Here in Portland the weather is usually very mild. This week we’ve been in the high 90’s and it makes things difficult for me and makes me slow down quite a bit. I know it’s not that hot compared to the rest of the country… but it’s enough to make me swell up.
I’ve been watching my sodium intake (and other dietary measures), but my ankles/feet/fingers are still huge and throbbing ~ looking like they’re ready to burst. Every year this symptom gets worse in the heat… I kinda hate it. My mood is not so great with the heat either… so my patience is low and it’s hard to focus on my sewing (or on anything for that matter). I did get some done… and I’m on my last row to complete the first HALF of the dragon quilt.
Another thing that’s been keeping me from my usual sewing times is this:
Gregg and I just bought ourselves new bikes!!! Instead of a gym membership, we chose bikes ~ and I’m so happy with that choice! We’ve been going out around midnight for cooler riding times, and it’s been fantastic. I’m pretty out of shape, so my goal is to start at 4 miles a day and work up an extra mile every week until I can easily do 100 miles a week. So far ~ so good ~ biking makes me happy, it doesn’t matter how big my ankles are because I don’t have to walk on them!
Thanks to a friend in the PMQG, I have a photo of me next to my quilt at Sisters! I’m so happy.
When the thunderstorm came and all the quilts came down, I was totally bummed! I didn’t really get any photos of the show… or my quilt. My plan was to walk around and see the show after volunteer time… but the rain disrupted my plans.
Luckily Jolene snapped this before the rain, and I now have a memento of this show.
Here in Portland, the days are often gray and that does affect my mood… and those around me. I love the green here and all the flowers and plants that grow like weeds, but the gray rainy days are tough to get through in the springtime. I keep myself as busy as possible on these days ~ and luckily work is flowing and keeping us very busy right now. I haven’t even had time to sew all week!
Another thing that fully affects my mood is the news. Currently there are all sorts of angry, hateful people out there with terribly wrong information… and they are acting violently upon it. I wasn’t going to “rant” on this blog… so I won’t ~ but suffice to say: People, please… Please research your information well beyond Conservative Fox News before acting in violence towards other HUMAN BEINGS!!
Okay… Deep Breath… ahhhhhhhh. Which reminds me, I should find a new Yin Yoga class close by my home. I want to walk to class instead of driving. Driving can easily undo all the good yoga brings me in about 2 minutes of following an Oregon Driver. Sorry… but really, it’s true. I always seem to end up behind someone who thinks going 15-20 mph is cool or safe or something. Or being “nice” to give the right of way to some random driver and stopping all traffic behind them, when it’s their right of way and they should just go! Or… my favorite… I end up behind someone texting on the phone. This is the worst ~ they miss green lights all together, they swerve all over the road, they back-end others often… they are just not paying attention ~ and when you honk at them (which I do long and loud) they look at you as if you’re in the wrong. *add expletive here*
Arrgghh… okay… back to the breath, back to the breath! That’s better. *Note to self: yoga at home is better than none at all I promise not to “go off” too much here
Things around here have been a bit chaotic lately due to a very busy work schedule at Phantom Chicken, so I haven’t had much time to even think about posting much sewing stuff.
Last week I got these flowers for Mother’s Day… the lilies smell so amazing ~ they make the whole house smell sweet. I have to say, it was very nice to get a little somethin’ just for me.
With being busy at work, I haven’t had much time to devote to sewing ~ but when I do, I’m working on the Dragon Quilt. I’m getting very close to having all the strips done! My index finger has the callous to prove it too:
Today marks 8 years that Gregg and I have been married and 15 years of just being together! He is my strength, my motivation, my foundation, and from this awesome place of trust and love I am finally growing into myself.
I was smitten quickly when we met, and it was close to his birthday, so… being the crafter I am, I made him a doll for his birthday gift. Of course it sort of ended up being a self portrait ~ it is complete with orange hair, leopard print vest, boots… and even a tattoo. I guess my intentions were pretty clear, and he knew it. Now, 15 years later… this doll is here, I am here… and we are happy girls ~ thanks for treating us right, G!
What a wonderful week this is starting out to be! I was just “awarded” two Leibster Awards… one from Linda at Surrounded by Scraps, and the other from Michelle at Design Camp. It works like this:
“The origins of the Liebster Blog Award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it means favourite or dearest bloggers to showcase with fewer than 200 followers.”
