“Easy Like Sunday Morning….”

Coffee. That’s how it should start. A glorious cup o’ joe. My husband has been roasting his own coffee beans lately and then he makes the most fragrant, delicately caramel/chocolate coffee I’ve ever had. I don’t even stop at coffee shops anymore. I just have to wait until Sunday. It is totally worth the wait.

Then I make breakfast. Waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, granola w/yogurt, french toast, homefries, but lately I’ve been struggling with a new development: an allergy to milk and eggs. It’s amazing just how many eggs and how much milk and its derivatives go into breakfast foods. I’ve been combing through Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s vegan cookery books, and they are wonderful, and the recipes work and everyone enjoys them and yes we still eat all the bacon and sausage. But change is hard. My next challenge will be Easter. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

I joined back in with the WIP Wednesday’s over at Freshly Pieced. It’s a great way to connect with the online sewing community, share ideas and keep up the momentum.  So my weekly progress reports will be tied with that on Wednesdays. Sundays are more for meditation anyway than lots of being busy.

This past week as I’ve begun to catch up on all the blogs I like to follow I’ve found two from very different spheres that intersect in the most beautiful ways. Thomas Knauer Sews and Ordinary Courage by Brené Brown. Mr. Knauer has been sharing some very deep and powerful thoughts on art, craft, community and what it all means to be human and Dr. Brown is all about what it all means to be human.

It’s not fair for me to try to sum up who they are and what they say, scroll through their blogs, watch Dr. Brown here, she’s also on with Oprah today. You’ll see. You can feel it. It’s hard to describe.

For me personally the intersection lies in connection. We do the things we do in order to connect with one another. Unless we’re not doing that, then we’re doing other things that may not be very helpful.

So today I’m all wrapped up in a cozy quilt of connecting with humanity. My own, my children, my family and friends, the great beyond of how we’re all connected to each other and our earth.

I sew, knit, crochet, cook, bake, quilt, bead, make music, pick up the phone, photograph, talk a walk in the woods, plant a seed, send a card, compost, read, sing, hug, kiss, laugh, cry and love all so I can connect.

Mr. Knauer asked on his blog yesterday, “why?”

My only answer is to smile and say “You’ll see.”

1-DSC_0358

Advertisements

WIP Wednesday via Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

It’s been a while! Almost two years actually, um, this is the last time I posted and, um, no, none of those projects are done, we were still in Chicago and I haven’t made those cupcakes in a long time!

Here’s the round-up of works-in-progress:

My “Great Big Stars” wall quilt for the kids, started for Project Quilting, just needs some hand quilting and some binding that I should be able to manage while watching episodes of Downton Abbey. I have some catching up to do.1-DSC_0501

This little purse is for a little girl whose teeth will soon start to fall out. She’ll need something special for the Tooth fairy. Seriously, this will take me all of 10 minutes to finish and yet it’s sat for more than a week neglected.

1-DSC_0492

These triangles are bound for Kaffe Fassett’s “Earthy Mitered Squares” quilt from “Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts.” I have 15 or so different stripey fabrics to cut up and sew, this is No. 3. All I want to accomplish this week is to get these triangles sewn into squares. That’s all! They have also been sitting around waiting for more than two months or more than that, I really can’t remember now when I cut them.

1-DSC_0494

This one is a little less embarrassing if more guilt ridden. I’m doing the pleated skirt there for Ellen (I did finish Sarah’s skirt!) but since the weather’s been too cold and we’ve all been sick, this one has languished a bit too long. I did sort out, finally, just how to do the pleats. There’s nothing quite like having a good sewing reference or two on the shelf when the pattern’s instructions seem indecipherable.

1-DSC_0495

And last but not least, something new. Recently conceived and cut, this little lady and some of her friends are destined to lug around at least a few of the contents of my purse. 1-DSC_0499

Now, here’s the bin of wips. I also just noticed/admitted to myself that the large decorative basket on my table here is also filled with wips. So each week I am going to pick at least one thing out of the bin/basket to work on. It may not get finished, we’re just looking for progress.

