Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Stash #1

What??!!   If I have no place to sew at least I can buy fabric to be ready when I do have a sewing room again.

During this sewing interlude, I have added some particularly special fabric to my modest stash.  After seeing the new holiday line from Cotton + Steel at QuiltCon, I knew it was just a matter of time.  

The snow globes are beyond adorable.

Knowing that I MUST make new quilts for the renovated house in New Hampshire, it wasn't much of a creative stretch to select Denyse Schmidt's Franklin collection as the focal fabric for one bedroom.  This line was inspired by small town libraries in New England.

Generally not a "joiner," I could not resist the Modern Fat Quarter Club membership sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop.

I have to say I love all three of the bundles received to date.  Morning Walk by Leah Duncan.

Black & White by Cotton + Steel.

True Colors by Tula Pink (to add to my respectable Tula collection).

And finally, I picked up this little happy bundle of Cotton + Steel fat quarters at my local fabric store when shopping for binding to finish (again...what??) a little quilt.
I can confirm there really is something to purchasing fabric as therapy.  Everything in moderation!

Linking up with Molli's Sunday Stash party!

Friday, May 29, 2015

My May Post

...and I just squeezed it in!

Since I last posted we spent two fabulous weeks in Hawaii.  Returning to places we've been before in Maui and Kauai made for a very relaxing schedule as we didn't feel the pressure to see all the "must do's" because we already had!

Of course there was a fabric stop or two.  

Returning home meant jumping right into serious preparation for putting our home on the market.  Cleaning, decluttering, emptying closets that I haven't seen the bottom of in 20 years has been A LOT of work.  I guess it is SOP to hire a stager (thank you HGTV) to make your house look great for pictures.  Honestly I was a bit skeptical (after all, don't we all have impeccable taste?) but they did a wonderful job.  Rooms really do look larger and appropriately style neutral.  I also learned that leaving pictures of your kids around is a no-no but dogs are OK!  Awesome.

They even simplified my sewing room.

This forced me to organize my fabric shelves a bit.

Meanwhile, the renovations to the lake house are moving along well.  The new sewing room has walls and when I see it next week the room should be painted.  I can't wait to see the cork flooring.

Before we had to put my baby into storage, I was able to spend a few hours with the quilting machine (I have a Sweet 16) and finish two old projects.  The first is a little Christmas quilt and is the second half of the Serendipity quilts by Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I blogged about the first one here.

I had fun trying out some new quilting patterns.  It is difficult to photograph but the border has a cross-hatch pattern that adds a very nice texture.

The second quilt I finished since we've last chatted was my very first quilt top.  I promise another post (before the month of June is over!) sharing the quilting on this one.  I really had some fun quilting it!

Between prepping the current house to sell and making decisions for the "new" house (faucets, cabinet pulls, light fixtures, wallpaper and so on),  I have not been sewing and have even fallen far behind in reading all your beautiful blog posts.  

Our home goes on the market on Tuesday.  Another major milestone in our life but one we are definitely ready for.  I can't wait to sew in my new space and share it all with you!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My April Post

I will be back to active blogging and sewing, I promise!  The house project(s) are moving along well but that means there is little time for playing with fabric.  One of my goals before selling our home was to finish up as many WIP's as possible under the theory that it would be less to pack (really, the proverbial needle in the haystack but it sounded like a good excuse to quilt!).  You might remember this post about my last Star Wars quilt.  It is now finished and on the way to a little guy who has had more than his share of medical issues.  Hopefully this will bring a smile!

 I also made a (tiny) dent in my fabric stash with this pink purse for a very special three year old.  I gave her one of my Vermont Teddy Bears and gave her a little purse too!

Another minor detail against the backdrop of a major move, but I wound all my floss!  I found this wonderful tutorial for using a power drill to save the wrist and improve consistency.  Using plastic bobbins is essential.  Now isn't that lovely?  I need to find some fun cross stitch projects now!

