Monday, August 14, 2017

So hard keeping secrets & Other crafts

I totally underestimated how hard it would be to keep up with my blog posts when I was working on secret project after secret project.

I figured that having an advanced plan would help....nope.  I have discovered that I am much more of an "in the moment" gal.  Especially with quilting.  I have so many photos on my phone just waiting to be on my blog or Instagram, but I cannot share them until their release dates.  This is SO hard!  Especially when I am really excited about the project I am working on.

I have a full weekend planned to work on my quilt for Christa Watson's new book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.  I am going to try something new and follow her excellent quilting suggestion (with directions) for this quilt.  I am quite excited to see how well I do as it is a brand new motif for me.  I have done my practice block and am ready to get started on the actual quilt.  This quilt is so gorgeous!  I cannot wait to share it with all of you.  ***And of course I just realized it is ALREADY mid-August and there is no way this is going to be finished by time the hop arrives.  You may have to settle for "in-progress photos".***

In other news, I have finally got around to opening an Etsy shop.  I will be sharing the shop with my mom.  She is an amazing crafter of all sorts of things.  She has beaded bracelets, felted creatures, aromatherapy badge reels, and everything crochet that you can imagine.  I am still working on getting things added to the shop, so make sure to check back often.  ETSY SHOP.

How many of you experience the Quilting Mojo ebs and flows?  Somedays you can quilt for 12 hours in a row, other times you will go for a month without turning on your machine.  It makes me a little sad that I haven't had much inspiration in the quilting path lately, but I will get it back.  I am pretty sure the weather and my super messy sewing space have a lot to do with it.  Maybe it is time to put Esmeralda (my machine) under the table for a little bit and do some very serious clean-up.  I have been saying it for months but have made very little progress.  I'll keep you updated.  :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Over the Rainbow Quilt Retreat

Oh my gosh you guys!  I had such an amazing time at my retreat!  It was such a wonderful setting and has so much potential to make it whatever kind of retreat you want it to be.

Jacque and I had a fantastic drive up to Seattle from Portland.  We had a fairly early start (not too early because most shops didn't open until 10am, so we had time to get a workout and coffee in before we left).  Our first stop was not even far from our starting point.  We stopped at Sorella Farm Inc.  A darling little shop with a fabulous discount rack where I found a few very nice pieces.

We had a few stops along the way, one of the unexpected best stops was Momma Made It in Longview, WA.  The shop was not my usual taste in fabric.  They had a lot of Civil War prints and the place was very warm and cozy.  I could see any of these fabrics in a nice cabin with a wood stove with a cup of strong coffee or tea.  Isn't it amazing the images certain fabrics evoke?  The shop inspired me to change my Holiday Sweet Treat pattern for the 12 Days of Christmas in July from a bright wall hanging to a muted, rustic version and it turned out great!  You can see that HERE. The pattern for it will be coming soon in my Craftsy shop.

We did make a few more non-quilty stops along the way.  The Ewe and I shop had some fabulous wool for my newest addiction.  And the Sandstone Distillery in Tenino was one of our favorite stops. If you get the opportunity, I would definitely check them out.  The tour was fun, the people friendly, and the drinks were out of this world!

After taking our time getting there (obviously :) ), we arrived at the retreat just moments before dark.  We managed to get our car unloaded with barely enough light left in the sky.  But that is ok, because we were exhausted and didn't plan on sewing anything that night anyway. We introduced ourselves to the other small group that was there and they had decided to take the 2 smaller sewing rooms on the upper level.  Now, when I say small, I don't really mean small.  There was plenty of room for five of them to sew in one and have the connecting room to spread out, then there was another room across the hall for their ironing and cutting.  They also claimed the upstairs bedrooms and kitchen.  Which was fine with us this time around.  We had the lower level all to ourselves.  It included the HUGE sewing space that had small design boards at each table, plus a few larger ones around the room.  Lamps and tabletop outlets were at each table.  A large TV, cutting tables, ironing boards with comfort mats under your feet made this room a dream sewing space.

