Tuesday Two – Issue 1

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  1. Ken Burns collects quilts!!  No, he really does.  Just the coolest article about him and his collection here.  Reading his comments about the history, craftsmanship, and art of quilts had me balling like a baby.
  2. I am falling in love with the work of Paul Klee.  There is a lifetime of inspiration in design, shape, color in his work.

splurge!

I have felt the joy of growing as a person the last month.  After I got over a wretched bout of flu/strep throat/major fatigue, I felt like a new person.  More energy – especially more creative energy.  I wanted to make and do more.  In addition, I am developing some great new eating habits – more on that later, maybe.

I am anxious to see what gains I can make in February.  I would like to build on new eating habits to exercise consistently.  And I am going to stop shopping for the rest of the year.  I love online shopping – and I hate it.  I have enough jewelry, fabric, shoes, clothes, and art supplies.  Plenty plus a lot more.  Online shopping, like eating, is done to fill avoid that is ultimately just made bigger.  I am not going to become a minimalist – but I am going to stop shopping.  I have a list of exceptions – gifts for other people, and supporting resources for projects – batting, interfacing, embroidery floss  – but no fabric and no shoes and no jewelry and no clothes.  I am looking forward to the mental freedom I will get from not even allowing idle pointing and clicking to enter my life.  But it is also scary.

This article (I happened on from the always awesome Saturday Seven serieson A Quilting Life blog) really convinced me of the joy and impact not shopping could have.  I am preparing myself mentally for the benefit and effort of this new adventure.  I am trying to do some things structurally to make it easier – unsubscribing from all email subscriptions – even Purl Soho!, making all my existing beautiful things accessible as a reminder of the abundance I have.

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BUT, on Saturday I had the joy of spending a really generous gift certificate to Sarah’s fabrics that my coworkers had gotten for me.  It felt great to have the money to spend – but also confirmed that I will be ok not shopping – because one always wants more than one can buy.  I spent most of the money on fabrics to back Project Linus quilts.  But I also spent some on the splurge of this gorgeous wool felt.  Nothing beats the real stuff.  And I am not sure what I will use it for – but it is oddly comforting knowing it is there.  🙂

 

My favorite gift to give…

I have created two of these letter writing kits – I think it might be my favorite gift to give. The first one I made was for a secret santa exchange at work.

I used the beloved gathered clutch tutorial.  The bag is cute – but it was almost too small for the notecards.  I was just getting to know my cricut, so the cards aren’t perfect.  And I didn’t have time to buy stamps to include.  Still adorable – and a super handy thing to carry in one’s bag to be able to send a quick note.

My next attempt is better.  I increased the height and width of the bag by one inch, included stamps.  And bought some extra to have on hand for additional gifts.  I also need to have some nice-ish pens on hand to include.

In the spirit of using my favorites fabrics, I used some of my most beloved Anna Maria Horner.

I think I may need to make one of these for myself now.

Designing

Today is the birthday of a friend who died a year and a half ago.  I have had people I love die, but I have never felt grief like this before.  The pain hits me less often, but when it does it is unrelenting – feeling the shock over and over again.  She just isn’t alive – she isn’t here – she isn’t coming back.

As I started to book things on my calendar for this week, every time I would see “Laurie’s birthday”, I would have to choke back body-shaking sobs – ending up in the bathroom at the office more than once to avoid embarrassment and awkwardness.  I have been a puddly crying mess.  So I made the decision to take today off to allow the grief to happen.

So I spent the day crying and sewing.

Laurie’s favorite color was purple.  And mine is orange and every gift she gave me was orange in color.  Gah.  This is so hard.

So, I had a grand vision of making a purple and orange quilt today – soup to nuts – to donate to Project Linus.  It didn’t go as planned.

I sorted my scraps, made a design, cut cut cut, made the first row and was very unhappy with the outcome.  I didn’t like the setting squares and strips and I really should have used white squares instead of low-volume squares for the corners of the blocks.

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I got rid of the setting squares and did a new row and like it a bit better.

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But then it was 4:30 and I was frustrated.  I decided to try a new project I have been thinking about a lot.  An interpretation of a Paul Klee painting.  And it just like flowed.  Something about the grief and the frustration and I found inspiration.

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I can’t describe how much I love this.  The design, the colors and the total brick stitch are ticking all the boxes.  But most of all this doesn’t look like anything I have seen before.  It feels new.  It feels creative.  And my mind is swimming with all of the other types of abstractions and color combinations I can do.

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I probably won’t get back to this until Sunday.  I miss it already.  But proud of myself for finding something new.

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a new logo

I spent several hours tonight creating a logo that made me swoon.  I love the bright florals and I added the gradient grey circle – a trick I learned about pairing grey with colors to make them pop in a color theory class I took a couple years ago,

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Anyway, I love it.  But I can’t figure out how to get it anywhere.  🙂  I lose the transparency of the background… it is too grainy… it is too big to upload.  Probably need to sleep now and try again later.

An embroidery update

Still obsessed with embroidery.  And quilting. And now my Cricut Maker.

