Monday, February 16, 2015

Inspire your Heart with Art

I have been seeking inspiration--things that uplift my heart.  It's been a heavy couple of weeks, so I'm looking to lighten my spirits.

Connie's Twisting Heart Valentine (tutorial available)

Found out about Inspire Your Heart with Art Day--January 31--I'm a little late to the party.  Nevertheless, I will plunge ahead and feature some art and artists that inspire me.

1) Mary Engelbreit

Whimsy; cheerful colors and graphic geometric patterns; positive, uplifting sayings.  What's not to love?

2) Shanna Trumbly
Trumbly is a local visual artist in Oregon.  I have long admired her work, especially one where the queen is eying the beet.  (It was hanging in the winery where we had our wedding.)

And my dear Sweetie just got me a Trumbly print for Valentine's day.  *swoon*

3) Patience Brewster
Patience is a one-artist company producing small-batch whimsical art; I love her images, but I especially love that her art often adorns useful things (I am not much of a nick-knack  person).  So, although her Christmas ornaments are the most popular part of her business, I am drawn to her tea towels, and purses, and even furniture.

 Embroidered tea towel (above) and clutch purse (below).  Yeah, that's my kind of art--the daily delightful kind.

4) Yarn bombers everywhere

 This image from Knits for Life.  Installed in San Francisco Ferry Plaza in 2014.  I do so love public art--of all different kinds.

5) My own humble artistry

Okay, so technically I didn't make this tissue cover/couch; but I have made several others.  I have to credit one of my fabulous Sewing Sisters with this version, which was done to adorn our wedding.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sunday stash: memorial

Went with my nieces to some of Mom's quilting haunts in Albuquerque.  And I didn't restrain myself (or berate myself) for collecting even more things for my stash.

Shop #1: Southwest Decoratives/Kokopelli Quilting Company
I bought a mere touch of fabric--after drooling over many, many possibilities.  And all of the fabrics came from the sale area!

The blue stripe was just a remnant, bought because blue was Mom's favorite color.  It is from the Stonehenge Starry Night 2 collection by Deborah Edwards of Northcott Studios.  Surprise! I take it out of the plastic remnant bag and discover silver metallic in them stripes.  Good one, Mom; a little glitter never hurt anyone.

The turquoise geometric print is Maze from Michael Miller fabrics.  It will help finish my wordy wallhanging (a 2011 WIP--ouch).  And the ever-so-blendable dark chocolate is Simpatico by Maywood Studio.  I bought it in preparation for a java-themed quilt I am lazily designing.  Doesn't it seem like a good choice for something coffee-like?

Shop #2Quilt Works

Never been in this store before, but it is cute and I like their aesthetic.  I was inspired by the many shop samples, so I went straight toward the books and patterns.

 First purchase, the book Felt Toys for Little Ones, by Jessica Peck.  I am a sucker for kids stuff; I just can't help it.  My favorite designs from the book at this moment are the sugar cookies, the lemon curd tart and the bakery box.  Ohhh, what a crazy old woman I am!  (At least there are no calories in these treats.)

The shop offers a class titled Forever in Blue Jeans: make a cathedral window quilt out of recycled denim jeans.  Cathedral window is on my quilting bucket list, and this one just reached out and grabbed me.  SOLD.  I couldn't get the multi-size version of the pattern without taking the class, but the store sold me the Spring 2014 issue of Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts magazine that held the original pattern.  Mine, all mine.

Final purchase: Love pattern #674 by Country Threads.  This purchase was heavily influenced by both the almost-Valentine's-Day vibe, and the 3 different shop samples of this pattern that were on display (1930's prints, solid brights, and red Asian prints).  Reminds me of the LOVE postage stamps from the 1970's.

As I was purchasing the pattern, the cashier mentioned that the Country Threads Quilt Shop and Pattern Company had recently gone out of business, but that their entire stock of this particular pattern had been procured by Quilt Works.  (So if you want your own copy of this pattern, you can buy it here.)

In honor of Valentine's Day and in celebration of my recent acquisitions, I went ahead and sewed up a bit of LOVE from my scrap bin.  Yay!

