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Monday, June 24, 2013

To be continued - offline....

Well, here we are. At the end of this blog adventure.
(I wasn't sure I would ever write that)

Lately I have felt more and more that my blog has become homework for life.
If something great happens, I must blog about it.
If I complete something, I must blog about it.
If I see something inspiring, or go somewhere exciting, I must blog about it.
Then there were all the Re-Building Joy entries - how could I walk through my grief and healing without explaining where I was at? How could I gloss over pain and pretend it didn't exist? So I shared it all.

And in a way, the blog itself - after 1115 posts and close to 6 years of regular blogging, has become a task for me to do - something else hanging over my head after each experience that I encounter.  I've been aware for years that my blog is different than others - it's not just crafting, quilting, art, family, foster care, adoption attempts, grief and healing, inspiration, skirts, business promotion (when I had one) - It was kind of it's own animal. It's been my online journal where I've allowed people into my head to see what makes me tick. And that was fun. Years of fun.

But recently, after some thought, I think it's time for this chapter to close. I am not promising that I won't ever blog again... Who knows what the future holds? This past year, J and I have been talking a lot about living a life less public, relishing some privacy and allowing ourselves and our family to have things we don't share.  This is a huge change from who we always were - starting with our huge wedding and big announcements over the years.... and then having to reign a lot in when we were foster parents and unable to share hardly any of the details of what we faced, while it was possibly the most formative thing we have done together as a family other than our multiple cross country moves. Now, though, we really desire to live somewhere in the middle.

Not that I am completely offline...
If you want to find me still, you can follow me on Instagram - I'm addicted to the fun of IG. You can also find some of my artwork on etsy.  Other than that, my friends - you can see me in real life and know that I have really loved this adventure with you as readers... 6 years of blogging makes for a habit that will leave a hole for sure. But that is good. Change is good.

I wish you the best, the brightest and the most hopeful future... and I'll see you around.



Friday, May 24, 2013

Daring Adventures in Paint

My friend, Tori, encouraged me to take an online painting class with her by an artist named Mati Rose. The class is called "Daring Adventures in Paint" and it's really well organized - a daily email comes to your inbox, encouraging you to try a new technique, read about an artist, watch a video.
Honestly, I've fallen way behind with the core material, but it has motivated me to get the canvases and brushes out and just do some art.
These are all pics of some mid-progress work, none that I absolutely love quite yet, but we are getting there....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fwd: LAMQG orphan block swap - what Hollie made me

(Ugh! I thought I'd posted this months ago and just found the half written blog post...) oops! Sorry, Hollie!

Here's what I got from Hollie in our LAMQG swap... A table runner! Yippee!

She took my lonely little hexagon block and turned it into this
wonderful piece. And when she realized that she'd made the whole thing for me and it had no red, she added some into the binding. ;) (my kids love that)
I had to move the huge bowl of lemons off the runner to take a pic just now, so pardon the circle indentation in the last photo... As you can see, it's getting a lot of use. In fact, today, I even hosted Hollie here for lunch and we had soup at the table and enjoyed her gift together.

Finishing quilts - baby quilt WIP done

Last year, my buddy Ramona gave me a few awesome pieces of Robert Kaufman's modern cheater prints. I was really inspired, started 2 quilts with it and then left them unfinished for a year. Z's bed sized quilt is finished now, but this second baby quilt was still languishing.
I'm super motivated to get through these WIPs, and also motivated to work on my free-motion quilting. It's a skill you can only learn by lots of practice, so lately everything has been a quilt to practice on. This one I tried a new (to me) pattern of interlinking boxes.
I could definitely point out lots of flaws, but overall, it was a great first try.
I backed it in pinstriped flannel and now have it in the happy pile of quilts to give.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Preparing for fun!

After a long and busy spring, we are finally seeing Jay's schedule free up as he gets closer and closer to his annual hiatus (aka - Summer Break, which doesn't quite align with the kids' schedule).
He's stopped working on the weekends and has been home in time to tuck the kids in bed for over a week now. (Yay!)
This pic is from a weekend trek to Malibu a few weeks ago where we camped out at El Matador beach for the day.
The kids ran around in the caves and waves and we took turns reading from a guide book for our upcoming trip to Paris and London (we leave THIS Saturday!). It hit me as I was sitting in the sun and reading the book that life is pretty sweet right now.

I've been trying to spend a lot of time cranking through current works in progress that I've had on my plate for a while, and I keep forgetting to blog about them, but will try to do a little before my trip. There are so many logistics to take care of with leaving the house, pets, and kids!!! Fortunately we've got a stellar housesitter and rockin grandparents who are hosting M&Z....

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

LAMQG Swap - Melissa's orphan block

So we have swaps at our guild meetings every few months. I enjoy participating in them and have really lucked out on the receiving end every time. Here's what I made for our fearless swap leader, Melissa. (I sure hope she likes it! She wasn't there to receive it last meeting.)
Melissa stipulated with this swap that we would be getting someone's "orphan" block and making something for them from it. Seeing as how I've been a bit obsessed with table runners lately, I was thinking that her block (the navy corners at the side ends and excluding the red strip at the top and bottom) might make a cool table runner. But not everyone is into table runners and once I tried the idea out as a journal cover, there was no going back.
I'm hoping that she gets excited about this orphan becoming something she can use daily.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Scrappytripalong finished!

