Friday, January 30, 2015

Technology ate my blog posts!

I was working on set a lot this week; and had written several blog posts to upload later on my Ipad.
Nothing is more annoying than hitting "Save" and disappears.
(I realized later on why, which isn't important now. But...lesson learned!)

So this week, no quilting....but Lots and LOTS of costuming for some darling girls I happen to know.
Renaissance-themed little dresses and some skirts & wee bags for them. I get to visit them next week when I'm off to sunny southern Florida for a little winter break. Yay!

I always have good help when starting a project.
I'm not very good at following patterns, so I use them as a starting off point. I use select pieces and alter the rest of the design as I go with my sketchbook.

I used a few Simplicity Patterns as a starting off point; and as I don't usually sew kids' clothing, I use the bodice of a dress pattern for proper measurements.

 I love making costumes; you can really let your imagination go. Especially with little girl costumes....any colour, lots of exciting!
The inside is really messy ....but this is during the basting pinning stage.
 They come together so quickly; and they are so tiny and cute. I love making these; teeny tiny little dresses! SO darling.

This is the back; contrasting fabric. I've had this purple and green for years now; I keep finding lots of places to put it. I've been using some gorgeous rich blues and purples for this little dress.

They come together so quickly I have been working on a few:

This one got a little fancy schmancy. More photos to come when finished & trimmed.
I am continuing to work on these; more photos later on when these guys are all done and finished.

What're you working on this Friday? It's freezing outside.....great day to stay in & sew!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I admit it. 
I am addicted to Free Motion Quilting.

This is one of my FAVOURITE finishes for 2014. This fabric made me So happy. A heavy wool blanket for batting and FMQ all over. This is my current snuggle up on the couch quilt. Blog Post Here.

Or...  "FMQ", for short.

In my humble opinion, I just like the look and texture you get from the finished quilt with a loopy-swirly FMQ pattern.

This was my most ambitious project so far. Applique, stars, math, and lots and lots of FMQ to keep the 'snowflake' pattern going. I'm pretty proud of this one, it was a donation to a fund raiser. I learned a lot, and the second one I did was much easier to come together. Blog post Here.

Since I'm intermediate with my FMQ so far, I haven't tried any of the fancier patterns. Yet.

But I can tell, it's coming soon. I have my Rainbow Star Quilt to work on this week, and since it's for Us, then I won't stress too much if it's not 100% perfect. Which is why I like FMQ, it's very forgiving.

This is what I mean: 
See the swirly stitching in the green fabric? That's Free Motion Quilting. 

The 'normal' type of quilting (VS. FMQ) is generally straight lines, or following the pattern of the fabrics, etc etc. I have done this on a Trip Around the World Quilt, stitching 'in the ditch' following the lines. It looked really nice on that particular pattern.

 (I'm not a hater on reg. quilting. I just find I'm better at FMQ)

I found the most AMAZING Blogger recently; she is a FMQ freakin' GODDESS!!!! 
Her Blog is inspirational, educational and just beautiful to read through. 

I am linking up to her Free Motion Mavericks and am just tickled to be able to be a part of it!!

blogbutton photo peacockfmq025_zpse5bceb10.jpg

And no.... I haven't forgotten about my January Goals....Getting Organized. Updates to come!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Working From Home


Since leaving my full time job last summer, I realize how fortunate I was to be able to make that choice.

But one thing I hadn't known/realized was going to happen, was how isolating that truly can be.
I came across an excellent article today, posted below that really spoke to me.

I went from a busy customer service based management position in a crazy busy store to a quiet, no-routine day where if I wasn't careful, I could spend the whole day in my jammies, never leaving the couch.Which sounds GREAT...but not really.

I mean, come on. Lookit that sweet face. Who'd wanna go out!?

I realized the problem one day, when I had to go out for milk or something, and I started chatting a mile a minute to the cashier. And I realized, I hadn't spoken to a human being other than my fiance (and the cats) for over a WEEK. Hadn't left the house!!! (Going out in the backyard didn't count).
I watched a family of Blue Jays fledge. Have to say, it was pretty cool.
I immediately resolved to do at least ONE errand, no matter how small, every day. 
I made regular gym times, and started going back to Yoga. It helped, a lot!

Sew Mama SewTHIS article I found on the wonderful "Sew Mama Sew" website REALLY spoke to me. It's all about Fiona Pullen and her new book.                                                                    I love this site. Words cannot describe how awesome it is. The content is smart, funny, absorbing and you can always find help, tips, etc on what you're working on. AND tons of inspiration and inspirational people to keep you always onto something new!

Read it HERE: Sew Mama Sew

"Fiona Pullen runs the UK-based The Sewing Directory, and she has a new book out chock full of excellent advice. Craft a Creative Business helps you plan for success as you turn a love for sewing or other artistic endeavors into a thriving business."  - From Sew Mama Sew

 What're your tips for At Home Work Survival? Anyone else feel like this?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 Skillbuilding - January's Goal - To get Organized

**Warning. Terrible, terrible photos are at the bottom of this post.
 They may be disturbing to some readers!!!**

I will admit it. I make messes when I work.

And...I *really* need to get into the habit of cleaning as I go.
That is, putting things back where I got them when I use them. Not leaving things out, in piles. Everywhere.

Is this anyone else or is it just me? 
What are your surefire ways to stay organized?
So this is January's Skill to build, you may or may not  need to work on this. 
But Link up!
Let's encourage each other to stick with it!