And here are the rules: 1. Thank my Liebster Blog Award presenters. 2. Link back to my presenters’ blogs. 3. Copy & paste the blog award on my blog. 4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to five blogs with 200 or fewer followers that I feel deserve to be noticed and post links to their blogs on my blog. 5. Let the recipients know they have been given the Liebster Blog Award by posting a comment on their blog.
So first of all, I would have totally picked both of these PMQG members to award this to, had they not gotten to me first! I watch Linda’s work weekly… she keeps me inspired to keep moving forward even if it seems overwhelming sometimes. She can always find solutions to problems that end up looking fantastic. I also love Michelle’s approach to quilting, she is very pro-active and helpful to everyone who asks, which makes her an awesome instructor… plus she has a very keen eye for design which makes her work vibrant and unique.
My other picks are all PMQG members that I know personally… but love their blogs too:
Jill at Made on Main Street – so Jill is just amazing. Every design she creates is one that has me drooling and wondering: how did she do that? Luckily she has a template company called Tabslot and is working on a new line of templates and quilt designs with Rachel so I might be able to try some of those new techniques soon. It’s super exciting to watch culminate.
Rachel at 2nd Ave Studio – Rachel is a quilting goddess ~ she seems to have an extensive knowledge base and loves to share. She is working with Jill on new templates for Tabslot, and I love watching the progress of that venture on her blog. She is an excellent teacher… she was the one who taught me how to make hexies!! Plus most of the quilts she makes, she donates to charity… which is another reason she is an amazing person to me.
Megs at Monkey Beans – I love reading Meg’s blog, she is an articulate quilter and is currently making detailed paper-pieced blocks with points I only wish I could master. She also has a great eye for color and it makes me just want to crawl into her quilts and close the outside world away!
Ale at The Golden Willow – Ale is a task-handler! She is always working on new projects and many of them have hand stitched quilting ~ which I adore. Her taste in fabric is stunning so her quilts and pillows pop with color… and she is just a sweet person!
Kristin at KMAC quilts – right now this blog is not really about sewing… she does makes beautiful solid-color quilts… but right now it’s about her cat Fritz who is hilarious when dressed up by his people’s… it makes me really happy every time she posts!
Go check these bloggers out ~ you’ll be happy you did!
My daughter LOVES Cons… as in Kumori-Con, Sakura-Con, Comic-Con etc. This weekend is Sakura-Con up in Seattle and she had plans to make some costumes. She loves and dresses like Pikachu from Pokémon… and has for a long time. So she wanted to make a third Pikachu outfit so she could stay in character all three days of the Con.
I know a lot of quilters out there are stay-at-home-moms… and I just don’t know how you do it. I am in continual awe when I hear stories of creating things with young children. When my daughter was younger, she would not take any advice or help from me AT ALL. Any creative project led directly to tantrums for her and quite a bit of frustration for me. I would end up doing things for her, she would destroy it, and then fail in school when she didn’t have a project done. I have a closet full of packaged projects we couldn’t even start.
So imagine my amazement when she asked for help on this Pikachu project and actually took direction and helped!! This is what we worked on together for the last 2 days:
She bought a hoody from American Apparel and we changed it: cut off the sleeves and tapered the upper portion of the body to be more form fitting, added ears, tail, cheeks, back stripes, and ruffles on the pockets. She was the one to hand stitch the stripes on back, the cheeks, the trim on the pockets, and even the ears! … and with NO complaining!!
I think she did an awesome job for her first sewing project! It’s about time too ~ she’ll be 21 in July, so I had to wait a loooong time for this. The cherry on top was when I was driving her to the Greyhound Station, she said to me: “Thanks so much for helping me ~ I’m glad I grew up enough to let you help me.” So I cried on the way home feeling like a good mommy.
I’ve been having so much fun with the ladies from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild lately. For national quilting day we all met up at a local fabric store called Bolt and did a little shopping, then went on down to Modern Domestic for an afternoon of sewing together ~ so much fun!
