In love and in 2018!

Hello – New year!  I love new years.  I love how bare the house looks after taking down Christmas decorations.  I love new lists, new goals, big plans, optimism.  A new year is a fresh sheet of paper.

For better or worse, I fill my pieces of paper with the same doodles every time.  I am many things – many awesome things – but I still struggle to value, protect, and better my health.  This year, this notebook, this page is not different.

I still am me in that I want to do everything.  Dance, run, speak a new language, make new friends, give art tours, draw, sew, paint, weave, garden.

That is, I want to do everything until it comes time to actually do things.  And here is the reality – all I really want to do is sew.  After work, family, friend commitments are met, I just want to sew.  I have successfully sewn a lot this year already.  A LOT.  I have not exercised once.  Not once.

So the trick this year will be to let myself sew as much as I want to – set as many stitchy goals as I possibly can.  But first, exercise.  It is necessary for my resilience and health.  So other than exercise goals, I am not going to push myself to do anything else.  One distraction from exercise.  One distraction from sewing.

But… man, the sewing be good…  some of my recent endeavors…

D5EBCA09-E995-45A2-B9CE-4CAC7FFFB281

This is a pattern from Purl Soho.  I bought a whole kit, but ended up not liking the color or fabric, so went with a more French color palette.  I love this more than words and really did improve my stitches working on this.  I am not a fan of the circle at the top with all of the fly stitches.  I am going to pull that out and put the word ADORE in the circle.  This is going to be a bed parasite (pillow) in our bedroom, so taking the license to get a little romantic-y with it.  Did I mention I love this?

AFE39758-BB18-4DF5-95ED-E7DCC315230E

Speaking of romantic, I made little felt hearts for this Valentine’s Day tree.  Again, Purl Soho pattern.  I cut them out on my Cricut Maker and whipped them together.  They join some mini flowers and glitter hearts I picked up at Joann.  The goal is to have this tree decorated year round as a festive little thing.

1D8A2FB3-BA40-41CB-8AAE-57DA4B3DC326

Did I mention I LOVE my Cricut Maker??  More on that in a later post.

I am trying to make peace with using regular felt.  I have used wool felt for so many projects, that it is hard to not use it.  But unless making a gift for a child, I think polyester felt is so fine.  It is pennies on the dollar.  So it is just fine.  Really.

CE042D49-7F9F-4BF1-9C1E-8CBAD47E67E7

This baby quilt was the first draft of this quilt for a bestest friend’s baby.  It was in a magazine and I feel in love with it.  But it ended up not being up to snuff.  I set it aside waiting just for the binding to be done.  Last weekend I finished it and it is going into my donate to Project Linus pile.  I hope to do 24 Project Linus quilts this year.  #morethanicanchew

A358FC0E-A2B5-471D-AF2D-86C16EFEAF42

Oh, embroidery!   I don’t know why it took me so long to get into embroidery.  I am so in love with it.  Can’t think about much else.  I have so many projects I want to complete.  I started this one and am so addicted.  The pattern is from the Tula Pink book.  Love love love.

37166488-221E-42F8-B293-3F3D924C803B

Look at that brick stitch!!  So in LOVE!!

So, I love stuff.  And I am going to exercise.  Happy 2018!

 

 

Advertisements

All about that embroidery

Hello, void.  I hope you are well.  I am ok.  Not making the best choices always.  But never giving up.

A few weeks ago I was at my parents’ for dinner and my mom showed me this cool embroidery project in a quilting magazine.  You melt crayons on fabric and then backstitch around the image.  I loved it because it was a lot of color and only the backstitch is required.  I created this little hummingbird.IMG_4074

I loved the end product – and so made some little cutie pie images using this technique to be included in a quilt for my favorite 1-year old.

I interspersed these with some pieced blocks and made a color explosion of a quilt.  I really didn’t have a cohesive color plan with this quilt – focusing more on the fun i-spy blocks.  The result reminds me of my childhood.  Kids’ stuff was brightly colored – there was no curation – just SPLASH!

IMG_4123

This quilt was a lot of sewing.  I thought this would cure the embroidery bug.

It didn’t.

I found namaste embroidery on the Instragrams and watched her little videos over and over and over again.  And then I watched her longer videos and made her free beginner project.

IMG_4132

Just too adorable, right?  And so so so much easier than I thought it would be.  And so much faster than making a quilt.  This took me about 2 swoon blocks worth of time.  🙂

And then I bought all of the patterns and all of the embroidery thread and delighted in what a cheap hobby this is, especially compared to quilting.  This was the second thing I made, also a pattern by namaste embroidery.