Molli Sparkles

Linking up with the oh-so-lovely Molli Sparkles over at Sunday Stash.  What fun new things has everyone else drawn into their sewing world this week?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rockin' the quilt back

Just dropped Technicolor Sky off at the long-arm quilter.  Woot.  Definitely my fastest quilt finish to date: started in October and finished the top in November. 

Needed to piece fabrics for the back, as I was determined to make every part of this from my stash.

So, in typical me fashion, I studied up on quilt backs...

My second-ever Craftsy class, taught by the wonderful Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!
A well-thought-out back

Pretty good result, I believe.  I employed work-arounds in using the large-scale floral fabric, as it was mostly pre-cut pieces from a 1990's romper pattern.  I had lots of appropriately-colored batik fabric (the on-point squares from the quilt front), but I didn't particularly want to use it; I can still be stingy when dipping into my stash, don't you know.


Gallery of other pieced backings (always run short of fabric, it seems)

Blue baby quilt.  Another project where I was determined to use up all of a long-stashed fabric (the teal zebra).

Backing of queen-sized stack-n-whack.  It makes a very nice alternative side.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Off-topic post.

I am putting this out because I need to do it for me; if you want to read along, I welcome that.

My mother was killed this week.  She was a pedestrian, hit by an automobile.  She did not suffer.  Those of us left behind took up the suffering; but we are also remembering and honoring her, and laughing at some of those memories.

First ever quilt blocks, 2010
My mother taught me to sew.  And to knit.  And to crochet.  (Somewhat tricky for a right-handed parent to teach to a left-handed child.)  These hobbies have become my comfort, my introverted way of recharging my batteries and expressing my creativity.  I am blessed to have a hobby that brings me such joy, but I am doubly blessed that now I can remember Mom whenever I am stitching.

I taught my mother how to quilt.  I dragged her to a quilting retreat a few years ago, just as a way for the two of us to spend time together.  She was tentative, slightly allergic to strangers, and definitely out of her comfort zone, but by the end of the weekend, she was talking about returning the following year.

Chicken pincushion, 2010 retreat

Card trick block, w/quilting buddy Dwynn, 2011
Mom was a brainy woman, a scientist; she had an insatiable curiosity about geology and other workings of the earth, the planets, the weather, local plant life.

Mom was also a free-spirited thinker, which I always marvel at, given the time period (1950's) in which she grew to adulthood.  * I grew up without believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy--all because my mom didn't believe in lying to children.  (Don't worry, grandma still spoiled us kids.) 
9-patch blocks, 2011
* She taught me to leave out "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance: it had been inserted without her permission during the rabid anti-communism era.  * She gave me a broad religious viewpoint: although we had strong faith in our church, we were not so full of knowledge of the inner workings of the Divine to assume that there were no other passages to Enlightenment.  * She exposed our family to wheat germ and brewer's yeast and eating for health--way back in the early 1970's.

Mom was always my biggest cheerleader.  So proud of me (of all her children, and grandchildren), and not at all bashful about bragging on us.

with Skipper: Columbia Gorge (Oregon side), 2013

So much more I could say... But I close with a phrase that both makes me think of Mom, and makes me smile.

Etsy shop: itswritteninvinyl

What have you learned from your mother?  What gifts did she bestow on your life?

Memorial website: forever missed

Sunday, January 25, 2015

ADD = What's next?

Clicked on a Facebook link...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 in Pictures

Ahhh, January.  The month of my birth.  The month of looking ahead and looking behind.

What did I finish in 2014?  Seemed like a bustling year--there was a wedding in there somewhere!

Large Sewing


T-shirt quilt; blue baby quilt
(Ok, a baby quilt is not technically large, but lots of involved piecing; and quilted by me, so that adds to the level-of-difficulty, in my world)

Small Sewing

Oakie bowtie, cummerbund & tuxedo pants; yoga mat cover; baby's book of computers; table runner; rainbow bathrobe; teapot cozy
(Anybody besides me feel like there was a rainbow theme going last year?) 


