Being Essential

I have thought hard about what I want to focus on in life.  There is work and there is family.  Those are no-brainers.  And my health isn’t the best.  I have some things I need to fix.  Not want to fix, not should fix – need to fix.  I know I will feel better if I eat less and move more.  Sigh.  And I need to manage my stress.  I have gotten a fairly decent meditation routine in.  I would like to amp that up with some regular yoga.

So exercise, yoga, and sewing.  If I focus on those things I think I will get better at all of them.  Each day I can make progress.  They vicious circle is finding the energy to do the things to give me energy when I feel so zapped.  Really zapped.  I know it is my blood sugar and thyroid.  And I know seeing the doctor and moving more will fix both.  But I don’t wanna.  🙂  But I will.

Today I felt pretty low physically.  But I did sew some.  A woman at work is having a baby  and doesn’t want to know the gender and doesn’t have a particular color scheme in mind.  Hello, creativity.


I copied the pattern from a picture of a quilt a friend recently sent me.  Her quilt is gorgeous – black and white squares surrounded by white sashing and pale pink setting squares.  I had the black-and-white squares already cut.  I decided on mint and yellow ombre.  Love that one fabric provides so many different colors.  I am still searching for a back.  J will do simple straight-line quilting and I am going to work hard to improve my binding skills with this one.  I really do want to get better at that.

In addition to the constant stream of baby quilts, I have been working on the Gypsy Wife Quilt using a new fabric line designed by Robyn Pandolph.  The fabric is very shabby chic, harkening back to when I used Robyn Pandolph fabrics in the 90s.  🙂   I absolutely fell in love with this fabric, now I am just hoping it can keep my interest for the entire quilt.  I think it will be beautiful, but right now it is feeling a little same-y.


In other news, my kittencat still is off-the-charts cute and sweet.  Although right now he is off napping somewhere, which means I can do some beading embroidery.  Absolutely impossible when he is near.





WIP Update

Here is a change of pace… a blog entry about quilting on a quilting blog!

Sharing my looooong list of WIPs….

IMG_2462Project Linus Quilts – I have 9 more I want to make before year end.  I have one top done, and several unused quilt blocks in bright colors.  My goal was 1 quilt per month, but has been only 1 quilt per 3 months.  Lots to catch up on.  Luckily I mostly just need to quilt and bind.  I have lots of blocks to use.

The Colorado Quilt.  Despite a giant list of projects waiting for me, I lost one whole weekend to making scrappy log cabin blocks to frame the row-by-row patterns  I collected in Colorado.  The blocks are so full of color and joy.  I really want to get back to this project.


The Living Room Wall Hanging.  Again.  One of the last projects I finished before I got my Juki (I love my Juki) was a wall hanging for the living room featuring curved blocks.  Loved the fabric.  Loved the pattern.  But my sewing was sub-par.  My skills and sewing machine weren’t suited for the project.  I then got really bummed out that a bunch of gross light black dye stains got on the quilt when I washed it.  My husband claims I am the only one who can see them.  I know he is lying.  And I am so sick of seeing them.  I am working on a replacement from  pattern in Quilt Now.  I love how the new quilt will look.  And so looking forward to not facing that stain every day.


Poppies!  Earlier this year my mom and I collaborated on a quilt as part of a challenge from our Modern Quilt Guild.  We didn’t finish in time, but it is such a cool project that I would like to see to completion.  It is a representation of the World War 1 Museum in Kansas City.  Everything is done except for appliqueing on the poppies.


Tessellation Quilt.  This one is for the love of fabric.  I have the fabric, I have the desire.  I hate paper piecing.  But the good stuff sometimes takes the most fortitude.  And the quilt will be amazeballs.


Big Charming Bed Quilt.  This one is a bit anachronistic – It is a quilt for our bedroom – the one room in our house that is tres grown up.  It is a very modern pattern in very French General fabric.  I just need to piece the top.  This one I will have to send out for quilting.  I love my Juki, but not that much.


Heather Bailey Framed Improv.  I lurvs Heather Bailey.  And I want to use every bit of my fabric from my scrap pile.  I started these controlled improv blocks to make a quilt for the chair in my studio.


Embroidered Baby Quilt.  This one is secret sewing.  So only tiny sneak peaks.


DaBombDiggity Baby Quilt.  I love this project so much.  Good news is the shower is on Friday.  So tick tock.


Pretty Little San Francisco.  Love Satsuma Street.  Love this pattern.

