Well look who sucks at blogging these days. That would be me. And my Aunt Susan, but I'm mostly just talking about me right now. And don't ask about the title for this post, we've just been watching a bit too much Toy Story 2 around here lately.
I've always appreciated getting the business end of current events out in the open before moving on to lighter topics. So let's get on with it:
Effective today, on its first birthday, I've stepped down from my role at www.writeclickscrapbook.com and have handed over the reigns to the very capable and very creative Elizabeth and Marnie and the rest of the growing WCS editorial team. This was a very emotional, hugely tough decision to make but it needed to be done. I'm very proud of what our entire team has accomplished and I'm honored to have been part of such an amazing adventure. The three of us took an idea and made it happen and watched it grow, and, well, it's not every day you get to say that about an idea. Thank you, Marnie and Elizabeth, for everything.
And if you've been a reader of mine for a while, you might have noticed a pattern over the last year or so. I closed my photography business, I stepped down from the Studio Calico design team, I've left WCS, and now I'm signing off here for an indefinite long while. The pattern is time with my family, my three kids who never stop growing and changing and surprising me with their wit and wonder. One day, not long ago, I realized that so much of their growth the past several years was captured in photos and the random scrapbook page, but not in my own personal memory bank. Maybe it's just that I'm over 40 and my brain capacity is maxed out, or maybe it's just how things are with three kids and constant chaos. Or maybe it's that I haven't really been fully present in my family, distracted by the computer and various deadlines. If I can't remember so much of their toddlerhoods, do they remember me being a part of it?
I'm going to step away from the computer - an e-break - and get down on the floor with my kids and suck up every last drop of their youth while I can. I will still scrapbook and photograph and quilt, but at my own pace and without anyone's expectations but my own. I'm looking forward to working much harder on being the wife and mother I desire to be and that my family deserves.
My first post here was on November 8, 2005. So much has changed in my life since then and so much of that has been documented here. And I'm thankful for that. Thankful for your kind words when times were tough, for your support and encouragement in the things I've accomplished, and for your laughing at all the right times. Thank you, friends and family, for everything.
So this is sort of an open-ended so long, a good-bye without the bye, just the good. And a few photos of the quilt I recently finished for my brother who continues to struggle in his own life. I hope that when he receives this quilt and wraps it around himself that he feels the love and caring that his stupidhead big sister put into making it and then washing it free of cooties:
For the front, I was inspired by this quilt which is made with 5x5 charm squares, with half of them cut in half. I pulled all the blues from my stash and cut them into 5" strips and then into either 5" or 2.5" lengths and sewed them together in coin-like strips with grey sashing (Kona Ash). The binding is strips of the blue fabrics from the quilt and I did straight-line quilting on either side of the vertical seams. The whole thing came together quite easily and it has turned out to be the largest quilt I've made to date. I love how it turned out and I think my brother will, too.
Here's a close-up of the front and then a photo of the back for which I used a queen-sized flat sheet from IKEA in a solid dark blue. No fancy piecing on the back this time around:
I have had the pleasure once again to play around with some fun new Stampin' Up! products. Their Summer Mini Catalog is out now and chock full of adorable goodies like:
These darling wee stamps that go perfectly with these darling wee punches that punch paper like a hot knife through butter:
That work together to make layouts:
and easy-peasy cards:
Stampin' Up! is also introducing with this summer's Mini Catalog their own line of spray mists called Smooch Spritz that works very coolly with their new Designer Series paper line called Presto Patterns, and they even have a cool cardboard Color Catcher for spraying your projects so you don't end up with Smooched carpet or fingers. I used the Gold Glow Smooch Spritz on a sheet of their Presto Patterns paper for the background behind the photo in the layout above. Just spray directly on the paper and wipe off with a paper towel to reveal the design. Very easy!
One of the things I love about Stampin' Up! products is how easily they work with the stuff in my stash. Their colors are great, their stamps are versatile and fun, and there's always something in their catalogs that I never knew I needed. Love that.
I've also heard that Stampin' Up! is retiring nearly half of their colors and introducing a whole bunch of new ones with the release of the new 2010-2011 catalog and I'm so eager to see them all. Can't wait!
And while I'm on the subject if adorable mini things, check out my quickie summery mini quilt project:
I cut center pieces 4 x 4 and then cut 3" strips from various orange, green, yellow and while fabrics. It's the perfect size for the stroller or a bit of tummy time. I was inspired by this quilt. And I have enough strips and squares left over to make at least one more quilt and maybe a matching pillow. I love this cheerful, summery color combo, don't you?
