Thursday, August 20

The Scraps Are Flying

First off, my progress on my Doll Quilt Swap 7 mini..
I quilted it with stippling, washed & dried and then sewed on the binding to the front. I used two strips from a jelly roll, which is awesome because there was *no* cutting involved -- love that! I need to hand sew it to the back and make a label. Those are things I can do while watching a movie, which I also love.

I have been eyeing the color wheel quilts out there, primarily the one from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. It's gorgeous, right? However, I do not have the book (yet) and it was late at night and I wanted to give something a whirl, so I figured out my angles, cut out some templates, gathered 20 different fabrics, and came up with this dresden plate:
Obviously I need to sew the two halves together and then I'm not sure what the next step will be. I debated putting a white circle on top, but the corners are matching up so nicely I hate to cover them. I will definitely be mounting it on a white background, possibly adding a colorful patchwork border. Whatever happens, I love the idea of a quilted color wheel and I can't wait to experiment more.

Another inspiration has been all the beautiful string quilts out there. I've done a couple string mini quilts, but those were pretty basic. So the other night I dove head first into my scrap bin, cut a bunch of strips, and just started piecing without really caring about color or placement. I'd love to keep this going, slowly making enough blocks for a wonderfully scrappy quilt. It may end up being a very small scrappy quilt, but gosh darn it, I want a string quilt of my own!
And I love the string quilt pillows too... maybe if I can't endure a quilt, a few pillows will do the trick. I need to get more pillow forms because I want to fill my whole couch with patchwork pillows, I think it's a great shabby chic look. Not sure how the husband would feel about that.. but, who complains about extra pillows?!

And call me a trend-follower, but - Hello Hexagons!
In the spirit of Sew, Mama, Sew's hand-sewing theme, I started stitching together some hexagons from my scrap bins. The colors look crazy in the photos.. sorry, nighttime fluorescent lighting.. but I promise they are not that neon. Like the string blocks, I think I will just continue to stitch a bunch of these together until I have enough to make a nice scrappy quilt or two. If I can keep on a steady pace, I'd love to see these become Christmas presents. Maybe Christmas 2010...

I love a project that I can work on silently while watching TV or relaxing with Curt. These are right up that alley, although I have to be sure to keep the scraps under control or they can quickly swallow us.

A couple weeks ago Curt and I stopped in to Jo-Ann Fabrics to get a couple things and he spotted this fabric, which reminded him that he needed a keyboard cover. This particular Hawaiian print was on clearance, so we got a couple yards and some elastic, and that night - voila: custom fit cover. I have half the fabric left with no clue what to do with it. I could probably make a swim suit, but I would also probably never wear that print. It does however, serve it's purpose of keeping Curt's Motif clean while it sits out in the house and on stage.

While Curt was gone a few weeks ago, I went on an eBay shopping binge and got a few charm packs. Here are what I received, plus a few other packs from my stash (there are still others, these were at the top of the pile). I love charm packs for so many reasons- very little cutting, easy color schemes, and all my favorite designers.
My most recent wins include a couple fall prints, Arcadia, and Hushabye. Also in the mix there are some other Tula Pink collections, and a couple Anna Maria Horner mixes.

Have I ever mentioned my obsession with Tula Pink? I love, love, love all her fabrics. They are so imaginative, detailed, and oh- the colors!
I love them each for different reasons: Nest for it's bright & bold colors and swirling designs. Neptune for its nostalgic interpretation of the sea. The colors, the prints, it all brings me back to the lake. And Hushabye, the name itself says it all. The perfect blend of sweet little motifs colored in the most perfect pastel - yet still bold - colors. A quilt made of these prints would make the most shabby chic baby as happy as a clam. And said baby's shabby chic mother. I may horde these packs until said baby is mine, and thus, I am said shabby chic mommy. That day is miles away, but those prints are worth the wait!

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Saturday, August 15

One Year Later

A year ago today, well, yesterday, I suppose.. my dad had heart surgery. You can read all about his story and recovery at his blog, John Surgery Update. It's crazy to think that was already a year ago, the time has flown! I remember the day of his surgery like it was yesterday, it was the longest, most stressful day ever. We got to the hospital before 5 in the morning, he was prepped and ready to go by about 6 AM. When the anesthesiologist took him away, that was the last we saw him for 12+ hours. My mom, sister and I sat in the lounge for hours, getting an update every hour or two from the nurse. We watched the news (there was a big car chase that morning), I re-taught my sister how to knit, we watched movies on our laptops, ate cafeteria food, and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. They kept telling us, he's almost done, you'll be able to see him soon, but it was still hours before we were allowed to go back and see him. More than 12 hours after we sent him off, and a few hours after the surgery was complete, we were finally able to see him.

