Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Journals and Elsa

It surely seems that time is sprinting by this year. One would think that the empty nest years would move slowly but that certainly is NOT the case for me! It was so nice reconnecting with some of you after my last post by the way and I am making progress through my blog roll. Slowly but surely...
Since no sewing has happened since my last post I'll share a bit about my ongoing affair with paper. My current books are shown above - the bottom two are for creative journaling and the top two are for planning and tasks. I use the middle two every day. The pink disc bound journal is my Fauxbonichi which has been a part of my daily habit since April. These pages make me so happy! They are a mix of color play, glued bits, stamped images, journaling prompts, what happened during my day and/or what's on my mind.

The purple traveler's notebook houses my calendar, bullet journal and some inserts I use to track my walks and projects. This is a new setup for me since November 1st as I try to stay focused and make the most of these last 2 months of 2015. The inserts are held in place by elastic bands and this is a very tactile journal. I love the color, the leather and the way it feels in my hand.
The colorful journal on the bottom is my MAMBI Happy Planner which I have been using since July as a motivational/memories/gratitude journal. Planner decoration is a huge thing now... and while I'm more of a functional planner this journal allows me to get my "pretty planning" fix so I can leave my real planner alone!

I won the small orange traveler's notebook in an online giveaway and I carry it with me in my purse. It has an appointment calendar, an insert to jot down notes and an insert for me to journal about My Obsessions. As in things I may WANT but do not NEED or things that stuck in my mind that I want to write out.

Elsa loves my Paper Room almost as much as she loves my Quilting Room as it is full of little bits to bat off a table, paper edges to chew and containers to examine. As if she has no toys at all of her own! She has been with us almost 2 years now and still has the energy of a kitten. The top of this tower is for napping and the middle is... well... for toys. *WINK*

She also has a second toy box in the corner of our living room. Every couple of days I pick up after her and then she has lots of fun scattering them about again. Oh the life of a Spoiled Sweet Little Princess Cat!

I am looking forward to a long weekend in Dallas to meet up with several cousins and welcome the youngest member of my extended family - an adorable 2 month old boy who I cannot wait to cuddle and snuggle! And yes, I am packing a quilt for him that has been waiting for the right little person. Next week will be busy with preparations for Christmas. Is your tree up yet?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hello... It's Me

Long time no blog - but I'm hoping to change that! And, yes, I'm borrowing from Adele's delicious new song for my post title. I feel kind of like a teenager again waiting for her new album on Friday.

Right away I will say that all is well. My blogging absence has to do with a lack of quilting, not a bad stretch of life. Or even a lack of creative interests for that matter. I just can't seem to get back into this beautiful room.

I've decided I'll try flipping my thinking that quilting has to precede blogging. Perhaps a return to blogging at least once a week will ease me past the threshold. I think a general tidy up including clearing my design wall

and blowing the dust off of my babies

will be a good start! Then it will be time to sit down and sew SOMETHING.

Miss Elsa thinks so too. She is most anxious to try to steal pins, bat blocks off the design wall and take nice naps on the corner of my table while I play.

I've really missed blogging. And I think I'm good to write about other creative things besides quilting - or even non creative things for that matter. It's kind of ironic because when I started blogging I had no idea it would become ALL about quilting because I was coming off a 5 year hiatus from quilting.
This is so me! I'm either all in or done. So bear with me while I try to learn the art of balance. See you next week...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Good Grief - June!

For all of the Peanuts lovers out there... Good Grief Charlie Brown it's JUNE! Even though I had  to put my annuals in the garage due to frost warnings over the weekend it truly is June 1st.
Elsa is happy for warmer temperatures again for her afternoon nap. Our son Micah is home from school and started his summer job today. His school year ended on a high note and, while he is happy to be home, I know he will be anxious to go back in late August. It is so nice to have him around and he seems to have accepted that straight A's at a quality school in a demanding program is NOT going to happen. I am loving his new relaxed mood and feel lighter as a result myself.
My quilting room is still eluding me and I'm not even going to bother setting goals for June. Tom and I will be spending our annual week in Vegas this month, there is lots of planting to get done and our daughter Megan arrives for a visit at month end. I have 3 Junk Journals to make for swaps this month - above you can see my paper dying experiments using Koolaid and Glimmer Mist sprays. I think I captured the soft vintage look I was going for. And, when those summer temperatures arrive to stay the lake will be calling my name.
My Fauxbonichi habit is still going strong too... I've expanded to 2 pages per day so that I can write more and follow along with some of the daily prompts in the Fauxbonichi Journalers Facebook group. I'm loving the color prompt days we have where we are given the photo for inspiration as shown above - it's like picking fabrics for a quilt but finishing it right NOW! My creative mo-jo hasn't gone dormant - it's just coming through in different ways. Maybe not setting any quilting goals will get me sewing... fingers crossed!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday Monday

