Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Design {team}

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So EQ7 and I were fighting last night.  We've actually been going round and round for several days as I've been trying to figure out how to take this quilt design from real life to a pattern.  Now, I should also say that I'm not very tech-savvy so it's definitely not an issue with EQ7.  And as a matter of fact, my non-quilting husband had it figured out within a few minutes which tells me that the program is pretty user friendly. ;)

So Steve stepped in and got me on the right track even though it seemed completely backwards to him for me to make an entire quilt top and then design the block and pattern on the computer. 

Left brain, meet right brain...

And shorty after he came to the rescue, I was coloring in my quilt and playing with importing fabrics {which I've still got some work to do on...}.

Just another reason why I love this guy...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quilting with linen

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So the stack of fabric from yesterday turned into these blocks last night.  I haven't used all the colors yet but so far I really like what I'm seeing. :)

I got a several emails about sewing with linen... so here are my tips:
  • I wouldn't use raw linen in a quilt but really just because the Essex linen is a blend which makes it softer with a nice drape. 
  • I don't use starch when I'm piecing with linen.  If you pin well and let your sewing machine do the work, linen is pretty easy to work with.
  • I typically use a scant 1/4" seam allowance when I'm piecing.  But with linen, because the weave is a little looser, I use a true 1/4" seam allowance.
  • I don't prewash my linen and I have never had any problems with shrinkage. 
  • P-R-E-S-S your seams and blocks.  Ironing with a back and forth motion will distort your blocks.  This is also a good general rule of thumb for quilting with any kind of fabric.
Have a wonderful weekend!  When I'm not cursing celebrating our first 100 degree day at Six Flags, I'll be happily sewing in the air conditioning. ;) 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Color {therapy}

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These colors make me happy!  Even if the bottom fabric is a light pink but washed out in the picture...

They were inspired by this picture from Design Seeds

This is the first time I have worked with Essex yarn died linen {Robert Kaufman} and just like their Essex linen, this doesn't disappoint either.  The texture and colors are amazing!

I ordered the light blue Essex linen to have on hand but I really like it in this color combination.  What do ya'll think?  I'm going to make this quilt with these fabrics and I think the blue would add a nice balance...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Words {longhand}

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A blogger writing words out longhand?  On a paper page with a pencil? 

Yep!  And I couldn't be more excited.

I'm going through The Artist's Way book by Julia Cameron.  I've had the book for several years and I have flipped through it and gleaned some inspiration here and there but it is really designed as a twelve week course as a means of discovering or un-blocking your true creativity.  I'm don't really consider myself creatively blocked but I do deal with lots of distractions and negative thoughts of my own.

The foundation of the course is "morning pages".  Three pages of stream of consciousness type longhand writing.  No editing, no self-censoring, and no going back and reading what you wrote {at that time}.  Wake up, write it down, and walk away.

This morning I wrote for the first time and I have to say that it was pretty amazing.  I walked out of the house this morning lighter and my day is off to a better start than normal.  Three pages seemed like a lot but once I got going it went fast because apparently my mind had a lot to say. ;)

I'm using a Moleskine journal with squared pages because those are my very favorite.  And I'm writing with a plain #2 pencil because I love writing with pencils but as an adult I don't get to do that very often so that alone makes me happy to write every morning.

Out of this creative community, I'm really curious to know if anyone else has gone through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  If you have, what did you think?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This & That

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We are off to a great start this summer!  I see a lot of bloggers commenting about how they have less time to sew during the summer but I'm pretty much the opposite.  There's nothing better than getting home and having no homework, softball, etc. and Chaney asking me if we can go upstairs to sew.  Be still my heart...

I've been working on this quilt and I've almost got the top completed.  The pattern is also almost done  and will be in the hands of some kind and capable testers soon.  And BTW, thank you for all your offers to test the pattern!  I made a list and will keep everyone in mind as I write more patterns. :)

I usually dislike sewing rows together for a quilt top but I loved putting these rows together.  I guess some of it was the excitement of the unknown and watching a design come together.  This has been a really fun quilt to make so far.

In other news, all my allergy tests {I'll spare you the pics of the skin tests. You're welcome!} are done and it turns out that I'm very allergic to a lot in my environment.  Anaphylaxis from environmental allergies is "rare" which makes me very "interesting" to my doctor.  I'm so glad I could entertain him. ;)  His theory remains that something I am allergic to in the environment, cross-reacted with something I ate that night

So, since I can't order food sans dust mites, mold, various grasses, or pollens, I just have to be very diligent about carrying my Epipens.  That's not that big of a deal to me anymore because it's become a habit quickly... and I have cute things to carry my pens in. ;)

And last but not least... what is it with this song??  I'm not a big radio person but I will stop on the station anytime I hear it.  I suppose it might have something to do with thinking about how Steve and Chaney sing this song together as loud as they can when they are driving around.  Cute things like that will always make me smile. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Words {why I quit Facebook}

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I reached my limit on social media last week.  After reading several good articles that confirmed what my gut had been telling me, I did it.  I deleted my personal Facebook page.

