Friday, December 29, 2017

Reflections and Goals: Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

Holy cow, y'all! It feels like I blinked and months have passed without a single blog post. I've got several projects to post about, but that's a post for another day. It's that time of the year for reflection and goal setting. Last year at this time, I was still a bit mentally and emotionally frayed from my divorce. I was learning how to be hopeful again and putting the pieces of my life back into order. And what a year it has been! I never imagined a more blessed and wonderful year!

Looking back, I'm more than satisfied with my year. I didn't think I completed a ton of projects, but I think that's because I didn't keep a ton of projects. I blogged about four commission projects (2 baby quilts, 1 king size quilt, and a laptop bag) and have one queen sized quilt I need to blog about still. I gave away or plan to donate four projects (2 baby quilts, a pillow, and a twin sized quilt), and have one baby quilt I need to blog about still. I kept three projects that I blogged about - a mini quilt, a pixie basket, and my Alison Glass 'Quilt With No Name' throw quilt. There were projects I didn't blog about, such as baby bibs and my passport wallet, but overall this was the sum of my finishes!

I've still got some WIP's, but I've really focused on trying to stay on track and finish what I've started. I've done a combination of stash sewing and letting myself buy some new fabric goodies. Even better, I've used a chunk of those new fabric goodies!
I absolutely loved making this Kite Flight quilt! I'm also pleased the recipients loved it as well! :)

My Dad likes this one as much as I do; I catch him snuggled under it with the dogs quite often!

The biggest quilt I've ever made, I'm still proud of finally finishing this king-sized beast!
Outside of my quilting world, several big things happened. I bought a (much) newer car earlier in the year. I went on a dream vacation and cruised with my friends to Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, marking my first big trip without any parents present! Hahaha! I was promoted at work, earning a sort of leadership position I never imagined being able to fill. The biggest 'big thing' that happened this year happened just after Thanksgiving though. I bought a house! If you follow me on Instagram, you're already privy to the news, but HOLY MOLEY! Y'all, I never dreamed I would actually own my own home. But I've been working hard and saving and things fell into line and, man, God is good. :) My family and I are doing some renovations (another blessing is a Dad that's practically a contractor!) and Elvis and I's little castle will be ready in the spring! Complete with a fenced in yard to play in for him and a sewing room to play in for me! :)

Oh, how I miss those beautiful waters!

Like I need an excuse to share a picture of my best guy. :)

Last year, I simplified my goals to 3 things: Choose Joy, Treat Yo'self, and Take Care of Yourself --- it was a year of focusing on self-care and learning to just be. Overall, I feel like I worked hard on these goals and kept good focus on them throughout the year.

Looking forward, I was having trouble thinking what goals I wanted to write down. I struggle to make quilting specific goals normally because my interests and plans change so much within a year. But I think these are a good overview of what I would like to see done this coming year.

1. Choose Joy - I am writing this one down again because it is such a central sentiment of my life now. Even when things are hairy and stressful, I make it a goal to choose joy. It's easier said than done, but it's amazing how things change with such a simple shift in attitude.

2. Serve Others - Over the past year, I have really been praying and asking God to use me how he wants. And I've really felt called to serve others, I just don't know how. So I'm making it a goal to keep my heart open to helping others. I want to make people feel loved and pass on loving service like it has been done for me. Whether this is baking cookies for a neighbor, hosting a movie night for friends, or tagging along and helping with a service project, I want to make a difference in my community, no matter how small it may be.

3. Continue Learning - I love learning. I never realized that fully until I finished up my college coursework, but I love it. So I hope to pick up more quilting skills, but I also like picking up other skills, whether that be gardening, cooking, foreign languages, or whatever strikes my fancy. If I can swing it, I'm really hoping to learn how to play the ukulele this year!

I think I will leave it at 3 goals again, it worked well for me last year. It's not an overwhelming amount of things to think about, but these goals pack a lot of punch! I'm excited to see what this next year holds and hope to share it all with y'all!

Hope y'all have a Happy New Year! I'm linking up with Yvonne over at Quilting Jetgirl!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Finished Commission: Herringbone Baby Quilt

Hey y'all! I'm back with another finished baby quilt! Like the previous one I shared, this was finished a little while back, I just had to wait for my client to gift it so it could stay a surprise.