1-DSC_0484

Connect

The PQ challenge for this week was to open a print publication to pg. 28 and draw inspiration from that page. I had just received my new Yoga Journal and decided to take a chance and hope it wouldn’t be an advertisement.

1-DSC_0532Boy, did I luck out. On page 28 of the current YJ is a short article by Sara Bernard about Manjari Sharma and her Darshan Project. I can’t do her project justice here, so follow the links to find out more. What struck me in the article was her translation of the word darshan as “an experience that ignites an understanding of the spiritual realm.”

For me personally that experience lies in our connection to each other and to the earth. I don’t want to muddy things up with a lot of words here so I’ll just present my offering.

1-DSC_0477Don’t laugh, too much. It’s my first double wedding ring. I need some practice. I did have an epiphany concerning the alignment of seams and once I work out some details and practice I will tell you all about it.

Stars (do-over)

So a day or two after my post on Monday I decided to check in with the Project Quilting folks and see what everyone was up to. I was amazed to see so many projects had been finished already?! Then I checked the due date. Yup, they had been due the previous Sunday. Apparently I had missed that detail. Which was all fine and good since my children were visited by the plague this past week. We think it’s a viral ear infection that I hope is going away, but it left my youngest unable to eat for 2.5 days. “TWO AND A HALF DAYS!” I almost shouted at their doctor (who I like). They’re on meds now and everyone feels a lot better.

Now the project I had planned was inspired by a song, “Great Big Stars” from the Music Together Collections (listen to other songs here). The incipit is “Great big stars, way up a yonder” and we sing it mostly in the bath when I need the kids to look up while I rinse soap out of their hair. It’s a hit here and appreciated for its practical use. I wanted a way to preserve that tune fabrically (of course it’s a word) and ran to my copy of “Radiant New York Beauties” by Valori Wells.  The patterns are all paper pieced which is great for precision, not so great if you’re in a hurry. My plan was to get that one quarter of a block done (it’s not), embroider “great big stars” and some more stars, quilt and bind, finito! Of course now I’m not in a rush. 1-DSC_0498Now when I opened up Valori’s book this fell out (unfinished).  This is the lazy daisy and is my favorite pattern in the whole book. Also not in a rush to finish, but at least I know where it is now. 😉
1-DSC_0510
On the bright side I did manage (while kids watched movies/napped) to make some progress. My pattern is ready to be tested, I knitted two rounds on the hats, and I think I understand pleats now. My fabric designs are languishing though, they do really require hours of uninterrupted time which I’m unlikely to get for a few more days. Onward!

(I am patiently waiting for the next Project Quilting post, more on that tomorrow!)

Stars!

Just before we left for Boston last weekend I got a comment on my blog from the woman who runs the “Project Quilt” challenge. I had linked back to her site, assuming that no one but me checks those things, but she followed me back here and asked me to enter my quilt anyway, she’d feature it on her blog with the other quilts! I was beside myself, mostly because I have low self esteem and assume I am invisible. Whoops, did I share too much there? Sorry! Anywhoo, it gave me a big boost and has helped me get through this past week of zero crafty-ness. I have plans, just not enough hands. Here we are on Monday, I’ve finally got to check back on her blog (she listed me here), and as soon as I sat down I promised I would not do another challenge this week, nope, I have too many things to catch up on! I have to learn how to sew a pleat, that could take all week. But then I saw this weeks challenge. Stars. And it took me all of 20 seconds to decide exactly (mostly) what I plan on doing. So here we go again! Things I did actually accomplish are a skirt for Sarah (finally I got the buttons sewn on), and I picked up some yarn and circular needles so I can knit the girls some cute hats (those should be done by next Fall). This week I have a star quilt to make, a pattern to finish writing, color palettes to choose and photo of a daisy to manipulate. And a pleated skirt to make! And two skirts for myself! Don’t I need a new shirt too? Where’s that pattern book? Wish me luck!

1-DSC_0474 Yarn for hats, I WILL learn how to knit!

1-DSC_0479 Skirts for Mom, I am so tired of winter and pants!

1-DSC_0466 More gratuitous cats.