January 1 this year there was a funny trend that began on Instagram for those of us who are into modern quilting. A couple popular quilters decided they were going to start to sew along together using a tutorial called the scrappytripalong.
I was up in Mammoth and far away from my sewing machine for the weekend but I joked that it was January 1 and I had already missed out on the biggest trend of the year.  When I came home I immediately started on my own scrappytripalong.  I decided to cut into some of my very favorite fabrics (from many different lines) designed by AnnaMaria Horner that I had never been able to decide how to use.
Soon after I started this project Mimi got a new bed and it was queen-size. We didn't have a quilt for her so this quickly became the quilt that I was making for her.
I am absolutely in love with the way this quilt came out and so is she.  J was jealous of how heavy all the seams make the quilt and now I have a second scrappy (all red and white!) scrappytripalong in the works.
This pattern is super easy and lots of fun I can't recommend it highly enough. You can find a link to it here: http://quiltville.com/scrappytrips.shtml













Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lots of Jewelry made this weekend

Last weekend I pulled out my beads to give a bunch to my sister and a friend. As I was looking through them I was reminded how much I enjoyed them. I decided it was time to make some jewelry again... Not necessarily because I feel the need to start any business right now but simply because having all these beads and looking at them unused made me kind of itch to get my fingers on them and make something new.
Mimi started begging me this weekend to pull out my beads so that she could make earrings and once I got them out I sat down next to her and started working myself. By the end of the weekend I had made 8 necklaces and she had made about 20 pairs of earrings.
The thing that I found most interesting about the creative process this time around was that I was really improving as I designed the necklaces. This is something that I haven't done before and made me think a lot of the process when I'm collaging or doing improv quilting. I really liked that a lot better than making patterns and just repeating them a hundred times.
Little Miss Ambition is all into having a store of her own which I have to figure out. I really don't know what to do with these extra necklaces. Maybe I will list them on Etsy just to get rid of them.
In the meantime it was fun to play and she and I had a great time together.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Asian sesame pasta recipe - a staple around here

Some recipes are so yummy they become family staples and need to be shared. Here's on of our favorites for many years.
My mom discovered the Al Dente spice sesame noodles (and their back label recipe) a long time ago and now a new generation of our family has come to love this dish. It's a fantastic dinner to serve to guests and tastes great cold the next day too - Jay and I fight over leftovers.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Zane's cozy quilt

I told you I am trying to burn through these WIPs... Here's another one that's been half finished for a year or more. (Ugh!) it was a while ago when my friend, Ramona, gave me some of Robert Kaufman's modern cheater prints to play with. I loved them and sat there trying to figure out what to do with them... Here's how I know this was so long ago... I'd just started to drive down to Yolanda's house every week to sew with her as she had learned her cancer was serious. I noticed she had a couple of her own WIPs that were this easy pattern... A 5" square with a 5" border around it. Simple. But really pretty! So I decided to try that with this cheater print for a fast (haha!) baby quilt I could give away. But when I made the first four squares and laid them out, Z started saying, "I WANT THAT QUILT!" (What? Really?) "yeah! I love it!" ("Um, okay... I've never made you a bed sized quilt"... Remember this is last spring, before the Christmas quilts, which were also languishing in the WIP pile)
So I planned to make it bigger. But then it sat there for months while we moved houses, remodeled, and I dealt with all of Yolanda's unfinished projects and dreams. So Z's quilt was in a pile at the bottom of the box.
November last year was our retreat and I pulled this puppy out - all four squares of it and asked my friends, "how do I make this baby quilt into a bed sized quilt?" I had all sorts of border options - all of which were lame until we all pooled our resources and realized that I had enough of each of these fabrics to make an additional 8 squares for a proper repeat. I love generous friends!!! (I think Hollie and Ramona especially contributed to this one)... XOXOXO!
Thanks to the retreat and my pals, the top was completed before Thanksgiving.

This is Z we are making this for. The kid is so into how things feel. I realized he would love it regardless, (he's also very sensitive and sentimental) - but it would mean SO much more to him if it was super soft. Ahhhh. I bought some super nice gray dotted flannel for the backing and then I decided to hand quilt it so it would have all that yummy give.

I kept losing interest in quilting this quilt. The hand quilting was boring this time; repetitive and I did most of in white thread on white fabric (snore) ... At quiltcon, however, I picked up some awesome variegated yarn that had the exact match of colors - primaries plus aqua (what are the chances?) and that finally got me excited about finishing this quilt. I used that in the middle sections (which I forgot to mention, are 8" not 5") ... Finally got all the quilting done during this horrid flu I've had....
And the binding is something that Zane saw floating around my office the other day...it's an adorable postage-type stripe called "Handle with care" - also by Robert Kaufman.

The end result is something I am really happy with and I hope he loves it long enough to take it to college with him.

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