Monday, April 30, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Re•building joy - I caught myself singing

I had a long drive yesterday at dusk. The skies in LA have been unbelievably beautiful this week as a very unusual storm passed through. I was able to watch the sunset in my rear view mirror and see it reflect off downtown and the urban hills and trees of LA as I drove east to the foothills. Beautiful. If I weren't going 68mph, I would have been taking pictures - so many.
But the images are sealed in my mind. I was alone, there wasn't traffic, for some reason... I put on my favorite playlist really loud and enjoyed the moment. There was a moment though where suddenly I realized, "I'm singing loud in my car!"
I think I have caught myself singing only two of three times in the past six months. Not much.
But the sun seems to be rising. The flowers are appearing on the earth.
Ironically, I also have found that I cry more easily when I think of missing Gray (I so wish I could show you pics of him!) - but I am smiling more too. Things are getting unclogged.

I'm really ready for spring. It's been a long winter. I remember from my 5 winters in Chicago that the first crocuses that poked through the snow were the sign that we had made it. I have seen crocuses. And I have caught myself singing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Re•building joy - encouraging myself

We can all agree. It's been a rough few months around here. I haven't shared half of it. Sometimes it's felt like we almost catch our breath with one thing only to be hit by another, stronger wave. I saw this verse and typography on pinterest and felt like I needed it written on my face. So I did just that. (graphically speaking)
I needed to be able to read this, and know that it could be me, too.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh, that old thing? (engagement ring)

I look for beauty every day, every place. Today I was leaving the grocery store and this caught my eye.
It's been on my finger for 13 years. And I still love it. And the man that gave it to me? I love him way more than I did back then. Which makes this antique treasure all the more beautiful.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Charity Quilts - wanna help?

I've had so much fun helping the LAMQG wrap our hands and hearts around quilting for charity these past few months. As a guild, we have 2 completed charity quilts and more than 6 underway. All in 4 months. (this makes me happy)
charity quilt made by my orphaned blocks donated to American Hero Quilts which sends quilts to wounded soldiers in front line hospitals in  Afghanistan
I especially love how our members have caught the bug for speed-pieced quilts. It all started with that one on the winter retreat. We made 24 blocks in a half hour and had a finished top an hour later when three of us sashed it as fast as we could.  I have just received word that this quilt is finished being long-armed by our fabulous Tanya, who also chairs the charity committee with me.
photo taken by Hollie of Undercover Crafter

The second speed pieced quilt top was assembled at our weekend sew in February. We whipped that puppy up in a half hour again - this time without sashing and Hollie took it home to quilt. I haven't seen it yet, but she's a great quilter, so I am really excited.
photo taken by Hollie of Undercover Crafter
The third speed pieced quilt is finished. I'm going to show it at the next meeting - and then we get to decide where it gets donated.  This one was a really fast top - only a few of us were at the March sew, so we did really big, fast 12.5" x "any length" blocks out of strips that I pre-cut.  Turns out there are still enough purple strips cut to make a second quilt, so I have about 10 more bundles from that one to hand out. I took the purple one on my sewing weekend getaway and finished that one by the lake.

In addition to all this - I've begun collecting "orphan" blocks by friends and members and these have provided the inspiration and themes for even more quilts.

We've collected enough batting scraps to piece together batting for 2 of the quilts.

I have decided to post here on my blog, because I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe someone might read all this here and want to get involved... even if they aren't a regular at our meetings or sews. In that case... I have so many great ways for you to get involved!

1) donate leftover cotton batting scraps (bigger pieces are preferred) - or if you have some other type of batting that you aren't going to use and its a big enough piece to use, we'll take it.
2) be a TOPPER - help assemble the quilt top from the donated squares
3) be a quilter - baste and quilt one of our quilts
4) send in blocks:
        - want to participate in the super easy and fast purple quilt?
                    I'll send you a roll of strips to sew up.   (we can do it all through the mail)
        - current block color themes I'm looking for: - red/black/white  -aqua/gray/yellow
        - got some orphaned blocks? leftovers? trials you made and don't know what to do with?
5) be a binder - don't push and shove, we all know this is the best part.
6) got a charity that wants one? let us know. These are also great for charities to put in their auctions to raise money.
7) donate fabric - though I am currently swimming in fabric donations for these quilts (our backings have been donated by Lauren at SEW MODERN, yay!) - we are actually quite low on solids. Maybe you have a solid color that isn't the right weight or is a shade you know you won't use... that would be greatly loved.

It's such a great thing to have a hobby that can lend itself to generously sharing with others. If you want to get involved, let me know!

Friday, April 20, 2012

My new favorite salad

My friend Jenny was talking about how much she loves this one kale salad that she makes... She said that she makes an entire bowl of it and secretly hopes her hubby won't want any so that she can eat the whole thing.
I've never been a kale fan, but that sounded pretty much like the best endorsement I could hear, so I asked for the recipe and made it myself.

