Monday, February 29, 2016

A Quick Fix and New Fabric

Have you ever felt like you are on top of things; like you've carefully planned and organized and set things up so every thing will go smoothly?  Only, you are fairly sure that if even one little thing happens to knock even one, tiny little thing out of whack the whole darn thing will come crashing down?  That's kinda me, right now.

Two days after we returned from our family trip to Mexico, my husband left for a 13 day work-trip to Europe.  While he's in Italy, Amsterdam and Germany, we are embarking on a very busy two weeks.   Three basketball games and four practices, 5 4-H meeting or events, school projects, Solo &Ensemble, a forensics meet, birthday parties, a baby shower to help host,  homework...and the event of the year for my oldest daughter.  She has performed with a show choir group since she was in third grade.  Every spring they produce their Gala - two weekends filled with 8 performances, and the tech week that leads up to it.  Tech week means she will be in the theater late every night this week, so she will be tired and crabby when i get her up every morning.  Let's not even talk about the post show get togethers at restaurants two or three times during the run of the show.

It's a really,  really, busy time, and in previous years, even with two present and functioning parents we all felt like we were coming apart at the seams  during Gala week.  This year, I am on my own until the second weekend of shows.

So, I've planned and plotted and enlisted a small army of helpers, and I think I can do this,  but I am one false move away from collapsing in the corner crying. Wish me luck.

The lovely  dress above is my daughter's  Finale dress.  The tradition during Gala is for all the kids to come out for the finale number in formal attire.  They sing a song that tugs at the heart strings, and usually the senior girls cry. Me, too, actually.  It's one of  my favorite moments of the whole thing.  But, it means we have to find a formal dress every year.  This year, she really wanted a long dress.  She is 13 and has had tween party dresses as her formals in years past.  She's all grown up this year, though, and wants to look more like the older girls.  So, I was ecstatic when I found a size 3, beautiful,  grown up looking but not too mature (read,  fairly modest) , long formal on a clearance rack for  $11.  Score! I knew I'd need to shorten it, but since she has just recently transitioned from girls 14's to juniors size small, I figured I might need to take in thensize 3 a bit at the bust to make it fit.  

Ahem.  It was about 4 inches too long, as I'd expected.  But, she could only zip it to just below her braline!  I am not sure whom this was intended to fit!   Apparently not my healthy, normally developing, slim to average sized thirteen years old!  Are there really girls out there who are taller and skinnier and flatter chested?  I guess that's why it was on clelarance.

Anyway.  It's now tech week eve.  Suddenly, she and I both remember that the dress we'd hung in the closest a few months ago intending to "figure something out" never got figured out!   And she needs a dress!   This week!  And I've got no time (or  cash) to shop for a different one.  *sigh*

So, it's time for a quick fix.  Really quick.  The down and dirty kind.  It won't be pretty, but, she will be wearing it for ten minutes, tops, each show, and the fix will be under the arm where it won't be seen, anyway.  She won't be able to wear it "for real" but, really, where, other than the finale, does a 13 year old go to wear a dress like that?

I trimmed the necessary length off the two layers of the skirt, and did a quick serger-like zigzag around the bottom of each;  nice and easy, quicker than turning up a hem.  Then, I used some of the fabric that I'd cut from the inner skirt,  made a wedge shaped piece big enough to fill the space between where the zipper stops and the top of the dress.  I hand sewed the wedge to one side of the gap. Velcro will finish the job.  

Like I said, it's not pretty, but it will do.  And it's almost done.  Finished trumps perfect every time.

Despite my mile long to do list, and my two miles long gotta do, take or make for the kids list, I did manage to sneak to a quilt show for a couple hours yesterday morning. It was held at the Fairgrounds about 5 minutes from my house.  Not the largest show I have been to, but very nice.  The quilts were mostly traditional, but there were some very fun modern quilts, too.  And a great section of Kona challenge quilts.  I snapped a few pictures, maybe I'll post another time.  For now, I'll show my purchase.

I've been wanting to make myself a new purse or tote for quite some time.  I realized recently that my phone, my planner and my wallet (not shown) all coordinate nicely. They are all a navy/teal combination I love.  Not planned, but it means that I gravitate toward those colors, right? So, why not have a bag to match.  I found this Moda hash tag print that was perfect, and will look great in a bag,  the other two were in the same booth.  They are not Moda, but they sure do play nicely.  Now, the question is, will the bag be done before I have to buy a new planner?  

I am linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Q is for Quilt

And F is for Finished!!!!!  Yay!  Finally a finish to share.  This is "AJ's Letters", a quilt for my great-nephew.

Now, I am far too young to be a Great -Aunt, but, my niece and her husband had a darling little baby boy four months ago.  His name is Alexander Jeffery, but his Mama and Daddy call him AJ.

