Monday, January 12, 2015

Fighting Forward 2015

2015 point of direction for me is Fighting Forward.  I was thinking about where to start??  I finally decided on a point of direction for the new year.  The new year is fast becoming my favorite time of year because it means that I get to make shifts of change.  Which is turning into excitement because... 

Last year I made a short list of things that I wanted to accomplish.  The astonishing thing for me is that I have met everything on the list.  It is a real jaw opening moment because mind you I forget some of them.  I remember the major one and stay true to that and then all the others still manage to get checked off and this has repeated itself year after year since I first began making a list.  I had certain expectations and it is funny how they evolve into how they are meant to be.  For this year rather than goals I am really setting out points that are laying out a path.  So here goes.

Point One : Don't look Back There is so much past that defines us and shapes us and changes us.  I feel really balanced where I am in my life right now, starting this year.  I've spent these two weeks just trusting that I've met my goals from last year.  They were wonderful goals and I found myself thinking "okay maybe I should just keep all of the same ones I had last year because they led me to such a great place", then soon I get scared that I might make a mistake and have taken two steps forward and then will have to take one step back.  So it was pretty easy to come up with this first and most important point.  Because I have met those goals and they will always be with me to add to my future and so I don't have to look back.  I get to take them with me.  

Point Two : Fighting Fighting can be thought as a negative term.  I personally hate the typical way that I think of "fighting" because it defines the situation which usually involves really heavy feelings, desperation for understanding, divided ideals.  But I would rather think of it in a positive way representing strength, determination, power So I wanted to include this as my second important point.  I want to fight forward.  I don't want to be pulled back.  I am not fighting against anyone.  I am fighting for myself, not passively waiting.  I am getting stronger.  I fighting to my best.  

Point Three : Spirit I want to share my spirit and keep it true.  

Point Four : Openness I am open to what is best for my life.  Sometimes I have ideas/wishes and I don't realize that I am very thankful for the ideas/wishes that I don't make and receive. 

Lastly, I want to keep a theory of Love: "that love is given and received and precious and not demanded, disrespected, or faked".  I am so excited for this 2015 year.     

Well honestly who knows?  I am on a kick of finishing everything I haven't finished.  That will keep me busy for a few weeks.  Then I just have all this momentum so I just can even imagine what will produce itself.  The sky is the limit.  I'm just trying to take all of the beauty in.  Look at this beautiful life.  I am so grateful.  Thank you for everything I have learned.  Thank you for all the challenges.  Thank you for all the blessings.  

Speaking of little happinesses, these pics are from a vacation our family got to take the first part of this year.  Wow the water is so pretty.  We had a wonderful time and it was such a gift for me to spend that time with Weston and the kids.  We took that time and it was the best present ever for our family!!  This picture below is incredible.  How could anything be more beautiful??

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Getting Serious 2014

Serious Business:

I am happy to see another year come to an end.  There were a lot of changes that all involved getting serious.  I can see so much improvement from last year through piecing/quilting/graphic ability for my personal sewing and professional pattern sewing.  I was striving to be better and better on all fronts.

I want to share lots and lots of sewing projects I was able to finish (when going through all the pics I realized there are two that are finished that I haven't got pictures so I included them half finished in the pics ;).

So to start I have pictured all the Large Projects.  I mentioned a bit back that most of my quilts this year were BIG.  Not only were they big, the quilts were very involved piecing and appliqué and embroidery.  It is fun to see them all together and the variety!  So much variety!  Also, you might notice that I made a couple projects two or sometimes three times.  There is a reason for that, I got the opportunity to work with the wonderful company Hoffman.  I made the original projects, then I needed to make the projects over again in their new lines.  A project being made the second time goes really quickly but it is funny to see how similar they turn out even if they are made in slightly different fabrics.  My FAVORITE quilt that I completed this year is by far the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt which was the BOM I taught in our quilting guild (so it wins!).  The second is my log cabin Christmas Challenge for quilting guild.  They are both pictured below in the center.  

