Thoughts on 2015

There is so much to think about when I think of all that was packed in to 2015. Last year challenged me pretty good in many ways. For awhile it felt a bit like I was the mole in the Whack a Mole game, getting whacked back down when I managed to pop out. It was a whirlwind of a year, with a good amount of heartache, losing both of my beloved Grandparents 6 months apart and facing some other challenges I did not expect. However, looking back there is so much to be thankful for. My kids are happy and healthy, we did some fun things as a family this year and I think with all of the challenges I managed to grow a bit in positive ways. This year also gave some clarity to what I want more of, and less of, in my life. I got to sew a bunch and often with very nice people which was wonderful. I love how much peace and comfort sewing gives me. Here are some of my favorite things I made this year...

This Honu (Hawaiian for turtle) was for a sweet friend's new baby. I used the pattern from BoTwal found here.  I modified the shell pattern to make it patchwork and used wool stuffing which worked really nicely.

I finally finished my Weekender!! My sweet friend Irene and I started these last spring and finally finished them in October! What I learned form this project is you can really make things more difficult by getting stuck in your own head. Everything I have read about this pattern is how difficult it is so I took that to heart and made it so much harder than it had to be. Honestly, it is not as much difficult as it is a project you have to slow down and work your way through with patience. You cannot rush this if you want nice results. And for goodness sake get a piping foot. So much easier. I love this bag. It makes me happy every time I use it!

My Christmas quilt! I could not love this quilt more. It is the Tree farm Quilt which can be found on the Moda website. I used a white background fabric that has little pearlized dots of varying sizes and they look like sparkly snow. The colors are all the colors that speak Christmas to me and I had a blast making it. I pieced the top at Sewtopia in November which was an amazing experience. I met the nicest people, I felt totally pampered and laughed the whole weekend. It was so refreshing being with a crowd of people all brought together by a shared love and all there to have a great time.  When I look at this quilt I think of all the great feelings I felt that weekend and the wonderful people who made it such a magical experience.

I started painting again. I have a degree in Fine Arts and spent many years painting. This year I bought some nice paints and made it a point to just paint for painting's sake. Just to enjoy the process. Sometimes I liked the results, sometimes I didn't but i always enjoyed the process. Mixing colors, moving the paint around, experimenting, just being in the moment. I have realized that there is so much emphasis on product and not process and I think I was feeling really shortchanged by myself in focusing so much on the end result.

In thinking about the importance of process and being in the moment, I started an improv quilt, my first but it won't be my last. The only rule was that there were no rules. I grabbed fabric and sewed and sliced and tried to feel my way through, making choices that made me feel good.  One little bit at a time, not thinking about where it would all end up. In the end the product made me as happy as the process and it is one of my very favorite quilts ever. A very talented quilter is quilting it right now and is doing some amazing things to it. I can't wait to see what she does- so far it feels like a perfect compliment to my intention for this quilt.

Sewing with wool.  I couldn't quite get enough of wool sewing this year. It feels good, the colors are beautiful, it is soft and has a meatiness to it that I don't get with quilting fabric. Loving the wool right now!

The magical rope bowl. My friend Irene showed me how to make these. And then I found people online doing some beautiful things with them like Tia at tiacurtisquilts.blogspot.com who wrapped her rope with fabric and got me going in that direction. You can turn some rather unimpressive not at all attractive rope into something beautiful and useful!  Making these is addicting because it is so relaxing. listening to the machine thump along while you sew rope in a circle clears my head in the best of ways. I will be putting together a post of tips and tricks and what I have learned because so many have asked and I would be happy to share what I have learned. 

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So here is what I learned this year:

Slow down. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the process.

Make time to do things that you love that feed your soul. If you can, find wonderful people who want to do those things too and share time with them.

There are things you can control and things you can't . Find a way to work those things you can't control into your life in a way that won't break you. I think about when I would body surf in Hawaii and sometimes you would just get pounded by a wave and if you fought it, it was even worse. if I could go all boneless and let the water take me where it was going to anyway, and be patient, I would end up where I needed to go, not too much worse for wear.

One day at a time. Sometimes one part of a day at a time. 

Put love out there. Don't let people take your sparkle and worse yet, don't squelch it yourself!

Here is to 2016- I hope I can remember what I have felt and learned this year and build on it in meaningful ways. Cheers!

it's Giveaway Day!!

Edited: The winners are Taryn and Jenna! I have emailed you both so get me your addresses and I will be sending you each a kit!  Thank you to everyone for playing along!

