Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Starry Night Sky is completed

It's done!!


Kim gave our Rad {Empower} circle the challenge this month of making Rainbow Stars at Nightfall.  And these were her directions:

                       Take any solid dark colors you have, preferably the blue and purple tones that remind you of the 
                        night sky like Kona Navy, Midnight, Indigo, Nightfall, Eggplant and take your assigned color and 
                       make a block with any amount of stars and any type of star you prefer whether it be appliqué, wonky, 
                       or any other kind you can think of. Instead of doing two 12.5” square blocks, I would prefer for each 
                       of you to make one 12.5” by 33” block.

My assigned color was silver/gold or neutrals.  So I did both.  But y'all know that improv isn't really my thing.  I struggle with balance and with measurement.  I have trouble seeing how it's going to look without a plan.

But...one of the points of this group is to stretch yourself.  You're making quilts to give, to share, to expand your horizons beyond your own life.  The least you can do is try something new once in awhile.

So I went into this with the most basic of plans.  I did base the first section of the block on the Stargazing block from Modern Blocks.  That took up 12 inches of the said 33.  But even there I stepped out of my comfort zone to use multiple dark shades for the background.  Seems simple, but for me--so daring!  ha

From there I wasn't sure where I wanted to go--more wonky blocks?  Something different?  So I slept on it and yesterday and today I just went for it with stars I like.  I really wanted a twinkling appearance so I didn't want anything to big or boxy.  My last wonky star got a little chunky, but other than that, I'm really happy with how the entire thing turned out.

This was a really fun improv experience for me to just go with the flow and sew.  Maybe I'll give it another try...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Busy

Yep, I've been busy.  Nothing special, just regular-old-life-busy.  Since I last posted (over a week ago) I've:
  • Agreed to begin subbing at the kids' school part-time.  I subbed before I taught before I became a SAHM, so they've been after me to sub for sometime.
  • Attended book club where a group of us have dinner once a month and somewhat discuss the book we read.  We just started in February, so it's still new and exciting!
  • Watched Emma play softball and do ballet all while fighting a 2-week cold.  Not fun for either of us...
  • Watched Oren learn all of the white belt stations at karate and receive another stripe on his belt.  He's a long way from a new belt, but he's enjoying every minute of it.

  • Bruised my ankle so bad by walking into the dishwasher I could hardly walk on it for 2 days.  Grace may be Emma's middle name, but it sure isn't mine!
  • Run a 5K for fun--no times, no paces, no obsessively looking at my Garmin--just me, my thoughts and a Gopher Tortoise out enjoying the sun.

  • Struggled through helping Oren with a migraine and then later in the week 4 days of the croup.  I haven't had a good night's sleep in 4 days...I'm looking rough.
  • Went on a field trip to a local dairy with Emma.  I've visited more than one dairy growing up in 4-H, and majoring in ag.  This was by far the best trip I've ever had.  They're learning about the anaerobic digestion of cow manure to produce methane gas that's used to power the dairy.  Seriously.  She's in 3rd grade.  It was awesome!

See her marking--it's a heart!  This little calf is only a few days old!
  • Filled out my NCAA Brackets and am getting worked by Chris and am one point down to Emma.  Really--she had Florida Gulf Coast making it to the Sweet Sixteen.  But--my smart girl has Florida beating them.  Go Gators!
  • Unloaded enough snacks to feed the entire elementary school a drink and a snack for every day of their upcoming standardized testing.  Oh, the glorious job of a PTO co-chair.
  • Chaperoned the prom!  

  • Spent the day shopping and eating with my sister for upcoming birthday. 
  • Dyed my sister's hair red for her upcoming birthday.  It looks awesome!!
  • Sat in a steamy bathroom multiple times with Oren trying to fight this awful cold/croup.
  • Made chili, smores bars and a classic buttermilk snack cake with chocolate caramel glaze.  I like comfort food when I or someone else in the house is sick apparently.
  • Worked on my "Starry Night Sky" block for the Rad Empower Group of do.Good Stitches.  I'm halfway there...

  • Layed out my Wonky Pinwheels d.Gs quilt only to realize that 4 of the blocks were sewn together wrong (I almost did it with one of mine) so I've had to stop and take them apart and sew them back together before I can get the top ready.  I've fixed two...
  • Started spring break with not one but two sickies and cold weather!  NOT COOL!
  • Hugged, laughed, loved, and thanked God for my little family.
  • Read, read, and read some more.  Oren and I are reading the same books (I love juvenile fiction and both of my kids are reading fiends) so I have to read a lot to stay ahead of him!!  ;)
  • Planned my new summer wardrobe of skirts and dresses sewn by me.
  • Not even thought of actually making said wardrobe.
Bored you enough with this long list.  

