Saturday, October 29, 2011

Christmas Are You Kidding?

Can you believe it, Christmas is just around the corner. All the orders I am getting are for Christmas gifts and until a few days ago, I really didn't want to believe that it was so close. But, I guess when October rolls to a finish it really is November and Christmas is really just around the corner.

It's been such a good summer for Mama Jean's Kind Threads and I feel like I am really starting to understand how to make this work and to create items that people like and want and that feels great. It was the close of my first year and feeling pretty proud of myself. I accomplished my goals for fairs and festivals and really working on becoming Mama Jean. Ok, so maybe I don't have an accounting system down yet and I'm still not able to go wholesale for buying fabric and no, I still don't have the longarm sewing machine that I would love to have to help with my quilting but all in all, a great year.
Things I've learned:
I need to remember that coffee is not a meal.
I learned that on a daily basis I need to get up out of my chair and go outside and breath fresh air. The dogs have appreciated this need and the walks have become part of our daily routine.
I need to make sure I clean up after each project is finished so I don't become so buried in bits and pieces that I can't find a pair of scissors which is incredible considering I have about 12 pairs.
I need to remember to buy two spools of thread instead of one, just in case.
I need to oil my machine and take the time it needs to clean out the dust from quilting. To change the needle sooner and oh yes, to change the blade of my rotary cutter the moment it starts to stick. This saves me hours of frustration.

Mostly, I need to remember to always start a project in my heart and finish there. To think of those who I am building for and to put in the most positive energy I can. Then, when it leaves my studio, I know I've given it my best.

So, with a song in my heart and a smile on my face I shall look toward Christmas with joy knowing that as I finish one project and begin another, I am helping create magical moments for my clients. The Christmas that they were able to give a hand made gift picked with care and wrapped in love, in the end isn't that all any of us really need, to know that we are loved?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So much fun to work on Day of the Dead projects.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Summer Skids Into the Finish Line

Wow, what a summer. It's been such a whirlwind of activity from start to finish and then I realize that it was October 14th and I was amazed. The summer festival and fair seasons are over and the new fall and winter ones begin. I had such fun this summer meeting people and exploring the life of being an independent artist and all in all I like it.
I like the push to complete projects the night before the packing and prep The not knowing what's going to happen or who you might meet. The friends who always support you coming out and finding you in all sorts of places and the new people you meet that can make your whole day when they say how much they love your work and that they are excited to see you again. Yep, festivals were a blast and I'm looking forward to June when I return to one of my all time favorites Faerieworlds.

But for now, well it's keeping track of work so no ones orders slip through the cracks and staying one step ahead of the next. I am so appreciating my clients ordering quilts that keep me every busy in my studio as the rains begin to fall again and the leaves outside my studio window change and fall to fill up the gardens. I will have to take breaks to rake and prepare the gardens for winter and I know it will fill me with joy. Fall brings many changes to our lives but the promise of Spring awaits us all, but for now I shall work to help make dreams come true for those who are trusting me with their special quilts and such for family and friends from tailgate quilts to birthday dresses it's a true joy that fills my days.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Can anyone say crunch? How does time fly by so fast that before you even know it it's September and you only have 16 days to get product ready for a Harvest Festival that when you signed up in June seemed like ages away and here it is. I have to figure out how to make something everyday to take to festival and work on standing orders. Then I begin to wonder if I need to be doing festivals when I can't seem to keep up with the orders that I have?

Now, don't get me wrong, no complaining at all just saying it's a bit tricky to figure out the details of running your own business. It's just amazing how many details there are that you never even think about when you have your Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney moment and decide to start a business. Like them you haven't got a pot to really piss in but hey, it's magic right and in the end it always works and they always had a big barn to use.