Then a couple days ago I got to join a few friends on a shopping expedition to Fabric Depot for their 30% off sale to gather some of the new Micheal Miller cotton couture solids… mmmmm so nice! If you haven’t touched this fabric, you should. It’s super soft, but with a dense weave and it drapes beautifully ~ I think I’ll be needing to make some skirts for myself soon.
Here is part of my new stash:
The best part of all this is spending time with other creative types who like to sew. Too many to list, but they all have blogs listed on the PMQG site if you want to check out a bunch of amazing quilters! Special thanks to Rachel for continuing to give me pointers to make my sewing better and better. IE: John James needles are so much better than Dritz. My fingers thank you too!
On Thursday night I met up with a whole bunch of awesome ladies for the last meeting of the year for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. It was pretty fantastic ~ I’ve really been enjoying my time with so many awesomely creative people this year!
We all swapped fabric 2 months ago to make a holiday gift with it for our swap partner. I received fabric from Pétra, and I loved her fabric choices and totally admire her creative aesthetic… so that made me a little nervous. I ended up making some pillow covers for her ~ and I was thrilled (and a little relieved) when she said she liked them:
I brought some bright fun fabrics and this is what Kim made me ~ and it’s perfect! I was thinking of making myself a needle holder (and kept putting it off) and the pin cushion container is super sweet! Isn’t this great:
Last week was Thanksgiving, and boy oh boy did we do it up: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce… the whole nine yards. It was a great weekend! Even though I haven’t had time to work on the dragon quilt, I had an opportunity to work on something for my neighbor:
She found this AMAZING hand-stitched grandmother’s garden quilt top in a chest in her house when she moved in 35 years ago. The chest was full of Korean War memorabilia, so we’re guessing this was probably made in the 50’s using 40’s fabrics??? I picked a few of my favorite prints and posted pics below ~ does anyone have an idea of when these fabrics are from? Which is your favorite?
Anyway… I brought it to Nancy Stovall at Just Quilting to quilt it for her… as you can see it turned out gorgeous!! It is a 25 year anniversary gift to her husband, and she knows they will be using it a lot… so we quilted it with a tighter pattern so it can be lightly washed. It is just so beautiful ~ and I am giving thanks that I got to see something so old in such great condition! I added a binding and gave it back to my neighbor ~ as soon as her hubby sees it, we’ll be photographing it on her bed and I’ll post pics.
I was finally feeling good enough to sew, so I was able to work on my Jay McCarroll block! I wanted to come up with something fresh and new… for me this was it. I’ve been wanting to try a technique for sewing triangles for a while now, and it worked great. Basically you just sew two square pieces of fabric together around all 4 edges, then cut the diagonals and voila!
Looking forward to the PMQG tomorrow night to see friends and have a little social time. I think I’m up for it ~ the cooler weather is helping to make me feel better and I’m so happy about that.
YAY! My stargazers bloomed!!! It’s the first time it’s had more than one flower and I’m stoked!
So… did you hear? There is a new Modern Quilt Guild Challenge... and I really want to create special for it. To do that, I need a plan… which starts with ideas. Hence contemplation. The theme is “find your own voice” I think it’s a hard theme only because judging will become personal. Based on that, I really want it to shine with ME… but I’m not all too shiny. This is what makes it a challenge!
I was able to sew with some friends the other day and worked on this block idea:
The first time through, I royally messed up my pattern. Luckily, since there were other quilters around, I got some fantastic tips. The most important one was to make design lines on my pattern so I can split it into sections and more easily piece it together. You’d think I would have known that already… but I’ve always been the “let’s just do it and see what happens” non-planning type. This is how that turned out:
I also learned how to make a really nice pillowcase, and sew a “set-in” circle… as well as how to brown some butter. It’s all a learning curve… and I love it! I’m still not sure what my entry for the MQG challenge will be, but it will be new to me ~ so I’ll learn even more.
Oh… and I finished my chicken pillow ~ cute huh? If you didn’t know… I’m a BIG chicken fan, and I adore my new pillow. I even got to use some of my special yellow chickens that I got from a good friend, so that makes it extra special 🙂
It’s been a while since I posted last, and I really want to post something about sewing because that is what is pulling me. However, the last few weeks have been full of everything BUT sewing.
