Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Get It Together, Woman!

I think I mentioned last time that I've made a HUGE effort to get my life in order.  I don't know if it's the peri-menopause or the partial empty nesting or the grey hair I found.  Maybe it was the seizing husband...I just have an overwhelming need to get my act together.  I really wish I'd taken before and after pics so you could get the full scope of my situation.  But, you couldn't open this cupboard without stuff falling out and causing bodily harm.  Now, my beads are grouped together by color.  I'm totally geeking out over it!
 I put my lace and rick rack on cards, as you do.  Disaster 2 controlled.
Disaster 3 was so bad, we couldn't open the drawers anymore.  Anyone need a Flash patch?  I have an extra.  Bethany came in and said, "This NEEDED to happen, girl."
I paper pieced the first installment of Stars in Her Crown with Barbara Brachman.  I did it in between appointments and think I should have taken more time.  My points don't match.  I don't know if I printed them correctly.  She sends out a picture and we're supposed to add the 1/4" around a triangle.  I skipped it by cutting the square in half and trying to make that work.  It didn't.
Our Crazy Quilt group decided on our 2019 project and I'm pretty excited about it.  We settled on bird blocks for each month of the year.  A list was made but I've decided to go rogue and do a flamingo instead of a pheasant.  Wild, I know.  Another bonus from cleaning out my studio was to sort through all my cool stuff.  It really sparked my desire to work on crazy quilting again, so I can't wait.

We're actually working on Lovebirds first.  We'll bring the block to the next meeting and work on them at the meeting.  We chose to work on our own projects this time instead of doing a round robin.  That is partially my fault, I think.  I couldn't manage to do my portion on time each month this last year...  Sorry guys.
Doves are actually for January but I may roll it over for next January.  I think we have the option to do 2 this month or roll it over.
Good thing I cleaned out my bead cupboard because I'm about to load up on some random bird paraphernalia!  As you do.
Here's the table runner I made for Jackman's a few weeks ago.  I just got a new bag of things last night to work on for them as well.
Here's a picture of Birthday Girl Carmen in front of the cake I made for her.  These were my first butter cream roses.  Incidentally, Hunter told me the other night that it's the best cake I'd ever made.  Crazy.  It was a Mayonnaise Cake made with a dark chocolate cocoa.  Those WW2 women knew what they were doing!

We also went to a holistic doctor to re-assess our (Rich and my) health.  The dude thinks Rich is healthier than I am!  I call bullshit!  He just had 2 seizures.  I, sir, am seizure free.  He then gave me a new list of foods that my body can't process correctly.  Bleh!  If I only ate what I was supposed to, I'd be as skinny as our Carmen!  That being said, I cut out rice, beans & milk and I do feel better already.  Dammit.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

One Monthly Goal

One thing became clear to me in 2018.  I am a space cadet.  Seriously, I can't stay focused on anything.  It seems to be getting so much worse the older I get.  Driving Rich around for the last month it became clear, I miss my turn, forget which store we were headed to first, why did I walk into a room?  Where did I leave my tea this time?  I've determined that I spread myself too thin.  So, nothing gets my full attention.
I've tried to focus my quilting by joining quilt a longs and challenges...  Only to spread myself thinner and then feel bad that I couldn't follow through.  I can be a crazily fervent participator.  So this year I've decided to declutter my life!  Bought myself a big calendar so I stop double booking myself!  And only chose one challenge and one quilt a long to start this year.
I figured OMG One Monthly Goal was the best for my current life goals.  This month's goal will be to work on Melissa's quilt, Dazzle and Shine.  She doesn't have one of her own that isn't falling apart, so that one gets first priority.  I did say "work on" rather than "finish" because my other goal is to be a more complete human being.  Perhaps not every waking moment needs to be stitching...  I could be wrong about that though, so don't quote me!  My quilt a long is going to be Barbara Brackman's Stars in Her Crown.  Because... I have to.  I can't stop myself.  I did stop myself from doing Lori Holt's vintage block quilt a long... so far...

You guys have any goals?  Personal growth you'd like to work on?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Happy 18th Birthday, Melissa

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you were all able to spend a wonderful day with family and friends.  Our Christmas was very quiet.  Rich had 2 seizures a couple of weeks ago, so we've been taking things easy.  Well, as easy as we've ever taken anything.

5 days after the seizures, was our youngest daughter's 18th birthday!  We are in absolute shock that we have all adult children now.  Just another reason for much introspection!  Melissa challenged me to make the most adorable, dairy free cookie that I could come up with instead of a Birthday cake.  So, I present to you the Birthday Llama, complete with party saddle and flower wreath.  I had a terrible time with the food safe pen.  They blob or they melt your frosting.  Takes some patience.
Melissa and I went to see the Moscow Ballet perform the Nutcracker earlier this month.  It was amazing!  She was so dazzled by the experience that she asked for a quilt to memorialize the snow fairy sequence.  This is the first time she's ever shown any interest in my quilting what so ever.  I can NOT screw this up!  So, I asked a few questions.  What it boils down to is that she wants a low volume, pieced quilt that is simple and "elegant".  Okay, okay, I can do that.  I'm calling it Sparkle and Shine.  This is as far as I got before I ran out of background fabric.
So far, she likes it.  But, thinks the key print fabric is a weird choice.  Trust me, that's as close to a compliment as I'm ever going to get.  I'll take it.  The way I'm making the blocks gives me 2 half square triangles per block.  Trimmed, they're 3.5".  I think they'll make a great baby blanket when I'm done.
I also made a display table runner for Jackman's Fabrics.  I remember taking the picture but can't find it now.  So, another time.  Actually, you know what?  I did work a little on the t-shirt quilt.  I made the backer.  Maybe over the new year I'll get it sandwiched and quilted.  Maybe.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Year In Review

Every year around this time I like to re-assess my life.  My artistic life, that is...

