31 March 2011

Eye on the prize?

Is there ever really a remedy for lack of motivation when every morning begins grey, rainy, cool and there is no one but yourself with any expectations from you for the day? Well, a long phone call with a good friend helps. Especially when that friend is a great source of grounding, and has never been accused of mincing her words. And when it comes down to keeping you on track and on task, she is that motivation, let me tell you! So, what had the potential of being yet another disappointingly unproductive day turned into something slightly more. Not to say I was little miss busy body or anything, but I did manage to take a few steps forward on a couple of different projects that have been in the works.

Just yesterday I finished piecing a quilt top from an original design I've been calling Dorm Room Cots. The photo of the actual quilt top can be found here.

I actually have this planned out in two different color ways, and as soon as the southwest version was finished, I jumped right in on the more subdued black/grey/green version.

However, there have been so many other projects floating around in my head and in my sketchbook that I felt compelled to move this one aside for the time being and break ground on a commission. So began work on a couple of different sets of place mats, testing out new designs to me (nothing earth-shattering, just different than my usual). When I get something worthy of sending along to the customer, I will go ahead and post photos, but not just yet.

And now the meteorologist says it's supposed to be a nice, warm day tomorrow, so perhaps the projects for tomorrow will take me out into the sunshine?? Wishful thinking??

29 March 2011

Every day stuff

Well, I wish I had a great update to post after a couple of weeks of non-activity. But, I don't. I joined my mom, brother, uncles and aunt back in our home town of St. Louis for an intensive weekend of organization and nostalgia where we came across many treasures of family history. But as the cliche goes, upon returning home (to Portland, that is) I needed a vacation to recover from my time off! I had a week of relaxing and slacking, reading, watching TV and immersing myself in a new obsession (thanks, mom!) of these hidden object games However, I am now thankfully off the couch and back in the sewing room with new projects forthcoming.

Looking ahead, I could not resist this adorable twill from Westrade Textiles with the idea of a messenger bag, satchel or laptop carrier in mind...

And last, but certainly not least, I finally managed to finish my first ever knit garment (scarves don't count - no measurements involved!) Now if I had been really forward thinking, I would have had J take a pic of me while wearing this vest/shawl yesterday, but for now the dining room chair will have to suffice. I did get quite a bit of use out of this in St. Louis in March, though!

12 March 2011

Wrapping up

Another swap comes winding to a close. Y'all have seen the photos I've posted of the messenger and market bags I made for my "secret partner" for the latest round of the UHG swap on flickr. Well, earlier this week I received my lovely package from my gifter, Kat !

And, in an unexpected turn, we were paired with each other!! (not a common approach for these blind swaps, so I'm led to understand). AND... she's also a Portlander, so who knows, we may bump into each other at the Whole Foods or something, and know one another by our respective bags!

07 March 2011

planning process

As well as working on the ever-present WIPs (work-in-progress), I've been planning a couple of future endeavors.

I'm trying to make good use of both my EQ program and my good ol' graph paper sketchbooks and sheets, and build from my own designs. And, I'd like to say I'm doing that step by step.

The latest to see life as a full on quilt top is something I have temporarily dubbed "Fiesta Squares," designed with the Kaffe Fassett collective in mind.

Without over thinking the whole thing, I just went for cutting these guys up and seeing what happens. I'm still not sold, but I went ahead all the same...

and finished up with one BRIGHT, busy quilt top!

Now, it's on to the next projects... I have an easy pattern I drafted on graph paper and transferred into the EQ7 program, and even played with color options. With some amount of luck I landed on a combination that I find very appealing, so I figure I'll try and bring it to fruition

in two different color ways...

...and a couple of other ideas bouncing around in there:

Hopefully there will be more to share as the week progresses!

crafting in all forms

So, this post is dedicated to a craft other than quilting: beer brewing.

For as long as I've known him, my boyfriend J has made fruit wine. He's had great success with blackberries, peaches, strawberries... less so with nectarine and banana-ginger. However, in the last year or so, he's expressed an interest in trying out beer brewing. So, for Christmas this past year his folks got him a brewing kit. It hung out in a seldom-seen corner of my dining room until about two weeks ago, when the bug hit and the kit got unpacked.

J took meticulous notes on his process, and when he racked the beer last week, we enjoyed a preview. Sure enough, it tasted like beer! Granted, a little thin and without carbonation, but actually like beer as opposed to rotting grain. Today we made a trip to one of the local brewing suppliers, F.H. Steinbart's, and picked up a few cases of bottles, as well as ingredients to make a next batch. This afternoon has been dedicated to washing and filling bottles (at least HIS time has been dedicated to that!)

Now, we wait another couple of weeks for the yeast and enzymes to do their thing, create CO2, and make an ale!

03 March 2011

a work in progress

One of my Flickr friends, Jennifer, is in the process of putting together an auction quilt to benefit the LA Revlon Run/Walk, raising funds for cancer research. The request came through one of the online bees she has organized, Seams Perfect - a Modern Scrap Bee, and given my new(ish) ample time to play in the sewing room and my even newer fascination with the online bees, I was more than happy to answer the call (as was most everyone else participating in our bee, I might add!) Not to mention any desire to contribute to such a worthy cause...

Anyhow, the timing of her request was just so that this seemed a great opportunity to test my newly learned ability to print a paper-piecing template from my EQ7 program. I had been playing with a spiderweb quilt on EQ7

and thought I would test my skills on this one block... Oh, and for you Seams Perfect gals - you'll likely be seeing this illustration again in the future, but that's a topic for another time. Anyhow, eventually I managed to get the pieces printed, then had to cut and tape the separate pages together like a puzzle until I had (4) 45-45-90 triangles. Next time I do this, I'll try running legal-sized paper through the printer and see if that helps.

Then on to the fun part - fabric selection and the actual paper-piecing! The scrappier the better, I say, so I went rummaging through my blue and white scraps to see what I had to work with, within Jennifer's parameters. I had forgotten about this excellent Amy Butler Love fabric until just recently, and it's doing well for me!

Then came some adventures in paper piecing...

... until I ended up with 4 pieced triangles...

... and finally a finished block!

I look forward to my next attempt, which will hopefully go smoother than the first, but I certainly cannot complain about what it yielded!