31. January 2017 · Comments Off on Bee Sewcial – January – Resuloutions · Categories: Bee Sewcial, Quilting · Tags: , ,

If you’re anywhere around the modern quilting world you know the Bee Sewcial gals.  In my futile attempt to properly describe these ladies, I’ve erased and rewritten this sentence a dozen times now.  So I’ve decided not to try.  They’ve been quite inspirational to me in my modern quilting journey and always always leave me wanting to push myself and reach the next level.

If you don’t know what a quilting bee is (I’m sure I have a few stragglers from my food satire blog days – yes, you read that right) . . . well, a group of ladies get together and make a block or two chosen by and for the “queen” each month.  Every month is a new queen.  You end up with a quilt made by numerous hands.  It’s super interesting to watch these quilts come together in the traditional sense and absolutely revolutionary in the modern, improvisational category.

Bee Sewcial is a select, special group of ladies who focus primarily on improv and solids, but they highly encourage their groupies to play along. This month’s theme, Resolution, was crafted by Stephanie of Spontaneous Threads.   Feel free to check out the link and then come back.  I have no intention of rewriting Stephanie’s words here, she did an excellent job in her post.

First thing I had to do was watch a Ted Talk.  My notes were as follows:

  • size
  • grandeur
  • vulnerability
  • big picture
  • transition
  • future

I don’t make sweeping resolutions each year.  This year we are attempting loosely to save money (so we bought a couch, oooops) and I started the Whole Food 30 in a desperate attempt to reign in sinus issues and perhaps actually feel decent for a change.

But my quilty resolutions are quite another matter.  Here’s the vulnerable part from above.  I struggle with wanting more.  It’s a pervasive issue in the quilting world and one no one seems able to fully escape.  Yes, quilting requires materials and not cheap ones.  There’s fabric and batting and thread and patterns and needles and notions and rulers and cutters and scissors and mats and sometimes long-armers and don’t get me started on the price of a halfway decent sewing machine.  The worst of the want, however, is the fabric.

When I was young I always told my mother that quilters were the nicest people in the world.  I stand by that.  Most are friendly, helpful and oh so very generous with their time and talents and especially their finished products.  But they also hoard like no other.  Yes, hoard.  They hoard.  We hoard.  I hoard.

Fabric lines come out all.the.time.  They are pretty and shiny and new and we must have them.  If we don’ have them we desperately want them and covet those who do.  So often we buy them just to hoard them because once they are gone they are gone forever unless you want to pay ridiculous rates on Etsy and even then you might not find what you want.  We must have them now in case we want them later, whether we use them or not.  Don’t get me started on The Tula Troops and their addiction to Tula Pink fabric (I have a similar, albeit slightly cheaper because she’s a less prolific designer, addiction to Sarah Jane fabric – I buy it, pet it, stare at it, barely use it because it’s too pretty and I have a finite stash of it.)

I don’t want to want.  I really don’t.  As I type this I’m Jonesing so hard for the new Alison Glass Sunprint and the new Cotton & Steel, especially Bluebird and Sleep Tight and Black and White.  Oh and Heather Ross Sleeping Porch even though the colors aren’t totally my jam and I’m NOT a huge Ross addict and the new Friedlander is out and it’s okay but her stuff is so popular that if I don’t get some now I’ll never be able to get it in the future and oh there’s this cat attitude fabric that’s so freaking cute . . . did I mention I’m a dog person? and Sarah Jane has a Christmas line coming out and I don’t love it but it’s Sarah Jane so should I get some just in case and Tula Pink has the most ridiculous fabric coming out with cans of cat food and I should totally get it because despite the fact that it’s freaking cans of cat food and I completely don’t understand it, in five years I can sell one can for like eight bucks and make a fortune.

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Yup, that sums up how I feel about this issue nicely.

My quilty big picture is I want to want less.  Use what I have, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant.  Transition to a new way of thinking, a long term way of thinking.  Enjoy the process of using up every small scrap and finding fabric in unconventional sources.

Case in point, this fellow.

Bee Sewcial Jan Garage Floor

It’s an old belt from an old sweater.  I found it on the garage floor.  I have no idea how it got there, the sweater is long gone.

I washed it.

Bee Sewcial Jan Wash

Pulled fabric scraps most people would have thrown away.

Bee Sewcial Jan Scraps

Made an improv panel.

Bee Sewcial Jan Scrap Fabric

Drafted a pattern.

Bee Sewcial Jan Template

The first take at a pattern, my son commandeered and colored in the mountains.  I adore that kid.

I knew the tippy tips of the mountain needed to be the old garage floor belt.  It just had to be.

Closeup

Photographed the finished blocks in front of my fabric “stash”, which for the record is meager compared to most.  As much as I would have loved for this to have been a real photo shoot with my fancy camera in a cool location, my stash on a dark morning with my camera phone is real life.

Block Stash

Block number two is the little round fellow up top and my first six minute circle.  I’d been wanting to try one.  It means nothing more than that.

Thanks for stopping by.

If you want to send me any of the above referenced fabric lines for free, I’m in the market to accept.

Clearly I still have some work to do on that wanting less part.

–  Joanna

P.S.  Email me! I’ll send you my address!

Yes, lots more work to do.

