Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Scrappy quilts for the win!

You don't need me to tell you of my deep love for scrappy quilts. Broken record on repeat. Interestingly enough, I just searched my own blog with the term "scrappy quilt" and the first thing to pop up was a post from about this time last year with photos of a quilt I made with this exact quilt block proclaiming my love of  . . . wait for it . . .SCRAPPY QUILTS!

To quote myself (ha!!!):     I love a billion different fabrics and colors together in one quilt. I love making the riot of color come together. This quilt has me fired up and committed to making ALL THE SCRAPPY QUILTS!  All scrappy, all the time!   (all caps, jazz hands and bug eyes too!!)

I'm nothing if not predictable.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Absence. Explained.

It's a waffling back and forth kind of thing. It's a I-have-time-for this or I-have-time-for-that kind of thing. Sit at a computer (more than I already do) or play with fabric. Or, even as the sun starts to shine more and more each day, play in the dirt.

Waffling, sure. But also 2018 was doozy. My mom dealt with a very serious health issue that began in May of last year. My dad continued to deal with ongoing health issues. It was new ground for our family to have two parents needing such careful attention. I'm a days drive away from them.  Much of this fell on my brother. I love my brother. He's an amazing man. He was there in so many heavy ways. Heavy in the sense that your chest feels compressed and forcing it to move up and down with breath is hard. He has his own wife and daughter and business to tend. Dude. My brother - he's the real deal. 

Posting pretty quilt pictures seems frivolous in depths of heavy family stuff, no?

Plus there's the whole thing of by mentioning the heavy stuff, the attention somehow shifts to me. That feels like misguided and unwarranted attention. Makes me kinda squirmy. I'm more of a heads-down-hands-in-my-jeans-pockets-nothing-to-see-here kinda girl.

My dad passed in early February. Parkinson's took him swiftly at the end but it never owned him, for he was always there. He knows how much I love him. And I certainly know how much he loves me.  He guided me in life and I miss him. And I'm so very glad that he is free of his broken body.

Absence. Explained. And I'm feeling squirmy.

So . . . pretty quilts!


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Winter Posies

I love winter. I really do. I love layering up in warm clothes and drinking hot chocolate underneath a pile of quilts. I love to cook winter foods . . . stews, roasts, soups. When it comes right down to it, I just love to hibernate. I like to gather everyone from their outside pursuits and just cuddle inside. But as February creeps by, and the seed catalogs start piling up on my coffee table, I start to get the smallest, little hope for spring. It's rained a bazillion days this dark, gray winter. Our driveway is a sloshy pit of mud. Our roof is leaking in two particularly pesky spots that we can't attend to until it's warmer. And those 70 degree days that we had last week tipped me over the edge.  I'm ready for spring. Luckily for me, my hellebores bloom each February and remind me that I can be patient.

So I'll keep hibernating.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New year. New quilts.

Just like that 2018 is over. I made 15 quilts, two large cross stitch projects, two small cross stitch projects and several zipper topped bags.  Clearly, 2018 was a good year for making.

In February of 2018 I pulled every bit of fabric I owned out and sorted, organized and took a long, serious look at it. I decided to spend the remainder of the year sewing strictly from fabric that I already owned. In other words, not buying anything new  . . . no matter how much I wanted to. I also used that time to sell or donate fabric and supplies that I would never use.

I stuck to it, mostly. I did buy the fabric and pattern to make my Synchronous Firefly Quilt.  But, how could I not?  And I immediately used it so it never became part of my fabric stash. I also bought 12 fat quarters of Halloween fabric that also got immediately turned into a quilt. I never shared that one here but certainly did on Instagram. I'll do my best to share it next Halloween because I absolutely love it.

Anyway, I used up a ton of fabric in 2018 and it felt really good. As the year progressed and I used more and more fabric, momentum continued to build and I'm carrying it forward into this year. I'm going to continue sewing from the stash of fabrics I already own. I spent yesterday taking stock and sorting my supplies and have 10 quilts worth of fabric ready to go before I then start working solely with scraps. By scraps, I mean the fabric that is random cuts of a fat quarter or less that I have organized by color.  If I had to guess I would say that I probably have five or six quilts worth of fabric from my "scraps." So, that probably means that a more realistic guess is eight or nine.

Twenty quilts in 2019? I doubt it. But I do plan to continue to make huge progress in using up what I already have.

One final comment in this regard, I still continue to buy vintage sheets/linens for quilt backings. They have the prettiest prints, the best colors and are always super soft. The fact that they cost nearly nothing doesn't hurt either. I don't count these purchases as "buying new fabric" even though it is new to me. The vintage sheets get used up 100% of the time and I don't have many sitting around giving me side eye.

As for other crafty goals for 2019, my plans include:

  1. Choosing at least one long term cross stitch project to work on in the evenings (or at track meets!)
  2. Selling a few quilts. After all, how many quilts can one house hold? I have never figured out the best method for this. I've sold some here. I've sold some on my Old Red Barn Co. Facebook page. I even opened an online shop for a short time and sold a few there. I'm thinking of trying Instagram this time but I'm not sure as most people that would see the posts are quilters and I can't imagine many quilters wanting to buy quilts. I don't know.  People generally love quilts but when they see the price tag, it's often more than they want to pay. I get it. But supplies and time are expensive.  I digress.
  3. Hauling out the big camera (instead of the one on my phone!) and getting back to photography. Documenting life and noticing beauty. 
Happy New Year, y'all.