I can say I will absolutely be going to a retreat here again...and again...and again.  Anyone want to go with me?  :)

I can't believe I forgot to get a photo of the huge sewing room.

One of the many upstairs bedrooms.  So cute!

The main upstairs living area off the kitchen.

That same living area but from the upper level.

One of the smaller bedrooms.

A lower level room with all kinds of fabric for sale as well as some other things to buy/rent or just chill.

The downstairs room that we stayed in.

There will little spaces like this all over.  Great area for those phone calls or just some quiet time.  The shelf was full of quilting books and magazines.  There were board games around too.

A view of the two "smaller" sewing rooms. Great light.

View from the upper deck.

Lovely bathtub.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop

Welcome to my day on this amazing pre-holiday blog hop.  The 12 Days of Christmas in July hop run by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is a fabulous way to get some inspiration for those holiday gifts and crafts. Starting early will ease the stress that comes with that time of year as well.

Confessions Of A Fabric Addict

Make sure to check out the other bloggers for today.  There are some pretty amazing prizes for those that comment on every post for each day.  I will post all of the past day's blogs at the bottom of this post because there were some excellent projects and you should visit all of them.

Monday, July 24

I knew almost right away what I wanted to do for this blog hop once I signed on to participate.  As many of you know, I don't decorate much.  Especially when it comes to holidays.  I just don't have the room to store different themed decorations.  So, that means I prefer simple decorations with an impact that don't take up much room.  I opted for a "wall hanging" in the beginning, but it has evolved a bit into a "door hanging".  It is a piece that is the perfect size to hang on your front door or the outside of your coat closet door in the entry.  It would look great anywhere really.

I stepped a bit outside my comfort zone with the fabric choices on this one and went with gorgeous muted fabrics that I just could not pass up.  I found them at a little shop called Momma Made It in Longview, Washington.  They were so friendly and while the stock was of a certain style (Warm, Homey, Civil War type fabrics), there was a great variety and I will be visiting there again.

Aren't they the prettiest?

I don't know what possessed me to choose a directional, lined print for the background of this, but I learned something new.  Matching up all those prints when there are lots of HST's is a bit of a pain, but the end result is gorgeous. If you didn't have to line up a print, you should be able to finish this project in a day.

I made sure to put hanging corners on the back so I could use a dowel and pretty ribbon for hanging (even though I don't have that yet in the photos).  You could use a sleeve or any preferred hanging method.

If you notice, my quilting on my test "Sweet Gift" is not ideal.  I had wanted to try a poofy  lofty batting and it didn't work out so great.  I would suggest something flatter and more dense unless you happen to like this poofy look.  :)

I have not had time to complete an actual pattern for this "Sweet Gift" yet, but if there is interest then I will try to get it done sooner rather than later.  So, let me know if it is something you would want to make.

Make sure you check out all of the great Holiday ideas from the days that have already passed on this fun-filled blog hop.  Show your love with some comments (there are prizes!!)

Here are the blogs participating in the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop!
And don't forget about Confessions of a Fabric Addict!  Sarah has a QAL as well as a roundup of posts and details about the prizes, but hurry because we are almost at the end of 2017's 12 Day of Christmas in July Blog Hop!

Friday, July 14th

Saturday, July 15th

Sunday, July 16th

Monday, July 17th

Monday, July 10, 2017

New projects and upcoming surprises

I have been working on a few different things lately besides getting ready for my retreat this week.

The first thing is a few little gifts for a You Tube channel crew that i have grown to enjoy immensely.  They are in Ireland and I will do an entire post once they receive the package.  So, I will write more about them in that post.
Sneak peek:

Hi, My name is Jen and I have a crafty addiction.
Last weekend I could not get it out of my head that I wanted to learn how to needle felt.  My mom started awhile ago and it seemed like a lot of fun, and something to check out one day. Then I woke up Saturday morning and the thought would not leave my brain.  I became obsessed.  And it is fortunate (or unfortunate) that I live less than five minutes away from The Pendleton Wool Mill.  I went down and browsed all the pretty wool things.  And I bought a huge grab bag of wool.  And some needles.  SOOO addicting!  It was so much fun.  I know!  I know!  It isn't like I have all kinds of free time to fill in.  I am busy enough.  The struggle is real people!  On the plus side, I have no interest in scrap-booking.  Hahaha

Here is what I came up with that first weekend:

Not bad for my first try.