26. December 2016 · Comments Off on Sew I’m Non Plan Planning for 2017 · Categories: Sewing · Tags:

I used to LOVE lists.  Lurve them.  Now?  Now they make me a little antsy because I never seem to be able to cross everything off like I used to pre-kids.

So I’m going to try to do some non plan planning here with a little prodding from Quilting Jet Girl.  No numbers this time and I won’t count if you won’t.

2017-planning-party-730x730-1-large

First off I’d really like 2017 to be the year of selfish sewing.  Where most of the projects are for me and me alone.  I had hoped to knock out a ton of WIP’s by the end of 2016 so I could start fresh.  While I’ve made a dent I still have a ways to go.  So this isn’t completely practical and may have to be a June 2017 – June 2018 kind of goal.  Or thereabouts.  Who’s counting?  Not me.  Or you.  I hope.

I do have a few non selfish sewing projects I need to accomplish.

  • Another Fairy Tale Castle Mini for my daughters birthday in February.
  • The Fire and Ice Quilt for my son’s birthday in October.
  • A baby quilt for my friend Josh and his wife Katie who are expecting their first.
  • A fabric hanging organizer thingy for my husband (in no particular order my dear, you’re always first in my book.)

That’s all I’m agreeing to.

For me?  I’m Jonesing to make the Fly By Lap Quilt and the Papercut wall hanging.

I’d also like to officially start a few long term projects like the one I saw on the stash bee website (mostly cutting and collecting fabrics slowly before any sewing actually occurs) and an all macaron quilt (of my own design!) like this one I made for my friend Beth’s daughter.

macaron

I’d like to send my Improv Crosscut quilt top out for some quilting to Cassandra of the Not So Dramatic Life but I’ll probably need to save some cash up before this can happen.  I just really feel like this quilt needs more attention than I can provide.

crosscut

Contrary to my goals from last year I’d like to blog more.  Mostly because the husband has noted my lack of blogging and suggested I give up my domain name which costs $70 ish a year.  I don’t want to do that so I may need to justify my online existence.

I really really really want to make some rules on fabric shopping in 2017 as well.  I know my stash is meager compared to some seasoned quilters out there but at the rate I sew I still have enough fabric to get me through the next ten years!

So here’s what I’m allowing.

Any thread and batting as needed with no guilt.  Same goes for binding fabric.  Binding is an important choice and not just anything will do.

Anything new by Sarah Jane (my favorite designer) is fair game.  I’m pretty much ordering fat quarter packs of all her lines as they come out.

A fat eighth of Alison Glass’s 2017 Sunprint line.

Some Crimson Tate.  I have none and I love the paper themes.  She has a line called Literary coming out and I must have some of the card catalog fabric.  I loved the library as a kid and I love the library now.  I’d give anything (ok that’s not true) for an old card catalog in my house!!!!!!  That really would make me happy (hint hint garage sale loving Father-in-Law).

Grunge fabric.  I love it.  It’s a great solid alternative and super useful in so many projects.  I’m not saying I should buy a yard of every color but yeah, a little here and there is just dandy.

Maybe Cotton & Steel 5″ charm packs.  I haven’t decided how far I’m going to go collecting them.  It may just no longer be financially practical.  Plus I really don’t love some of their new lines.  Like Trinket.  Yikes no no no.

I NEED to work on transforming the guest room into a real sewing room.  The husband is on board and we both agree it’s stupid to waste an entire room for guests we get literally once a year.

Oh . . . one more thing . . . I’M GETTING A NEW SEWING MACHINE!!!  My mother-in-law gifted me the rest of the money for a new machine as a Christmas present.  I’m not going to rush as I want to make sure I’m getting the right machine.  But yeah.  I’m kind of excited.  Also nervous because I’ll no longer be able to blame the machine for my insufficiency.

As an aside I’ve realized recently that sewing is seasonal for me.  I sew much more in the winter months than other seasons because there’s simply less to do outside.  I think this realization will help me allot my time better throughout the year and provide a little grace to myself in heavier seasons.

That’s all I’ve got.  My whole house has been sick lately so I’m just happy this post is coherent.

Joanna

Thanks to Yvonne for hosting a link up with prizes.  I cannot tell a lie . . . I’m Jonesing to win a prize.  Cross your fingers for me.

22. July 2016 · Comments Off on 2016 Mid Year Review · Categories: Quilting, Reviews, Sewing

Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl called for a mid year review.  She even sent me a nice email.  So here I am.  Reviewing.  Original text in black, new comments in red.  Here we go.

 

2016MidYearReview-300x300

Goal 1:  Don’t stress about this blog.  Blog when I want to.  Blog about what I want to.  Do not hold myself to any ridiculous standard of posting schedules that conform purely to dates and times other blogs have link up parties.  What is the purpose of link ups you ask?  It’s pretty simple . . . to bring people to your blog.  I’ve decided not to care about this.  When I switched the focus here to quilting, it was mainly because my mother urged me to keep a record of everything I make.  I still think that is the very best plan for me.  I still love photography and photographing my makes (though it is frustrating for me that that the only free time I have to do this is my daughters nap time which is my least favorite time of day for photography – I’m an early evening kinda gal.)