My Saint Brigid cross quilt is finished and I seriously love it. The pattern was simple and the results are so lovely. I did the back with a pink and purple yardage with some of the strips added in for good measure. I did an all-over free-motion loopy quilting pattern that I really enjoy doing. Time to curl up for a good book and a cup of tea.
And now that my cousin has this quilt in her hands I can finally share the final results! I loved making this quilt and I'm so happy Elizabeth loves it as much as I do. This was my first nine-patch and I had fun playing around with the possibilities. If you look closely, I threw in a random mixed-up block in each row, and decided to sash between rows to give the eye some rest. All the patterned fabric is from Moda's Arcadia line (which you can still find out there, especially on Etsy) and the solid brown in the backing is a Target bedsheet I bought on clearance about 6 months ago. Perfect, right? I did straight-line quilting on this one - oh how I love my walking foot!
I've got three other quilts in progress at the moment which I hope to share about next week.
And, last but not least, Miss Nadia and I had to run some errands yesterday and while we were out stopped at a park by the beach. It was a gorgeous but brisk and windy day. It seems like forever since we'd been to the park.
I'm in the process of locking her hair. She's had the twists in for about eight weeks (it took about 12 hours to do double-strand twists all over her head) and I'm almost finished with the first round of tightening and palm-rolling. So far so good. I want to thank all the amazing ladies (and a few dudes) who have posted their dreadlock adventures on YouTube. You have all been tremendous help to me. This process has, so far, been painless and pretty easy to manage which makes both Nadia and her fat-fingered mama very happy. I love dis choonksie rasta gyuhl (said in a bad imitation of a Trini accent).
Had a most fabulous time in Manhattan with my mom visiting my aunt and her new husband and my uncle and his new wife. Walked a lot, ate a ton (even had borscht and a spinach knish at the famous Yonah Schimmel knishery), rode the subway, took a buncha photos. More to share, but this will have to do for now.
I brought with me my 5D and 24-70L lens, my iPhone with newly downloaded Hipstamatic app, and my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. I took a ton of photos with my 5D but had the most fun shooting with my iPhone. My P&S never made it out of the bag.
(BTW, that first photo is a photo of a photo taken by Stanley Kubrick of Rocky Graziano for Look Magazine. Mr. Kubrick's photos for Look were on display at the Museum of the History of New York.)
I have several sketch sites as well as several template books by Jeanette Lynton that I use for inspiration. Thanks for sharing!
Congrats to Kate! I hope to hear from you soon, so send me an email with your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll pass that info along to the folks at Paper Crafts magazine. Yeah!
So now I'm going back to nursing myself through a pretty rotten head cold so that when I leave Thursday night for a mother-daughter birthday (my 41th) trip to NYC (my first time - I'm so freaking excited) for five days I'll do so with as little snot as possible.
If any of you out there have any pointers, tips or must-sees in Manhattan please email me or post a comment.
I'll probably not be back with a post until after my trip so that I'll have lots to share.
A few weeks ago my sweet friend Kim Kesti asked if I would be interested in making some cards based on a sketch to celebrate the release of a new Paper Crafts special issue. Um, yeah! Count me in!
This fun magazine is out now:
And I got to play around with this sweet sketch by Kim:
And here are the cards I made:
I love how versatile this sketch is and how easily these cards came together, and fit my simple card-making style so well. I also love that these cards gave me the chance to use up some embellies I've had for a while.
Kim and all the Go-To gals at Paper Crafts magazine are having a Blog Hop where you can see oodles of brand-new, never-before-seen cards by these talented ladies and their crafty friends. So go take a peek at Kim's blog and work your way through the rest of the blogs to feast your eyes on some cute card candy.
Leave me a comment stating where you go for card inspiration and I'll pick one lucky lady (or fella!) to win a copy of this great new magazine.
It's not technically the first day of Spring but yesterday it sure felt like it around here. While the folks out East are suffering through killer storms, we enjoyed a warm afternoon out front with the kids and their bikes and scooters.
Goofy Aidan with some stop-action fun.
Makena didn't feel like having her picture taken much yesterday, but she sure did enjoy riding her bike and her scooter. She even tried riding her bike without training wheels - atta girl!
The house work is winding down slowly but surely, and the end is justaboutalmostpracticallymaybesoon near. The stairs have been recarpeted, the tile for the bathroom floors has been purchased and SHOULD be installed this week (or there will be one very sorry flooring contractor who will be refunding me my deposit if he knows what's good for him), and my brother is helping us this week with prettying up our wood fences and constructing a patio cover.
