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I Gotcha Pictures Right Here

I said last night that I would get pictures up of my colored pencil roll.  I have them right here for you.  I decided to use my fat eighths bundle from Riley Blake and MQG of their “The Cottage Garden” line for the MQG Fabric Challenge.  I did Challenge myself to learn something new, it is (sorta) quilted and it is something I’ve never done before, and I only used the provided fabrics, so Check on all counts!

I was interested in using this bundle for 2 reasons, 1, it was enough fabric without having tons left over, 2, the ribbon was awesome, and I needed ribbon to compete the project.  So, without further ado, here it is!

IMG_2810 (1)I love the way it turned out, and I love how practical it is, it ensures not only will I not have random colored pencils floating in my bag, but I will not have the ugly and bulky box, either.  I am now thinking about making one for my Sharpies, too.  Although, there are SO MANY of those, the roll might be too big for the bag! :)  I actually just counted, and the roll would have to be at least 40 inches long!  If you’re counting, that’s like a whole width of fabric!  I’m still thinking on that. :)  Maybe for now, colored pencils is enough.

I’m still feeling kinda ooky, but I think it’s at least staying the same and not getting worse, so that’s a plus.  And I am slowly catching up on housework.  There is SO much I didn’t do last week, but it’s getting there.

As for now, I am off.  I will not be finishing my Plain and Fancy tiny sashing stars as of yet.  But I will hopefully have Plain and Fancy done by the end of next week. That’s my goal.

Keep your wits about you, and Piece!

Getting Back

Last week was exhausting, but so rewarding.  I got to see around 120 kiddlings finish projects on Friday that didn’t exist on Monday.  Some great, some not so great, but all special in their own right.  I, of course, am not feeling well, chest congestion and a cough from spending time with those little walking Petri dishes. :)  But it was worth it.

Over the weekend I spent a lot of time sleeping and in the hot-tub.  For a couple of hours on Saturday I went with the hubby to do some record shopping.  I ended up with a new purse and wallet and a book.  :)  I also took some time yesterday to make a roll for my colored pencils.  I don’t have pics yet, but I will try to post them in the next day or so.  I didn’t spend much time in my studio today, I was just not feeling up to it, but I hope to finish my tiny star sashing for Plain and Fancy so I can get that off the to-do list.  I also got an order yesterday, so I will have to get on that in the next few days.

The dogs are happy that I’m back home during the day.  I’m happy to be back with them as well.  Taco, specifically was on a hunger strike when each morning when I was leaving.  He is back to his normal bouncy self in the morning, jumping and barking for food (He gets his overly dramatic side from both hubby and I, I suppose…).

I should be off, I have lots and lots of reading to catch up on!

Piece!

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The Nature of Creativity

I have been working at Camp all of this week.  It has been exhausting but incredibly fun working with and getting to know the kids.  They are endlessly energetic and so much fun.  But working in Camp has got me thinking about the nature of creativity.

There are people who believe that creativity must swirl around in an endless loop of chaos to exist, I am definitely NOT one of those people.  For me, in order to get to a place where I can be creative, everything else in my environment has to be in order.  I can’t be worrying about the dishes that need to be done or work around endless piles of fabric, notions, paper, books, and bills.  Everything has to be in it’s place for my mind to be able to be free to run to its fullest extent.  Now, I understand and agree that not everyone can function in the same way as I do, but in general, for “ART” to happen, doesn’t there need to be some degree of precision, carefulness, and attention to detail.  I believe yes, we need to teach creativity and we need to encourage children to continue to use their imagination (lest it dry out ;)), but to me, teaching the whirling dervish of chaos surrounding the “creativity” should NOT be a part of that teaching.

Also…  there has been a huge debate of art vs. craft waging in my head for the past few weeks.  Can something that comes from a pattern be considered “art” or is it merely craft.  And is “merely” craft a fair statement at all?  Mustn’t any art exist from an artist spending years honing one’s craft?  Or are the only true “artists” the ones who are innately gifted with the ability to create their work without the necessity for iteration?

