Friday, January 23, 2015

January quilt 3- Dark Night

As I mentioned before, I noticed that I had way too many navy fabrics. There wasn't a lot of any of them, just fat quarters or strips left over from another quilt. I left them on my desk for a few days trying to decide what to do with them. My desk is upstairs, and as I was sitting up there one night working on something else (maybe my daughter's emergency pillow project), I looked out the window. It was dark but I could see squares of orangy yellow from a few windows at an apartment building a block away.

I started cutting the fabric into strips. I tried a few blocks of an orange fabric I had to do an improv layout of what I saw out the window, but liked narrow strips better. It gave a pop of color, like those windows, and also reminded me of something from the Bible. Which doesn't usually happen with a quilt, at least not consciously.

2 Corinthians 4:6-9:
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Maybe that is a lot to read into a design, especially a baby quilt, but I certainly remember a lot of dark nights as a mother with a newborn. I needed hope and God's light and love in me to help me get through weeks of sleeping in bits and pieces, the learning how to be a mom to this new little life, just as I know lots of moms (and dads) do. So hug those moms with newborns around you! They need lots of them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

glimpses of spring

On Friday after school, my daughter decided she wanted to go to her school's "80's Dance" that night. That didn't give us a lot of time to plan what to wear. I showed her a few pics on google and then she went upstairs and put on what she wanted.
I don't really remember boots being big back then but we didn't have any hightops around the house.

I didn't know if the adults were going have the 80s look going on but took a look at my closet. I decided that since I grew up in the 80s, I must secretly be rebelling all that is the 80s. I had no fluorescent anything anymore. No acid washed jeans that are almost white. No colored eyeliner or mascara. My hair is now fully straight rather than the year round perm that was never quite right. I did find two polo-type shirts and layered them, and then rolled up my jeans in that weird way we did in middle school. And grabbed the jellies I bought in college (post 80s) and were now in my daughter's dress up bin. That with the the heart earrings (that were actually from the 80s) and a side little pony tail and that was enough.You just had to be there--no selfies!

The kids did a great job dressing up and had fun. Here they are working on the Thriller dance:

The rest of the weekend was warm. Family visited on Saturday and we were able to walk to Campus Corner for lunch--without coats! I had to work part of Monday but left a little early since I went in super early for the Mayor's Interfaith Breakfast. We all headed outside to soak up the sun and the warmth. My son quickly decided it was time to make a birdhouse with the wood in our yard.

He soon decided it needed to be a squirrel house cause it was too big for birds--which crushed his sister's dreams. Apparently she had made big plans with the insides of that bird house.
I took the time to hang up my quilt hangar back on the side of the garage and tried another picture of that last quilt.
Just in time for a giant shadow from the deck. Still, the lighting was much better than before.

We are all so looking forward to the warmer days that are slowly creeping up on us. And yes, I've heard it might sleet tonight or in the morning. I'll just keep looking at these pictures.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January quilt #2: Everything Nice

No I haven't been quilting 24 hours a day. It HAS been cold though and it is much warmer in my sunny sewing room, and with no sports happening on the weekends I have time to sew.

A very sunny quilt pic:

I bought the pattern a year or so ago from For the Love of Joy. Not sure if the website is active anymore. I think in early winter I started pulling out some fabrics for this one. Some are from Heather Bailey's Lottie Da line, and most of the rest are fabrics I must have received through the Pink Castle Fabrics Stash Stack club, back when I did that.

The pattern worked pretty well. I hit a bit of a snag when it was time to sew the columns to the white strips and then match up the columns somewhat. Almost took out the white strips in the middle but finally got it to work ok.

The back is a mix--a fabric I found on clearance at Joann, another strip of white, and then some leftover gray and gray flowers. I used leftovers from the front fabrics for the binding, which I seem to do quite a lot.
 At least you can see the quilting on this one, even if you can barely see the fabric.

I have one more quilt that will get finished this month. It's a baby quilt (I like to keep some of those on hand for gifts/to sell) and the top is already done.
As I cleaned the room a couple of weeks ago, I didn't listen to myself that I need to finish the quilts I already had planned. I had a LOT of navy fabrics hogging the shelf, so I pulled them out and now I have another quilt to finish. At least it is not in a "to do" bin!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January quilt 1--Different Season

The gift quilt has been gifted, so now it's time for pictures. It was cold the day of pictures, so I didn't get too creative with the outdoor shots.

The outdoor shot on the compost bin. Very classy. 

The fabric is two charm packs of Lush Uptown along with a few of the solids from a pack of Bella Solids I received for Christmas a year ago. And Kona Bone for the "white." I used the Scrappy Summer pattern tutorial by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew, except that I did not want to cut everyone of the 5" charm squares down to 4-1/2", choosing instead to cut the smaller squares of the four patch 2-3/4 (rather than 2-1/2) inches.

It didn't start out as a gift for my sister, but as I worked on it, and especially after a visit to her house, I realized it really had a lot of the colors she likes. So she got another quilt from me.

The backing is another piece of wide cotton fabric that I got last June in Istanbul. I should've picked more, but I didn't want to go to close to the airline luggage weight limit. Everyone needed their souvenirs!

