craft, house renovation, make something, personal, Uncategorized

New Cushions!!! finally

I was all “I’m gonna sew the day away and keep making great progress on the quilt on my design wall” last night; and this morning that changed to “Yeah, but if you go ahead and knock out the cushion covers you’ll actually FINISH something today”…
And that’s just what I did!

Now, I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I bought ALL the supplies in July. July, y’all! And I’m just getting these made. Sheesh!

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But! They look ah-mazing!! Yes, I should have matched the print on the boxing BUT I didn’t think about that ahead of time (I was ALL inspired, y’all!) so I just made do with what I had. I mean, they’re finished, so it’s a win in my book. Just don’t point that out to me because I’ll cut you. But not with my fabric scissors 😂😂😂

The fabric is from @dwellstudio and I absolute lerv it!! Even husband was on board and I was certain he’d object.

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We picked up these chairs 5 1/2 years ago at @kudzuandcompany, a cute antique shop near here. They are super cool, crazy comfy, and look really great by the fireplace in our kitchen. It’s the perfect spot to relax, get warm, and enjoy a warm, adult beverage in the winter.

 

book, personal, Piecing Makeover, quilt, quilt design, quilt patterns, quilting, quilts

The Quilt Show!!

Y’all!! I’m SO excited!!! TODAY IS THE DAY!! It’s been 5 months since I flew to Denver to film an episode on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

I’ll start with the obvious:
Was it amazing? YES!!!
Was it fun?? YES!!
Is it a career highlight? A million times over it is!
Are Alex and Ricky as nice as they seem? ABSOLUTELY YES!! (the entire crew is really fabulous, as well!)
Should I have worn my SPANX? Yep

Now the story behind my days in Denver.

Mom came with me to the taping. She said she’d love to be a fly on the wall and, well, how could I say no??? She and I got to Denver, checked in to the hotel, then took all my quilts and supplies to the studio. I met a few people, saw the set up (it’s cool, y’all), then Mom and I headed out to have dinner with my cousin and his family.

Dinner was great and I loved catching up with my family, but shortly after we got there snow started to fall. And a LOT of it. Now, I know lots of people in the country (heck, the world) drive in snow all the time, but you know who doesn’t drive in snow? Me. Do you know why? Because I live in the South and we don’t do snow here. You see the clips of everyone racing to the store and clearing off the shelves? That’s legit. We don’t have the supplies and equipment to deal with massive snow (any snow) falling. 103 degree days with 90% humidity, no problem but send us some snow and we are out, plus it always turns to ice (I have driven on that and it is NOT fun). In the South we hunker down, make hot chocolate, and sled on ice or snow. We’re not particular if as long as the sled makes it down the hill.

Anyhow, the snow kept falling. For three hours I watched it coming down, and for three hours I enjoyed dinner but was secretly FREAKING OUT about how I’d get safely back to the hotel. Snow is covering the ground and, until March, I had never driven in snow. My cousin and his wife assured me that Mom and I would be fine. It’s a powder. Just go a little slower.

Let me tell you – going slower was NOT the problem. Seeing the road, however, was. I couldn’t see the lines on the roads and cars were RACING past me. I was SO glad Mom was with me to help navigate us safely back to the hotel. No way could I have listened to my phone navigate me to my hotel AND drive in the snow.

We made it safely back and, if I knew the next day wasn’t going to be so busy, I would have headed to the hotel bar for a cocktail. Instead, Mom and I wisely called it a night. Unfortunately, I had trouble sleeping. I was excited and anxious about the next day. Finally around 1:30 or 2, I got to sleep. You know, just in time for giant laundry cart bumper cars in the parking lot.

I kept trying to sleep but there was an awful noise in the parking lot. I tossed and turned and could not figure out why industrial laundry carts were being rolled around behind the hotel at 2am. When I looked out the window I realized it wasn’t hotel laundry cart bumper cars but the snow plow.

You know what I’ve only heard once in my life? A snow plow. And that was in Maine. I was 6 1/2 months pregnant with my oldest and was able to roll over and go back to sleep as pregnant ladies can often do. Anyhow, Mom stirred around that time and gave me a melatonin and some ear plugs. I fell blissfully asleep.

6 am came early, though, and I definitely needed a few extra cups of coffee. The adrenaline and excitement of the day helped, but wow! I was tired. It also turns out, unbeknownst to me, I was in the middle of a major health crisis that was wearing me down. Short version: my testosterone levels had plummeted and I was exhausted (like first trimester pregnancy exhausted) all the time and couldn’t recover AND, if that’s not enough, I needed to eliminate gluten and dairy from my diet – they were causing a myriad of issues for me (5 months later cue the increased energy levels, clear skin, and 15 pounds lost, and yes, I miss both those items of food).

Anyhow, filming was a blast but I was so nervous! I mean, I’m hanging out with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims!!! I had no idea what camera to look at, so there might be a few crazy eyes moments. haha! It was beyond thrilling and I loved every single second. We talked about my book, Piecing Makeover, I show some of the techniques I have in my book, and we briefly chat about my journey as a sewist and quilter.