Finally, this is what my new sewing room looked like last week.  My sewing machine will be in the corner of those two windows.  The stairs you see outside the windows are being removed so I will have a clear view to the lake.  
And as if we didn't have enough going on, we planned a trip to Hawaii almost a year ago before we had made the big decision to move.  It seems just a little crazy that we are leaving with all these projects going on but a break from the stress of it all will be just fine!

I will likely not be blogging until I return from Hawaii but I will certainly be sharing on Instagram!  Thanks for your patience!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Some Sewing Between House Projects

My goodness there are a lot of decisions that need to be made when renovating a home.  Fortunately we are working with great people on this project who have been very helpful in presenting streamlined options and driving decisions in the order needed.  The new sewing room (so excited!) color has been chosen.
 This is Benjamin Moore opal essence, a light minty green.  To me this is a happy but not overpowering color.  What do you think?   We've been playing around with the room layout with this very sophisticated tool.

There are going to be two rows of three recessed light cans.    With the right bulbs and the two double windows, this should be enough light.

The process of emptying out our home of 23 years is a huge project and I think we are pretty neat and organized people!  But all the boys' stuff, handmade furniture we have inherited, perfectly functional kitchen stuff that is not being used, cute baby things, school pictures and so on all need to go somewhere.  Certainly, I will get to the point that I will pitch things in the trash, but right now we are trying to find the right home for everything (including the right charities to donate to).  Just a little say the least.

I decided I needed to force a little sewing time in the schedule  to relieve some of that stress.  One day I cut some squares of fabric that seemed springy to me.  I picked up a set of Bloc-Loc rulers at Quilt Con.  A little simple HST sewing sounds quite nice.

I'm also trying to spend a little time quilting some of the older quilt tops.  This one is the oldest, indeed it is the first quilt top I ever made (blogged here) and the piecing is atrocious but it has sentimental meaning to me so it is going to be finished.  I've decided to practice my FMQ'ing and am breaking the quilt up into large blocks with a different quilting pattern in each block and in a border surrounding each section.

The quilting is disappearing on the front and is almost not visible as well on the back so a perfect quilt choice for messing up!!

In the mean time we are watching the snow melt (slowly) and planning how to do a Easter egg hunt in the snow.

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday - The Sewing Room

I have a number of sewing projects at various stages of progress but without a doubt my most important WIP right now is the design of my new sewing room.  As I shared in this post, we are renovating our New Hampshire house on the lake to make it work as our primary, full-time home.   One of the "must haves" was a room for sewing.

The room is approximately 13 feet by 11.5 feet.  Not huge but more than I have now.
This is my current sewing room (and a post with more pictures).
My goals for the new room include:

  • Space for a design wall.  
  • Excellent lighting
  • Space for my sit-down quilting machine
  • Bookcases for storage
  • A counter height cutting area on wheels

I have created a Pinterest board and am inspired by so many beautiful sewing rooms.

Lighting for the room is a near term decision.  Full spectrum light bulbs seem to be the recommendation for simulating natural light.  There is a perpendicular set of windows that will allow for a view of the lake from the sewing machine.

I am looking at cork flooring.  It should be good for the legs, soft and sound absorbing.  Although I understand I may need protectors under the machines and chair to prevent permanent indentations.
My current room sewing room has a lot of Ikea furniture that works well.  I think this Ikea hack will work well for a cutting space, perhaps with wheels to be able to move it from the center of the room to up against the design wall.
I feel so fortunate to be able to design my sewing room.  I'd appreciate any advice you have!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My First QuiltCon

