Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I should have known...

that I would have already neglected this poor little blog of mine. That has to be okay though...

Life has been BUSY - and I have been soaking it up. Had some time off of work; which was VERY needed! I got to spend some quality time with K, and I made a baby quilt (that I needed to get done because I was actually selling it!!! more on that in a minute). We had a great four day weekend and now it is back to the salt mines.

K's friend's sister (sorry that sounds confusing...) was having a baby. This friend, we will call him B from now on to lessen the confusion, mentioned that he was going to become an uncle and of course the first thing out of my mouth was - " OH! I should make it a baby quilt you could give it!". Much to my surprise B actually got pretty excited over the idea and the rest is history.

I am actually kind of proud of this quilt. I learned A LOT while I was making it. I found the most precious classic winnie the pooh fabric on Ebay. I fussy cut the characters out of one piece of the fabric and I made 9 patch squares out the rest. It turned out better that I expected, especially since I didn't follow any kind of pattern or anything. It really felt good to just figure it out as I went. I put some Pink sashing between all of the squares, and it had the softest pink backing.
BUT - the highlight of what I learned making this quilt.... FREE MOTION QUILTING. That's right! I did it. My neighbor (who is the one who got me started quilting in the first place) showed me how to begin and let me practice on some of her scraps. Let me tell you, I know that I have mentioned how I struggle with cutting into fabric - well, that is still true. But, NOTHING is as terrifying as the first moment you start quilting on a piece of fabric you have worked on and tried to "perfect" for hours. I was honestly SO nauseous and I also was SO tense. If you have ever quilted before you know that being tense is the exact opposite of what you need in that moment. I did some meandering stitches, and I also added some loops. Some on purpose, and some accidental. To be fair K thought it turned out great! I am WAY to picky and hard on myself to comment on the matter (let's just say I thought it could have been better...).
After all of that the binding sewed on fairly quickly and I hand stitched  it to the back (I love all things hand sewing... I'm learning this) in no time. Voila! The baby quilt is completed. K dropped it off with B yesterday and according to him he was really happy with it! I felt the biggest sigh of relief I have felt in a while when I heard that.

There is nothing quite as stressful as knowing that this thing you are creating is going to be well loved by someone, and paid for. People don't like to pay for just anything. There is a certain level of trust from a buyer when they haven't seen the quilt they have agreed to pay you for. In fact, he hadn't seen anything I had sewn. That really is trust! I'm just glad it all came out well in the end, and I learned a LOT from the process. Now I need to get back to the blue and white quilt I was working on... I'm having a hard time get motivated for that one though. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe this weekend I can find some time between my other projects I have in mind, to sew some sashing and maybe that will make me feel better about it.

Speaking of other projects; here is a list of a couple things I have running in my head. Maybe if I can get them down here I won't forget about them.
Not in any particular order:

- Cat coasters (long story... but, I'm excited about this one - and there is a time limit, YIKES!)
- Pillows for new couch (more like cushions then pillows)
- Curtains for living room (lets just say either make new ones and scrub mine to death... they are pitiful looking lately)
- Blue & White Quilt
- Life Journey EPP Quilt (this is one for another post... I started a pretty cool project I'm excited about. Hopefully I can remember to write about it here)
- Quilt for dad... maybe

Well - That's it for now.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Business, Fabric, & Cliff Jumping

I don't know about anyone else out there but, when the weekend gets closer I always find myself planning out all the time I am going to spend in my sewing room. I decide on projects, I pick out fabric. I prepare. This weekend however, none of it went according to plan. There was just too much "life" happening to lock myself away. To be honest, I feel a little off in the brain this week - and I truly am wondering if it is because I didn't have any sewing/me time this weekend. I think that is my time to collect my thoughts and prepare my mind for the coming work week.

On a different note: I FINALLY, for the first real time, went to Joanns fabrics.... and OH. MY. GOODNESS. It only made it better that I had a $150 gift card and a lot of coupons! I went fabric crazy. I got the backing and batting for my quilt, I got a bundle of fat quarters for some EPP projects, I got those wonderful little scissors shaped like a bird (for some reason I feel like this was a must and I am officially a "sewer/quilter"), I got some beautiful fabric that I just "had" to have!!! I can't wait to cut into it and make something I can use!

