Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Present

Maybe you remember what my word of the year is. Maybe not. I don't mention it much here, and maybe I should. Back in January I chose "Be Present" as my word of the year for 2017 (yes, I am well aware that it is two words, not one. My game my rules!). Even though I have not brought it up here on the blog, keeping "Be Present" at the front of my thoughts has influenced many of my choices throughout the year. It has impacted my reading choices. It has also affected my decisions about how I spend my time.

On Monday, there was a total eclipse of the sun. Maybe you heard about it? Or maybe you are living under a rock and missed it altogether. I get that. Northeast Texas, where I live, was not on the
path of totality (who comes up with these phrases?). Several of my friends packed up their families and traveled to faraway spots where they could view the total eclipse, alongside hundreds of strangers. They all reported spectacular experiences. Special eclipse glasses sold out long before the event. I didn't buy a pair.

Honestly I had no plan to view the eclipse. I have fond memories of such an event back in the 1960s. Everyone in my elementary school made viewing boxes out of shoeboxes and we all paraded onto the playground at the designated time to watch the eclipse. It was cool. But this time, I was happily sewing away in my studio. The sunlight began to dim and cast a bit of an eerie glow over my work. Someone on Instagram posted a picture of the shadow coming through pinholes in the leaves on their trees. Suddenly I needed to see it too,
I walked out to the sidewalk in front of our house and, sure enough, there it was! Dozens of tiny eclipse shadows breaking though the trees. I was totally present in that moment, marveling at the wonders of God's creation..... no one to share it with but filled with awe.
I've heard stories of huge groups of strangers cheering together when the eclipse occurred. Even my husband went out into the parking lot at work with his coworkers and watched it through a pair of borrowed glasses and a pinhole in a sheet of paper. I guess it would have been a cool thing to share with others, but honestly? I was content to spend a few minutes alone on the sidewalk, just being present.

Monday, August 21, 2017

dogs

It's taken three visits from Ally & Malibu, but our dog Lexi and Mali have finally become friends. Ally was home last week and then we went down to San Marcos to help her move into a new apartment. Rick loaded up his truck with boxes & did about a million trips up and down 3 flights of stairs. Meanwhile, I had the torturous job of "babysitting" Malibu back at the hotel.
and look who she brought with her! Little llama softie is her new best friend.

More sewing posts coming soon!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

little llama softie

A couple of weeks ago, Jennifer Jangles had  a sew along with her little llama softie pattern. Since Ally loves llamas, I had already purchased the pattern. Naturally I decided to sew along!
What a fun pattern, and easy too! I used sherpa fur for her body. I hadn't sewn with fur in a long time, but Jennifer gave great tips and it was easy to do.
Wool felt for her muzzle. Also, I used the black safety eyes, not that Ally needs them, ha! something new for me. They worked out great . I put a bow on her head so everyone would know she is a girl (never mind the pink ears which should give it away.)

A blanket from my stash, with aqua ric rac and tiny pompoms, because, why not?
Ally loved her so it's a success! Check out some of the other llamas made during the sew along here, on Jennifer's blog. 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

and another dresden

One of my retreat finishes last week was this crazy dresden quilt! It was another one of those designs I woke up with early morning and had to make right away. In some ways I love when that happens, those seem to be my most creative moments, just before the day begins. But really, it throws everything off! Nothing else gets accomplished around here until I give in to the ideas and get them made. Oh well!

I grabbed two contrasting Kona cottons that were in my stash, my usual slate gray and a bright orange, and went to work. Each wedge is made from a seamed strip of the two colors, cut with a 9 degree dresden ruler. This means there are 40 total wedges in the spiral. I did the math & cut each dresden 1/4" longer than the previous one. I'm not going to lie, this took a while! But it was oh so worth it in the end!

I was so in love with the final result, I knew I had to take it to my pal Diann (Happy Quilts) for quilting. I couldn't risk ruining it. And I'm so glad I did!
Diann custom quilted it. Check out some of her incredible work...

