Five Things Friday

I wanted to participate in Five Things Friday last week. I didn’t quite get it together. This week I’m juuuuuuuust sneaking in right at the end of day. Wanting to participate in this has helped me be more mindful of the quiet moments in life that bring me true life, in the midst of a lot of upheaval and chaos. I’m making my own list and adding pictures.

1) Road trip sunrises

2) Peonies & candies

3) Kiddo’s early crawling attempts

4) Vintage nerd-game time with family

5) Amazing vintage wallpaper collections

What’s making you happy? Head to Gypsy Moon’s link-up to discover more happiness or share your own.


2016 NQB Recap

This week’s recap post has taken me a little extra time to produce — apologies! — both because I am part of it and because I am beholden to the vicissitudes of parenting a 7-month-old. I know many people parent babies full-time and sew and blog daily (and exercise and eat healthy and also get 8 hours of sleep a night), and to them I say, “kudos, you are doing an amazing job!” And to myself I say, “I get another glass of wine later for every time I say that.” Yesssssss.

Sorry, I got distracted! The point of this post is that this week’s quilters are a group of outstanding veterans… and yours truly. Seriously, you’ll flip when you hear about how talented these quilters are. Check out their posts!

Carole Lyles Shaw has been doing modern quilting since before modern quilting was a thing! Her colors are bold and beautiful, she does amazing improvisational work (including CURVES!) and she’s got one book out and one on the way. She also has a give-away going on right now, so check it out!

Anne at Said With Love is an Aussie quilter with a love of text fabrics. Her quilts are bright and cheerful, and she’s working to make a quilt for every member of her family. Guys, her workspace is INCREDIBLE. She’s got a smart-looking blog with great photography!

Speaking of workspaces, also be sure to stop by Jennifer at RV Quilting. Yup, you read that right — RV quilting! She does an amazing job of quilting on the road and has tons of great quilts to show. I especially  love one made of recycled men’s shirts, and a modern mini drunkard’s path moonscape that you just have to see to appreciate.

It has been so fun already discovering so many new, amazing quilters. One of the things I have found to be difficult is that I usually cannot comment on blogs that are not on WordPress, so I’ve been posting these recaps to at least throw a link to my fellow blog-hoppers. As always, thanks to our inimitable host, Yvonne at Quilting JetGirl. Great giveaways again this week, so check out her post.



2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Howdy y’all, and welcome to the week 2 roundup of the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop! Last week’s line-up of The Sewcial Network participants was fabulous — definitely tough acts to follow.

My story of quilting is one rooted in stubbornness. When I was in junior high I made two throw pillows (featuring Looney Tunes characters; Tweety and Taz to be specific) and one pair of boxer shorts (plaid, obviously, it was 1993) on my mother’s boss Swiss Elna sewing machine. Then nothing. For decades.

Sewing was my mother’s gig — as in, she not only sewed for us when we were kids, but owned and operated a small business making interior decorating stuff for clients. She sewed all the time. I felt the pull, especially when she gifted me with a nice starter machine for Christmas a year or two after I got married. But sewing was my mother’s territory, so I stubbornly abstained.

Until. A good friend of mine was going to have a baby and I was about a week out from throwing her a shower. She made an offhand comment (that was not mean in context), but basically amounted to saying that I am incapable of planning and completing projects in a timely manner.

Oh yeah? Guess who broke out that sewing machine, googled “baby quilt tutorial,” and whipped up not one, but two quilts in that week, even though her apartment got flooded and she had to move into a hotel for half those days? Yeah, this stubborn woman did. (We were such a sight at the hotel. Drenched in sweat and stinky flood waters, we pulled up to a fancy-ass place in the heart of Cambridge, MA. Valet parking only. My husband and I stank. We had two dogs and a cat in tow. And 75% of the luggage cart was taken up by a sewing machine, cutting board, and piles of fabric and batting. We got looks. But when I am determined, I am determined.) Here is that first quilt, in the amazing Strip and Flip baby quilt pattern by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew, flaws and all:

Progress has been a bit slower since. I am constantly under the forces of inertia, whether that means slow starts or sewing 24/7 until something is done. Here are a couple favorites I have made in the years since:

I love making quilts, and my hope (even though it’s been a rockier process than anticipated so far) is that this blog will help keep me accountable to making, and document my progress along the way. I still know almost nothing about the craft of quilting. I still struggle with consistent seams and matching points. I will never be one of the great artisans of quilting. But what I really love is thinking about quilts — their history, their politics, their meaning on both micro and macro levels. Sometimes a quilt means comfort, and that is enough. Sometimes it means much more, and I get goosebumps, and all I can do is obsess over quilt ideas for hours and days and months.

I feel like this post has gone on long enough, but I also want to offer a few items of miscellany:

Blogging tip: Guidelines of blogging are great, but don’t get too caught up in the rules, or it’s easy to lose your own voice and have your progress stifled. Stay creative; stay in love with what you do; be honest.

