Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP Math: 9-2=11

One of my goals for the summer was to finish as many WIPs as I could. I had a list of nine and I've already completed two. But then I got sidetracked by the idea of this:


Black and white is hard to photograph! You can't really tell but in the photo above, the bottom right X is actually a very light blue, just a tad of subtle color.

 

As you can imagine, this quilt became boring to piece very quickly so I had to stop every once in a while and work on other things. But instead of going back to my list of seven remaining WIPs, I started three new ones. Of course I did.


Apparently I'm not through with black and white X-es. This one will be a bit different, though, with each block having a different black and white print. 


Then I moved on to my new mini charm (candy) pack of High Street that I recently acquired from my LQS. I've said before that I'm usually several months to several years behind on noticing and/or buying new fabric lines, and this is one of those times. Love this new-to-me line and hope to get some yardage soon!


And for the final product of my distraction from the X quilt, I grabbed a little stack of fabric that was peeking out at me from my cabinet and put this Broken Wheel block together. I thought it was perfect for the center print as it looks just like those little gears.


 So now my WIP list is up to eleven. I never was good at sticking to a plan:/ 

Linking up to Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Petal

Meet Petal.


She is an 8-week-old English Lop, but already as big as our 1-year-old Holland Lop.
 

We have learned so much about rabbits since we got Huckleberry last summer and one of the things that surprised us the most is how socially complex they are. Huckleberry has bonded with us very closely but during the school year I worry that he doesn't get enough interaction with us. So I decided that it'd be worth it to get a friend for him. 


Bonding them is a touchy process that is best to start after she is fixed, so they will have to stay separated for a while. But eventually, I hope they will become best of friends.


And, oh, just look at those ears!!! They hang like luxurious drapes, yet are as soft and delicate as flower petals.


She is so graceful and feminine with her long, slender body and soft coloring.


And so very, very sweet!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bunny Quilt

I bought this Beautiful Garden Girl fabric by Tea and Sympathy on a whim back in February because I was so longing for spring. And now it's mid-summer, but hey, I'm just glad I got it done before fall. I downloaded a free pattern created just for this line - following patterns is something I never do but I knew I'd need help working with a panel. Plus, I love it! I changed a couple colors around but other than that, I was a good girl.


 Love this hexagon print I used for the back.


Here's a close-up of the panel and my cross-hatch quilting. She's so sweet with her leggings and little bunny! She looks so much like my oldest niece, who also loves bunnies, so this quilt is for her.




And here's my little bunny, who always comes running when I spread my quilts out on the floor. :)


Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Val's Quilt

My little sister turned 18 today. Just writing that out feels so wrong, I just can't believe it. My parents adopted her from an orphanage in Belarus when she was a year old and she joined our family like she owned us. She is stubborn, loyal, generous, and strong, and I have loved her with my whole heart from day one. 

She chose her favorite colors for her quilt from my Kona color card: caribbean, berry, black, and white. This may actually be too much white for her, and I probably should have added some skulls;) Other than that, it is so "her".

My machine has a small throat and it has often made me shy away from bigger quilts, or at least determined how I would quilt them. But this time I really wanted to echo quilt the stars, yet knew that turning this size quilt that many times would be torture. So I decided to try quilting it in two parts. Below you can see the top half, basted and ready to go. (I baste very sparsely and never use a walking foot - somehow it always works for me.)

 

After I quilted both halves, which turned out to be so very easy, you can see below how I sewed them together on the front of the quilt, then trimmed the batting pieces to just touch each other.


Then I whipped-stitched the pieces together. Not sure this provided more stability, but it made me feel better.


Then I trimmed and folded the two back fabric pieces and blind-stitched them closed.


In the end, you could not tell at all that it was quilted in two parts and then connected.  The extra steps at the end were time-consuming, but it was better than losing my sanity trying to stuff the whole quilt through my machine's throat 956 times.


I'm disappointed that it didn't photograph too well. Maybe it's the stark contrast of the white and dark colors? I was also in a hurry - late for her birthday dinner! - so I didn't have time for a lot of close-ups to show all the fabrics.


Honestly, when I first started making the blocks, I didn't really like them that much - it was the caribbean color that turned me off.  But the more I made, the more I liked how it was was coming together, and now that it's done I absolutely love it. I used this tutorial to make the blocks.


