Friday, April 11, 2014

Hey Baby, You are a Star

I wanted to subtitle this blog post, "Whoa, just calm down life"

I have literally spent a week at home in the last month (and yes, I am using the term literally correctly).  I actually dreamed about my sewing machine. Cat litter commercials made me sad, because I missed my little fuzz.

I was in Georgia (twice), Florida, Tennessee, and Western North Carolina. Some for fun, some for super fun work. I am spent.

You see, when I get tired and stressed out I feel the need to make something new. This is totally counterintuitive. It actually adds to my pile of things to do, but I find zen in the creative process. The excitement of sketching, choosing fabrics, testing blocks... Just writing this is making me want to go create something new! 

Fortunately, during my trips to Georgia I visited with some very dear friends who are expecting a little girl this summer. I had alway been planning on making this little girl a quilt, but spending time around my friends inspired me. When I got home and the stress creativity kicked in, I channeled that creativity into this little baby quilt. 

This quilt is loud. 

It is for a little baby girl, but I made something that I would love as a grown-up. I think linen is timeless and ageless. 

These blocks are super traditional, they are a variation on a block called the millennium (although I am sure there are ton of other names out there) that I resized and modified. 

I just want this quilt to say, "hey baby, welcome to this world, we are happy to have you." 

Don't all babies deserve that?

Thanks for stopping by, this has been nice!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Hey Baby, You are a Star
Size: 40" x 40"
Pattern: Millenium Star Blocks
Fabric: Assorted Pink and Purple Scraps and Essex Natural Linen/Cotton Blend, backed with a Liberty Lifestyle print and Heather Ross Briar Rose Strawberries
Quilting: Swirly free motion flowers with Aurifil thread, done on my home machine
Finished: April 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winter Blues. Notes from the road.

Hey there! How are you doing?

Are you warm, cold.... so sick of winter you want to scream, wrap yourself in a quilt and hibernate? I am in Atlanta right now, sitting on my hotel room bed. Tomorrow is a new exciting day of work.

I am feeling pretty dang good right now. I just got back from Florida. I have a tan/sunburn, I slept about 10 hours every night in Florida. We also had an ice storm in North Carolina this morning.

Lest you hate me, I will tell you I left for my first of three work trips starting today and I will likely be home for no more than two nights in a row for the next month. Those trips are not vacations and they typically involve driving long distances, eating gross fast food, and time away from my sewing machine (and husband and cat)...

No sense in worrying about things you can't change!

I am feeling a titch overwhelmed with sewing projects, so I thought I would write out a list. It is aspirational, somewhat deadlined, some sort of pie in the sky projects. In no particular order.

1.) Finish the binding on my cousin's quilt. This was a group project with some of my Aunts and cousins, and it is going to another cousin. My job was quilting and binding. Now I need to finish it, I have had this way too long! This needs to get done, like next week.

2.) Finish secret bag project. This super tote is all cut out and ready to piece, which is good because it needs to be gifted next weekend. It should wrap up quickly though.

3.) Handmade Birthday Club March Gifts. I have two to make for this month. No biggie, these will be fun and quick finishes.

4.) Quilt Boy Quilt. This is a charity quilt for my dear friend Val. The top is all pieced and pressed. It just needs to be quilted and bound. It will be super fast once I get it basted. I need to get it done because there is an orphan out there who will be stoked to receive this!

5.) Derek Quilt. The dearest husband in the whole wide world is getting his very own quilt as soon as I can get time to piece it. It is all cut and waiting. I am pretty excited about this (Derek's quilt is actually to the left, ignore the cranes and text).

6.) Parent's Anniversary Quilt. Parent's wedding anniversary is in June. I want to make them a queen sized bed quilt. They have been warned it will be late.

7.) Hop Skip Jump BOM. I am two blocks behind on this BOM, but that is no biggie. This will take but a tiny bit of time to catch up on.

8.) Club Medallion. I am a million borders behind (slight exaggeration). Working on this would be a dream.

9.) Sparkly love Tangelo. I so want to work on this. Realistically, this is not a priority, but because I want to I will move it up on my list.

10.) Backbone quilt. I want to make one, so I suspect I will.

