2012...

...was a challenging year for me.  Henry's autism diagnosis, starting early childhood school, therapies, fixing up our house, moving to Maryland and then selling our house--whew!  It was a year of personal life growth for sure.

But, it was also the year of creative growth, too.  I feel lucky to be among such talented company in the Cocorico, Pastiche, and Ringo Pie Bees.  The monthly themes challenged me to my limits, but my sewing skills kept growing to match what I imagined for my design. 

pastiche mosaic


cocorico bee

You'll notice that these mosaics are a little thin for bees that I've been in all year.  I still owe 4 bee blocks for 2012.  Luckily my bee-mates are patient with me. 

ringo pie bee


This was also the year of the Farmer's Wife quilt. I wish I could say that I've finished it, but that is not the case. Maybe I can finish it by spring?

First half of FW, backlit


 I did a little knitting this year. Most of it was very tiny, but I do have the one big shawl to warm me up.

knitted 2012


I finished a couple of quilts to cuddle up in, but I did gave them all away except for one (my AMH voile quilt is covering my lap as I type this (bottom right).

finished quilts 2012


And, lastly, there are some other sewn items that I'm proud of from the year.

other 2012


2012 was supposed to be the year of the finish.  I had nine items from 2011 that I wanted to complete.  Unfortunately I only finished of those nine!  So, I officially declare that 2013 will be the year of completion.  All projects from 2011 will be done this year as well as some from 2012.
Really.
I mean it this time. 

I'm grateful for this space to share my adventures in sewing.  Occasionally I need a space where I am a mom but I'm a person, a designer and a sewist first.  Thank you all for joining me over the last year.

Please, take a minute to tell me what you made this year that you are most proud of.  Do you have any specific plans for 2013?

Busy

The last week has been a whirlwind.  The boxes hid my tree for a few days,

where is the tree?


but it sure was nice to set up my new craft space and see my fabrics again.

red and green unpacking


We took a break from unpacking last weekend to go to DC.  Henry loved his first Metro ride,

first Metro ride


his first visit to the Smithsonian (Natural History Museum, Oceans exhibit),

first visit to the Smithsonian


and playing on the mall near our Metro stop.

view of the Washington Monument


Gift opening was fun but we have to limit the number of gifts so he doesn't get overwhelmed. 

openining gifts


Henry never seems to tire of the holiday treats.  He has been begging to decorate Christmas cookies since October.  We bought some gluten free graham crackers and found a few GF treats to stick to the frosting.  He had so much fun that we will do it again this week.

decorating cookies

But, first, we have a visit from my brother and niece.  It is so nice to see family in our new home.  It makes it all seem more real.

So, I'll be staying busy until after the new year.  Henry will start school on the 2nd and I'll get a little time to myself.  I look forward to catching up with more blogging friends then. 

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Our House

We are (somewhat) settled into our new home in Maryland.  We are renting a lovely place on a culdesac with a playground next door.  The neighborhood seems very friendly.  Henry will start school after the new year and we are looking forward to seeing what the programs here can offer him.  We finally got our moving truck three days ago and we just got internet yesterday.

in front of the new house

We put our Wisconsin house on the market the same week we moved out.  In fact, we didn’t allow it to be shown until the day after we left.  As we drove through Pennsylvania, we got a call from our realtor that the very first person that saw the house put an offer on it.  The past three weeks have been busy with negotiating and banking and paperwork, but we just closed on that house yesterday.

I have a special relationship with our house after all of the renovation I did on it.  A few of the posts about home renovation are here, here and here.  I loved our yard and garden, too, (with posts here, here and here).  I didn’t blog about the weeks of work I put in at the end.  Things just got too busy.  Anyway, I’m glad our house will have another family to love it now. 

I made this ornament of our Wisconsin home.  I think it still needs a little more embroidery before it goes on the tree, but I'm a little too schmoopy to work on it now. 

ornament of our old house

I feel grateful for the six plus years we had in our Wisconsin home and I look forward to the good things to come here.
Wishing you all a cozy place to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.

Embracing imperfections

We took this picture last week Thursday.  It is the last one before drove off late on Friday to move to Maryland.  I put a lot of work and heart into this house and on that final day, I really struggled with leaving some projects unfinished.  Thankfully my friend, Tina, gave me a good talking to.  We delegated a few projects to friends and neighbors and left some just be.  It was a good thing, too.  Ben started work on Monday and we've been swamped ever since.

house and family


Anyway, in the spirit of accepting imperfections, I thought I'd share a few pictures from my Baptist fan quilting adventure.

I marked every single line on the quilt, which took a *lot* of time.

baptist fan quilting


Here is the template I made by tracing the curves of a dinner plate and marking where the fans started and ended as well as the square lines for the quilt.

baptist fan quilting


I ran out of the plastic template material so the inside curves were made with paperboard.

baptist fan quilting


I used these marking pencils from Joann Fabrics.  I can't say that I love them.  The leads broke often and it took three washings to get the blue out.  I'll need to try a different marking tool next time.

baptist fan quilting


Even with the curves marked, my sewing lines are a little rough when you look closely.

baptist fan quilting

baptist fan quilting


Thankfully, after a wash (or three) and taking a step back, the quilt looks crinkly and lovely. 

donation quilt


I hope that showing some of my imperfections will inspire someone else to jump in and try some fan quilting.  I planned from the beginning to give this quilt to charity so I didn't sweat the mistakes as much.  Let me know if you try it out.

Digging, finding, sewing, packing, etc.

I'd like to start by thanking all of you for sending me good thoughts about packing and moving.  Henry is adapting fairly well so far, though we can see the effects of the change of routine.  We are making steady progress on the house, but Friday is coming up very quickly.

The very hardest room to pack up has been my craft room.  I tend to have too, too many ideas.  I make a lot of piles of random supplies with big, big plans in my head.  And then the piles beget more piles.  I feel like it was an archeological dig down in my basement to some of the ideas I had when we moved in six years ago (or before).  Anyway, in order to tie up some loose ends, I ended up sewing and cutting a lot more in the past two weeks than I had planned on.


I cut up all of the fabric for Ben's quilt and then packed it up.
boy's nonsense


I cut up some squares for a patchwork muted red, white and blue quilt.  I've had this idea swimming around in my head for 3 years and I finally collected enough fabrics for it.

all set to go



log cabin start


I had one starter block received from the 3x6 bee (mrssorrells2009 on flickr) and a stack of fabric that this block inspired.

I started by cutting the fabric into strips to make one large log cabin block. Then, instead of folding up the strips and putting them away, I just sewed them all into a quilt top.

AB and DS log cabin

I look forward to getting a batting and backing on that after the move.

I also dug up some quilt as you go squares from the Mother's Day retreat with crazymomquilts and I finished quilting all of those.  I hope I can get some of them sewn together on the car ride.

quilting squares from retreat


quilting squares from retreat


As I've been packing, the mail has been coming in with ornaments in the Trim the Tree swap.  I'm a lucky, lucky swapper this year!

trim the tree swap ornaments received





Oh gosh.  I'd love to chat more and show off more fabric and quilting and project pictures but I really have to get back to cleaning and painting and bubble-wrapping everything.  I have big craft plans for the drive and for the first couple of weeks before the boxes arrive by moving truck.  Cross your fingers that all of the knitting and hand sewing projects I have in my head will fit in our tiny little car.

Finished sometime last week...I think.

My camera is chock full of pictures to upload and things to write about, but I can only take a brief break in the packing to post this.

This is my Four Corners Quilt designed from one jelly roll and a 8" square of fabric (plus batting, backing and binding).  The tutorial for the quilt top is here.

Four Corners quilted

I am really proud of the quilting on it.  I started with four circles (traced a dinner plate) and my walking foot.  Then I followed the previous quilted line as I circled out further and further until I ran into other lines.  It really was a lot of fun.

Four Corners quilted

I did hand quilt the three center circle lines because those tight curves are tough with a walking foot.

Four Corners quilted


This quilt went to live with the two best neighbors in the universe.  I wish we could tuck them in our car and take them with us on our move.  I'm crossing my fingers that we win the good neighbor lottery again the next time we buy a house.

We take off on Friday, but I'll try to pop in again later this week. 

A bit frantic

We are moving soon. I've lived in Wisconsin all of my life, and now we will be making the big move to Maryland, perhaps as soon as the beginning of December.  I always like to close up loose ends by the end of the year, but packing up an entire house in a matter of less than three weeks is a bit much.  So today's post is a jumbled mess of about four posts all jammed together so I can focus on packing for the rest of the week.

First up is my sunglasses block for Tamiko in the Ringo Pie Bee.  She asked for Magnum P.I. themed blocks.  This block was due in June, but it took me quite awhile to find the right fabrics and the right techniques to achieve my vision for this block.  I hope she loves it as much as I do.
 
Magnum P.I.


Next up is a recent distraction.  I've been collecting fabrics and perusing patterns for a quilt for Ben for many months now.  He is a mathematician and a birder.  He loves camping, patterns and lists and taking notes about the birds he sees.  I fell in love with Leila's Boy's Nonsense tutorial for the Value Added project and everything came together perfectly. 

boy's nonsense

boy's nonsense

I made eight blocks this weekend and now I'll have to pack them all up to save for another sewing day after the move.

boy's nonsense


My Trim the Tree Ornament Swap mittens are done.  I added a little detail work with size 8 perle cotton.  I hope my partners like them.

make a choice


And you saw this quilt a couple of weeks ago.  It will be traveling to...

mod


...the Pine Ridge Reservation along with the quilt below to keep a couple of babies warm this winter.  The quilt above was my first ever attempt at baptist fan quilting.  The one below was my second attempt.  I think things got better, but I still need a lot of practice. 

donation quilt

Okay, I'm off to pack up my sewing and crafting mess into boxes.  I'll have to save a few hand projects and maybe a couple of other tidbits to work on.

Uncorked

Now that I'm "unstuck" on the Gypsy/Bohemian block for the Pastiche Bee, I find myself sewing "like the wind" to get all of the other ideas out of my head. I finished this porcupine design last night and pieced it today.

porcupine

And I finished this portal block yesterday. This was another one I was a little stuck on. I think portals are a great theme, but the only idea I had was falling down the rabbit hole. I hope it the recipient likes it.

portal--down the rabbit hole

Well, I can't chat more. I have to clean up new stray threads and old dust bunnies. We have a babysitter coming over so Ben and I can go on a date!

I hope you have a good night, too.

Struggling with a theme

accordion

I am ridiculously behind in bee blocks (I think I have seven to make? or more??), but I hope to fix that starting with this block.  This is an accordion block for the bohemian/gypsy theme for September in the Pastiche Bee.  This theme stumped me for the longest time.  I just didn't even know where to start.  Then I finally sat down with wikipedia and looked up both terms.  That was less than inspiring.  I tried google images and got nowhere.  Lastly I tried searching everyone's uploads on flickr with the term "gypsy" and I stumbled on this image.  Finally, it clicked.  I had to do an accordion. 

Incidentally, this block was sitting on the floor last night (my craft space is already covering my dining room table so I've been cutting fabrics on the floor) and Henry came up and tried to play the keys on this accordion a couple of times.  Then he called it a mandolin.  I guess we need to review his folk instruments again.

Trim the Tree

My favorite swap every year is the Trim the Tree Handmade Ornament Swap.  I've been working on some prototypes.

This ornament comes from this Danish blog tutorial from Sofie Legarth.  It ended up a little thick from all of the folded fabric and a bit floppy.  I think it would work a lot better with pretty paper and a bone folder.

Trim the tree trial


I adore this knitted glove, but even with my love for tiny knitted things, I can't tolerate making four more of these.  My wrists ache just thinking about it.

Trim the tree trial


So, I'm going to knit tiny mittens instead.  Both the glove and the mitten are from the Mini-Me pattern by Julia Mueller on ravelry.

Trim the tree trial

I absolutely adore handmade ornaments. Do you have any favorite tutorials or examples to recommend. I'd love to see them.

Slowly finishing

I have a big stack of quilt tops that need batting, backing and quilting.  Thankfully, a friend recently gave me a gentle nudge to finish a few of the baby sized quilts.

This quilt started as a stack of gifted ladder blocks from Amanda of crazymomquilts plus a stack of Connecting Threads solids in the oceanfront colorway.   I may still do a little text stamping or applique to this one, but I haven't decided.

ladders


This quilt was an attempt to use up a bunch of Nicey Jane fabric leftovers, the green solid I had intended to use as a backing for another quilt and decided against it, and as a practice for baptist fan quilting. 

mod


And this last baby quilt uses a little more of the Connecting Threads solids, some white and aqua Kona solids and three of the blocks I received in my first round of the 3x6 bee

3x6


I'm sick today and spending too much time on the couch, but we finally had a little sun here so I had to take some pictures of my finished quilts. I'd like to take them outside and hang them on the line, but the couch is calling me again.  

......
I'd like to give an additional shout out to the kind people that continue reading and commenting on my blog.  I've been absolutely lousy about responding to comments and reading other blogs.  Please know that I'm just scraping by over here with some big changes ahead and I appreciate all of you that send a little note to brighten up my day.  It means the world to me.
xo,
m