Mar 31, 2010

And J is for . . . .

My "J" mini from QuiltinLady21 came in the mail yesterday for March's STUD swap. This is so cute. I love her choice of colors to go with the jelly beans, and the quilting is great. Look closely to see jigsaw quilting in the jelly beans.

She also included some nice goodies--FQ and Jelly Bellies (already gone! I can't even blame my teenagers.) All in all, a very nice package. Thanks, Peg! It is great to get to you know just a little bit. What a great swap STUD is!

Otherwise, it's busy, busy, busy--I'm a church secretary, so I have lots of bulletins to produce this week. Come back Friday for my Sew & Tell Finish--I'm pretty tickled about it!

  • Absolutely gorgeous weather--80 degrees yesterday in Iowa!
  • Very effective allergy meds--gorgeous weather = tree pollen!
  • My husband & I have been loving "McLeod's Daughters" on netflix--a fun getaway for us during a busy time.

Mar 26, 2010

D is for . . .

Sew & Tell Friday

Dots & Daisies, Dizzy, Ditzy Dots & Daisies!
The theme this month is Alphabet Mania, and I was assigned D. This seemed like the perfect chance to try out some new techniques from Rebecca Wat's book, A Fresh Twist on Fabric Folding. These petals start with a kind of origami-folded rectangle; with a single line of stitching, it's all transformed into a petal and appliqued down on a background.

For the background, I tried out the crazy 9 patch block tutorial by Jenny B at allsorts. Of course, I can't quite follow directions--I only used 3 fabrics instead of 9, which added some difficulty. But I was fairly happy with the 4 blocks I used for the background.

My main goal was to use as many dots as possible and make the focus as blue as possible because blue is what Peg likes! I would do some things differently, but overall, I think it's fun & pretty, and I hope Peg likes it!

Check out all the great Sew & Tell finishes over at amylouwho's! 

  • True spring weather (wind, cold, sunshine!).
  • The first crocus have bloomed right next to the back door.
  • Looking forward to an evening with 20 middle schoolers--confirmation mini lock-in (only until 11:30 pm). They are much more fun than they get credit for.

Mar 17, 2010

WooHoo Wednesday

This is what came in the mail this week for Doll Quilt Swap 8--isn't it fun? (Even upside down with my weird photo--it's already hanging in my office.) Jan from Minnesota sent it. I love the funky log cabin blocks and the bright colors with black & white. DH thinks it looks like a bees in blue flowers :)

Thank you, Jan, for such a nice little quilt. It is so much fun to GET MAIL!

I am now on Plan D (as in the 4th one) for my STUD Swap "D" quilt. I had to give up the bees (don't ask what bees have to do with D's). But I think I have a "go" now (after D dreams). Hope everyone's week is going well. We might have sunshine today (!!!).

Mar 14, 2010

::The Meaning of Stash::

Simplify Sunday

Well, I've organized 8 plastic bins of fabric. Yes, I had to purchase a couple more--but that's it for bin space. The Stash looks lovely! I still have more, which does not look lovely. Simplifying is exhausting.

After reading about stashes in blogland and in magazines, after wrestling my own stash (Me 1, Stash 3), after trying to envision the end result, I pose for you some definitions to consider:

  • Stash = Creativity (lots of possibilities)
  • Stash = Work (lots to do)
  • Stash = Play (lots to liberate you from the drudgery of life)
  • Stash = Space (lots to spill over into the rest of the household)
  • Stash = Stewardship (lots of blessings to balance and care for)
I could go on for a long time, but I'm curious: how do you view your stash? I'd love for you to share your thoughts and feelings here. Have a good week!

  • The Stash (both blessing and curse)
  • The dog (he always loves me)
  • The mostly sunshine-y day (tulips are beginning to come up)

Mar 12, 2010

::In My Dreams::

Sew & Tell Friday

All my finishes, that is. No time for actual sewing this week. Aside from dreaming of whipping my WIPS into shape (so close yet so far), I got my copy of Liberated Quiltmaking II by Gwen Marston. It is every bit as good as the first book--full of interesting discussion/instruction on design, construction and color. Now for a day of liberation. . . .

Maybe next Friday. For some great FINISHES, got to Sew & Tell at amylouwho's--you'll love reading about what everyone else is doing!

  • New coffee maker--programmable!
  • Views of the (muddy) ground--very little dirty snow left!
  • Teenage boys who know how to step up when DH is out of town--turns out they can walk the dog, cook, take out the trash . . . .

Mar 10, 2010

::Wednesday WIP and Winners::

First the WIP: I started the ORBC Quilt Along (click the button on the sidebar) a bit sooner than planned. I wanted to finish at least one project, but then I saw some great pinwheels on Flickr and realized I had the same Flora & Fauna fabrics--I couldn't resist. And I had so much fun making HST triangle blocks--very therapeutic! And this one is for me. :)

Now for this week's giveaway winners. I really enjoyed reading the comments about the joy of quilting--I can identify with so much of it. Quilting really helps us meet ourselves again, doesn't it?

Drumroll, please.

For the Super Simple Fat Quarter Quilts book, Cathie is the winner. She said:
The joy for me is partly in the process - while thinking, designing, sewing, quilting and hand sewing, I enjoy the peaceful pace, the time to de-stress and refresh. The other part of the joy is the product - having a thing of beauty I made myself to enhance my life or give as a gift is very satisfying.