So the extra bedroom becomes the studio you get yourself some plastic drawers some tubs and a few boxes and start collecting fabrics and trinkets and you begin to look like a small shop. You start working on creating an online presence and try and keep up with all the new fandango gismos and gadgets that make you a business never forgetting that you are the whole kit and kaboodle so you best be working it out. A big drawer for all the receipts you collect, a sign for Visa and Mastercard welcomed here, and a paypal account and you are off and running. You check your wardrobe twice to make sure you can look the part when you go out to meet the public because that old dress you wear most days is for behind the scenes only. Yup it's a wild ride most days so throwing in a festival well that just adds to the fun right? Right. Bit by bit it all comes together after late nights and warmed up coffee.

But never fear, when the music swells and the curtain rises it's all there and the people cheer and the dream comes true. Now, if I just had a stage manager to clean up after me in the studio.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Figuring It All Out, A Part of the Process

Ok, so I love to work with Day of the Dead fabrics. I like to fussy cut the skeletons out and then frame then and build blocks around them, this I know. Then when I start to put the quilt together I realize that maybe there's something to be said for a pattern. You cut 16 blocks 2 by 2 of one color then 8 blocks 4 by 4 of another color and so on and so on. Then you follow instructions and poof you have a quilt. Well, mine don't quite work that way.

First all the fussy cut blocks are different sizes even from the same fabrics. Skeletons come in all sizes you know... then there's the variety of skeletons and sugar skulls. Wouldn't want just one type what fun would that be? Then you have to decide what shade of colors you are going to use there are lots of blues and don't even get me started on red.

After all that you start building a row and the first one goes together pretty nice and easy. You add this and take away that and all in the entire first row is together. Then you start the second row and you realize that you don't want to put the same skeletons next to each other or one on the other and you don't want colors touching the same color and well you add a bit here and a bit there and you get the second row finished of sorts but then it's not as long as the first and you have to figure in where to add or sometimes take away. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Now if I had a pattern I could just cut and sew but the pattern is created as I go and let me tell you sometimes an inch can be a tough bird to find. I can't add a half and inch to the edges not cool so I reconfigure and it finally comes together and you line it up and move one.

Today I sewed the top layer to a quilt three times upside down because I was just having issues. Mostly with my eyesight I think anyway it finally came together and I have a quilt to start the quilting on tomorrow. You'd just think that after all these quilts I'd have a tried and true system down but no each one is it's own creation and I just have to let that be.

I really love the way the blocks start to come together and how I try and work in lots of different styles of fabrics and colors. By the end of the quilt, my pile of color pieces is much smaller, some fabrics I have had to say farewell my friend. You were a great one and I will miss you. After all fabrics go out of print too. Then it makes me hungry to go looking for new ones to add to the next.

So all in all the pattern I follow is to follow my bliss as I make a quilt and let the colors fall where they may. Not a bad way to spend a day if I do say so myself. Now, where is that ruler I had one yesterday....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sourdough Starter Quilters Style

As I sit and sew often late into the night, I let my mind wander about and sometimes it comes to rest in amazing places. Tonight I was thinking how I wish I had some of my grandmother’s sourdough starter. Not because I really like sourdough but because I just think it would be incredible to have something that had been passed down from my grandmother to my mother and then to me. I would of course share with my children and the idea that it would be carried on is incredible.

Then I realize I do have a sourdough starter of sorts. My grandmother’s mother’s mothers were seamstresses. As far back as the story was told to me the women in my family have sewn. My Great Grandmother had a stack of quilts in her home all hand made that would have warmed the entire family for generations if her home hadn't tragically burned down taking them with it. I even had a Great Aunt that was the best tailor in her small town.

In fact, both my Grandmothers sewed. My father’s mother made us quilts when we were young of puppies and kittens in baskets and we used them until they were shreds. My Grandmother use to let me play with her button tin for hours and when she passed I felt blessed that I was given that old tin full of old buttons. She never threw a button away and it still smells like the memories of her home.

My mothers mother sewed all the clothes she and her sister wore when they were growing up and my mother spent hours making my sister and I summer sets of tops and shorts that we would wear out before the summer was over. My first formal was a dress my mother made for me to wear for my first official band concert and I thought was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen.

