Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out with the old..

2013, you brought immense joy.
I got a super cute baby:

A beautiful vacation with friends:
The elation of finding my book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble (and in the stacks at my local library):
And plenty of time to spend with the ones I love.
Thank you, 2013.

For 2014 I've got some plans, big and small.
The one I'm most excited about is moving my sewing room from a poorly lit upstairs bedroom to the nice and bright first floor laundry room (pictures coming shortly!).  I lose about half the space, but the location should allow me to spend more time creating.. fingers crossed.
I'm also planning to start up the Monday Morning Star Count again (an EPP progress linky party, like we did last summer), from next Monday.  Here's what I've been working on..  
It's going so slowly!  I really need the encouragement of some like-minded EPPing friends.

And if anyone wants to get even more EPPing done, please consider registering for the Greek Island Quilt Retreat.  I'd love to meet up and sew with some of you next June!

I hope 2014 brings all of us just what we need, and the attentiveness to appreciate it when it arrives. 
Happy New Year everybody~

Friday, December 13, 2013

Farewell little Lime

It's the 13th already?  So much for my cute attempt at blogging via Advent stocking calendar.
I left off on the 5th, my birthday, and was planning a grand post about the guys I live with and how much I love them..
Instead of blogging about it, I spent the day with them instead, basking in their attention.  It's good to be loved.
I also worked on the binding of the Lime quilt, finishing it later that weekend.  On Monday I took it to the post office, and now I'm just waiting to hear if it has arrived.
 
It's been a while since I had a finish to share, so I'm linking up today with CrazyMomQuilts
This quilt is huge, the biggest I've ever completed myself, so I had a heck of a time getting a good finish shot. 


(Laugh here, please.  Then feel sorry for my husband who was stuck in this position as I tried and tried to get a better shot.  He refused to go outside, it was too cold and I was in my pjs..)
You can see most of it in this basting shot:
Or check out the beauty shots in my last post.
And now that that's finished, I can work on our Christmas quilt.. it's coming along pretty well-- I've shared peeks on instagram but hopefully I'll have a post ready here in the next few days. 
Happy Friday, Everybody.  And enjoy the 13th~

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Strings with Lime

I have been making a quilt this fall for a 4 year old I have never met.  Her mom asked me to make it and I couldn't say no.  This is my first commissioned quilt.   I posted a bit about it at the beginning, but this quilt has really dominated my sewing time over the past 3 months and I'm happy to finally  have time to share some more of it.
I have loved working on this quilt.  It measures 80" x 87" and it is the first full sized bed quilt I have made and quilted myself.  I've done kings and twins, and plenty of throws, but never a full.  It's a shame I'm not keeping it, I really need a quilt on that full sized guest bed...

 The back is Sketch flannel in Royal and it is amazing!  I may just be a flannel back convert after this one.  I pieced Madelyn's name into the back-- the letters are about 4" high.  I hope she likes it.
 I cut and attached the binding to the front today, and plan to spend blissful hours tomorrow hand stitching it down.  That sounds like the perfect way to spend my birthday~

The quilt has taken me longer than I expected.  Is it that the foundation string piecing was more involved than I remembered, or my free time more scarce?  Either way, I made it as fast as I could.  Like every quilt, I learned a lot with this one.  It's the largest piece I've ever quilted on my Janome, and it fit just fine (for the record, I could probably do a queen..).  I underestimated how much thread I'd need to quilt it and ended up waiting in line at JoAnn's on Black Friday.  Never want to do that again (though buy one. get one free is a hard deal to pass up).  I also underestimated how tired I'd be at the end of each day, and how short Jack's naps would be.
When George was a baby, I remember getting a lot of sewing done while he napped.  Somehow I thought things would be the same this time around, but I'll tell you, the biggest shock I had this fall was how much I wanted to be with George when Jack was asleep.  If I'd turn on the tv and sneak off to sew, I felt guilty leaving him alone.  I missed him. 
Other moms of 2 or more can probably relate.  I spent so much time this year focused on the baby, feeding, changing, pureeing, packing and repacking the diaper bag, pushing the stroller.  I miss the feeling of George's hand in mine as we walk to school.  It's like I blinked and he went from being 2 1/2 to being 5.  I can barely pick him up and he doesn't fit in my lap anymore. 
Something has changed (is changing?).  I used to be me first.  A person, a woman, a Smithie, a quilter.  But now, no.  Now I'm Mom first. 
So this quilt took me a long time, but it helped me discover this change, see who I am now.  And I'm glad I can write that here, because I'm not sure non-quilters would quite understand.  I love this quilt, and I'm happy the end is near.  I hope to have it in the mail this weekend and let it become part of someone else's story.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3


Getting into the holiday spirit a bit more.  Today I bought Christmas cards and helped George finish up his book report on his favorite holiday story.  (shocking, we only have 5 Christmas books in the house, and one was in Greek).  I'd like to put up the tree, but it isn't safe until we get another baby gate..

Monday, December 2, 2013

2


I didn't mean to whine in yesterday's post.  Actually, I think I'm getting too old to complain.  Thursday is my birthday and I've been giving a lot of thought to it.  Time to grow up a little more.  Time to give more and take less.  Appreciate more and want less.  Time to stop complaining.
But just because I think about it doesn't mean it will be easy to do.

I've been whittling away at my to-do list.  If I make it to the post office today it will be a major accomplishment.  And at some point this week I need to buy George snow boots.
In with all the mundane household stuff, I have snuck in a few stitches.. 
 I started a new hexie pillow that I've been sharing glimpses of on Instagram.  It's for the workshop I'm teaching for the Long Island Quilters Society in January.  I like diamonds made of hexagons (funny, because I spent so many years making hexagons from diamonds..), but these are big.. one unit doesn't fold up well into my sewing kit and I'm still trying to figure out the best stitch sequence.  I'm really feeling the pinks though.  Last night I started following Amy Butler on IG.  I think I'm entering a girly phase-- appreciate more, right?  Who needs to search for something new to inspire and entertain them when there's already so many good things out there that I missed the first time around?  Maybe the key to my stress release will be to just slow down..

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The chaos of the season



Somehow I always end up feeling rushed and stressed in December,  no matter how much I prepare or plan ahead.   This year is different but the same.
In December, 2012 I was very pregnant and trying to plan Christmas around prepping final exams and grading for 5 (6?) classes. I was also finalizing layouts and edits for the book.  I made a Christmas quilt but didn't get it quilted in time.
In contrast,  this year I have no end-of-the-semester stress, no snowy frozen commutes , and almost all of my Christmas shopping was done before Thanksgiving.  But still I feel like I'm running around trying to get a million things done at the same time.  That there will never be enough time to do it all.  Ahhhhgh.
Does anyone have any secrets for staying calm and sane during the holidays?  Please share!
(We did manage a nearly stress-free Thanksgiving though.  My secret: baked sweet potatoes)
Quilting, as always, is great stress relief,  but all of the sudden lately it seems when I take time to quilt instead of doing some other chore,  I just fall behind in my routine and spend the rest of the week recovering.   
Gone are the ideas of handmade presents, care packages to far away friends, and planning holiday parties.   I'll be lucky if my Christmas cards make it on time (the international ones, anyway).  And the quilt from last year? Which sat, basted in my closet for 11 months ... I have 24 days.   I hope I'll find the time..

Travel Quilt #6 and some public crafting

I have been working steadily on Travel Quilt #6 since last fall and it is growing.  I got a chance to piece a few units while I was in Manha...