That is super long. I think I will stop there, although I can already think of things to add. I will be focusing on the first couple of items this weekend and then begin to tackle the rest. I think I will be traveling with my machine a bit this spring, which is a prime piecing opportunity. It is also possible that I will travel with a cutting mat and get some piecing set up.

I love you all! Thanks for being there. Thanks for being awesome.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Orange. February.

Do you ever have one of those days/weeks/months/years where you completely overcommit yourself?

Then you freak out, run around, write lists, neglect your husband, forget to call your mom, leave your teeth unbrushed, and eat lots of chocolate?

Yes? No? Maybe? Sometimes? Yesterday?

I think I left my head in December. Perhaps my sanity was left in Tennessee when I went there in January?

When I get super crazy I need to appreciate the little things. The small victories if you will.

Today we are cerebrating the fact that I finished my Riley Blake Challenge project on time. I mean seriously, we could say it is early because it is not due until TOMORROW!

I had the idea for this quilt when I was listening to this TED talk by Chip Kidd (graphic designer). In the talk, Kidd talked about how when you are designing something you need to show but not tell or tell but not show. You shouldn't do both. Then he sort of offhandedly brought up that it might be interesting to show and tell different things.

I have been thinking about this idea for months. I knew I needed to make it into a quilt.

When I got my Riley Blake Challenge fabrics at the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild meeting I fell in love with the orange fabric. I knew I needed to show orange and the opposite of orange is blue. The paper cranes are just pretty. I did not use all of the fabrics, I knew I had to trust my gut and follow  my inspiration.... It is not that I did not love the fabrics sent to us from Riley Blake. It is just that sometimes it is about what is not included. Less can occasionally be more.

The pattern for the cranes is here from Kitten's Mittens and I got the text pattern here from Quiet Play.

Then I decided to use all of my thread to quilt this one with super close together organic lines. It took an entire day. I totally had time for that. I also totally had time to make this wall hanging. I totally do not have a wall available to hang this on. Strong work.

Now back to the list. Maybe someday I will even blog about something else besides a finish, I miss this blog.

I love you all. I miss you.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Orange
Size: 40 x 40"
Fabrics: Assorted Kona solids and Riley Blake basics, background is Kona Snow
Quilting: Organic matchstick lines with Aurifil white thread
Finished: February 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pink Chowder during a Cold Dark Winter

Sometimes quilts are born, not designed. It just seems like they spring out of your head fully formed.

This quilt was born when in a fit of indecision I pulled fabrics from my shelves to take to a retreat with my SURMA sisters (incidentally, this is the fabric pull that inspired the Ladies Night Bundle). I knew I would probably want to start sometime new on the retreat (because that is how I roll), but I had no idea what I would do.

Then we got to the mountains and I met the Accuquilt for the first time. You see my friend Lee (May Chappell) is an Accuquilt all-star and she had just received these new clamshell dies. I had never sewn a single curve, so naturally I decided I was going to use my fabric stack for an 8" clamshell quilt. As you do. As an aside, I now want all dies… I may or may not have a hexagon quilt in the works.

I got to cutting. Because the Accuquilt is amazing, I got this whole quilt cut in a morning.

Full disclosure here, because we are all friends, at that time I had never seen (or did not remember seeing) Latifah's clam famous Glam Clam quilt. I did not have her awesome directions or her videos to watch (but honestly, they are awesome you should check them out). Lee helped me out and we read some stuff from our phones, then we made it work. I had no idea how many clams I even needed… I just started sewing them together when it looked like I had cut enough.

One last awesome thing about this quilt, is that my friends donated little bits of fabric to be made into clams (when I realized my stack was not big enough). Every time I look at this quilt I see bit of some of my favorite people. Thanks Xandi, Chrissy, Lee, and Holli! I love having you here to snuggle with me.

Okay, I am obsessed. There is no such thing as too many pictures, right?

These organic super close together straight lines seemed essential for this quilt, totally inspired by the original Glam Clam.

I think this is my favorite quilt I have ever made. I look at it and I am so proud of my curves and I used some of my most hoarded fabrics.