Happy birthday Andrea!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

making things and making plans

Once I finished that butterfly quilt, well, it was Christmas. I took several days off of work and of quilting. I decided to clean my sewing room before I did anything else. After doing the basic dusting/vacuuming/scrap sorting, I went through the bins of fabric I had reserved for new quilts. I cut the fabric for two of those--and discovered all this fabric that I had forgotten! I started making some plans--not really any new year's resolutions, just a few sewing projects for the months ahead.
 This one is a bin of pinks and greens that has been in this bin for a long time.

This one will be a checkboard type black and white quilt, at least that is the plan now. I did not cut the fabric yet since I'm not totally sure about that.

This one I cut--and then started sewing. It will probably be the next finish. It will have six of the strips. I think.

I didn't cut this either, but did narrow down what I want to do with it. I've seen this variation too so I'm not sure what other fabric I'll add with it.

I did finish this one after I got the cleanup finished. It is a gift so I can't show it yet.

 I also decided to play "this old house" while it was so cold.
This is our upstairs bathroom before:
Nice right? I had waited because I wanted some little hexagon white tiles. But in my real world, for that to happen without major plumbing adjustments (the tub behind the door is a claw foot not a built-in), we would have to pull out the toilet and tub, sawcut out the wood floor underneath, then put the underlayment, etcetera etcetera. In my this old house world, anytime you take something out, especially old stuff, you run the risk of it NEVER going back together again, so that project that already sounds like a lot of work would probably mushroom. With freezing temperatures outside, we also really wanted this toilet usuable should the one downstairs (over a crawlspace) freeze. Also part of my this old house world. So I decided to go the vinyl tile route.
It took most of a day (demo included), but it was done in a day. I still need to add the base trim, but I have really reached my quota of working on a bathroom floor for a few weeks. Especially that whole "fit the tile around the toilet" part. And the "wedge the next piece in under the tub" part. Now I can put that rug down on the floor when I want (or leave it out for awhile), rather than having it there to cover the hole, and can mop without making the hole bigger. It's the little things.

I also bought a bit of fabric since they keep sending me emails about sales. I couldn't hold out anymore. This charm pack will be like the pictured quilt at some point.

We also went over to the duck pond one day in celebration of the failed ice storm. The ducks met us in the parking lot.
And yes, my kids really should wear coats.

Those geese were super loud after she fed them.

A squirrel came along after the fact. It's that little fuzzy spot on the ground in front of my son. I wandered around looking for something for him to eat while the kids stood really still to see how close it would walk to them. It was probably the stillest they had been all break.

My daughter had me help her with a few projects, including an emergency pillow project when she spied some fabric she wanted in my discard pile. Like, "sew this now while I take a bath and when I come back up here you can help me tear up all this old batting and finish it." Those stuffed animals NEEDED a flannel pillow.

I think that is all. Now I just need to stop looking at blogs like this one that make me want to jam another bunch of fabric in a bin, never to see it again for months. But since that is part of the fun, I also think maybe I just need to sew more to have some empty bins to fill back up. Especially since I just looked behind me and saw all the glitter my daughter is dumping all over her new project--and the floor. Ugh.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas break

Still a few more days left of our Christmas break. It has been a great, restful time with family. Not much outside time since I am a wimp in cold, unless there is snow.

We spent time with most of our family over these two weeks. That's one of the best parts of Christmas.

Our kids also got to spend time with their friends (one is here now!). We've read lots of books. We've watched football and a few movies. We've eaten some yummy food. I've almost finished up one quilt and have started cutting up some fabric for the next. And yes, we even built a little snowman.

We will go back to the old (and maybe a few new) routines on Monday, but until then I'm soaking up this break as much as I can! Have a wonderful new year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

the last present under the tree -- Butterfly

Early this year, my daughter helped design a butterfly quilt. I can't remember if I've shown this pic before, but we worked out the shape with graph paper and then she colored it.
Then I had her go through the scrap bins and pick out the matching fabrics.
This project took me forever to sew, I think because I chose 2.5" squares and it just seemed daunting to sew that many little ones together. It wasn't so bad when I worked on it, but making myself work on it was the problem.
And then it was the week before Christmas. Her brother's quilt was finished and under the tree. I still had half of the butterfly to piece together and realized--hey, it's a week before Christmas! I also thought to ask her how big she was picturing this quilt. I had been thinking throw size. She was thinking "I want this quilt to cover my bed." Thankfully I had an order of white fabric in the mail due to arrive any day. That much white makes me a bit antsy, but it's hers.
So at about 10:30 on Christmas eve I finished and threw it into the wash. I worked on another assembly project and then put it in the dryer (after making sure some marking pen on it came out in the wash as advertised).

Just in time--Butterfly:

Because of the butterfly, I decided to quilt it using flowers. I used Allison's tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew and most of them came out ok. It did go better with practice but some also ended up a bit loopy. I ended up with a blank spot that I missed as I moved around the quilt, so I went back in and quilted her name (not enough light to see that on a picture).
I also used some embroidery thread for some hand-quilted antennas.

When she told me she wanted the quilt to be twin sized, the main (mild) panic was what to use for backing. But it turns out that I bought her backing back in June. In Istanbul. Very forward thinking of me. It was a wide fabric so it did not have to be pieced, another plus.

The binding was a pink fabric covered with butterflies that had been my initial choice for a back, had it been smaller. I'm glad she wanted bigger.

So that's the last quilt I will finish this year. I think it was the 22nd quilt, unless I have left off more on my "quilts I made" page. One of my short-term goals is to split that page into years, since it's getting a bit long to scroll through and I have lots more in the works.