Category Archives: life

Lessons from Quilts Trunk Show

Last Friday several ladies from my mom’s group came to my house for a trunk show.  Several of the women recently started quilting & had heard I was a quilter & were very interested in seeing my work.  So 5 ladies, 7 babies & many cups of tea filled our living room that beautiful morning!

I gathered most of my quilts from various places in the house (closets, quilt racks, boxes, backs of chairs, beds, & cribs) & chose my “favorite” quilts I wanted to chat about.

I knew in planning my talk that I wanted to share more than just the stats about the quilt.  I mean, there’s so much more to a quilt than what fabric I used, what pattern I chose & how I quilted it.  I wanted to share my story through the quilts & my thoughts on quilting as a hobby or vocation.

It was a wonderful experience to share from my first to my most recent quilt & be able to talk about who I was at the time I made it.

Because, when we create we are invited to learn a new piece about ourselves.  And when we continue to create, we are able to remember who we are.

I could go on & on about last line, in fact, I think I will in a bit (I hear Teapot waking up….)

I didn’t get any pics of the trunk show, but after everyone left there was a heap of quilts in the middle of the living room & Teapot took to climbing & hugging the pile.  Or actually this pic might have been after all the playing when she was tired (but not too tired to actually nap!)

Teapot on the quilts from Ormond Beach Quilts
 

Random Thoughts on Tuesday

  • We’re all moved into our new home!  (well mostly, you know, there are always things to be done…)
  • I have a studio again, & it’s wonderful to be able to work in a good usable space.
  • I have (almost) mastered quilting in one hour bursts.
  • I’ve been piecing string blocks since they require little thought & can easily be picked up/put down.
  • It is a fact that no mater how many string blocks you piece, your stash of strips will never decrease.  I have pieced 20+ blocks & still have two shoe boxes full of strings.
  • Teapot is ten months old today!
  • I found this Piece of Cake dress from Anna Maria Horner that I *need* to make for her. (& while you’re looking at that picture, scroll on down to the Paper Fan Dress!  Adorable!)
  • I finished two UFOs in February!  Once the weather isn’t so glum, I’ll take some pictures outside.
  • I’ve been quilting beautiful cross stitched & embroidered quilts for customers!  Seriously, my clients give me the most amazing pieces to quilt.

Happy Tuesday everyone!  (& if you’re in the path of another snow storm or winter weather- stay warm & safe!)

Hats!

I finished Teapot’s hat yesterday & have a picture of the hat for my friend’s baby:

hats

It’s a free pattern from Gros.  I used Fortissima Socka for my friend’s hat & Dream in Color Smooshy (colorway Go Go Grassy) for Teapot’s & size US 1.5 & 2 needles.  I made the 6 month size for my friend & 2 years for Teapot.  (I knit quite tightly & she must knit very loosely.  Or Teapot just has a huge head.  She probably just has a huge head.)

Here it is on Teapot.  It’s even cuter in person.  (But isn’t it crazy how well the 2 years old size hits her!  I guess I could check the gauge…..)

Megan hat Megan Aldi

It was very addictive to knit.  I could make another.  But all my yarn is at the new house & it’s really cold out.

Ok, well it’s not as cold as some parts of the country (-30 wind chill!  Yikes!), but it’s pretty cold for Virginia so we’re going to be lazy & stay home.

And once I’ve finished knitting the dress for Teapot I’ve got started, perhaps I should pack the kitchen.  Sheesh I hate packing kitchens.  They’re the worst.  Worse than studios full of fabric & yarn.  Fabric & yarn can just be thrown in boxes & you don’t have to worry about anything breaking.  Kitchen stuff is breakable & oddly shaped.

Random Thoughts on Tuesday Morning

– We’re in the middle of moving to our new house & my studio is now at the other house.
– It’s snowing & generally nasty today.  Since NOVA folks aren’t the most adept at winter driving, we’re staying in today.  This means I’m knitting (& apparently blogging.)
– I’ve almost finished a cute hat for Teapot.  I first made one for a friend’s baby & it was so addictive, I had to cast on a second immediately.

– Back to moving, I really dislike moving
– After moving the studio twice in 18 months I’ve realized…
– I have a lot of quilts that need to be quilted
– I have a lot of quilts I’m in the middle of piecing
– I have a lot of sewing projects (this one surprised me.  I didn’t think I was much of a sewer.  Clearly there’s disconnect between my thoughts & reality.)
– In general I have too much stuff
– Therefore things are quickly leaving the studio

Would anyone be interested in a giveaway of some patterns & threads?

2014

What an amazing year this was!

  • I had a baby
  • I started selling my patterns
  • I started teaching kids how to sew through collage & improv sewing…
  • We bought a house…
  • I grew my longarming business…
  • We started moving…
  • I think somewhere in there I quilted 3 personal UFOs… (make that 4 actually.  Yeah, I’ll blog about the other 2 eventually!)

Whew!  That was a lot!

I’m very excited about 2015!