I am figuring myself out bit by bit as I enjoy this sewing journey; as you can tell by my "aha" moment in the first paragraph. I had NO idea just how much I need my alone time to get ready for the week. The other thing I am learning is that I have a REALLY hard time cutting into fabric for the first time. I bought all of this beautiful fabric that I really cannot wait to sew into something I can be proud of but, every time I think about cutting into it I get a little queasy. Is this normal? Don't get me wrong -- it doesn't stop me for very long. However, when I get there ready to cut -- on the floor (usually), rotary cutter in hand, green well loved cutting mat spread out before me -- I actually hold my breath. It is usually just the first cut, after that I get even more excited and ready to go. Maybe this is just because of my lack of experience. I'm sure it will go away after some time - but, for now - I feel like that first cut is the deepest is like jumping off a cliff.

Hopefully later today I will have time to lock myself away and sew to my little hearts content!

Does anyone else have that same cliff-jumping feeling?

Friday, June 14, 2013

A progress report

Well, I promised a progress report so here we are. I expected to have my quilt top done last night. In fact, I cancelled an appointment I had so that I could stay home and go to town on this quilt. 

Alas, after sewing for around two hours straight still no completely perfect quilt top. I think the brainstorming process took longer then I expected. I've had the pattern cut out and it's been rearranged about 10,000,836,927 times. I finally remembered a tip I've read in a few different blogs about quoting. They've said take pictures on your phone. There's just something about being able to look at your quilt from that perspective. It clears it up for you.

So are a couple pictures of the progress so far. 
As you can see I'm almost there. I'm off work early and off to the LQS with my neighbor to buy the batting and backing. 

I hope you have a wonderful, quilt inspiring weekend!

If you stumble upon this little blog of mine please feel free to leave me a comment! Would love to hear if there is anyone out there. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Follow me on Bloglovin

Follow me on bloglovin

I have used bloglovin for a while now. Even before I entered the blogging world for myself (all of two days ago). I absolutely love it! It is a great way to organize what blogs you read. If you are needing a recipe find the blogs you follow with recipes. A quilt pattern; boom -- you can create a file for that. I highly recommend switching to bloglovin with the impending collapse of the google reader formats.

If you would like click on the link about and follow me there.

What to look forward to for tomorrow: a progress report... hopefully!

Until then friends....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What I'm Working on Wednesday

It's day two of my little blog. That's a step in the right direction!

I wanted to start a series called "What I'm Working on Wednesday!" 
If anyone wants to link up with me feel free too... or shoot me an email at mrsquiltingb@gmail.com.

So here it is...
In this one photo there are three different projects.
1) The blue/white half square triangles are just finished being cut to size and are ready to be sewn into my newest quilt top! That is very exciting for me. I haven't been working on this one for too long and to be honest it was a slow going start. I bought a bunch of fabric because I was peer pressured on a whim at a new quilt shop (well new to me). I got it home started cutting and then realized I wasn't found of the neutral I had picked out. It just didn't jump out at me, or tug on my heart strings, and I wasn't "in love" with it. So I scrapped that (pardon the very intended pun) and just used the colors that I had. It turned out better than I imagined (so far). Can't wait to sandwich it up and get it into my machine (for my first experience at machine quilting... we'll see how it goes)

2) The scrappy squares that are red and navy blue -- sitting beside the quilt top squares -- have just been cut and are going to become kanzashi. If you don't know what that is I highly recommend you look it up. I will share more about that when I have finished a few. Maybe even some step by step pictures (if it turns out) when I'm done!

& last but not least 3) That would be the different sizes of "hexies" you can see scattered on my ratty old, loved cutting board. Those, my friends, are my first attempt at English Paper Piecing. So far, so good. But, as you can see I haven't gotten very far.

Please excuse my plain old ziploc bags. The plan is to make some travel sewing bags. I found a pattern for them today over at: www.mommysnaptime.blogspot.com. Can't wait to whip those up.

I am realizing more and more how much I am enjoying juggling multiple sewing tasks. It is keeping my head busy jumping from one thing to the next. With my last quilt (also known as my first quilt) I wanted to simply focus on it. Once again, I will show you what few pictures I have of that at a later time. I really poured my heart into that one though, and I didn't think there was going to be room in my brain for any other patterns or ideas. Yet, by the time I had finished that quilt I was ready to be done with it. It was too repetitious for me. The same colors, the same sewing patterns for hours on end. Don't get me wrong I really did enjoy every minute of it from picking out the colors to piecing to "sandwiching" to hand quilting (mmhmm you read that right). However, at this point, I am excited to have a few different tasks going at once with all different types of fabrics and even three different techniques. It is keeping me alert. Keeping me dreaming and creating and LEARNING; most importantly! I am striving to always be learning in this craft.

