creativity 4 – know yourself

DSC_0009Do not adjust your screen; there IS no color in this quilt.  When my son saw how my daughter’s quilt birthday quilt looked, he let me know that he’d like a similar one some day.  So, here is my third big quilt, and the only other color I ever used was yellow. i am a quilter

All the quilts have been unplanned and random. I used what I had and only bought fabric as needed. The quilting on all three is straight (ish) line and close. I know this kind of monotony would drive some people nuts, but I like it. DSC_0016I also like silence when I’m at a difficult point. I can watch TV or listen to music when I am quilting the straight lines, but I prefer quiet when I am piecing the front of the quilt. I tend to be supply driven; what do I have and what can I make from it? I’d rather not follow patterns; I prefer to stumble along on my own. This results in lots of failures, but it’s what works for me.

What works for you?

 

 

creativity 2 – make mistakes

I never know where I’m headed when I create. Whether it’s a meal, a quilt, a garden, or a blog post, I just have to jump in and see where it takes me.

Sometimes I make something great that doesn’t work.grilling-june-garden-hummingbird-009Despite heroic measures on my part, I was unable to overcome the effects of gravity; the plants kept falling out of the frame. So I gave up.

Sometimes I make something bad that works.dsc_0127I wanted to try free motion quilting, but I knew I wouldn’t be very good at it. I did it on the back side of my daughters bolsters – the side that goes against the back of the couch – so no one sees it.

And sometimes, I just have to keep trying until I get it right.grilling-june-garden-hummingbird-059BEFORE – Here’s a little seating arrangement under a cherry tree. After years of cleaning up petals, pits, and poop (the birds LOVE those cherries), I took out the seats.may-backyard-prom-003AFTER – I used the pavers to make a little wall, filled the area with soil and made a cute little garden instead. Now all of the cherry tree debris just disappears.

creativity 1 – limits

I pay attention to what helps and hinders my creativity. Surprisingly, limits seem to help me. So when my younger daughter asked for bolsters for her futon, I decided to try to use only the fabrics (in her chosen colors) that I already owned. My first problem was that none of the fabric was big enough. So I decided to piece them together to make the pillows.bolster 013

Isn’t this so cute? If I had just run out to the fabric store, I would have bought a print with blue, purple, and tan and that would have been it. But using what I had, I had to get creative. That lead to the stripes AND to the embroidery to make it seem cohesive.

Quilt close

It has happened before . . . My older daughter asked for a gray and white quilt, and instead of hating the limits of no color, I loved the result.

homemade wooden trellis

And this trellis? I didn’t have enough wood to make all the horizontal pieces go all the way across, so I got creative. Limits really bring out the best in me. Does anyone else feel like that?

i am a quilter

I made my first real quilt this spring at the request of my eldest.  birthday quiltQuilt

And I have been hooked ever since. My 1981 sewing machine did fine, but I needed more open space to shove all of that fabric through. After much soul searching and internet searching, I decided I wanted a better quilting machine.machine 006

Ta Da!! This work horse has been such a great addition to my sewing room. The yellow space above ( harp space)  is only about 1/4 inch higher  and a couple of inches wider than my old machine, but it makes a huge difference in the ease of sewing large projects. And it is  so powerful  and has such features . . .Date 017

My second quilt, for my brother’s 50th birthday, sports a fancy machine- embroidered date label.Quilt Back 021

The close stitching  that I love was way easier with the bigger harp space in my new machine.Quilt.16

And right after I finished this quilt, I started another. I am a quilter.

birthday quilt

My firstborn had one request for her 25th birthday – a gray and white quilt made by me. “Yes!” my heart said – but I wasn’t sure. My first qualm was the 1981 sewing machine I use. My second qualm was the TIME. My third qualm was gray and white – like NO colors? I had QUALMS.

But I started cutting up my fabric and sewing it together and I pieced that baby together on the fly. It turned out great and my daughter loved it. And I loved it. And I love her. Happy birthday, baby girl.Quilt

Made with love in every stitch.

Quilt close

 

 

decorated hand towels

transitions

I like the changes in my life that come about naturally with the changes in the seasons. This time of year, as the garden fades into fall, I turn my thoughts and efforts indoors.

I gave the bathroom walls and ceilings a good scrubbing. After that, a little well-placed touch up paint worked wonders.curtainsI sewed some new curtains to freshen up the windows.

curtainsdecorated hand towelsLeftover fabric scraps pretty up the hand towels.

Now – on to the next room!

how to hide a stump

I have several areas of the yard that get neglected every year, despite my best intentions . . .ugly stumpWitness the Stump Garden.

I’ve been reading about Permaculture, and that gave me the idea to incorporate the stump into a planting bed.turniing a stump into a planterI used some cedar shims and bricks I had lying around. I hammered the shims deep into the ground so they would support the bulk of the soil. I just stacked the bricks around that to pretty it up. It was easy after I got the bottom layer level.brick planterHere’s how it looked at the end of April, before soil and plants.brick planterAfter I planted it with a sedum and flower seeds, I added some Native Sedum plants to the cracks of the planter to see if they’d grow.brick planterThey did grow. Just wait till the zinnias bloom!

backyard love

Fall is here and it’s my favorite time to enjoy the yard:  The gardening frenzy of the spring is long gone. The sloth of the sticky summer has blown away in the cool of the autumn breezes. Fall is the time to sit on my swing and admire the season’s hard work. (Of course, I need a nice cushion to sit on, and a quilt to snuggle.)

quilt and pillows on swing
modern quilted pillowOh, and a pillow, too!

hand sewing

I love my sewing machine, but there will always be a special place in my heart for sewing by hand. I love the organic look of hand embroidery, and ***bonus*** I can carry my sewing with me wherever I go. pot holder

Here is a pot holder I decorated by hand.canister

date pillow

My cousin recently got married. To keep with the green gifting theme, and because I knew she’d love it, I made her this pillow that’s appliqued with the date of her wedding.date-pillow

washi-less tags

I have not yet succumbed to the washi tape craze, but I want to. My homemade Christmas tags were the perfect excuse, but I held to my green Christmas promise and tried to think of alternatives. How about patterns stamped on strips of paper, ribbon, and sheet music?

gift tags

gift tags

green christmas

My goal this Christmas is to craft a little more and buy a little less. AND before I go out to purchase that perfect thing to finish my crafting, I want to think a little harder about using something that I already have.

grapeviine wreath

grapevine wreath

I had an old grapevine wreath to which I attached fresh evergreen branches and some Christmas ornaments. Snow optional.

personalization

my new gym bag

my new gym bag

I have a thing for personalized gifts. I think it comes from a long childhood of searching the racks of toothbrushes and  notebooks and bicycle license plates, always in vain,  for the name “Jodie.”

felt monogram

felt monogram

check me out

My next article appears in Sew It All Magazine Vol. 5. (Available in stores Dec. 4)  http://www.quiltandsewshop.com/product/sew-it-all-volume-5/magazines

I show how to make this cute pillow I made for my sister-in-law.