That is a full and truthful accounting.  It does not included the other 3 baby quilts I need to get done this year.  Or the stuff I just added to my to-do list because I was stupid enough to look at the Purl Soho website – an advent calendar, scarf, gloves, overnight bag.  Or the sewing kit I want to make.  That is 26 projects.  26! I want to finish before the end of the year.  I think I may need to reset my expectations.  One day at a time.

Running out of ombre!

In moments of distraction, I often play the mental game of “what if you could only have…”.  An example is “What if you could only ever eat food from one region?”  I would pick Mexican.  Or Italian.  Luckily, not a real eventuality but it is entertaining to think about.
Living in a country and class full of options, it is a luxury of the imagination.  As frivolous as it is, I appreciate you allowing me to indulge.
If I could only buy one brand of shoes… David Tate.
If I could only listen to music from one band/musician… Wilco.  And Cake.  And Diana Krall.
If I could only wear one brand of clothes… Eileen Fisher. (there is endless money in my thought exercises)
If I could only drink one type of beverage.  Peppermint tea.
This is as far as I have gotten in this exercise, except for one more thing…
40×40 baby boy quilt, using V & Co Ombre grey, navy, taupe.  Sunny Skies block pattern from Missouri Star.
Backing fabric is Message in a Bottle by Hawthorne Threads.
What if I could only use fabric from one line of quilting fabric (GASP !!  The horror)?
It would DEFINITELY be Ombre from V & Co.  No question.  I perpetually have a low-level fear that I will run out and not be able to buy more.  But I can’t buy all of the ombre.  That would be crazy.
I have completed one baby boy quilt using ombre.  I am working on a second baby boy quilt that might be my favorite baby quilt I have ever made.  I paired it with Kona medium gray.
The pattern is a simplified version of a pattern from Wanderlust Quilts.  I made the pattern without inset seams, which makes it slightly less striking – but it still is the bomb diggity.
I hope to finish this weekend.  And then I am going to work on a quilt for myself that uses the ombre.  So that I will always have some around me.

European Staycation

My husband is my family, my best friend, my heart.  I am so lucky I found someone who I want to be with the rest of my life.  I know what a true gift that is.  He is a fantastic dad, smart, generous, loving, funny, smart, kind.  He is mine.

I try not to take him for granted – he does everything to keep our home peaceful and me sane and organized.  The last two are a real job.

Early in our marriage I planned full days of fun for his birthday.  As his birthday was approaching this year, he harkened back to them.  So I decided to plan some extra fun things this year.

The theme was a tour of Western Europe…

  • We had an early (8 am) crepe breakfast at Chez Elle (not pictured).  I had the best mocha of my life and a scrumptious breakfast crepe.  DH had a fancy schmancy salmon, artichoke, and cream fraiche crepe – getting in the spirit of our one-day of globe trotting.
  • We went to The Better Cheddar on the plaza to began his Birthday Gift Scavenger Hunt. This is either ingenious or lazy on my part.  I had a list of items and countries.  He had to get at least one each of the items and there had to be an item from each country…. mix and match.   I think he had fun picking out the items.
  • Then we went to the amazeballs Rembrandt and Vermeer exhibition at the Nelson Atkins Museum.  An actual Vermeer in Kansas City.  The exhibition is amazing.  We were only able to get through a third of the art.  We are going to have to go back a couple of times at least.  With my little foray into painting, I love looking at how these masters painted.  I am becoming obsessed with how fabric in paintings looks like fabric.  I will be thrilled if I can master just that in my lifetime.  I tried drawing the folds of a tissue this weekend.  I have a lot of learning and practicing to do.
  • We next took a looooong drive to Lawrence.  Our first stop was Brits and Au Marche where DH continued his scavenger hunt.  We were headed to the record store for more scavenging, but then DH insisted I stop by Sarah’s Fabrics while we were in Lawrence.  I protested a bit – this day was about him – my sweet husband has lost years of his life waiting for me while I shop in fabric stores.  But I was quickly persuaded.  I fell in love with a Liberty of London fabric that I wanted to use to make a scarf.  And then I looked at the price for a yard and decided against it.
  • After fabric oogling and some records bought, we went to Free State.  Not a European-themed restaurant.  But DH had German-style beer, a bratwurst, and we shared Bavarian-style pretzels and some tiramisu.  Here is a life tip –  have the tiramisu at Free State before you die.  I usually HATES tiramisu, but theirs is seriously one of my favorite foods in the world.
  • We ended our day with a trip to the Raven and some book buying.  I bought two books for myself.  I almost never do that – we have so many books I can’t imagine adding any more – but I am trying to avoid television for the next few weeks, so that is my excuse, or something like that.