So you see, my starter was given to me from a long line of women who created with their hands and hearts. They shared their skills and passions with their daughters and their daughters shared with today and us I am the living starter that began generations ago. One of my own daughters wanted to learn how to sew years ago and I began teaching her as well but she became busy with those crazy growing years but recently she started sewing and creating again in her very own style and I am struck with awe…we have passed on our ancestral starter and it is alive and well.

Then, as I looked at my workspace and the quilt that I am working on when all this started, I realize it too is a sourdough starter. I have been saving bits and pieces ever since I started quilting and I just keep adding new as I continue to create and design quilts. I see a small piece of fabric from a quilt I made last year and my heart soars and I am thrilled and as I start to close my eyes for just a moment, I can almost see them all here smiling and watching me and they are all alive and well in my sewing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Art of Finding Zen

I read an article in Quilters Newsletter, by Jen Daly called, Zen and the Art of Binding. She recently had a break through in her process of binding a quilt. This use to be her least favorite part of making a quilt but she spoke of that magical place all artist know from painter to potter or like me, a little quilt maker, the zone.

Ok, she didn't say zone I did but you know what I am talking about. That place where the world disappears and you re surround by your craft and your hands and heart are engaged in the making. Your breathing is calm your mind is at peace and the pieces seem to go together like magic. Before you know it the quilt top is finished. It really is magic and you take a deep breath and begin to imagine the next steps.

So as I was reading this I was imagining my worktable right now as I work on a custom order, a Day of the Dead quilt, and had to laugh out loud. There is nothing Zenful about it. It's a pile of bits and pieces next to my machine and more on my cutting board. To the outside eye it might look more like a ragbag then a peaceful calm and soulful place, and yet it's where I find my Zen. Surrounded by color with the sounds of James Taylor or Dar Williams in the background and bright pink bubble gum walls all around me. Here in this kaleidoscope of bits and pieces, I find my Zen.

I think the whole reason I've been thinking about all of this is because I've had people express and interest in seeing my process as I make a quilt. I'm still not sure how to go about this really so I took a few photos recently and laughed when I was looking at them after having just read her article. I'm just not the follow me on u-Tube type. Half the time I'm having to unbury my scissors or rotary cutter to trim the edges of the last bit of fabric I just added, my seam ripper is usually under the table as I have a habit of knocking it off as I am looking for the scissors and somewhere in the middle of it all you might find a cold cup of coffee. Not exactly grace in motion but it is my process and this is my blog and so I shall post my process and maybe in the middle of it all I will find my zone or
Zen for sharing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creative Madness

Sometimes being a creative heart can be a bit crazy. So, of course I've figured out that I need to come up with some sort of work schedule and time frame for the custom work that I am getting. Such a problem may I always have, but I can't just write stuff down and feel like it's ok, no I keep scheming and plotting some sort of work flow chart. What color should it be made out of what, fabric of course... but so what fabric?

Do I have cute little baby quilts to represent a quilt, little dresses for custom orders and maybe little bloomers too? Yup, that's how crazy my mind goes and then I think each quilt should be a little quilt you know,mini patterns to have fun with it. Dresses can be different and so can the bloomers. Baby quilts need to be special then regular quilts in my mini world because I make different sizes and styles so I'll need quilts that match the styles I make. Baby quilts can't be represented by a Queen Size Day of the Dead for heaven sakes. Bloomers can come in calico or specialty orders like Day of the Dead or how about when someone wants them to just be like summer pants...

I know I know who has time to make this cute wall chart with all these cute quilts and dresses oh did you know they have mini buttons you can use? I found them in doll making supplies, how cute would they be on the dresses? Did I mention I make wall hangings and upscale potholders from leftover images of Day of the Dead appliqu├ęd on them? How hard will that be to create mini potholders.... and so my mind goes on and on creating and dreaming up more and more things to add to the board.

