Category Archives: My Thoughts

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.

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.

Get Out of My Quilt

Many times, I’ve had the thought of starting a series called “Quilting Confessions” where we can all share our little secrets – slicing off our fingertips with rotary cutters, swallowing pins, and sewing through our fingers. I’ve done many ill-conceived and just downright stupid things in the pursuit of quiltiness but one of my ongoing issues has to do with something that I actually used to be good at….math.

ConfusedCat_medium

I did well in math at school. In college, I took three semesters of engineering calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. But when I’m designing a quilt, the math can still get the better of me.

BRITNEY-SPEARS-duh

I’m fine with the 1/4″. It’s a fraction I can really get behind. Who doesn’t love quarters of all kinds?  Fat ones, scant ones, and silver round ones that allow you to briefly purchase complete happiness for a toddler. To my two-year old son, quarters are magical. He very quickly learned that “money coins” buy things from vending machines and make little horses in the grocery store giddyup. Just after Thanksgiving, I let him, for the first time, buy some candy (in the shape of dog bones) from a vending machine and put it into his favorite skeleton covered bucket leftover from Halloween. Yesterday I asked him what he wanted to do for the day. I’m thinking park, library, bounce house, yogurt place, play date with the neighbor. His response? “Go to store and buy dog bone candy. Put in skeleton bucket.” See what I mean? Quarters bring happiness.

fractions

My problem is the 1/8 and the truly hated 1/16,  When I’m designing a quilt and I have to go to these detestable fractions, I can’t even tell you how many times I have to punch in the keys 7 divided by 8. 3 divided by 8. 5 divided by 8. Because I can’t remember what they are in decimals! And even when I am pretty sure I remember, I still do it just to be safe.

confused-dog

And it goes beyond the designing aspect. I don’t like cutting to the 1/8 of an inch. When I’m using a pattern that calls for let’s say, 3 7/8″ squares, my brain just goes “uggggghhhhhh. 7/8?! Get out of my quilt!” A big part of my disgust is that most of my rulers have terrible marking for the 1/8″ segments. Oh, those tiny specks mark the 1/8″? Or it’s a fat yellow line that doesn’t allow me to even see the edge of the fabric.

ryan-gosling-fractions

How do you feel about quilt math and fractions?

Don’t Let This Happen to You

Oh my gosh, you guys. I follow a local thrift/vintage shop on Facebook and yesterday they posted some photos of someone’s fabric stash that is now sitting in their shop.

This is what they said about the fabric stash:

We have a MASSIVE lot of fabric for sale! It’s 68 boxes & tubs full! It’s about 1,280lbs!! (I actually weighed them!)   It ranges from vintage to modern, and there’s every type of material imaginable! We’d really like to sell this as one big lot, so we can move it on outta here! We’re asking $1,200 for the whole thing. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! It’s insane.

And it is. Insane. The idea of all of the once-loved fabric in sad busted boxes just seems so depressing to me. I don’t ever want to amass so much fabric (or anything!) that it ends up like that.

Destash. Destash, Destash.

 

My Stars Blog: Photos, Minis, and Resolutions

If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I also blog for My Stars – the modern imprint from Kansas City Star publishers. I write about quilty stuff, but it’s usually a little different than what I share here. So here’s what I’ve been up to over there:

Sharing some quilt photography basics and mistakes I’ve made. Screenshot-2014-01-15-11

Talking about my current obsession with mini quilts.

Screenshot-2014-01-15-11.33Making resolutions and goals for 2014.

Screenshot-2014-01-13-01.18Stop by and say hi!

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Sometimes I pull fabrics together based on a graphic I love or even a piece of clothing, but these fabrics practically threw themselves into the basket at my local quilt shop.

The Botanics + Honeysweet prints are really, really, REALLY  pretty together,  I added in some Shelburne Falls, Acacia, Hand Drawn Garden, and few repros to round things out.

Color Palette: Modern Prep

I’m not sure if this stack of fabrics will ever become a quilt, but I do so love the combination. It is preppy and classic with the jade, navy, and mustard, and the minty and peachy shades add some fresh zing to a palette that might otherwise be quite simple.

What colors do you think of as “modern prep”?