Serious Business Part 2: 

Well my pattern business took a huge leap over the course of this year.  I was able to develop a pattern series "Skinny" and I love how they all turned out.  I am excited to see where the series will go over 2015.  I was able to work with Riley Blake's new lines in most of this series as well as adding a bit of Hoffman too.  Also another series developed when I teamed up with Hoffman to make four different ready-to-sew kits, these are a few quilts that are pictured above as well as below with the rose paper-pieced minis and the fresh berries.  

Katie and I tried out Peach Days.  It was a fun experience.  I was super pleased with selling my patterns directly to the customer.  I don't get that opportunity at all face to face.  It was fun (the booth at peach days is pictured on top center).    

I exhibited for the second time at the Fall Houston Quilt Market.  Speaking of FUN... the booth's theme was Load's of Fun.  I was thrilled with how all the decorations turned out.  I made the decision to wait to exhibit the next time when Quilt Market comes to Salt Lake in Spring of 2016.  Arriving at that decision is a bit of a relief knowing that I can focus on other aspects of Mixi Heart in place of the time it takes preparing to exhibit.  The Quilt Market booth is pictured bottom center.  

Fun Business: 

It was quite the undertaking making five new Skinny's for the new pattern series.  But I did manage to get a little bit of fun sewing in there.  I always love making a new bag and I did using my ReUsee sack pattern (pink polka dot bag below).  I also made a fun lightweight bag which will be a pattern released this Spring 2015.  I made it twice, it is shown in the orange and deep dark prints.  I also made two fun wearables, an apron and the Mixi Mini.  Best of all I made a fun small project tutorial with the pie placemats.  I really love a small project.  Especially when you have all the big complicated projects.  It is SO REFRESHING making something small and quick.  

Messy Business: 

So I made a few projects that were all over the place... custom orders, baby gifts, easter birthday gift, two table runners, two bags for us girls to take on our trip that is right around the corner, five holiday decor quilts.  AND I also included two pictures from the book that is almost... all ready to reveal (us two girls are happy squeezing the Mixi Heart Pillow).  Would you know that there is a WHOLE bunch of projects that I made for the book all this last year aren't pictured among all of these.  So that is Getting Really Serious.  

I have thee skeleton quilts in the closet that are... not finished.  But I say not too bad for this year!  It was a blast getting serious.  For this next year I need to get serious and come up with a Plan for 2015.   

Farewell 2014!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Coupon Time

Hi there!  I am so thankful for sewing!!  I really really am.  I am also so thankful to everyone that supports my little pattern shop.  Thank you!

Use "ThankYou" as a coupon code in my Etsy shop for 30% off.  Have a super super good holiday!

Thank You! Thank You!  Thank You!

Also, don't forget the free Pie Placemat Tutorial included just two posts down (or click the link Pie Placemat in the labels section of this post).

Monday, November 24, 2014

ASAP Quilting

In our quilting guild we have, in all the years I have participated, a challenge for the end of the year.  It is called the Christmas Challenge for our Christmas party.  What's fun is number one the challenge, but also a very close second is seeing all those challenges displayed at our end-of-the-year-party.  It really is one of the neatest ideas that our guild has in my opinion.  It is a fantastic quilt show with all my favorite people as the stars.  It is a wonderful and a great opportunity to see all the beautiful quilts displayed in a way we don't throughout the year.  We have amazing talent in our guild and great personality.  This year in particular it is awesome to see each one's take on the same fabric where that personality shines through.  Another challenge we have had is a BOM each year.  The BOM is a challenge as well.  Typically we will use patterns with new techniques/styles/skill building.  It is a wonderful challenge to work on throughout the whole year.  This month I completed both of these quilts for our 2014.

This year our Christmas Challenge was to make a quilt using at least 20 squares from an exact same charm pack.  I was present when picking fabrics and happened to have a bundle from the same fabric line.  That was a good thing and kind of a bad thing.  It meant that I had a lot of fabric but it also meant that I needed to make a complete large-sized quilt in less than a week due to my hectic quilt market schedule (the Christmas Challenge runs from Aug or Sept usually through Nov, well that is peak getting-ready-for-Fall-Market time).  Fat quarter bundles are sometimes great broken up but when I bought the bundle I knew I wanted to keep them intact and make a bed quilt.  I was just saving this fabric and it has been about a year since I purchased the bundle.  Little did I know I would need to do this under a timeline and it probably was a good thing to be under that timeline because I am not sure I would have wanted to go about making this quilt slow.  It would have felt like a lifetime because it felt like a lifetime making it in a week asap - as soon as humanly possible (Log Cabins are monotonous).  So much sewing and cutting and pressing.  Then I came up with an insane way to piece the back.  Anyway, here is my log cabin Christmas Challenge: Log Cabin Chevron

