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Archive for January, 2015

At our January Out of the Box meeting, we brought our blocks for the Mono Basin Historical Society quilt.

IMG_9074A few ladies (like myself!) weren’t finished or hadn’t started yet, but it was still fun to see the blocks that were done!

IMG_9075There are lots of wonderful details on each block. I can’t wait to see them all put together!

PicMonkey CollageAs my block was one of the ones that was not done yet, the meeting was great motivation to get my act together and finish it!

IMG_9084These past days I’ve been stitching and stitching, and last night the block was completed. Here are a few close-ups of my block.

PicMonkey Collage 2There are two details that really tickle my fancy. The museum sign, which my friend Heather helped me make, with her rad graphic design skills and fabric printing supplies. Of particular joy to me is the tree – that just sparkles with embroidery. I love the bright colors of the fall leaves, and the texture my stitching made. I feel really drawn to using hand stitching and incorporating embellishments right now, so I ran wild with the tree (and the little gold bell too).

PicMonkey Collage 3So now the block is off to Barbara, president of our guild. She is going to sew all the blocks together, using a black binding/strip between each. Since each block is already quilted, she is going to do a minimum of quilting, we talked about using black thread and stitching in the black outlines around major themes, just enough to stabilize and hold it all together.

IMG_9097But before I handed off my block … I took a drive north to visit the museum school house in person. It is closed right now so I wasn’t able to go in, but it was fun to see the building that I feel like I know so well now!

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Once the quilt is complete, I’ll post more pictures!

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Giving the gift of tea

I’m excited to finally share these photos with you, now that all the gifts have been given! I had the most enjoyable time making these little tea wallets.1

I found this on Pinterest (of course!), the tutorial is here.

3It is a simple construction of four rectangles, two folded in half to make the pockets, stitched together, with a small elastic piece to loop it closed around a button. The only thing I changed from the tutorial was I didn’t use interfacing.

4It was such a joy to sort through my fabric stash, picking out different fabrics to make each one.

5And also a joy to sort through my buttons, picking out the perfect one for each.

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Sometimes I fussy cut to get a particular pattern to show. So cute!

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They were a breeze to whip up. I stuffed each with a variety of different teas, and distributed to friends over the holidays.

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“Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” – Peter Pan

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I’ve spent the last month pondering the new year and thinking about potential resolutions. In the past I’ve selected a project or activity to accomplish. While I still have lots of those I want to complete (see below!), I was feeling like I wanted to select a different kind of resolution this year.

I wanted something that would help me grow my skills and be creative every day.

The every day part is important. It creates a habit of doing every day. Each day, what you do gets a little easier.

Also, recently I stumbled across the quilt design a day project. Each day, you take inspiration from a photo and color palette to create a quilt design using your graphic design program of choice. I was immediately intrigued as I enjoy graphic design and love color! But after a couple of evenings of playing along, I realized I liked the creative inspiration it provided, but didn’t enjoy spending more time on the computer after having been there all day at work.

What I liked about the project is the daily practice of encouraging me to take inspiration from the world around me and turn it into a quilt design. Which led me to realize I don’t really design that many of my own quilt patterns. I follow patterns from books and online tutorials much of the time. Which then led me to realizing I want to design more of my own patterns, and encourage the creativity needed to do that.

Which led me to my new year’s intention:

Journal Every Day

PicMonkey Collage

I like intention because resolution implies I need to resolve something, but what I really want to do is start a new habit and way of thinking. I also like intention because it gives me a little flexibility, if I miss a day, that is okay!

My intention is to write, draw, or doodle every day, a pattern or sketch or thoughts or feelings. I want to keep it as open as possible, so that the action of picking up the journal every day is the most important part. If I don’t have an idea that day, maybe I could do a zentangle or copy down a favorite poem, that eventually could turn into an idea, or not. I want to make the journal a place for undefined ideas, so I don’t need to feel the idea is completely thought through, and just put it down, not knowing what might emerge.

I went to our local art supply store, and purchased a small journal (easy to travel!), quality pens (so much nicer to write with), and a pack of color pens (always need color!).

Already, I’ve seen random thoughts turn into ideas. The first day I had writer’s block, it being the first day and all with a whole blank journal. So I thought about what was foremost on my mind, and thought to myself, this is what I’m thinking about so I should journal about it. I have been pondering and thinking and looking and reading about the design to make as my border for my Ocean Waves quilt. So I wrote out my ideas and sketched the pattern. The next day I continued doodling the pattern, then filling in with colors, and then the next day I thought about how I would sew such a pattern together and kabam! I made up a quilt pattern! So.much.fun!

I haven’t decided how much of the journal I’ll share here. On the one hand, new year’s resolutions work well when you have to report or involve others in them, keeps the motivation fresh. On the other hand, I don’t want pressure to make it look nice, or be thinking about an audience as I doodle and write. It needs to be an open place to explore. What do you think? Should I share or keep to myself?  Maybe once a month, I could pick a post or idea that at the end of the month stands out, and share that!

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My Projects for 2015

1. Ocean Waves

I’ve said it before, but this year I mean it, my goal to is to complete my Ocean Waves quilt by our county fair in September. I think it is possible, all I have left are the black borders of quilting, and then the binding!

2. Alabama Channin swatch of the month

I subscribed to the 2015 Alabama Chanin Swatch of the Month club. I’ve been intrigued by their patterns and stitching, and am excited to stitch along this year. I want to learn new techniques and expand my skills in beading, embroidery, and embellishment.

3. Out of the Box quilts

I want to continue to make time for and quilt with our Out of the Box group. We’ve started a stain glass quilt and hope to do another project this year as well.

4. Equilateral Triangles

I think it was my friend Penny, when I was wondering how big I wanted to make my equilateral triangle quilt, said you’ll know when it needs to be done. While I can continue to add and add triangles, I think it is time for it to be done. I have a few more to add around the edges to make a square, and then quilt and bind it. It will be a nice lap quilt.

5. Sierra Oak Threadworks

And of course there is my etsy shop to open. I need to take a few pictures of quilts and dyed fabric, write descriptions, and go live!

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Reflecting on 2014

I love reading the end-of-year reflection posts around the blog world. It seems to be quite a tradition for quilt bloggers. I know I’ve been reflecting since I started my blog in 2010. You can read the posts here, here, here, and here.

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I’ve even seen some people complain about the flood of end-of-year mosaic blog posts, where quilters take their pictures of objects made and put them together in a mosaic, but I enjoy it. I look forward to making mine and seeing others. It is a powerful feeling to take a moment to look and back and say, wow, look at all that I made and accomplished in the past year. I made baby quilts for friends, quilts as gifts for weddings, I made myself special things to have around the house. Look at what I made!

mountain quiltIt’s also a moment to stop and see what I’ve accomplished. This year was dominated by working with our Out of the Box group, on our mountain quilt project. Many of you probably followed along. I grew new skills and stretched my abilities and formed lasting relationships with the ladies in the group. I am excited to go to Road to California and see it hanging in the show later this month!

dyeing yarn

I also like to look back and see the new skills I learned. This year I dove into learning how to dye yarn with acid dyes. It was a fun way to extend my love of being crafty with friends, having several weekend dye parties. And it lends a new meaning to saying, I knit this and dyed the wool too!

ocean waves

Then, there is taking time to see if goals from the previous year were met. I had set the hope to have my Ocean Waves done in time for our county fair in September … Oops! Didn’t make it! But I did make ENORMOUS progress. Last year saw me putting the final stitches in the small triangles and black squares. This means the entire center piece is quilted! Now all I have to complete is the black border around the edges. I already have plans for that … and am confident it will get done quickly (right?!).

dyeing fabric

Whew. Thank you 2014 for being a color-filled crafty year. What will 2015 bring? What do I hope to accomplish and learn? What do you hope to do in 2015?

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