I just told you what I want for this blog.  But what DON’T I want?  I’m not looking to be famous.  I don’t want a million readers and sponsors and companies sending me freebies that will just eat more into the little free time I have.  I don’t want to create tutorials and teach others (yet) because I have way too much to learn myself.  I don’t want to write and publish quilt patterns.  I don’t want a book or a line of fabric (okay maybe I do want this one . . . it’ll be all bunnies, nothing but bunnies, bunnies as far as the eye can see!).

The other day I woke up early and didn’t feel like sewing or cleaning, which is what I normally do in the wee hours of the morning.  So I lay in bed, listened to my husband snore, and browsed my own blog.  I realized I am quite proud of the space I created here.  I’m proud of its diversity and ability to remind me of things I had forgotten.

I’ve posted twice (now three times) since the original 2016 planning party and pretty much neglected this blog so I’ve got the “don’t stress about this blog” part down.  Since I’m only blogging again at Yvonne’s prodding, I clearly don’t have the “don’t post just because of link up parties” thing down.  Whooooops.

Goal 2:  Finally get a sewing table.  I sew on the dining room table BUT we have a guest room that almost never gets used for guests (I already keep my sewing supplies in there).  Of course the one time someone wants to stay is right after I’ve just laid out 120 quilt blocks on the bed aka my design wall.  Figures.  My husband says we can talk about converting the guest room completely to my sewing room at some point.  In the meantime I have a corner carved out and really want to finally get a table.  It needs to be a certain size and dimension and of course I’m the crazy person who took apart my grandmothers old dining room table in the hopes of repurposing the wood into my sewing table.  I’m complicated.  I know.

Here’s my future sewing corner.  Hopefully.

L-Table

I have a guy.  A guy to build me a table.  That’s a step in the right direction, albeit a small one.

Goal 3:  Be on Instagram less.  I check Instagram way too often and really want to be more intentional about this.  More mindful.  I’d love to detox from it every weekend and I’d really love to give it up completely for lent next year.  I think this will help me focus on my makes rather than others’ makes.  I’ve already made some nice friends there though so I do really love the Instagram community.

I stink at this.  Working harder to unplug.  Sometimes it’s muscle memory.  Pick up phone, check Instagram.  I need to retrain myself.

Goal 4:  Make a lap quilt.  I’ve made lots of mini’s and mini mini’s and baby quilts . . .

Minis small

but nothing I can snuggle under.  I really want to change this.  I have a Modernized Disappearing Nine Patch laid out on the guest bed.  It fills the entire top of the bed so it’s going to be big.  I may pay a long armer to quilt this for me.  Maybe Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl or Cassandra from Not So Dramatic Life?  I think they both offer these services.  I don’t know anyone local and would rather pay shipping charges to have someone I trust quilt my very first large quilt for me.

Modern D9Patch

 

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!  I did it.  My son immediately claimed it for his room.  I still haven’t blogged about it or even IG’d it.  But I kinda love it.

MD9P RW

I also made a smaller quilt for my daughter’s second birthday.  She rarely uses it but my son and I snuggle under it every day.  

Charlotte's Birthday Gift

Goal 5:  Finish my WIP’s or send them packing.  Probably to mom’s house.  WIP’s make me twitchy.  And my tastes have changed drastically in the past year as I become more ingrained in the quilting world.  I either want to finish my WIP’s or give them up entirely.  I’ve already sent one project to mom and she’s currently completing a lap quilt for me to give to my Mother-in-Law for next Mother’s Day.  I have a few long term scrap projects (a Wanta Fanta quilt for one) I want to start but I NEED to get the other WIP’s in check before I start more.

Mom finished the quilt I sent to her and it will be gifted next month.  I started working on a large lap quilt with a set of Polaroid blocks I was gifted . . .  and it’s sucking the freaking life out of me.  It’s so monotonous I don’t even want to sew right now.  And I’m not.  But I will finish and I’ll be so happy when I’m done.

Goal 6:  Buy less fabric.  Learn to WANT less fabric.  I’ve spent the last 5 months not buying fabric other than for projects involving birthdays or gifts.  I started this partially because there was a chance my husband would be needing back surgery and our insurance deductible is pretty high.  So not buying fabric seemed like a logical choice.  I also find myself getting a little anxious over all the new fabric lines that are constantly being released.  This is part of my issue with Instagram.  I see all the fabric everyone raves about and all the stash reports and all the amazing stuff being made with all the amazing fabric and it’s an overwhelming feeling for me.  I don’t like it.  I want to be the kind of person that is grateful and thankful for what I have and not be continually wanting more more more.  I think I am going to set a monthly budget for myself for my sewing hobby and I’m hoping this will help keep fabric purchases in check and help me be more intentional about what I buy.  Also I have realized that I don’t need half yards of every fabric in a line I like.  Fat quarters or even fat eighths are sufficient to whet my whistle and larger yardage can be saved for pieces I truly love or basics like the Grunge line from Moda.  My husband does NOT need back surgery, by the way (woot and woot) and his back is doing pretty well these days.  Prayers do work it seems.  Because we pray for this alllllll the time.

I bought a ton of fabric the first two months of the year then calmed down and then June hit and the big green eyed monster bit me again. So I’m a work in progress here.