Artistically, I took a few sideroads this year.  I worked a little on watercolor painting.  I'm not a natural, in case you were wondering... I worked on Hunter & Carmen's wedding.  That was a pure joy.  I do love butter and sugar.  And, just lately I've been crazy for sugar cookies.  The title of Business Owner is currently boring/stressing me out.  We'll have to see where that leads.  I've been signed up to teach classes at Jackman's Fabrics and do some of their displays.  No idea where I'll find time to do that but I'll give it a shot.

Looking through my UFOs from last year, I see I've made more than I finished.  Maybe this year will be different, maybe it won't.  I'm not feeling very comital, am I?

No Progress
Beloved Baltimore 
En Provence

Ready For Quilting
Pink Flamingos
Splendid Sampler
'Heather' Wedding Ring
John Deere T-shirt quilt

Still In Progress
Harry Potter Bookcase
Quilt Show BOM
Strawberry Shortcake
Baltimore of Roses

Valentine Quilt
Simple Folk
Baltimore Garden

I did just get a new bolt of batting.  So, if I concentrate, I could get the 'Ready For Quilting' list knocked out.  It would be nice to get the t-shirt quilt done by Christmas.  One a month doesn't seem unrealistic. Today, anyway.  'Still In Progress' are all going strong, except for Strawberry Shortcake.  In the mean time, here are pictures of some of my cookies and a baby quilt for Henry.  Incidentally, I've been commissioned to make 2 dozen Christmas bears for a children's choir next week.  Looking forward to that!

Clearly, I let the machine drag the fabric while I was quilting.  Hopefully the fabric will tighten up after quilting.  It still looks cozy.  And, honestly, he's gonna puke on it at some point, right?
Oh yeah, and a Santa pillow I made!

I'll check in next week, hopefully show that I have finished the top for Harry Potter!  But, I should be telling you that the T-shirt quilt is quilted...  I'll figure it out.  Something will get done.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas Village Completish

Our Crazy Quilt group decided to do a group challenge for the next quilt show.  We all chose to do something you'd find in a village.  I chose a candy store.  Not something easy, like a park or garden.  A candy store...  Then, that morphed in to a Gingerbread House because I don't know how to make a candy store.
  I have a love/hate relationship with every crazy quilt project I've ever done.  I love the embellishing but I hate the construction.  I forgot to leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance while embellishing a few of the blocks and ended up having a terrible time putting them together.  Again..

I ordered that Santa and Sleigh pin from England.  I wove the gum drops.  The tree lace is cut off of a bigger piece.  the background is hand dyed by me and the wool was a generous donation by Dana D.  Speaking of donations, most of the fabrics were collected from my super generous friends in the CQ group.
 The button snowman is one of my favorite elements and then I cut off his hat with my seam allowance!  Dang it.
 I used my books by Kathy Shaw to inspire my seam treatments.
 Lots of Etsy purchases for candy beads and nutcracker button.  I don't want to contemplate the cost of the embellishments I purchased.
 A final shopping spree at Hobby Lobby last weekend garnered more bits and bobs.  I wove the poinsettia as well.  I still need to tack everything to the back, "quilt it".  So the puffy seams should flatten a bit after that.  And hopefully, help with the wonky shape but I think my expectations on that are err on the side of realistic...
 My snowman sequin is from a few years ago.  I like to think he's shrugging, "Well, it's not perfect, but it's done."
 I really like the rhinestone tree.  the clear snowflake button is from about ten years ago.
With that, I bid you adieu.  In the coming weeks I hope to go through my UFOs and hammer out a few of them.  I've been itching for new projects but haven't allowed myself because I already felt buried in projects.  I'm not on lay off but I do have an extra day off or two every week and hope to not waste them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tryin' To Make a Dolla!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I've been eager to try something new in baking lately.  Seems like I've done what I can do with a cupcake and wedding cakes without weddings is weird.  So, I've decided to improve my Sugar Cookie game.  I tried out 2 dairy free recipes so that Bethany can have some.  One recipe was shortening, the other was actually Vegan and used coconut oil.  Shortening was the clear favorite, although there's no true replacement for butter, as long as it won't kill you...

I struggle with icing consistency, so I wanted to start out fairly simply.  I did get lazy at the end and used my flood frosting for the vines and leaves.  Big mistake.  Next time, I need to remember to set aside stiffer frosting before I add water to make the flood frosting.