E gads, I really just have to keep focused on making quilts and truly pray I really never have time to make mini anything and keep making full size everything for other people... maybe it's enough to dream it up and in my mind I have this cute wall board that people who see it think it's the most amazing flow chart they've ever seen and where can they get one? Wait, then I could make one and have all the little things and cute buttons and oh, there I go again... maybe today, I just need to break out the crate with Day of the Dead and start working on Jennifer’s quilt, bet she would appreciate it a lot more than a little mini quilt hanging on a wall that would represent her quilt in the future... but some day.... mini buttons are mine!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Time Keeps on Ticking

Wow, it's been a while since last I wrote a few thoughts from out of my head and into my computer, still not sure how this really works but it's cool and I won't question the magic.
I've been busy sewing and quilting orders and clothes and jumpers and oh my I really have made it to the Emerald City and this is a horse of a different color. My days once full of I wonder what it will be like to sew all day has gone to having orders to fill and I am sewing like mad. I've even found that I am starting to love my new quilt frame.
When I first started using it nothing went right. The frame was to close to the wall, the sewing machine wasn't sitting in the tray right, the tension was off even though I had just checked it before I got the whole thing together. Getting the back lined up and rolled and the batting and the top oh it was a long process and not a pretty picture. Cruise control for a sewing machine, are you kidding? Fast slow start stop tear out tear apart tear my hair out...

But now, now it's not so bad. It's away from the wall so I'm not bumping into it when I am trying to follow a pattern, the tension can be tricky but I seem to be smoothing it out and loading the back and batting then top, piece of cake now. Am I doing lots of fancy patterns with lots of swirls and feathers are you kidding? I've just figured out how to stipple in strips of 8 inches verse from the center out and around. I've learned to love the cruise control after all who doesn't like a little luxury now and then?
What I've learned is it's a process of learning new things all the time. Not being afraid to get it wrong so you can figure out how to get it right or maybe even a bit closer to right at least. I now not only have a workflow for orders I have one with goals on it for new things I want to try and learn. I really want to learn how to make those beautiful feather designs on a quilt frame, Miter corners not only on binding but also through out a quilt. How to use embroidery thread to quilt with and maybe even some hand quilting but I'm not really worried about that one to much Sewing machines are pretty handy if you ask me...

I just want to keep open to the possibilities and the process. It wouldn't hurt if I could figure out the tension thing a little faster sometimes but for now I'll deal with the tweaking and keep a smile on my face, a pen in my hand for new ideas and things to do, and my sewing machine oiled and ready to start the next adventure. To Infinity and Beyond.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Seeing Cinderella through Rose Colored Glasses

Seems when you have a dream come true you have to remember it's not all walking on clouds or seeing everything through rose colored glasses. Those soft glowing edges that make everything seem dreamy and surreal fade and the sharp edges of reality start to appear.

Now don't get me wrong. Do I love walking into my pretty pink studio with my cup of coffee in hand and seeing my sewing machines sitting ready in anticipation, (yes I have more than one, and your point? Doesn't a mechanic have more than one wrench?) hell yes. I mean, this is my dream but the edges are very clear now.

I learned I needed to add extra light to work by because the soft edges were killing my eyes and I needed to add a bit of padding to my chair because sitting for hours in one spot can really take it's toll on the back side. I tried a back rest thing, but that didn't help at all. I don't have any little house mice or fairies to come in at night and clean up the mess from the day before, so I do have to sweep up the scraps and bits of thread or my chair doesn't roll from cutting table to sewing machine and back to ironing board. If I don't stay a bit organize I am spending way to much time looking for a bit of fabric I had the day before which took a week to get here in the first place, and it should be here somewhere for heaven sakes. Maybe I do have fairies or mice that just like to play games with me instead.