  • We’ll finish moving (yay!!!!)
  • I’ll have a new studio space (it’s be-oooo-tiful!)
  • A mobile baby (yikes!)
  • New patterns to publish (exciting!)
  • Will begin teaching private lessons (yay!  One long term goal finally achieved!)
  • Will continue teaching kids thru Art at the Center (this makes my heart happy)

I can’t thank you enough for all your support this year- new clients who trusted me with their quilts, those who purchased patterns from me and those who kept reading this blog even while I posted intermittently.  Your support means so much to me & I can’t wait for what 2015 brings!

happy-new-year-2015-20286

 

Big Chalk Draw

One of the advantages of moving around is that I’m constantly meeting people smarter than myself that challenge my thinking in ways I never imagined.

This move back to Virginia led me to met Kathryn who runs Art at the Center.  Aside from teaching me the wonders of process art & inspiring me creatively in innumerable ways, I admire her pursuit of community art.

Last Friday she hosted the “Big Chalk Draw” & Teapot & I walked down to join them at the insanely early hour of 8am (we take mornings easy around here.)  We discovered the parking lot empty of cars & filled with buckets of sidewalk chalk.  Parents & kids had already started drawing and the parking lot was slowly being remade into a giant canvas.

Here’s a labyrinth (they’re nuts about labyrinths at A@TC!  You should really read Kathryn’s musings on them):

Chalk Labyrinth at the Big Chalk Draw

I added a chalk quilt- a simple sampler quilt with nine different basic quilt blocks:

Chalk Quilt at the Big Chalk Draw

Before we left though, I noticed that someone/someone’s had added to my quilt:

Chalk Quilt After at the Big Chalk Draw

I love their blocks!  See that middle block on the third row from the top?  I envision enlarging that & turning it into a baby quilt!

On the way home I was thinking about the morning & here are my thoughts:
– Art was built upon art.  I may have started a drawing, but it was fair game to be added upon & become something new.  This didn’t ruin my work- just changed it.  I wonder what new things we would discover if we approached more situations like this in our lives.

– You can always start something if you’re willing to move to a new place in the parking lot.  I’m guilty of this- I get in my comfort zone & I don’t want to move, but if I just scooted 2 feet, I’d find the opportunity to work on a new project in a new light.

– Most drawings start with a line.  A LINE people!  A simple little line.  You don’t need some impressive plan in your head, you just need to start with a line.  We can take this into the quilting world too- what if we just started a quilt with a block & looked to see where it can take us?

– Draw with your kids.  I noticed striking moments of bonding when kids & parents worked together on a drawing.  The art connected them together in a new way.  They both contributed to the final piece.  They were both makers for something that wouldn’t have been without both of them.

Finally, here’s a time lapse video of the entire morning in 2 1/2 minutes!

Improv Tea Cozy

Around week 39 of pregnancy I suddenly couldn’t stand coffee.  I tried for about two days to choke down the stuff, but I finally gave up & made some tea- I’ve been drinking tea ever since.

I’ll give everyone a moment to process that- I’m not drinking coffee anymore!  (And I haven’t completely lost my marbles!)

I realized a tea cozy would be helpful to keep my tea from going cold in the mornings & a few weeks ago I had the sudden need to do some improv piecing, so I decided to finally make the cozy.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used the template and basic directions from Lily’s Quilts.   Which was an excellent tutorial!  (Although it I were to make this again I’d tweak the template to fit my teapot better.)  For the piecing I used a foundation piecing technique with my scrap batiks.  (I keep all my batik scraps, no matter how small- batiks are far too expensive to be throwing away the remnants.)

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
There was little planning involved with the piecing, I just pulled fabric out of the scrap bin & looked to see how I could incorporate it into the design.  It came together quickly & was just the freeing type of creativity I needed that day.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I knew I wanted tight quilting & I threw the pieces onto the longarm with some Warm & Natural batting scraps & did some straight line quilting approx. 1/4″ apart using Bottom Line thread in silver/gray.  Some lines are closer than others, basically I just winged it, wanting the same freeing quilting experience.

For the lining I used some old teapot fabric from my mom’s stash that was a Mary Engelbreit or Debbie Mumm design from the 90s.  Not my favorite & doesn’t match in the least, but hey, it’s a tea cozy lining- let’s not get too uptight about things.

For the binding I used some leftovers from some project I can’t remember but I made waaaaay too much for!  I used a machine binding technique since my hand sewing time is precious.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
Overall I’m incredibly pleased with how this turned out- I love coming into the kitchen in the mornings & looking at my beautiful tea cozy!  And it’s been very effective in keeping my tea warm so three cheers for my idea working out in reality!

 

Camera Case & A Little Story About Me

J recently got me a new camera.  Nothing big & fancy, just a small point & shoot, perfect for tossing in the diaper bag or my back pocket.

Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

Obviously it needed a case with my tendency to toss things in the bag of the day, & I’m never quite happy with the selection of cases, & there’s my “be a maker not a consumer” philosophy, so last weekend I dug through my stash & drafted a nifty pattern.

Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

I’m pretty pleased with how it came out.  I’ve never made a zipper pull like that before & while it was a bugger to make (note to self, leave 2″ of zipper at end, not 1″), it adds the professional touch I wanted.
Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

I pre-quilted the pieces with straight line quilting on my domestic machine.  Normally I would have done the quilting on my longarm, but the pieces were so small it wasn’t worth the time.

Speaking of my domestic machine, here’s a story you might find humorous.  Do you know I have a degree in Economics?  Even studied it in grad school.  At one time I wanted to research Labor Economics, but I decided to move to Alaska (yeah, that’s another story.)  Anyways, the point is that I’m from the business/finance world & I never even took Home Ec in high school.  So when I decided to leave that & become a longarmer, let’s just say there were some transitions to be made.  I remember coming home from my first longarming convention & telling J “these people kept talking about their domestic machine & I don’t get it.”  He gave me an appropriate stare.  I went on to say “I can’t think of any sewing machines that’s made in America anymore- they’re manufactured overseas.  Any anyways, I have a Pfaff, it’s German.” (Well *mine* was made in Germany, but let’s not get into that discussion right now).  He then burst out laughing.  I still didn’t get it.  (You do of course, right?)  Yes, he had to explain to me that it’s not an issue of foreign/domestic, it’s an issue of a machine made for commercial versus domestic use.

Yeah.  I know.  I love quilting & longarming life, but there’s still a part of me that thinks like an economist!

 

The Sweet Mystery Quilt

Sweet Mystery Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

Here is the sweet mystery quilt I talked about in the last post!

I finished up the binding during a sew day with a good friend & somehow managed to sew on the binding while holding Teapot.  (Granted it took about 4 hours, but I still got it sewn!)

Sweet Mystery Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

So here’s the story of this quilt (I honestly can’t remember if I’ve shared this, so here it is again.)

I picked quilting back up while living in Alaska right after getting married & right before J deploying (circa 2006).  I spent the bulk of his taking classes & having a permanent quilting retreat in our dining room- you know just making the best of the situation.

During that time I discovered the quilting groups on YahooGroups (ahhh, YahooGroups, life before Facebook groups!)  One group I joined hosted mystery quilts throughout the year & I knew they were going to have one over Christmas.   This seemed like a great idea in October, before J had come home & I picked out my fabric (completely from stash!).  Then J came home, then Thanksgiving happened, then it was Christmastime & somehow life exploded into us hosting a wine tasting on Christmas Eve & then Christmas dinner for anyone & everyone who didn’t have a place. (Side note here, this is the aspect of military life I love- the impromptu family gatherings where one person/family creates a homey atmosphere with an open invitation.  I still remember who came to that dinner & the coziness that filled our home.  One couple is now married with a little baby, another friend lives near us & we still see her regularly, another woman we haven’t kept up with her, but I think about her.)

Ok, back to the quilt story, so we had a lot going on between the Christmas Eve wine tasting & Christmas dinner complete with turkey & me being me of course, still wanted to participate in this mystery quilt!  So between cleaning, cooking & being social, I pieced this quilt as the clues were released.  Needless to say I was exhausted at the end of the weekend & I had to go back to work on the 26th (I was working in Finance at the time & I swear all major holidays fall at the beginning of month-end or the end of month-end!) & then it just sat as a flimsy (unquilted top) for years!!  This was partly because I had one block turned wrong & it needed to be fixed & I was too distracted with other things to make that change & partly because I had grand custom quilting plans.

But now we’re here & my studio is small & I really need to make some space so I decided to quilt it with an edge to edge design (popcorn!) & move on.  This decision was incredibly freeing!  It gave me the motivation to switch that one block around & pop the quilt on the frame & get it done!  In the end I must say, having it done is much better than waiting to come up with the “perfect” custom quilting design & the Popcorn design adds to the sweetness of this quilt.

Sweet Mystery Quilt by Ormond Beach Quilts

The timing of coming to this realization & finishing this quilt seemed to be almost kismet.  My friend that joined me on that sew day knew a midwife who was gathering supplies to take with her to Haiti.  The timing couldn’t have been better & it serves to remind me that things do happen in time for their own reasons.

Meet Teapot!

Baby on Western Star

I’ve been waiting & waiting to write this post & here it is!  On May 3, I gave birth to our little girl, affectionately known as “Teapot.” ( Our little one was in a funky position shortly before birth & while the Midwife was trying to figure out what she was doing, one of the midwifery students (also our Doula) said she’s “kinda like a teapot.”  I loved the name the moment I heard it!)

Life is pretty darn amazing now around here!  We’ve been spending the past 2 1/2 weeks snuggling, napping, nursing, changing diapers, & mostly taking it easy.  Mornings are my favorite times (yes, you did read that correctly!) now & I love to wake up just to see her smile & squirm!

I’m still taking a break from quilting, but every week we’re able to do more, so who knows, maybe I’ll be back in the studio next week?  In the meantime I *plan* to post pictures of quilts I’ve longarmed but have never shared!  (please keep in mind I *planned* to write this post for over one week!)

*this newborn photo was taken by a sweet friend, Jennifer Larkin, if you’re in the DC Metro area, I highly recommend her!