Welcome!! I always enjoy Giveaway Day- the giving and discovering of new blogs and creative people out there. For this Giveaway Day I am going to give two embroidery kits from my shop to two winners. In the comments below please tell me which kit you would love to win from the photos below. winners will be announced on Friday evening! Link here back to sewmamasew.com!

Beautiful stars!


2 quilts finished this weekend in my Hothouse Flowers line. One for each color way. I love how this line looks all together but I thought it might be fun to have one for each.  This gorgeous, fast and fun pattern is the work of the talented Kira over at La Bella Colori.  I recently participated in the mini quilt swap put on by Schnitzel and Boo which was so much fun and the quilts people made were so fantastic. I saw Kira's on our Flickr group and fell in love! I emailed her to gush over her beautiful quilt and ask if she had the pattern in a bigger size. She did not but was so dear to put it all together so we can all have these quilts! This pattern is addictive and I love that the larger pieces allow the prints to shine. I am collecting Christmas fabrics for my next one. She is so kind and wonderful that she is sharing the pattern and you can find it right here: Bel Fiore Star Quilt.  You can also see her original gorgeous quilt that started all of this!

Winner winner turkey dinner!

With the help of my kids we have a winner of the fat quarters! Hey kid, pick a number between 1 and 37-the number she chose was...2! So congrats Laurel! Send me your address and I will get them in the mail for you.
 Here is my new favorite recipe. It takes so little time and it is reasonably cheap and the kids go nuts for these. Here is how you make what I am calling Turkey Sliders:
1.Go to Trader Joes and buy the following:
Pull apart rolls
turkey gravy
cornbread and sausage stuffing
cranberry sauce (aka really thick and delicious jam. It is basically jam!)
turkey lunch meat

2. Slice the top off the rolls to make a top and a bottom.
3.Heat the stuffing and then spread it over the bottom half of the rolls. That's right people- put a layer of hot yummy stuffing bread on the other bread.
4.drizzle gravy over the stuffing.
5. Add a layer of turkey slices that you have heated a bit in the microwave
6. Drizzle a bit more gravy.
7. Put the whole thing in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.
8. Take out of oven and cut into the squares using the rolls as a guide.
Add cranberry if you are so inclined.
They also heat up really nice for breakfast- not that you will have any leftovers! You are welcome.

Welcome + a giveaway!

If you are popping over from Sew Mama Sews Handmade Holiday then Welcome! Handmade Holidays is one of my favorite online holiday traditions and I am so happy to be a part of it this year.
I hope you like the list of tutorials I put together. I got a start on some of my sewing and made this adorable Tea Time Trivet from Rashida Coleman Hale- it's on the list I put together for today. I also have a Daschund Pencil Case from Jessica Abbott  in the works and it is the cutest pattern!
 I love the idea of these gifts being a jumping off point- the tea time trivet is perfect packaged with some of my favorite tea and some cute teacups and I have some amazing Japanese pens to go in the pencil case. On my sidebar over there on the right there is a list of printables just for you including a few different designs of tags, cards and the recipe cards I showed on Saturday. And in the spirit of all this holiday fun, I am giving away a set of fat quarters of my new line, Hothouse Flowers. Just leave me a comment telling me something you can't wait to make for Christmas or the best gift someone has made for you. I will draw a name next week.

Tis the Season!

I love Christmas! Really though what I love is the Christmas Season. I love the lights on the houses and happy holiday music and getting to gather with friends and families in such a festive way. The actual day is nice but I am not a big fan of the consumerism that goes along with that. I think, as sewists and crafters and makers, it is a wonderful time to get to use those skills for those we care about. (But of course you already know that!) One of the things I love to do is put treats together for all of our neighborhood friends. Usually cookies or baked goods though this year I am going to try some of those soup in a jar starters. I made these free printable recipe cards for all of you to use in your gift and treat giving too.
 When I give plates of cookies I like to use pretty thrifted plates I find and use bakers twine to attach the recipe card.  I think since the jars of dry soup fixins are pretty self explanatory I can print out the cheesey biscuit recipe to make with it. (oh my gosh or just eat plates and plates of cheesey biscuits. Tooooo yummy.) 
The recipe cards come in two sizes: 4 x 6 and 3 x 5. You can download them here:

                                                                    3 x 5 download here
                                                                
                                                                    4 x 6 download here

A note about printing: make sure you are printing it as "actual size" so they print out how you expect them to. The 3 x 5 print four to a page and the 4 x 6 print two to a page. I printed mine on cardstock with a subtle glittery finish. (if you look carefully you can see it in the photos above) It dulls the colors a little but looks nice. They would work equally well printed on nice bright white cardstock. I hope you enjoy them! They are for your own personal use and are not to be sold. (I feel like I have to say that because I have run into that recently with a free giveaway so sorry to sound naggy!)  If you have a minute (and have read this far!) let me know in the comments what your favorite holiday treat is- I am always looking for new yummy recipes to try!