For this one, my client wanted the same feel as the previous quilt, but with a slightly different color palette --- bright blue, pink, coral. So off I went to shop for fabric and what a bear of a trip it was! I circled and circled the fabric stacks for more than an hour before I finally found what I wanted. I was nervous I was settling until I put the binding on, talk about anxiety! Lol.
Doggy toes! :)

My client wanted a herringbone look, so I used this tutorial from Rachel over at Stitched in Color. I made some adjustments to make it work for the picture in my head and it went together really quick and easy!

Simple echo quilting rounded things out nicely. :)

I'm just going to point out that the new flooring in my parents' sunroom is to die for and made the absolute perfect backdrop for this quilt!

Hope your Sunday goes well, y'all!
Approved by my quilt inspector!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Living Life and Sewing Quilts: A Finished Commission to Share!

Shew, y'all, it has been crazy since I was last here! I've been working harder than ever, slowly working towards goals I set for myself and, a week ago, I got to check off one of those goals.

Stingray City, Grand Caymen!

Kayaking through the mangroves in Grand Caymen!
I went on vacation! But not just any vacation, oh no. I went on a cruise and visited places outside of the U.S. It's been a dream of mine to travel and see what is outside of my one-stoplight town and I've finally begun that journey! This post was supposed to be about a commission finish, but I can't help but slide in a few pictures of my absolutely amazing trip. :) Note: these pics are unedited but GOOD LORD, LOOK HOW PRETTY! I'm amazed my phone took such good photos! :)
Our first morning in the Gulf of Mexico! Pictures can't do these views justice!

Ziplining in Cozumel, Mexico!

Back to the quilting though! I've had this little baby quilt finished for a while, but had to wait until the momma-to-be received it at the baby shower. She and grandma-to-be commissioned it, letting momma pick out the pattern and fabrics, but the catch was she didn't get to see the actual quilt until her shower!
Such dainty, feminine fabrics. :)

The colors washed out on these sadly, the pinks and yellows nearly disappeared in the light! :(

She picked out most of the fabrics, I just picked out some fillers and whatnot to balance things out. The template is from the book Modern Designs for Classic Quilts by Kelly Biscopink and Andrea Johnson, just modified the pattern to the size I wanted and to include the border that momma-to-be wanted. :)
Momma-to-be loved this yellow floral but was terrified for it to be on the back. I told her to have a little faith because EVERYBODY loved this yellow print, including myself! :)

That little sprig to the left of the rocks is a fully bloomed out Elephant Ear plant now, it's amazing how time flies! :)
I'm happy to report she loved it! It's always so nerve-wracking to make a commission, you would think I'd be used to it by now. Lol. I have one more commissioned baby quilt in the vault, just waiting to be shared, hopefully you will get to see it soon! :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Have Something to Say: An Ongoing Project

Hey y'all! It seems I blinked and nearly 2 months flew by. I've been busy sewing, but I can't share anything quite yet. Today though, I'm sharing a really personal project. To explain it, however, I feel like I need to go back a bit.

The past 8 months have been...surreal. There's been so much growth and learning and faith and all-around living. I left an unhealthy marriage and essentially started back at square one. I sorted through a lot of guilt and confusion. I struggled through loneliness and disappointment. I've learned to smile and laugh for real again. And I'm learning to speak. Really speak.

I know I can't be alone when I often put my thoughts under wraps. True to Southern hospitality, I'm asked, "How are you?" a lot. And for years and years, I've simply replied, "I'm fine." Even when my world was in shambles and the strongest thing on me was my shoelaces, I bit the inside of my cheek and managed the lie. Because who would want my burdens?

I learned though, when I was put to the fire, I would speak. During the hardest time of my life, the first thing I did was call my mother. I had something to say and dang it, I was going to finally say it. And months later, that idea stuck with me and inspired me. I've finally decided that I have something to say. What better way to say it than with quilts?

If you follow Jess @ Quilty Habit, you know she is really passionate about words on quilts and saying things that matter to you. Though my quilt is far less political, it was her that got the idea rolling that I could say what I wanted in the way I was most comfortable speaking.