Bridal bouquet; Russian wedding band cowl; bobble cowl; wedding programs


Columbia jacket velcro; pants hemming (too, too many pair to even estimate); hemmed curtains

Thanks for helping me celebrate.  Finishes feel good!

(If you get married over 4th of July, see what an amazing photography team can do?  Nothing but awesome results from New Morning Photography)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

15 for 2015

Everyone is doing it this time of year: scanning the past, looking to the future, and setting some goals.  I was inspired by the format of Cynthia's blog post at Quilting is More Fun than Housework; she pointed me to Yvonne's link-up over at Quilting Jetgirl.  I almost feel like I have stolen some other peoples' lists--maybe us creative-types have just tapped into the Universe's stream of consciousness here:

1.  Use up, donate or dispose of 100 yards of fabric. 
I mentioned this idea last January, with the horrified realization that this means about 2 yards of fabric a week.  Production sewing in quantity is definitely not me, but I know all the fabric I haul around (some of it easily 25+ years old) keeps me bound to the past in an unhealthy way.  Time to "bless the world" with my excess! 

2.  Get my UFO pile down to single digits. 
This item was suggested by Sweetie, and it sounds reasonable, so I am including it here.  This means finishing up some long-dormant projects that are really deeply buried in the sewing storage vault.  But it also probably means sending some partially-completed lovelies out on the winds of Fate, to be finished by others.

Vintage: UFO from 2011

3.  Track my progress.  Items 1 and 2 on my list require some record-keeping; being public about these major sewing-related goals is one way to keep myself on track.

4.  Be a friend.  I have a tendency to neglect my friendships, as I retire to my own cave.  This goal is about reaching out more often--attend open sew nights regularly, join a guild or sewing group, reply to comments on my blog, comment on the inspiring blog posts of others, and meet up with my crafty friends in person.

5.  Get back to journaling.  Looking inward is a companion goal to reaching out: helps to keep me centered and more emotionally healthy.  I have heard some people rave about The Artist's Way method of writing daily pages, so maybe I'll give that practice a look-see.

6.  Learn a new technique.  Easy-peasy!  I'm always on the lookout for sewing projects that challenge me to try new things.  Let's see how this plays out in 2015.

7.  Enter something in the county fair.  I missed last year's fair (ok, I missed it because of my honeymoon; a valid excuse if ever there was one), so I have a backlog of completed-but-not-exhibited projects.  But I tend to use the county fair deadline to spur me on in finishing something challenging, too.  So my hope is to enter something previously completed AND something yet-to-be-finished.

8.  Enter a sew-along or online contest.  A companion to real-life showing off of my work is to share and show off in the virtual world.  I have entered blog hops hosted by Sew We Quilt in the past; I also visit the garment sew-along round-up every month or so and dream of stitching up some new duds; where will my inspiration come from in 2015?

9. Host a sew-along.  Ok, this is WAY out of my comfort zone, but something I've always wanted to try.  I may not have the blog followers to pull this off, but I'm hoping I can convince some others to join me.  Someone gave me the idea to pull out one of those hoarded Amy Bradley patterns and get-to-gettin'... 

10.  Practice anti-procrastination.  I admit it.  Putting things off is an art form in my world.  Well, my fave online organizing guru FlyLady marks every Wednesday as Anti-Procrastination day.  Why not?

11. Be gentle with myself.  I am such a perfectionist, and a very harsh critic of myself.  I set
impossibly high standards and clear my own path toward disappointment.  There, I said it.  But I don't always have to live it.

12.  Let go.  Every now and then, just go with the flow. 

Coffee cup pattern?
13. Work the routines. 
Both FlyLady and the ADD-related book I have been reading make the point that Routines Are Your Friends

14. Write a pattern. 
I have one in mind.  Just need to write up instructions and have someone test it out.

15. Celebrate! 
Every time the sun comes up, there's a whole new day ahead.  I love the possibility of a fresh start.

2015, here I come!

Let me know where to find your list, and I'll come over and look.  I promise to leave comments! (see goal #4, above)