P.S. The two finished quilts were my last quilts of 2018. The blocks in progress above are my first of 2019.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Making stuff and being all busy with stuff. You know.

Apparently I now blog about once a month. That seems pitiful. Right? I mean I have photos saved from this summer of projects, events, things I find beautiful, and thoughts that accompany the images that I have stored neatly on my hard drive to post here. It's November and over the summer we hiked to the top of a mountain to watch a meteor shower. And that sunset over the lake was awe inspiring. I wanted to share that. Then in August sometime I went out and cut lots of spearmint from the galvanized tub that I grow it in so that it doesn't take over. Mint will spread everywhere when you turn your back on it. I cut a ton of spearmint and shoved it into a gallon of vinegar. I let it sit for about a week and then had a wonderfully smelling household cleaner that I put in spray bottles.  I used that like crazy... in fact, I became mildly obsessed and started using it on ALL THE THINGS. Since then I've made several more batches. I wanted to share that. Also, since the spearmint is now dormant for winter, I've started adding about 20 drops of spearmint essential oil to a full spray bottle of vinegar for the same effect. That little tidbit is actually fairly timely because I just made my first batch that way yesterday.

And I've made several more quilts since sharing the last. That pink and red and peachy 16 patch quilt? I'm very into that color palette lately. The autumn colored half-square triangle four patch quilt? That guy is backed in corduroy and therefore a little heavier and more snuggly for this time of year. That stack of squares and fabric trimmings above? Currently sewn up and in rows ready to assemble into a quilt. All that fabric is long hoarded barkcloth and I don't really know whether to quilt it or hand tie it so it's been sitting for weeks and weeks. In the meantime, I made another Halloween quilt to add to my growing collection. I've been binding it the last several evenings. Hey! Another timely thing... but no accompanying photo.

Making stuff and being all busy with stuff. You know.  I know you know.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We rented an RV and spent two weeks in Maine

At the end of July, we rented a RV and spent two weeks in Maine. We drove first to New Hampshire where Razor and the girls hang glided. We ate dinner that night in Claremont where we unexpectedly met a cast member from a reality show that Licious is mildly obsessed with. Then we spent a day wondering through Vermont to our first real destination of Wells, Maine. Razor had the Untamed New England Expedition Adventure Race and he and his team departed out of Durham, New Hampshire. The girls and I spent those five days exploring up and down the Maine coast from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Freeport, Maine. We saw breathtaking rocky, cliff shorelines and stunning lighthouses. We ate lobster and halibut. We were there right at the height of wild blueberry season and indulged in blueberry everything from soda to ice cream. Sushi in Portland. Sea glass hunting in Kennebunkport. Souvenir shopping at a billion shops. We had a great week together. 

Just the three of us had to move the RV once. I drove it like a boss and backed it right into the space with the two best helpers I could ever ask for. 

Sneakily, we figured out where the race would finish and made it there just in time to see Razor and his team finish. Tired but full of stories, we drove him and all his super smelly gear back to the RV where we fed him the best fried halibut before he crashed.

The next day we rolled out for a meandering drive to Acadia National Park. We stopped several times along the way to see light houses and search for sea glass. My favorite sea glass spot was Belfast.

Acadia was remarkable. The views. The landscape. The sea. The lobster traps. Bar Harbor. The food. Southwest Harbor and the boat ride on the RL Gott out to Frenchboro. We saw harbor seals, harbor porpoise, gray seals, bald eagles and cormorants. And lots and lots of other unforgettable sights, sounds, and flavors.  The 18 photos above hardly even scratch the surface.

I love my crew. We rocked RV living so hard. Everyday was a game of Tetris to get us in and out of that moving vehicle of family bonding. Countless quarters to shower and do laundry. Falling asleep each night with my feet near the kitchen faucet. The daily contortionist shuffle of bed-to-table-back-to-bed-again.  It really was one of the best trips.  And, Maine was gorgeous.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Synchronous Firefly Quilt

Have you heard of or, better yet, seen the synchronous fireflies in Great Smoky Mountain National Park? Certain species of fireflies, or lightening bugs, glow in unison and seeing them far from civilization and competing artificial light sources is magical. They blink on and then off together. Hundreds of them in unison. It's really something.

We've never gotten a lottery ticket to see the official, official event along the trails in the campground that the park puts on. But we drive the old logging roads, hike into dark woods and cruise the loop of Cades Cove each spring and have seen their synchronicity.  And when I look out into the corner of my yard each evening in early summertime, I'm pretty sure I see them there too. Not hundreds of them. Just those that live for their brief time right in my yard.  Sometimes I wonder if my eyes are playing tricks on me. But I watch and wait and watch and wait. And I see them blink together.

Obviously, this is my Synchronous Fireflies quilt. Cause, I mean, duh.  No brainer. Had to be done.


P.S.  Pattern from Pen and Paper Patterns can be found here at Pattern Drop. You can even buy the same fabrics I used from Sewtopia here.

P.S.  For some reason I'm no longer getting emails each time I get a comment on a post. This means that I'm not able to send an email response to your comments like I have for the past 10 years.  And when I go to the actual post itself, I'm not given the option to reply there either. It's a glitch and I'm doing my best to work through it and see what settings have changed and what I can do to fix it. I apologize for my lack of responses. I do not like to be rude and I apologize if it appears that I am being exactly that.