Friday, November 8, 2013

Cross Something Off

My friends that know me, understand that being late is part of my charm, personality.

I go full out, often over committing, and consequently, run smack into deadlines like a speeding car hitting a brick wall.  It's not pretty.  However, I recover nicely and continue on as if nothing happened.  For this reason, I work best independently.  No point in frustrating others because of my idiosyncrasies.

Now that Halloween has passed and all of our school and family activities are completed, I've had time to actually sit and sew.  Sew for some of the swaps I signed-up for. 

This is a pillow cover I started the first part of October.  It was for a private swap from the Modernista Homemade Flickr group.

This morning, I finally finished all of my items. 

I know we said we'd do small things, but I just love pillow covers.  

Erica is receiving a pillow cover, a small lined container, and a QAYG potholder.  And a pair of cute Halloween spider socks because 1) I can't resist cute socks and 2) I don't wear them because I live in FL.  

I also have TONS of Halloween scraps, strips, and stash.  Sadly, this didn't even make a dent in it.  

From Erica, I received this adorable spider pincushion (we even have some of the same stash, just different colorways!), a crocheted dish towel, and a medium size goody basket. 

I love how she echo quilted the spider webs! 

More spiders on the goody basket, as well as hand quilting!  The lining fabric is something I also have stashed.  

I think I made out pretty good.  I hope Erica likes her items as much as I LOVE mine.  The best part though, came in the note Erica wrote.  "I had intentions of getting this sent earlier, but things got crazy."

Obviously, she and I have similar worlds.  It's okay to be late.  

I'm linking up to Amanda Jean's Finish it Up Friday because I really did just finish today!

Happy Friday!!     

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Something for Julie

I have a very artistic sister.  My whole life, she's been to the one to paint, or draw, or now, create intricate mosaics.

I am lucky, because she generously shares her talents.  This is the mural she painted 13 years ago on the walls of SweetP's nursery a few weeks after his birth.  

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted our baby's room to be sea themed, and Julie offered to paint a mural.  (This was before the Navy started moving us around.)  She poured so much love into creating this vibrant space for my baby!    

It is from the children's book, The Runaway Whale, written by Keith Faulkner and illustrated by Jonathan Lambert.  I immediately fell in love, not only with the story, but the colors and whimsical underwater illustrations that long ago day in the thrift store.  

Every time we travel back to Virginia, I make a point of taking a picture of BigP and BabyBird with his mural.  

When I began sewing again several years ago, I fell in love with batiks because of the color and movement.  Mainly, because I CAN'T draw.  Or paint, unless walls & rooms count.  But playing with fabric and colorful batiks fueled my creative desires.

Julie admired these blocks from the start.  She even claimed them for her own before I was sure I wanted to give them up.  She suggested I make a GIANT duvet cover for her down comforter.  Um, I'm not quite up to that.  

Like so many things, I've put this project away.  Then, two weeks ago, terrible news came from my sister regarding her niece Holly.  She had passed away unexpectedly while sleeping.  A horror I can't begin to imagine.  Understandably, Julie was devastated.  

As soon as I heard, I knew I had to pull this project out of the WiP basket. Julie needed something bright and colorful.  She needed something made with love.  

I'm still not sure how this will look when it's finished.  As it is with all sewing I do for others, Julie has constantly been in my thoughts while I stitch and contemplate design.  I've always said sewing with intention, with thoughtfulness, with mindfulness, is a moving meditation.  I hope Julie will feel my love when this finally arrives on her doorstep.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes - #1, Sort of

This is the month I'm attempting to finish MANY of the WiPs that have accumulated.  My friend Wendi and fellow ECMQG member has inspired me with all of her completed quilts because of this linky.

Hosted by Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts, it's a year long nudge that encourages us to finish what we start.  (I should've joined earlier.)
My Button

I have good intentions.  I just get sidetracked by other things.  New fabric.  A new project.  Or maybe a challenge or a swap.  It's always something.  Sometimes, it's just because the idea I have in my head needs to sit an perk awhile longer.

However, after completing a quilt last month that had lingered for 18 months (yikes!), I'd like to make another one leave my house so it can be enjoyed and played with and snuggled under like quilts are intended to do. 