Joltik (I think that is how you spell it)

Now my son wants me to make all kinds of Pokemon creatures.  
I am working on putting together an Etsy shop with my mom and wasn't sure how selling licensed characters in a new form worked.  I know I have seen things out there, but I wanted the facts for myself.  Help me Google.  How do you phrase a question like that?  How about "Making a famous character with crafts to sell".  Sounds like magical Google would at least make an effort for that.  Oh it made an effort alright!  Funniest auto-correct ever!

Ooops!  This might be news to some, but most of us already know what getting into crafty hobbies can do to a person.  :)

And with that, I will leave you to continue your quilting and crafting!  

Quilt Retreat Series Part 3: Planning Projects

Eeek!  I can't believe I get to take a week off and quilt until my heart's content in only a few days!  I am so excited.  This post in the series gets a little more specific and personal to my current retreat.  As always, each retreat and each quilter has their own opinions and needs.  If you want to start at the beginning of my series, you can find the Intro HERE.

I have know for a few weeks what projects I needed to get done at the retreat, but that isn't always the case.  Deciding what projects to bring to a retreat can be very stressful.  How much room do you have?  What if you forget something?

I always try to pack about 5 projects and then a spare fabric or two just in case.  The past retreats I attended I basically just put ideas into a tote and off I went.  I worked on whatever struck my fancy at the time.  I didn't have deadlines or commitments then.  This time around, I have at least FIVE commitments that need to be finished by the end of July.  Most of them are fairly simple and will be easy to complete once I get my ducks in a row.  My primary one is getting my late (SOOOOO sorry Karen) June Bee Block done.  And then getting the July one done as well.  Ooops, make that SIX projects because I think I am September and have to get my blog post ready for that.

Then I have two blog hops that I am participating in that I have written small patterns for.  They are both Christmas themed.  I'll try to remember to come back and link to those posts after they are done.

Then I have a new quilt pattern to test and post about.  Sorry, this one is secret.  :)

After picking out some fabrics for those and adding a few things to my shop hop list, (because of course we will hit many new quilt shops along the way) I added the old UFO, my Midnight Lemonade quilt and a stack of batiks that I was working on when my old machine went kaput.  Then I threw in a little box pattern with some fabrics and the materials (like zippers) needed to make a few of those.  I highly recommend having at least one quick finish project.  It will be satisfying to finish it in one go and it gives you the memory of the trip.  Plus, a lot of retreats have something like a show and tell at the end and even if you don't complete a full top, you will have something.

Now, I know a few quilters that don't like doing their cutting when they are at a retreat or even with others.  They feel that they need more focus when cutting.  I am not like that.  I don't mind cutting while chatting, so I don't do that ahead of time.  If you are one of those people that prefers to do all of your cutting ahead of time, don't forget to bring just a little extra fabric just in case.  Things can get lost when you are not in your own space and mistakes always happen when you have no way of correcting them.  

If you have room, pack more than you need.  And quite frequently I would say to expect to get caught up in that quilting whirlwind we are all familiar with and leave some room for new purchases.

I would also recommend bringing a notebook and pencil.  There is so much inspiration at a retreat that you might need to take pictures and make notes.  It is also handy to jot down new friends contact information.

I will be documenting my shop hop and retreat visit.  Mostly on Instagram.  But, I'll certainly do a roundup post after the retreat.

I would love to hear about your favorite things to encounter on a quilt retreat.  Let me know in the comments what gets you excited.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Is there something in the water?