Goal 7:  Start saving for a new sewing machine.  This is a long term plan.  I’d like a Janome Memory Craft 6300.  Renee at Quilts of a Feather has one.  Jessica at Quilty Habit has one.  My mom has one.  I have no desire to jump down the sewing machine research rabbit hole.  Recommendations by these ladies are plenty good enough for me.  My hope is to have a new machine when my daughter enters preschool so I have almost two years to save the money.  I think I can do it.

Meh.  I’ve decided I don’t sew enough nor am I a good enough sewer to warrant a new machine yet.  So I haven’t thought about it much.  Even when my husband gave me the go ahead to buy a new one.  I didn’t.  I shall consider that progress on Goal 6.

Goal 8:  Say NO.  To myself.  To others.  I see this a lot in quilt goals.  A lot a lot.  Which means it’s doubly important.  It also means I think you get it and I don’t need to elaborate too much.  I always told my mom growing up that quilters are TOO nice.  I still think this is true and sometimes to the detriment of their own goals and desires.  There is a line between doing for others (which I want to do – see Goal 10) and doing for yourself.  I’m planning on finding it.

I’m pretty much done making mini mini’s.  So that counts as a NO.  My friend Tara begged me to publish a pattern for the mini I made her and I said NO.  That counts too.  I’m cool here I think.

Goal 9:  Take regular planned sewing breaks.  I actually find this helps me refocus.  Gives me a chance to work on projects around the home like painting the dining room (I did this last month) or reorganizing the kitchen pantries (this is my January project), to sleep in if I want to (I’m an early morning quilter – early like 5 am) and to appreciate sewing again.  I think a 2-3 week break every 3 months should do it.

I’m doing this right now.  I kinda like it.  Hopefully I will WANT to sew more Polaroid blocks when I’m out.  

Goal 10:  Do for others.  I’ve made a few nice friends already and I hope to make more.  I’d like to be an encourager to these women who have encouraged me.  I’d like to send cards through the mail telling them how great they are.  I’d like to mail random fat quarters to internet friends for no reason other than to surprise them and brighten their day.  I’d like to do a few small giveaways on Instagram to pay it forward.

I’ve done a few things.  We can always do more.  But then I’m conflicting with Goal 8.  Hmmmmmmmmm.

Goal 11:  Learn the scant quarter inch seam allowance.  I use a quarter inch piecing foot so my seams are consistent. Consistent is good but my seams are always just over a quarter inch.  When you add this up over an entire quilt top it can amount to quite a bit lost.  I’d like to correct this.  To have a 12 inch block come out to 12 inches.  Exactly 12 inches.

Nope.  Nada.  Zilch.  I need to buy that tool that shows you where it’s at.  Maybe next year.

Goal 12:  Explore art quilts more.  I’ve always thought my sewing path would lead me to making art quilts.  I still do.  I want to let go of that sewing which makes me unhappy (I’m talking to you half square triangle), find my creative spark again and CREATE!

I did design a pattern and make a large mini for a friend but I haven’t scratched the surface on this.  Maybe next year.

Goal 13:  Give myself a break.  Relax.  This one is self explanatory.

I STINK at this big time.  Sigh.

Goal 14:  Figure out quilt labels.

I haven’t done this either.  Mostly because I don’t know what I want them to say.  I blog and IG under Midwestern Bite which is my old “food satire” blog.  Not sure how appropriate that name is for a quilt label.  I should probably just use my full name.  I think I can decide and accomplish by the end of the year though.

Thanks for the prodding Yvonne.  You’re still one of my all time favorite quilters!  Aaaaaaand now I’m off to scrub the bathroom.  I’d say I’d rather be sewing but if I were sewing it would be Polaroid blocks and I’d kinda rather scrub the bathroom.

– Joanna

Linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for 2016 Mid Year Review

 

 

24. May 2016 · Comments Off on No Scrap Left Behind · Categories: Sewing · Tags: , , , ,

I’ve adopted a new philosophy when it comes to sewing . . . no scrap left behind.

Now I’m not all into the “Scrap Vortex” quilts that were making their way across the quilty world a year or so ago that kinda made my eyes want to pop out.

Scrap Vortexscreen shot of the images that popped up when I Googled scrap vortex

These scraps are just toooooo much for me.  Way too busy.  No place for the eye to rest.

I have instead decided to deal with my scraps on a per project basis.  This way there’s fewer fabrics to deal with at one time and theoretically they should all go together nicely.

The project I’d like to highlight today started with a four pack of Marimekko napkins I bought at Target.

napkins

I decided to turn them into tote bags for my son’s preschool teachers.  Nevermind the fact I later learned there were actual Marimekko tote bags available as well.  Harrumpfh.  Handmade is always better anyway right?  Right.  I used a free tutorial by Noodlehead for the Madras Tote Bag.  I made a few changes:

– skipped the canvas as interfacing

– skipped the pocket

– added fusible fleece and quilting to the napkin exterior panels

– lengthened the straps a bit

I shared these bags on my Instagram account but here’s the gist for those of you not on that space:

IMG_7951 RW

IMG_7952 RW

IMG_7947 RW

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out thank you very much.

This project left some random scraps.  Lots of long scraps from the interior fabric as well as the finished edges of the napkins.  Most people probably would have chucked the pile and moved on to the next project.  Not me.