My daughter took a trip to Seattle and came back on the Greyhound and was severely afflicted with motion-sickness. This is a problem of mine (so I NEVER ride on/in anything) so I felt completely beside myself to see my baby green, shaking, and vomiting at the bus terminal. It took about 5 days for that to pass. When I say severe… I really mean it.
Then my hubby knocked his elbow while passing me in the kitchen. He just banged it a little on the wall and that was it. About an hour later he came to me and told me to prepare myself because he had something to show me that was stressing him out. When he showed me his elbow ~ I totally freaked! His elbow was swollen as big as a softball… no kidding ~ it looked like his elbow grew a heel! Found out it’s bursitis, and luckily nothing painful ~ just super freaky looking! I would show a picture… but it’s pretty gross.
On top of it all, I’m fighting a nasty, congestive head cold. I have a low immune system too, so when I get sick ~ it sets my whole body amiss. I got the cold from hubby who was over it in two days… I’m going on a week, and the congestion is still in my head. Usually it travels down until it settles in my throat and lungs and that can take up to a month to clear. My fingers are crossed that I’m a little healthier than the last time I got sick, and that won’t happen… but it’s good to be prepared.
The frustrating thing is that it makes me SOOOO tired. It’s hard to move, to talk, to think when I’m so wiped out. So I’m barely able to work, and I have no energy for sewing, cooking, walking etc. Luckily I have a good animation project I’m working on in Flash and I’m making some progress on that. Who knew animation can take WAY more time than a quilt!
I will post again as soon as I have a photo to share… in the meantime: Happy Summer!
I haven’t been sewing much these days… had a bunch of work come in, so I’m strapped to the computer doing design work. Since I’m here, I started working on a new quilt design for 3/4″ hexagons:
So… can you tell what it is? The thing with hexagons is that you are limited to certain shapes and lines… so I’m not sure if this will look right or not.
Luckily I’m just getting started. If I take a little time and use a good color palate, I should be able to come up with something good ~ or so I hope! I’m jonesin’ me some hexagon sewing, and I want to get started soon.
So I got a little crafty the other day and made this cute little octopus appliqué for a shirt and just posted it on etsy.
Again, my daughter played Miss Model for me:
I haven’t been to my etsy site for a while! A lot of listings have expired, so I’m going to make an effort to refill my shop with some fun stuff. While I was there, I also made my first treasury: For the LOVE of CHICKEN… because I really do like chickens.
Check it out and leave a heart if you like something 🙂
This Thursday is the monthly PMQG meeting and we’ve all been asked to make a 6″ block for a banner they are going to make. I decided to use some pretty scraps I had, and this is what I came up with:
It should be a great meeting, as always. For me, it’s some good social time ~ I meet at least one cool new person every time I go. Plus EVERYONE there is creative, and the energy that is created in a room full of crafty-types is palpable. I think we all leave full of ideas and motivation ~ yep, looking forward to it.
I’ve started following a few blogs too ~ this whole bloggy thing is fairly new to me and I’m totally amazed at how many people are quilting and writing about it. What a plethora of information! It’s actually a little overwhelming, it seems there is a whole set of blog etiquette I need to learn, and maybe another language to learn as well! There also seems to be some antagonists out there too ~ I guess they are everywhere. Oh well! … I’m happy to have a meeting where we can physically meet and have some fun social time.
So… as some of you know, I’m practicing my free motion quilting so I can successfully quilt my hand-pieced squid. The squid is just sitting there staring at me and I can hear it yelling “hurry up and quilt me already!” I’m a little afraid because I really, really want to do it justice… and I’m just a little too lazy to hand-quilt it.
That said, I did a little practicing over the weekend, I’m getting much better at the circles! I’m still not sure how I will do the ‘water’ part of the quilt and so I think I’ll need at least one more project under my belt before I hunker down and get to work!
It ended up looking kind of cool, so I decided to make it into a wall hanging. With the last few things I’ve stitched together, I have lamented not having labels or a way to “tag” my finished pieces. So I thought I’d have some made and found out they are just satin ribbon with a print… and since we have our own printing studio, I kicked my hubby in the butt and got him to print some simple label tags for me.
We printed them on some satin ribbon I had laying around, and they turned out great! With new tags, I was so excited… I went and finished this little octopus piece (with a label) and I’m just about to sew the sleeves on the back so I can hang it up!
