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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quilting, quilting, and more quilting

The quilting is happening.  There is really nothing more exciting to say about that.  I am almost half way thru quilting and should make the 1/2 way mark by the end of the week.  I still have another quilt to machine-quilt and the plan is to have them both done by the 15th. I hate to make my clients too nervous by stretching it out till Christmas Eve, hehehe.  Not to mention, I will need to do some Christmas shopping at some point.  Looks like I will be out there with all the other lunatics who run it down to the wire ;)>

we will draw candles on this tree for Advent
I really am a planner, I just have trouble executing the plan.   For example, when my oldest daughter (an extreme planner who successfully executes) suggested making a detailed schedule for Advent, detailing each person's candle color, day they draw their candle, etc...I stopped her mid-sentence.  There is just no way that this family can execute such a detailed plan.  Let me rephrase that.  There is no way that I will ever be consistent enough to execute that plan.  There is freedom in knowing who you are and rolling with me.

SO, back to the quilting, I have a plan to execute ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today's progress!  As of 2pm, the entire quilt top is sewn together!  I don't know why I always think I can do this part in one day.  It always takes 2 days.  Now, I have it in writing so there is no reason I should underestimate this step again.  2 days to piece quilt top...2 days to piece quilt top...2 days to piece quilt top.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

T-Shirt Quilt layout (1)

This is how far I got yesterday.  I am short a few squares so I cut some more.  This morning I will baste the additional squares to muslin and rearrange this layout.  It always takes me several tries before I get a layout I'm happy with.  My grand plan is to rearrange AND get them all sewn together today.  Check back tomorrow to see if I am successful ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Next Quilt

This is the stack of about 40 t-shirt squares, basted to muslin, that will become my next t-shirt quilt.  I cut out t-shirts last week and this morning finished basting them to muslin (to keep their shape).  After lunch I get to trim and start laying them out.   I am getting to the fun stage now ;)
This quilt will be done before Christmas...I hope to be in the hand quilting phase by the end of the week.  This one is going much faster than the one I did over the summer.  I always overestimate how much time I will have for work during the summer when kids are all home.

Watch for updates on this quilt daily.  I will be charting my progress here for my client and you will all get to watch (ooooohhh, so thrilling).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

ONE banquet

Whew!  It's done!  On November 8, all our work on banquet decorations culminated in an amazing evening!  Everything was beautiful, the place was filled with 700+ guests, Lifeline staff, and "Lifeline families".   It was my favorite banquet so far! 

This year the decorating was practically stress-free.  Krisha sent a bunch of great volunteers to my house regularly for "work days" (not to mention my own kids who helped a bunch).  I got to meet lots of great new people AND make grand decorating plans!  Two of my favorite things :)

my favorite design element...every other thing was inspired by this
and this is my sigh of relief that all I have left to do is eat

Monday, October 17, 2011

My obsession with linen
Yesterday I wore this dress to my son's baseball game.  I got so many compliments on it that I decided to add it to my blog creations.  Most of the stuff on here is for Eden (shown here with me), but occasionally I make something for myself.

I am officially obsessed with linen now.  I don't care if I ever wear another fabric.  It is so cool and comfortable!  And when you sweat like a pig, which you invariably do in this southern state...even in October, it dries very quickly.  Yesterday I sat in a puddle of melted blue flavored dried in minutes ;)

I have a pile of linen fabric in my sewing room that I can't wait to dig into.  I will definitely make another one of these for next year in another color.  I may try a layered look this winter, if it ever gets cool, with a long sleeved thin hoodie underneath, maybe belted over jeans with boots.  If that look works out for me, I'll post it here. 

front scoopneck

mini pinstripe linen

wide racerback

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I have been a TERRIBLE blogger lately!  I have not been sewing either. I will tell you what I HAVE been doing because I'm not lolling around eating chocolate ;)  As a matter of fact, I'm not eating much of anything but meat since I started the Paleo lifestyle but that is another blog post entirely.  And I'm being very overly-dramatic...I actually enjoy the paleo diet...mostly.

What I have been doing is decorating, kind of. At this time of year for the past 2 years I have had the privilege of combining two of my passions...adoption and decorating.  I mean, how many people get to do what they love AND contribute to a really worthy cause at the same time??!?  I am honored and humbled by the opportunity.  I am also scared out of my wits that I cannot pull off the look on such a large scale.  I am talking about our adoption agency's annual fund-raising event...this year the theme is "ONE"

Oddly, I have not mentioned my passion for adoption on this blog.  Mainly because the blog started out as just about my sewing and I didn't think it really fit.  But, what I'm learning is that this great PASSION is integrated into my sewing and every other part of my life.  And now, this blog is really about lots of little random pieces of my life because I get so busy doing all the "random" things that I don't have as much time to sew and blog about it.

So, for a little background...