The doctor warned us he was swollen and bruised, still under the anesthetics and breathing with a tube. But no warning could have prepared us for what we saw. That was not our dad, it was an inflated version of him, just laying there on the bed, a pump making him breath. It was so hard to see, our dad, young, active, and full of life, laying there so far out of our world. We had to remind ourselves that even in this state, he was healthier than when he went in. The surgery had been a success and the doctor had high hopes for his fixed heart.

We went home that evening, visitor hours were dwindling and the nurses assured us there was nothing we could do there and it would be awhile before he woke up. We went home to go to bed. We got a call in the middle of the night saying he had started stirring, the drugs were wearing off.

My mom and I woke up early in the morning to go to the airport, I had to fly to Pennsylvania for a wedding. I hated leaving my dad in Michigan but had to get to the wedding. My mom got to the hospital as Dad was waking up. They were able to remove the breathing tube and he was functioning on his own. He had been asleep for about 24 hours and was totally disoriented. He asked my mom where I was, assuming it was still the evening before. My mom tried to tell him it was the next morning, he had slept through the night. He wanted to know what took him so long to wake up, my mom had to remind him he just had major surgery.

It was a slow recovery in the hospital, he had a lot of fluid drainage and it took a few days for all the swelling to reduce. I kept up to date as much as possible while in Pennsylvania and we headed back home with Curt's parents. It was so great to see my dad, awake and talking, still in pain but leaps above the sorry state I had left him in. Over the next few days he grew stronger, the fluid drainage decreased, and the doctor finally gave him the okay to go home. Unfortunately Curt and I headed home before he was out of the hospital, but we were able to leave in confidence that time that he was out of the woods and so anxious to be home.

One year later and my dad is better than ever. Well, maybe not ever, but certainly better than the past few years. He has gotten back into running, he even ran a few races. The doctors can't hear any murmur and the surgery was a smashing success. On a separate note, my dad was one of the first to have this surgery with the daVinci machine in the West Michigan area. It's amazing to see what technology can do. Just a few years ago, this surgery would have been full on open heart, crack open his ribs, leave him with a zipper down his front surgery. All he has to show for it now are a few inch-long scars around his chest. The recovery time is shorter, the pain is less, and the whole process is just amazing.

We were so blessed my dad had wonderful people helping him through this whole journey, from the doctor who originally diagnosed the problem, to the philanthropist who donated the technology, to the surgeons who worked so carefully, to the nurses who helped him recover, to all the people who stood by our family with prayers and support. Most importantly, I thank God for the miracles He works. Gone undetected, who knows what could have happened. But a year later, I have my daddy, healthy as ever, with a new lease on life.

Share your love. Nothing is guaranteed but God is in control. I love you Dad!

Friday, August 14

Happy Birthday Giveaway!

Rachel at p.s. i quilt has done it again! Another fabulous giveaway. This time it's a $50 gift certificate to The Quilt Shoppe. Plus the store is giving 25% off everything to celebrate their birthday!
How do you enter? Rachel makes it so easy. Visit her site, and leave a comment telling her who your favorite fabric designer is. And even better, enter a few more times by blogging about it, following her blog, following the Quilt Shoppe blog, or spend $25 at The Quilt Shoppe between now and Aug 22nd. The winner will be picked Aug 23rd.

Thanks Rachel, for another amazing giveaway. Her site is always an inspiration to me and all those giveaways are so much fun.

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Thursday, August 13

Fabric Giveaway!

(photo from i have to say...)
Randi from i have to say... is giving away end of bolt fabric! Check out her blog to enter. She has two great piles of fabric to choose from and will send as much as she can fit in a priority mail envelope!
(photo from i have to say...)
Would you look at all that yummy designer fabric! I see some of my favorites in there, wow would I love to win!
Thanks Randi, for the giveaway!

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Tuesday, August 11


I worked this morning and it was a beautiful day. I had plans to come home and lay out at the pool with my newly borrowed book. However, the clouds came rolling in and - tut, tut, it looks like rain. Plus the pools around us are locked up for some reason - probably unruly kids ruining it for everyone again. So I may just have to read my book inside, under my quilt, with a nice cup of tea.

I drink hot tea just about everyday; I've been a tea drinker since I was young. My favorite then and still today is Bigelow Constant Comment. Some days I suspect it's more about the nostalgic taste of the tea rather than the actual taste, but I love it all the same. I also love chai teas- my favorite being Stash brand. We've tried the black spice chai, green chai, and chai white. They all have great flavors, but my favorite of the three is the green chai. It has a great chai taste with the added benefits of drinking green tea. I prefer the spice chai over the white, as the chai white has a very weak flavor. I drink all my tea with milk and sugar; that's the way my mom made it for me when I was little and I can't stand the bitter taste of plain tea. What's your favorite tea?