This particular quilt was intended for as a baby shower gift quite awhile ago.  Said baby is probably 17 or 18 months old now.  Not exactly a baby.  Time to finish.

Here is the original post.  And here are the pictures of my Peace, Love, & Happyness quilt as it was when I put it away.

The best part now, after all of this time, is I know EXACTLY how I'm going to quilt it.  

I can't wait to get started again.

Figuring Things Out

On advice from Nesta of Ella & Nesta's Little Room I'm attempting to figure out Bloglovin.

See, that's what happens when you decide to open your private little thoughts and creations to the world.  Someone gives you advice.  Someone helps you learn.  

Thank you.

Let's see if it works!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Can There Be Too Much Halloween?

Not in my world. 

This is what I've made, Halloween-wise, recently. 

First there was the Spoo-ky Swap I instigated via Facebook the day after our September guild meeting.  I had 10 or 11 takers, which was exciting because most  had never participated in a swap.  

My partner was Amy, who loves Halloween as much as I do.  I made her three small items - a coffee cosy, an improv-pieced stand-up bag/container, and a little ticker-tape mini quilt. 

This is the ONLY picture of them, and a not very good one at that.  

I began working on what I thought would be two pillow covers for another swap.

Neither has made it out of the WiP pile.  

I did some selfish sewing for me. 

I spend Wednesdays at my friend Bobbi's.  She and I had our children in the same school, during which time we'd visit our favorite LQS and Mexican hole-in-the-wall restaurant, bonding over fabric and food.  Now that her daughter is homeschooled, that doesn't happen.  

So Wednesday mornings, I pack cram a good portion of my sewing supplies and my children into the car, drop them (the kids) at school, and head up to Bobbi's.

She also participated in our guild's Spoo-ky Swap.  Last week, while rummaging through her scrap bag, I found all of her leftover HSTs.  They were calling my name!  I made a few more; added some of my scraps (the lime spiders) and by the end of the night, I had a pillow cover!

Thursday was the big day.  We cleaned.  I cooked.  The neighborhood driveway party happened as it does every year.  The kids trick-or-treated.  

Sunday and yesterday, still feeling the Halloween vibe, I played with more black, orange, and purples to make this.  

So you see, even though it's November, the Halloween spirit is still hanging out at my house.

I am linking up with Lee over at freshly pieced for WiP wednesday and Kelly from My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday.  

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced   My Quilt Infatuation

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


As a Navy family, we never had the choice of where we were headed.  We loved some of our duty stations more than others.

Without a doubt, I absolutely loved living along the coast of central Florida when my children were babies and toddlers.  

We had the beach just a short distance from the house and Orlando with all of it's many attractions, was about an hour away.  We had an airport and destination city that made it easily affordable for family and friends to visit.  We had sunshine, orange groves, space shuttles, alligators, and palm trees!  

Others were short-term, but the friendships that began there, are some of the most enduring my children have known.

One duty station, Bill did on his own.  

He traveled every couple of weeks back to Pensacola to see us.  During long weekends without kid activities, we'd make the drive to see him.  Or, we'd spend a week or ten days with him at the beginning and end of summer break.  

We knew retirement was within reach.  We didn't know when, exactly, until it was suggested his next duty station might be the Pentagon.

Um, thanks but, no thanks.  Traffic.  Congestion.  Long hours.  Not what our family needed.

Our decision was made, it was time to retire.  But where?

There were many places we hadn't been to.  Many parts of the country where we could pick up and start over, as military families often do.  

We could return to what we had known as children.  Back to the area where much of our families live.  

Or, we could stay right where we were. 

Where our children had at this time, spent the majority of their lives.

Where our neighbors have become not only good friends, but family.

You see, that's what happens when you join the military. 

A duty station, over time, becomes home.  Because of the people.  Because of the experiences.  Because of what it offers.  Because it becomes familiar.    

Pensacola is home. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Modern Trees QAL

My friend Kira put me up to this.  A lovely little QAL from Christa Quilts! 

Not like I don't have enough to finish up, without starting something new.  

But, improv trees are something I've wanted to do.  I love improv anyway, and Christmas trees like these could be fun.