You can see the episode here: https://thequiltshow.com/watch/current-show

I hope you like it.

Happy Piecing!

family, make something, personal, quilt, quilt block, quilting, quilts

On Making Resolutions, Not Making Resolutions, and Sweet Things

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I have enough to keep up with on any given day and the thought of adding to my already lengthy list is daunting. Plus, it’s always a disappointment if I can’t keep a promise to myself for a year. Why set myself up for failure, right?

Enter being alone…sewing…head going…..then poof! I blew up that thought when I made a quiet resolution to myself. Dang it!

For every NEW quilt I start, I’m going to finish a work in progress.

It’s a good one, but this must have been a complete moment of weakness; or me looking around my space realizing I’d have more if I finished some projects.

The plan: if it’s been cut, partially pieced, blocks made but need to assemble the top, partially quilted, WHATEVER, then it’s time to finish that project.

I am allowing myself one small stipulation: finished tops don’t count.  I can fold them up and put them in my cabinet to be quilted on another day.  Fast forward to a year from now when I’m complaining about all the quilts that need quilting. Here’s hoping that’s not the case. Note: I’m grateful for long arm quilters. Anyhow, at least if the mess is off my floor, I’ll have some room to move. That’ll be nice. I could use more space. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

The first project I’m tackling this year is a quilt for my husband’s aunt. Several years ago she asked me to make a quilt from her children’s clothing. She has 5 (yes, F-I-V-E) kids and had a great, big basket of things for me to use. I cut a bunch of things into 5″ squares and put them together with a sashing and I never. liked. the. quilt.

It was somewhere between a large wall and small lap quilt. I didn’t like the pieces just sashed. There was no pizzaz, and I knew I could do something I liked FAR better. 4 squares were larger so I used them as cornerstones, but then the borders were too wide, and the quilt wasn’t quite proportional. I didn’t like my border choice for that quilt, either. Also, if I’m making a quilt from clothing from 5 babies, then said aunt should be able to snuggle up under it. I mean, those are years of precious memories. Diaper covers, cross-stitched bags, flannel blankets, and loads of other sweet, sweet things.

So I sat on it.

For two years I sat on a (small) almost-completed quilt because I didn’t love it. It was okay, but that’s not okay for me.

So I stewed, and mulled, and processed, and let it muster until the lightbulb went off. And THEN, when the inspiration hit, I was able to pull the trigger. Sheesh, y’all! This quilt is going to be ah-mazing!! I’m so excited about it. I can’t wait for you to see the finished project!

Let me also add (completely-ish off topic) that sometimes waiting is the best thing you can do for a project. I am one of the most impatient people I know, so that really means something coming from me. But it’s true. I am so glad that I waited and didn’t finish this quilt. It’s definitely worth it!

Back to the quilt. When the lightbulb came on at 3am one morning (thank you insomnia, Carrie Bloomston, and That Little Spark), the quilt came together.

I spent the last 2 days reworking the top. I have the center blocks assembled, and plan to sew them together today. Plans for the rest of the week include inner and outer border, then determining quilting situation.

Here’s a sneak peak.

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Enjoy!

family, holiday, kids, make something, personal, sewing

Adventures in Cosplay

I’ve never dabbled in cosplay. Whip up a costume? Sure. You need a Jedi robe? I gotcha covered.  Usually when I do make a costume, it’s quick and easy. Down and dirty. Nothing too elaborate.

But armor and helmets? Nope. I’m at a complete loss.

Usually costuming my kids doesn’t cause me any anxiety or stress until October. You know, when I have to figure out how to make a costume for one of them. According to thing 1 and thing 2,  I can make everything. I love that they think that. I love that I usually can make them happy (enough). Dabbling in a new medium to make it happen? Well, it made me a little nervous, and the last thing I needed or wanted in the days leading up to Halloween is to have a costume idea implode.

This year, littlest child was Spider-Man for Halloween. Easy-peasy, bought a costume. Done. Truth be told, he’s had a Halloween plan since last summer and  has been happily wearing his costume for months. months, people, months. 

Then oldest child chimes in on the subject. He wanted to be a Destiny 2 Warlock. WHAT?! I didn’t even know where to start, and after looking at the picture of the warlock online, I was really lost. I wasn’t quite sure where to begin so I thought on it for a while. I wanted something relatively easy that would get the look, but it didn’t have to be a full set of armor. At least in my mind.

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It took me some time, but I figured out how to modify the costume using a black bathrobe. I found an image with the graphic S wanted to use. I cropped and enlarged the image in Photoshop, printed it, traced the reversed image (thankyouverymuch, technology) on fusible, then applied it to the robe.

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Then I  made the front panel with some Kona yellow and charcoal. The charcoal tail was long enough to wrap and twist around his stomach so it kinda resembled the stomach armor. Enough for a 10 year old kid for one night of the year.

