Day In The Life

Haven’t you always wanted to know what it’s like to go on vacation with my mom and I? Well, wonder no more! I joined memory keeping guru Ali Edwards on Tuesday and documented my day with a few photos.

Here’s my Day In The Life working vacation style…

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6:15am ▪ Awake since 2 because I don’t sleep well away from my guy. Finally gave up on tossing and turning and watched Netflix on my phone till the sun came up.

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7:29am ▪ Showered, dressed, coffee and donuts, and the Today Show on TV.

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8:39am ▪ Get to work. Quilting assembly line with mom.

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10:01am ▪ We’ve hit a rhythm and are on a roll.

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12:10pm ▪ Lunch break. We had ham, fresh corn, and this Asian chopped salad that’s quite tasty.

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1:28pm ▪ Afternoon nap.

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2:01pm ▪ A load of dishes. A load of laundry. Good things about a time share vs a hotel -modern conveniences for the win.

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3:04pm ▪ Somewhere around block 35 of 53, hoping all these semi-blind choices add up to awesome in the end. Our aim is to leave here with a mostly done quilt top. After all these blocks there’s three borders going on this one.  

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5:18pm ▪ Windows open wide, cool mountain air. Mix and matching Bubba Gump’s shrimp and mashed potatoes leftovers and mom’s quiche for dinner.

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6:41pm ▪ Because the spa bath is the best part of every vacation, and I’m a fan of the leaf imprints left in these tiles. Face mask, hair mask, and all the bubbles. Relax.

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7:43pm ▪ Sometimes it’s hot tea before bed and sometimes it’s this to help me fall asleep.

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9:57pm ▪ Just before I turn out the light.  I’ve ended the day as I began it, with Netflix. Then I called my guy to catch up on his day and say goodnight.

Goodnight.

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A Quilt For Patty

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About six months ago my mom posted a little fabric challenge to our family on Facebook. She asked for a few fat-quarters of fabric to be sent for inspiration and in return we would make the sender a lap quilt from their fabric.

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My cousin Patty took mom up on her offer. She sent us a awesome pack of fabric in greys and blues. It was fantastic to work with colors mom and I aren’t normally drawn to. We needed the push to do something new and we both really love the way the quilt turned out! It’s very calming and peaceful -so relaxing to look at and cuddle.

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It’s been so great to make something for someone we both love so much and who got to personalize it a little bit. We’ve already packaged up our little masterpiece to send off to its new home. Of course, even as I stitched on the label mom asked “What are we working on next?”

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Pattern: Meet Me At The Corner by Atkinson Designs
Machine pieced, hand bound.
Long-arm quilted by Dream Catchers Quilting

Creative Rhythm

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Last Night

I stitched up (yet another :)) tote bag. I made changes to this one, too…
Inset handles, instead of after thought ones.
Single side quilting with a lining, instead of quilting all three layers at once.

Every time I finish a bag for a moment I contemplate keeping it. I enjoy so much having that finished object in my hand. I love the feel of the fabrics and uniqueness of handmade. My selfish self says ‘Keep It Keep It!’

In the end I don’t keep them; I wrap them up in our homemade coloring page wrapping paper, add a yarn bow, and add it to my gift pile. With my master list of friends and family I check one more name off and begin again. I’ll repeat that cycle of make, want, gift many times over the next month. It’s the rhythm of my holidays.

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This Morning

The beginning of the cycle begins again…

I start with a finished object in mind, and a person it’s intended to be for. What’s their favorite color combo? What style might they like? What new technique do I want to try? What do I envision them using it for?

I pull fabrics from the stash as I roll the ideas around in my head. Images come to mind, thoughts on construction. Sometimes I pull fabric and I lay it out and I don’t know just where I’m headed yet. I walk away, grab some breakfast, watch a show, work on a already in progress something. Letting the idea sit in the back while it gathers itself together.

If it doesn’t gather, I change the fabric, change direction, think about a different intent. Sooner or later it gels in my brain and I can begin to cut and stitch and mostly feel my way along the process. All the other things I’ve made informing the steps I take, and if not, a seam ripper at the ready. (Even though I sigh and cringe as I use it.)

I rarely stop mid-way once I begin this kind of project. Unless I find myself making so many mistakes it’s no longer fun but frustrating. I tunnel vision my way to the last stitch. To the ‘Oh, I want to keep it!’ moment. Then I take a picture, (to remember my proud mama moment) wrap it up, mark it off, begin again.

Creative Rhythm.
What’s yours?

Still making

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Tote bags for gifting are still being made around here…
Some of which I can’t share photos of; they’re so recipient specific it would be too easy for friends to pick theirs out!

Each one is constructed differently. As I make them I change a bit of the process, I’m feeling out my favorite creation style as I go along.

For instance this one…
Got a zipper.
Is made from a canvas material instead of pieced with quilter’s cotton.
Is lined with interfacing vs batting and quilted.

I really liked the simplicity of this one and the crafty fabric is so fun. I used cotton ribbon ties from Moda jelly rolls as straps; double sided for extra thickness. I knew I was saving those things for something!

One more Handmade Holiday gift created and ready for wrapping!

Totes Christmas-y

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It’s the time of year I really get into my handmade holiday list and start checking things off. One by one the gifts pile up, wrapped as I go, ready for the month of various Christmas-y gathering we’ll have going on soon. Today’s project was a quilted tote with lots of holiday spirit.

It really is one of my favorite seasons; the season of making!

zip me up {from granny’s box}

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It started with a little linen something…maybe it originally went on the arm of a chair or sofa? I’m not sure. There was only one of these little linen rectangles with an eyelet border in granny’s box.

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I imagined it as a little zipper pouch with red work on the sides. I had this swan pattern printed from someplace online…Flickr, I think. I traced it over carbon paper on either end of my linen -careful to make them opposite so when I cut and sewed it they’d be right side up.

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I added a zipper and lined it in red. The red is so much smaller because I wanted to leave the eyelets outside like fringe. I sewed the red inside right sides together first, which is different then how I normally make bags so it felt strange. Then, with the red out of the way, I sewed the outer linen wrong sides together -inside the eyelet edging. I tucked the loose zipper ends in the top section of eyelet and sewed just that section closed for clean edges.

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I like how it turned out, the linen is heavy enough it doesn’t really show the red inside. It’s simple, a little old-fashioned maybe…but pretty and useful and will work great for a little birthday gift. It’s one more small thing from granny’s box made new.

Happy day!

» As a little side note…I am soak-washing these items before I use them. My grandmother was from Florida and this box has been closed up for a very long time. Some of the pieces I will use have stains, brown spots, and a musty odor. I use my hand-washing soap called Soak (the same thing I use for washing my hand-knit items) plus Oxy-clean to whiten and release stains. I hang or lay everything in the sun to help bleach out stains as well. Sometimes it makes the pieces look new again, sometimes the stains don’t come out, and that’s ok with me.

The Inspired Quilter

Wakes up at two a.m. to do this…

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And then makes herself hungry so she grabs this…

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With trusty companions keeping watch…

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Or…something…

There is ironing and cutting and dreaming and scheming going on before the sun rises.

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Soon there will be a stack of quilts and a renewed Etsy shop opening…This time with great purpose and a big announcement and a step forward and a call for help. It’ll be something…all birthed right here in the early morning by an inspired exhausted quilter.

Bound For Greatness

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Several weeks ago I had the great joy to attend a quilt auction. Not just any quilt auction but one for the Carol Joy Holling Camp & Retreat Center…the same center I visited several months ago for the Jumping Tandem Retreat.

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I’d never been to a quilt auction before so I was pretty excited. What added to the excitement was that this place has not only new personal history but also a long family history. My brother-in-law and many of his relatives have gone to camp at Carol Joy as children. Many of them also worked as camp counselors as young adults. They all have fond memories and a lasting love for the camp and have gone many times to the auction.

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The auction is the last big event of the summer for the camp staff. The weekend after all their charges have left camp and headed home they gather a bunch of quilts…408 or so this year!…and auction them off to raise money to make sure no child that wants to go camp is ever turned down.

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What makes me so very happy is that all the quilts are donated. By individuals, by groups, by churches…just people making blankets to help some kids. I love that. Hundreds of people come on auction day and thousands of dollars gets raised. It is a beautiful thing to witness. One I’m hoping to make a family tradition of.

And next year? Next year a quilt or two hanging from those racks will be made by our family. The first of which is this Christmas wall hanging.

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We noticed two themes got somewhat higher bids than the others this year: one being the Huskers blankets – it is Nebraska after all! The second is holiday themed items.

It just so happened I had this unfinished Christmas quilt top my mom and I created together. I asked my mother-in-law to quilt it so we could donate it from all of us to the auction next year. Now, all that’s left is the binding – my favorite part!

Oh, and then the donating and auctioning of course! At the end of next summer we will have made some kids really happy. Kids who will find no monetary restriction keeping them from an amazing life experience.  That makes me beyond happy.

This little quilt of ours is definitely bound for greatness. Nothing feels greater than helping children.

Sew Cushy {from granny’s box}

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My first project using a bit of handmade history from granny’s box is a simple one. Inspired by a pillow we had growing up with a bit of crochet on top. I can’t quite grasp the image of that first pillow anymore…it might have been a dark red…it might have had a phrase like ‘home sweet home’ in the cream colored crochet…I think.

However it was I still remember the idea of it and used it to make this version…

I have to say this was the easiest of the items in the box to work with. Square and intact it made creating this quilted pillow a snap.

I picked a fabric from the stash dark enough to bring out the lace. I also picked it with someone in mind to gift it to for Christmas. (I guess that makes this a bit off a Handmade Holiday post as well!)

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I made a traditional quilt sandwich – fabric up, batting, fabric down – out of pieces a few inches larger all around than what I wanted my finished pillow to be. Fat quarter size basically, it’ll end up a 16 inch pillow.

I quilted it simply with a straight stitch roughly following the design of the fabric. I made two of these, one for each side of my pillow.

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I trimmed my quilted squares to 16.5… Using a half inch seem allowance because I added a zipper and like to give myself plenty to sew onto.

I centered my crocheted square and pinned it. As I sewed it down I tugged it just a bit to open up the lace, and I sewed inside the scalloped edge so that it made a little fringe.

With my two pillow sides ready to go I basically follow this great tutorial by Brett Bara to finish my pillow. She’s awesome. If zippers make you want to cry you’ll love this tutorial! You’ll be adding zippers to whatever you can get your hands on.

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Ta-da! One Christmas gift down, a million more to go! Or should that be one item from granny’s box used a million more to figure out?

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I love the extra squishy-ness the quilting adds to this project, but you could totally do this with a single layer of fabric.

So, new throw pillows in your future? How about some doilies? They’re not just for table tops anymore! 🙂

{from granny’s box}

One of the things that happened during that hard time in May is my dad started giving things away. He wanted to make sure that the people he loved got the things he intended for them, and the things they wanted.

My dad was a gunsmith so many of the things he gave away came from that part of his life. But, he also had a box just for me. A big box saved from his mother, who was a crafter, for his crafty daughter.

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In this box I carried back to Colorado came so many things…aprons, table cloths, doilies, napkins, handkerchiefs, table runners…a stuffed chicken. (She kept that chicken in her kitchen & it later lived in my dad’s kitchen. I guess it’s time for it to live in my kitchen now.Some day that thought won’t make my eyes tear up.)

Some of the things in the box are store bought, but many of them are handmade or hand-decorated. They’re crocheted, embroidered, and sewn.

Now, I pulled things out of the box to use…a couple table runners, towels for the kitchen…but this box is big and I can only use so much of it. Instead of closing it up and storing it for a later generation to…what? Put it in their attic too?…I decided to do a little something different.

I opened it up and started thinking about the things I could repurpose into gifts for my loved ones. What can I do with these cloth and crocheted doilies to make them useful for a generation that doesn’t use doilies?? Got any thoughts? I’m all ears! There’s plenty to go around!

For about a month the wheels in my head have been turning. Finally, this week the sewing machine has been humming and the first couple of projects are coming together.

I’ll be sharing those projects right here and I’m determined to slowly but surely spread the wealth from granny’s box.

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