I started by cutting one inch strips off the Marimekko napkin leftovers and two inch strips of the teal and pink.  I used my bias tape maker to fold the pink and teal in on themselves to make one inch finished strips.  This was the result, a woven mini quilt that my son has already claimed for his room:

DSC_0762 RW

DSC_0761 RW

DSC_0763 RW

It measures roughly 8″ x 15″ and I washed it when I was done to help roughen up the edges of the raw edge Marimekko fabric.

Next up was another woven panel, this time nothing was measured or cut or folded and it seriously used bits of fabric that otherwise would have been chucked.  The folded over finished napkin edges I had cut off.  The pink and teal whose edges had frayed when I prewashed the fabric.

DSC_0755 RW

DSC_0760 RW

The pieces are not uniform.  The panel isn’t square.  I love it.  It’s raw and organic and completely unique.  I’m too lazy to go and measure it but it’s bigger than the mini and maybe destined to be a tote bag of its very own one day.  I haven’t decided yet.

Both panels were made using the Wefty weaving needles that my pal Tara sent me.  You can check her and the weaving process out here and here.

Next up are improv blocks, which are more the style I usually go with when busting scraps.

DSC_0759 RW

DSC_0764 RW

DSC_0765 RW

These blocks will be added to my improv block collection which will someday be its own project.  Except the little guy.  He may want to be a mini mini quilt.  He’s super tiny and adorable.

All together now:

DSC_0751 RW

There are officially no more of these scraps left.  Not one.  Wahoo!

Thanks for following along on my sewing journey with me.  Till next time, whenever that might be . . .

– Joanna

04. March 2016 · Comments Off on Improv Feathers for Andee · Categories: Quilting, Sewing, Swap · Tags: , , , , ,

Hi there.

I’ve been sewing.  Not blogging.

I have a really old and slow computer.

Plus sewing is more fun than blogging.

I just wanted to pop in and share a mini quilt I made for my friend Andee on Instagram.

Andee is an artist and I am swapping her these lovely feathers for a drawing of my beloved dog who passed away last November.

Feathers RW

Andee asked for greys, blues and oranges and said she loved feathers and birds.

Can.  Do.

Feathers on Step RW

I LOVED making this mini.  It was all improv and, aside from the curved feather, used very few pins in the piecing.  That’s my kind of project.

I was a little sad to see it go, but I am so very happy it will be loved in its new home.  I have a generous pile of scraps from this project that I will most likely turn into another mini for myself.

The title of this piece is “Orange You Glad We Swapped? I Yam.” and runs about 15 x 22 inches.

Feathers Corner RW

Thanks for swapping Andee.  I can’t wait to see my precious Koi (The Snoops) again.

– Joanna

 

23. December 2015 · Comments Off on 2016 Planning Party · Categories: Quilting, Sewing · Tags: , , ,

Hiya.  I’m back.  October was a super busy month with my son’s birthday party then Halloween.  Then of course the holidays crept up and some crazy person realized they had suggested handmade Christmas a year ago (ahem, cough, darting eyes) and hadn’t prepared.

Whoops.

The funny thing about blogging is, once you get out of the habit . . . you get out of the habit.  And I’m definitely out of the habit.  The funnier thing?   I’m okay with that.  I started this blog almost four years ago with a focus on food and photography that morphed into food satire (go ahead, scratch your head over this, you know you want to) that morphed into stopping cold turkey for awhile that morphed into quilting.  How’s that for consistency?  At first the purpose of my blog was mainly to give this brand new SAHM something to do, a way into an online community that could provide me with a little social interaction (babies don’t hold conversations very well, who knew?) and a little purpose beyond changing diapers.

It did that.  I made a few great friends that I still have too!  But . . . it took way too much of my time.  Even now as my blogging has decreased from three times a week at the beginning to a few times a month to hey, how have you been the last quarter I would still rather be doing something else.  Like sewing.  I’m sure you ALL understand that feeling.  That brings up the question, what do I want for my blog?  For me?

In light of that, I’m hopping onto a linky party by Quilting Jetgirl.  Ironically my first bullet point will be not to worry about linky parties anymore.  Don’t lecture.

So here we go.  My (quilting) goals for 2016.

2016planningparty1

Goal 1:  Don’t stress about this blog.  Blog when I want to.  Blog about what I want to.  Do not hold myself to any ridiculous standard of posting schedules that conform purely to dates and times other blogs have link up parties.  What is the purpose of link ups you ask?  It’s pretty simple . . . to bring people to your blog.  I’ve decided not to care about this.  When I switched the focus here to quilting, it was mainly because my mother urged me to keep a record of everything I make.  I still think that is the very best plan for me.  I still love photography and photographing my makes (though it is frustrating for me that that the only free time I have to do this is my daughters nap time which is my least favorite time of day for photography – I’m an early evening kinda gal.)

I just told you what I want for this blog.  But what DON’T I want?  I’m not looking to be famous.  I don’t want a million readers and sponsors and companies sending me freebies that will just eat more into the little free time I have.  I don’t want to create tutorials and teach others (yet) because I have way too much to learn myself.  I don’t want to write and publish quilt patterns.  I don’t want a book or a line of fabric (okay maybe I do want this one . . . it’ll be all bunnies, nothing but bunnies, bunnies as far as the eye can see!).