           
                            

Introducing Hothouse Flowers!

 
 
I am so thrilled to introduce Hothouse Flowers to all of you! This is my new collection with Andover and it should be in stores by November.  Hothouse is a collection that has been a long time coming and now that it is here, I could not be happier with how it turned out- I hope you feel the same way!
Hothouse Flowers is all about the growing season where the world starts to pop with color and fragrance and life after a long winters rest. I was inspired by gorgeous blooms, dewey spider webs and the scattering of seeds that bloom where they are planted. This collection reminds me of the warm evenings and bright mornings of my favorite time of year.
 

 There are two colorways that work beautifully together. (my camera is on it's last leg so I wish the photos were a bit better but they will do!) I love bright beautiful colors and it is always a little nerve wracking to see if the factory can hit the hues I love. I can say that they hit these colors perfectly! The dark purple on that floral with the orange in the top row is so beautiful in real life. And the oranges are so rich and lovely. Truly the colors can't really be captured in photos.
 I had a small window to knock out a few samples and thank goodness for my amazing friends who come at a moments notice to help! I love this mini quilt- Violet made most of it and then Gibby stepped in and I finished it. Such a sweet collaboration over a day of sewing, giggling and eating.
 This is my quilt in process. It is the free pattern that goes with the line and can be found here.  The solid base is Andover's new chambray and it is a lovely fabric to work with. I sent this off for quilting by the lovely Krista and she blew my mind with what she did- can't wait to have photos to share!
 This pillow felt like the rays of the sun to me. I can't get over how much I love these colors!
 My first try at applique- I am so happy with this little purse- though I am thankful you can't see it up close- I need some practice! The base of this is a gorgeous wool. I am having a wool love affair right now- must be fall!
                                         Some more samples by the lovely Irene and Gibby.

Here is the whole stack. I truly hope this collection makes you happy and I can't wait to see what you sew with it! If you are going to Market please come by the Andover booth and take a look!

Seahorse Embroidery Pattern

 
Embroidery is one of those things that I love to do anywhere anytime. In fact, that is one of the reasons I love it so much- you can do it anywhere and anytime. My hands like to be busy. If we are in the car I love to have something to do with my hands- it used to be knitting but I found that a dropped stitch here or there because I was only half paying attention sometimes was really annoying. Embroidery is perfect because you always know just where you are.  I handed out these patterns at Spring Market and would love to share this with you now. The pattern to download is
 
 
Here it is all sewn up into a pillow.
 
 

Embroidery was something I have enjoyed since I was a child. It is one of the first bits of sewing I taught my own kids to do. The colors you can get of embroidery floss make me so happy and the feel of the stitches on the fabric is so satisfying. I am working on a line of embroidery patterns that I hope to have out this fall. For now, I hope you get started on your own stitchy seahorse!

Sources

 I have been meaning to do a post linking to all the stuff people asked about in my booth at Market in May. I continue to get emails asking about these things so here is a post of links and sources. That green chair above was purchased at World Market. People loved that chair! The wall color is Reclining Green from Sherwin Williams paint. I had more comments on that paint! It is the color of our living room and dining room at home. I love it a whole lot. The pictures don't do it justice- it is almost Tiffany Blue but better.
 If you want to make this hanging vase there is a tutorial for it that I did for the Sew Mama Sew blog which you can find by clicking here.  They take hardly any time to make and are just my favorite to have hanging around. Super quick easy gift idea.
Here it is hanging off the bench that I borrowed from my living room. The little covered ottoman on the right was purchased at Target.com and I covered it with fabric. Look in their ottoman clearance- good deals and easy to personalize.


The dresses- The one on the left is the Emmaline pattern by Violette Fields. You could make this dress out of burlap and it would still be as sweet. The pattern is the perfect mix of girl sweetness and ruffles without beating you over the head with them. The patterns are well written and their style is so lovely. The dress on the mannequin on the right I sewed up without a pattern a few days before Market so I can't link to anything there. It gave me a chance to use some of my stash of vintage trims which I was happy about.