In all my dreams of starting Mama Jean's I don't think I ever saw the need for a work schedule to make sure that I can get orders done in a timely manner. I mean schedules and flow charts come on, that's for those who work 8 to 5 somewhere else. Not in dreams. In dreams things appear magically all created and perfect. Shipping must be done via the fireplace or transporter or maybe even sewing storks that deliver on your doorstep. Fabrics never have to be purchased or ordered or waited upon, and all the cutting and prepping to get it ready to sew is all done for you. Come to think of it, dream mice must be very busy.

Scheduling time to eat, over rated. Doing laundry or changing the sheets, are you kidding we're in a dream. Dreams don't have dusty edges or toilets that need cleaning. Dogs aren't even in the picture so time to walk them never needs to be considered and weeding the garden or cleaning up the wood pile, isn't this were Cinderella comes in?

Ok ok, so a schedule of sorts isn't so bad. I mean I have a work schedule to finish orders for quilts so I must be doing something right or I wouldn't even have need of one. I have fabrics that have been ordered and are waiting for the quilt that they will be going into and I even have a beautiful handmade broom to make sweeping up the studio a joy and a bit magical. Raspberries are in the freezer from our own bushes, tomatoes are on the vine and even though I haven't figured out all the details of the cleaning and the dusting, all in all, things seem to be working out.

Now, I dream of two new sewing machines...(smile) tools of the trade. I long for a longarm quilting machine to put on my quilting frame instead of lugging my machine up and down the stairs each time and I long for a new fancy stitch machine for those little extras...and maybe a better chair too that doesn't require extra pillows..hum

So yes, the edges are a lot sharper and the world a bit messy, but the dream lives on and this Cinderella will keep on singing and sweeping and cleaning, after all fairy tales are just reality through rose colored glasses.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quilts Quilts Quilts or Maybe Just Maybe....

It's amazing how things change around you if you just open up to the possibilities.... When I started thinking about Mama Jean's years ago it was to create clothing for others. Let me correct for people of size. Otherwise, real people not the size 0 crowd. I was also sure how many aspects of sewing clothes I don't like when sewing for others.

I don't enjoy tailoring of any kind. I don't enjoy all the little steps creating important details to make a suit look like a suit. I don't in general enjoy working with the fabrics that come with tailoring. So I didn't want to do that at all. Then, I don't really enjoy the idea of making some patten that I don't like. Not that there is anything wrong with a pattern, but if I don't like it to begin with I don't want to make it. There are so many fabrics associated with making clothing that I don't like working with. Also, creating for other what they think they want isn't as easy as it sounds. So, it's funny now thinking about all the things I don't like about it that I ever thought I would be happy just doing that.

So, my energies have been pulling and pushing toward quilting. Working with colors and fabrics I adore and love. Creating from the heart and filling me with joy. Big ones. little ones, special custom design ones, doesn't matter. I can spend 12 hours a day sitting at my machine and not realize how late it is if the quilt is calling my name... and so quilting has become a focus and a passion. I love getting custom orders from people. A quilt for a teenager going off to college. A loved one getting married or a birthday gift. Or maybe a dream someone has about a quilt they want and have been collecting fabrics for. Quilting makes my heart sing and I love the tune.

I have been creating clothing for friends for years and love making them things because I adore and love them but also I am creating things I have designed so I never really looked at it as sewing clothing for others.

But recently I got to make a dress for Nina and it was great. I didn't think about all the things I didn't like at all. She like the style of my panel dresses and wanted one. She picked the fabric and I helped with the details. I left the fabric store with a lovely stack of fabric and was free to create. It turned out perfect for her, and I realize that maybe I have room for both. That I need to be open. To see what the universe might have in store for me. Maybe I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of where I am going and I am as they say, at the top of the iceberg and everyone knows that 90% of an iceberg can't even be seen.
Maybe just matter, the journey is incredible and I love the view.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Daze