Personally, I do not believe that.  A true artist is anyone who creates carefully to the best of their current ability, be it their idea, from a pattern, whether it came naturally or required much study, practice, and iteration.  To believe otherwise is like saying that Beethoven who painstakingly labored over every solitary note is somehow less of a composer than Mozart whose manuscripts were flawlessly executed on the first pass.  Or Monet, who did study after study of the same hay stack in different season and light is not creative.  I just don’t buy it.  When in the end, you come up with something that exists in this world and has some esthetic value (evoking not even necessarily beauty, but any emotion, thought, or response) that did not exist previously you are creating art.  Craft?  Sure, maybe, but not “less than” anything else.  In the end, even the “craftiest” of craft is still creating something that did not exist before, and that will evoke some thought or memory in the creator and ultimately the observer.  And yes, the process is important, but to me, it is utterly ridiculous to believe that the process is MORE important than the end result.  That is not to say that every end result will be equally as important.  But I feel like to teach children that the process is more important than the end result is careless.  Of COURSE the end result is important, that’s WHY you go through the process.  Careful attention must be paid, and one must do one’s best work or the “PROCESS” is for naught.  THIS is what I believe we should be teaching children about art, creativity, and creation.

I understand fully that not everyone shares my same views on this topic.  That reality has become acutely clearer to me in the past two months or so.  Being exposed to other opinions on this topic, I am thankful for, it has made me think out my position more clearly, do research on the nature of creativity, and ultimately made me a better artist.

Every experience is a learning one and I think I have learned this one well enough! ;)

Any thoughts?

Piece

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The Fancy Part

Well, the Fancy part of my Plain and fancy quilt (the appliqué cornerstones) are now finished!  My rows are together, and all I have to do is finish the last half of the tiny star sashing.  That seems to be my least favorite part so far.  I thought that  the appliqué would be worse, but those were much faster and easier than I thought they would be.  The worst part was getting rid of the tear-away stabilizer!

If I had one thing to do over, I would make the green stems and leaves one piece instead of three, that way I wouldn’t have to get them spaced or positioned correctly, and they would be easier to press and satin stitch.  Maybe harder to cut out, but I think in the long run, it would have been worth it.  If I ever make this quilt again…  Uhhh…  Well, you know… ;)

In other news, the dogs are living the moderate weather today, I caught Pixel laying on the porch with just her nose out the open sliding glass door.  I am really enjoying it myself.  Camp Create is next week, I know it will be a long week, but I think it will be really fun and rewarding.  I am excited.

Well, I should get back to my tiny star sashing now. :)

Piece.

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We’re gonna need a bigger boat… Er… Wall…

IMG_2772My Plain and Fancy quilt has now officially outgrown my design wall and is now officially the biggest quilt I have ever made!  Yesterday I Instagramed (that’s a verb now, right?) the tiny piece hell I was in making my second batch of tiny sashing stars  It has been taking me a whole day to finish a batch of 6 of these sashing strips, luckily, it is so worth it.  They look amazing, but it is still a LONG time working on them.  I now am half done with both my sashing and cornerstones.

IMG_2777So I decided that since I had enough sashing pieces to make my block rows that I would sew them IMG_2776together.  As you can see, though this overflowed the capacity of my design wall, and if you are a careful observer, you will also notice that the rows are sideways.  That was the only way I could hope to fit them up on the wall.  I am really pleased with the progress and can’t WAIT to see it finished up.  I think it will be something that we love for many years.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I probably won’t be able to finish it before the end of the month, because Camp is coming up SO SOON!  I am excited and a little terrified for that!

The days are heating up again, and Miss Pixel has found her spot.  On the new loveseat…  She looks like a floating head dog in this picture, but it makes me laugh.IMG_2774

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Bandwagons

Bandwagons…  I am going to be honest, I’m not one to be the first to jump on a bandwagon.  Even now, that I’ve said it three times, bandwagon seems to not be a word anymore…  Bandwagon, bandwagon…

Anyway…  I have been seeing on your blog posts, on Pinterest, on Instagram, this thing called Leaders and enders…  Leaders and enders, it’s all around.  At first, gotta be honest, thought it was dumb.  I ignored it, I thought, well, “I’ll never…”  whatevs, right?

Then I saw this Quilty video and I have to admit, I was still a little skeptical, but I grudgingly tried it.  HOLY CRAP…

Let’s just say, I <3 this!  I am floored!  And I already have my first top IMG_2766done, made with blocks from leaders and enders.  I just threw the blocks together with some sashing and borders, and I had a bonus quilt, literally in an afternoon!  I have started using this technique any time I am chain piecing, and I can NOT BELIEVE how much thread I am saving.  For a baby quilt, I save a whole bobbin’s worth of thread.  Plus I get a bonus freebie quilt out of it!  DOUBLE WIN!  Ok, I know, a terribly geeky thing to be excited about…  But I am the GeekQuilter, right?  Ok anyway, back to the quilt.  This one I used left over charm pack pieces from a quilt that never was.  I was going to make a second version of round and round, but I wasn’t a fan of the first one, so that plan died out, I put the fabric back in my stash, and I grabbed the charm squares for my second set of leaders and enders.  I started with my comma mini charm packs that I had picked up a few months ago on super sale.  Those are in 4 patches still waiting for inspiration on how to put them together.