The fabrics were so pretty.  The only thing I would change is taking out the tan but I still like it quite a lot with the tan included.  The tan was included in both the white and blue sides... I was really scared to see the finished result because I wanted to make sure you could tell the light/dark contrast in order to see the chevron with the tan weaved in.  Thankfully it did work.

I had some strips leftover so I made some Euro Pillow shams and then decided to piece the strips into the back in an Echogram style.  It took so so so so so long.  You would think after all the monotonous sewing I did on the front, when at times I wanted to stick a needle in my eye, I wouldn't throw more into the back.  Obviously, I do think it was worth it now that it is finished.

I quilted the quilt with a new pantograph that is super super cute.  It worked well because I was on a bit of a time crunch to get it finished asap and I was planning on custom quilting my BOM.  Saving that little bit of time using a pantograph helped.  Even though I was on this huge time crunch timeline, I still wanted the projects to be special finishes for me personally i.e. dilemma.

So one special finishing touch was involved in the fact that we needed a label.  For that special touch, I made this reverse log cabin block where I started with a dark and ended with the white.  Then I embroidered my name and date.  It is right under my absolute favorite fabric of the line.  Beautiful.  For me it was a very satisfying finish.  And thats that for the Christmas Challenge.  

The other big finish was the 2014 BOM.  Like I was saying before I custom quilted this quilt.  It took a bit of time, but I had fun the entire time.  I didn't stress.  I have had so much practice quilting projects like this which allowed me to feel so at ease.  All the long arming is adding up.  Which allowed me to get it finished looking fantastic and asap - as soon as prettily possible.  Also, the light fabrics that I picked made quilting a breeze.  It camouflaged any mistake.  And surprisingly I had very very few.  Another thing that was neat about this quilt is that I implemented a new technique I learned in one of the Panguitch's Quilt Walk classes.  I took the class with my friend, Crystal.  We had a blast and I have really wanted to include trapunto in a project.  This one was perfect for that.

Trapunto is basically sewing an additional piece of batting onto the back side of any appliqué, or even in a design you have traced on the front, that you want to pop out a little extra once quilted.  It worked really well.  In retrospect I would add two layers of the batting rather than just one because I would have liked them to pop a little more.  But that might just be my perspective.

This quilt represents so much time.  I feel like I am making huge strides in the sampler quilts.  They really are a test of fabric value/shade skill.  These skills, I think, are practiced and made perfect.  I would say that I am probably mid-range.  There are places to improve.  Although, I have improved.  Also, quilting these sampler quilts are like second nature for me now.  And I probably land mid-range in long-arming right now too.  For next year I would like to up that score a little asap - as. soon. as. I put. the work in.

Let's not forget about the designer of the pattern - Jen Kingwell (for more information on this pattern click on the BOM 2014 link at the bottom of this post).  She is a fantastic designer and a very sweet woman as well.  I had such a good time talking to her at quilt market again this time.

Each of the blocks have such a cute look.  She did a wonderful job pulling them all together.

They were fun to quilt too.

My most favorite blocks are the first two I quilted in the upper left part of the quilt.  Just simple and awesome.  When I finished these two I immediately knew this was going to be a fun quilting experience.

So thats that for the 2014 BOM.

These two quilts sum up this whole year.  I haven't had as many quick finishes that I know of although I've got to search through my pic archives to back that up.  It just feels like the finishes have all been a lot of appliqué/time consuming/large finishes.  It has felt satisfying for me.  The phrase Quality vs Quantity comes to mind.  Also, I noticed that I have only made about half as many posts here on the blog.  I am pretty sure that the finish quilts contributed to that, but I am sure other things contributed as well.  I am excited to make my finish collage for the end of this year.  That always puts it all in perspective.