I had started these Little Letters from Temecula Quilt Company during the summer of 2014, long before we knew there would be a sweet little boy who would need a quilt.  I just thought they looked like a fun challenge.  I pieced them, and a sister set, slowly and when I had time.  They got set aside frequently, but were a ton of fun to work on when I did find time.

When my niece told us she was expecting, I knew right away that one of the sets of letters would become a quilt for her new arrival.  She has always been an avid reader, she is a certified teacher,  and before becoming Mommy, she was managing a bookstore.  So, letters seemed appropriate!  She's also pretty special to me.  When my youngest daughter was born and diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Jen was a college student.  She went to school about half an hour from where we lived, but for an entire school year, she came to our house on days she didn't have class, and took care of my newborn when I had to go back to work.  She learned all about administering medicine and doing breathing treatments and chest physiotherapy.   She took notes and  was the BEST of the small army of caregivers we relied on.  And she was just 19 or 20!   I will forever be grateful for her.

So, a quilt for her first baby needed to be pretty special, and I think this fits the bill.

I was so excited to learn that they were going to call him AJ!  How perfect is a letter quilt for a little boy with two letters for his name?

I machine quilted in the ditch,  and then on the diagomals, but I also did just a bit of accent hand quilting around the A and the J.  Just enough to make them stand out a bit.

I am so happy to have this quilt finished.  Its been a long process.  I had really wanted to have it done before the little man was born, but he is already 4 months old.  I have a lot of other sewing projects going on right now, or needing to be started soon.  So, I've  put extra effort into just getting it done so I can move on.   I've taken this quilt to karate class, the orthodontist and 4-H meetings to get it done.  Which has led to some interesting conversations!

The back is pieced from two flannels, so it's going to be a very snuggly quilt for the little guy.  I went with a scrappy binding, which just makes me happy.  I love everything about this quilt.  Well, except for the fact that being called a "great aunt" makes me feel really old.  Hmmm.  Maybe I will be "awesome" instead.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Back From Vacation

Last week my family enjoyed some time in Mexico with my husband's parents, siblings and their families.  All 15 of us went to Cabo San Lucas!  I didn't get any sewing done, but I did get lots of quilty inspiration, and some pictures which I plan to enlarge and put up in my sewing room when it gets re-done later this Spring!  How awesome are these two for sewing room decor? A little re-sizing and editing, and voila!  Instant art with personal memories attached!

This old Singer was found at a Cultural History Museum in Todos Santos.  
This lovely basket of spindles was spotted under a loom at a Blanket Factory
we visited on the way to Todos Santos.

Todos Santos is an interesting place.  It's the home of the Hotel California, debate-ably the inspiration for the Eagles song.  Whether or not the building actually has anything to do with the song, we certainly heard - and sang -  the song often on the day we visited.  We had a wonderful tour guide took us to some beautiful off the beaten path places.  My girls both loved the Blanket Factory, and they were invited to operate the loom for a bit.  Both of them picked this as a favorite event for the whole trip!

Even this picture of the sign for the factory would make a lovely print, wouldn't it?  LOVE the blue of that sky!

I got plenty of inspiration from the colors and patterns.  There was something to look at everywhere!

I have to sketch it out, but I think this could be done with HST's.
This motif was all over the resort where we stayed.  It caught my eye every single time!
It will be a great border, someday!

This was floor tile, but looked like a fun log cabin lay out to me!

Since we've been back, I HAVE done some sewing, and I am very close to having a finish to share.  I'm going to take advantage of an early release day and and empty school library to do a little photo shoot tomorrow, and then I'll post pictures.  Meanwhile, a few more of my favorite shots from the trip...

I just love this shot of my youngest daughter.  Her hat, the shoes in hand, her shadow AND reflection, and the movement of the waves.  This one will be enlarged and framed, too!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Still Binding

My plan did not go as I, well, umm, ...planned.  I am STILL not done with binding and no pretty, outside-in-the-snow pictures have been taken. I just can't seem to sit in one place and hand stitch the bindng!  It is, after all, hard to focus when this

And this

are calling from the sewing room!

I want to start something new as much as I want to finish something up!

I have decided that the quilt being bound is going to need a label, which I am in no mood to create, and I won't have a gifting opportunity anytime soon, anyway, so I am going to take the rest of the binding slowly.  Better to cut a new project in hopes of finishing by a deadline than to finish something that will just sit a while anyway.  Right?

So, I started my round robin block in hopes of finishing tonight so it can be sent off to my pen pal tomorrow along with some Valentine's  goodies.

Oh, those dots and and flowers!

But, then I was informed by my family that they'd like to eat today.  Sigh.  But I'm ready to go at the next hint of a few free minutes.  That's something, anyway.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Almost Done

Here's my  Saturday morning view.


So excited to be so close to finishing!  Hoping to get some good snowy pictures of the finished quilt this afternoon (if I can stay focused on binding that long) and then get it warmed up with a nice wash and dry.  Fingers crossed!  Just can't wait to see it done!