Just a cute pic of Mr. True protecting his ball from Rich.
So, I was going to name the post "It's Tough Out Here For a Ho" but decided I should be classier than that... Vicki R convinced me to approach Jackman's Fabrics about teaching classes.  I had mixed feelings.  First, because I have my little shop and felt like it would be a conflict of interests.  They apparently are not feeling the least bit intimidated by my business and have accepted all of my ideas for classes.  LOL.  One of them will be Crazy Quilt Block Design, we will explore designing the block itself in  and a second class will focus on embellishments, both machine and hand.

A second idea was Stupendous Stitching.  We'll be exploring what our sewing machines can do with a little hand beading and embellishing added to it.
I'll be teaching my Spool Bunting pattern, also available in my Etsy shop.
Finally, I'll be offering this Machine Applique Tulip pillow.  I'll keep you updated with dates when they release the schedule.
Barb N. and I finally got together to work on her first quilt!  She finished the top and it turned out fantastic!  Now to get it sandwiched, quilted and bound!  Hopefully before Christmas, fingers crossed.

Last Saturday at The Applique Society meeting, we made felt trees.  So cute!  Thank you Dana D.!  She hand dyed the wool and gathered everything we needed.  So much fun!  I finished mine up while nursing Bethany after her Wisdom Teeth surgery (the pill bottles).
In other news, I got my Art Nouveau quilt back from Jane H.  She did an amazing job!  I don't know if the quilting is very visible in the photos.  I hope you can see all her hard work.
She outlined all the applique, did swirls in the background and matched the fabrics on the larger applique pieces.

My only request was to do what I considered to be a "cathedral window" style border.  Not sure why I keep calling it that, but there you have it.  She had NO idea what I meant by that and then had a different name for it that I still can't remember.
I'm absolutely in love with the quilt!  I'm even considering applying to Paducah with it... The designer, Morning Glory Designs has already granted permission.  I have to get it bound and properly photographed by 12/6, I think...  Seemed like that was awhile from now, but actually only 2 weeks.  Ugh.

Any who, my day job won't be offering my favorite schedule this year (seasonal layoff) but they did offer extra days off in December to soften the blow a bit.  So, hopefully, I'll get my act together and get some sewing done this winter.  I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

You're A Wizard, Heather!

Man, I wish that were true!  Imagine the possibilities!  There's been some talk of going to Scotland next year with Hunter and Carmen!!!!  Which led to talk of taking a ride on The Jacobite Train, which of course is the Hogwart's Express.  Yes!  I know!  I've barely slept since they told me!  Any who, I was inspired to get my Harry Potter Bookcase done at our latest Mascoutah retreat.  
The Sorting Hat is the size of 2 blocks.  For some reason, I forgot to print 2 pages of this pattern and couldn't finish it at our retreat.  His eyes are a little freaky, if I'm honest.
Naturally, I chose the Hufflepuff's flag.  When the Sorting Hat says you're a Hufflepuff, then that's how it is.  You feel me?  I love the bottom book in this one.  Little eye balls.
The Monster Book of Monsters was a real beast to work on.  See what I did there?  I really struggle with what color should go where when I'm using PP.  I made several mistakes and barely had enough of the hairy fabric to finish!  A mere 3 hours on one block.  Almost as bad as Hedwig!!  I did think it was clever to use butterfly fabric for his mouth.  Now it looks like he's eating bugs.

 After that, I needed an easy block.  Not crazy about my boring color palate on this one but next to all the others, you don't notice it.
 Then, an even easier block.  Much more interesting color choices.  I still haven't decided if I'm going to embroider book titles on to them.  I've seen them done on embroidery machines that look amazing but you know, I'll try to do it by hand.  I'm worried that the wild patterns I've used will make the lettering unreadable which would just be a waste of time.
 I struggled and struggled with the velum paper again.  Hated every damn minute of it... I finally took Chris Y's advice and ordered some news print.  Went home and finished the Sorting Hat with the news print and it was wonderful!!  Such a difference.  My stitches weren't uneven, the paper came out really easily.  Night and day!  Maybe I don't hate paper piecing after all!  I have 7 more blocks to go.  Then, I have to decide how to finish it.  Fancy,  old, scrolls on my bookshelf?  Modern with a dragon resting on top?  Maybe a Nibus 2000?

I actually had a day all to myself on Tuesday.  It was magnificent.  Rich was at work and the remaining kids both had classes.  It was just me and my pal True.  We made a t-shirt quilt for Carmen's mom.  An actual quilt in a day!  Don't think I've done that before, maybe a baby quilt.  This is the second tractor t-shirt quilt I'm making for Carmen.  I'm really loving this modern layout.  Hopefully, Jill will like it.  The art work in her home is pretty modern/ mid-century. Lots of fun.
Even with all the excitement over The Jacobite, I think I'm going to choose Ireland.  (yeah, they're letting me choose!)  It's more my pace.  Scotland is pretty rugged and there's lots of heights and bridges involved.  Neither are my favorite things.  So, next up a green fairy quilt?  I did the Irish Triple Chain last year.  Do you think I can find a charity shop with tons of old Irish buttons?  Dang it, now I won't sleep for another week.