Once more thing - I have a pretty big announcement coming up.  I can officially say that I authored a book and pics are coming asap - as. soon. as. people. send them to me which is pretty possibly soon.  So I do have to remember that I was sewing like crazy for that whole beginning of this year which seems like a lifetime ago and we are still in the current year.  I am being published by Martingale which have been wonderful to work with.  This is a dream come true for me and I have to pinch myself that it has come true.  I am so humble right now with so much gratitude.

Okay one, one more thing - I came across a really talented quilter that has begun her battle with breast cancer.  What a crazy thing to tackle.  I have tons of challenges and they aren't just ones in my Quilting Guild.  Although, I know for a fact that right now I don't have any challenges as big as Cancer.  And I am not even sure you could call Cancer a challenge because a challenge is a choice and Cancer isn't.  I wonder how I would prioritize my life if faced with something like that.  I wonder what I hold most dear.  I know the most obvious answers Weston and my children are my entire life.  Then after that I know I would sew because I truly love it.  These were things that just flashed through my mind while reading her amazingly moving journey.  This whole year for me has been an such a emotionally growing experience.  I have been working on prioritizing what is important to me.  I have made decisions about relationships/people.  I have realized that what others (and this is plural) want isn't always what is right.  These are people that are significant and not.  I have realized that those people aren't in my circles of priority.  I have learned to stay true to what I think life is all about.  Those aren't all the answers to life but they are the beginning stages of feeling whole.  I know I've got them and to watch others that just don't is just sad for me (and I say this only because they steal little moments of my life from me and make me sad, lots of sadness).  I look at them and think... wow, you have a long road to travel and they will travel it.  It just takes experience to "wake us up".  I definitely don't want Cancer to add to mine.  But I know this wonderful woman will do an amazing job because she is already and she touched my heart today.

"It might take a year, It might take a day, But what is meant to be will always find it's way"

"When you face difficult times, Know that Challenges aren't sent to destroy you.  They are sent to Promote, Increase, and Strengthen you"

"The Greatest Challenge in Life is Discovering who you are.  The Second Greatest is being Happy with what you Find"

"Challenges are what make life interesting, Overcoming them is what makes life Meaningful"

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Piece of Pie Placemat

Hello Everyone!!  I am alive and quilting :) 

We are nearing the end of our Sew Need a Break meetings this year and I wanted to make a fun project to say that I am thankful to all of the wonderful girls that are apart of our group and a chance to teach quilting to them.  This is the PERECT size project to practice quilting or for some to try out quilting for the first time.  Also, I hope that it is a project people can not only make for themselves but for gifts as well.  It is after all to me a time for giving Thanks.  So I want to share this pattern with anyone else that would like to do the same to say thank you.!.  I have prepared it in pattern form and it is available at the links below to download for personal use.

The files for this tutorial can be found here (coversheet) and here (pattern).  

I had such a blast coming up with the concept and I could hardly contain myself to wait to see the finish result.  It took a couple of days though because it was amidst all these other things I had to get finish in a time sensitive way.  But I did manage to get two finished!! Finally!! and the pattern written as well.  

So to show you how easy this is : I have a step-by-step shown below.  First simply appliqué pie, then add a little bit of embroidery, quilt, and bind.  Piece of Pie.

And just so you know that in my case this is meant for a semi-homemade pie.  Okay... I don't even know if this even counts as homemade ;)  But it is just delicious so that is what counts in my book.  I don't "love" pie crust but I do love graham crusts.!.

So since it is so so easy to make these kinds of pies you might need to make two Pie Placements just in case.

I cut kits for our group using a couple different fabric choices.  I am excited to see how they all turn out.





I am so thankful for Weston and my kids!!  and my life!!  It feels like we are headed in an upward climb to something wonderful.  So much to be thankful for.  But I am also thankful for the struggles that I have had along the way.  They have hopefully made me a stronger and more humble and more understanding.  

I hope everyone enjoys these little quilts and please share if you do.  Thank you!

See, Piece of Pie.

"Let our Lives be full of both Thanks and Giving"

"It is not Happy People that are Thankful, it is Thankful People that are Happy"

"Bless the food before us, the People beside us, and the Love between us"