Are You a Happy Glamper?

glamping 2You can’t fool me with colorful new fabrics and joyful projects and slick looking retro-styled trailers and chef-inspired meals on Pinterest, cooked over wood-burning fires with tents and campers lit softly with warm beds and bathrooms and lighting.

glamping 4

I have been camping.  And there is nothing “glam” about it.

I pitched tents that required directions and patience to assemble…long before they snapped together in minutes.  I canoed down a muddy stream in a strange state in the pouring rain with a boat partner who had no idea how to steer. The couple behind us had a large black snake slide into their canoe. That’s the definition of horror.

I’ve slept on air mattresses that flatten completely by morning, on earth that slopes and slowly rolls me downhill all night till I’m shoved up against the door.

I’ve cooked real meals over an open fire and inhaled more than my share of campsites (especially in a state preserve where everyone is close to the next campsite and all are burning God-knows-what all night long.)

I’ve bathed in lakes and cold community shower stalls, discovered 5 ticks on one foot, and been terrified of the fierce growling in the middle of the night no more than 6 inches from my head on the outside of the tent.

Yes, I’ve been camping. Or do you say glamping.

Love it or not, the trend is hot hot hot.

And sewists are all over it!  Take a peak at this link to hand embroidery that everyone is into these days.

hand embroidery

glamping 3Since I’ve been obsessed with in-the-hoop bags, here’s another.

I purchased this design from an Etsy shop called Disorderly Threads.  You can purchase the design here.

It’s a lot of steps for a small design but the instructions are pretty clear. I love how it turned out and made a couple of them.

glamping 1The idea of glamping is 100% fun, and retro and cute.

And if you’re looking for me, I’ll just be enjoying the whole trend vicariously from under the covers in my cozy, warm, dry bed.

Lilacs and Chaos

When the chaos in my mind and in my sewing room reaches the breaking point, it helps for me to get out and smell the lilacs.

lilacs1

This is my favorite time of the year.  The promise of warm weather, the anticipation of wonderful, summery things.  Those last few days before the kids are out of school, when expectation runs way ahead of itself.  Lemonade and carnivals and rides on golf carts.

Green leafy things and colorful blooming things, and thunderstorms and sprinklers and fresh sweet corn and tomatoes.  Farmers markets, and sandals, swimming pools and vacation adventures.  Road trips and plane trips and hikes in the woods.  Barefoot feet and long conversations on patios, decks and kitchen tables with air conditioners humming.

Trashy novels with no deep meaning, except maybe a lovely or surprisingly sweet ending.  Grilled chicken and kabobs and sun on my painted toes.  Lawn mowers and bicycles and screen doors.  Red, white and blue, or basically white with any color.

Big juicy watermelons and fruit salads for breakfast with a warm croissant. Sunsets and bug spray, sparklers and beach towels.  Water slides, hoses, and ice cream trucks.

Parades, tears, laughter, dirt.

Lilacs open the door to it all.

Sewing room chaosMy sewing room is in chaos.  I have at least 3-4 projects running simultaneously.

But all is well and all will be well.

The lilacs are in bloom.

lilacs2

Participating in The Splendid Sampler

Why am I participating in this project?

Partly, I think, because I like the designers who are contributing, partly because it sounds like a great way to slowly put together a quilt and share ideas with others.

6 1/2 inch blocks sound doable to me.  Even 2 a week.  But if you were to tell me I need to create 100 blocks and do this sort of “surprise” mystery quilt, I might not have signed on.  But 2 blocks a week sounds like a doable discipline.  Care to join me?

Here are the details for anyone who wants to participate.

Also, here’s a link to the blog.

The project begins Feb 14, so you have plenty of time to get ready.  Although all you really need in order to start is a decent stash of fabric.

I am going back and forth about which color scheme to use.

black tie affair

Black Tie Affair by Basic Grey for Moda

I love the neutrals.  They would make an elegant and timeless quilt.  But another part of me wants to use more colorful fabric and go with more of a “farmgirl” theme.

morningside farm

Morningside Farm by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman

Here I would use the scenic fabric as a border with all the other fabric as the piecing in the middle.

What do you think?  They are both so different. I will probably wait til the block patterns start coming in to make a decision.

Dust off your sewing machine, and get ready to join in this creative collaboration.  The project will have a Facebook page too, The Splendid Sampler, moderated by Pat Sloan.

I’m sure you’ll have access to plenty of online show and tell, so why not be a part of it?  All the patterns will be available throughout all of 2016 for free, but then they will be put into a book in 2017.

Even if you never sew a stitch, it’s fun to watch the process.  What are you waiting for?

 

Quilt Market Prep

It’s that time of year again. Quilt Market is coming up and the fabric designers and manufacturers are revving up their marketing engines. Come May 15-17, they will be at full throttle and social media will be abuzz with new product, new designs, new fabric and quilty fun.

But I’ve always loved a good preview.

And fabric manufacturers are getting good at it.

One of my favorites is Art Gallery Fabrics.  Young, hip, fresh, at least by my standards.  I love what new designers (read: young people) are doing in the industry.  Art Gallery has released a Look Book of their new Spring 2015 fabric. 