I have made some progress on some embroidery projects…

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The Purl Soho sampler got made into a little pillow (AKA “bed parasite” per my husband) that lives on our bed.  I was really unhappy with one of the circles, so replaced with a bit of romance and gorgeous yellow fabric.IMG_4447

And then there is this one – from Tula Pink’s embroidery book.  Slow but steady progress.  And I still love the brick stitch.  And still amazed and proud that I can do that many french knots.  Living the dream.IMG_4459

I am taking a break from the giant rose to try and get this little guy done this week.  I think the finished project with the stripes fabric will look cool.  Or like bad decor from a cheap Florida hotel.  We’ll see.

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I also have been wanting to design my own patterns.  We saw The Post a couple weeks ago and I loved it.  Did a simple line drawing of Katherine Graham that I am hoping to make into a hoop.

And then this beautiful painting by Paul Klee came up in my daily calendar from the Met.  This is begging to be turned into a gorgeous piece of embroidery with pastels and my beloved brick stitch.

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So much to do… so little time.  Goodnight for now, my lovelies.

style

I adore the Pretty by Hand blog.  Her colors, her patterns, her everything make me swoon.  Sweet little flowers and pink and lace.

But when I try to stay sweet and pink, it feels false.  And modern solids and straight lines aren’t quite me either.

Begrudgingly I admit my style is floral cacophony.  I shudder to say almost boho.  If left to my own devices, it would be all the colors and all the flowers all the time.  Recently, I have been making some things that fit into that style – I am leaning into it, and enjoying it.

I have a whole basket of multi-color florals.  I dug those out and some text grey and creams and have started to cut and appliqué circles.  My technique is lacking, but getting better.

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For this project, I cut some of my favorite floral fabrics (using my Cricut Maker).  I just never could think of a project good enough to use them.  I have moved past that now, knowing that the universe will provide more lovely floral fabric when I want it.  It is almost certain.

And then there is this needle book I made from this tutorial.  All the flowers and all the colors and I couldn’t be happier with it.  This much visual noise makes me happy.

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This little needle minder was a present from my husband for Christmas.  Those adorable scissors are from Purl Soho.  I am going to get them in a different color eventually so that they stand out more from the background fabric.

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Each page stores a different type of needle.  This page is for appliqué pins and needles.  And I know it is for appliqué stuff because there is a wee appliquéd circle on the page.

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This page is for quilting needles and milliner needles (when I get some).  Milliner needles are supposed to be good for English Paper Piecing and french knots.

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This page is for tapestry needles.  And I also am storing my adorable tulip pins here.

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And this page is for embroidery and beading needles.  Love love love.

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And all tied up with a bright orange ribbon.

Here is to finding and falling in love with one’s own style.

 

 

 

Baby quilts

As long time readers know, I make a lot of baby quilts. Lots and lots. Since 2014, I have a yearly goal of how many charity quilts I want to make. I love making baby charity quilts. There is no prescribed palette or style – I can use all the colors and prints I want and eventually the quilt will provide comfort to a child who is sick. Not much better equation for sewing happiness.

I also have the pleasure of working with a lot of young men and women who become parents and need baby quilts. Last year I made 6 baby quilts – and only one of them was a charity quilt. And I didn’t even mean to make it as a charity quilt. I made Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartmann. IMG_4042.JPG

A gorgeous pattern – but at the end of making it and basting it, I was tired of the project and didn’t pay close enough attention. Heavy quilting to the rescue!! It ended up being a just fine adorable baby quilt, but too punctuated by error to be the fall festive wall hanging I was going for.

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I want to do 12 charity baby quilts a year.  I haven’t come close the last two years.  Couple that with the baskets and boxes and stacks of orphan blocks and scraps, I set an aggressive goal this year – 26 project charity baby quilts.

I have (had) a backlog of 5 tops ready to go.  So far I have been able to get 2 done and one almost done.

This quilt was originally made for a friend’s baby and then I decided it wasn’t quite right with her colors and style.  It sat for a year+ just waiting for the binding.

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The next one I finished, I couldn’t face doing binding.  I hate binding.  So I finished without binding and then did free-motion quilting on it until my eyes swam.  I know this breaks all the rules of quilt finishing, but I like it.  Cheerful and soft – that is about all you can ask of a baby quilt.

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I have more tops in the hopper.  I have had this finished giant block for 2+ years and am almost done with it.  I quilted with just the batting, and now am tying it onto the back with embroidery floss.  I have now remembered that takes more time than binding!!  Binding isn’t looking so bad now.

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and I also have been setting (and mostly meeting) scrap usage goals.  This quilt top is done entirely from a scrap basket, that still is overflowing.  I love the cheeriness of the blue and yellow.  Total pure fun.

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I also played with interspersing some yellow in the blue blocks and some blue in the yellow blocks, which adds some interest.

 

 

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…

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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

 

 

Sublimating negative emotions

IMG_4276.JPGI have been working on several embroidery projects.  And am falling in love.  Every night I get closer to completing a project, feeling the power of transferring my (at times overwhelming) fear and anxiety in to tiny stitches.

There is some science behind the thought of crafting as a way of working shit out. (link)  I am a true believer.

Today was a pretty bad day.  I came home and hugged my husband, cried a little, did some TaiChi (wonderfully lame thing I have started to do), and embroidered a lot.  I finished the giant peach zinnia and made leaves.  So fulfilling and definitely therapeutic.

As I stitch, I imagine the finished product and how much joy it will give me or the recipient.  And progress reliably comes.  Stitches in, worry out.

 

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