Category Archives: Family & Home

Hello, 2015

2015-01-02_1420164401 There’s just something about this time of year that is so hopeful. Maybe it’s the blank pages in my planner (and all of the temptingly beautiful planners in stores!). Maybe it’s the contrast with the excesses of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas. (So many cookies! So much candy!) Whatever it is, I love this time of year. I love the feeling that we can start over with a clean slate. It even feels good to jump back into blogging and I hope to be around this space a lot more in 2015 than I was last year.

I’m starting out the year with some personal resolutions and some that may strike a chord with you.

2015-01-02_14201757931.  Spend 5 minutes cleaning up my workspace before bed. Every single day. I tend to create a huge explosion of fabric and notebooks and templates and notions when I sew.  My hope is to at least tidy away the surface of my cutting table and sewing table each night so things don’t pile up. Then instead of avoiding the room because of the mess, I’ll feel invited to come in and sew.

2015-01-01_14201490482. Don’t take shortcuts. I used to take a lot of sewing/quilting shortcuts, mostly out of ignorance of the proper way to do things. Many of those shortcuts have been cut out of my repertoire, but some remain. Not taking the time to pin is the main thing I’d like to stop doing this year. #justpinit

2015-01-02_1420242610One of my shortcuts that has come back to haunt me while working on some old WIPs is failure to cut sashing/block borders. I used to take one WOF strip and just sort of space out my blocks on it and trim it up at the end. (This method looks like a block bunting where the string is a WOF strip).  Doing this adds bulk to your blocks and creates waves and wonkiness. The results are so much better if you cut the strips to the necessary length and PIN.

3. Share the Love. There are often times when I see or read things online that I don’t like. But there are also times when I see things I really like and this year, I’m going to tell people! There is so much negativity online. It’s always been there, but I suppose since I now seem to straddle both sides of this industry (consumer and producer), I really notice it more. I see it in book reviews, on Instagram feeds, on Facebook walls, and all over blog comments. There are some real butt heads out there. It particularly irks me when people are giving things away for free and others leave rude comments. If someone used their time and talent to produce something (pattern, tutorial, lesson, photos, giveaway),  it is really beyond the pale to complain about said free thing. It’s not your taste? You find it too simple? Don’t partake! There are so many makers out there so instead of leaving that rude comment, just move on and find someone you like better to follow. I love this old-ish Bonnie Hunter post about all the whiners who complain about her free mystery quilt sew-alongs. Seriously, don’t be that person; be the nice person. I’m going to be.

2015-01-03_14203114224.  List everything. I used to have an amazing memory. I honestly thought people were full of bull when they said having kids or being pregnant gave them “baby brain.” I also thought it was pretty insulting to women (how are pregnant CEOs going to overcome said baby brain and do their jobs?!) I don’t like to blame it on the kids per se, but being a mom, working from home, running a small business, and maintaining a household requires a lot of hats. I have a hard time focusing and it’s often hard to decide which task to do. Lots of juggling and frankly, just getting it done rather than doing it well occurred in 2014. List making is my go-to for managing all of the disparate tasks that can easily overwhelm (and paralyze!) me. Every night after dinner, I list 5 tasks I need to accomplish the following day. These are specific tasks (answer emails, cut out blocks, write fabric requirements in XYZ pattern, grocery shopping) and often these tasks make up a bigger goal I have for the week.  It helps me to stay on track when I only have 15-45 minutes to spend on a task at one time.

5. Timers are my BFF. Timers tell our 3-year-old when it’s bedtime, naptime, etc. and it minimizes back talk. Timers also help me with my most-hated household tasks (pretty much all cleaning). If I spend 30-45 minutes per day cleaning, that’s enough to keep the house looking nice. I usually break that down into smaller segments: 15 minutes is enough time to clean a small bathroom and 30 minutes is enough time to Swiffer and dust our bedroom and make the bed – even put away some laundry. The house will never meet my Aunt Irma’s cleanliness standards, but it’s not disgusting and sometimes that is enough.

Happy New Year to you all!

Our New Normal

10735601_198767150309570_1461045788_nSweet Diana is 7 weeks old now and we are all slowly settling in to a new routine. I’m even finding time to sew in between catching up with work and keeping up with the never-ending housework. (seriously, will it ever end?)