Take a look and let me know your favorites.  Mine so far is Sketchbook and Happy Home, but I have to admit, I love them all and would be hard-pressed to choose.

Moda, the pop queen of fabric manufacturers, is also starting to tease some of their new lines. On their blog, we get a glimpse of the new Bonnie and Camille,  as well as Minnick and Simpson, Zen Chic and Fig Tree Quilts.

Stay tuned, as I will try to distill some of the quilt market info as it becomes available.  In the meantime, quilt on, friends!

grandneice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New quilt in progress for my  grand niece,  pattern is free from Me and My Sister Designs.  Fabric is Airmail, by Eric and Julie Comstock.

 

 

What Have You Done With Machine Embroidery Lately?

machine embroidery2I ask myself that all the time.

My latest project is one I’m doing for work, which will be for a class in April.  It’s a part of Bernina’s Software Sampler presentation.  I am stitching out a ring of 8 designs to be used (ultimately) on a tablecloth for a round table.

It’s far from complete, but I promise to show you when it’s done.

But what’s new in the home embroidery industry?  Well, that’s where this gets interesting.

I have a few favorite sites that I visit, but I’ve noticed some trends and thought I’d share some of the best with you.

Urban Threads, always on the cutting edge (no pun intended) of embroidery, has a new Look Book out. You have to take a minute to browse…very fun stuff.

You’ll notice that lettering, in many forms, has re-emerged as one of the most popular uses for embroidery.  I see this trend at work very often as well.  Everyone wants an item that is personalized, whether that is for a wedding, or just a simple monogram, the birth of a baby, you name it.

Bernina has just released new, inexpensive software that lets you add lettering to any embroidery design or just create your own lettering in any true type font that you have loaded on your computer.

This is a big deal.  In recent years, Bernina’s software with lettering had an entry price of over $1000.  The new software, called Customizer, saves to any machine format and is available for under $250 at any local Bernina dealer.  But, as I say, anyone with any type of embroidery machine can use this software. Find out more about it here.

And all you techies looking for something new and fun for your machine embroidery?

I found just the thing.

Janome has introduced an app for ipad or android that is called AcuDesign.  It’s a $49.99 app.  But before you get nervous about the price, you have to see all that it does:

–Comes with 500 designs.

–Allows you to see animated stitch-outs.

–Edit your designs.

–Resize them.

–Send them directly to your email when you want to stitch.

–Save in any format, work in any machine’s hoop.

acudesign2acudesign1Might be hard to see on my ipad in this picture, but the way you scroll through the various designs is so easy, and the work screen is intuitive.

 

And if you ever need more info, Janome has created a webinar, over an hour long, that goes over all the features. (Love these gals in the webinar, they sound like people I should know!)

 

 

 

 

Finally, I am seeing a bump in interest in crazy quilting.  The website mollymine.com has a lovely collection of crazy quilt designs, from quilt blocks to holiday-themed.  And our friends at Designs in Machine Embroidery have featured crazy quilting on the front cover of their April issue, with a free crazy quilt design available.

dime

 

Soooooooo…..what have you done with machine embroidery lately?

We have a world of opportunities in front of us. And we haven’t even looked at Pinterest yet.

(Yet.)

Just another Blizzard/Snowstorm/Super Bowl Sunday

Yesterday after work, at about 5:30 PM,  I stopped at the local Meijer.

You would have thought that none of us had ever eaten before or would ever eat again.  The shelves were cleared of chips and salsa, although I found some on an end cap.  The stockers were angry and the check out clerks were exhausted.  The gal at the counter told me the store had been packed all day.

I couldn’t find any potatoes. They were gone.  Yes, all the potatoes were gone.

The Canadian bacon I usually purchase had been replaced by rows and rows of real bacon and Velveeta. And ribs. Sour cream shelves were empty. And I couldn’t even find my son’s yogurt.

The combination of Super Bowl Sunday and a pending snowstorm….excuse me…. BLIZZARD…were seriously almost causing the end of civilization.

suuperbowlblizzard2

Today, the snow IS falling, thank goodness.  The plows in the neighborhood have been few and far between. I heard one last night at 3 am, then again once during the day today, and that’s pretty much it.

Of course, I have been sewing.

I used a new pattern and assembled a couple of cute table runners for Valentine’s Day.  My goal is to get them to the point where I could spend the Super Bowl doing hand work by putting on the binding.

The pattern is called Rock Candy from Jaybird Quilts and the accompanying ruler is called a Sidekick.  This is truly a simple pattern to do using the ruler, and a fun shape for a table.

jaybird quiltsI did manage to get the binding on, and now I’m ready to sit and watch the game.

jaybird quilts 2The fabric is adorable, called Kiss Kiss from moda.

So get out your chips and dip, salsa and sour cream, your chocolates and cheeses and crackers and cookies. Turn on your big screen, enjoy the screaming crowds and the silly, raunchy, depressing, goofy, and tear-jerking commercials and half-time show.

As for me, at 8 pm I switch to Downton Abbey. Pass me the stress-reducing herbal tea.

 

 

Polka Dot Finale

I am crossing the finish line.