So (or sew, really)....

I'm already a little behind schedule, but hey, that's the way it always is for me.  If I do nothing else the week we head to the east coast for a little change of scenery, I will bring my scraps and my trusty mint green Hello Kitty Janome and piece this little quilt.

Christa's Quilt Along

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Make Them Go Away

What started out as a discarded pile of unwanted strips and squares given to me by my best friend, I made into a pillow cover and small flag for her.  

September a year ago, she planned to make a surprise birthday gift for her husband.  A pillow for his gigantic, newly built and furnished man cave.  He and their boys love dragons, magic, and all things Harry Potter, so she sorted through her fabric bins and chose wizards, dragons, frogs, cats and stars.  Everything that reminded her of him.

She cut and sewed.  She arranged squares and rectangles.  She planned fabric placement.  She became frustrated.  So frustrated in fact, she scrapped (no pun intended) her plans for the surprise gift.  She bagged up all of the offending scraps and sent them on their way to Florida with the missive "make them go away".

I think I heard her say more than once "I'm done.  I'm done with sewing.  I can't do this."  

Her unwanted scraps arrived, along with a box of many more, where they were very much appreciated. These particular scraps, however, were set aside for just the right project.

We make what seems like an annual sojourn east and north out of our little corner of Florida up the coast to Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware where much of our family lives.  I knew I wanted to make (and take) my friend something that used her special scraps.  Even though she'd said "make them go away".  

This unfinished ROYGBIV circle of geese block is as far as I got.  Of course, I didn't start piecing and sewing until three days before we were supposed to leave.  Not a whole lot of time to complete a project, let alone pack and organize four people for a 3 week, 3000+ mile trip.  It's that old procrastinator gene that's encoded in my DNA.  

So now I have a half-finished gift.  What else could I do, because, a half-finished gift is still only half-finished, right?  

Oh! I know.  Make a smaller version!!!  A version so tiny it would require borders to reach the dimensions of a 6 x 8 inch mini flag.  And bonus, use even smaller scraps so that you get the wizard's hand and wand, or the dragon's snout, or the kittie's feet, or even a little itty-bitty mouse!!  This I could give her to tide her over until the bigger pillow cover was completed. 

Done.  Trip made.  Time spent with friends and family.  Birthdays celebrated.  Retirement celebrated.  Many good meals shared.  Many tears shed.  Summer science camp for kids completed.  Rental house maintenance projects completed.  Rental house plans formulated.  Many, many miles driven. 

This past week, I decided it was time to complete some of the many WIP sewing projects that have lingered.  

Because the pillow top itself is so busy, I quilted with simple straight lines that intersect on the diagonal.  After four double sets on each diagonal, I quilted the triangles that were formed with 1/4 inch straight lines.  I like the texture it adds, plus, it plays up the shape of the geese.

What I haven't mentioned is I used that thinner-than-a-strand-of-hair nylon thread.  Holy cow!  Not looking forward to using that again any time soon.  

Why nylon thread?  Two reasons really including the aforementioned fact that the top was so busy.  As much as I like seeing how thread adds to the texture and design of the quilt, the person who was receiving this is just the opposite.  She hates seeing the thread lines.  Everything she ever made for my family was stitched with nylon thread.


A trip to my LQS to pick up a spool of Coats & Clark Transparent Nylon thread.  The size says it's .004.  As I said, thinner than a strand of hair!  Yikes!!!

For the back, I used even more scraps (!!) and created a small improv pieced section.  So like me, and so not like the person who owns this pillow.  Do you see that little jack-o-lantern piece?  Not in her original scraps, but it is October after all.  Had to do it.

The back of the quilt sandwich, because I just can't leave it as batting only, is another one of those old pieces from stash that you question why it was ever bought in the first place.  No one ever sees the inside of the pillow, so use the ugly is my way of thinking.  

I do like the the quilting pattern from the bobbin thread.  When sewing with nylon thread, you have to use regular thread in the bobbin.   

For all of the heartache these scraps initially gave her, I think she'll be pleased with the end result.  I don't think she'll be saying "make them go away" now.

Something I've never done before, I'm linking up with Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins and Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday: