Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Superbly Bionic Heart of Steel and Epic Proportions!

The title alone should tell you I'm quite miserable at all things scientific, eh? Math's my thing.

Thank you all for the prayers for my grandmother.

From my medically-savvy Aunt: "They replaced the aortic arch and the descending aorta. " In layman's terms... she's got herself some bionic parts. Perfect, if you ask me. Normal human parts can't stand up to a woman like her. New parts mean she's going to last longer and be stronger and do more with those new parts than a normal person could do with their whole heart.

Continued prayers are certainly welcome - they're watching her blood pressure and praying against any sort of recovery complications such as stroke. My mother's gone up to be with her for an undetermined amount of time - she'll be in the hospital for around a week and she'll need a lot of help when she gets home. Keep sending good thoughts her way.

Ogee is travelling up with my dad in another week or so - he'll be driving up with my sister. It's supposed to be a Christmas gift, but with her being laid up, I think she could use the perk-up. The plan is still for us to go home for Christmas - I fear that Kid being around while she's recovering from open-heart surgery might just be a bit too much, so we'll keep him and his endless supply of energy down here until Christmas.


Dissecting Aorta and Matching Birdies

I've mentioned my grandma before on this blog, but probably not as extensively as I should to truly represent how much she has influenced my life.

My grandma is my rock, my inspiration, and my best friend. I talk to her daily. We share project ideas, recipes, secrets. She taught me to sew, she inspires my current projects, and she encourages me in my creative endeavors.

She is heart. All heart. The woman gives, loves... she's strong. There's not a soul on earth who dislikes her. She's kind, and she's fun. She went parasailing last time she was down here. She just went to a haunted house last weekend. She's the "cool" grandma. She fist-bumps instead of hand-shaking. She dances with Kid. She helps me make quilts for the hospital.

She's the sweet melody of a songbird on a quiet spring morning, the rustling of the leaves in the fall, and every other great memory you can think of.

She's these pillows:

And this quilt:

And this bird:

And she's in emergency surgery for a dissecting aorta. I prefer to think that her heart's just trying to escape from her because it's too big to be held in by her ribcage. Regardless, prayers are needed and appreciated greatly.

I try not to get heavy or personal on the blog too much, but... this is my grandma. She's my rock. And I need her. She's gotta stick around, you know? So, if you pray, pray. If you don't, send good thoughts. Please.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Second Wind - a Wicked Late Kaleidoscope Finish

I've been way behind on the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along with Don't Call Me Betsy... started late, fell off the bandwagon, delayed, delayed...
then Candi at Raccoon Creek Quilts posted her UFO challenge and got my bum in gear!

I busted most of this out last week. It's called Second Wind because a series of late night second winds got it done. Remember my rule of 2? 2 A.M. and a 2 liter of mountain dew? Totally happened here.

Without further ado...

Second Wind!

And, to match my grandmother's Ogee quilt and tie them together a bit, I've placed a small bird in the bottom corner of the backing:

Fabric is Lola's Posies by Riley Blake Designs, with a bit of Kona Caribbean on the front, Azure on the back, and Free to Grow (Mod Green Pod) as the binding. Interesting fact? I won Lola's Posies and Free to Grow. The only thing I bought for this quilt were the solids!

Linking this up to Sew Modern Monday:
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ogee, it's the Blogger's Quilt Festival!

This is my second time participating in The Blogger's Quilt Festival - I love getting the inspiration by poking through everyone else's link ups!

No surprise, this entry is my recently finished Ogee Quiltalong (Rebecca Johnson's Curlicue Crush pattern, quilt along led by Lesly, at Stitch Literate.)

This quilt was a bit of heartache, but mostly heart. It's a yet-to-be-given Christmas gift for my grandmother (who hopefully isn't reading the blog.. but I'm pretty sure she already knows I made it).

The fabric choice was a breeze. I selected 20 prints from Sunkissed and paired it with Kona Banana. The colors.. they're just her. You know? Someone can usually look at a pile of hot pink, cerulean, lime, and orange and say "BREE!". This pile was just her. It's sunny summer afternoons on her back porch, it's the warm and friendly vibe she gives off. It's generosity and sweetness evoked by a color palette.

The pattern called to me. It reminds me of those old, hanging ornate birdcages - and since birds are her favorite, it was only a natural selection.

This quilt had a few bloopers along the way. That dadblasted birdcage? It looked a whole lot more like a crying onion at one point than a bird cage:

(See it? step back from your monitor.) It's a crying onion. And while I greatly appreciate the irony in a crying onion, it did not make me very happy! It took some finagling to turn it around and come back to the birdcage:

Once the birdcage was sorted out, the rest was a breeze. I'm thrilled to be giving this to my grandma - she taught me to sew and has encouraged me every step of the way!

As a part of my small tribute to her, I've placed a matching birdie on my own recently finished KSQA quilt:

Post coming soon about that - it's finally finished!

Go check out the rest of the quilts at the festival - I can't wait to see what everyone's got in store!

Monday, October 24, 2011

For the Love of Solids Swap-Received!!

It only took 5 1/2 weeks after the mailing deadline to receive but it's finally here!

I would be lying if I said I wasn't getting downright depressed that I still hadn't received my package. Out of 90 something swappees there were only 4 left that were still waiting, FOUR. 
And I was one of them, which just seems to be my luck as of late.

It turns out we had two people who joined the swap and then were never heard from again. So Elizabeth and Megan got right to work on angel packages for the recipients of these two people. They both posted pictures of what they were working on in the Flickr group. Megan's was a late night cell phone picture where you couldn't really tell what color it was but she was very excited about the fact that it was a rainbow palette. So I got excited thinking it would be for me because I specifically asked for rainbows! 

But she also said it would be there by that weekend (which was a few weeks ago) and when it didn't arrive I figured I was wrong and it wasn't for me after all. 

So every day I would check the mail box and every day I would be disappointed. But today was different. Today I actually saw my mail carrier put a package in there! So I ran out and checked the mail and there it was!! And it was from Megan!! It turns out she was busy preparing for and going to the Sewing Summit (lucky girl!) that she didn't get a chance to send it out until last week.

I love how colorful the zipper is!

She even sent me a sampler pack of Aurifil. I have been dying to get my hands on one of these so I could try out all the different weights but I haven't been able to win any of the giveaways out there!

Here it is in my messy sewing corner, it really brightens things up! 

Thank you SO much Megan, for stepping up and sending me this awesome swap package. I really do love it! And thank you for finally putting an end to my suffering, LOL!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kaleidoscope.. an almost-finished post

Just figured I'd post real pictures since my camera has returned to me :)

The front:

The back:

and the little birdie in the corner:

I'm still deciding on a binding. I'm leaning pretty heavily towards using this fabric:

(Free to Grow, Mod Green Pod organics)


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew In Results

Complete with crappy cell-phone pictures!

The husband has been camping this week, so I have been on a crazy sew-a-thon, complete with finally participating in the Friday Night Sew-In at Handmade by Heidi!
You can check out everyone else's progress on the link at Crafty Vegas Mom this week.

As posted on Wednesday or so, I'm finally tackling the Kaleidoscope QAL that has been sitting on my wall forever. Since the husband is camping, my camera is with him, so you're stuck with cell-phone photos until he comes back with the camera.
A refresher on what the fabric actually looks like with a normal camera:

Bold, deep, rich. Lola's Posies by Riley Blake Designs.

So, I hadn't pieced a bit of this at all. Late Thursday night, I finished up the top:

So my Friday Night Sew-in was completely devoted to the back!

I only bought two yards for the back, and the quilt is about 60" wide, so I needed to piece it. I love a pieced backing, so that's no problem.
I decided to tackle the ever-popular Swoon blocks. Now.. I'm a cheapie. I didn't buy the pattern. That means my lunch break on Friday went to figuring out the math. Good thing I got it right, I didn't really have any spare scraps from my Lola's Posies to be messing around with!!

After a lot of cutting, a sore wrist, loads of HST assembly using the square method, and about 3 hours, I had one block. One.


It was 11 PM when this was finished. I had hoped to have all three blocks I needed done by 11!!
Well.. they said sew til you drop, so I did.
Two more hours went by and I finally had my quilt back done!

Somehow, I feel like that doesn't look like much progress, but it was about 5 hours solid!

KSQA is now basted and ready to quilt!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KSQA... it's ON!

Alright, this has been sitting around untouched for just long enough where it's bordering on a UFO and not a WIP. Everything else for everyone else keeps getting in the way.

Enough is enough! Time for some sewing for me, I say!

I've kicked the husband out of the house for the next several evenings, and have full intentions of finishing the top and piecing the back, at minimum, with goals to baste so I can quilt next week!

In case you've forgotten what it looks like, since I sorta have...
I started with a pile of Lola's Posies from Riley Blake Designs:

and played a little bit with it:

It's totally rad, right? and it's totally for me. And it's totally still on the wall. But starting tonight, no more! I'm busting this WIP this week if it kills me!

I'm linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, because WIP Wednesday linkups whip me into shape.. and I need a whip up!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kid Quilting

Betcha you think I'm going to talk about quilting for kids. Quilts made for children. Child-oriented novelty fabrics.

Nope. I'm talking about Kid. Quilting.

How old is old enough to start sewing? I was about 6 when I started hand-sewing, and 7 when I started on machine.

Kid's already shown an interest and he "helps" me frequently. He'll hand me pieces to stitch together, he helps guide the fabric while on my lap... he quite loves to piece. His favorite, though, is picking out fabrics. He is the reason my scraps are never as organized as they should be.

Case and point:

No, but seriously... after he dumps out the fabric, he plays with it. He organizes by color and size, and tells me what he wants to sew together. We can't go to Joann's or the quilt shop without coming home with at least one cut he picked. (See the fish in the below photo? That was today's buy.)

He spent well over an hour today sorting the above basket of strips:

So, we've decided to let him make his first quilt. All those strips are about 3"x18". Leftovers from cutting tumblers out of fat quarters. There are a ton of different lines in there - Beetle Boy, Count with Maisy, Spot's Favorite Colors, Mr. Fix It, Sparky Pound Hounds, Hungry Caterpillar... not enough of any one line to make anything more than a block, really. Together, it will be quite scrappy, but it should be bright!
I plan to cut out 3" squares from the strips and let him do a simple patchwork design. No real pattern, just squares to squares, and see how big it is in the end. See that Woody iron-on in front of him? That'll probably find its way onto the front, too. I can't promise it'll be the coolest or most modern quilt out there, but we will have fun making it!

So... look for that quilt sometime in the next year or two, eh? He gets distracted after about 10 minutes of stitching. ;)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Second Seuss and Some Bonus Finishes

Do you guys remember this quilt from back in June?

It was made for one of my husband's coworkers, who had just recently found out she was pregnant. She was about 7 weeks at the time that I made it. I don't usually do gifts that early, but he was excited and wanted me to make something so he could show it off, lol. So.. he picked the fabric and basic design, and I sewed it up, and off he went. She loved it!


she found out she was having twins.

Uh.... oops. Guess I need to make another quilt, eh? You can't very well give just one quilt to two babies!

I've been putting it off. No hurry, she's not due until January or so. I think... I should double check that, eh?

Well, this weekend, I was feeling fidgety. I'm just about Halloween-project'ed out (Read: I'm running out of Halloween stash fabrics!) and I wanted to get something DONE. I started playing with some scraps - roughly 3" wide strips of Seuss fabrics. It evolved quickly into a quilt-as-you-go string quilt (following the bottled rainbows method), and in a weekend, we have a new finish!

Not a bad coordinate, right? I didn't want to do identical quilts, but I still wanted them to coordinate. I quite like it, and now the string quilt bug has bitten me!

I also pulled off another early Christmas finish... a Toy Story themed rag quilt for Kid. We're hoping to travel home to Maine for Christmas this year, and I figure a new quilt will make for one small distraction on the ride up!

And a 1600 Jelly-Roll quilt as an appreciation/birthday gift for my awesome hairdresser:

Have you guys tried that pattern out yet? SO easy and so quick!! Not to mention modern and actually, sorta manly. My 18 year old brother has requested one in black, white, and orange for Christmas.

So... lots of quick finishes lately. Next on my project list is KSQA, which has been sitting on my design wall for far, far too long!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Diaper Bag for Baby Abbagail

I mentioned Wednesday that I was working on a commissioned project. I had one of the ladies from the daycare where I used to take my kids (before I had so many that the expense of daycare put me out of work) call me and ask me if I made diaper bags. I told her I had never made a diaper bag before but that I do like to make bags and happened to have a tote bag pattern that would make an excellent one. 

Do you remember this bag that I made for the giveaway?

It was made with the Bow Tucks Tote Bag pattern. It's finished size is something like 11"x13" and 5" deep and it has a ton of pockets on the inside. 

I showed her this picture and she fell in love with it and asked me to make one for her friend's impending arrival. 

She said the mom-to-be liked pink, purple, butterflies and flowers. I just so happened to have some fabric that fit the bill perfectly!

She asked if I could embroider her name on it. I told her I did embroider, but I was still a bit new to it and my stitching isn't perfect. She didn't care. She said that was the beauty of handmade items. I think I might love her :)

I measured the pockets of the one I made for the giveaway to see if diapers and bottles would fit and they were perfect, so I used the same pocket measurements for this one.

I delivered it to her Wednesday night and she loved it! 

Yay for a happy customer!

You know, I bought this pattern with the sole intention of making a bag for myself. This is the second one I have made and I still don't have one for me! Oh well, at least I'm getting plenty of use out of the pattern! I think by the time I get around to making one for myself I'll be able to do it in my sleep :)