10787865_874339549251585_1988092098_nI find that I can fit a lot of TO DOs into my day but completing tasks is not so simple. Starting projects is easy and tempting…

10731619_322124651302963_312864909_nSome days all I want to do is sew and sew but in the absence of that, I give myself the gift of at least 15 minutes a day with my sewing machine.

10755786_1559162237653809_473843075_nSome days that means I only have time to clean out the lint and oil it,,,

10748072_454857501323519_276497927_nBut I have finished a few small projects ({Take Flight Art Smock} and {Sweet + Spooky Halloween Mini Quilt}) and made progress on several that have been sitting untouched since my last quilt retreat (in June or July?).

10724943_711571812258519_1448043671_nI do get to stare at this beautiful face every day, which makes up for all the sewing I’m missing.

DSC_8882-4-webIt’s a pretty fair trade.

Our Baby Girl

2014 is not going to be one of those years where I finish twenty or so quilts. Instead, Ill settle for just a few and our wonderful new baby girl.

photoHer name is Diana Caroline and she’s so smiley and sweet.  She is happy and demanding like a newborn should be and things are slowly, very slowly, getting back to a (new) normal around here.

Baby-DianaIt’s funny how I always want to sew the most when I have the least amount of time to do so. I’ve been spending lots of nursing hours with a sketchbook or iPhone in hand, making notes, to do lists, and calculating fabric yardage. Hopefully those things will make the transition from paper to fabric before too long.

New Patterns

I’ve taken a long break from pattern writing. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s more accurate to say that I’ve taken a long break from pattern finishing.  But now that I’ve reached the countdown phase of this pregnancy, I’m feeling anxious to get some sewing and such done! There are fewer than 8 weeks before we meet this little girl.

Of course, one of the patterns I’m working on is baby-related.  I’ll post again once I’ve got it finished and linked up on the shop. The others I’ve got in the works are quilts and a patchwork nap mat. I hope to get three released before baby with several more to come around Quilt Market. But whether I get them done or not, it’s fun to be sewing and writing again! I’ve missed it.

A Few of My Favorite Things

The coolest thing happened yesterday that brought several of my favorite things together: my dog Moose, midcentury modern design, and crewel. Sounds like a weird combination, huh? Let me explain.

I posted this photo of Moose to my Instagram account, hashtagging it with all sorts of things, including midcentury modern.

He’s resting his chin on one of my newly reupholstered midcentury modern walnut chairs (that particular one was free. Yes, FREE. I got it at a publisher’s warehouse off Industrial Blvd here in Dallas when they were moving to a new location. They also sold me a Jens Risom desk for $75.)

That photo was “liked” by Vladimir Kagan designs on Instagram. He is a well-known MCM furniture designer with some really beautiful pieces (and he also has a charming blog). I Googled him and read on his Wikipedia page that he was married to the late Erica Wilson, the goddess of the 1960s/1970s crewel revival. I’ve been obsessed with her kits and books for years.

I got such a kick out of the idea of these two creative people together and what a neat couple they must have been. I found a blog post with a tour of their home and he said that his favorite piece was the embroidered rocking chair that combines both of their work:

Image via sarahsarna.com

Now if only I could get a picture of Moose in that chair…

Future Quilter

This has definitely been one of those years where I’m so immersed in every day life that I am shocked when I look at the calendar and see days, weeks, and months flying by.  I’ve spent all of May obsessed with house projects and organizing and decluttering! I guess it’s what you’d call nesting…

Spring Cleaning

We are expecting a baby girl this fall (well, September, which is still summer here in Texas).  Isn’t that onesie the cutest thing? I bought it from Patchwork Threads.

A BIG part of my nesting has been a mission to declutter my sewing room. I did a huge destash sale this week. But honestly with Quilt Market going on this weekend and all of those tempting lovely new lines popping up all over social media, it’s going to be hard to keep things tidy in there. I’ll be back on Monday with a Moda market review post (I’m very excited about their fall 2014 lines!!!)

Christmas Labels

Are you still wrapping presents?! Don’t feel bad. I usually am, too, but this year I seem to be ahead of the game.
VMQ-gift-wrap-1 Gift wrapping is honestly not one of my favorite things to do but it really does look so pretty when you take the time to do a nice job. This year I put bows and ribbon on every package. I used this this candy stripe ribbon and this poly satin ribbon. The striped ribbon wins for cuteness but the poly is much easier to work with.