So we had our little snack mat swap at the PMQG meeting last week and beforehand, I started a bunch of mats, but only finished one good one before the swap. I just finished another yesterday:
and here’s the back – see… I did a little free motion quilting on my machine too… I just taped over the feed dogs (thanks for the tip Jill!) and I was able to move it around. Now I should invest in a good darning/quilting presser foot:
This was the first one that I was happy with my binding and mitered corners:
This is all such great practice! I’ve recently just started a baby/youth quilt for the monochromatic challenge. I was planning on putting it on consignment at a maternity shop, but as I’m working on it, I’m starting to get attached… I really like it! It’s all yellow ~ nice and bright and cheery… and I’ll finish the top today and then I can get started on the quilting… and then use my newly-found techniques to make a kick-a** binding!
So tomorrow night at the PMQG meeting, we are having a mug rug swap! This has been a very fun project for me because I need a lot of practice on quilting and it seems I have a lot to learn about binding too! My first two attempts… not so good, my third and fourth MUCH better! So I will have a little something to swap and that makes me feel good. All the others that I make will make great little gifties, especially if I pair them up with a pound of coffee and a cool mug… ooOOooo I think I have the holidays all figured out already!!
So I’ve been very busy working on a blog update for our business and soon I’ll be updating the whole site. This kind of work is really hard to get through, so much code my mind spins… but it is turning out very well. I’m also doing bookkeeping and getting ready for tax time ~ yuck ~ and working on a pretty neat T-shirt design for a local dart league. With all that time spent working, the sewing is slowing… and that is making me a little sad. So I’m totally looking forward to the meeting tomorrow night for a good kick in the butt and some motivation!
Since my birthday is in January, I celebrate with parties since there is not much happening between New Years and Valentines Day. I usually ask that people just bring a little food, and no gifts… because I just don’t really need anything and I don’t like making a spectacle of myself.
I was happily surprised with a great party and lots of friends and even some gifts… and they were things I LOVED! One of my friends was even savvy enough to give fabric from Cool Cottons on Hawthorne… I’m so excited to have some new patterns and colors to play with… take a look:
What is so great about this is that I’m planning on making some “mug rugs” that I can easily use this fabric in! I’ve been studying the binding process online and I found a good tutorial at VeryKerryBerry on single binding that should work great! I need all the practice I can get on free-motion-quilting before starting to quilt my squid.
Last week I was able to work a something a little different as far as sewing goes… a bag for a friends birthday! The squid quilt has me obsessing and I’m making decent progress on that too… but I was able to break away and work on this bag:
My friend LOVES penguins and I really wanted to make her something special. I usually make pillows, but since so many people have been creating cool bags and totes, I thought I’d give it a try.
I had started working on the tote when she asked for a little pouch for her camera, so I made one to match the bag! The little pouch has a zipper and is lined in velvet… and of course, I had to put a penguin on that too 🙂
I wasn’t too thrilled with how the zipper came out on the camera pouch… still a learning process between me and the zipper. Luckily for the tote, it turned out much better!
Both bags are quilted… even the handles, and they are both lined ~ the tote even has pockets on the inside.
The best part of this is that my friend was so happy to get this last night for her birthday, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside ~ just like a penguin!
This time of year is always a little strange for me. Since I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, my family didn’t celebrate Christmas… or any other holiday for that matter. Memories of holidays make me think of school, and how I had to sit outside the classroom when others had fun inside. I guess I was always an “outsider”. At least at the Christmas times, the Jewish boy had to sit in the hallway with me, so I had some company. Growing up this way was hard, and when I left home, I immediately started celebrating all holidays including my birthday.
That said, I was also very poor and was living on the streets or squatting in abandoned buildings after leaving home, so I never had the money to really celebrate anything. The money I did manage to get went directly to getting drunk so I could sleep at night. So it wasn’t until after my daughter was born and we were living in a real apartment before I got my first Christmas tree. It was a funny one too ~ all fake, so we spray painted it neon green and hung it upside-down and then hung baby-doll heads as ornaments. Not really a typical holiday set-up, but we enjoyed it.