IMG_4152

And now I have two other projects underway.  This darling little succulent and floral pattern.

IMG_4165

And this sweet little christmas pattern.  Based on another namaste embroidery pattern, with some additions by me.  These pine branches/leaves are beyond fun to make.

IMG_4249

I did a lot of patchwork/quilting over the long weekend.  Not abandoning that anytime soon.  But embroidery is the bomb.  I won’t be able to get back to it for a couple days.  Let’s hope I can keep by shit together until then.

Mocktails and inventory

IMG_4029There was this brief moment when I was perfectly together.  At least that was my memory.  At the time I am sure I felt like I had many things to improve.  But I was healthy (thinner) and had almost no debt.  I remember wearing a crisp white shirt and fixing seltzer water with lots of ice and citrus in a faux vintage antique glass from Martha Stewart’s line from K-Mart.  (Yes, this was a looooong time ago.)  I remember driving to meet a friend and sliding that glass into the cupholder of my Oldsmobile Alero and feeling very… something.  Chic?  Probably not – it was a glass from K-Mart in an Oldsmobile.  But maybe it was chic – or together – something that eludes me now.

The cultural start of fall was accompanied by cooler weather today.  Not freezing cold to kill dead the mosquitos that I HATE.  But that is too much to ask of September.  But a fall chill-ish in the air.  Fall always makes me feel relieved.  And it always makes me want to be more “together”.  I will be chopping off my hair soon and pretending I like to and am able to cook.

I have a closet to clean out and a ton of work and e-mails to get through – plenty of stuff I could tackle to be more “together”.  But tonight I made a mocktail and went through my scary sewing works-in-progress stack.  I have 28 projects that have been started but not completed.  28.  28!  TWENTY EIGHT!!!  Definitely not chic.  Martha Stewart would demand her fake vintage glass back.

So, like any reasonable twenty-first century girl, I made a spreadsheet.  I identified 17 projects that I can reasonably finish this year – one a week.  My criteria was ridiculously old (a baby quilt top I finished three years ago) or ridiculously close to being finished (a wall hanging that has one more side of binding to sew on) or both (my Advent calendar that I have only three more ornaments to make!)

IMG_4018

This is the nice neat stack of quilting work I will get done this year.

IMG_4030

When I have a lot of time to sew, I often choke.  This weekend I had two glorious days all to myself to sew.  And I. wasted. time.  But yesterday I hunkered down and finished this quilt commemorating our vacations to Colorado.  It was well-liked on Instagram.  I am not sure.  It is overly cheerful – but it will make a happy car/travel quilt.  I need to iron and send off to the quilter and that will be one of 17 done.

IMG_4014

Also, germaine to nothing except my squirrel-like focus for sewing projects.  Here are some cute little baby bibs I made for the cutest boy.  I got a snap setter in order to finish these off.  Is there anything better than a snap setter?  Probably not.  Except of course of the memory of Martha Stewart’s line for K-Mart.

IMG_4004

Ok, well now all I really want to do is make baby bibs.  Sigh.

pneumonia and baby quilts

A bit of a ditch on the road of life the last couple of weeks.  I was hospitalized with pneumonia and a tummy infection and crud and stuff.  Prior to spending a night in the hospital, my longest and worst night was an overnight train ride from the sticks of Romania to the capital.  Pee kept gurgling up in the sink in the train car and drunk people kept crashing into our car and I spent the night willing myself to just make it to daylight without throwing up.  That night was a dream compared to the first couple nights in the hospital.  Really, truly scary and the deepest loneliness I have ever known.  Not to make too much of it, but truly horrible.

I am a week out from getting to (finally!) come back home.  And still the surreality of it all is overwhelming.  My appetite is back (boo!), I can go more than a few hours without needing a nap, and all of my symptoms that sent me to and kept me in the hospital are gone.  But the feeing of dread and fear and loneliness still can come back in an instant.  And in my dreams I still am stuck in the room with the IVs and the beeping and the pain.

All this to say, my heart goes to those who are in the hospital now.  And I am so thankful to be home and getting back to normal.

This weekend (in between marathon naps), I finished a couple of baby quilts.  Baby girl quilts that are just so darn cute.