Mama’s Garden

Last week I got caught up in Project Quilt (read more here).  I didn’t mean for it to take over everything else, but obviously it did. I meant to make something smaller. I meant to keep it simple. I also did not manage to finish before the deadline. I did finish though and one little girl now proudly displays it on her bed. So in the end it was all worth it.

1-DSC_0420

The idea behind this quilt was “it is not Spring yet. I need it to be Spring. We need flowers.” If I’d given myself more time to finish this quilt there would have been tons more embroidery. The challenge for the week was to draw inspiration from Annie Young’s work.  Her art work has lots of texture. Embroidery can do that for a quilt. I liked the idea of just outlining simple shapes with a stitch that had a lot of feel to it. That is as specific a description as I can manage. 😉

1-DSC_0429

I did a machine binding this time, I usually prefer to hand sew them. I’m now convinced that hand sewing is better. I will also set a size limit in the future, I’m thinking 8″x10″ or 10″x10″, that I think I can do in a week (this quilt was 40″x40″). What really got me going on this project was that I would use some of my favorite fabrics, scraps that I’ve been holding onto for ages now have a place in our house.  There are cats stalking the bird too, so there’s some drama.

My plan for this week and next is to catch up, keep up, and make more plans. Hurrah!

Here’s a first…

1-DSC_0345

You’ve see this before, but this time it was created from a pattern. Mine. Yahoo! That’s right, I’m also going to write patterns for things I make (I will need some pattern testers!). Also I will figure out how to improve upon the top-stitching here. Not my finest work, I think all I need is the walking foot.

I’ve been working on the….fabric?

The shop is open! Hooray! Now what? I know that all this may seem a little confusing. Like the shop’s name is “Sewshaz” but there’s nothing in it (yet) that’s sewn. Should I only include things that are sewn? Maybe. But. I don’t wanna? Is that ok? I hope it is.

Recap of this week:
Get cards printed. I went to my local art shop, Pygmalion’s to inquire more earnestly about what type of papers might be best for my intentions. The very helpful and patient staff directed me to the Stonehenge cover. It’s smoother than the Arches but still has that gorgeous feel that I can’t quite describe, it simply must be experienced (I’m very tactile, this partially explains why paper and fabric are competing interests for me).

Toothfairy purse. Make it. It occurred to me in the middle of the night that the Toothfairy isn’t very big. So, if this is going to be convincing, the toothfairy purse must be fairy sized, I reasoned.  Designing this was kind of fun. I didn’t plan too much in advance, I just started cutting fabric. The first iteration, needless to say, required a few tweaks. Like, if you’re going to sew two pieces of fabric right-sides together with the intention of turing them right side out, well you have to leave an opening.  Yeah, I knew that, I just forgot. Small details like that tend to get lost in the excitement of the moment. I was quite pleased with my solution for a closure, a little pearl bead. It was somewhat toothlike and quite pretty. Ellen thought it was great, she came running back into the office to ask me to sew it right back on after she chewed it off. She was somewhat upset when I offered we find another solution, she liked the bead too. There will be no bead. Now I’m thinking I might embroider a little tooth on it and not worry about actually fastening it shut. I also like the potential this project has to showcase smaller print fabrics (read: I guess I have some fabric shopping to do!).

Open Shop. Yes, I had promised myself that I would open my shop, one way or another on February 1st. That date was set arbitrarily and without any consultation with reality. So while all the parts are working there’s still a lot of work to do. Marketing! SEO! State Tax ID! Networking! Workflow! Stats! Making stuff? So I’m also on close personal terms with my local public library and probably read way too many books about making your shop a success. While all those exclamations are important and I will get to some of them eventually, right now I just want to focus on making stuff. I’m still working out the details of “what” I’m doing, the “how” will just have to wait.

Work out some of the details of “what” I am doing. Yeah. So that’s tricky. What I want to do is sell bundles of fabric designed by moi and give you lots of good ideas for things you can do with that fabric. This topic will occupy most of my time this coming week. Stay tuned!

And now for a gratuitous cat photo:

1-DSC_0318

Prototype

1-DSC_0315

 

This one is just for practice. A Tooth Fairy Purse (2″ x 1.75″). We’ll see if it survives the weekend. Oops. Ellen just chewed off the button. That took 5 minutes. Hmmmm…..