The other day I woke up early and didn’t feel like sewing or cleaning, which is what I normally do in the wee hours of the morning.  So I lay in bed, listened to my husband snore, and browsed my own blog.  I realized I am quite proud of the space I created here.  I’m proud of its diversity and ability to remind me of things I had forgotten.

Goal 2:  Finally get a sewing table.  I sew on the dining room table BUT we have a guest room that almost never gets used for guests (I already keep my sewing supplies in there).  Of course the one time someone wants to stay is right after I’ve just laid out 120 quilt blocks on the bed aka my design wall.  Figures.  My husband says we can talk about converting the guest room completely to my sewing room at some point.  In the meantime I have a corner carved out and really want to finally get a table.  It needs to be a certain size and dimension and of course I’m the crazy person who took apart my grandmothers old dining room table in the hopes of repurposing the wood into my sewing table.  I’m complicated.  I know.

Here’s my future sewing corner.  Hopefully.

L-Table

Goal 3:  Be on Instagram less.  I check Instagram way too often and really want to be more intentional about this.  More mindful.  I’d love to detox from it every weekend and I’d really love to give it up completely for lent next year.  I think this will help me focus on my makes rather than others’ makes.  I’ve already made some nice friends there though so I do really love the Instagram community.

Goal 4:  Make a lap quilt.  I’ve made lots of mini’s and mini mini’s and baby quilts . . .

Minis small

but nothing I can snuggle under.  I really want to change this.  I have a Modernized Disappearing Nine Patch laid out on the guest bed.  It fills the entire top of the bed so it’s going to be big.  I may pay a long armer to quilt this for me.  Maybe Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl or Cassandra from Not So Dramatic Life?  I think they both offer these services.  I don’t know anyone local and would rather pay shipping charges to have someone I trust quilt my very first large quilt for me.

Modern D9Patch

Goal 5:  Finish my WIP’s or send them packing.  Probably to mom’s house.  WIP’s make me twitchy.  And my tastes have changed drastically in the past year as I become more ingrained in the quilting world.  I either want to finish my WIP’s or give them up entirely.  I’ve already sent one project to mom and she’s currently completing a lap quilt for me to give to my Mother-in-Law for next Mother’s Day.  I have a few long term scrap projects (a Wanta Fanta quilt for one) I want to start but I NEED to get the other WIP’s in check before I start more.

Goal 6:  Buy less fabric.  Learn to WANT less fabric.  I’ve spent the last 5 months not buying fabric other than for projects involving birthdays or gifts.  I started this partially because there was a chance my husband would be needing back surgery and our insurance deductible is pretty high.  So not buying fabric seemed like a logical choice.  I also find myself getting a little anxious over all the new fabric lines that are constantly being released.  This is part of my issue with Instagram.  I see all the fabric everyone raves about and all the stash reports and all the amazing stuff being made with all the amazing fabric and it’s an overwhelming feeling for me.  I don’t like it.  I want to be the kind of person that is grateful and thankful for what I have and not be continually wanting more more more.  I think I am going to set a monthly budget for myself for my sewing hobby and I’m hoping this will help keep fabric purchases in check and help me be more intentional about what I buy.  Also I have realized that I don’t need half yards of every fabric in a line I like.  Fat quarters or even fat eighths are sufficient to whet my whistle and larger yardage can be saved for pieces I truly love or basics like the Grunge line from Moda.  My husband does NOT need back surgery, by the way (woot and woot) and his back is doing pretty well these days.  Prayers do work it seems.  Because we pray for this alllllll the time.

Goal 7:  Start saving for a new sewing machine.  This is a long term plan.  I’d like a Janome Memory Craft 6300.  Renee at Quilts of a Feather has one.  Jessica at Quilty Habit has one.  My mom has one.  I have no desire to jump down the sewing machine research rabbit hole.  Recommendations by these ladies are plenty good enough for me.  My hope is to have a new machine when my daughter enters preschool so I have almost two years to save the money.  I think I can do it.

Goal 8:  Say NO.  To myself.  To others.  I see this a lot in quilt goals.  A lot a lot.  Which means it’s doubly important.  It also means I think you get it and I don’t need to elaborate too much.  I always told my mom growing up that quilters are TOO nice.  I still think this is true and sometimes to the detriment of their own goals and desires.  There is a line between doing for others (which I want to do – see Goal 10) and doing for yourself.  I’m planning on finding it.

Goal 9:  Take regular planned sewing breaks.  I actually find this helps me refocus.  Gives me a chance to work on projects around the home like painting the dining room (I did this last month) or reorganizing the kitchen pantries (this is my January project), to sleep in if I want to (I’m an early morning quilter – early like 5 am) and to appreciate sewing again.  I think a 2-3 week break every 3 months should do it.

Goal 10:  Do for others.  I’ve made a few nice friends already and I hope to make more.  I’d like to be an encourager to these women who have encouraged me.  I’d like to send cards through the mail telling them how great they are.  I’d like to mail random fat quarters to internet friends for no reason other than to surprise them and brighten their day.  I’d like to do a few small giveaways on Instagram to pay it forward.

Goal 11:  Learn the scant quarter inch seam allowance.  I use a quarter inch piecing foot so my seams are consistent. Consistent is good but my seams are always just over a quarter inch.  When you add this up over an entire quilt top it can amount to quite a bit lost.  I’d like to correct this.  To have a 12 inch block come out to 12 inches.  Exactly 12 inches.