Only problem was that I didn't have time for a gourmet grocery store run, so I looked it up and you can substitute the ricotta salata cheese with feta... (something I'm also not usually a fan of if it's too strong) - so I bought a flavored feta (lemon, garlic oregano!) and this salad is so amazing that I have already made it for myself 4 times in 2 weeks. YUP.
And I'm not sharing.
(make your own!)

Here's the link:

Anyone know what this fabric is?

If you know me, you'll know why I'm sad about being at the end of my precious stash of it....

Monday, April 16, 2012

End of collage class

It's the end of the semester for my art class. Wow, it has been memorable... We've continued to meet, even without our beloved professor, and this week is the final class. I'm walking around my house, trying to collect my 2012 collages after feeling bad because I felt like I hadn't accomplished much this semester.
Turns out, I've done a lot more than I realized and have even given away some without remembering to take pics of them. (argh)
Here are the five I've finished this week.

A date with momma for Mimi

Today was a special date for Mimi and Momma. We went to counseling, then to a donut shop and then to Barnsdall Art Park. There I had fun observing her while she did typical, adorable Mimi stuff like watching a squirrel and taking notes on his behavior, collecting and naming pill bugs and building some art inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Every day I'm doodling

As J and I lounge around coffee and breakfast, z is running around like a tetherball... Basketball outside, piano and singing inside, drawing, finding worms in the yard... But we are enjoying our morning together... J reading out loud while I draw.
My morning doodles continue.

Friday, April 13, 2012

kitchen remodel

Apparently I never showed you my kitchen remodel... I think we finished the kitchen the week that the little princess came to live with us. Then I had four kids for a few months and was too tired to write about it. And after that when we went back to two kids I was too sad to write about it.
So here you go:
This kitchen remodel took us only about six weeks all said and done. We bought everything at IKEA and are really happy with how it turned out. The only thing I'm sad about now is that we will be leaving it so soon... The entire reason we remodeled it was to get the house ready for someone else to live in and now we're moving.... Which is really great news and we're really excited...
This kitchen remodel was so affordable that we get to consider doing the same thing in the next place. (which does want for a new kitchen)
I'll keep you posted on our move - in the meantime enjoy these happy pictures.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cutting mat bag

This bag is my solution to a lot of questions...
- How do I store and carry my amazing massive cutting mats to sewing events without them getting scratched or warped? (FYI - there is a removable piece of foam core in the bag with the mats to keep them rigid)
- what do I do with my orphaned hexagon squares? (I made these as practice for a bee square about a year ago and I won't make them again because they were so frustrating, but I love how they look - perfect bag center pieces, I'm thinking)
- What do I make from this one yard of Echino that I won at Sew Modern over a year ago? It has to be something I use and enjoy!
- How can I use a cheater print? Especially in a way that doesn't look like a cop-out?

And so, I conceived of this bag. Worked on it an hour at a time over a few weeks. Finished it today in a rare daytime sewing session at home. The kids were sick (and thus taken down a notch!) so we put on music and they colored while I finally finished this up.
(after the pics, I added some ribbons at the top to keep it closed)

Bag fever and kid fevers

Three out of four of us around here are sick. Mommy is knocking on wood and taking lots of vitamins.
I also keep getting more and more bag ideas and I have to say, I love cutting fabric and laying out ideas, and using up stray blocks or random fabric I have hoarded too long.

Hmmm. Will I trade these? Give these to friends? Not sure yet....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

libbydibby shared an Instagram photo with you

Hi there,

libbydibby just shared an Instagram photo with you:

view full image

"She's now figured out if she hadn't watched tv today she could have sewn more bags."

The Instagram Team

Finished. And in use.

Just got these pics texted to me. This is why we make quilts and give them away... To see them being loved on, drooled on, and used!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I missed the LAMQG meeting (swap bag)

So I missed the last LAMQG meeting. I was super bummed out, and really had wanted to participate in the tote/grocery bag swap.
But then I learned that a few of my friends had been unable to go and swap, too. So we decided to swap on our own. (yay!)
Here's my bag that I made to swap. It's got an embroidered vintage tea towel piece inset on one side of the outside, and awesome red and white polka dotted IKEA oilcloth (thin, flexible and really durable) on the inside. It's big. I designed it to be big and strong enough to use for groceries.
The fun fact about it is that I sewed it entirely on Mimi's Hello Kitty Janome as I was trying to see if it worked well enough (it does). The lines are not as straight as with my other machines, but this was really heavy, thick fabric - the linen isn't linen - its actually drop cloth fabric that I bought at Lowe's. (crazy legit heavy duty!) - overall the Janome did great.
And the bag is fun. A little vintage. A little new. French seams. Oilcloth. Hardware store fabric. AnnaMaria Horner fabric. IKEA. Improv piecing. It's all happy to me. ... Hoping it's new owner will think so.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finishing up

I've been working on finishing a bunch of WIPs lately... Nothing creative or glamorous... But at least they are now finished. Just sewed the labels on these two quilts and have another binding to finish up, and then it's on to a bunch of new ideas I want to work out.
I'm really looking forward to those... They're all just sketches right now... The next step is the most fun.



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