Now that I've babbled on about tea, let me babble about my newest library book. First, the library- the biggest thing I miss about our old town is the library. Anderson was a moderately sized town with a massive library stocked full of all the books my heart could desire. Sewing books, quilting books, knitting books, fiction books, biographical books, plus a great assortment of DVDs and CDs. Now that we live in Nashville, the libraries are divided among neighborhoods, resulting in smaller selections and long wait lists. No longer can I pop in and grab the exact book I was looking for, I need to do my research, reserve it, find something for the meantime, and then go pick it up when it finally comes to my branch.

So while I had other plans yesterday, I came home with "Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult. Earlier this summer I read "Plain Truth" and read "My Sister's Keeper" on my Australian trip in January. I enjoyed both those books until the last chapter or so. I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't read them yet, but I feel like Jodi Picoult takes the easy way out of ending her books. Both books dramatically lead up to an important decision, only to find out no decision would be made. Picoult does her research, writes knowledgeably about the subjects, and crafts stories that keep me hooked (I read both books in a matter of days) but the endings have left me wanting more. I'm hoping my newest read will justify itself and prove Picoult to be an author I will enjoy reading in the future.

Now onto some crafting things:
BTRS Clutches & Card Clutches

My friend's sister asked me to make a couple clutches for her, so I happily obliged. She picked the fabrics out of my stash, both Heather Bailey Freshcut prints. I also threw in what I'm calling a "card clutch" to match each. When I'm using a clutch, I like to have a safe place to put my credit card, ID, and maybe the couple bucks I brought with me. While it wouldn't be hard to put a little pocket in these clutches, I thought a tiny little clutch would be a cute way to keep everything together.

I won a bunch of charm packs on eBay a couple weeks ago and started putting some fall table runners together.

I made both of these out of one charm pack, I have one more with fall prints. I'm debating on making more table runners or something else.

Last night I had a chance to think harder on what I want to do for my DQS7 and I came up with this:
DQS7 Working Idea
My partner likes modern, improv quilts and I wanted to try something a little more random than my normal quilts. I dug through my scrap pile, cut 3" strips and went to town sewing them together. Most are two strips, but a few are more patchy blocks. I trimmed them all down to 3" squares and used a dice thrower online to place them in a 6X6 grid. Somewhere along the line I lost one of the columns, but I like it best this way. I need to piece a back and then quilt the whole thing. There are some funky seams going on, but I think hope once it is quilted and washed everything will fall into place.

For now, I'll cuddle up under my quilt, read my book, and maybe rest my eyes until dinner. The rain has started falling and it's got me feeling sleepy..

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Monday, August 3

Feeling Green

Warning: This post contains unholy amounts of green. Can't say I didn't warn you...

After a very successful completion of my last Gwen Slouchy Beret, my cousin Heather commissioned me to make another for her, in green, blue, or black. I had the green Palette that I dyed, and thought it would be the perfect shade for this beret.
Lace Pattern Beret
I can't stress how much I love this beret. The lace pattern is easy to remember, it knits up so fast, and is the perfect hat to take us into the fall months (as much as I hate to consider the fact that summer is quickly fading...)
Slouchy Beret 2
This dyed yarn has more diversity than the yarn I used for my beret, but I love the effect and I think the dark splotches give it a lot of character.

And because I can never sent just one thing in a package, I had to make a few other simple additions. For the kids, I made "knucklebones" or "five stones." I found this tutorial and thought it would be the perfect little game for them. It's pretty much jacks with a set of rules to complete.
A little basic and old fashioned perhaps, but I tend to think these games are often the most entertaining and allow for plenty of imagination. Each "stone" is palm size and filled with rice. What kid doesn't like bean bag toys?! I used Anna Maria Horner Chocolate Lollipop scraps and made a little drawstring bag to keep them in.

Here's a picture of the beautiful family:
Don't you think they'd love to play knucklebones or their own made up variation?

Fabric Bookmark
Finally, Heather is a book-lover, so a little something practical and pretty: a fabric bookmark made with scraps of Anna Maria Horner glued & sewn onto thick paper. Simple, quick, stash-busting, and useful. What more can a girl ask for? Oh, how about a dishcloth. No picture, but a sunny yellow knit dishcloth is also in the package. I knit these when I get bored and have a stash of finished ones for myself or others when the need arises.

I also completed my topographie hat using the same green yarn. I love love love the end result and the dyed yarn worked perfect with all those dark specks! Perfectly slouchy and a great pop of color, I will definitely be wearing this a lot!
Topographie Hat

I'm still thinking up options for my DQS7 partner. I drew up a plan and think I picked the fabric out, I'm going to start stitching options together tomorrow and see how I like it. And I may just have to run to the fabric store and get some white fabric- I think I'm running low! White fabric is officially my new quilting necessity, as it matches everything and makes all fabrics *pop* against it's bright background. If I make good progress perhaps I'll post some snapshots tomorrow.
Until then, happy crafting!

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