Goal 12:  Explore art quilts more.  I’ve always thought my sewing path would lead me to making art quilts.  I still do.  I want to let go of that sewing which makes me unhappy (I’m talking to you half square triangle), find my creative spark again and CREATE!

Goal 13:  Give myself a break.  Relax.  This one is self explanatory.

Goal 14:  Figure out quilt labels.

I’m sure there is more but like WIP’s, too long of a goal list might make me twitchy as well.

See ya later alligator.  (I really hope one of you just said after while crocodile).

– Joanna

Linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for 2016 Planning Party

I’ve been at this computer too long as it is so I’m not going back and spell checking.  So ignore any misspellings mmmm k? Thanks.

Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

21. September 2015 · Comments Off on Paper Pieced Selvage Feathers – Quilted · Categories: Paper Piecing, Quilting, Selvage Along, Sewing · Tags: , , , , ,

Well.  I had hoped this project would be done by today . . . but it’s not.  I’m full of excuses if you want to hear them.  Family member with a back issue.  Farm chores.  Cranky daughter with TWO molars coming in.  Kitchen painting prep.  Son with an upcoming birthday that needs planned.  House that needs cleaned all the freaking time.  Shall I go on?  I’ll stop.

Unfortunately as this is the last link up party for the selvage along, my motivation to actually finish this is gone.  In all reality I probably won’t touch it again for awhile and the only sewing I’ll be doing in the near future is a birthday bunting and then some Christmas presents.  I kinda suggested to my family we all do handmade Christmas this year and somehow the year has completely gotten away from me.

Pesky life.

I’ll stop whining and just share pictures instead.  That’s all most of us are here for anyway!

I do have the top completely quilted!  Go me!  Unless I decide to do the little triangles at the top of the feathers.  Which I might. Someday.

I started with my selvages on the woodpile so I might as well end there, right?

Quilted Front RW

Don’t lecture me on my ironing skills.  I loathe it.  I have seen something called “Flatter” out and about in the quilty interweb so maybe I’ll give that a try next time.

Quilted Back RW

I’m pretty happy with the quilting.

Quilted Quiting Back RW

Quilted Quiting Back 2 RW

I just love quilts with the sun shining behind them.

Quilted BackLit RW

And while the sun is out, how about a lovely starburst, just for funsies?

Quilted Starburst RW

Maybe a little wind too, to go with the sun.  It really is a gorgeous day here!

Quilted Windy RW

If you want to make these feathers yourself, I have a link to the free pattern and tutorial by Blossom Heart Quilts in my very first selvage post.

That’s all I’ve got.  It’ll probably be pretty quiet around here for awhile till I get the kitchen painted and the party planned.

Linking up with Renee of Quilts of a Feather and Jess at Quilty Habit.  Thanks ladies for the push to create this and especially to Renee for all the advice!!!

– Joanna

It’s Le Challenge time again.  I won last time (thank you, thank you very much) so of course I had to enter again!

This time the theme was “Wilderness.”  Only one thing popped into my mind when I thought about the wilderness.

Deer.

Happy, pretty, frolicking little deer.

Deer RW

The funny thing about deer is that when you see them on vacation . . . they are happy, pretty, frolicking little deer.  When you move to five acres and see them everyday . . . they are annoying.  They eat your Hostas.  They eat your Day Lilies.  They eat your tomato plants.  They eat the tops off every dang thing you try to plant.  They poop in your yard.  They don’t move when you are jogging down the lane and you have to play a game of chicken over whose gonna veer off first (this actually only happened once to me, but I’m adding it to the list anyway.)  They carry ticks (we haven’t had a issue with this yet, but I’m sure the day will come.)

Once the wilderness theme was announced I rushed right out to the LQS and picked up 3/4 yard (on clearance too, wahoo) of the above deer fabric.  I decided to make another mini quilt, this time to reconcile me with my previous love of deer.  Happy, pretty, frolicking little deer.  It only half worked since I decided to use the deer on the back of the quilt and nowhere else.

I did use it as color inspiration for my fabric pull though and finally landed on this:

Wilderness Full Front RW

I’m calling it “Camp Snuggly.”  I’ll explain that more in a minute.

Side Front RW

These prints are all Cotton & Steel fabric.  I seem to be a one trick pony these days.  It’s just that I have a ton of it, I really like it, plus all the colors go together.  So.  Yeah.   And the lions?  I cannot get enough of the C&S lions!  Makes the perfect happy, pretty, frolicking little tent side.  At least something got to be happy, pretty and frolicking on the front of the quilt right?  Not that this lion has his “frolick face” on or anything.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Lion RW

This was only my second time doing applique and I learned something.  If you plan on dense, matchstick quilting, you don’t actually need to applique.  The quilting holds it all together just fine.  So I ripped out all the applique stitches as it seemed to busy with the quilting over them.

I love that sun.  And the clouds?  It’s one of the few purchases (and by few I of course mean a fat quarter pack, two yards and 7 half yard cuts) I’ve made from the NEW Cotton & Steel lines.  Most of my stuff is older and speaks to me more than the new lines do.  Talking fabric, now that’s WILD.