First up is a quilt where the colors of the nursery are teal and coral.  Teal and coral become elusive colors – so easily becoming mint or aqua and orange or peach.  I think the scrappiness covers me – so many different teals and corals and mints and oranges and peaches, that at least some of them have to be right…

IMG_3922

The blocks are simple, but I love the secondary pattern that is created.  But the best part of this quilt is the back.  The stupendous Disco Kitty print by Ms. Pink…

IMG_3924

Those little kitties are just the cutest !!!!!  And this is going to a family that loves kitties, so win win win.  I did my favorite cross hatch quilting that gives a little diagonal pop.  And the binding is a teal (aqua? mint?) stripe that I think echoes the teal-and-white blocks well.  I am really, really trying to get better at the binding.  Time and practice and patience.

Next up is a frothy pink delight…

IMG_3925

I super sized a block from 12 inches to 24 inches and off-center framed it in my most girly pink fabrics.  This palette and flowery goodness is my jam.  Had so much fun making this  – and truly love that some people still want pink for little girls.  Very un-hip of me, but I love pink.  It just makes me happy.  And I think the old-fashioned blue-and-white floral works well with the pinks… and the big8flower sugar centerpiece makes me squeal.

IMG_3927

I backed this one with a peppy little floral to introduce a few more colors.  And bound in a simple solid french-ish blue.  And again simple cross-hatch quilting.

IMG_3928

Boo to hospitals and pneumonia and IVs and breathing treatments.  Yay to quilts for baby girls and pinks and coral and flowers and sunshine.

Bye for now… hope your summer days are filled with joy.

 

This week’s baby quilt

My life continues to be full of baby quilts.  I haven’t been quilting much lately, but the baby quilt to do list has been stacking up.  The latest one is pictured below.  It is an enlarged block from Farm Girl Vintage book.  I ended up tying it to finish it, but didn’t get a picture of the finished front.  And the backing is MOMO for Moda.  Love, love, love that fabric.

IMG_3858IMG_3859

My birthday just happened (woot!)  I had a fabulous day.  The family took me out for crepes, gave me beautiful gifts and funny cards, and then I got to spend the whole day sewing.  It was really wonderful.

And a new year brings new commitments to being healthy, writing, and sewing sewing sewing.  I have lots of piles of projects, ready to finish.  If I do a baby quilt a week (!!), I will be caught up with gifts and charity projects in 15 weeks.  Stay tuned…

Half-square triangles are cool

I got my mega 1/2-square triangle back from the quilters.  Mega because it took a long time.  And was lots of love.  And I am thrilled with the result.  It makes me very happy every time I look at it.

I love the colors – a jazzy rainbow.  I love the shapes formed by the random placement of blocks.  I have redone the quilt hanging on this wall three times now.  I think I am finally happy enough to let it hang there for a long time.

img_3781

I dream of a home that is spacious and new and simple.  But I also am nostalgic for the house we live in now.  Overflowing with books and records and fabric and funky.  This quilt  embodies that.  It is just so darn cool.

This is by far the best thing I have ever made.  I love that if you spend time and energy working on something, you get better at it.  Such a simple concept, but so rewarding.

Hello there!

I do not have a coherent post today.  I am often writing blog posts in my head – coherent, theme-based, elucidating posts.  And then I find time to write and cannot find the good stuff.  Today reflects the chaos of my mind right now – some miscellaneous thoughts…
Happy 2017!  As documented sporadically on this blog, 2016 was a challenging year for me.  The losses were (are) big. But there were some pretty big gains also – a new perfectly devilish kittencat, becoming a museum guide at the Nelson-Atkins, new friends, liking my job, learning new artsy skills.
Today I met with my trainer and pal Mandy and she said that the goal for me this year would be to become a lot stronger.  This makes me unreasonably happy.  Every month working with her I have been able to do more.  And the idea of crushing it is really motivating.  Really motivating.
I am fighting the urge to create 2017 resolutions.  I am fighting the urge to break down my life into a series of goals, create mini-steps to get each of those goals.  Entirely unachievable mini-steps, that is.  And I am fighting the urge to put all of these mini-steps in a spreadsheet and put little Xs next to each achievement.  Because it doesn’t work.
But I am trying to incorporate more of the things that make me feel happy into my every day.  I have started a Bullet Journal – and am avoiding Google Docs and Excel.
Every day I am going to work on getting stronger, meditate, blog, read for a little bit, create something, organize something, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  I won’t do all of these every day, but if I do most of them most of the days, I will be building a foundation for a happier life.
I have done a fair amount of sewing over the last month.  I made a purse, a tote, several  pouches, almost finished an advent calendar and started a baby quilt.  I didn’t get pictures of all of them, but here is what I did capture: