Thursday, July 28, 2011

Inspiration

The Shabby Nest is one of my new favorite blogs and while checking it out yesterday, I came across this great entry.  It captured my fancy because lately, I have really been trying to pay attention to the world around me as a source for quilting inspiration.
So now, occasionally in my blog I'm going to play my own version of that post and call it:
If This (fill in the blank) Were A Quilt

I'm sure Matt (and everyone else who saw me) thought I was crazy when, during our last drive back from Utah, I jumped out of the car during one of our gas stops, to take umpteen pictures of this weathered, old bowling alley sign.  But, I was absolutely inspired by the colors and the retro look of the diamonds.  
I couldn't wait to get home to interpret what I saw into a quilt.
So here is my version...

First, I shopped my stash and found these little lovelies.

Which I then turned into these flying geese.




Which I pieced together into these Dutchman's Puzzle Blocks.

Which came together like a dream into this baby quilt.
I think I captured the diamond shapes of the sign letters with the pinwheel triangles.  

And, the whimsical colors make it perfect for a baby girl, without making it too cutsie.
 As soon as I get it quilted, there is a certain little sweetie, who shall remain nameless (no literally, after three weeks, her parents have yet to pick out a name for her), who will be getting this. 
Welcome to the world, Baby Girl Garrett.

Along with the baby quilt, I've been working furiously on my wall hanging. 

I practiced more pebble quilting on the background and did straight stitching to mimic thread, on the spools.

Around the triangles, I stitched in the ditch.  

 The quilting really shines through on the back.  I love how textured it is.

Now, I just need to finish the binding and it is ready to go. 

And lastly,
Remember these?


As promised, here are the pictures of my sister and me in the costumes Aunt Twila sewed us from those patterns.  
Yes, that is chubby-cheeked, little me in the red lion suit.  I guess you can see why the kids in elementary school used to call me Chipmunk.  I guess as nicknames go, it could have been worse.

When I saw these pictures again, I was filled with a rush of love and warmth for a woman who was a huge influence to me throughout my life.  She was a skilled homemaker and believed it was an art. When she was younger, she cooked, knitted, sewed and made decorations for her home.
She encouraged me in those same pursuits, as well.  
I believe she is one of the reasons I love homemaking so much.
Now that I think about it, I guess I've never really had to look too far for inspiration.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's been a while

Grief is a funny thing.  It is sneaky and hits you from behind when you least expect it.  With my Dad, it didn't hit me right away. Yes, I was sad and I cried but, I think I was a bit in denial at first.  It just didn't seem like he was really gone forever. As time has gone on and the finality of it settled on me, my grief has gotten worse and the loneliness of it more pronounced.  Photos of him that used to make me smile, now bring an ache inside that I have to physically shake off.
This time, perhaps because I lost Dad first, the grief hit immediately.  I mean, I'm losing my posse! I'm losing the people who have helped me feel anchored in this crazy, ever changing world. What can I say?  I feel like an orphan!  It's not rational, I know.  I still have plenty of friends and family in my life.  Never the less, it is how I have felt.
Things have seemed pretty darn bleak to me and I have been sooooooooooo tired. Sometimes, it has taken all my effort not to fall asleep during the day.  This can be a bit of a problem at work, let me tell you.
I have also been in a kind of fog for the last few weeks.  It seems like I can't hold a thought in my head or concentrate for very long.  Oh, I've managed the basics to get through the days, but that's about it.  Poor, Matt.  He's had to deal with the brunt of it.
So, I did what I always do when the darkness closes in on me.  I took it to my Heavenly Father and asked him to help me...to heal me.
He did.  I am better.  Not a 100% yet, but better.  I know he will help me the rest of the way in time.
All that to explain why I haven't blogged in a while.  I just haven't been up to it.  I meant to but I couldn't seem to concentrate long enough to get it done.
But, I'm back.  Nice to be here.
I have managed to do a bit of quilting through all of this.  I know it sounds weird, but sewing helps me process.  For me, it is a form of meditation.  The room is totally quiet, except for the ambient noises outside the open window, my hands are busy doing something I don't really have to think about, which thus frees my mind to ponder on whatever I need to.
So here is what I have been up to...


 

First of all, I finished the quilt for my nephew's new son, Declan.  I can't tell you how pleased I am with it and how happy I was to be able to give it to him.  I LOVE it!  It is cute, with out being "cutsie".  I found the tutorial here at Moda Bake Shop. 
I used a solid green Kona cotton I found at Joanne's for the backing.  I love the way it highlights the quilting.
Can I just tell you how excited I am about my new quilt labels designed for me by my friend, Anelieze Castrejon?  She is an up and coming graphic artist who was gracious enough to design these in her spare time. She did a great job.
I also found these tiny "P.S. I love you" labels when I was organizing (another thing I tend to do a lot of when I am depressed and the world seems out of my control) some drawers in my sewing room.  I don't know where or when I bought them, but I adore them and am now putting them on all my projects.
After I finished I wanted to do a project for myself.  I have given away my last several projects, so I thought I would make something just for me.
When I get this finished, it will hang on a wall in my studio (aka, my sewing room.  Studio just sounds so much more professional, don't you think?)
My favorite block is this paper pieced sewing machine.  Oh, that my real sewing machine looked so mod.  I even used the memory feature to engrave my name on it.  Love. It.
That's all the sewing I did.  But I wanted to show you something else.
As we were going through my Aunt's estate, we came across some boxes filled with vintage sewing items.  These were generously given to me.  They are a treasure trove of wonders!
There were boxes of vintage patterns in pristine condition.  How do I love thee...let me count the ways, baby!
These four patterns are my favorites and according to the measurements, they should be about my size. 
Here are some patterns that she sewed for us nieces.  The two at the bottom are Halloween costumes she made for my sister and me.  Denise was the Fairy Princess, I was the lion.  Hey, I think I got jipped on that deal!
I actually have pictures of us wearing them.  I will have to dig those out and post them.
And here's the amazing thing
Look at the price...45 cents!  Last time I checked patterns were up to $15.00...$20.00 for Vogue.  As Aunt Twila used to say, "It's highway robbery, if you ask me."