 

Table Top Sewing

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably very much like me in that you’re obsessed with quilting (and fabric). We all want to sew as much as possible and actually finish projects. I have some big things going on in 2014 that will limit my personal sewing time to a degree, but I still want to make time for some just-for-fun projects.

My solution? Table Top Sewing. I changed things around a bit in my sewing space (tour to come soon) so I now have a lot more surface space. That means more room for stacks of fabric and papers and notions and other random junk, right? NO! I’ve set up five baskets on my table tops with sewing projects mostly ready to sew.

Table Top Sewing

Top Center: Mini quilts. Currently working on Camille Roskelley’s Mini Puddle Jumping quilt

Bottom Left:  Scrappy 4-patches. All scraps!

Bottom Right: Economy/Square in Square Blocks with my Munki Munki stash

Table Top Sewing

Left: APQ Quilt-along Tone It Down quilt (still need to finish cutting this one out)

Right: Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks. Lots of them.

How is this different from what I used to do? Most of my WIPs are in bins in a closet and out of sight is out of mind. I pulled several projects that lend themselves to being sewn in short stints (i.e. nothing with complicated instructions or fabric placement that needs a design wall, etc.). My thinking is that I can sew one or two blocks from a basket each time I go in my space (whether its to work or to sew) and I”ll slowly whittle down each project.

Since there are likely going to be large gaps of time in between when I work on these projects, I’ve made a check list to help me keep track of where I am. This is a good habit to start for any sewing project you’re working! I usually make a post-it or keep track on the pattern page – never quite as formal as the this:

VMQ-table-top-sewing-3

I am a super nerd for organization though….

RESOURCES: Mint berry basket {World Market}, Bird tray {IKEA}, Teal baskets {Target}, white bins {IKEA}

Quilt Photography

I love photography and I have a fairly nice camera. But having never taken a photography class (I have pinned a lot of good advice on Pinterest that I’m sure I’ll get to someday!), I’m always sorta winging it/fumbling around in the dark. I love the magic of a beautiful photo and improving my photography is a resolution I’ve committed to for 2014, but no matter how good you are at operating the equipment, you’ve got to admit that quilt photography is it’s own special challenge.

Lighting, angles, lenses….blah, blah, blah. I won’t even go there, but I will tell you the one thing that has made my life so much easier INSTANTLY! A photography backdrop stand.

My husband is not always the best quilt photography assistant (my parents are surprisingly good and quite entertaining) and it’s hard to take photos by yourself. Add to that the challenge of a yard that is mostly shaded by a huge live oak…but now I can move the stand to the perfectly lit location (in complete shadow adjacent to complete sunshine FYI).

Photo Backdrop Stand

The stand is lightweight, but definitely not flimsy. I can lift it straight up in the air with two hands while assembled with a quilt on it. And I’m very wimpy. I don’t recommend using one when it’s windy unless you like to see your quilt and stand go flying away like a giant kite.

I obviously still have some improvements to make (like, why didn’t I center the quilt over just a brick background?), but I’m super happy with the stand and it will make pattern photography much easier. It’s also pretty inexpensive – definitely cheaper than I expected when I went searching online. I bought {this one}. Just under $65 and free shipping with Amazon Prime. You will also need a set of clamps.

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!

Around the Studio

{If you’re here for the Classic Modern Quilts blog tour, hop down to this post}

Studio Scenes

I’m sewing a little bit every day – mostly new projects and some little holiday things. It’s all very erratic and unfocused because I’ve quit using my planner and stopped making lists. Those two things are key for me to be productive.

Studio Scenes

But I’m okay with not “getting things done” right now. This time of year is made for just coasting along and enjoying the moments.

Studio Scenes

I’m sewing up pinwheel blocks and ordering fabric for an hourglass quilt top. A just-for-fun project.

Studio Scenes

I flip through these two books almost daily. And I think about buying this book just as often.

Studio Scenes

I’m leaving broken toys sitting about until I come across the right glue to fix them. It will just come to me, I know it. ;)

Bad Dogs

I’m even laughing at my naughty dogs.

Bad Dogs

What else can you do, though? I love them, good or bad. Moose’s punishment was wearing that moose costume. And Will is too tenderhearted to be punished. All I had to do was show him the basket he peed on and he hung his head in shame.

What do things look like around your studio? If anyone is sewing up holiday projects, link up in the comments. I’d love to see them!