Monday, March 30, 2015

My first quilt rejection

I got some bad news the other day. Disappointing is a more accurate adjective, actually. I submitted my first quilt to an art competition. And it was rejected during the first round of jurying.

Truthfully, I've been trying to brace myself, because I didn't really expect it to be accepted. But, I'm still disappointed, and I've still definitely shed some tears.

I submitted it to the LDS Church History Museum's International Art Competition. I made this quilt specifically for this competition, based on the theme, which is "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus." I did my best, but it was my first attempt at an art quilt, and at improvisational piecing. And, I need a design wall, because now that I have a photo of it straight across, I can see my placement of my blocks wasn't super. A design wall would have been helpful.

It's titled "He Is Not Here" and includes five scenes from the Savior's life: Bethlehem, the place of His birth; Jordan River, where He was baptized; the Sea of Galilee, where He began His ministry by calling disciples; Bethesda, where He performed miracles; and the empty tomb, where He was resurrected.

I asked my friend Cynthia for lots of advice and opinions as I went along, she's a modern sewist, and she graciously offered to embroider some title strips for me. I hadn't planned on using any text, but I think it adds a lot. I had Natalia Bonner quilt it for me, and she did a really great job.

I am super disappointed. But, I'm really grateful I made it. It was definitely a stretch for me sewing-wise, but it also was a great experience for me spiritually. I focused my personal scripture study on the Four Gospels and spent a lot of time thinking about Christ while I was making it. I mentioned a few posts ago that I went through a really hard time a while back, and if I'm being truthful, I'd have to say that though my wounds are healing, they were deep. Spending time focused on Christ helped the healing process (though that is ongoing).

I also loved seeing my daughters' reactions to my quilt. Throughout the process, they were very curious about what I was making, and loved asking me to tell them the story about the block I was working on. It was a great experience for all of us that I had so many opportunities to bear witness of the Savior to my girls. By the time I was finished, my five-year-old was telling my two-year-old the stories. I'm looking forward to hanging the quilt somewhere in my home so they can enjoy it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fabric Friday: March 27

Happy Friday! This week has flown by. And I feel a little bad, but I totally live for the weekends. It's hard being a mom, you know? And I feel bad saying that and complaining, because I'm so grateful to be so blessed. I love being a mom, I really do, and I love staying home with my girls. But, there it is. It's hard.

This week, I finished up my first ever mini quilt (excluding runners, which aren't really mini quilts even though they're small, right?). I need to figure out how to hang it, and I need to take photos with actual daylight. You can expect a post soon.

Yesterday was my 5-year-old's first ever soccer game. She didn't really know what to expect, but I think she had a great time. And she even scored a goal!

Anyway, onto the fabric. I love fabric. So much. Too much--which makes it hard to cut sometimes. :-) I pulled some brown in. I know brown isn't really in, but a couple of years ago, it was my go-to neutral. And these have been in my stash for several years. Seeing this bundle on the one hand seems a little retro, a little out of date. But, I really love how brown is warm. And I think that's why it works well with the rest of the fabrics in this week's pull.

From top to bottom: Wonderland by MoMo, Hoodie's Collection for Blank Quilting, Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter, (My selvage has no pertinent information), Wallflower by Allison Harris, Bountiful by Zoe Pearn, and Chance of Flowers by Sandy Gervais.

Have a great weekend, and I'll get some new posts up next week with some fun finishes I've mentioned. See you then!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Meyer Lemon Macarons

You guys. I made macarons.

Macarons have been on my bucket list for a long time. But I was pretty intimidated by them. I'm not great at folding, and almond flour is not cheap. Way not cheap. Plus, they just sound finicky.

But, I'm a pretty accomplished baker. I make croissants from scratch. Well, I used to before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. And then macarons hit the top of my list. See, they are naturally gluten free.


A naturally gluten free French pastry.

This was my third go. I'm glad these worked out better (presentable, even!) than my first two tries; it gives me courage to keep trying!

I made these with Meyer lemons from my friend, whose parents live in Los Angeles and have several citrus trees. I LOVE when she shares her loot with me. I used a recipe from Tartelette.

And I finally feel like I've made macarons successfully. Such a great feeling!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fabric Friday: March 20

I had some disappointing news today. It's actually quilting related: I had a quilt rejected from an art competition. I'll share more details in another post, another time. But, I'm having a disappointing kind of day. And I picked out a bundle as a pick-me-up. I'd love to go fabric shopping to soothe my soul, but I'm on a strict fabric diet while I save money for a Bernina: only solids as needed for backgrounds/sashing and backings. It's tough, but I think a Bernina will be worth it. This stack is from my stash, and even though it has a lot of blue, it still feels happy and optimistic to me. It cheers me a little.

