Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Loosening the apron strings...

... this has been all my focus for weeks now, still not much quilting going on...

My daughter has earned herself enrollment into the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS).  It's a residential high school for Juniors and Seniors.
The application process to be selected as a student is VERY rigorous. There are several steps that include deadlines, proof of high gpa, taking the ACT, writing essays and a personal narrative, providing work samples, and obtaining teacher and counselor recommendations!! It's a long list!  The only thing I'm aware of helping her with is proof reading her essays and driving her to the school to turn the application in.  She truly earned enrollment herself!
Well, we just moved her into the dorms this past Saturday.  Thankfully, she had a few projects she wanted to do in the days preceding move in day. She had me sew up a floor pillow out of canvas material.  It was the first time back at my sewing machine in about a month!  I forgot to get a picture of the pillow 😏. But I did get several pictures of the pillow she embellished 😄.
It started out a plain white pillow..
 She went to Pinterest to get ideas on a design.  With a picture of a bicycle drawing displayed on her phone, she lightly pencil sketched it onto her pillow.... and jumped right into stitching as she learned embroidery stitches as she went...
 I love her "can do" attitude.  I want to be more like her!! She completed her project, from start to finish, in less than two hours!
 And look at those it itty-bitty flowers made with French knots and Daisy stitches!!

Of course, it's only been three days and I'm already missing my girl!!

... So... On top of my girl moving into a residential school, my son has also found a coding school he wants to attend, Eleven Fifty Academy.... It's three states away!!!
This causes so many mixed emotions for me.  He is our first born, the precious miracle that made me Mom!  From the moment I learned he was conceived I became a better person.
He's my biggest fan, always encouraging me to complete projects, to start selling my work, to take commissions, to get a PayPal account for receiving payments (I'm still working on this one, soon!)  My son tells me he's proud of me and my work!! I wonder how many mom's get to experience such praise from their young sons?
It's heartbreaking that he has to move so far away, but I celebrate that he has found inspiration to spread his wings. Above all emotions this mama has about letting go is that I'm extremely proud he's decided to take this huge step.
And guess what? He also had a project that involved using fabric... In an unexpected way!! The vinyl on the paneling in his car had pealed off.  He googled how to re-cover the unsightly paneling and confidently tackled the job!!

 It looks pretty good!!

Unfortunately, it was high noon, and I made him park in the shade. Which ended up being off the driveway and in the grass... Both of us now have tick bites up and down our legs 😫.  I guess that's the price to pay when deer are allowed to roam wild in the neighborhood.

I did complete one of my own projects!
Here's the knitted dragon scarf.  I'm quite pleased with it 🤗.  I hope the little guy receiving it thinks it's just as cool as I do.

And guess what?  With my apron strings loosened for her and practically completely untied for him, I'm back to quilting again!!

This scrappy red and white top was started at the Maple Street charity quilting group.  All the fabric came from donated scraps given to the group. So for me it's an experiment in mix and matching scraps. And I am discovering I'll need more practice because this looks a bit too busy for my taste!
(Don't look too closely, only half the blocks are sewn up, this is not the final layout.)

And I'm hoping to finish this cutie next 😄.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Not much quilting going on!

I seem to be a little groggy in the quilting department. Actually I don't feel like I'm getting much done at all right now. So I'm going to go through some of the snapshots on my phone. Hopefully, I'll find out that I'm not lagging as much as I feel like I am.
First thing I did after getting home from our summer holiday in CO was check out a new fabric shop! Sugar Bend Sewing had their Grand opening and I wasn't going to miss it!!  Look at their brand new street sign!! Beautiful isn't it 😉
Oh my gosh, I'm sure I'm going to love this store. Look at my loot!! I got 5 yards of fabric, a charm packet, a baby jelly roll, a varigated spool of quilting thread, a grab bag of scraps (as if I need more), and a reusable bag that folds up into a strawberry... All for $58!! What a deal!

However, I haven't been very motivated to step into my sewing room. Instead, I am crocheting scarfs for charity while spending time with my family. My Sweetling and I like to watch Audry Hepburn movies. I'm working on the third scarf now.

Really, it's the same ol' story going on here... I'm trying really hard to complete projects and not to start new ones until some of the old ones have been checked off...
... Then I'm persuaded to take a class with quilting friends 🤣.
I resisted all the way up to the day before. Wednesday is charity quilting at Maple Street.  Three of these ladies, Lawana, C.C., and Brenda, were all talking about taking the class and I learned several more PTQ friends were going too.  Combined with knowing there was only one spot left in class, I couldn't resist any more. I took the Cookie Cutter Star class with quiltmaker/author Barbara Cline.  You can find her at her blog Quiltingal or at her website Delightful Piecing by Barbara Cline. I was very happy to have went. Spending time with my friends and I learned several new things!!

So..... Remember those adorable twin girls I made little purses for?

Well, I found out they have an older brother and I haven't sent him a little surprise yet. As soon as I saw this Dragon Scarf by Morehouse Designs I knew it'd be perfect.  (Also the fact that my son showed me a picture the mom texted him was a huge help knowing it's perfect too!)
Bonus was my son cooked dinner so I could continue knitting 😄...
It's a really great pattern, well written. The three-needle bind off technique used for shaping the spikes is keeping it interesting for me. I don't want to put the work down because I want to see "just one more spike!"
I'm guessing I may know two or three more little ones that would love a dragon scarf too!

Ok, so let's see... A recap of last week...
Monday drove 2 1/2 hours to take my Heartbeat to the Birmingham airport then spent the rest of the day shopping at the mall for school clothes with my Sweetling.
Tuesday I took a day for myself and went Row by Row quilt shop hopping. I hit 7 stores in one day. Craziness!!
Wednesday is charity quilting at Maple Street.
Thursday was the Cookie Cutter class.
Friday was back to Birmingham to pick up my Heart. (I went a little early and checked out a little yarn shop In the Making. It's a bit too upscale for me to shop regularly, but I did get a scarf pattern and a gorgeous skein of Merino yarn.)
Saturday was total family time.
Sunday I got yarn at Michael's and started the dragon scarf!

Well!! When I lay it all out I see I've been BUSY!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Home is where your heart is...

I gladly follow my Heartbeat where ever he leads. 
The first 5 years of our life together started in Colorado. Then we enjoyed 14 wonderful years in Washington state. Now, it's been 3 fantastic years in Mississippi.  I've called each place "home."
But if I am completely honest "home" is where I find unconditional love. Where I feel bathed in love.  Where I am infused with so much that I can't help but radiate it from my being.
Home is wherever my Heartbeat is, but it's also in Colorado where my mom and dad live, surrounded by my sister and brothers...
Starting our holiday.  My Sweetling with a driver's permit is driving us to the airport... so I'm in the backseat.🤣
My Heartbeat spoiled me with a surprise trip to Colorado for a summer holiday this year! 
We enjoyed the sunrise at the Maroon Bells near Snowmass, CO on the 4th of July.
This is one of my favorite photos taken the previous evening.

And my favorite photo taken at sunrise... I love our long 4th of July morning shadows, lol.

A few more favorites.. Colorado is beautiful!!
Driving down the CO highways

Looking at the sunrise over the mountain.

Colorado Green Chili is yummy!!
Columbine is the CO state flower
I just love dandelions.

Due to traveling, quilting has been set aside for a bit. If you follow my blog you know a new (to me) lace technique has captured my interest, Romanian Point Lace (RPL).
  You've probably already seen these two ornament doilies I made as I began learning the Romanian Point Lace technique.
My interest started with a Pinterest pin...
Which lead me to a Romanian Point Lace Ravelry Group...
Which lead me to this fantastic  Thread Head blog tutorial!
No.1 attempt - I used #10 crotchet cotton for the cording and filler stitches. And am pretty proud of myself.
No.2 attempt - I used the same #10 crochet cotton for the cording and #20 Lizbeth tatting thread for the filler stitches.
And I'm loving this lacemaking technique even more. I must continue!!
So I purchased a book recommended in the RPL Ravelry group:

No.3 attempt - mostly made with #10 variegated crochet cotton, the loop filler stitches is a solid color #20 tatting thread (I forget what brand).
This was definitely more difficult. I tried a wider cord for the outside border. I felt that maybe I gathered it too much when I basted it to the foundation because the final product seemed a bit ruffly. 
I'd like to move on to project #2 in the book but feel maybe I should practice another of #1 using the recommended size #30 thread. Lol, it's finer thread than I care to crochet with. But RPL technique creates a chunky product and the finer thread would produce a beautifully delicate looking lace! I strongly believe I should give it a try 😄.

Oops, I jumped ahead of myself a little bit. Here's some progress pics.
I thought this project would be perfect to work on while traveling.
I actually only got a few bars stitched during the 2 hour flight to CO.  I was too confined in the middle seat to pull the long threads.
I did progress quite nicely while watching the sunrise at Maroon Bells, CO on Independence Day.
I finished the piece later in my trip while visiting with my Mom so I gifted it to her.  
I just gotta say I am so grateful for the mother she is,
For the talks we have.
She is beauty and grace. 
She is strength and tenderness.
Aren't they adorable! After 60+years together!! They are quite the inspiration!
I witness the ever constant unconditional love and pride she shows for each of her family,
 each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild!
I am grateful to know that unconditional love...
given to me, my Heartbeat and my children.
Although I haven't mention it, it's the same with my brothers and sisters.  To be showered in that much family love amazes me every single visit!!
I love them all right back, and hope they know it!!
Home is where the heart is...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Busy.... Not busy...

I haven't blogged in a couple months.  I've been busy..... and not busy...
Ya... how do I explain that?

I LOVE to start. It's usually a new (to me) piecing technique that I have to try out. 
..... Or a pattern that has caught my eye and I am sure I can use what's in my stash. 
..... Or a new time saving tool, except if it's taking me away from my current project is it really time saving?
..... Or a new needle and thread craft (the newest is Romanian Point Lace, I'll talk about that later!)
.... Or I get stuck on current project and can't make up my mind on the next step and purposely look for distraction... The solution usually comes when I stop overthinking the problem. .. this helps but only if I return to previous current project (this statement makes sense in my head.)

Oh, so many things that lure me to START something new!!
Like my son convincing me to commission a Star Wars quilt.  (Not a true commission, I was given free rein of design with only two requirements.) I resisted hard! Because I was currently working on two quilts that have intended recipients (but no deadline)
Meadow's Butterflies

I was determined to get these finished and in the mail.  I was using blogging as a means to bribe myself, "when I finished either of these quilts I'll blog about it!"
..... 😼 *Sigh* ... Neither is completed yet... 🤦
 Meadow's Butterflies is very close to done. It's all quilted and bound. I still have to bury threads and add some pictures to the back. It's the pictures that have halted progress. I have to learn how to print them out which means getting on my daughter's computer... (A whole story on its own, I won't go into details..) maybe now that I've told you about it gives me incentive to make it happen!
On the Zebra quilt, I need to applique the legs on then I can move to quilting.... I don't know what's stopping me here. The legs are ready and I plan a zebra stripes design for quilting... Again, here's hoping that by mentioning it here will be incentive to continue.

And so it happened. My distraction. I went looking for Star Wars fabric... Not intentionally! I was at Walmart for garden supplies and some how ended up in the sewing section 😁!
I texted pictures of the few fabrics Walmart has to my son. When he saw this one he said he had to have it to make something. 
It was $2.50/yd clearance so I got him some yardage even though he didn't have a project in mind.
Later he found a simple skirt on Pinterest made out of two squares with a circle cut out of the center for the waist.
Yes. Simple until we realized the print is directional. And instead of cutting one square, we had to make a pattern to cut four corners. And we couldn't resist adding pink tulle.
I'm very proud of my son. As much as I quilt and sew, I hadn't realized this was his FIRST sewing project.  We've worked together making bowties before but I was the one at the sewing machine.  This time, with only a bit direction from me, he cut every piece and sewed every stitch. (And I'm proud of me, because I allowed him to use the new sewing machine I won from Pigeon Forge this year 😌!) 
And aren't these baby girls adorable?!!

These photos make me smile.
Every time I look at them I feel a joyful giggle starting to bubble inside.

That was in May. Now in July late June (!! I got ahead of myself there!!) my son had the opportunity to go visit his friends in Indiana. Since there was left over fabric I made little girl purses to match the skirts. (Here's the Pinterest pin: http://pin.it/YfmdA1m that takes you to Just Another Hangup blog.  Where I got the link to Ruby's Party Bag!)
I couldn't send empty purses. These two comfort dolls have been waiting for a while for finishing touches. They called out to me claiming that they are ready for little people lovin' on them.

I've tried to find an original source for this knitted doll. It's used for many charities. I don't know that any one can claim the pattern as their own. You can search "knitted pocket doll" in Pinterest to find several different versions with instructions for free. 

A short while ago I told my Heart, "I want to learn something NEW with needle and thread!"
He calmly and sympathetically tells me, "I'm sorry hon, your options are pretty thin in that area!" Hahah, isn't that sweet of him!!
Lucky for me... There's Pinterest!! (Yes, by now you know, I spend a lot of time there 😜, but it's limitless and makes ME feel limitless too!) There are so many different types of lace besides crocheted or knitted. And not many books out. Many of the old lace is taught from generation to generation and sadly not much has been put into print.
But thankfully there are bloggers willing to write up what they know and give tutorials freely. I just need to put a little time and research in to find the information. 
This time my searching led me to Thread Head's blog Romanian Point Lace ornament tutorial.
Here's my results.
#1 is on the right. Both the cord and filling stitches are made with crochet cotton, (feels like a #10 but it's an older brand and size is not marked on the label, only "mercerized crochet cotton, color fast - will boil." Lol, what?!)
#2 is on the left. Cord is made with the same #10 crochet cotton & #6 hook and the filling is stitched with size 20 Lizbeth tatting thread.
I hope to start on a bigger piece soon. Thread Head had a RPLAL that looks like it might be my next step.

Well, I had plenty to blog about. I haven't even mentioned that I did start the Star Wars quilt. And quilted it. All it needs now is a binding, and I'm still debating how I'm going to do it just yet. My son says his friend loves it. I'm so pleased with it I asked her if I could enter it in the Old Man River quilt show in Aug. She was ok with that!!

Well that is most of my busy parts. I guess the not so busy parts would be time spent on Pinterest. I still include that time as part of my daily quilting/crafting hours. And even though I haven't finished what I intended to finish, I got plenty done! And now that I've updated this blog I am feeling a sense of accomplishment. 🤗
Bye for now, I'll see you soon!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Good enough for me?

Lol. I don't understand how someone I just met labels me a perfectionist.
I am diligent, particular,  purposeful, assiduous, attention to detail,,,. I have my own method,,, whatever!
But as a person, I am much too imperfect to be a perfectionist! And certainly my stitches aren't always as precise as they could be.  However, I make them good enough for me.... Kind of...

This about stops me in my tracks. 
(Not the blue line that will disappear with a little water. It's those glaring white stitches on the black fabric!!)
An applique stitch is supposed to be invisible. By using the same color thread, a stitcher can get away with slightly off stitches. Also, a better quality thread will "sink" into the fabric and practically disappear.
I'm stitching on a black and white 7/8" stripe. I was trying to get away with using one thread to stitch both the black and the white...
That area on the ear is making me nuts!! That's how it sticks out to me in the picture above... MAGNIFIED!!

This is how most eyes will see it. A tiny bit noticeable but the eye doesn't rest on that particular spot! (It wouldn't have if I hadn't pointed it out to you!)

I am this close (**thumb and pointer finger held a fraction of an inch apart**) to taking the stitches out and redoing... 
I'm also this close to having all the applique done and moving onto the next part of this quilt. (And I'm really ready to start another project..)
So.... I think I'll just touch a fine tip Sharpie to those 4 or 5 stitches and that is going to have to be good enough for me!!

The inspiration for this quilt came from Keepsake Quilting the Zoe Zebra quilt kit.
I've waited for the kit to be restocked but haven't seen it in and it's very likely never gonna be.
So, I am making my own pattern of it...
Lol, stems and leaves were easy-peasy.  Getting the zebra the right size took two days before I went ahead and cut it out of fabric... I'm still not 100% pleased, but I gotta move on! (No perfectionist tendencies there, right!?! 😄)
I've been struggling with the flowers for this quilt too.  It's definitely a size thing going on.
Looking at the flower with the yellow center, I think I've finally got them pretty good now. I have to undo the other two, cut them down and resew.

Keepsake Zoe Zebra
My version of the Keepsake Zoe Zebra quilt.

I suppose there's a certain level of perfection, even if it's not exactly perfect...
This little quilt is turning out so cute... 😄
 that's definitely good enough for me!!