I've spent hardly any time in my scrap room and just about all of my sanity-keeping time in my sewing room. I've made some scrappy pillows to keep and as gifts:
And I've been working on some quilts:
This one is a funkified nine-patch quilt for my cousin who starts college in the fall. Nothing like a brand new cozy quilt for all those late-night study sessions, right E? The majority of this fabric is left over from this quilt I made for my aunt for Christmas. I love how this fabric is floral and fun without being too girly. The white fabric is from a Moda jelly roll in white. Since I took this photo the top is now complete and I hope to get it sandwiched with the batting and backing tonight so I can start quilting it by the weekend. I'll probably do another straight-line pattern on this one. I will share it here when it's all finished!
I've also been working on what I'm calling the St. Brigid quilt. Chris and I were married at St. Brigid church and the St. Brigid cross has always been a symbol of hope for me. I originally started cutting my fabrics to make this quilt using the jelly roll strips but realized that I needed more than a single strip of the color strips and just started playing around with what I had. And I came up with the cross pattern that reminded me of St. Brigid's cross:
One 2.5"-wide strip of white and one 2.5"-wide strip of color cut from standard-width fabric and sewn together will net 9 4.5-inch squares (using a 1/4" seam). So I get two complete blocks from each strip plus one left over square which I'll use for a more random-looking cross quilt later. The colorful fabrics I'm using here are from a fun set of reproduction feedsack prints from the 1930s or so by Windham Fabrics called Feedsack V (as in Feedsack Five). I love how fun and vibrant the colors are and I know this is going to make a darling quilt when it's all put together. When it's finished, I think I might just keep this one for myself.
And this is the second version of this quilt so now my girls each have their very own so now I don't have to listen to the whining and the fighting over it anymore. For these two quilts I used a Moda layer cake and yardage from their Snippets line, and I did some free-hand quilting in a curly swirly loopy pattern:
(See honey? All those hangers we get when I buy clothes for the kids? I told you they'd come in handy.)
So this is what I've been up to with my idle hands and free time to keep my sanity these past few months. I keep busy making and finishing pretty things according to my own schedule and not according to a contractor's schedule or my kids' schedule or even my sleep schedule some nights. When it seems like I have so little control over what's going on in my life, I hide out in my sewing room, put on a movie or music in the background and sew away.
It was either quilting or vodka and porn. I think I made the better choice.
Jeez. Has it really been that long? Over a month ago?
Well, I'm here to apologize to those who still read my blog and haven't given up on me completely.
We're here, doing mostly fine, suffering through remodeling our house:
In the past 6 weeks we've had the entire second floor refloored (except for the tile in the bathrooms which I'm wondering if they'll EVER get done), the exterior and interior repainted, new countertops and faucets in the bathrooms, new mirrors and light fixtures in the bathrooms, new high-efficiency heating and air conditioning units (this was actually done twice - the first time they installed the wrong units and scratched up my new flooring), new closet doors hung in the kids' bedrooms, re-plumbed sprinklers in the front yard, and moved the girls back into the same room again so I could make Makena's tiny former bedroom into my tiny sewing room. I'm still waiting for my stairs to be re-carpeted (supposed to be happening tomorrow) and my bathroom floors to be retiled (been waiting over two weeks just for a bid on that job). And my brother is supposed to start building a cover for our back patio next week.
Remodeling really sucks. But my new genuine simulated processed wood product floors upstairs are mighty pretty. And I really love the new exterior color in our house. Exactly what I wanted.
I do hereby declare that once my house is back in order and relative normalcy has returned that I'll be a better blogger. In the meantime, pray that I don't throttle our flooring contractor if we fails to show up again for the third time again tomorrow.
Lain Ehmann has been the host at www.writeclickscrapbook.com this week and she did a scraplift challenge. Oh, how I love to scraplift! As Lain mentioned, it's a great way to get out of the mojo doldrums and step into another scrappers shoes for a while.
And one of my favorite scrappers (out of a list of over a hundred or more) is Lisa Dickinson, another of our WCS team members. I've adored Lisa's work for a very long time and give her a good amount of credit for the jump in the number of layouts of mine that have had machine stitching. Here's Lisa's layout which was her submission for our very first WCS gallery:
lovelovelovelove this one of hers. Isn't she adorable?
And here's my take on her design:
Do you scraplift? Who are your favorite liftable scrappers? Here are a few more from my list:
I'll be heading out to CHA in just a few hours, picking Marnie up from the airport on my way. Believe it or not, this will be the first time Elizabeth, Marnie and I have ever been in the same room together since starting WCS just about a year ago. And it'll be my first time ever meeting Marnie. We're all REALLY looking forward to being together and enjoying the show.
For photos, fabulousness and top show picks, please check in WCS next week. Yeah!