Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's make something! 
Not a week can go by without some kind of creativity, right? Here we go again!

I have a wonderful dear friend Vanessa who is going to be a GRANDMA soon and I wanted to make something for her Army Ranger son and his lovely wife. Vanessa doesn't know it but this quilt is for her grand baby girl. Shhh don't tell. Maybe she doesn't read my blog!

As you may figure, I quilt and I garden the same way I scrapbook. My motto is: USE WHAT YOU HAVE ON HAND FIRST. Taking my own advice I dug out my existing stash of quilting fat quarters and scraps. Bummer. Only two of them really had pink in them. Well maybe three if you count the lavender-pink. Hmmm. Ok take those three fabrics for sure and let's use some of the other colors in those prints. Purples, greens and yellows. Now we are getting someplace. I have several other fresh greens yellows, golds and purples that will fit the bill--and USE my stash.

Design pattern? I wanted a pattern that is fast and fairly easy. Log cabins and strip quilts are fast. I looked in my pile of unfinished quilt projects. (SHH!! I didn't just say that I had those, did I?) In one of the baskets I find 8x8 pattern printouts from another vintage fabric quilt I am (still) making. I overprinted the Log in a Log log cabin variation pattern set about 7 years ago --meaning I sent it to the printer twice because I thought the first go around didn't print and I couldn't bear to toss out the printouts. Sick huh!?? But it is a GOOD thing now. Those old printouts came in handy. There were 15 of them and I copied another to make an even 16 which is baby quilt size. Boom! We have a pattern concept printed out and all our front side fabrics.

Thread. Well I don't have a huge stash of thread like some people. I only have about 15 spools period. But I did have some oddball white spools and look!! 5 spools of variegated thread. BINGO! It occurred to me that those variegated spools are not far off in colorway from the fabrics I chose. At one time about 10 years ago, I thought I might do machine embroidery. Not happening. So why not just break down and use that beautiful high-quality thread? Close enough for horse shoes and baby quilts!

At that point I started sewing and got all 16 of my blocks done. I do admit to making some errors in my fabric strip placement. But you know what? I decided not to rip them out or redo them. I left them in as is. It wasn't a sewing error. It did not affect the functionality of the quilt. It was more of  a design symmetry error. And that's ok with me. Like isn't symmetrical. Baby will never notice and baby will still be warm and cozy. It's my way of admitting to the world that Kathy is not perfect. You can know that about me. It's ok. :D  Like I said, close enough for horseshoes and baby quilts.

Backing fabric? Well I dug up two pieces of stash yellow/gold fabric each 41x41 so that was plenty to work with for the back. But that is a pretty boring back unless we have a signature block to spruce it up on the reverse. I have a great fondness for this little Candy Box paper pieced heart pattern and I had two or three extra printed 8x8 sheets from when I made Jenny's college quilt 5 summers ago. (I do tend to keep things don't I? Hmmmm,) I just needed one block and since I have sewn this pattern a time--or ten--before,  it took me all of 15 minutes to make that signature block. 

Batting. Now it is Sunday night and literally 5 minutes to 5pm. No time to run to a store. I have a little half-panic that I have been on such a productive roll with this that it all might hit the wall right here. I need to find batting in my tiny 3 foot sewing cupboard of stash or it might come to a screeching halt, right?  I have in my sewing cupboard three bags: one is a full sized cotton batting. Hate to cut into that if I don't have to. Another batting bag is a queen sized half poly and half cotton batting. Hate to cut into that for the same reasons. Options narrowing by the second here!

In the third bag which is only half full I see the right thickness of batting. It is another cotton batting and it is the leftovers from Jenny's college quilt....Will it fit? I take it up to place it and with some zig zag kluge stitching, it will!!  Relief! I don't have to cut into a full bat. And I don't have to wait and go to the store the next day before continuing my sewing spree! Whoohoo! No delay! It's so nice on the porch today and I can just keep on sewing!So I did.