 The basket on the lower shelf of the table that held my embroidery patterns was from the wonderful tutorial over at Pink Penguin. It is the perfect pattern for so many things. My lovely friends Irene and Liz each made me one to use for the booth. They are so sweet and practical.
This quilt here was the bell of the ball and was made by my sweet friend Elizabeth. I love that I had some of her magic in my booth with me all weekend. Now it is at home in my living room and I still can't get over how much I love it! The leaves are raw edge applique using the template from her first book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork. If you don't have that book you should have it- it is a fantastic resource.
So that should do it! Hopefully I included the information you have been curious about! I have been getting a lot of emails so if I didn't cover something let me know. Oh- the only other thing is the candy I was handing out at my booth was a big hit and you can find it here. I had people come by just for candy and more than one called them "crack mints". EW. written out it looks like the wrong kind of crack- so let's just say they were addicting!

Summer embroidery for you

Hello and welcome if you are popping over from Pink Chalk!  Summer is just rolling along with all of it's charms. I have been in an embroidery mood for some time so I thought I would share this embroidery pattern with you. (You can find the pillow pattern in the delightful Pillow Pop book by Heather Bostic that came out last spring.) The embroidery on it is from one of my Full Moon Lagoon prints. You could reduce it and put it on a kitchen towel or keep it the same size and sew it on a skirt. That's what I love about embroidery- you can do it anywhere!
Here is the link to the embroidery pattern- urchin embroidery pattern. I did it all in simple split stitch.
Enjoy and happy summer!

Summer Breeze Quilt- tutorial link at bottom of post!

 Not only is this quilt absolutely gorgeous, it has a nice story. Several months ago I received an email from a woman named Julianna with kind words about the line and an image of a quilt she made that she thought Full Moon Lagoon would be perfect for. She and I hit it off and I ended up sending her some fabric and she ended up making this stunning quilt and through it all I found a new friend. She lives in Poland and my Grandma was born there so it was a nice connection. Julianna is a tremendously talented sewer and a lovely person and  I feel so lucky that our paths crossed!  After she created the top she sent it on to Krista in Seattle. Krista is a Genius Longarm Magician who does breathtaking work. I want to make quilts just so Krista can quilt them so I can see what she will come up with! This spot on the quilt is one of my favorites. Julianna appliqued this jellyfish on with amazing precision and Krista filled in around it with the most delightful bubbles. I must have pointed this particular spot out on this quilt to half of the people who came into my booth!
 Here it is so you can see the whole thing. The lighting was so weird in the convention center that it made picture taking a bit challenging but I think you get the point. Gorgeous! All of those appliques came from the panel print except the starfish which she cut out of one of the prints.
                                         

Here is the good news- Julianna was kind enough to create a tutorial for this quilt so you can make your own! Follow this link here: Summer Breeze Quilt . And while you are over there check out her other work and prepare to have your mind blown a little.


Quilt Market- part one!

As soon as I heard that Market would be in my neck of the woods I knew I wanted to jump in and do my first booth- thankfully my wonderful husband thought that seemed like a good idea too!  He ended up getting some new power tools out of it so that made him happy.  These booth walls he built sure looked HUGE in our garage!
 Originally I had intended to have a new line of sewing patterns to debut at Market but the Universe had other plans and I ended up with a nasty bout of double pneumonia for over a month that put the pattern development on hold. They will be out in the next couple of months and I am glad I didn't rush them out as rushed patterns are probably not very good ones! Because of the pneumonia I left the building of the walls to my husband and my kids while I laid on the couch. He spent a nice long afternoon teaching our daughter how to use a drill and build. It was really sweet and she was so happy to get to help. This whole thing really felt like a family affair with everyone chipping in and supporting the efforts. That was such a nice thing to experience with my family.
Set up day came and we loaded up the UHaul! Dusty did not like all of the activity and moving of things and tried to go to the convention center with us. He kept jumping up into the truck and was sort of stressed out by the whole thing. Doesn't he look cute with his summer shave? I love that dog. The best was when we got to the convention center and I hopped out of the truck at the loading dock and there was Rashida! So fun to see her right of the bat- got me in a fun Quilt Market mood!
 Wow set up was hard work! Hauling those beautiful though drastically overbuilt giant heavy walls the very long walk through completely obstructed aisleways in the convention center was wild. At one point we found a cart and, ignoring the laws of physics loaded the three wheeled cart with some of these walls and they ended up falling on me. Pretty good learning curve for these rookies!

  
Finally!! Hours later we finally had the walls in and the carpet down. That was pretty much day one! Thankfully we had another day to set up. Hanging quilts took way longer than I thought but we managed to get everything just how I wanted it by dinner time.
 
 Here is how we left it the end of day two. I was excited and tired at this point and a little nervous for the show to actually start. I had no idea how much fun I was going to have!
Tomorrow part two: the quilts!