Have any of you ever noticed that babies seem to be born in waves?  So many in a circle of friends and family all at once.  Babies everywhere!  :)  Which means a busy time for a quilter.

*Warning - photo heavy post because it has been awhile since I have had any photos at all :)*
I have four so far.  Two already done - one born and one next month.  Then I have two more that need to be done before winter.  Baby quilts are so much fun.  You can play with color and design; so easy to get done in a few days.

The first one I made was for my son's new half-sister.  He is currently visiting his dad in Montana and wanted to take a gift to the new baby.  He has been an only child for 15 years and is pretty excited about meeting her.  He picked some pretty fabrics out of my flannel stash and I got to work so he could bring it with him.  I think it turned out pretty well, despite being a bit louder than my usual tastes.

The second one was for a friend's baby shower.  I picked out the fabrics only knowing that she was having a girl.  I didn't know her color scheme at all.  Turns out it was a great match to her bassinet and other baby room items.  :)  I did make a big boo-boo here though.  It was so shocking and funny.  Early in the day of the shower, as I was finishing the quilt I posted a quick photo to Instagram, not even thinking.  At the shower as she is opening the bag she says, "Is this this one on Instagram?" with a smile on her face.  ACK!  I was mortified.  I can't believe my blunder.  Heehee.  In the end it was quite hilarious and she told me that she had made a comment to her husband that she hoped that quilt was for them.  :)

It is so much fun making soft flannel baby quilts.  Everyone wants one of their own.  :)
I have two more to make and I will share them when they are received.

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Quilt Retreat Series: Part 2.2 Food

This particular list is going to be a bit personal.  I have been making my way towards a healthier lifestyle and am focusing on maintaining a balance in my life.  I am aware that there are lots of people that LOVE the junk food.  I do too on occasion, but I try to make sure that is not all I eat. So, this post is going to reflect that.

 Packing for a long quilt retreat can be quite intimidating.  You are breaking out of your comfortable routine.  Possibly feeding only one when you are used to feeding a family.  There are plenty of retreats out there that supply all meals in one form or another, but other than goodies for the community snack table, we aren't going to focus on that today.  We are going to talk about the situation when you need to handle all of your own food and possibly those of the entire group.

So, in my case, I will be packing for two people for seven days with a plan of eating out only one day.  We have access to a full kitchen with supplies, but no food.  I think that meal prepping will be the key here because who wants to go to a quilt retreat and spend any time in the kitchen?
I have tons of online recipes I have tried and love, but I am not going to link to everyone because I prefer to get permission for that and it could get out of control.  I will give you a link to my Recipes of the Healthier Kind Pinterest page which you are more than welcome to follow or ask what I think about any of the recipes there.

I am a new Beachbody Coach *shameless plug here* and I tend to have my Shakeology for breakfast just about every day.  I will just decide what I want to blend and bring those things.

  • Unsweetened Almond/Coconut Milk
  • Frozen banana slices
  • Vanilla (don't forget these kinds of things for your meals -- salt/pepper/sugar -- you may be used to having them in your kitchen and your venue might not.
  • Other fruits
I am going to prepare a few things ahead of time that will be great for breakfast or snacking on.
  • Oatmeal cups
  • Cut fruit
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Yogurt
It is also a good idea to check with your venue to see if they have a coffee pot or tea kettle if you like those beverages in the morning.

I have found that I don't often want a traditional lunch.  Breakfast is eaten late and you certainly don't want to interrupt your sewing time, but make sure you have something that you can eat at anytime of day.  You will need to keep your energy up for all that quilting and visiting.  