Wow, it seems a whirlwind of activity over the past month. I've been out every weekend working a fair or festival and it's been amazing. The energy that has gone into being open to what may come has been incredible. The fairs have been so rewarding hearing people comment on my work and enjoy it enough to purchase it, wow.
This past year has flown by. Creating Mama Jean's over the past year, has been a soul journey to be sure. Can you really make dreams come true? This year has proven to me that you can. I took a love and a passion and was able to translate that into a business plan. I wanted to create one of a kind items, I have. I wanted to create magic in my life, success. I wanted to have fun and laugh and enjoy each and every day and I can honestly say, I can't believe it's been a year because it feels like just yesterday and the thrill of each day fills me to bliss. Amazing.
This past weekend working in the park, sitting in the sun and meeting people and putting my art and craft out there was incredible... I felt like Mama Jean. So, tonight, as I prepare to participate in last Thursday, an art walk that three years ago Brad and I said wouldn't it be cool to be a part of this someday? I am ready. I am Mama Jean of Mama Jean's Kind Threads and you can find me on Alberta last Thursday, and you will find me laughing and smiling... hope to see you all on the other side of dreams.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Sewing We Will Go

So, today has been all about trying to get product ready for the next fair... I love that most creative people I know seem to work to the deadline.. makes me feel not so alone in the middle of the night when I am sewing away to the hum of the sleeping universe. There is something kind of cool about that time and creating at the same time. Your focus is totally on the work and not as scattered thinking about the chickens needing fed, or the garden needing a bit of remember if the laundry is in need of going into the dryer.
After spending a long weekend away in a magical world of fairies and elves and the likes it's fun to ponder on how amazing living in a world where it's possible to find a bit of magic in really is. So, as the night begins to fall upon my world I shall put on Adam Hurst, who played on the main stage of Faerieworlds, who creates magic with his music, and one by one, create little Sewphies for the fair. A green one, a yellow one and then just for fun a few skeletons and pirate ones.
Let the magic continue, please.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Faerieworlds and Beyond

So, today we are back from the magical realm of Faerieworlds and it was amazing. We had such a wonderful time. We had friends next to us in Something Wicked, Heather and Seth, Gayle and Kat with Midnight Designs were just across the way and we made new friends in Melody and Brian with Wild Iris... we all shared and played together all weekend. The music was incredible and everyone had such positive energy even in the rain... in fact, the rain added to the magic for me because everyone just went with the flow and we all helped each other through it. I was able to create a few new pieces just for fair and they were so well received that I can't wait to start creating them for Mama Jeans. I had fabrics created with Spoonflower and can't wait to get them all worked up. I also started a new working relationship with FlowerOfTheDead an amazing artist on Etsy. He does the most amazing Day of the Dead couples and images I can't wait to start working in fabric. So, I've spent the day cleaning and putting the camping gear away and doing the laundry answering emails and getting back in the grove because I have another event this weekend... zowie it's the life for me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Finding the Perfect Fabric

Sometimes, when I am sewing for others they have request that at the time seem no big deal. Then when I start to try and find fabrics that might be reflective of what they have requested well, then it doesn't work out at all. Last fall a friend asked if I would make a baby quilt for someone we both knew who was a professional photographer and he wanted cameras in it. No worries I said and sort of forgot about it because the baby wasn't due for 9 months. Then in Jan I realized that I needed to start figuring out the quilt or it would sneak up on me and so a shopping I did go. Fabric stores far and wide, Etsy Ebay you name it I was looking and nothing screamed out at me and said pick me pick me. So, a few more months went by and then it was March. Now I really have to get busy so I remembered that she also loves vintage and started collecting images one lazy Sunday morning and before you know it, I had a whole design of images including one that she took of an old camera. I manipulated it in Photoshop and turned it into a drawing and colored it to match the colors I was working with and a yard of fabric was born. I sent it off to Spoonflower in Seattle and my fabric was born. Since I created a fabric to feel like a quilt put together of images of cameras I quickly quilted it to it's back and bound the edges and a very personal baby quilt was born.
It's such a rush to see something that you created in any media come together and then work... that's the tricky part as we all know, they don't all work all the time. This past week they finally gave the quilt to the Mom to be as she is just about to pop. They were happy with the quilt, the mother was happy with the quilt and I was thrilled to be realizing that I can create the fabrics that for so long have lived in my head but haven't been in the stores and in the colors I want. This will be a whole new chapter for this girl who has spent her

whole life surrounded by fabric

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Fabrics Created for Day of Dead Collection of Quilts