 1. Go through all my tower shelves. Decide what stays and what goes.
2. Fold up neatly any fabric I pulled out and place in the correct colour bin.
3. Clean off my desk, put all notions back in the correct drawer.
4. Clean off the shelves and put things where they belong.
5. Place ALL UFO's into the proper wicker bin.
6. Continue the Closet Cleanse. Get some garbage bags and put stuff in it immediately.
7. All donatable goods to go INTO back of car immediately.
8. All trims, lace, notions back folded neatly into their drawer.
9. All thread back onto their hanger or in the box.

My sewing room is technically our guest room. And we had guests over Christmas.
So all my sewing stuff was crammed away. 
Now, in my New Year's Closet Cleanse, somehow it all got piled in there.
And sewing projects. And UFO projects. And knitting projects. 
And ...clothes to mend/alter.

Here it is. I am putting it 'out there' and letting the world see.
(deep breath)

Yep. This is my creative space. I think I need to work on this.

I'm totally cringing right now. But I'm being honest, this is me. Although it doesn't ALWAYS or usually look like this. I swear.

So....yeah. You can see why Organization needs to be a focus for me this month!
What are your surefire ways to stay organized?

Join the fun! Link up!

Our own special hashtag -   #skillbuilding2015  to IG/Tweet progress!

Know a great tutorial? Someone who nails these skills?
Post links in our comments & let's get sewing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I love the start of a New Year. 
Possibilities are endless!

(Except....when you try to sew in a zipper, or do a fancy seam and realize, uh oh. 
This might be a little more challenging than I thought.)

So I am going to pick one skill a month or so and totally work through it, as much as I can.
Starting with small projects and setting goals for big projects, incorporating the skills learned as we go!
Who wants to join in? 

 Let's share what we learn & make!

Our own special hashtag -   #skillbuilding2015  to IG/Tweet progress!

Know a great tutorial? Someone who nails these skills?
Post links in our comments & let's get sewing!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Planning the Year

I'm an Aries.
So, I almost always bite off more than I can chew.
Usually, anyway.
I start out with grandiose plans and then have to scale back somewhat.
I like to make lists to help me keep focused, and I usually put easy stuff on there that I'm always going to "Pet Cats" ..."Make Coffee" get the picture.

So, this year is going to be the year that I slow down and focus a little more.

Focus on friends, in person, not always online.

Focus on building skills, one project at a time. (This one's gonna be hard)

Focus on FINISHING the many quilt tops/projects currently on the go.

So, here is my List for 2015. It is flexible, amendable, and hopefully, attainable!

1. Learn how to Cable Knit.

2. Knit a sweater using Cable Knit skills.

3. Pet Cats.

4. Clean out bathroom closet - any old toiletries/makeup/etcetc is going out!

5. Finish up all quilt tops.
5.1 Finish up all UFO projects.

6. Learn how to properly sew in zippers and make some zipper pouches.

7. Vaccuum.

8. Get back into hitting the gym thrice weekly.

9. Use more words like "thrice".

10.  Be a better person.

And because all things good to to Eleven:


(Oh...and work on my blog. And blogging audience. And photo skills. And clean out the basement. And get my car fixed up. And work on leaning OT stuff to help my Mama and keep her sharp. Get her back knitting again. Find a great therapist to help her relearn to walk. And tell Mr. J I love him each and every day a million times a million.)

Bring it on, 2015.

Friday, January 2, 2015

It's 2015. Where's my flying car???

So is anyone else stunned by how fast 2014 went??

The end of the year comes as we are packing up our holiday trappings, repacking all our treasured ornaments, and in our house, trying to figure out once again how to get that dang tree back in the dang box. (it's does it seeminly grow?!)

And of course, one gets introspective....

2014 brought lots of changes. Like any year, really. Let's see what I learned. 

Insert ME looking up into the 'past' as the Scooby-Doo squiggles appear.....

I am mostly retired from my touring life, however we do a few select gigs a year. And it's helped bring back the Joy in it. I rediscovered the fun in performing.
And also, that our time with each other is fleeting. 
So savour moments, give each other our full attention, and hug like you mean it.

We have a lot of fun.

I left my manager position at my retail job. And rediscovered inner peace. And quiet.
I was fortunate to be able to take the summer off, enjoy time in the garden with the cats,
taking photos of all our backyard wildlife, and make enormous messes in the kitchen. 
I went back to the gym and felt whole again for the first time in years.
Reconnecting, taking a pause after non-stop movement for oh, 4 years or so, felt really, really good.

cirque du soleil ain't got nuffin' on MY squirrels.

The albino sparrow that we saw for a month or so.

My favourite black eyed susans & winston churchill fuschias.

We had an albino sparrow visit for awhile.

I worked on building my skills as a sewist, and finally finally was able to update my blog, 
start work on an actual website, and do all the webby things like IG and FB etc.etc. one needs to do in order to build a small home business.

And...there's Mr. J. Who is wonderful, by the way.
We stayed close to home, we spent time together. We went hiking and to the zoo. 
We play frisbee golf and even real golf. I dragged him to craft fairs and he dragged me to golf stores.
It's a good match.

And on November 6th (our anniversary, cue the awwww) he made me officially the Happiest Girl in the World when he asked me to marry him. Yay.

There were many things also that weren't easy.

Relying on The System to help with my ailing Mom who is in a nursing home.
Watching, not being able to help as she struggles to regain her everyday skills.
Having to realize that we are all mortals and that the circle comes around fully.
Losing several good people this year.
Not being financially as independent as previous years.

So...let's see. I learned a Lot.

Bring it on.