VMQ-gift-wrap-2

I usually DIY or print labels using one of the bajillion cute printable gift labels out there, but this year I thought I’d take the even easier route and print mine on label stickers (that I already had! WIN). I used Martha Stewart for Avery labels in white (these might only be available in stores) and kraft. (These are available exclusively at Staples, I believe. That’s where I bought mine.)

If you’d like to make your own MS labels, download the Word template {here}. You’ll also need {Prestige Elite Std} font and {A Gentle Touch} font or you can use two of your favorites. For the kraft gift wrap, you’ll need a roll of kraft paper (find it at the dollar store), white ink, and some holiday stamps.

Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Christmas Wreath

Yes, it really is December already. My door says so.

And he’s going to be here very soon. It seems like Thanksgiving stole a little bit of Christmas thunder waiting until three days before December to make an appearance. I still have pumpkins on my front porch (but there’s a wreath on the door!) I’m actually hoping the squirrels will polish off the pumpkins as they’ve been slowly eating them up since October.

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

I have been pretty consumed with projects. I’m actually a little bit panicky that 2014 is so close because I could use a bit more of 2013, please. Just two or ten more weeks.

Christmas Lights

Two very fun things are happening this week that will be a nice distraction – First, the Dallas MQG monthly meeting + ornament swap + cookie exchange. That is always such a fun meeting and um, cookies! Second, there is a Moda Holiday “Pin” Party tomorrow. There’s a party here in Dallas plus an online event for everyone else. We are all going to bring a yummy recipe from Pinterest and chat and share holiday pretty/tasty/fun ideas. I’m sure I’ll blog about it but you can definitely see what we’re doing on my Instagram feed. I need to Pinterest some hair and outfit ideas!

To Upholster…Or Not?

{If you’re here for the Classic Modern Quilts blog tour, hop down to this post}
VMQ-fall-patterns-1I have this cute vintage stool. My great grandmother had a similar one that is now at my great-aunt’s home (Cosco brand – they still make it! Vintage-y looking and all!) I love the bright yellow vinyl but I’ve also been toying with the idea of changing it out. I have bits of this Dwell Studio print throughout our living and dining areas (which are open to the kitchen where the stool main resides).

Dwell-studio

Dwell Studio Vintage Blossom

Too formal?

Dwell-studio-2

Dwell Studio Bella Porte

The same color and same fabric collection in a more casual print

ELB-tulips

Ellen Luckett Baker Tulips

Something totally different with a sweet vintage feel – yet still timeless, right?

DS-county-fair

Denyse Schmidt County Fair

And this would be a new look entirely…but I’d keep the yellow vinyl piping for contrast. For all of these options, the plan is to add Pellon vinyl fuse to laminate the fabrics for practical reasons.  Should I even bother, though? Is the stool perfect as is?

Christmas Sewing

It’s almost that time of year! I’m getting a much earlier start than usual because I needed a few holiday props for family photos last weekend. I made a chalkboard sign…

Christmas is Coming

And started an advent calender (that I still have to finish)…

Christmas is Coming

I also started a quilt using lots of red from my stash and Camille Roskelley’s new Puddle Jumping pattern. (She also has an adorable mini version that I’m going to make with my scraps)

Christmas is Coming

(berry baskets from World Market)

I finished the quilt top in just a couple of days but sadly I didn’t have it ready to use in our photos. Next year for sure.

Christmas Sewing

I have a really nice red and white print I was planning to use for the backing, but I saw this flannel at JoAnn’s today and I could not resist.

Christmas Sewing

Snuggle Flannel Fabric-Farm Dog

It’s such a cute print and at only $2.98 a yard how could I not take it home? That’s just over $14 for a quilt backing. What?! Unheard of. I almost want to go back and get enough to make us all matching PJ pants. But maybe that’s too much of a good thing. We’d be camouflaged in our Christmas quilt.

Basting is happening tonight and I am so excited to quilt this. Not sure what quilting design to use, though. Any thoughts?

(And thanks to everyone stopping by and commenting on the blog hop. The giveaway is still open until November 22.)