I'm (Not) Fine is a piece inspired by my valley, my dark patch, my low point. Though it is in my rearview mirror, I was still coping when I planned this quilt. The entire process has taken nearly 6 months. I often worked on this when the house was empty because, frankly, it was heavy. Heavy on my heart, heavy on my mind. And working with that heaviness has lifted a weight off my shoulders.

The words are paper pieced, using patterns from a book called Quilt Talk. I can't remember the Kona colors except the pale blue/green, which is Ice Frappe I believe.
I listed many of the things I should have said rather than 'I'm fine' and free motion quilted them in the background with matching thread, causing them to nearly disappear. Only when you look, really look, can you read what's written.

This mini quilt is the most intentionally designed piece I've ever made. Never once did I leave anything to chance or just wing it --- I had every detail picked out from the beginning. Though that normally isn't my style, I couldn't imagine approaching this quilt any other way. I plan to make more quilts following the theme ' I Have Something to Say' and I encourage y'all to join me! It's both terrifying and liberating to bare yourself in fabric and thread and, I'm sure, you have something to say just as much as I do.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Keep Your Weinee Warm: A Baby Quilt!

Happy Friday, y'all! I'm excited to share my latest finish today! If you follow me on Instagram, you caught a sneak peek of this one.

A work friend of mine, who I lovingly call the Weiner Queen due to her love of weiner dogs, is having a baby boy soon. When she first announced she was pregnant, I knew right away that a quilt with wiener dogs was a must! It really was meant to be because the awesome pattern by Elizabeth Hartman came out not long after the gender reveal, giving me plenty of time before her baby shower.

The instructions for piecing the dogs were absolutely fantastic and I recommend this pattern 100%! There were a lot of pieces, but labeling my stacks with painter's tape and clover clips kept everything in order. Elizabeth is a fantastic pattern writer, I'm sure I'll be buying from her again!

I quilted a boxy meander all over, leaving the dogs untouched so they would be soft and have a little poof to them. I couldn't help but pet them when I was done! :)

I also made some bibs and burp cloths with the scraps. Having a matching set just sets this gift to a new level, don'tcha think?

I was so excited to gift this to my friend at her baby shower last weekend. I couldn't have been happier when she opened it and squealed before hugging it. Everybody oohed and aahed, but her happiness really made my quilty heart smile. The next day, she let me know it was already hanging on his crib, waiting for his arrival so baby and momma could snuggle in it. :)

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday and Needle and Thread Thursday!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Because I Needed to Quilt the Crap Out of Something

Howdy y'all, I'm back with a finish to share! I pieced this little quilt for the sole reason that I needed something quick and easy to 'cleanse my quilting palette' after the monstrous Crown Royal quilt. I went with a simple coin quilt design, and just flipped it on its side to add some interest. This ended up finishing around 40 inches square I believe.

This little baby crinkled like crazy after washing and drying!

For the quilting, I went a bit crazy! I really want to improve my quilting skills and branch out beyond the simple designs I've come to love. And the only way to spread those quilty wings is to try it, right?! So this little quilt became a canvas for me to quilt the daylights out of!

I tried my hands at a modified feather pattern around the edge and it went surprisingly well! I actually squealed a minute or so after starting because it actually looked like my doodles! A quick tip I found helpful: I doodled my design on paper, then taped it on my sewing machine. This way, the picture was right at eye level, I just had to glance to the side if I felt lost in the design.

In those narrow little alleyways between the stacks of coins, I'm not sure what to call the design. I think I've heard it called a wishbone pattern, but don't quote me on it. I did the design once, then staggered it slightly and repeated the same design to make it feel fuller.

In the 'tweener area, I did simple straight lines because I realized I was getting a little carried away. Hahaha! I topped things off with a simple binding to blend in, but I couldn't help myself from adding a few little pops of color. :)

In my eyes, this quilt is a little crazy, especially for me. But I had SO much fun trying out new quilting designs and just cutting loose! It's far from perfect but for the first time since I started quilting, I started feeling really confident in what I can do. Like maybe I can run with the big dogs of the quilting world that I admire so much. I've still got tons to learn but I'm on my way!! :)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pardon My French(ie): A Finish!