We are getting much needed rain the last few days but I do have a pretty picture of my lush Flowering Almond shrub to share that I took on Saturday morning. This is the 1st year that ALL of the shrub has bloomed... some years it has only bloomed on the lower branches and other years just at the top. I'm wondering if a healthy trimming last summer was the key to success?
I'm determined to blog a few days a week even when I'm not sewing which is pushing me out of my comfort zone. Which is OK really because that's how real life has been lately too. I'm finding that learning how to parent kids that are 1,000+ miles away is not natural for me. It's easy to blog about happy events but what about the rest of life? Our daughter and her fiance became unengaged/disengaged/not engaged (is there a word for this?) a few weeks ago. Our son has been having a rough semester at school with one class in particular and I have been trying to help in a way that isn't helpful to him.

Generally I'm not a person who spends a lot of time worrying because it just isn't healthy or productive for me. I like to keep my mind & my hands busy when I'm stressed... for some reason quilting isn't the cure right now. Instead it's paper play and writing that I'm turning to. I shared a few of my Junk Journals a few weeks ago HERE and in May I've started a fun project called #ListersGottaList hosted by TheResetGirl.
Basically each day there is a prompt and you run with it. Some days are light & frothy (like these) and other days we dig a little deeper... yesterday's prompt was My Strengths for example. Pictures are shared online and it's a lot of fun to see the creativity and insights shared. Elsa and I contemplate our world from here most mornings while I'm cutting, pasting and writing.

I've also resurrected my Fauxbonichi which I first posted about HERE. I got behind when I went out East to see the kids in late March/early April, tried to catch up, got discouraged and decided to make a fresh start in May. The Facebook group I belong to is simply amazing... so many talented and inspiring women who are very encouraging to newbies like me and share their art techniques generously.
We have daily prompts to use if we chose as well as theme days to learn techniques. Above you will see my Tuesday Tangle where I'm learning how to use Micron pens for Zentangle-like doodling. Under the card on the opposite page is some personal journaling about my sad mood that day. I even wrote the date wrong TWICE (it has since been collaged over).Some ladies paint and sketch... others do collage... some use a lot of stamps and others mostly write.
Each Thursday one of the members provides a quote and a technique to try. I have always loved quotes and pretty lettering so this page made my day! I still can't believe I made that quote look so good and it was such a fitting quote for me right now. Even beginner art like mine is good therapy.
And, for the real nitty-gritty-write-it-out-of-my-system-stuff I have a worry notebook inside my lovely eggplant fauxdori. I love to write and have used different techniques over the years... sometimes I get thoughts stuck in my head and simply writing them down helps to dislodge them.

So, no quilting but lots of real life today. I'm looking forward to having our son back under our roof for the summer in 10 days. And, I'm simply going to have to trust that our daughter is doing OK as she has told us. She will be home for a week over the 4th of July. But I'll continue to keep my hands and mind busy in the meantime.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good Reads & a Bird

I missed linking up to The Bibliophile Files@sarah did it! last month so today I'm playing catch-up. I'm staying ahead of my 2015 Reading Challenge goal but I've had some real clunkers lately including 2 that I had to give up on. And a few that I probably should have but kept reading to see if they got better.
I do have three solid 4 star reads to recommend:
  • Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova - After falling in love with Still Alice Genova is a must read author for me and her fourth novel didn't disappoint. This book about a family dealing with Huntington's Disease kept me reading all afternoon yesterday.
  • True to Form by Elizabeth Berg - Berg is another favorite author of mine and I loved this 3rd take at one of my favorite Berg characters - Katie Nash from Durable Goods and Joy School.
  • Indiscretion by Charles Dubow - I really felt the characters in this book and couldn't put it down. It is rare to feel empathy for all sides of a love triangle but I did here. I will be checking out more of Dubow's books as I enjoyed his insightful yet concise writing style.
Each spring we have a Mama Robin who builds a nest near our front door. She and her mate start building above our spot lights and every night Tom dismantles their work because it's not a stable place (and we don't want birds pooping on our comings and goings!). Usually they move into the large shrub below as Plan B. Something is a bit off with her this year though and she is driving Miss Elsa crazy...
She keeps bumping at this window and hopping around on the roof over our covered entryway. Can you see all the bird poop along the edge? And the window is just splattered with I have no idea what. So Elsa hears all the racket and charges to the window to see what is going on.
And then to the adjacent window... back and forth. The Mama Robin is in the tree but I couldn't got a good pic. This started on Monday and poor Elsa is exhausted as her nap time is being constantly interrupted.
"Mama... what is HAPPENING???? Make it STOP!" So not only do I have a frantic bird but a crazed cat on my hands! I'm hoping Plan B is settled on today as I'm starting to worry about poor Mama Robin.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day