The other thought I had running through my head is that “I’ll never have a use for the 2 ½ squares that I cut my scraps into.  Well, this is the PERFECT use for them.  My 3rd leaders and enders project I took all of my blue and white squares out of my 2 ½” squares box and I now have a bin full of 2 patches ready to be pressed and made into 4 patches.  Which get pressed, and I think that I will make them into 16 patches and make a quilt from those.

Anyway, if you are skeptical about trying leaders and enders, just give it a try.  If you hate it, don’t blame me, but if you have been using spiders or a LOT of thread (that’s what I was doing) to start and end chains, you just might like this technique a lot.

In other news, our living room is IMG_2763DONE!  The furniture (well, except for the lamps) arrived on Saturday,
and it is SO awesome!  I love the color we chose and I live the way everything looks and turned out.  it was well worth the work and the week without furniture.

It is also, dog tested, and dog approved.

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Goal Review

It’s creeping near the half way point of the year, and I wanted to take a little time to re-evaluate my goals and how I’m progressing toward them at this point in the year…  I gotta say though, I don’t think the results are pretty.  My totals are way down this year, and I’ve been too busy to quilt!

Anyway, as stated at the beginning of the year:

2015 Goals

1.  I want to teach at least one class this year, I’m not sure where or how, but I want to get that in somehow. I am actually working on this, it could be going better, but I have a foot in the door, my thoughts are in the universe, I’m paving the way.  Not as far as I would have liked to been at this point, but getting there.

2.  I need to find a new guild.  Mine is in the process of dissolving, and I am not going to be attending this year.  I have found a couple that I like.  I have to figure out which one is going to work best for me, right now, I’m also diligent about my MQG individual membership, getting as much out of that as I can.

3.  Make a quilt for my Aunt.  She always gets me something great for Christmas and I never expect that she is going to do it.  This year she sent me a beautiful flower arrangement.  I not only have to send her a Thank You note, but next year I am going to be ready with something really nice! :)  It’s picked out and kitted, now to get it started…

4.  Make at least 2 quilts for charity.  I made 5 this year, 4 went to the Visiting Nurses, and 1 for an adopted family.  I also actually sent 2 to a family whose house burned down.  So from 5 to 2 seems like a bit of a let-down, but 2 were already finished and 2 were from fabric kits from my guild.  Right now I have 1 completed quilt and 3 tops waiting to be quilted all for charity, and bonus!  I found the charity I am going to donate them to.  More on that coming soon.

5.  Spend more time in my studio sewing and designing.  I spend time in there paying bills, wrapping gifts, watching Netflix, etc, but I want all of that to be out of my studio activities.  Since my husband went all out and got me a new laptop (blogging from it now), and EQ7 for Christmas, I really want to get the most use out of them.  I have a few ideas of quilts that I want to design, and I have figured out the basics of EQ7, so here I go…  I am no longer paying bills in my office, my hubby has taken a lot of the bill-paying on himself, actually, and I have designed more, I designed a quilt in two color ways the other day.  My actual output has gone way down this year, but I am trying to pick it up again in the next few months.

6.  Make an apple core quilt.  Maybe it will be one of my charity quilts, and it will probably be scrappy, but I got the apple core die for my Go Baby! last year, and I am itching to use it!  I have it cut and started, I even used all scraps, so I’m excited to keep working on it.

7.  Finish Plain and Fancy.  I know, I blog way too much about this one, but it’s getting there, the blocks are done, and the sashing and cornerstones are cut and started.  It’s really not that much more I have to go.  Hopefully before fall this one will be done.

8.  Moda Modern Building Blocks, I just want to figure out how I can do it from my stash. :)  This one on the other hand is not getting close.  I bought fabric, and it’s pretty much kitted, but other than that, not started.  I’m sad about this and I’m sad because of the next goal as well.

9.  Buy less fabric, and not be afraid to cut the fabric that I do have.  I have a ton of fabric that I LOVE, so I need to just use it!  This hasn’t been going so well, however, MOST of what I’m buying this year is to go into a specific project.  I had to get backing for Plain and Fancy, I had to get fabric for my niece’s graduation quilt, I got fabric for Moda Modern BB, fabric for the wedding quilt I just made…  Plus I found a home for one of the kits that I purchased willy-nilly last year.  However, I need to do like a serious fabric fast.  I can do that.  I can start today. :)  Here I go

Let’s see how it goes. :)