Monday, July 13, 2015

Blog Hop Post

It's my turn to post for the New Blogger's Blog Hop.  I've been following the hop faithfully, (Even while I was on vacation in Europe!) and I already feel like I've made a lot of new friends.  I've learned a lot, technology-wise, too, and I've bookmarked a lot of stuff to look at later so I can even learn more. Those who know me well know that while I completely embrace technology as a tool, I also find it vastly - I was going to say annoying, but for the sake of being positive I'll go with - challenging..  As a former teacher I know that communication is one of my strongest points, but unlike with humans, I can't tell a machine what I want it to do, or even show it - I have to KNOW what to do, and there's the rub.  I often don't.  But I am determined to make my blog better and to utilize social media in a more - well, useful way. 

And, as in all my endeavors, I strive to be zen while doing it (which is perhaps the biggest challenge of them all...heck, it may never happen, but I'm not giving up). 

So while it's mainly about quilting, on my blog I often share the spiritual lessons I've learned from pursuing my art.  I've found that often the two converge in very interesting ways.

Sooo - about me, I live on a ranch in the middle of Texas, have been married to a transplanted Berkeley, California boy for 24 interesting, challenging and joy-filled years, and have one child, Jonas who is just about to spread his wings (literally, he wants to be a pilot) and go to university (a thousand miles away from home, I feel compelled to add). 

I've been obsessed with creating since my son was born (I think something opened up in my soul when I was pregnant) and specifically focused on quilting for thirteen years. 

I decided to share a few of my earliest projects with y'all, some I've never shown before.    

Here's an early one which currently hangs in my stairwell.  

I didn't really know what I was doing here, so there are lots of mistakes.  It's far from perfect, but I still like it.

Then there is the one I made early on for Jonas - it's faded from many washings, but still fun.  (The design is from a Mary Mashuta book, called Cotton Candy Quilts).

Love the modern look of this one - reminds me of the Jetsons.

Also, there is the (sadly) faded quilt I made for our bed, which I have loved all these years although it clearly needs replacing - I think it is the second quilt I made.  I've actually thought about trying to recreate it because I love it so much, but I'll admit it's difficult for me to make the same thing twice.

It was really bright colors when I made it.  Now it's faded and torn but I can't say goodbye to it yet!

So that's where I started, and you can check out my gallery tab to see where I am now.   All my quilts are self-designed, and many of them are art quilts, although lately I've been getting back to bed and lap quilts, too.  

Since I can't wait to get up in the morning and create, and I'm also a teacher through and through, I've decided to try to make it a business.   I'm really focusing on trying to make patterns, teaching, and I even have a book idea or two I'd like to pursue. I admit I have a hard time balancing creating with the developing of a business - I tend to be more focused on the making, not the marketing.  And - I'm trying to go about this is in a spiritual way - yes, I will set goals and attempt to achieve them, but at the same time, I'm not going to make it into some relentless pursuit of "an outcome."  I see every piece as a success, since I've learned something from each of them.  

My advice is (and this is hard-won, believe me):  When you're feeling frustrated and are not having fun, get up and take a walk, or just stop working for a while.  When you come back you'll be in a different frame of mind and problems will almost solve themselves.  And - don't be afraid to go with your gut.  If you like what you're doing in the moment, you'll like it when it's finished, too.  Be fearless - take that leap - the worst that can happen is you'll learn some new lesson (even if it's simply that you just don't like pink)!

I love to hang with my friends, I love to laugh, I love to read, discuss just about anything, and watch movies (all except horror and stupid puerile humor).   Oh, and something that people might not expect of me is that I'm really fascinated by all things science, but specifically by physics.  I won't say I completely grasp the subject, but I love reading about it. 

And a question for all of you out there:  What are some things you are/have been afraid to try, quilting-wise?  And if you braved it and tried it anyway, what was the result?  Can't wait to hear your answers!)

Thanks so much for stopping by and by all means, stop by the blogs of our supportive and talented sponsors

Stephanie Palmer at The Late Night Quilter
Yvonne Fuchs at Quilting Jet Girl
Cheryl at Mountain Mist Designs
Terri Ann at Childlike Fascination

as well as the rest of the blogs on the hop this week. (Yes, there are a lot of them, but yes, it's fun and you can do it!) Here are links to the my hive:

It's fabulous to meet and be inspired by others; it's one of the best thing about being part of the quilting community.  Hope to see y'all again, either in cyber-space or at some fun quilt show or class.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Well, it's a start, anyway...

Yippie - I'm back from my vacation and ready to get moving on some of my projects. Yesterday I actually got to spend a number of hours on my design for the Riley Blake Challenge, which was inspired by - yes - something I saw on my trip in Italy. I'm pretty excited about it, but as usual, I have literally no idea how I'm actually going to construct it.  The challenge is to try something you've never done before, so I'm trying paper piecing, but the design is pretty elaborate and I don't know if I can actually paper piece the entire thing.  So I think it's going to be both paper pieced and turned under applique, which is another thing I've never before tried.  I have one more drawing to complete and then I have to wait for more fabrics to arrive before I can begin.  
Am I cutting it close since the deadline is the end of this month?  Yes, absolutely.  But what's a girl to do?  I was so busy for several months before I left that I didn't have time to work on it , and then I was gone for a month ( in which a fabulous time was had; however it is a really long time to be away from home).  Anyway, I am determined to make my best effort to get it done in long as the fabric arrives soon I might just be able to pull it off.  I feel like I made a commitment and they sent me the free fabric and I need to do my absolute best to participate like I said I would.  Fingers and toes are crossed as I hopefully wait for it to arrive.
I also had a little down time while I was recovering from jet lag to work on a scrap quilt inspired by Amanda Jean's (Crazy Mom Quilts) Scrap Vortex quilt.  I'm just at the beginning stages, and I hope it will look as good in reality as it looks in my mind.   With a project like this, one can't be sure...

Here are the scraps, sorted by color and waiting to be used - it's already quite a vortex, isn't it?

The only problem is, I gave a lot of my scraps away and now I don't have as many as I thought I did, sooo it may end up being rather small...or I'll actually have to go begging to my sister (who graciously received many of said scraps) to please throw me a bone and give some of them back.  The irony of the situation is not lost on me - at the time, I thought I was dumping them on her, you see.  Ha - it seems karma is, indeed, karma.

Anyway, here is what I've gotten done so far:

Not much, but it's a start. But I have the entire afternoon to work on it, so I'm totally psyched. And also, it's fun, just a-sewin' and a-cuttin'.  

So happy to be linking up once again with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts once again, because I'm so (finally) back to the quilting party!