Why?  A few things...

One, the pull on me to continually "check" on Facebook to make sure I wasn't missing something or someone became almost physically draining.

Two, I felt myself becoming de-sensitized to certain events like catastrophes, social issues, and even death.  When I caught myself saying that someone died on Facebook, it really bothered me.  No one died on Facebook.  They died in real life with real family and friends left behind.  And please, please don't think that I'm saying it's wrong to post on Facebook about a death, grieving someone's death, or remembering them because I am definitely not saying that. 

All I am saying is that the flood of information can de-sensitize a person when you see a picture of a cute puppy... a picture of a good meal... a death... followed by a status update about what your second grade friend ate for breakfast. 

And then again, maybe it's just me who feels that way.

Three, if I want to be honest, I spent way too much time staring at my stupid phone when I could have been talking to a real person face-to-face.  I have stunted conversations with people because the things they were sharing with me, I had already seen Facebook and it wasn't news to me by the time they told me.

Four, Facebook enabled me to be lazy.  It was easier to wish someone happy birthday on their wall or simply like a big accomplishment instead of picking up the phone or sending a personal card.  It was also easy to have shallow relationships that never really went beyond a thumbs up icon.  A little screen on my phone was becoming "reality" and relationships are really so much more that a like.

And five, there are always those people who you know in real life who you know are not perfect {neither am I!}, some who have even wronged you, who pretend.  It's narcissism at its finest.  Something along the lines of if I portray myself a certain way and people "like" me and my "status" then I truly must be that way and not the reality of someone who hurts other people, doesn't pay their child support by choice, etc...  Those kinds of posts were slowly making me crazy and angry and that's never good.

So with a few clicks, I put all that behind me.  I didn't know how I would really feel but it felt good; like a weight being lifted.  And that is alarming to realize that being "social" was weighing me down.

Now, I may be a hypocrite for keeping my blog Facebook page but for now I'm going to keep it because I don't feel the pull like I did with my personal page.  I like Instagram too, mainly because I can connect with all my quilting friends, so I'll keep it as well.  And of course I'll keep blogging because none of these avenues seem to pull on me like my personal Facebook page did.

Julia Cameron is one of my favorite authors in regards to creativity and I recently saw this quote by her:

One of the best ways to court inspiration is to practice a little secrecy.  Don't open up your art to any and all corners.

No matter what kind of hobbies... quilting, cooking, writing, etc that we have, we as humans are creative.  And I tend to wonder if sharing anything and everything via social media is the way to go if we want to live a creative and inspired life.  For me, seeing people's art in every "corner" of Facebook was less inspiring and more than a little stifling.  How can I be creative and interesting if I am bogged down in Facebook's virtual "stream of consciousness"?

So for now, I'm turning it off in favor of freeing myself, my time and my energy and putting them towards more productive things like life.

And please know that I am only speaking for myself here.  I'm certainly not judging anyone who loves Facebook because I know it's a great avenue for lots of people out there... just not me. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I did...

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... this weekend.  My shelves were transformed to this...

From this.

It feels so good to be organized again.  I know some people can create in a mess but I'm not one of them.  I need space to think and breathe and stepping on straight pins doesn't make the breathing part easy at all.

After everything was back in it's rightful place I started working on a design that I've had in my head for awhile.  I am so excited about how it's turning out!  SO excited that I almost have the top complete and I'm working on writing the pattern. 

It's amazing what a clean studio can do for creativity!

I have a few pattern testers but I'd love to have a few more.  This is an intermediate quilt and you need to be comfortable sewing a good 1/4" seam and pressing {not ironing} your quilt blocks.  Don't let all the triangles freak you out though because I think I've made it pretty easy. :) 

If you would like to test the pattern just leave me a comment and make sure that there's a way for me to respond to your comment.  Oh, and even if you don't want to test the pattern, you are still welcome to leave a comment... ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012


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This post was supposed to post last Monday but someone forgot to click the publish button!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.  I wish I could give every single person something but I'm pretty sure Steve would ground me from blogging! ;)

The winner of the table runner is....

#180, Leslie of Fluff & Nonsense

The international winner of the pattern PDFs is...

#29, Nadine of Friendship Threads

Congrats to both of you!

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