From top to bottom: Color Theory by V and Co., Netorious by Cotton and Steel, XOXO by Cotton and Steel, Handcrafted by Alison Glass, Dining Car by Cotton and Steel, Metro Living by Robert Kaufman, and Mustang Navy Daisies by Cotton and Steel.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Swooning: WIP Wednesday

This week, I've been swooning. I'm finally making my Swoon quilt, a quilt I've ogled for several years. I've had fabric picked out for almost a year (I've tweaked it here and there...), and finally am ready to make it. I just had quilts that were more important get in the way: a Christmas quilt, a Christmas gift, a wedding gift, quilts for my girls' beds, etc. But now, I'm ready to swoon.

Have you made a Swoon quilt? I really love the blocks, and I think I'll probably make a single block mini quilt at some point for my sewing room, because it's one of my favorites.

I actually spent months trying to work out the math on my own; I don't know why, but sometimes I feel like quilt patterns can be overpriced. But the more I worked on it, the more I realized they are a huge bargain when it really comes right down to it--having the math figured out (especially efficient cutting!) is such a time-saver. And then, I was able to get Camille Roskelley's Craftsy class that included the Swoon quilt for around $10, which was only a dollar or so more than the pattern itself, and bought it immediately.

Of course, I didn't get around to sewing it I am, just starting. I have the HST sewn together, and half pressed. I've drawn the lines on my squares for flying geese. Now I just have to find time to do it.

But, I'm really excited. I think I have a fun palette picked out, and I can't wait to see it come together. I'm using some of my all-time favorite fabrics, so I'm sure it'll be awesome.

What are you working on?

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fabric Friday: March 13

This week has been crazy. Like everyone, I think, we have been massively sick. I got what my daughter had, and instantly felt I should have had more sympathy for her. Wow, earaches really are super painful!! So, I've been sewing a bit, but don't have a lot ready to show here on the blog.

But. Fabric Friday! Today, since we've been sick, I just have a bundle that I've had pulled for quite a while. I've made adjustments here and there, but it's been sitting in my cabinet, waiting for its turn. This is my stack of fabrics for my Swoon quilt.

Yes, I'm finally getting around to making a Swoon quilt. I know, pretty much everyone out there already has one...but I'm getting there. It's next in the queue, and I'm hoping to get the pieces cut this weekend. I was going to cut them out at my neighborhood sewing night...but, I was too sick to go. :-(

I'm planning on using Kona Ash (which is a light gray) as my background instead of white, and each block will have a print and a solid. I only bought 4 solids because I'll use each solid in more than one block. I don't have any of the solids color names, but I'm 90% sure they are all Kona.

Top to bottom, prints only: Wishes by Sweetwater, Metro Living by Robert Kaufman, Little Ark by Carisa Something? (my selvage is almost unreadable...), (I'm missing the selvage end), the red polka dot is Hometown by Sweetwater, Best Day Ever by April Rosenthal, Seaside Cottage by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka's Treasures, Mormor by Lotta Jansdotter, and Wallflowers by Allison Harris.

Here's a picture of the groups. I'll use each solid twice except for blue, that I've paired with three prints.

This is my favorite group. I think it makes a great group on it's own, as well.

Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quilts as Miracles

I've been trying to be more receptive to peoples' needs. I went through some really tough times a few years ago, and a friend I thought I could really count on just wasn't there for me. No one was, really. It was a dark time, and I kept waiting for someone to reach out, for someone to notice the pain I was in and extend a kind word. A bar of chocolate wouldn't have hurt, either! ;-) As I was coming out of it, a different friend I didn't know as well dropped off a small bag of chocolate covered almonds and I was so touched. It was heart-warming. And I resolved that I wanted to be the kind of person that did heart-warming things. Not to pay it forward, although that's not a bad a thing, but to be an angel that someone needed. If you haven't noticed my button in my sidebar, I'm a Mormon. I believe in Christ and I believe in following His example to love others. When we are baptized in our church, we covenant with God to bear others' burdens, to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. In short, to be His angels. I believe that miracles do happen. I was the beneficiary of a medical miracle a couple of years ago. But, short of those extreme miracles, I believe miracles happen every day and that God often uses us to be those miracles. So, I have been trying to take my baptismal covenant more seriously, and be the miracle. I try to listen for promptings that might indicate how He needs me to help others. When I think of someone out of the blue, I often wonder if it's because that person needs a miracle. And I often set about trying to be that miracle. Sometimes, all it is is delivering a small bag of treats. Mostly, that's what it is.

