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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

And just like that, summer is over. Basically.

No. No. I know. Summer isn't over. But once vacations are done, your high school aged daughter goes back to school and you move your college girl back to school, summer is over.

I never shared this patriotic star quilt here. I made it mostly in June and finished it up right around July 4th. It's bold and graphic. Minimally quilted. Large enough to take to the park to watch fireworks each summer. Plus, it used up lots of fabric that I had been saving for just this purpose.

Lots to share about our trip to Maine. Hopefully soon.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The softest, lightest, airiest quilt

I told you I've been making lots of quilts. No joke, ya'll.

This quilt is made entire of cotton lawn fabrics from the "Sleeping Porch" line by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics. I used a pattern called Designer Star Quilt from May Chappell.  It went together in a snap.  Really.  Like, from pulling the fabrics, pressing them, cutting them, sewing them into the quilt top, basting, quilting and binding, I probably have seven hours invested.

And this sucker is soft, silky, light weight and so perfect for summer.


Monday, July 16, 2018

A quilt with a rainbow of Ohio Star blocks

I mentioned last time that I've been making lots of quilts this year. I am always making quilts but I've made about twice the amount that I usually do by this time each year.  It's that "flow" thing I talked about. It's such a good stress reliever. And 2018 has been heavy on the stress as both of my parents have some pretty hefty health issues going on. I don't really like saying that out loud here for many reasons. 1) I don't really want/need/like the associated sympathy that goes along with such pronouncements; 2) that is their story to tell, not mine; 3) telling the world makes it all the more real. So, I'm just going to talk about this particular quilt, 'kay?

The Ohio Star quilt block is an all time favorite of mine. Long before I was a quilter, I appreciated the graphic nature of the block and have known it's name probably since I was 20 years old. I figured it was high time I made an entire quilt with nothing but Ohio Star blocks. So I did. In a rainbow of scrappy colors and prints. And then I arranged them in rainbow order across the quilt. I chose a vintage red polka dot sheet for the backing and quilted it with loads of tiny loops.  It's truly one of my favorite quilts I've ever made.

Back to the flow.