In short--I'm here, I'm living life and I'm trying to find my way back to this little spot.  Bear with me.  I'll be back soon.  :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Just keep sewing...

I've been finishing up a block here and a block there lately.

I've finished up one of my March bee assignments and have been mentally working on the second.  In That Stash Bee, Whitney asked for Simply Woven blocks in orange and aqua that she's putting into a quilt for her Dad.  He's a Gator fan just like me so these were easy and fun blocks to put together.  Jessica's put together a great tutorial and every quilt I've seen made from it has been so great.


I also made two more blocks for February's Empower group.  Michonne was short a few blocks and so I whipped up some of the filler blocks and sent them to her.  I can't wait to see this quilt together because with the black and bright colors, I think it's going to be amazing!!


I got another block done for Oren's Star (Wars) quilt.  This one was called Dakota Star and I paper-pieced it.  Chris thought it was a little too flowery for a Star Wars quilt with that white patterned fabric, but I hope not--because it's done, it's different, and I kinda like it.  What do you think??


And finally, I've been finishing up my blocks for the quilt I picked back in November (hangs head in shame) for our Empower group.  I had to wait on a couple of blocks from one of the members so I mentally just put this quilt on the back burner.  Last week I realized how long ago November was so I'm ready to get this one off the to-do list and sent to it's new home.  I'm almost done piecing the squares and then they'll be pieced together to make 2 blocks.


Luckily, these blocks will all just go together with no sashing, no intricate piecing or decisions of what goes where.  It's a scrappy-wonky-glory and I can't wait to see it pieced.  :)

So...no big finishes to write home about, but little finishes turn into big ones, so I'm plugging along...

What are you up to this week?  Any big projects or are you plugging along too?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making the Switch...

As a sheep follows the flock, I am switching over to Bloglovin after the news that Google Reader will be shutting down on July 1.  Boo.  I love my google reader...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'll be back tomorrow with actual content, but I had to post this info to "claim my blog" on bloglovin so here goes...


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Something New Quilt Top is DONE!

One of the many projects I've been working on over the last few weeks is my Something New Sampler.  I had a couple of friends making and teaching blocks for the sampler so I decided to give it a try.  New skills are always a good thing to learn.

And learn I did.  Some of the techniques weren't new for me--applique, reverse applique, sewing scraps to make new fabric, and while I'd never used Sashiko designs before, I'd done plenty of hand embroidery and hand quilting.  But trapunto, bargello and cathedral windows were all things I'd wanted to try but never quite got around to doing yet.


I knew from the beginning that I wanted to set these modern blocks in a more modern layout.  Amy (the host of the whole blog hop/quilt-along) gave layout ideas throughout the series.  I liked her basket-weave layout suggestion and went with that.  Nevermind that it totally hid the fact that one of my blocks came out a little small and I could hide it that way...

But I don't like square quilts.  Nothing against y'all that do, but if it's not for a baby to play on, I don't want a square quilt.  For me, it's just too much width to wrestle with to get it long enough to cover us up.  So I added top and bottom borders which also adds a more modern aspect to the quilt, I hope.


I'm still considering adding a thin khaki border around the outside to bring that color back in one more time, but I'm undecided...

As for quilting, I want to do something that is new for me and push myself since that's the point of this whole QAL.  I'm thinking something dense in the navy areas to make the blocks pop, especially since many of the blocks can't really be quilted in.  I'll do some quilting in the flat blocks, especially trapunto of course, but some don't need much because of their thickness and design.

Look at my mean old cat posing like this is about her...she thinks it's all about her all the time...geesh

Pebble quilting maybe or close-set straight lines?  Maybe something sharp and geometric?  Nothing has hit me yet and said DO THIS!!

I'm open to suggestions...

I'm linking up this top to Amy's finished projects.  It's been fun to see all of the different takes on these techniques from other participants.  There's so much inspiration out there--I'll never run out of ideas of what to make next.  :)


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nearly Wordless WIP

 You know me—wordless?  Not hardly...