  • Sandwiches - Easy and simple.  Keep it basic.  Small ones on rolls are an option too.
  • Salads 
  • Chips or Pretzels
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Vegetables sliced and ready to munch on.  Hummus or dip would be a nice addition.
  • Sweet treat - Brownies, M&Ms, licorice, cookies
  • Popcorn
For me, this is the time to take a good relaxing break from my machine.  I need to have something substantial for my evening meal.  Most traditional dinners take time and "cooking" to make.  My recommendation is do everything that you can ahead of time.  Chopping veggies, cooking meat, measuring spices, etc.  You would also need to verify what appliances and other cooking implements your venue has.
  • Tacos - make the meat ahead of time and reheat.  Chop tomatoes & lettuce.  Shred cheese.
  • Salad - always a good option
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup -- nice for a winter retreat
  • Any kind of crockpot complete dish - stew, chili, chicken fajitas.  Just prepare it all ahead and dump in the crockpot in the morning.  
  • Any kind of casserole that you can refrigerate and then just toss in the oven.
Don't forget your drinks!  Not all venues will have a great tap water system.  At the very least, bring a good, lidded water bottle.  Stay Hydrated!!
  • Coffee or tea - don't forget your creamer
  • Bottled water or even better your own filter pitcher
  • Adult beverages - make sure your venue allows this, because not all of them do.  And remember the rule "No red wine at the sewing table!"  :)

Another thing you want to be aware of is the other quilters at the retreat.  Are there any severe allergies?  Make sure you don't cook anything too pungent that will make its way into all of the rooms - think fish or buffalo wings (who would eat wings with all that fabric around I don't know).

Don't show up to your retreat thinking you will just eat whatever.  Especially if your venue is out in the country somewhere.  You may not even have access to a regular grocery store or restaurant.  If your retreat is supplying meals, you will still need to bring anything that may not be supplied.  "What do you mean you don't have that Butter Pecan coffee creamer I need to use?"  Also, I cannot think of a retreat that lasts more than 2 hours that doesn't have a community snack table.  It doesn't need to be anything fancy (unless of course you make amazing lemon bars), but you should contribute something.  

I hope this helps you plan a little better for your next quilt retreat.  And like I said, feel free to visit my Pinterest page or email me with any questions or if you need more suggestions.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Winner! Star Blossom

Just a super quick post to congratulate Rose from Something Rose Made for winning the giveaway for the amazing new quilt pattern Star Blossom by Dave The Quilt Engineer and Tish's Adventures in Wonderland .

You can find the post about my version of this beautiful pattern here:  Star Blossom

If you want to try out this pattern yourself, you can find it in Tish's Craftsy shop.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where does the time go?

Seriously, this blog break has gone on for far too long.
Time has completely gotten away from me.  I think 4 out of 5 of my last posts have been apologizing for my absence.  Between my job, working out more, learning Irish (Gaelic), and getting my quilt ready for my VERY FIRST pattern being published in International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene magazine this October I have been swamped.  Oh, and I ran in the Starlight Run 5k with my son and friends AND I had 2 sets of company come visit me in the last couple of weeks.  All good things!  :)

Here is a little bit of what I have been up to quilting-wise:

I have been trying very hard to keep up with my Bee Inspired bee blocks.  Not quite on time, but not too late either.  I am hoping the rest of the year I will be more punctual.  These little grey pieces were so tiny!  I completely forgot to take a photo of the finished block.

I finally purchased my first spool of Aurifil thread!  That is pretty exciting.  I haven't used it yet, but soon...soon.  I also have a couple of quick flannel baby quilts I need to have done before next week.  I am doing simple strips and they are going to be so cozy!

Gotta love the chain piecing!

Oh yuck, I need to add a new ironing board cover to my to-do list.  
I made my first hanging sleeve last week.  If I am doing a wall hanging I usually just do the corners. I don't know why I was so intimidated by this.  It turned out nice I think.  I sure hope it is up to the standards of the magazine. This whole being published thing is very nerve racking. What if my work isn't good enough?  Oh, I would be so devastated.  It is exhilarating though.  I don't know how I will wait until it is on the shelves in October.

The binding all ready to go for my quilt.  I think Kona Oasis is my new favorite color.  It is gorgeous, don't you think?

I have a couple of other things coming up this summer.  Some new patterns, tutorials, etc.  I will do my very best to stay on top of the blog and not disappear again.
I'll be linking up with my usual blogs on the sidebar.

Happy Quilting!