All that was left for me to do at retreat was the binding!
Finished quilt is 31" square. Also, it needs a name.....


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

dresdens

It seems I have become a bit of a dresden fanatic lately! This has been fueled in part by a challenge/swap issued by our guild (McKinney Modern Quilt Guild). We were challenged back in the spring to make up to 12 dresdens in a  certain color palette to swap at our August meeting. If I still had the color card I'd share it with you, but it has disappeared. There was a wide range of options, a full rainbow really, in jewel tone shades. We could make any size dresden, any size wedge, in the color palette that we wished. I decided to make a variety of kinds and sizes in primarily two of the colors (teal and bright pink). Then I found a stripe in my stash that had most of the colors in it, so I used that too. In the end I had 8 dresdens to swap.






I turned them in at our meeting last week and received these 8, made by other guild members (I wish I knew who!)
Aren't they wonderful? Now the challenge is to make them into "something" by our October meeting. I have a few ideas and the clock is ticking!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

unplugged

This past weekend I was so lucky to retreat with my sewing sisters at The Retreat at the End of the Road in Athens, TX. Such a beautiful setting where I was able to disconnect (no wifi, limited cell service!) and truly be present in each moment.

this is the spot where I was able to get the best cell service. Pretty sweet!

I'm so lucky to be part of a lovely group of ladies who quilt. We call ourselves Seams Like Sisters. We were only missing one friend this weekend. The six of us who were able to go got lots done! Here are a few of the pretty finishes that came out of our weekend...

Alice's fun mini

Carol's cute modern baby quilt


Diann's house quilt
I'll share my own finishes with you in the next few posts.

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On Monday we took a field trip into town to visit Beverly's awesome quilt shop, the Needle Niche
She was so sweet to open up for us on a Monday when her shop is normally closed.
such a cute shop, and we all found some goodies to take back with us!
Ellen, me, Alice, Joellen, Carol and Diann
Such a fun weekend! I can't wait to go back.

I also realized that yesterday was my nine year blogaversary! Nine years of blogging... I never imagined it would lead me to so many friendships and adventures. Wow!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Boho shirt (and a bonus tip!)

A while back I shared with you the Scout Tees I made, using a pattern I picked up at the cute shop, Needle in a Fabric Stash in California. Well here's the cool thing! The owner of the shop (Sue) designed an add on pattern for the Scout Tee, called the Boho Shirt, and I bought that too! You can pick up your own (along with the Scout Tee pattern) here. Once I knew I had the sizing right for the Scout Tee, I couldn't wait to jump in and try this variation.
I made mine a little longer than Sue's pattern called for (I like my tunics a little long) and I love the way it turned out! The big pockets are a huge plus. If you lengthen or shorten the "skirt"  piece, don't forget to reposition the pockets  My Boho Shirt is made from two Cotton and Steel fabrics.

Then I thought, hmmm, this would make an adorable summer dress! And indeed it does...
This fabric is inexpensive cotton from Joanns and I rather like it! I'd love to make another from a drapier fabric, maybe an Art Gallery which is softer. But this one is totally wearable! Again, I lengthened the "skirt" pieces (these are cut at 27" X width of fabric). 

And here's your bonus tip of the day. I always cut my garment pieces with a rotary cutter. I seem to have more control over that than scissors. Probably because, despite being left handed, I scissors cut right handed. The rotary cutter I can use with my left hand. Anyways.... when I sew my garments I finish all possible seams with french seams. Every now & then, however, there's a seam that cannot easily be done this way.  When this happens, I dig out my pinking shears and trim the seam allowance to prevent fraying.

The other day I bought a pinking blade to put on one of my rotary cutters. (Ally & I were cutting bandanas for the dogs, haha, another story for another day). Anyways, I thought to myself, why not cut my garment pieces out with the rotary blade and save a step later on? Brilliant!

This worked perfectly! I'll be using this trick on all my future garments. Why didn't I think of that sooner???