But I can try.  So here we go:

I finished up my Something New Sampler and here's a quick shot:


Considering adding a thin khaki border around the outside and scrappy pink/blue binding.  Not sure on the quilting just yet.  I'll be back with better pictures and details tomorrow.

Up next:
  Simply Woven Blocks for Whitney in That Stash Bee.  



Ok--back to the grindstone...

Linking up:
WIPWednesday

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Something New...


I’ve been having trouble finding my voice lately.  You know, the voice that you project on your blog.  The voice that represents who you are and what you’re doing.  The voice that shows the online community “This is me and me is awesome!” 

I’ve been better at balancing the rest of life lately, but I feel like somehow blogging got left out of the mix.  I haven’t been inspired lately to talk I guess.  And I always feel like forced content shows so I didn’t want to go down that road.

I am hoping that as my sewjo came back with a vengeance, my blogging voice will too.  There is a season for everything, and I’m hopeful that this unintended blogging break will soon be over…

In the meantime, here’s a peak into what I’m working on in the most un-contrived voice I’ve got right now…

I’m wrapping up my Something New Sampler.  And that’s a good thing since a completed quilt top (but not completed quilt) is due Friday to be eligible for prizes in this blog hop/quilt-along.  I’m a last-minute kind of girl lately…ok, most of my life.

I finished up the last block today and now I just need to assemble them into a quilt top.  Today I made the Cathedral Windows block.  It was actually from weeks ago but I was kinda dreading making it and saved it for last.

This block is one of those blocks I've always wanted to make someday.  Everyone has that list of quilts to make before they’re old.  Mine includes Dresden plates, a mariners compass, etc.  Yes, I want to say I’ve done it.  I want to have it in my repertoire.

But actually make it??  That’s a totally different story.  Anyone who knows me knows that patience is a virtue I don’t have in much abundance.  And this block needs patience.  It’s not hard to do—just slow and precise.  I may be slow, but I am NOT a precise kind of person.


So, I’m not showing ANY up close pictures of this block whatsoever.  Even this felt a little too close but I trust y'all to treat me gentle...please??...  Almost nothing matches up right and if I was making this for anyone other than myself I’d redo the whole block.  But, it is for me, for now at least, and right now, I’m happier with completion than perfection.   

Here are all 9 blocks.


I’m considering layout options but I know I'm going with a navy background.  I bought a bunch of Kona Navy last week at JoAnn with this project and another in mind.  I’m hopeful that the navy will tone down the brightness of some of the pinks and bring balance to the colors.  I’m planning on lots of negative space since the blocks aren’t very wide and negative space and I aren’t the best of friends…I want to like it, and often do on other people’s quilts, but not so much my own.  We shall see….hopefully by tomorrow! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIP

I had no intention of not checking in here this week, but I've actually been busy sewing and being reunited with my missing sewjo felt so good I just kept working!

BUT...it is Wednesday so I'm checking in with my WIPs.  What have I been up to this week?  What do I have in progress?

While I usually only work on one major project at a time because it's all I can focus on and get done, I'm working on multiple projects right now, focusing on two.

I'm steadily making progress on Oren's Star quilt.  I've got 7 1/2 blocks done.  Since last checking in, I've finished three blocks and have one halfway finished.  Want to see??

First up--that Starry Path block that although easy enough threw me under the bus and left me to die before the half marathon.  I don't know why I had so much trouble concentrating on it before, because I slapped it together in about 20 minutes this past week.


 Next was a block I'm calling Novel Star because I used Oren's specially-chosen space novelty fabric for.  I'm not big on novelty fabrics because people's "it thing" changes so often.  I'd rather go with a timeless palette that can grow with Oren.  But, what can I say--I love the kid so I used some.  It was a lucky stroke that Saturn ended up like that in the middle square.  I do like it after all, but I'm not planning on using too much of the novelties.


And my other finish is this star from the Summer Sampler Series put on by Faith, Lee, and Katie.  This star is from Faith (tutorial here).  Easy peasy and so stunning.  My kind of block.


Now I'm on Starburst, which coincidentally is Megan's first offering in the Fresh Mini Quilt Club and just happened to be similar to something I had in mind.  Megan's way of doing it was better than mine, so I just shrunk her measurements down to fit my block size.  I do plan on making the 18" square-sized mini quilt that she's designed once I get through my in-progress projects.  I've just got some half-square triangles left to sew up.

I realized in looking at this picture that one gray and one black section are facing the wrong way--it is fixed now!