I remember when she was all forehead and big, ice-blue eyes. Now her eyes are green and just look how beautiful she's become. Happy Birthday, Val!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear 21-Year-Old Me

Making progress on my little sister's quilt. Gotta have it done by her birthday this weekend!


 This morning my son found our engagement picture and laughed, as children do when they see younger versions of their parents. It was only 12.5 years ago, but wow, so much has changed since then! As I sat there working on the quilt, I thought of all the things I would tell 21-year-old me... not that she would listen;)


I would tell her:
  • Relax! Watch your life unfold with wonder, take it as it comes, and love it for what it is.
  • Don't try to fix everything and everyone. Know when to keep your mouth shut and when not to get involved in someone else's drama.
  • Don't be so trusting of people. Expect to be hurt and only put your trust in those who are worth the heartache.
  • Be patient. With yourself, with others, with life.
  • Perfection is an illusion. There is no such thing, so don't be so upset when you can't achieve it.
  • Push yourself! Work hard! Earn what you want, don't expect it to just happen because Dad said that your life would be great. He was talking about potential, not about a lucky free ride.
  • Let go of the guilt and toxic shame that you carry around. Forgive yourself.
  • You cannot make everyone like you or agree with you. You are not that special. But what others think does not determine your worth.
  • Take care of your body! Exercise and eat right and value your health and strength.
  • Stay put in your first apartment. Finish school, get a job, build a life slowly. Don't get pregnant 3 months after your wedding. Don't buy a house at 22. Stop rushing to reach milestones or keep up with others.
  • Your life will be nothing like what you imagined, so go ahead and get used to that fact.
 Some of these things are cliche', some common, and some unique to me and my personal brand of naivete' (which might be a nice word for "stupid"). But each is a hard-earned lesson that fills me with gratitude instead of regret. Each has a story that, when strung together, helps make up the sum total of who I am today. I survived all of that, I'm recovering from the aftermath, and have so much more wisdom going forward. In another 12.5 years I will probably be able to write a similar list to the 33-year-old me... but hey, that's growth. :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Summer Break At Last


Another semester over and only one year of nursing school left. I'm already several weeks into my summer break, just as busy but much less stressed! I have so much to do and catch up on during my break, but as long as it's not studying or never-ending care plans, I'm up for it.

My husband started a garden, which I am SO happy about! I have always wanted a garden but I don't have the time or, let's face it, the motivation for it. He is doing the square foot gardening method and blogging about it here, where he points out the endless similarities between his garden and the video game Minecraft. If you're interested in square foot gardening, you can learn a lot on his blog from his experiences. This photo of his snap peas was taken a few months ago -  look closely, they are holding hands!

And this was taken the other day - his very first strawberry!
 

...in honor of which I have made this pillow:)


 And this one for my new sofa.

 On the left of this picture, you can see my drop-cloth curtains I made over spring break. Let me tell you, people, there's a reason why this trend hasn't died out yet. They are the perfect weight, color, and texture and just look so good! At least for my style, anyway. I absolutely love them.

So, new sofa, curtains, pillows - just a fraction of all that needs to be done around here, but I'm hoping to really do a lot this summer and show you more pics of my house - not because I have one of those big, beautiful, blog-worthy show houses... but because I don't have that. I have the opposite of that, and I just want to encourage all of you out there who live small and simply like me to value your space, make it into the best version of a home that you can, and then love it for what it is. More on that later:) 

So, that was off topic. I think I was trying to catch you up a bit... you know, since I'm the only one with anything going on and no one is ever as busy as I am. ;)  My oldest son played his first ever season of baseball, graduated from elementary school, and won the Citizenship award for being the most caring, helpful, and conscientious of others' needs in the whole fifth grade. He really struggles with his grades so this was a huge encouragement for him - and I have never been more proud of him, as I value these character traits far above academic achievement. 

My youngest son tested above his grade level all year for math and constantly amazes us with his ability to do algebra in his head. He's in second grade! But more importantly, he got "blue", which stands for remarkable behavior, every single day of the entire school year. 

My little sister got her driver's license and graduated from high school. I'm so proud of her, too, for making it through her teenage years intact, which we all know is never easy:)  She will turn 18 next month - can NOT believe it - and her birthday quilt is in the works. (It has been for a while - I started making it when she was 16. But let's change the subject.)

