Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Sharing what I will

Earlier this year, my blog turned 11 years old. Back in the day, I would post thoughts and photos on motherhood. But my beautiful daughters reached an age where it just didn't feel right to share them so freely here. I still have big thoughts about motherhood and what my role/responsibility/meaning/am I doing it right/future looks like, but they just don't get top billing around here anymore.

Like, prom was a few weeks ago.

But spring here is beautiful. And it's comfortable to share images of that.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Father's Choice quilt

My latest finish. The individual block is historically called Father's Choice. Bright happy colors in an over sized block. An excellent quilt holder that knows to keep her feet hidden. And a stray outdoor cat that has decided to call our house home.


P.S. If you want more details about this quilt and progress photos of it along the way, search the hashtag #danasfatherschoicequilt on Instagram.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Spending my days

The past weeks have been busy. One has been home from college for spring break. The other had spring break the week before that. I've taken on a bit more work from home and that always comes with loads of hours of learning curve. I've been out in the greenhouse putting tiny seeds into tiny little pots of dirt and checking them incessantly for signs of germination. And in a mad frenzy of weed pulling, I tweaked my shoulder. Or that could have been from making the bed. It's hard to say really what did it but it's prevented me from sewing.

In between all the busy, however, I have pulled lots of blue fabrics. I've wanted to revisit the Wyoming Valley quilt block and thought I would do so with a scrappy mix of blue and white fabrics. I made a sampler quilt a few years ago  and one of my favorites in that quilt is the Wyoming Valley block. You can see some of the blues in the photo above. That is if you can look past the beginning pile of what has become my stripe fabric obsession. 

I've been wanting to make the Stripe Me Lucky quilt and realized that I needed a massive variety of striped fabric in order to do the pattern justice. So, one day at the thrift store, I wondered over to the men's button up shirt section and found several 100% cotton shirts. That has led me to visiting every thrift shop in the tri-state area and beyond. The men's button up shirt section is a gold mine! What amazing finds to be found! I mean, look at all those stripes.

Wonder when I'll get to do something with them. . .


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.