passed them to each of her children.  They may not be worth a lot of money.  It doesn't matter.  They were our Mother's most valuable possessions kept safe and sound all these years.  The memories...that is rich.  

I felt like that little girl of 1939 the other day.  

I received a package in the mail, and inside was this golden nugget!  My sister Kathie, passed it to me.  Complete with the special poem and the aged box it had been stored in for years and years.  I am a little speechless that she entrusted it with me.  It just makes me happy!

While it may not have the bright, shiny or new appearance ~ it brought me so much joy!  It makes you thankful for all those memories you have had with your family.  Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles.  

We may not live close to one another.  We may not talk often.  We certainly have our ups and downs.  Truth is...I love my family!  I think they know that.  I hope they know that. 

Thank you Kathie for giving me this special gift.  It will be displayed and admired until it is my turn to pass it on.  Here is hoping it lasts another 75 years!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Feather Pillow Finish

A little while back I made my first trial feathers.  They were a test and something that I had wanted to try for some time.  Maybe you remember...I was going through a period of using Kaffe Woven Stripes in everything!  I wrote a post about it:  Stripes & More Stripes! 

While I wasn't sure what or if I would make anything out of the two test pieces,  in the end I decided a pillow would be worth the time! 

Here are the two feathers I made using stripes and Kona Khaki.  Since I ran out of the solid and just wanted to make something...I decided a simple pillow would work!

16" x 16"

And it did!  I love the straight line quilting (always) in the Khaki.  The feathers I quilted random lines following the feather direction.  

Classic envelope closure always works for me.  One day I really want to do a hidden zipper. I've heard they are pretty easy!

I am looking forward to a little break from quilting now.  A Holiday break!  Hopefully I will come back rejuvenated, refreshed, kicking my heels up and ready to start a brand new year with a brand new direction!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Vice Versa BOM ~ Finished!

Whew!  I finished my first block of the month with a mere couple hours to spare!  It isn't like I didn't have plenty of time to finish this quilt.  That is if I had started earlier!

First of all, I loved making each of the blocks in this quilt.  I really enjoyed my first BOM experience and hope to do this again.  

Last year, Anne Marie at Gen X Quilters announced the Vice Versa BOM.  It looked intriguing and fun so I decided I would jumped in!  I could handle two blocks a month.  

The hardest part for me was deciding my colors.  In the end I went with some special hand dyed fabrics that my daughter dyed for me.  They had been sitting in my stash for far too long and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them.

9" blocks
Let me tell you about the quilting.  I thought I would throw caution to the wind and do a little free motion quilting.  Believe me, I was stressed about that!  With good reason too! My plan was to stipple the blocks.  Side to side, end to end.  I did just that on the center blocks. Seemed easy enough.  Until I turned it over and saw it looked HORRIBLE!  Since I rarely FMQ, it didn't occur to me to check the back.  Now I know.  Lesson learned.  I spent 3-4 nights ripping out the stitches hoping I would be done in time.  

I wasn't going to let that stop me from trying it again!  Come hell or high water...I was going to FMQ and finish this quilt!   

The second try was so much better.  I felt good about this go around.  Checked, checked, and double checked the stitching.  To be honest, the stippling isn't perfect.  I crossed over a couple times, the stitches are certainly not perfect to say the least!  

Last night I finished sewing the binding and threw it in the wash.  After pulling it out of the drier...I was giddy with joy at the results!  It's amazing how a good crinkle can hide the inconsistency of my stitches!

Not bad!  I love the colors, love the blocks and love the quilting!

I did a little stippling, a little straight line and a little finger (?) quilting.

Thank you Anne Marie!  I loved this BOM and you were the perfect hostess!  


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good New ~ Bad News

Good News!  I finished my Secret Santa wall hanging for our Guild swap!  Bad news...I can't find the pictures of the finished piece!  

It's been a crazy couple weeks, lot's of things going on.  The hustle and bustle of the season.  Sewing, gift making, shops to run.  If that isn't enough we have been getting the outside of our house painted and having a water heater on the fritz!

So, I suppose it's possible I didn't even take pictures of the wall hanging.  It is possible.  I am happy to say that Kate Alicea loved it!  She requested something bright.  She loves Anna Maria Horner and Kaffe Fasset.  I was happy about that!  And since I wanted to make feathers...this was the perfect time to do just that!

I decided I wanted to ROYGBIV something.  The bold, bright fabrics tipped the scales in that direction.  What I did take pictures of was just the top.  And each feather.  Imagination will be required for the remainder of this post!

The finished size ended up being 24" x 33".  I did straight line quilting that turned out amazing.  You will have to trust me on that one!  The back was a gorgeous floral.  I honestly loved it!




I had a wonderfully fun time making this.  I got to try something I had wanted to try, use some of my favorite fabrics and Kate Alicea was happy!  Win, Win!

This is a project I will revisit again.  On a bigger scale.  And I cannot wait!

Here is the link to Anna Maria Horners tutorial for the feathers:  Feathers Bed Quilt

If you live in or around Nashville and are looking for a Modern Quilt Guild, here is the link to our guild:  Music City Modern Quilt Guild


Saturday, December 13, 2014

...And The Winners Are...

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway!  Wasn't it a lot of fun?!  

I appreciate the comments, new/old followers and the wonderful response to my giveaway! It seems Rudolph is the favorite Reindeer of all!

I hope to take my blog in a new direction this new year, so please come back once in a while!  Check up on me!

(anxiously awaiting the winners) 

I did pick three lucky winners who I will email right after this post!

The winner of the 'I, Me, Mine' Basket Trio/Fabric is:

The Dear Stella Charm Pack goes to:

And lastly, the Hand Dyed Fat Quarters now belong to:

Once again thank you...thank you...thank you!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Fun New Twist!

I was contacted by a potential customer through Etsy about making a set of custom potholders. She wondered if I could I make them smaller, could I change the shape and could she get them by December 20th.  Hmmm...let me see!

This is the set she was interested in.  Classic black and red abstract.    

Abstract Pot Holders
After I said 'of course I can', it really got me thinking.  I love when a customer (or anyone) throws an idea out there!  It makes me think, it makes me imagine the possibilities!  I thought what a brilliant idea.  This design would work perfectly with a non-traditional shape.  

Once I pieced the potholders together, I cut a couple shapes in the size she was after and sent pictures to her.  She was very happy and gave her approval.  Now I had to get to work!

This is what I had to work with.  Very similar to the listing she liked, but with all my kitchen items, they are one-of-a-kind.

 These are the shapes decided upon.  As you can see...a little unconventional! 

I cut my backing, Insul-Bright and batting (X's two).  

After pinning the pieces together, I get to quilt them!  I usually have a rough idea of how I want to quilt potholders.  Because of the abstract design, basically anything goes!  

I try to keep each set similar in the quilting design, but they are definitely not exactly the same.

This was the fun part!  Cutting wonky irregular shapes!  Totally outside of the box!

I was a little hesitant when thinking about the binding.  Could I make it look good with the weird shape?  There is a little more fussing involved, but it did work.  Whew!  I just need to hand stitch the bindings and they will be done!  

Yes, hand stitching!  I know it would save some time to machine stitch bindings, which I have never tried to do.  It would take practice and some skill!  Maybe one day.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love to hand stitch.  It's like the last chapter in a book!

After the holidays I think I may add a couple of these to my shop.  There are plenty of people looking for something totally different, unique and maybe a little odd!  I have to thank my customer(s)!  Not only do I get great ideas from them, but they give me creative control! It's a weird feeling when that happens.  

FYI ~ Today is the last day to enter my Sew Mama Giveaway!  I have three prizes waiting for a new home!