Still sewing the binding, but the quilt label is done, the sleeve for hanging is complete and all I have left is the last bit of hand stitching to pull it all together.

The red background is twill, the tree is wool and the rest is cotton, with a wide variety of thread weights for applique.

For everyone who participated in the Polka Dot Fabric Exchange, I THANK YOU!  Your fabric is lovely, especially when it’s pieced together with everyone else’s!

I really enjoyed challenging myself with this project, as it was a meaningful way of bringing together quilters from around the world.

For fun, I thought you might like to see the creative journey, step by step in images.  Dedicated to quilters everywhere…we’re all on the same family tree!

sketchPolka dot Exchange

Notes from the Exchangeperlefinaltreedrawingtree1polkadot tree1polkadot tree1IMG_3294IMG_3293Scribbling a thought at the breakfast table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fabric begins to come in from all across the US and the world.

 

 

 

I am moved by the notes attached to every fabric square, so I saved them.

 

 

 

 

Testing for applique.

 

 

 

 

Getting an idea of how the tree will look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transferring the drawing of the tree.

 

 

 

 

 

Cut out and fused down.

 

 

 

 

Leaves have been cut out and placed for position.

 

 

 

 

All appliqued, embroidered, quilted, just about done.

Hugs to my polka dot friends!

Sometimes a Locker is Just a Locker

One more week and school starts.

Yesterday, my son and I dutifully scrambled over to the middle school to get his schedule, locker, locks, gym uniform and all the stuff that gets done a few days before school starts.

When we stepped through the door, we found a barrage of mom-volunteers, lined up with clip boards and boxes, maps of the school, directives and summaries of where to go and what to do.  Bless their hearts.

The noise was deafening, as parents (mostly moms) and students clamored to drag in their wheelbarrows full of school supplies, divvied up into copious plastic bags from Target or Dollar General or Walmart.

Some remembered our son from elementary school.  “Don’t worry,” they all shouted, “you’ll love it here.”  Good thing I’m not going to school any more.  I already hate it.

As we lumbered up the “up” stair case and down the hall, I saw a frantic mom “wallpapering” a locker.  Seriously.  I glanced at my son.  “Don’t even think about it,” he said without slowing down.

Others were furiously unpacking their child’s supplies, taking plastic wrap off of folders and loading up lockers.

When we reached my son’s locker, we opened to a yawning empty abyss. He could barely reach the one and only top shelf.  To the right of us, a mom and daughter team had just finished their remodeling job.

Her locker looked like my first apartment.

It was decked out like a California Closets ad.  She had a mirror…at the perfect height, a small organizer on the door and on the back wall, shelving, decorations and a tiny chandelier hanging from the top. (My first apartment did NOT have a chandelier). Her books and binders were all lined up neatly on the shelves. She flipped her hair and looked at me.

I looked back at my son who had managed to throw all his Target bags on top of one another on the floor of his locker and was shoving at the door trying to get it to close.

“Where did you get all that?”  I asked the mom on the right, shouting above the din.  She was on her cell phone.  “Container Store!” she yelled back.  “And they only have 9 more left!  My friend is picking up more shelving for us!  Call right away and they might reserve one for you!”

I sighed. It’s been 40 years since I was anywhere near 6th grade. I was not driving 20 miles to the nearest Container Store.

We trudged home.  “Don’t you think it would be nice to have some of those shelves?” I asked.  “Yeah,” he said.  “That would probably help.”

To be honest, I did not even know what to google.  Locker shelving? Locker organization? Locker stackers, as I heard someone refer to them?  I called the nearest Staples.

“Do you have any shelves for lockers?”

“Oh yes!  We have lots of pink ones!”

“Do you have any other colors?”

“hmmm…let me see…ummm…yes there’s one black one.  Maybe one more in black.”

“Good! Hold it for me, I’ll be right over!”

I have often wondered why our son just simply does not have huge organizational skills.  I don’t wonder any more.  Apparently it’s genetic.

But I’ll say this much:  At least today in school I learned something.

Here’s a pinterest link to locker organizers!

Multi-hoop project is quilted, bound and finished.

Multi-hoop project is quilted, bound and finished.

 

 

 

Second Half of the Polka Dot Fabric Arrived!

Your fabric should either be her or in the precious post!  All polka dot exchange fabric is shown...60 squares!

Your fabric should either be here or in the previous post! All polka dot exchange fabric has arrived…60 squares!

Well, the second half of the fabric has arrived, and I spent the morning pouring over the notes, and fabric and addresses (just to see where everything came from).  This whole event has been a fabulous experience…and I haven’t even started to work with the fabric!

Vilbert, Germany. Wisconsin. California. Illinois. Derry, Ireland. Canberra, Australia.

Then, of course, was the fabric square from Edyta Sitar, from Laundry Basket Quilts, who also participated and did a lot of promoting of the exchange on her blog.

edyta sitarAt this point, I have an idea of what I want to create with all of the polka dot fabric, but I need to work out exactly what I’m going to do…I’ll keep you posted.

Many thanks to everyone who participated and to Prairie Stitches for coordinating.  This has been a terrific experience and I hope we can inspire one another to great things with all of our polka dot creations!