It is my dream to create a collection of quilts that all reflect Day of the Dead images that I love to work with. Each image will become a quilt. The Sugar Skulls will become the center of the quilt, they should be incredible once they are all together.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crazy Days Ahead

So, you know how you think you're going to be all organized and have things ready when you know that next summer you are going to be doing one or two festivals and you have the winter and spring to get ready? Well, that summer is here and oh my.... lions and tigers and bears.. This weekend while I was working on getting a large quilt project ready to quilt.... my daughter came to town and got busy. She tagged and bagged every item I have for festivals and inventoried and categorized and filed it all under mom's nut file. It's so amazing to look at the tubs all ready to go to fairs and events. I have a nuts and bolt crate and an inventory crate or two. It's was such a gift of time and even though she knows how amazing it was for me I want to thank her again because it really was such a gift. I can focus for the next few weeks on getting ready for the next one and the next one and the next one. I have an event every weekend in June. Now, I know what I have to do and can do it. Kids really are amazing, even the grown ones. So today and tomorrow, quilting an extra large custom quilt double sided pieced tops and then Wed through Sat sewing my brains out getting ready for the crafty underdog event this Sunday. Should be great fun, food and music and Mama Jean's Kind Threads will be making her first appearance. Will keep you posted on how it goes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Appreciation of Organic Quilting

When I first started quilting, I started with strip quilting because my friend knew that I didn't like to cut exact and make squares all day. I have come to appreciate her wisdom more than she will ever know. Since then, I've built all sorts of quilts following all sorts of patterns and I always come back to my organic quilting. Not because it's easier, but because it suits me and feeds my soul. Cutting out images from lots of different fabrics and having them all ready to put together isn't like cutting out a patterned quilt where you know a is next to b and then add c,d, and e. No, it's all from the heart. Every bit. Spending time with the blocks before hand you start feeling connected to them, you find ones that speak out almost and ones that just need to be next to the other. Then the real tricky part begins... getting them to all come together. They are all different sizes and shapes and somehow they all need to find a fit, like a puzzle and I love jigsaw puzzles, always have. So, quilting like this just fits me. It lets me think outside the box, no pun intended, and I love it..

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Pictures of the Quilt of Southwest Women

Today was working on building individual blocks to start putting the quilt top together. Finding the right place for all the images and colors. Enjoyed adding a bit of detail around the blocks of Fredia.... all in all, really enjoying and can't wait for tomorrow when it will be finished or very close to finished. They will have to make sure the two sides are the same size so I can start loading them inot the quilt frame. This might need some thinking to make sure that they come out even all around. I will need to stitch the sides down before I start quilting to make sure they stay in place. Another day, tonight, I will enjoy where they are and how they are coming together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wedding Dress

Had a couple of photos my guy took of the wedding dress and thought I should post them...

Blocks Begin to Come Together

Had a class this morning that I had scheduled with a mistress of sergers to learn how to work in netting and sheers more effectively. Most needed after working on the wedding dress and learned about washable stabilizer that's really amazing. Seems even old dogs can learn new tricks and I'm excited to make sleeves for fairy world in the upcoming weeks. Will post pictures when I start working on them, but for now, I started building blocks after spending a few hours fussy cutting all the fabrics for the Women of the Southwest quilt. It's a great start and I love the colors and how they are coming together. Such a thrill to start a new quilt.