Thanks for letting my ramble on. This quilt remains in my possession and will, probably, forever.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Pink Chowder
Size: Approximately 72"x72" (Can't measure right now, I have a cat on my lap)
Fabric: So many fabrics, there is really a little bit of everything here, from Bonnie and Camille to Lizzy House, Waterfront Park, Collage, Riley Blake, Comma, Quilters linen from Moda, Mama Said Sew, I think the cats are Kokka. If you see something I did not mention and you need to know, message me and and I will look it up. Binding is from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander and backing is also from that line and Ikea.
Quilting: Organic matchsticks (can that be a thing?) with Aurifil Thread
Finished: January 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cat Ladies Unite.

Hey friends!

I have some fun facts to share today.

1. I went to my besties cabin this weekend. We share everything, she even gave me her strep throat. I did get a ton done. I will talk about my project here soon.

2. I am in Charleston right now. Archaeology waits for no person or virus.

3. Antibiotics are my friend.

4. I have a finished quilt I have not photographed yet. Now I will have to wash it again, because the kitten loves it.

5. Speaking of cats, I have finished my cat lady quilt (first discussed here). End of list.

The cat quilt is the first quilt I quilted on my new Juki 2010q and I decided to go big and matchstick quilt this business. It was a dream on the Juki (I named her Juju).

The fabrics were pulled from my stash and this awesome bundle from Sew Lux (curated by me!!!).

Max approves of this quilt. There is something really awesome about cat on cats.

He also loves feathers. We don't even buy cat toys, just bags of feathers from the craft aisle. Not as awesome as birds would be, but a good second (this cat has never met a bird, but he has hopes). 

Quilt Stats:
Name: Cat Lady
Size: 57"x 57"
Pattern: From my head, inspired by Aneela Hoey and Elizabeth Hartman
Fabric: Many things, bundle from Sew Lux, some pearl bracelets, Mama Said Sew, and some Japanese cat prints (surely I forgot something).
Quilting: Matchstick lines with Aurifil thread
Finished: January 2014

PS - Meow love.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Entertaining the Bacon

When bacon sews she does not like to sew in silence. She also likes to include random photos in blog posts. Apparently she blogs in third person occasionally.

I like to listen to podcasts and music. Sometimes I watch movies and TV shows. This thing is, when you are sewing, measuring, or reading directions you really can't be watching something serious. Nothing important, nothing intense. You can't be hanging on every word or looking at a screen. We can not talk about the time I sewed through my finger while watching West Wing.

I thought I would list some of my preferred sewing listening/watching. I have a new finish to show you soon, I just didn't feel like editing photos tonight (real life).

Just to note, I have terrible taste. I really like mindless entertainment, so don't judge me. I promise I know I have terrible taste and I chose to watch these shows because they make me happy.

I subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime. I listen to a lot of Spotify and watch Hulu. I also subscribe to podcasts on iTunes. The one thing I do not have is broadcast television or cable…. I am reliably not up on what is happening in that world. I am also approximately one season behind on all shows. These are all in no particular order.

What do you watch/listen to while sewing? I love to discover new things! Please share, please.

Things I watch:
1.) 19 Kids and Counting (Netflix) - I am fascinated by the Duggars. I literally love this family and this show and I could not tell you why.
2.) My Cat from Hell (Netflix) - I love cats. I want Jackson Galaxy to come meet my cat.
3.) Scandal (Netflix) - Oh Olivia… I wish I dressed like you, and acted like you, and, just watch this.
4.) Sister Wives (Netflix) - Like a train wreck?
5.) Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares, British version is best (Netflix) - I have terrible taste.
6.) Extreme Couponing (Netflix) - This show makes me want to clip coupons and eat more processed foods.
7.) Murder She Wrote (Netflix) - Just assume Jessica Fletcher is always the murderer. It makes it more fun. Also, if Cabot Cove were a real place it would have the highest murder rate, like ever.
8.) What Not to Wear (Netflix) - I find this show empowering and uplifting.
9.) Project Runway (Hulu) - It is about sewing. Do I need to say anything else?
10.) America's Next Top Model (Hulu and Amazon Prime) - I am not sure why this show fascinates me. I like watching skinny people obsess about how hard it is to take a good picture?
11.) The Batchelor/ette  (Hulu) - Well, I should not have to explain this.
12.) How I Met Your Mother (Netflix) - I just want to know how! How did he meet their mother?