We have had glorious weather all week long and I just can't feel bad for not being in the mood to sew. One good thing about not finishing anything is that is makes the monthly wrap up post a moot point! Next...

I think I have come up with a plan for my Faded Memories 4 patches and so I am going to make finishing this project my May goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.
Isn't this journal cover gorgeous? I had one like it marked as a favorite for about a year from a seller on Etsy and I decided last month that I really wasn't going to get around to making one myself anytime soon. I placed a custom order and she mailed it 2 days later. Picking this beauty up several times a day makes me very happy... I just wonder why I waited so long!
I think the rest of my May goals will consist of getting caught up on RSC14 blocks and doing my green RSC15 blocks. I'm not sure how much sew time I will have if the weather stays this nice. Spring has been a long time coming to northern Minnesota. I have a few more Junk Journal swaps to work on this month as well. May always seems like a hopeful month to me with things turning green and plants reappearing. It's one of my favorite times of the year I think. I'm hopeful for at least one quilty finish in the next 31 days.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Junk Journals

I have 2 online swaps that I'm participating in this month at Junk Journal Junkies Facebook group so instead of sewing with fabric I've been sewing with paper the last week. And playing with scissors, glue, Mod Podge and lots of other fun stuff!

First up is my Mini Envelope Travel Journal. We were required to use a folded 6x9 manila envelope as our journal cover and have one signature (stitched in bundle of papers) for this swap. I'm waiting for some travel charms to arrive to decorate the ends of my binding waxed linen thread but the rest of the journal is done.
Birds eye view...
And a peek inside. I used a mix of scrapbook paper, regular paper and some items I cut using my Silhouette Cameo. We were required to create pockets and tuck spots to store extra items. I will be paired up with a partner at the end of the week... I will send her this journal and she will send me the one she has made.
The theme of the second swap was Junky/Scrap Journal. This journal had to be larger with 3 sewn signatures and we were to use pages from catalogs/magazines, junk mail, plain writing paper and off-cuts from other projects. It was challenging to think out of the box and really get junky!
For my cover I used a USPS small Priority Mail box turned inside out and collaged the exterior with tissue paper from a package, off cuts from my Cameo and scraps. I cut the title from a glossy mailer and used a pen to outline the letters. I dug into my vintage buttons to embellish the binding threads and make the paper clips.
The spine of this journal is just under 2" and it has over 100 pages (counting front & back) in it. I die cut my tags from pretty Kleenex boxes, packing material and glossy junk mail. I also used some tags from clothing as bases for collages. We were allowed to use only stamps and scraps for embellishments inside the journal.
This journal will also be mailed to a partner. It is so much fun to learn by doing and also by seeing techniques and items that our swap partner uses in her journal.

Now it's time to get busy in my Quilting Room and see if I can finish anything before May arrives Friday. Real life is weighing on my mind so I am once again seeking crafty therapy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday: All New

My design wall has a new attitude on the current project side - my Faded Memories UFO 4 patches are fully in the "Hmmm" stage and I've got my purple HSTs ready to sew together into a strip for my RSC14 ROYGBIV Chevron quilt.
"Hmmm" because I have WAY more of these 4 patches than I was thinking... only half of them are on the wall. It's a good thing I have plenty of the coordinating yardage to play around with. I also have another charm pack of the woven fabrics available to use.
I'm thinking my table topper might turn into a lap quilt or maybe a table topper for me and some to share. Such a pretty wash of colors and shabby fabrics to admire... more "Hmmm".
Miss Elsa finds my indecision nap inducing. I love the light and dark split of this photo. Our sun is back but it is still windy and cold out. But, at least no snow flurries!
I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Picnic in Serenade = Flimsy

It is unseasonably cold out today with a brisk wind and snowflakes falling intermittently so there will be no outdoor pictures taken. I'm afraid this flimsy might fly over the trees and right into our lake! Even Elsa is unhappy as she was enjoying spending her afternoons on the porch last week as we had temperatures in the 60's and low 70's.