And here's my design wall to date including leftovers triangles from the blocks making a lovely border.  :)



I'm also finishing up Amy's Something New Sampler quilt-along that she graciously organized and had guest bloggers help out with.  I've got 7 blocks done, one almost finished and one left to complete.  The quilt tops have to be done and in the flickr pool by next week, so I'm doing okay I think with this one.  It's been interesting to try some new  techniques that I may or may not visit again...


Here was my go at Trapunto.  I haven't done the quilting yet obviously, but it's all set for it.  This is an easy and breathtaking technique and I will def come back to this one.

And this--improv curves.  I have an on-again/off-again love with improv, but this was easy enough.  Great tutorial and not bad results.  I just went for this one without thinking too much and from start to finish--this block took me maybe 15 minutes.


Right now, I'm finishing up my applique block.  I HATE this block.  I've done applique plenty, but usually prefer raw-edge because I'm lazy and in a hurry it's my style, but I followed the tutorial and did needle-turn.  Now, it's not the tutorial at all.  It's the fact that I didn't cut my seam allowance/foldover section big enough.  My pieces don't want to stay folded on top, they're not laying flat, I didn't use invisible thread and I'm blah on the showing thread...this block is just a fail.  I'm going to be okay with that and finish it and move on because we can't love them all, but...


So, there you have it.  I've got Izzy's quilt ready to baste and quilt and some bee blocks coming up next.  I promise to TRY to get on here more often, but I am better about updating my instagram feed (usually...) so follow me there if you're just dying to know what I'm up to.  :)

I'll be linking up with Lee so head over and see what she and everyone else is up to this week!
WIPWednesday

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Seven

See this face right here?

3/2/06
 I fell in love with it the day I saw it.  Actually, before I saw it.  This is the face that made our family even more special.  This is my baby's face.  This is my Oren's face.  Isn't it precious.

Seven years ago today, this precious boy came into our lives.  Making us wait all day while he debated being born AFTER my water broke and I got my epidural.  We should have known what we were in for from Day 1.

First Birthday eating his special basketball cake.

It's been seven years of laughs, crashes, messes, hugs, frustrating moments, focus issues, Star Wars, building blocks, accidents, and more love than I could have known.


Little Mr. Man (almost 18 months old)
This boy is so precious to me and I can't help but love him more each day.  He drives me crazy with his lack of attention to detail except when it comes to minute Star Wars stuff that I couldn't care less about.  He never hurries and is often so busy thinking that he forgets halfway through a job what he's supposed to be doing.  But I love him.

How could you not love this face?
Oren is good at reading, chicken wing-eating, laughing, bowling, smiling, thinking, forgiving, jokes, swimming, driving Daddy's truck (with a little help...), building and creating and loving.


Halloween 2009

 He gets migraines that put him down for the count and has been struggling with some stomach issues that haven't been fun.  But he never complains.  He just accepts what God gives him and gets through it.  He's got an older sister that's good at most everything she does and makes sure he knows it but he loves her and constantly roots for her to succeed even when he doesn't.

Love him!
 Oren is so well-liked by adults and children alike because he's so kind.  He's not afraid to laugh at himself and he isn't "too cool" to play with anyone.  He's easy-going and happy to be helpful.  He's confident in himself but not at all proud.  He's just Oren.

It may take awhile for it to show, but this boy has a temper and once you've made him mad, he will defend himself.  His sense of right and wrong is pretty strict and he'll tell you if he thinks you're wrong.  But he'd never intentionally hurt your feelings or make you feel bad about yourself.

My Little King--Homecoming 2011
 He's growing fast and I see more of who he will be each day.  It's bittersweet to see your baby becoming his own person and needing you a little less each day.  Yeah, I'm still his main squeeze for a few more years, but I know the day is coming when it'll be some other girl he's wanting to sit by and my heart will swell when he finds "the one" just like it will break when some girl breaks his.

Christmas 2012 with his new BB Gun.

I am in love with this special kid and I thank God every day for the chance to be his Mama.  The chance to raise him, teach him, love him and guide him is an honor that I take very seriously.  

I pray each night (and often during the day) that he'll continue to grow--physically, emotionally, mentally, spriritually.  I pray that I will help him become the man God wants him to be.  But I selfishly also hope that the man part takes awhile to get here.  I love this little boy that is growing into a big boy.

Happy 7th Birthday Oren!  Mama loves you so very much!