If you guys have any tips on Kanzashi or English Paper Piecing please feel free to share! I look forward to getting some conversation going in this space. It is as much for the readers as it is for me!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This could be the beginning of something interesting

Well, here it goes. I’m finally sitting down and taking the time to write a blog. I've had all of these wonderful epiphanies lately and I thought a nice little place to jot them down and remember them would be great!
Here’s a little bit about me to get us acquainted:
I was born in Georgia. Lived there a while then I moved to Israel with my family. Lived there a while and now I live happily in Cleveland, TN with my wonderful Husband (from now on simply ‘K’) and three wonderful kitty babies (Zooey ‘Z’, Kiki ‘K’, & Emiko ‘E’).
Here’s what you really need to know about my past in order to understand my present and my future. K is a quarter Japanese. His mom was born in Japan and it holds a HUGE place in both of our hearts. Nearly two years ago (one year and nine months — to be precise) we got married and went on the trip of a lifetime for our honeymoon. It was great! We went to Japan.
I have done a lot of traveling in my lifetime. Lived overseas, and visited at least eleven different countries before I was twenty-one. But, nothing changed my life, and the way I think, quite like Japan.  
The people, the food, the way of life. I love everything about it. 
SO — with this in mind you need to understand where we are at one year and nine months later: 
K and I have had quite a whirlwind marriage so far. We have had our ups and we have definitely had or downs (outside situations – not actually our marriage – we are super strong and value our relationship. I don’t know how I would function without that man — he really is my strength and my rock). Yet, here we are starting a new phase, a new chapter, a new path if you will. 
K has gone back to school to get his Masters in Education. I have been working for a local ministry answering phones and entering data. Our ultimate goal is to get to Japan within two years. K should be done with school by next July and our hearts and minds are set on moving there shortly after (Lord willing). 
With all of that said I have found something that I am passionate about:
I have always been a “crafter” at heart. Dabbling in so many different projects, trying my hand at things only to realize it gets pretty boring after a while. I LOVE scrap book paper and the idea of scrap booking — but, I’ve never really put that to any use. I have crocheted quite a bit, and I do still love that when I need something to keep my hands busy. I have tried to knit – but, something about having to needles going and one time somehow stumps my brain! So, with all of those ups and downs I finally decide to swallow my pride and try the one thing I have always wanted to try…
Now, you have to understand. I don’t say “always wanted to try” lightly. I can remember being a little girl and looking at quilts my grandmother had (they were “hand-me-downs” from her mother) and trying to figure out how someone made that pretty girl in the bonnet out of scraps of fabric and string. There was something awe-inspiring about ripping something to pieces and then putting it back together so intricately. I loved it. A few years later I found myself in a used bookstore. For some reason the only thing I wanted to buy in the whole store was a quilting book. Now understand this, at that time I had never even touched a sewing machine. I probably thought a bobbin was something that the fairy godmother would say on Cinderella. Yet, I felt so drawn to these quilts. I would turn the pages and look at all of the amazing scrappy quilts or blocks put together and think to myself that there was NO WAY I would ever have the patience to try that.
Well, fast forward a few years. I am BY NO MEANS an expert. I have been learning but, I don’t think that will ever stop. I have finally found a “craft” that I truly enjoy. The gentle hum of the sewing machine, the idea that I am taking these amazing scraps and creating something that no one else in the world can recreate exactly. 
Mary Fons made a statement at the 2013 QuiltCon (you can find the videos on http://www.craftsy.com) and I’m paraphrashing; but she said something like:
When life is really hard it just makes perfect sense to rip apart a perfectly good piece of fabric and sew it back together to make something beautiful. 

I love that! 
Now you know a little bit about me. I can’t wait to post photos of things  I am working on, ideas I am coming up with, and other crafty things that pop into my head. I also can't wait to get to know some of you. The blogging community is growing and I am glad to finally be apart of it!
This place is my haven for now. A safe place to spill my thoughts – a blank canvas to piece together some amazing life scraps and see what the masterpiece starts turning out like.