I guess I could never truly get into the “holiday spirit” because I’ve always seen it as a consumeristic holiday… and I’ve never had much in the way of money. It seems to be all about the presents, and the stress of it all has driven a few of my friends into serious depression. I also get a little jealous that others have their families to celebrate with and my family won’t even speak to me. So this time of year is always a little hard and in past years I’ve been a bit of a scrooge and have hated much about it.
When I met my Jewish hubby 14 years ago, we decided to let my daughter pick which holiday she wanted to celebrate this time of year… and she picked Hanukkah. So we have a very sweet family tradition of lighting candles and saying prayers for those 8 nights… and that’s about it. I also have my own celebration for Winter Solstice… because it makes sense to me to celebrate the sun being out longer on such short days!! (especially here in Oregon where it’s so grey all the time anyway)
This year I’m trying something a little different, and instead of finding faults and hating this holiday… I’m trying to find all the goodness that people create because of it. I don’t have to hate my family for being who they are… I can love them for who I’ve become.
**Note the photo… JW’s used to celebrate Christmas, although they’ve gone through great lengths to cover up this fact from their modern-day followers. It’s one reason I love technology ~ you just can’t keep those kind of secrets from the masses anymore.
Yay!! Gregg is home from the hospital and all went well!! The surgeon said it was one of the messiest hips he has ever worked on ~ the surgery took about 2.5 hours. He was in the hospital for only 2 nights ~ the nurses were calling him the rock star of the floor. He is exceeding all expectations on healing and movement ~ today he got up unassisted and tackled the stairs and did great… all by himself… and it hasn’t even been a week since the procedure!
It’s pretty amazing how different he looks ~ no more limp, and his knee and foot face the right direction. They were locked in a 40 degree angle before the surgery, and he was unable to run, ride bike, or even sit for too long before. I’m so excited for long walks, and bike rides and trips to the coast!!
I’ve had a cold through this whole process, and I’m still coughing. My bodies immune system is low and I can feel it, I’m so tired. Of course, I’ve also been getting up with Gregg to help him in the middle of the night, as well as getting up with RitaDog as she has to pee in the middle of the night at least once and she gets up early for her breakfast and walk. Luckily, I’m happy to help and thrilled that he actually went through with the surgery… and it’s only a matter of time before things are back to normal… actually better than normal with that new hip 🙂
I’m a little bummed to have missed the PMQG meeting last week ~ just bad timing with the surgery and all. That’s okay though… I’m in the middle of a big project and I want to finish before I start something new ~ and every time I go to a meeting, I am so inspired and want to try so many new things. I’ve actually dedicated a tablet to write my ideas in… and it’s looking like I have sewing projects for the next year already!!
For the last few weeks I’ve been sick. Some kind of head cold that started in my ears with a headache/earache, and now it’s traveled down and I have a sore throat and too much congestion. I’ve become a home-body because I’m afraid of getting others sick. It’s wiping out my energy as well, and so there has not been much in the way of sewing happening… so not much writing either!
It doesn’t help that the days are now much shorter (especially with daylight savings time) and darker… I always have a harder time when days are grey. I think that is why I love working with very colorful fabrics 😉 I did, however, finish 25 rows of hexies in my squid quilt… so I’m halfway done with that part of the project…. AND I figured out how I’m going to do the border! I’m going to add a row of cream-colored hexies around the whole thing, then the rest of the border will be charcoal grey. I’m thinking the cream could even be textured… like Minky Cuddle Plush Ivory fabric… and the grey a Kona Charcoal.
If you have feedback on these fabrics and how they may work together with this quilt, I would LOVE love LOVE to hear it! I’m spending so much time piecing the main top part together, so I don’t want to detract from it by picking bad border colors/fabrics!! Here is my attempt to see the colors of the border, it’s not the best way to see and decide, but it does help to have a visual:
I will be sewing these hexies together for at least another month. My husband is going in for surgery this Monday, so I figure I’ll have plenty of time to work on this while he is recuperating!
Oh look… the sun is peeking out of the clouds… I’m a happy girl!
Since I wasn’t thrilled with how my first pin cushion came out, I decided to make another one using the same idea with the hexagons, only constructing it better. First I had to sew the hexies together, I was able to use the pretty hexies I got in a previous PMQG swap. With the paper in them, I find I can bend them a little to get tighter stitching: