Friday, May 22, 2015

practice pays off

Brandon and Josiah have been working at doing backflips 
for quite some time.

they both nailed perfect backflips!

Great job, Guys!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

fabric fun

I've been having so much fun playing with fabric!

I love being able to bless others with my sewing,
but when I sew for other people,
be it gifts or commissioned work,
I feel a pressure that I don't have when I'm sewing for just our family.

when Saturday found me with a few hours to myself
I made the most of it.
(Tyler took the kids to Family Day at his work, and let me stay home all by my lonesome.
Thanks, Love!)

I have plenty of projects (including more gifts) that could have occupied my time,
but I decided 
since these were 'found hours'
I would just play.

I pulled out the fabric stack that I had carefully curated
and was really missing color,
(There are so many lovely fabrics in the pile!)
and got busy.

(I had cut most of the fabric Friday night while Brandon and Tyler were at a movie with friends)

even though I adore a well starched block, 
I'd decided not to starch this time,
because I wanted to enjoy the feel of the different substrates.
Enjoy it, I have!
(My goodness, I love Art Gallery fabrics! And Lecien.)

I'm telling you, 
every second has been pure pleasure
and I have been sneaking  15 minutes here and 5 there to work on stars.

The 16 patch blocks are practically making themselves.

I lay out the pieces to one star block at a time,
then remove, 
in an orderly fashion, the 2nd set of star points and the corner squares
and take the remaining pieces to the machine
where I chain piece the first 4 points
then sew a pair of strips for a 16 patch block.
Leaving the sewn strip set under the presser foot,
I cut the threads to the star pieces,
trim off excess background fabric, then press (toward the star fabric),
then re-arrange the pieces
and add the 4 triangle star points back in.
Sew those.
then feed the second strip set for the 16 patch through the machine.
trim, press (again, towards the star), trim again - this time into a 4 1/2 in square,
then rearrange the star and replace the corner pieces,
and sew the squares into rows.
When I can no longer sew a seam without pressing,
I sew a pair of 2 patches together (somewhere along the way, I pressed and subcut the strip pairs)
then press all seams towards the background fabric
and join the top and middle row,
sew another bit on the 16 patch
then sew the bottom row onto the other two,
and then another bit of the 16 patch....

By the time I have a completed star block,
I also have a half finished 16 patch,
just by continuing to chain piece 
rather than cutting my  threads each time I needed to press before moving on.

Practically making themselves!

I showed my stack of blocks to Tyler when they got home.
He said something along the lines of, "That's a lot of colors."

Yes it is.

Linking up with Lee again.
Wonky stars and 16 patch quilt idea borrowed shamelessly copied from Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


We're playing backgammon.
I'm losing.
(I've been on a long losing streak.)
(Dammit Bobby!)

And Tyler says, "Is your body hurting?"

I answer,
after doing a quick assessment of all major muscles and joints.

"Because you seem like a sore loser"


(He admitted he was just a little bit nervous about that one - 
I'd either think it was hilarious,
hit him.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

two in one, another zip pouch

Another winning pattern from Svetlana, the two in one pouch,
with a few little changes.

I added a key ring and a detachable wristlet strap.
(note to self - the tab only needs to be 1 - 1 1/4")

I was quite tickled with how I worked out the strap
(after pressing both sides to the center, then in half,
I threaded the strap through my swivel hook.
I then opened the ends of the strip, and joined them as I would quilt binding,
resulting in no bulk :-)
Topstitching was the final step)

It occurs to me now that there may not be anything special about that method,
but at 11:30 at night when I was sewing it up,
I was feeling pretty clever ;-)

I switched out the velcro for snaps
and used regular interfacing instead of the recommended fusible fleece.
(probably could have shortened the closure tab a bit as a result)

This makes 3 down;
1 to go
(yep, got another announcement)

I'm thinking I may need to order some more zippers ;-)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

introducing.... Ties That Bind, a unique Dresden plate quilt

You guys!
I am so pleased to introduce to you,
in its entirety,
my made with 150ish hours of love
(and a little blood, a lot of sweat, and even a few tears)
Ties That Bind

a black and white quilt for my awesome baby brother, Matt,
and his beautiful (inside and out!) bride, Marin.

After Marin showed off her gorgeous engagement ring at Thanksgiving festivities last year,
she said,
"So - I guess we need to order a quilt now :-) "

We talked a little bit about what she wanted 
- namely a bunch of black and white print fabrics.

No other colors.

(I am just a little bit of a rebel, 
so I defied her wishes and added a tiny bit of red stitching to the label ;-)
(She didn't mind)

We decided (I decided) that instead of them hiring me to make it,
the quilt would be their wedding gift.