We started our first adoption journey early 2006 and brought our daughter, Eden, home from China on April 2, 2008.  It was a long, beautiful, painful, amazing 2 years!  I would not trade a single day of that journey.  God has been so amazing to us in every detail.  About 6 months after we returned home with Eden, we started the adoption process again...this time we believe God has 2 boys waiting for us in Peru.  We are on day 1074 of that journey now. 

So, for the past couple months, I have been staying busy, along with a whole bunch of other amazing people, planning how to decorate the MASSIVE ballroom for this event.  We are having a blast!  It is so exciting to me to see everything coming together!
When we get together for "work days", I keep getting asked the question..."so, do you think this is the most tedious part?"  And my answer is that none of it is tedious to me!  It is invigorating and fun!  I feel like I am ALIVE when I am decorating, even during the seemingly "tedious" parts like cutting letters or spray-painting something.

I think the banquet hall decorating so very closely resembles the actual adoption process.  There are a lot of little things that HAVE to all come together in one BIG thing.  But it is a PROCESS.  It doesn't happen all at once.  It takes time, patience, work, waiting, cooperation, HELP, letting others do their part, lots of help, humility to ask for HELP, prayer.  Last year we all agreed that watching it all come together was such an amazing picture of the body of Christ...everyone doing what they were called to do and it all just fit together and it WORKED! 

So, as I look at these piles of "stuff" all over my porch, 
what in the world could this be???

and sewing room,

and overflowing into my husbands office...

I get an adrenaline rush thinking about how it will all come together on November 8!

Sarah Gray, Editor-In-Chief of my favorite magazine, Country Living, penned my exact sentiments in her editor's note this month when she said, " other words, I fear opening the door to scrutiny.  Like most nonprofessional decorators, I vacillate between out-size pride in my interior-design endeavors and crippling doubt: Does the whole thing read as offbeat genius or just, well, off?

Come and see for yourself!  November 8, Birmingham ONE.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I am in LOVE!

I actually finished the skirt yesterday!  It is completely and utterly beautiful!  Now I am wishing I had taken my "free" day earlier in the summer so I could have worn it all season!  No worries, it will make an awesome fall layering piece.  I can't wait to show it to my friend, Thea, who is coming today (how fortunate).  She is the layering queen and can tutor me on what to wear with it :)

This was my inspiration picture.  I saw it in a catalog this spring and knew I had to make one. I went to the Free People site to find better pics and then just copied it.  Theirs says it is nylon chiffon, but I found silk chiffon on sale in a perfect silvery color (heaven!).

 For the skirt top, I used a really fine jersey knit I had on hand.  I bought it early summer because it was on sale and I couldn't stop touching is so soft and smooth.  The mid section is chiffon lined with jersey knit and the bottom is a single layer of dreamy silk chiffon that you could read a newspaper through. 

This can actually be worn as a dress with the waistband unfolded like the top photo or folded down to wear as a skirt.  To be honest, I didn't really think that through and plan it, it just happened that it works. 

Now, I have to go shower and TODAY...I style my hair ;)  really.  i am going to do it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Last week I got a new haircut.  Well, it's a tiny progression toward my goal haircut really.  Anyway, I'm sure it is really cute if I would only take the time to style it.  How is it that I have had a new haircut for over a week and have not even styled it yet???  What has happened to me???  I just keep finding bigger and better things to do with my time like paint and sew and play.  Right after my haircut it was a sweltering, pre-tropical storm Lee Labor Day sister and her family came to town and we camped and hiked and canoed (well, THEY camped and we went to the campsite to eat one night...that almost counts, right?).  I mean, there is really no way of knowing who has a cute haircut when everyone's hair is plastered with sweat to their head.  It is not a pretty sight and I'm not about to waste an hour doing hair and makeup to end up looking like that.  Sorry, Clinton & Stacy.  Good thing they were not trolling at the State Park last weekend.  I say all that to say that while I was walking this morning, I was noticing how beautiful it is outside.  It inspired me to style my hair.  today.  before bedtime tonight.  maybe even right after my shower (what a novel idea).  And then I realized that I haven't blogged in a month (again), and today is a semi-free day, which really only means that if I take a break from the quilt and the banquet decorations and the laundry and the ironing and the cleaning and the painting and the puppy training and the sewing for clients, I can actually finish the skirt I started for myself at the beginning of summer.  I think I can still wear it for fall with boots instead of summer with flip flops.  I can see the outfit in my head.  I am going for it.  Sooooo, no hairstyle today. again.  There is always tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Late Summer

I just took the last month completely off from blogging, didn't I?  I will lose my 5 followers if I keep that up ;)
I'm not great at keeping a schedule when there is no schedule to keep.

But now that school is back in...
the dreaded "back to school photo"
I will get back to work.