When I got out the batting, I thought that I had better look into my fat quarter baskets again and consider my options for bindings. If you quilt you know that the binding can use a lot of  your chosen fabric!  Fat quarters usually don't cut the mustard for rendering enough binding. Oh for heaven's sake! What is that green baggie? This is meant to be! Six and a half yards of homemade binding I had left over... LEFT OVER!!! This welcome bit of leftover green goodness is from a quilt I made 4 years ago. Already strip cut, already folded and already ironed. Ready to go! Wow. 

And did you just notice what  happened there? 

I found ALL the supplies for this sweet baby girl quilt within my own home. It was all there just waiting for me. I think this could be the "greenest" new quilt I have ever made. Now that feels great!

Creating something new and beautiful for Vanessa's grand baby gift was so much fun!  And yes, I get the picture, God.  This quilt was meant to be. I was meant to sew on it this week and USE ALL THIS lovely stash while making it.  It's more than serendipity. It's daily abundance being made evident.  A big thank you to the Man Upstairs for giving me that message this week.

It turned out great! And I hope the baby will be wrapped in lots of love her whole life through!

What can you make this week?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's summer time! 
Use what you have to make something beautiful!

My mom Mary is a wonderful active 73 years young. She and I share a love of the garden which she gained from her father and grandmother and which we seem to have passed down another generation to my daughter. Love that. While Mom was here in Minnesota visiting the last two weeks, we decided to make a fairy garden with my mother in law Joyce's red-roofed birdhouse. 

The story of the birdhouse is bittersweet. My mother in law Joyce was clearing out her home of 52 years in preparation to move into a smaller apartment this summer. Joyce knew that I love birdhouses and have them in my 3 season porch and in the yard. She gifted me three of them that day--- but sadly, later in that very same day, she unexpectedly died of heart failure. Sad yes. But Joyce would love that we used one of her birdhouses in such a cute way here. And she would have loved that this will be a home for one of her granddaughter Jenny's handmade Fimo clay fairy creations. The sweet fairy that comes to live here will be called Joy in honor of Grandma Joyce.Honoring Joyce and making our tiny garden into something beautiful from items that we had was gratifying. It did bring my own mom and I a very fun afternoon together. I appreciate my Mom and was glad to have time with her creating this sweet little project. 

We scouted the yard for what we needed! The birdhouse was the main focal point and we had that in hand. Soil from the compost heap--check! The red roofed fairy house rests on a spare brick for it's foundation just to keep it out of the damp soil. (It will last longer that way) I dug moss for the yard of the fairy house from my garden and yard. The nice thing about moss is it comes up in nice flat sheets. We used Creeping Jenny plants, coleus, and apple seedlings from my yard as landscaping greenery. Smooth flat agates from our rock pile under the apple tree gave us the walkway stepping stones. I added a little miniature plastic squirrel from my collection of miniatures to go on the front step. Not everything has to be to scale....I threw caution to the wind and brought in a dog-sized red plastic ladybug into the fairy backyard. Fairies have ladybug pets right?  A tiny rusty 1.5 inch wire fence stockpiled earlier from the local nursery was suited to this diorama--as was a mini replica of the red cast iron bike that I used to ride as a girl on the farm. And yes I did say I rode on a bike made of cast iron! Not aluminum. Tough pedaling on a gravel driveway, I tell you. I don't know if fairies ride bikes but heck, it looks cute!

Where is the fairy? Why, she is flying in later this week all the way from Pennsylvania. My daughter Jenny is making me a special teeny molded-clay fairy just for this scrumptious little garden. I am excited to see what our fairy Joy will look like. Her home is ready and waiting! And, it was all created with items we truly had here around the house and yard. We just had to look at things in a different scale and a new light.

What can you make of beauty today with what you have on hand? Being whimsical is fun! Give it a go and you may just love what turns out from your creative efforts!

And here is the same garden with it's resident fairy!  She just flew in from Pennsylvania! :D