She wanted to leave the design totally up to me,
and reminded me
that while she normally doesn't like quilts, she's loved every one of mine...

After several hours of searching pinterest and googling  'black and white quilt' for inspiration,
but not finding anything that seemed remotely right,
I remembered this dresden quilt,
a knew it would be perfect!

Using my handy dandy graph paper and a sharpened pencil,
I designed a quilt with 11 (mostly double pointed) dresden plates,
some whole, some partial,
ranging in size from to 15" - 33" in diameter.

My brother and his lovely wife are both so special and unique
 and I wanted the quilt to reflect that
so I planned for all of the dresdens to be different sizes,
both inner and outer circumferences.
(then I had to spend a good bit of time figuring out what size to cut my blades so I'd get those sizes!)
The insides of the dresdens were all quilted differently, as well.

I spent about a month buying fabrics,
some basic B&Ws that I thought played well together,
and some that were especially suited to Matt and Marin, 
based on their hobbies and professions.

I cut into my 38 fabrics on Jan 12th,
and started making Dresdens.

When I had those all sewn onto their background fabrics
I decide it wasn't really complete
and made more whole and partial plates
until I was happy with the overall composition.

Then I pieced a back with leftover fabrics
and made a label.
(stupidly forgetting to add both the name of the quilt, and my name. sheesh)
Their wedding date was pieced using kona white, a black dot fabric,
because I totally fell in love with the idea after seeing it.

At Mary (the big-stitch hand quilting master!)'s suggestion, I used wool batting
(which is just lovely and I will definitely be using it again)
and Tyler helped me baste it in late February
and I spent the next 7 weeks quilting,
both by machine and by hand,
going around and around and around.
(and through...)

I don't know if you know this,
but a dresden plate has 20 blades
(well, normally - some of mine don't (?)
which means, for each time around a plate,
the quilt must be turned forty times.

Forty dang times!

I used about 1 1/4 balls of size 8 perle cotton and 2 needles for the hand-quilting.
My favorite needle for hand quilting remains a size 8 straw needle from foxglove cottage.

I've tried various needles, recommended by various quilters far more experienced than myself,
but I always return (very quickly!) to my beloved milliners.
I can only conclude that those women have not yet tried my favorite ;-)
and have decided to not spend any more money trying other needles.

I finished sewing the binding (by hand) (with a size 10 milliner ;-) on April 19th,
13 weeks and 6 days after I cut into my stack of black and white fabrics.


Matt and Marin,
I hope you love your quilt and use it.
And I hope every time you use it, or even just see it, you feel treasured :-)
We love you both ever so much!!

If you are here from the quilt festival, 
Thanks for stopping by;
I hope you enjoyed your visit - feel free to poke around a bit :-)

If you're a regular visitor ~ thanks for cheering me on
on this quilt journey!
(and patiently indulging me as I carry on ;-)

Your kind words and 'atta girls' bring a smile to my face ~ thank-you!

(and of course, thanks to my guys for helping me photograph this beast :-)

I'm entering this queen sized quilt in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival in the large quilt category
and linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced, even though it is no longer a work in progress :-)
and fabric designer AmandaJean's Finish it Fridays

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

just call me Hercules

I achieved something today that I have been working towards all year!

I started working out in the shop with the guys after Christmas.
I still do HiiT on my own,
but I was ready to move up to the big weights.

I haven't really had a specific goal that I've been working towards
for most of the lifts,
just my general always try to do more/better than before.
But deadlifts?
For those, I had a goal.

Progress has been slow.
Real slow...
But today,
I did it!

I deadlifted one hundred fifty pounds!!!

Go me!

that's probably not all that impressive for a woman,
but I don't care.

I'm so proud of myself!

I may have gotten a little misty-eyed 
at the end of my first set...

I wonder - what should my next goal be??

hit the road

Tyler called me mid-morning and strongly suggested
that I take the kids on a walk
because it was so beautiful out.

It is not overly, shall we say - refreshing - to walk with lots of children
circling around me on their bikes
so I wasn't terribly keen to take him up on his suggestion.

he usually knows what is best for me,
so after about an hour
I gave in.

I sent him the first two photos as we set off.

"Happy now?" 
I asked.

(Then I realized Jack was with us, and we had to bring him back home.)

The sun was shining.

It was warm, 
but not hot.

There was a slight breeze.

The unmistakable scent of honeysuckles filled the air.

They are more fragrant this year than usual, I think.

Even the privet smelled lovely.
(I don't recall the privet blossoms smelling nice.
Have I forgotten?
Or have I never smelled them? 
That doesn't seem likely - I sniff everything.

Even the dandelions were pretty.

It's good that I listen to my man.
(Thanks, Love, for making me take a walk.)