That isn’t quite the end of the story.  After we finished at the bookstore, I checked my bank balance and saw that our tax refund hit.  I went back to Sarah’s and bought a 1/2 yard of the Liberty of London fabric (aaaannnnd a few other bits of fabric) A total indulgence.  I admit to spending lots of time petting the fabric when we got home.  I made a scarf out of the fabric – more on that later.


Coloring in the Lines

When I was fabric shopping a couple months ago, I went on a bit of a binge with V & Co’s Color Theory fabric.  I bought two charm packs and a layer cake.  I had a great idea of how I was going to use them, and then that idea dissipated.

I flipped through the patterns I have accumulated to try to find something I could use to make a baby quilt for a friend using the color line.  My friend is not finding out the gender and the teal and yellow in the line seemed perfect for a gender-neutral baby quilt.

I landed on this pattern.  And it does work wonderfully with these pretty blenders.  I love the fabric.  I respect the pattern.  It does make a lovely quilt.  But goshdarnit that’s a lot of 1/2-square triangles.

IMG_2391I took a break from the quilt to make this vase cover for my mom for Mother’s Day.  The pattern is Spring Star from Farm Girl Vintage.

IMG_2376I have enjoyed working within one fabric line, one color palette, but I am bursting to start having some crazy, scrappier fun.



I have a lot of scraps.  When I populated my new Raskogs, I did a scrap purge.  I had to face the fact that I will not use a lot of the scraps I had saved.  I saved about 75% of them and organized them by color.  It was sad to see the rest go, but I thought it was more important to have my scraps in a usable state than to save every last one.

I used my newly-found, calm-inducing scrap organization to start making slabs ala the instructions in Sunday Morning Quilts.  It was fun to make these blocks for sure, but more time intensive than I had hoped.  I was looking for quick if the blocks were this improv-y.  But each block took a bit of time.


I also made some “wonky” stars for the yellow color.


And I backed in my second favorite fabric of all time, this floral from Denyse Schmidt.  Which they still sell at Joann.  Because the financial gods are against me.


I wanted a blue binding to pull out the little bit of blue in the quilt.  I had this adorable stripe in my stash.  No idea where it came from.  After cutting out the binding I had a thin strip left.  That I put in my scrap bin.  Sigh.

I don’t think I like working with scraps.  This project felt like a bit of a slog until I got to the quilting part.  Pure joy.  I used a wood grain pattern.  My stitch consistency is still all over the place, but a bit better.  And it was so much fun.  I found myself wishing I had another top finished that I could quilt.  So I will get on that.  🙂

After washing and drying, the texture of this wood grain became just amazing and soft and quilty.  Seriously, can’t wait to do this again.  Motivation to finish a quilt top for reals.

I hope the recipient will love it for her daughter.  I do think I am pushing the boundary of how close a friend has to be for me to give her a baby quilt.  I might be handing them out on the street corner this time next year.  The great news is that a *very* good friend just told me she was pregnant.  Woot!  And so I can give her a quilt (or quilts) without it being weird at all.

Colors for Her

My stepdaughter (SD) has basically eschewed all things girly, especially girly-colored for almost as long as I have known her.  When I was a tad bit churlish / naive / selfish, it used to bug me.  Because I like girlie things, particularly colors.  But now I correctly see this as just part of the tapestry being woven to make the spectacular person she is.  Completely and totally unique and awesome.

There are a couple things I need to make her this November.  She is at the top of my to-do sewing list.  Most needed is a canvas bag.  This year she downsized her school bag because the school was moving to books on iPad.  (Sigh).  Well there ended up being a TON of stuff still to carry around.  So I coaxed her to let me make her a bigger bag.



This is the color combination we landed on.  Not girlie at all – but very stylish.  The pattern is “Plaid” by Ty Pennington – I will go with a navy canvas for the lining.  And I used my The Kona Color Card of Many Hours of Frustration To Make to pick the perfect colors for accent colors – Glacier and Copen.

I will be making the Poolside Tote by Noodlehead.  Definitely big enough, I think.

And then there is her quilt.  She doesn’t want or need it, but I want to make it.  There are some fabrics that are just her that I want to include in something for her.  And she is always cold, so it isn’t like she won’t use a quilt.



This is the fabric stack – 60 different fabrics – mostly low volume with pops of orange, yellow, navy, green, and mint.  Woot.  I will power through the bag so that I can move to this pile of joy.