So, that's all the bragging I'm gonna do today. We've also had our share of troubles lately, including a death in the family, a major health crisis, and car trouble (of course!), so it's just uplifting for me to sit here and write out some of the good things. Overall, I am blessed beyond measure and looking forward to a summer of mental rest, productivity around the house, quality time with my babies, and creative sewing time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Shamrock For My Attic

I used to be very no-fuss when it came to seasonal or holiday celebrating/decorating. Fall and Christmas were the only two occasions worthy of their own special decor.

Then came Pinterest.

Now suddenly I find myself wanting to celebrate every obscure holiday that's never been heard of, all for an excuse to make useless-but-cute things that will end up in my attic in a matter of days.


Just because it's fun.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tidy Tuesday [ish]

So, last week I was home from Tuesday afternoon through Monday morning. I mean, I literally did not leave the house all that time. There was snow, school was canceled, and I had new fabric. It was bliss. Cabin fever? No way, not this girl.

But I am a very messy quilter. This was my poor dining room after my little staycation.


And I'm not even showing you the floor, where I tossed cut threads and little fabric scraps for 6 days. Onto carpet. Carpet that is dark teal. Not pretty.


But I conquered the mess on the table today, with the help of a few nice guys who happened to be hanging around.


They mostly stood guard while I cleaned.


And secretly admired my Briar Rose scraps, although they'd never admit it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

...

What a mess.


So worth it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day

It's been snowing since Tuesday here! I live in the South where everything shuts down if one snowflake is spotted - we just don't have the equipment to clear all the roads in a timely manner. This is the boys' third day home from school, and even my classes got canceled today, so yay! I've been cleaning a lot, trying to clear a spot in which to sew. Because look what has come in the mail: a bit of Spring on this snowy day!


 Briar Rose by Heather Ross. Yes, I know most people are over it, but I'm usually a year or two behind when it comes to new fabric lines. I spotted it a few months ago and have really been in the mood for springy prints, so I'm loving it.


And this is Country Girls by Tasha Noel. I'm so in the mood for Spring that I actually passed up the navy and pink palette for the green and white.


I just love the geese, barns, and little girls. I'm not sure if I can honestly say that I'm a true country girl, but I did used to live on a farm as a child - where I worked in the gross chicken houses in my knee-high rubber boots and woke up before dawn every morning to bottle-feed my pet calf, Blossom. And then later as a teenager, I had two more pet cows. I was scared to death of Beverly, but I actually milked Lashes for a while after her calf was born. So I suppose I'm not a complete charlatan.


And this is Beautiful Garden Girl by Tea and Sympathy. I think this is fresh off the press so I'm actually not behind for once. Not the usual fabrics I'm drawn to, especially with the panel, but I really do have a serious case of Spring fever. Plus, the panel has a girl with her bunny rabbit, so I couldn't pass it up.


I need another WIP like I need a hole in the head, but I don't think I'm going to be able to say no to all of this Springy goodness.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tidy Tuesday

Sorry for the misleading post title. Today I feel like I'd need a shovel this big to even get started cleaning.

 

Like I said before, Mondays are my busiest days this semester. I went to class early yesterday morning then came home and did paperwork in preparation for clinicals until after midnight. Woke up at 5am and was at the hospital til noon. Came home and lay down to rest a bit before I started cleaning - and slept til dark. So yeah, nothing happened in that department on this very untidiest of Tuesdays. And I had a test yesterday, so really, not much cleaning got done all week either. But I studied like mad and made a 96% on my test, so I'm happy. 

This is what my husband does best to help me out:


He's a very good cook and really enjoys it, so he does most of the meal-planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Which I absolutely love because I'd rather clean toilets than do all that. It helps me SO much.

I did manage to get the rest of my clamshells made this week, but only because I sat and did them while listening to podcasts from class, which is a form of studying for me. I laid them all out and don't quite have enough for a lap/twin, so I'll have to get more fabric. If I can still find more FMF. I think I'm missing a few prints anyway.


I am off tomorrow, thank goodness. I plan to catch up on some housework, and maybe study a bit, but... seriously people, you should know me better than that by now. I have about 59.2 WIPs all vying for my attention, plus some new fabric I want to cut into. Priorities are a very relative concept, you know.