This was my first time attending QuiltCon but will not be my last.  I would summarize the event in one word:  inspiration.  I fear my structured, orderly accountant's mind needs to really relax before I  could possibly design such amazing, creative, "unstructured" quilts. Nor will I ever be able to matchstick quilt or custom quilt with the detail or flourish of the quilts on display.  BUT I am absolutely inspired to think differently and keep trying!
 By now I'm sure you have seen many pictures of the quilts.  Sew Mama Sew has a very complete post with pictures and credits.  A particular focus area right now for me is quilting therefore I took a lot of close up pictures.  These are just a few samples:
As you read in my last post, this trip was a combined quilting adventure and vacation with my husband (as part of our 50 State Challenge).  Therefore, I planned my days carefully to balance taking classes, attending lectures, walking through the quilt show and the vendor space and touring Austin.
I attended a class on color values taught by Cheryl Arkinson.  I started out with this pile of scraps from home and my first pass at light, medium and dark:
 and ended up with this:

Cheryl had many specific tips to assist in the differentiation of value.  I will definitely add to this top in the future.

I attended a lectures by Meg Cox (quilt photography), one by Angela Walters (quilting negative space) and Victoria Findlay Wolfe (I've forgotten the specific name but it was awesome).   I learned something from each one.  In order:

  • Really, you don't like to see my husband's fingers and feet holding quilts in pictures?   I'll work on that.  Sorry.
  • Thank you for apparently not noticing all the mistakes in my quilting that I anguish over when my nose is inches from the quilt.   
  • I hope to someday be as brave as Victoria Findlay Wolfe and take scissors to a completed quilt top and rebuild it.  She is brave and ruthless when it comes to her work!

I did just a little fabric shopping.  Honestly, the swag that was in the bag given to each attendee was impressive.  I would have been happy if that was all I left QuiltCon with.
I will be in the front of the line when the Cotton and Steel holiday line, Tinsel, is available.  Love, love, love this!

In summary, the quilts were impressive.  The environment was fun and supportive.  The vendors were ready to take my money.  I look forward to future shows!

I hope to find some time to sew over the next few days.  Lots going on with the move, I promise an update soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

State #30 - Texas

Hi!  Did you miss me? I have lots to chat about that won't  fit into one post.  My husband and I just returned from visiting our 30th state in the U.S.  The project map now looks like this:
 Yes, we crossed off a state, visited a couple of interesting cities and attended QuiltCon!  We left  frigid, very snowy Boston early in the morning.

How lovely to arrive in sunny, snow-less Austin.

We arrived a day early and I planned my QuiltCon strategy so that we could fit in some time to visit a little of Austin.   Seeing these banners, I thought there might be a cross-stitch conference taking place in Austin also (come on, I know some of you attending QC thought the same!).

South by Southwest is a huge annual event that my son has attended so he was able to provide us some insight on the city.  Downtown Austin is very compact and walkable.  Our first afternoon in the warmth of Texas was spent in the South Congress Avenue area filled with restaurants and funky shops and sights.

Visiting the Texas State capital complex provided a history refresher of this enormous state that was once a country for a few years.

Did I tell you that it was my husband's idea to go to QuiltCon even though the first day was his birthday?  Yes, on his birthday I spent the entire day in an amazing quilt class (more on that in my next post) while he walked around the city checking out book stores, libraries, walking paths, the ginormous Whole Foods store, historical buildings and pet shelters.  We did do cocktails on 6th Street after and I had made reservations at Eddie V's for dinner and live music.  So, I'm not such an awful wife to completely ignore the day!

Interesting, fun city.  True to it's motto "Keep Austin Weird."  Renting a car, we drove south to San Antonio for a couple of days.  This is a huge city (by Texas or any other measure).  Our hotel balcony had a lovely view of the Riverwalk.

San Antonio, at least the Riverwalk area downtown, lives up to its reputation as a great place to visit. We enjoyed the riverboat ride, ate Tex-Mex, drank margaritas, toured the Alamo, took long walks along the side of the river, visited historical churches and watched the Academy Awards from our (free upgrade!) suite.

What a perfect way to end our visit to Texas with amazing live music in the Austin terminal.  This is Delaney Gibson and she is terrific!

20 more states to go!  Where to next?
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