Happy Sunday, y'all! I hope your weekend has been fun and restful! The weather is beautiful in my little corner of KY today, but I couldn't help but stop and share this pillow I finished yesterday. My little cousin, Ella, is having a birthday next weekend and I realized, like I normally do, that time had slipped away and the party was nearly here and I was present-less!

Cue this pillow! Ella is French Bulldog crazy, especially since they got their own not long ago. So it only seemed proper to make her a little something with a Frenchie on it to celebrate her birthday. In fact, it looks like HER Frenchie! :)

I drew out my plan on a piece of paper the size of the pillow, making sure everything fit how I wanted. The overall layout was inspired by a picture of a Boston Terrier I found with a simple Google search. Then I used Heat n' Bond to applique the face onto the background fabric, straight stitching around the edges.

Like most of the fonts I've used in the past, I drew the letters out by hand. These were inspired by some scrapbooking stickers I saw, modified a bit to fit better in the space I had for her name.

I finished things up with an envelope backing and...IT ACTUALLY FIT! Y'all, this is the first time I've made a pillow cover that fits the pillow form! I was so ecstatic! I just did a quick search for tutorials on Pinterest beforehand and it paid off. :)

I still need to stick a little label somewhere if I can remember to, then it is ready to make a road trip this weekend! Thanks for reading y'all!

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Finished Commission: Spring has Sprung Laptop Bag!

Howdy y'all! Once again, time slipped away and I went a while without blogging again. But man, I've been sewing up a storm and having fun as the weather turns spring-like. And what better way to celebrate spring than with a bright, happy laptop bag?!

A work friend's mom saw some of my creations on Facebook and asked if I could make a bag for her laptop. Of course!

I was given free reign with design and fabric choices, which was surprisingly scary. I like having project guidelines when I'm creating for somebody else! But I persevered and I used this tutorial as a guideline to get started.

Rather than buy pre-quilted fabric, which is expensive and my Jo Ann's didn't have much variety, I simply quilted regular fabric with a layer of batting. I get serious heart eyes when looking at that gridwork of quilting. If you follow me on Instagram, you got a peek of my happiness as I discovered a seam guide (or at least I think it is, I still haven't checked the manual for sure) and used it to make a darn-near perfect grid of quilting without the hassle of taping or marking a bunch.

This was my first time buying hardware, but I only had eyes for that adorable zipper. Isn't it cute?! It added a bit of a hitch sewing it in; I had to make sure that cute little design didn't get sewn into the seam allowance, but it was worth the extra brain power! :)

I absolutely love the print for the lining. I used the yellow colorway of it in the Crown Royal Quilt and I'm pretty sure I would buy it in every color of the rainbow if I could. I just wrote on the lining with a fabric pen rather than sew in a label.

I've got some secret sewing in the works right now, but I've got some shareable sewing as well! I'm hoping to get to a point where I can share soon!

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Quilt to Crown a Royal: A Finished Commission!

Guess which side my 5'4" mom was on and which side my 6'3" dad was on. Poor mom was stretching as tall as she could and still couldn't get it straight! LOL
Howdy y'all! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be able to say 'Look at this finish!'. I've been working on this commission for what feels like forever, but the end has finally arrived! This quilt was a commission for a coworker's boyfriend. He gave me a bag full of Crown Royal bags and said to have fun. The only guideline was that is needed to be king sized.

My parents' poor bed was dwarfed by this king-sized monster!
I didn't reinvent the wheel with this design, but I did draw it up on paper and audition different layouts before settling on this one. It really made me feel like a designer when I was coloring in my little notebook! :)

I learned a lot with this quilt. For example: No more king size quilts! Lol. To the ladies and gents that make quilts this large on a regular basis, you are super heroes! I was exhausted after lugging this monster around. I also got my fill of log cabin blocks to last me for a long while, I'm sure.

I did loop-dee-do quilting in the yellow areas and did some minimal straight line quilting around some seams in the purple areas. In the borders, I alternated some purple and white straight lines around the seam lines.

Now that this one has been delivered, I can finally take a breath it feels like! It's so good to have this one off my shoulders, I'm proud I finished it! :)

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday and Needle and Thread Thursday!