Quilting tip: See above; replace “blogging” with “quilting.”

Dream Vacation: A tour of Mexico (mainly interior cities) with my husband.

Favorite Book: Oh, there is no such thing as a favorite. If I had to choose one all-time favorite I’d go with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But I really desperately love at least 1,000 books, from young adult to science fiction to mystery to Pulitzer-prize winning fiction to classics to fantasy to poetry and beyond.

Favorite Movie: Also a tough call, but sentimentally I have to go with Lost in Yonkers. I don’t even know anyone else who knows this movie, much less loves it like I do.

Favorite TV Show: At the moment? Game of Thrones. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

Random Personal Fact: I assisted in open-heart surgery when I was 17. Medicine is fun, but social work is my professional passion.

Question: If you’ve made it this far, you earn a gold star! Answer a question in the comments and I’ll be sure to both answer AND drop by your blog this week in return (I always mean to do both these things, but I’ll be extra good this week, promise). Two question choices:

  1. What three words would you choose to describe yourself as a quilter? I’ve demonstrated here that mine would be stubborn, imperfect, and pensive. Not the sexiest descriptors, but I’m making the most of them, I think.
  2. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan: What character do you identify with the most and see yourself as? My answer in the comments.


2016 New Quilt Bloggers – Week 1

Y’all, it’s week 1 of the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers blog hop! I am so excited. I am finding myself not to be much of a quilter or blogger these days, but what I have been for years and still am is a quilt blog reader FANATIC. I am subscribed to hundreds of quilt blogs. The thing is, they often have a shelf life. Someone posts regularly for months or years, and then life happens, or it becomes drudgery rather than invigorating. Posts taper off or disappear altogether.

Last year I followed along on all the posts about this blog hop and dreamed of participating one day. Now I’m in it, and finding the process a bit intimidating, largely because the participants are AMAZING quilters and bloggers. So the good news is, lots of exciting new reading! So much to learn and see!

This week’s bloggers:

Paige at Quilted Blooms – Paige has mad skills — from applique, to design, to maintaining a stellar website. I absolutely swooned over her Michael Miller glitz challenge quilt she shared in this post. Amazing.

Melva at Melva Loves Scraps – “When life gives you scraps, make a quilt.” Can I get this on a throw pillow, please? I’m totally in love with her Broken Star quilt. Melva seems to put a lot of thought and care into her work, which I admire.

Tish at Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland – I don’t remember when I first ran across Tish’s quilt, but I’ve been following for quite a while. She’s always upbeat and hilarious, so it’s a fun blog to read. Also, her FMQ skills are incredible! I’d say her aesthetic is traditional-leaning, but I love traditional quilts, and I especially love the ways in which traditional and modern looks and techniques are interwoven. (What was old becomes vintage becomes the next fresh hot thing.)

Amanda at Gypsy Moon Quilt Co – Speaking of vintage beauties, you’ve got to check out what Amanda is up to here. Sustainable, beautiful, upcycled, thrifted amazingness. She also has a fun feature, Five Things Friday, where she shares five happy things + five happy photos. The world (and the internet) could use more happy, beautiful things like this blog.

There are many other bloggers participating, but these wonderful quilters are in my hive, the Sewcial Network. Many thanks to our hosts, who have done a ton of work for the blog hop:

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs
Stephanie at Late Night Quilter

PS don’t forget the priiiiiiiiiizes. ❤


Back in the Saddle

You know what they say happens when you’re busy making other plans? The baby has a sleep regression, you have an unexpected surgery followed by a major illness, the husband has to work out of town so you scramble to take care of things on your own, travel plans get rearranged (and re-rearranged), and, unfortunately, not much sewing or blogging happens. Passion, creativity, and self-confidence all wane.

That’s how the saying goes, right?

I wish I had pushed myself to write a bit more over the past few weeks. I’m not sure (because, are we ever?) but I think I’m making it to the other side of this period of chaos. I have some posts planned (and many quilt ideas swirling about!) and hope to get to them soon. First this one, just to talk myself into getting back on the horse.

As a tiny and non-quilt-related delight, I’ll wrap with this: I’ve fallen back in love with a childhood favorite: black-eyed Susan cookies. I’ve also seen them called brown-eyed Susans, fudge thumbprints, and just Susan cookies. One of the fun things about having a hectic month is that we did lots of store-bought food. My two nearest groceries each sell a version of this cookie.

The one on the left has the perfect cookie texture and taste, but is a bit big. The one on the right has the perfect fudge and cookie to fudge ratio, but the cookie is a bit dry. I’m itching to find enough time to test out this recipe and see if I can strike a perfect balance between the two. Because cookies are what happens in my world when life tries to make other plans for me.