Last summer, we had a family reunion with my husband's family. His sister was pregnant (though hadn't announced it yet...I think everyone was pretending to not know) and just seemed...sad. Or worn out. Maybe both. I didn't pry, and we are honestly not that close, so there really wouldn't have been a point: it's not like she would have shared her struggles with me. But for a couple of weeks, it nagged me that she was potentially struggling. And I decided the only thing to do was to make her a quilt.

(These are all iPhone pictures; please excuse the quality!)

Because I had this nagging feeling, I decided I better get to it and make one that was quick. So I picked a quilt from Amy Smart's Fabulously Fast Quilts. And I made it, had it quilted, and sent it off.

She got it just a couple of days later, and loved it. I have no idea if she really was struggling, and it really doesn't matter. Because getting a quilt in the mail would make anyone's day, right?

Quite frankly, I still have a really long way to go. Don't misinterpret this post: I am no saint. I'm just a work in progress, like everyone else. :-)

Janet's quilt
Completion date: September 2014

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fabric Friday: March 6

A while back, when Instagram was raging with Alison Glass's Handcrafted line, I fell in love with a few of the prints. And then a few more. And I decided I had to have some. I luckily made this decision on a day when was having a sale on Andover fabrics, and I ended up getting them for around $9.50 a yard, I think. I was really excited to get them, and when they arrived (more than 10 days later...grr to UPS ground shipping), I tore the package open and looked at how beautiful they were.

I was nervous, I have to admit. I hadn't seen them in person when I ordered them (they are way to modern for my local fabric shops...only one of which carries a few bolts of Cotton and Steel...) but I was hoping that since I loved what I was seeing on Instagram, that I'd be able to work with them without too much trouble.

But. if you have seen the Handcrafted line, you know they have a very specific look, since they are batiks. Batiks are not typically my thing. I hadn't bought enough to make a big project with only Handcrafted (I ordered a half-yard of each of 7 or 8 prints), so I started mulling over which fabrics in my stash would work well with them.

A few days later, I started pulling things out, and I ended up with a stack of 18 or so prints (including the Handcrafted ones) that I thought would work together for a nice scrappy quilt. I had been eyeing one in Scraps, Etc, and the colors and variety I think will be nice.

And as they sat, this stack fell together within the bigger stack, and I really liked it. So that's what makes up this week's fabric Friday pull. In addition to the Handcrafted fabrics, I have Social Club by the Comstocks and a yellow print without the selvage.

Happy weekend!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Petal Pushers: First Finish of 2015

When my friend Sheri, whom I roomed with in college while I was dating my husband, told me she was engaged, I was so thrilled I immediately set about making her a quilt. Mormon engagements aren't long, so I knew I couldn't dilly dally... :-) She told me in December and her wedding reception is set for the first weekend in April. Like I said...not long. It's a cultural thing, and in some ways, it's all very exciting. The excitement of the engagement doesn't have a chance to wear off before the excitement of the wedding is upon you. does put the pressure on when it comes to quilt making.

When she told me her favorite color combination was navy and yellow, I started mulling...and settled on the Petal Pushers pattern from A Quilter's Mixology by Angela Pingel. I did take the liberty of adding some aqua and gray. Who doesn't love aqua, right? And gray is such a great modern neutral, I knew I had to use gray. It's Kona Ash.

The oversized blocks made it a really quick project, and I finished up the top in only a couple of weeks. Angela's instructions for the curved piecing were really excellent, and even though not all my points are perfect in this quilt, I think they look really good for my first go at template curved piecing. I'll definitely make another quilt from her excellent book, and if you are worried about curved piecing, give her book a try. It makes it very easy to get started!

I got it off to Abby Latimer and she quilted it with Slip and Slide, and I feel like it gives the quilt great movement.

I really love how it turned out, and it's a great size--60 inches square. I hope she loves it; I'm really so happy for her. And this is my first finish of 2015!

It sounds really late for that, it really does...but I finished the quilt top in mid-January, and since I don't quilt my own quilts, it takes time to get them back. It also took me a few weeks to get it to Abby anyway... For me, it's totally worth the delay :-)

Petal Pushers
Completed February 27, 2015