Thanks for sharing some of your inspiration on your blog and by giving away these books. All three look interesting and inspiring to me.
And for the Monterrey Medallions/Turning Twenty Again books, Dos Amapolas is the winner. She (?) said:
I love the color combinations and the creativity of quilts.
For me the most interesting book is Monterrey Medallions, it has a colorful cover :)
Congratulations! Email me your address, I'll get these out! 
Thanks to every one who has stopped by and left comments. I will continue to consider what it means to simplify, particularly my stash, and have a few more giveaways in the near future.
  • Reuben pizza--just about perfect.
  • Finally above 40 degrees, and the snow is not melting too quickly.
  • Pinwheels!

Mar 7, 2010

Simply Sanity

Simplify Sunday
Of course, I had this post all written in my head last night while I was falling asleep. . . .

Like many of you, I love quilting and beading and crocheting and even cooking because making stuff, CREATING, helps keep me sane. It gives me peace. It gives my brain a different kind of work out than "what's for supper" or "how will I get DS1 to work and DS2 to practice." It takes me away from the the tedium and stresses of daily life. Creating is a place where I am myself (unless I get sucked into a desire to show-off to others--that might be another post). And it gives me something to think about (i.e. design/solve/dream) while doing the particularly mundane stuff like laundry.

I've been reading about the creative process and studios and organizations lately, and I'm struck by how much people obsess over love their stashes--they love having so many choices at hand, an endless supply of fabric and ephemera and supplies, so they can be in a process of creating!

I think that's why I got to this place, a place where I cannot be in a process of creating because I don't have access to my stuff--it doesn't fit in the space where I can work. I can't see it, touch it, even explore it, without making a mess. [Many of you have pointed out that being able to see your fabric not only helps you keep it under control, it helps you create.] 

From what I've read, many of us suffer from this lack of access. In some ways, it's really not lack of ACCESS, but a severe case of EXCESS.

Let's face it: I could organize all my stuff to the n-th degree, and I would still have too much stuff to keep in sight or even in my head. I've been finding fabric I'd completely forgotten about. It's still beautiful, but it's not in my head or my heart. I've moved on. I love the new stuff. And I'm tired of a long list of WIPs shadowing me whenever I want to create something new, something that reflects where I am now.

I haven't quite figured out what to do about that, outside of continuing to give things away, but I'm going to keep posting about it on Sundays. I suspect many of us share the same boat.

Which brings me to my last GIVEAWAY, at least for awhile. (Thank you if you've read this far!) As the photo above shows, I have two items: (1) a great book, Super Simple Fat Quarter Quilts. I have made two quilts from this book, and the instructions are easy to follow. The second is a pair of booklets: Turning Twenty. . .Again and Monterrey Medallions. Both of these are apparently out of print. I have trouble coming up with 3 fabrics, let alone 20, and I just never got around to the other. I like both of these patterns--I just find following directions almost impossible in general. Not my gift, if you know what I mean. 

Anywho, if you are interested in winning one of these giveaways, just a leave a comment here, saying which one you would like AND what about quilting gives you the most joy. I'll start: I love that quilting is both as creative as we want it to be (follow a pattern or not, add embellishment or not) and useful--even the most fanciful quilt can be hung on a wall or sent to a friend. In my mind, quilting is both art and stewardship.

Good luck! I will accept comments through Tuesday, March 9, 10 pm (CST) and announce the winners by Wednesday, 8 am. Thank you for listening!

Mar 5, 2010

Soon to Finish

Sew & Tell Friday
Actually, I finished the top in December, back when I thought I'd have all sorts of stuff done at Christmas. This ORBC Quilt Along (wonky log cabins with Quilt Dad) was lots of fun. Once I got over  trimming away fabric to make it wonky (seemed wasteful, but there are ways to be less so), it was a lot of fun to be using some fabric I'd purchased a year before and not made much progress with. As usual, it is much more vibrant in real life--finally had light outside and who knows what happened to my settings :)

A couple of tips with this one:
  1. cut sashing strips parallel to the selvedge (instead of width of fabric) for less stretch as you sew--these went on beautifully
  2. tip your sewing machine toward you--I read somewhere to place rubber door stop wedges at the back--you can really see where the needle works so much better!
I'm looking forward to getting this quilted. Maybe my brother will get it before he graduates this May!

For more Sew & Tell Finishes, click on the button to your left! Come back Sunday for my last giveaway (for awhile).

  • Spring is truly on it's way--today we have an average temperature for the first time in 3 months!
  • Beautiful views when the sun comes out even if I don't know how to use my camera

Mar 3, 2010

Mini in the Mail Plus Giveaway Winners

Feb STUD Received

Look it what came in the mail yesterday! All the way from Norway, "Love is in the Air."
This is so cute--great fabrics (not as lime-y as in this photo--I forgot to turn off the lights at work), very cute applique owls on a heart. I put it up in my office at lunch time! The quilting is beautiful. 

Thank you so much, Mari. I hope you like mine as much as I like yours.

Now for the winner of the pink fabrics: #7 ktquilts who said

I try to store it in visible places so that it can tell me what it wants to be!!! Love pink!

Email me your address, and I'll get that in the mail!

Thanks for all the entries and tips--many of you like to keep your fabrics where you can see them. Seems like a simple idea that would really help you notice when The Stash is just plain too large. When I get a sewing room again, I will go for shelves instead of boxes.

Come back Sunday for another giveaway--you never know what I might find next!

  • Such fun swaps for meeting new people and enjoying new quilts.
  • Egg bake--fills everyone up without being too rich. 
  • More sunshine--we've gone 90 days below 40 degrees, but I think we might make it to 40 today--it's melting, it's melting!