1.) Stuff Mom Never Told You - It is sort of a feminist history/how stuff works show. I come away feeling smart and slightly empowered. Don't listen if you hate feminism.
2.) Amy's Creative Side - This is about quilting. It makes me feel happy.
3.) NPR: Pop Culture Happy Hour - This is a show about pop culture. It is irreverent and funny. It makes me feel like I know what is going on in the world of pop culture even though I have not set foot in a movie theater since 2012.
4.) Joy the Baker Podcast - It is not about baking. I feel like I am listening to my girlfriends chat.
5.) The Because Show - If you consider yourself conservative or slightly prudish, you might not enjoy this show. It is like listening to the girls you wish you were cool enough to be friends with chat. There is an episode where the ladies interview a former harem girl that I would like to particularly recommend.
6.) Radiolab from WNYC - Science!
7.) Welcome to Nightvale - Creepy, fictional NPR in a dark place.

Music (I am just going to list band or artist names, no descriptions, I like moody music with a beat):
1.) Jagwar Maw
2.) Camera Obscura
3.) Rosanne Cash
4.) Carolina Chocolate Drops
5.) Neko Case
6.) Best Coast
7.) Alabama Shakes
8.) The Secret Sisters
9.) Yo-Yo Ma

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014. Let's Do This Thing.

January the 1st is a day many people sit back and reflect about the past. We think about the triumphs and failures of the previous year. We consider resolutions forgotten or conquered. We reaffirm for the next year, refocus, and take a breath to get ready for another ride.

I love reflecting and writing lists, so here I am. Right now. I never remember resolutions, but lucky us, 2013 Sarah wrote them all down in this post. Go me. 

And guess what, drum roll please, I kept every resolution. Seriously, even the one about working out. 

I am not going to recap them, because new year, new resolutions. We are moving forward people. 2012/2013 resolution me is gone. 

But I am going to talk about 2013 makes. Because WOW! I feel productive. I mean, I made my first quilt in 2011/2012 and it took me awhile to pick up steam. 2013 is one for the record books! Just mine, not the world's, unless there is a category for most quilt photos taken in front of graffiti or most projects with pink incorporated?

This is really only a sample of makes. I am not much of a record keeper… But I think I finished 10 quilts. That warms my heart, quilts are my very favorite. I also made a bunch of bags, totes, pillows, and zippy pouches. 

Moving on now, it is 2014! 

This year is going to be a year of persistence and a little bit of self forgiveness. 

I am going to try to finish things and do things I know need to be done. But I am also going to forgive myself when I let something slide. Dwelling on my failures is poor character flaw and stress is so not good for you. I have a fair amount of self-doubt and insecurity in this self (sorry that is the grimy undertone to all of the shiny bacon on this blog). 

Sewing goals:
1. Finish more than 10 quilts! Beat the record! Win the race against yourself. 

2. More than finishes, I would like to learn new things and tackle projects that seem daunting. I want to make some things that stretch my skills and require some time and head scratching.

3. I also need to follow my own creative vision (see note about self-doubt above). I notice I like things more when I am just working on pleasing myself. But it is not just that, everyone, including the intended recipient likes them more when I focus on pleasing myself. [corny statement alert] When I am true to my vision, I am a better quilter. So stop worrying about other people Sarah! 

As a side note, I need to make the things I see in my head. Because when I do, I love them so much.

4. I would like to donate two quilts to charity (one is in the works right now). Cover the world in quilts!

5. I am not going to force myself to go on a fabric diet in 2014. I do have a ton of fabric, but I am not sure dieting is my path. I think I am going to try to be more intentional with fabric purchases this year. I need to ask myself if the fabric I want is fabric that can be used in a stitching and bacon quilt. I also need to destash the things that are not bacon compliant. P.S. - you might be surprised about what is bacon compliant, cats almost universally a yes, metallic is a yes, large floral is a no. This could be a whole post in itself, but it would probably be boring. 

6. Get myself out there as a quilter. I am not sure what form this will take… I am not certain I am a pattern designer (I just don't think my ideas are interesting or original) or if I could sell my work (and still make enough money to be worth it). I need to explore this goal a little more fully.

Okay, that is a lot of words on a page. Let's see if we can do this. 

2014. You look good. I see some sunshine and some rain. I see some fuzzy cats, good food, and lots of love ahead of me. 

Let's go to do this. 

Happy New Year friends. Thanks for being with me while I do this thing in this space.