Friday, December 30, 2011

Today's Activities

We've been visiting family in Arkansas for the past few days and before that, we were busy with the Christmas holidays.  Before that was a very bleak few days when we were ALL sick as dogs, but I will spare you the details.  Thanks to a mild winter, we've spent a lot of time outdoors lately.  This morning, we went to the KC Zoo to run off a little energy & get out of the house.  Truth be told, I'm trying to avoid unpacking.  It's overwhelming with the kids underfoot.  We had fun & explored a bit of the zoo that we hadn't seen before, visiting the gorillas (who were hiding and/or asleep) and a few other monkey type creatures, along with the cheetahs and the leopards.  A great time was had by all, but the wind was a bit nippy, so we didn't stay too long.

In my previous life (before kids), I was a teacher.  This means that I know about ALL the cool toys.  My Aunt Judy is a teacher, too.  She gives great gifts, like these clear Magna Tiles.  The boys are having a lot of fun in my attic playing with them on my light box.  I usually use this to trace things for applique, but I have a feeling they're going to take it over now...

While they played, I worked a bit on my Great Grandma Nell's quilt blocks (remember- the ones I found in my grandmother's barn?!?).  I'm making more so that the quilt will be bigger.  I have lots of her scraps.  It'll have at least one more block per row and perhaps 1 or 2 more rows.

On my design wall is this bento block quilt.  I need to make two more quarters to be ready to assemble it.

On these two quilts, do you guys think I need borders around them?

Thanks for weighing in...  I am hopeful I can get this house picked up SOONish and back to normal around here.  What are you guys working on?

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Priceless Moment

A couple nights ago, I stole away a few hours in my sewing room.  First, I quilted a baby quilt for my neighbors that I'd been procrastinating on.  My walking foot just isn't cutting it.  It's past time to get my machine cleaned & serviced, but I don't want to do without it even for a couple days.  Maybe in January...  Then I worked on arranging my Bento Blocks.  I still need two more blocks to get the size I'd like.  My phone is acting up, so I can't upload the pictures I want. :(

After all that progress, I decided to work on the blocks I got from my great grandmother.  If you'll recall, the last time I visited my grandmother, I found these in her barn.  Naturally, I rescued them along with a hefty sized bag of scraps.  The scraps were from all sorts of places.  Some were scraps from dresses she made herself & others were scraps from discarded clothing from family members.  I found some denim (just a 2x3 piece), a bit of canvas cammo (a 3x4 piece), feed sack scraps out the wazoo, vintage sheets & much more.  Not everything is 100% cotton, but it's all old.

Before sewing together squares, I decided I'd better iron them and that's when it happened.  The heat of the iron brought out the smell of my great grandmother.  Grandma Nell died at least 14 or 15 years ago and these blocks have been out in a barn since, but they somehow retained her scent.  Just like that, I was transported back in time and was overcome with the feeling that she was looking down and smiling at me.  My quilting journey started after she passed away, so she didn't realize that I'd carry on the tradition she was known for.  I'm so happy to get to work on one of her UFOs.  I plan to back it and bind it with feed sacks from my collection.  I've been saving them for something special and I am pretty sure this qualifies.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We have a winner!

I had my hubby pick a random # and our winner is AZ10Z, who wrote: 

2 I have 2 little boys who love them mommy knits and sews for them. I am a hairstylist by trade, and an artist by passion.

Congrats to you (please send me your mailing address & I'll get your vintage sheets in the mail) and thanks, everyone for playing!!!!  I have lots of vintage sheets, so we'll likely have more giveaways in the near future. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanks for the Love

I'm really enjoying the comments from my giveaway post.  Nice to know that I'm not quite talking to myself on here.  I started blogging to document my creative work, but it's fun to get feedback on occasion.

Thanks so much for following me!

Here's what I've been up to:
Still working on my long-term project of a quilt filled with 1 inch hexagons (no repeats) all by hand

Working with Wyatt on learning to read & other skills

Working on basic concepts of behind, on top of, beside, behind, between, etc. with the nativity set

Helping Owen learn to cook his own supper (toasted cheese sandwiches)

A fun mini charm square exchange with my KCMQG peeps

Showing off my new Advent Calendar at KCMQG

Loving my new potholder that I scored from Megs Monkey Beans in a swap we did with Portland's MQG

Bee blocks for Jaime in the KC Scrappy Bee

Organizing work on Quilts of Valor (this was a Round Robin project done by several people.  My mother-in-law just appliqued the stars on the outer border.  Now to piece the backing and find a quilter.

Play dates with friends on rainy days

Marathon sewing of log cabin moda crossweave potholders (way more than are shown here) for Christmas gifts for friends, teachers and therapists)

Decorating gingerbread houses with friends

(full disclosure- mostly the moms did the gingerbread houses while the kids demolished the living room)

Honing our computer skills

And getting ready for a fun Christmas Break.

I have a full life & am very grateful for that.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vintage Sheet Fat Quarter Pack Giveaway!

*** Edited- The giveaway is closed. We have a winner!  Thanks for playing & come visit me again soon! ***

It's Giveaway Day!  Since my buddy, Tammie is participating, I decided to participate, too!

Here's a little info about me:  I'm a member of two quilt guilds:  The Blue Valley Quilters Guild and the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  I am a former first grade and ESL teacher and I currently stay at home with my 3 and 4 year old sons.  I spend a lot of time thinking about quilting.  I'm determined to make lots of scrappy projects this year to work on using up a bunch of my scraps, which seem to multiply each day.  My favorite quilts are scrappy, anyways.

Today I'm offering up this fun fat quarter packet of 11 vintage sheets freshly laundered and chopped up by yours truly & am willing to ship internationally.  I recently closed my Etsy shop due to a lack of time, so I'm extra willing to share the wealth.

To win, please become a follower of my blog and tell me a little about yourself in my comments section.  Thanks for playing!  A random winner will be selected after the contest is over (Dec 16 at 5 pm PST).

Thanks for entering!

Here's a link back to Sew Mama, Sew's giveaway page:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

If I've Seemed Distracted...

Sorry I've been so absent lately.  I've had some technical issues with my phone and my laptop.  These annoying issues haven't been completely fixed, but I did work out a couple of problems.  That's not the only thing that's kept me from blogging...

I know this is a quilting blog, but I'm going to get a little personal in this post.  After about 11 months of various visits to an assortment of medical and educational specialists, two weeks ago we got a diagnosis of high functioning autism for my oldest son, who will turn 5 next spring.  This news isn't a big surprise, but with it comes an array of emotions.  Validation that my concerns weren't imagined.  Determination that we can make up for lost ground.  Bitterness that we'll have to advocate so strongly for him (in the schools, with insurance companies and doctors and with life in general).  Guilt (even though rationally, I know there's no basis for blaming myself in any way).  Thankfulness that we have no cognitive worries with him.  He is curious, happy and eager to learn.  These emotions and so many more.  The psychologist who tested him seemed to indicate that with the right therapy, we might want to re-visit this diagnosis down the road, so perhaps he can overcome the struggles he has with social interactions, with his language delay, with the sensory issues he faces and with the anxiety he sometimes feels when he is overwhelmed with it all.  Behaviorally and socially, we have some work to do.  Although my background is in early childhood development and elementary education, I haven't worked with many autistic children before.  I may not be an expert on autism today, but I'm determined to learn all that I can to help my boy.  I have no doubt that he will grow up to be a brilliant man who will make me very proud (he already is and does).  Our expectations are still as high for him as they've ever been.  He amazes me each day with the progress he is making.  We stay busy with school & speech/OT therapies.  Life for us is rich and for that I am thankful.  He is in many ways fortunate to be our child because both my husband and I have unique perspectives and experiences that will serve us well as we navigate these uncharted waters.

So if I've seemed distracted, now you know why.

I have been sewing when I can, but my focus and my mind have been elsewhere.  I'll be honest with you.  I'm still in the grieving stages, but I've also been taking serious action, learning more about our options, meeting people who can relate to our situation and planning our present and for our future.

To that end, I've decided to take some steps towards starting a consulting business helping families who are in similar situations.  With my education background and with my experience of the past year in trying to get a diagnosis and services for my son, I am pretty well-equipped to help other families with the process of getting evaluations and other services from their public schools.  I won't be employed by the state or by a district, rather I'll work directly for the families in obtaining the best possible services for their kids.  This school year, I don't have as much availability as I'll have next year when the boys will both be in school in the afternoons.  I've been spending a fair amount of time this fall towards this goal & have decided to shut down (at least for now) my Etsy shop.  Generating sales in my shop requires more time than I currently have.  I'm better off working on my business plan when I have a spare minute.

I will continue to quilt.  It is truly my therapy and one of my only creative outlets.  I've met some of my favorite people through quilting and I've learned some skills that are very practical in my daily life.

Last week I made this Advent calendar for my kids.  It's a hit.  It's bigger than it looks (around 3 feet tall) and it's quilted.  The pockets are exquisite wool and the brown and green fabrics are shot cottons.  The backing and binding are a red plaid that I've had for years, intending to use it for a tree skirt that never got made.  Next year, I'll make a giant tree skirt.  I made 5 ornaments for the tree, but lost motivation to make 20 more.  Will work on that after Christmas, I think.  The kids are mostly interested in the presents in each pocket, anyways. :)

I'll end my post by showing you some of the crafty Christmas goodness at my mother-in-law's house.

Merry Christmas and thanks for listening, my friends. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do You Pinterest? I Do.

And I'm addicted.

Here's a link to my boards:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Gift

I've finished up this quilt, which will be a gift for my cousin. All the prints are polka dots from charm square exchanges.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Block # 1 for nancy

Winter forests & fields:

I did a little thread painting to make a soaring bird in the corner.

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Block #2 for nancy

This block needs more gray, but I don't have just the right solid or print, so I'm going to give this to nancy as is.

Here's some detail I did with a little king tut thread:

I hope you like these, nancy!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Qov wip

I work with a great group of people who make Quilts of Valor. Sometimes we make quilts from our stashes. Other times a bunch of people make blocks for a sampler.

Occasionally, we get someone else's wip's. That's the case with this beauty:

My buddy, Trisch brought us a gazillion of these 1/4 log cabin blocks & some coordinating fabric. They belonged to her mom, who was frustrated with the quilt. It was supposed to be a king sized log cabin but due to inconsistent seam allowances, none of the points matched up. She gave it to us to use for quilts of valor. We made 4 different quilts out of her materials. This is the last one. Isn't it fun & modern? So much you can do with a block like this.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trim the Tree Swap Ornaments

Trim the tree #'s 1 & 2, originally uploaded by nkiblueeyes.

I swear I'm going to stop signing up for swaps... I really enjoy doing them, but there's just NO time in my schedule & I find myself procrastinating...

But aren't these cute!?! I made a third one that's red. I used vintage buttons and both sides have trees/buttons. I have this theory that if you use pinking shears on something, it's instantly cute.

Let's start getting into the holiday spirit, everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Habitat Reveal at KCMQG

Last night was KCMQG & the talent there always astounds me. We had around 50 quilts for this challenge. The fabric is Habitat by JayMcCarol.

We each got a free fat eighth pack (free is nice) & could only use more fabric from that line or solids. While I liked some of the prints, they didn't seem to really go together, so it was hard for me to decide what to do. Also, some prints had peach in them. Peach is my least favorite color, I think...

So I chopped them into hexagons & did some English paper piecing. I used them with moda crossweaves for the centers of the flowers & used a nice blue shot cotton for the background & a moda Bella solid I already had made into binding to finish it off. Here's my entry (sorry it is blurry)...

And here are some of my very favorites:

And the winner:

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