Women of the Southwest Quilt Top Begins

Started fussy cutting images from the fabrics for the next quilt top and it's going to be a beautiful quilt. I will be posting images as I go. My mother would have loved this quilt top...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Week, New Challenges

As Sunday comes to a close, I am reminded of the upcoming week as I look at the bed in my studio and it's covered in fabrics. I have a new quilt top to begin using the beautiful fabrics of the southwest theme and it makes me think of my amazing parents. They loved the desert. To them, it was home. When everyone saw dirt and dust and those awful cactus; where everything living there bites you in one way or the other, they saw beauty. The birds that could build a nest in the needles of a cactus, or the roadrunner that ate from my fathers hand. They loved the red cardinals that would seek water and food in their little oasis in the desert and laugh when the partridges would try and cross the road in front of their small trailer. My dad planted a small patch of grass just so he could water and watch the jack rabbits come out and play.
They themselves had very little, a small fifth wheel trailer and an old truck to pull it. Over the years they had collected more things than they would ever need but it made them so happy. My mother had a collection of cookie jars in the yard and bird feeders everywhere. They made her smile and she could find them at garage sales.. She called them her yard family. My father collected from the desert he loved to walk in. A piece of sorrel cactus wood from a fallen giant,that he would bring home and lovingly carve into a walking cane. Then he would sell it at the local open air market full of tourist just passing through and wondering why people lived there and it made him smile. He had a collection of arrowheads and broken bones of animals he'd found as well always talking about what he could make with them but never did.
They loved to watch the thunder and lightening storms that would roll across the sky with a flurry and drench the desert floor, often cause flash flooding. But, just days after, the entire desert would come to life with blooms on all the cactus and they were beautiful. At night they would sit out under the stars with no lights on and listen to the howls of the coyote or the screech of the owls and they came to understand the spirit of the desert they loved.
When they passed, I vowed I would scatter their ashes out into the desert they both loved with all their hearts. I mixed their ashes together for the journey to the desert as they had lived as one for so many years loving and caring for each other it seemed only right. I still remember the night we walked out into the desert near their special spot. The wind was blowing warm air all around and the stars were bright in the night sky. I laid a pair of their shoes and two old hats they had often worn together with a bottle of their favorite wine, Strawberry Hill. I put a handful of butterscotch candies in my Dad's shoes for he was never without them and released their ashes to the night. The winds swirled all around us lifting their ashes higher and higher up the small hill as the moon light reflected down upon us we watched the ashes floated ever upward and on into the desert and they became one with it. I love and miss you both always but I know that where ever your spirits are now, you are finding the magic that dwells there.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Morning After

Sounds like a party over here .... well in a way it is. I had a lovely winner for the little Sewphie and I am finished with the wedding dress and last night I cleaned up my studio again. That does seems to be a theme of mine doesn't it, but it felt wonderful to get everything back into order and lay out the fabric for the next project. I have been working on a Queen size quilt custom ordered and it's been such fun. She has been collecting fabric for it for a while. The amazing thing about this quilt is she wants it double sided. One side will be Madonna images and the other side goddess type women of the Southwest. It is amazing to come home to a box of fabric waiting for you. That's as good as it gets in my book. So I started the quilt and then had a family wedding that popped up in the middle of it and since it was my guys sisters wedding, I had to make her a quilt. So I rushed off to the fabric store and found colors I thought she and her new husband would appreciate and went to town. It was a simple nine patch pattern but I was working non stop until we left. Yes, you too can do quilt in a day if you don't mind a bit of madness in your life. We drove to Modesto one day, Wedding next, and drove home that night. My guy had work and had to be back. It wasn't until I was home that I realize that I hadn't even taken a picture of the quilt. What was I thinking!!!! I am hoping that she will take one and send it to me but alas a hole in my photo journal of quilts for now.
So, this morning really does feel like the morning after a long streak of madness and I can't wait to sit in my clean studio and watch the wonder of creation take over again. See the colors start to play again and feel the quiet hum of total contentment fill me as the hum of my machine fills the air. Ah, the morning after.

I have attached a few photos I took of the first side.