Then the helmet. The dreaded helmet. I had visions of heavily facing some black, grey, and yellow fabric and making a hat until the child found a pattern. I didn’t love the directions, but the images of how to assemble the helmet helped me figure out how to assemble the helmet (sort of) correctly.  The pattern was easy to download and print, and there aren’t a lot of pieces to make it.

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Per the instructions, I used 10mm EVA foam. If I knew last week that a lighter, better foam was available to make the helmet, I would have gone that route. Sadly for me, I found better foam at market then didn’t have time to run back to the booth and get some before heading out to catch my flight. dang! But I’ll know for next time, so that’s good.

market foam

The foam is easy to cut if you have a FRESH X-acto blade. I realized halfway through I needed to change mine so some rough edges are visible. The edges with the new blade are super smooth. Unfortunately, you can’t see those.

I struggled to get the foam to mold the right way. I didn’t have a heat gun. I’m sure the higher temps would have been better than my hair dryer. I also wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. Bend, heat, repeat, and hope it held the shape. Super glue did a great job holding the pieces together but I did have to work to keep the pieces and the glue in the right spot until it took a little bit.  I’m sure there’s a less messy way to get the glue onto the foam than my approach. I was definitely feeling clumsy with this hat. The pieces were big, and not bending quite the way I wanted.

I give myself a solid C- on the helmet. You can see in the image below that S painted it so some of my mistakes are a little less visible.

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You can also see that the helmet was too big. Instructions say it’s one size, and it’s definitely big. Knowing what I know now, I’d change a few things to make V2.0 better. There’s a definite learning curve to this stuff, and I’m sure a LOT of tips out there to really fine tune your work. Next time, I’ll know where to look.

Perhaps even next time, S will wear the helmet while we trick or treat.

Yep. I held it the entire time. 🙂

book, family, kids, kids art, make something, personal

Raising a Mini Me

My littlest is an artist and was born with a crayon in his hand. For as long as he’s been alive, Q-man has always been coloring, drawing, molding, sculpting, creating, building, and generally in his imagination. He has gone from one obsession to the next – Thomas the Tank Engine, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy, Spiderman….you get the idea. When he isn’t dressed up and pretending to be one of his favorite characters, he’s creating something. Always creating something. My house is covered with his artwork – most is on paper, in notebooks, some framed, some on the walls in his room. or furniture – and I don’t see that ending. Hopefully ever. Well, the drawing on furniture and walls can end.

Recently I read an article that really resonated with me. I can’t seem to find it, so I’ll paraphrase. The gist of it is that you should find something, anything, that you and your child love to do together, some shared passion, and cultivate it. That passion will get you through the tough years. My oldest is a mini version of my husband so I’m going to have to rely on my better half to handle S during the teen years. The littlest is a mini me….and let me tell you:

It’s hard to raise a little me. I’m a pain. A lovable, adorable pain, but a pain, nonetheless. I mean Q-man is a lovable, adorable pain.

I’ve thought about that article a lot over the summer and tried to find new ways to connect with my kids. The older one is more cerebral so baking, artwork, and coloring don’t appeal to him all that much. He’s definitely more of a challenge in the connecting with things that appeal to both of us (see above statement about husband picking up the work with this one in the teen years) but I’ve been better about listening to him talk about cars and space and other items that interest him, many of which I don’t know much about. I let him educate me, and love how his face lights up when he identifies planes and talks about rockets, spacecraft, and cars. He did declare that he wanted a quilt I was making, and I happily gave it to him, so that’s a win. And he’s been wanting to learn to cook so S and I have spent more time in the kitchen together. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that.  He picks one dinner meal we eat each week and has to help prepare it. That’s been fabulous!

While S is at drama camp this week (which he LOVES! it’s a nice change of pace and he’s having blast!), Q and I took a few hours to head to the High Museum of Art. We checked out the Warhol exhibit, excluding a section that was too mature in nature for him, and saw some other fun stuff. His little mind was blown. He couldn’t believe some of the art was art. You mean sitting on a log chair is art? whaaaa???? And as we went through the Warhol exhibit, what do you mean that’s a photograph that’s been enlarged, screen printed and painted on? Multiple times in different combinations…how is that done?! It was fascinating to see the wheels churning.

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On the way out, we browsed through gift shop and found a GREAT book. It’s called 642 Things to Draw. If you can’t get to the High, or find it at a local book shop, you can buy it here.

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The book is empty. Your young artist has to fill it. What a genius idea! Here are some of Q’s doodles:

The left side is a chocolate forest and the right side is a skeleton army, though it appears he forgot the army part, but one well drawn skeleton from the 7 year old is good enough for me.

The pages are subdivided differently so kids have an opportunity to work in different scales, and every section has something different to draw: a newborn ladybug, waking up as a zombie, happiness, an avocado wearing a coat, your junk drawer.

This book is an exploration in creativity.

Seriously, people. Get this book for your creative kid. He or she will love it! It’s been a BIG hit at my house.

Happy drawing!