Wilderness Clouds RW

The trees were completely improv and my absolute favorite part of this mini quilt.  This is my second attempt as I wasn’t wild about the first try.  I’ll post a pic of it later.  My mom liked the first try okay so I’m considering a mini mini quilt for her.  Otherwise it’ll just be an orphan block.

Inspiration for the fabric on the tree trunks came from here, a lovely mini quilt called Winter Trees by Cassandra at The Not So Dramatic Life.  If you like mini’s check her out for sure.  She’s doing an awesome year long series where she makes a new mini once a week.  Plus, she’s super good at what she does.  Way better than me.  So hop on over there (once you’re done here though, mmmm K?)

Tree Trunks RW

 I’ve had several people tell me the trees looked like fireworks.

Trees RW

 I love the binding too.  It’s fun.  And who doesn’t need more fun in their lives?

Binding RW

Doing stellar with my corners still!  If you are thinking that binding looks big . . . you’d be right.  I use three inch strips to make my binding.  I sew to the back, turn to the front, and machine sew down the edge.  I started this for several reasons.  One, I don’t hand sew anything.  It’s just not my thing.  This way the bottom thread from sewing on the binding ends up on the back, not the front. Two, it gives me plenty of room not to catch the back binding when I’m sewing down the front.  Yes, when I first started, I was that bad I did catch the binding a few times even with three inches.  I’m much better now and have considered making smaller binding tape, but I’ve decided I like the larger size.  I think it adds a hefty frame to the piece and since quilts, whether mini or not, are ART, it just makes sense.  You frame ART!  You just do.  It always looks better that way.  It does mean I often have to add borders or leave a little batting showing when I trim down in order to save points so it’s not a perfect solution.

Binding Corner RW

Happy deer frolicking on the back.  I totally forgot to add triangles to the corners for hanging though . . . . grrrrrr.  My new friend Renee from Quilts of a Feather (yes! I have made a few quilty friends!!)  suggested just hanging with clear tacks.  This girl is AMAZING at free motion quilting!  You should check her out too.

Back RW

They can frolick as much as they want, so long as it’s not through my Hostas.  Or my Day Lilies.  Or my tomato plants.

Deer and Binding RW

That fence?  It does not keep deer out.  Not out of my Hostas.  Or my Day Lilies.  Or my tomato plants.

Fence RW

I promised I would mention Camp Snuggly, didn’t I?  Camp Snuggly is the nickname my husband gave to our two person dome tent that we used before the kids.

Camp Snuggly RW

I realize my quilted tent isn’t a dome tent (also, there is clearly no giant lion head on the side of the real Camp Snuggly), but it was a free pattern off Craftsy so I went with it.  This post has a link to the tent pattern if you want it.  Also, Renee crafted a free dome tent pattern (after I sewed this one up, harrumph) which you can find information on here if you’d like.  Fabric is expensive enough, I’m all about the free patterns.

Here’s another pic of Camp Snuggly from this same trip, all rolled up on the back of Rocky (that’s the motorcycle).  Also, my super hot husband.  Swoon.  Rocky has been sold and we don’t travel this way anymore since we had kids.  But I have some fond memories of these trips.

Motorcycle

– Joanna

P.S.  I keep comments here closed.  Thanks for understanding.  I caved and started an Instagram account, so you can catch up with me there if you’d like.  I use it sparingly to keep up with a few quilty inspirations and post the occasional duck picture and WIP.  I probably won’t follow you back though.  Just keeping it real.  Have a great day!

Linking up with Le Challenge, Blossom Heart Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday, Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social, Quilt Art Designs for Paper Piecing Party

11. September 2015 · Comments Off on Beginner Paper Pieced BOM Month 7 · Categories: Paper Piecing, Quilting, Sewing · Tags: , ,

Month 7 in the Beginner Block of the Month series.

BOM 7 Both RW

I printed and cut out the patterns for Month 8.  I even cut and pinned on fabric to section 1 of each pattern piece.  And there I stopped.  The last block, Month 9 is out too and I’m debating going another way completely.  So I’m pondering.  I have a few other projects to finish up before I get any farther on this one.  I did lay out the blocks I’ve done so far and snapped a quick I-Phone pic.  I’ll try to post that this month.

Honestly, I haven’t been sewing as much as I’d like to.  Too much other stuff needs done right now.

I did finish my Le Challenge project for the Wilderness theme.  I posted a previous sneak peek here.  And here’s another:

Binding RW

– Joanna

Linking up with Janeen at Quilt Art Designs for Paper Piecing Party

28. August 2015 · Comments Off on Paper Pieced Tent – Le Challenge Sneak Peek · Categories: Le Challenge, Paper Piecing, Quilting, Sewing · Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been working on a mini art quilt for the current Le Challenge wilderness theme.  Here’s a sneak peek:

Tent RW

It’s a paper pieced tent pattern I found on Craftsy for free.  Here’s a link if you want to make one yourself.

I’m on the fence about this project so far.  I love the big lion for the side of the tent but I feel like the rest of the tent is too busy.  And that dandelion yellow background fabric??

I.  Just.   Don’t.  Know.

Off to the right are some improv trees.  You’ll have to wait for the full reveal for those.

– Joanna

Linking up with Janeen at Quilt Art Designs.

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