 So here is Picnic in Serenade on my design wall instead.
This is one of those patterns that I fell in love with at first sight and I ordered the book because of the cover quilt called Picnic. It's very satisfying to see it come together after I started it 2 years ago as one of my UFO Reward projects (during 2013 I was able to start a new project after I finished 10 UFOs). I have three of Kim Brackett's books and think they are all great.
When I was finishing the blocks this winter I posted about my discovery of this Folded Corner Clipper. Not only do I love it for block construction...but it also made my joins of the angles go together smoothly when I sewed the blocks together. I didn't even pin between the block seams!
I just kept a careful eye to make sure my seam allowances were laying the right way and trusted Mr. Juki to do the rest. This tool is a keeper.
The fabrics are from Kate Spain's line called Serenade and it is an eclectic mix of patterns as well as an unusual mix of colors. I think they are well suited for this happy looking pattern. For now this top will go on a hanger and wait it's turn for quilting... and I'm ready to load up something new on my design wall which is always exciting.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

RSC15 Catch-Up Day

The RSC15 color for April is purple which has so many delicious shades in my opinion. In fact, purple has been my favorite color for most of my life (minus the last 15 years when yellow took over). It is my favorite color to wear hands down too. Sewing with purple is always a pleasure!

I think my 5 purple bowtie blocks show off the glory that is purple nicely.
Since I'm playing catch-up with March I also have made 5 yellow blocks from my scraps to add to the mix. I think I used up my bright yellows in January when I was framing my blue crumb blocks with yellows but I think these blocks will play nice with the other colors and not steal the show like bright yellow tends to.
Here's a pic of all of the 2015 colors we've had so far mixed together. I am LOVING these blocks!
Next up is catching up on my blocks for RSC14 which I hope to do this week. It would be a step in the right direction to start May being current with this challenge.

I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy and can't wait to see what everyone else has been making with purple.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hello Quilting Room!

I was going to do a WIP Wednesday post yesterday but didn't get my act together so I'll try again today with more of a PIP post - Plans In Progress - starting with my design wall.
Someone in the house has decided that this wall is great fun to jump up on. A furry little someone who looks rather angelic at the moment...
Elsa has had a big day so far. There were two rabbits dining on grass near our family room windows for about an hour this morning and she was going crazy hopping from window to futon to chair to the other window watching. Then my cleaning friend arrived and Elsa likes to supervise her work (except when the vacuum is running). She is so crashed that she gave a little "mewp" when she heard the camera click but that was it.
My cutting table is a big old mess and is item #1 on my To-Do List once this post is published. You can see the missing strips for Picnic in Serenade which will go back on the design wall and then I will get those strips assembled into a flimsy (item #2). 

I've pulled out the baggie containing my Faded Memories 4 patches and will be putting them up on the design wall to play around with layouts (item #3). I had forgotten the cute woven fabrics paired up with the regular cotton charms. Aren't they fun? I'm such a fan of 3 Sisters fabric lines.
Purple is the color for RSC15 in April so I'll pulled my purple scraps to make my bowtie blocks (item #4). Lots of busy prints here so I might need to cut into a few FQs this month. And, since I didn't get to my yellows in March I'll be doing those as well.

Somewhere along the line I read/heard about having books spiral bound for ease of use and I finally did it. And wow how I love it! I took these books to Office Max last week and paid just $4.29 a book... let's just say I've already started a stack of my most used quilt books for my next trip. The "Art Doodle Love" book was a birthday gift to myself but the binding was so tight I couldn't open it all the way to write in. They also add a clear protective sheet to protect the cover which you can't see in my picture and you can choose between white, black or clear for the coil. 

If you look back to the pic of my cutting table above you can see the acrylic recipe holder I use to hold my book for my current project open. It works fine, but if I leave it in there too long the book ends up getting bent out of shape. I'm one to forget the measurements or get a block sub unit flipped the wrong way so I'm constantly checking my books. Sometimes the simple things make me very happy!