I did do a couple little projects this past month.  I painted some buckets...
the one on top reminds me of Charlie Brown :)  I'm keeping the one with "flip flops" on has kept my darling husband from pulling out his hair this summer with all the flip flops lying around the house.  The others I will give to friends if I can ever remember to put them in the car when I'm going to see them.

I went to the beach for a long weekend...just Moms and kids this trip.  Dad's had this crazy schedule conflict they called "jobs" or something.  Obviously, I don't let a thing like my "job" deter me from real life things like beach trips ;)  I SHOULD wait for the "real" pictures of the beach trip.  My friend, Bev, who shared our beach trip with us, is an amazing photographer and will have waayyyyy better pics than these. 

these pictures are really nice...I forget I have a daughter who is also a photographer

I do NOT recommend the "grass" smoothie on the left

Eventually we had to return home from the beach.  I always want to figure out a way to live at the beach (full time) while I'm there.  But alas, my kids would all be illiterate if it was up to me to homeschool them.  And they are all way to smart for me to ruin them in that way.

I do have a little creativity going for me, though, if not punctuality and dependability.  And after several days of lounging around, I needed a project.  Lucky for me there was one waiting in my sewing room.  My friend, Thea, had asked me to make her a slipcover from some vintage tablecloths for one of her recent flea market finds...a really modern large rectangular ottoman. 
My friend, Thea, is not modern

or large

or rectangular either :)
As you can see, my ottoman is NOT rectangular, but oblong.  So I had to prop up the corners with some bamboo sticks so you could get the effect.  I will take pictures of the slipcover on the "real" ottoman when I deliver it to her, sometime around New Year's, I predict.  I will also take some random pics of her amazingly decorated house to post on here...just for fun.  Her house always makes me feel happy :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

T-shirt Quilt, COMPLETE!

This is the finished T-shirt quilt!  I finished it the first weekend in October, I think but haven't had time to blog about it.  I am very pleased with it, and my client was thrilled as well.  That is always a plus ;)

 I used a little "real" quilting in the borders, and since it was for a girl, got a little girlie with the backing.  If you zoom in, you will see that I also used the pockets from some of the t-shirts just for fun.
This is my personal favorite!  I had so much fun deciding how to quilt each square, but this one was just obvious what to do.
From this far away shot, you can kind of tell that I was going for a graduation of color from light to dark starting in the top left corner and ending bottom right.  I just thought it was a little more interesting since there were so many white shirts and not too many with a lot of color.

I totally forgot to take pics of the quilting stage!  I prefer to do all my quilting by hand because I just love to do it.  If you watch my blog awhile, I will post pics of the quilting stage in the one I am working on now.  I should be quilting by the end of next week (if I am going to finish by Christmas like I have committed to do).  I will also be posting pics of machine quilting.  It can be done on a regular machine and it's a lot faster than hand quilting but it is not for the faint of heart. 

This is my documentation (such as it is) of my first T-shirt quilt.  I have made lots of quilts over the years, but none like this one.  There are a few extra steps when you are using jersey knit on a quilt. 

The first thing I did was cut up the t-shirts.  No, actually, I drew out my design first.  That's probably important.
THEN, I cut up the t-shirts.  I did not waste any part of the shirts, except maybe some small scraps.  Even those I have saved and will probably use later, for something.  The main design on the shirts will be the quilt blocks.  Any pocket design or smaller design will be used as the border just inside the quilt binding.  I plan to join them all together in one long strip and then cut them to size needed.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  My mind just starts racing when I plan stuff like this.

After I cut up the shirts, I basted them to some cotton muslin for stability.  So you don't end up with a stretched out and oddly shaped quilt that you'll never be able to quilt a straight line on.  Trust me.

I didn't worry about how out of shape the "squares" seemed to get during basting, because...

after I finished basting all the "squares" to the muslin, I trimmed each one to identical size.  In this case, mine are not perfectly square, but all are exactly 16" wide by 15" high.  When quilting, this is the most important step if you want your quilt to be uniform, and you don't want to cuss and remove seams an infinite number of times trying to get all your corners matched up.  I'm just sayin'.  I've heard that some quilters cuss, and say things like "darn it"...when they aren't careful with their cutting.  My DW doesn't like it when I say "crap".  But I have always told him that sometimes there is just no other word that fits.  I would never use that word while quilting.  It is not a quilting word...even when the seams don't match.
quilt laid out after sewing "blocks" together
So, if you look at the diagram I drew of the intended quilt...this looks nothing like it.  I think that is one of my favorite things about creating stuff.  What you originally plan to do usually morphs into something completely different.  I love this quilt.  I can't wait to get into the quilting part. 
backing down 1st, wrong side up; batting next; quilt top face up
 I will leave the edges raw just like this while I quilt.  I start at the center of the quilt and move out, smoothing all layers as I go.  When all the quilting is done, I will trim extra batting away and use excess backing for the binding.  I'll show those steps as I get to them.