Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone and may you have happiness and joy in the new year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nana's Basket

The first official class I took at Silver Bella was Nana's Basket taught by Charlotte Lyons.  I have been a fan of Charlotte Lyons for years so I was pretty excited to meet her and take her class.

We were to bring some photographs to use on the basket along with buttons or jewelry to embellish it.  I choose to use photos of my children from Christmas past.  I had no idea what size to print for the photos so I ended up cutting them so they would fit.  The baskets definitely look better when the photo covers the entire section, but still, I think my basket turned out cute enough to hold our Christmas cards this year.  This photo is my oldest son Jake at 10 months old.

This is Maddy's first Christmas with big brother Jake...

Now we move on to Christmas with three children.  Alex is about 18 months old, Maddy is 3 and Jake is 5 years old.  I had dressed them in matching pajamas for the Christmas card photo that year.

This next photo includes our fourth child, Joey, at age 2.  The kids are holding flags, because it was 2001.  My little Pomeranian, India is also in the picture.  Sadly, she is no longer with us.

This last photo has all five children.  Tommy is three years old, Joey is 8, Alex is 10, Maddy is 12 and Jake is 14.

The instructions for this basket can be found in Charlotte Lyons newest book, Between Friends.  Her sample is a spring time basket tied with raffia.  I'm definitely going to make a couple more!

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Is Silver Bella?

It's been a  month since the Silver Bella workshop, and I should have posted much sooner.  I am happy to report that in the meantime, I have all the Christmas decorations up!  This post is a bit long, but I just have to share a bit about my Silver Bella experience.  Silver Bella was started by Theresa McFayden who had a vision of bringing together people who love to craft.  It has been held for the last five years in Omaha, Nebraska.
It took me a long time to decide to register for this year's workshop.  I was so excited about going even though I wouldn't know anyone there.  The first night, I sat on a chair in the lobby with my basket of supplies just watching all the other ladies who were greeting each other and obviously knew people or had come with friends.  Normally I am perfectly content to sit by myself, but everyone looked like they were having so much fun.  As I was trying to decide whether to try and "join" a group or not, a woman standing nearby said hello.  It was so nice of her to take the time to notice someone who was there alone.  Laurie Jackson was my rescuer and she introduced me to some other ladies.  They kindly invited me to sit with them at the dinner that evening.

On each table, there was a stack of white gift boxes, one for each person.  Inside were all the fabulous supplies needed for a project.  I wish I had brought my camera that night just to take a picture of the goodies inside the box!  This was the group project we made that first night...

It's been so long since I have done something so completely creative like this, but I jumped in and had so much fun!  My right brain hasn't been sleeping all this time after all!  We were each given a kit with various papers and embellishments to use.  I had a bit of trouble with glittering my frame and ended up using some of my own fibrous pink tissue paper instead.  It has kind of a fuzzy look that I love so it was a happy accident.  That was my theme through the entire weekend of workshops.  I had to make do with my limited collection of ephemera and embellishments.  Look at how much fun I'm having!  I'm in the middle with Susan and Janelle from Colorado.

The vintage photographs were part of the supplies.  They represent happy gatherings of friends and family.  I especially like the photograph of four women standing together in the upper left corner since I have three sisters.

I feel that Silver Bella has had a huge impact on me.  Before I went, I was overwhelmed at the idea of sitting down to make a project.  I have no problem buying supplies and planning, but getting down to business is the hard part for me.  There is a bit of fear that I won't do it right.  After Silver Bella, I know I have the ability and I'm not so afraid to experiment or make a mistake.  There were so many other ladies in some of the workshops who were a little out of their element too with certain projects.  It gave me confidence again.  I've also become a bit of a connoisseur of glues!  Did you know dry adhesive simply refers to tape?  I also know the subtle difference between E-6000 and 527 glues-just wipe the tip before putting the cap on or you will never get them open again!

I met so many amazing women and have been so inspired by the work I discovered on their blogs.  It's like a whole new creative world has been opened for me to explore, and I can't wait for next year!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Silver Bella

Last weekend I attended an artist's workshop called Silver Bella.  I have so much to share about this amazing experience!  I'm still finishing up some of the projects but here is a little "teaser."  Hopefully over the next few days I can get some more photos posted and also share more about Silver Bella.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The View from My Sewing Machine

As I look out my window, it doesn't seem possible that the leaves are almost gone from the birch trees. Today is the last day of October. This month went so quickly, and I didn't finish some of my fall projects. I did work on a couple, but I'm nowhere near finished. So my 42 UFO's still remain...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I forgot to make my son a quilt...

I had a terrible realization recently:  I forgot to make my son a quilt.

This realization came as I was reading the novel, Quilter's Holiday, by Jennifer Chiaverini.  In the book, the character Diane is lamenting the loss of certain traditions her now college-age boys once treasured.  She begins to realize that as grown men, they aren't interested in little things like her traditional Thanksgiving Eve lasagna or opening doors on the Advent calendar to countdown the coming of Christmas, and her boys aren't around anymore to join their parents for church each Sunday.  As this mother describes her sadness, I began to think about what my family will be missing when my oldest son, Jake, leaves for college next year. This is really the last year that we will do certain traditions together as a family like the annual trip to the pumpkin patch or the carving of the pumpkins.  He might not be home when we all decorate Christmas cookies together, and I will miss Jake's presence in the pew with us at Sunday mass. I also began thinking of the things I had always wanted to do with Jake but never got around to.

So naturally, I felt a sudden panic realizing I had forgotten to make my son a quilt!  It was something I had always intended to do for him. After all, shouldn't a quilting mom make quilts for her own children? When Jake was 6 years old, I did make a quilt top in a Jacob's Ladder pattern using train, truck, and airplane fabrics he helped pick out.  Sadly, I just never got around to quilting it.  It has sat for all these years as one of my forgotten UFO's.  I'm sure he would still appreciate a quilt, but that quilt top made for him 11 years ago is now to juvenile for him.  So in addition to all those family traditions I would like to cram into his last year home, I will have to add a 43rd UFO and make a quilt for him a quilt.

This is Jake on his first day of preschool in 1996.  He was so excited, he refused to stand and pose for a picture so I got him on the run.  The picture below is Jake on his "last" first day of school on August 17.  He once again refused to pose for a picture so I snuck up on him with my cell phone!

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A One Day Project

Although it is not a quilt project, I am one project closer to getting started on those 42 UFO's.  I spent Sunday making a chair pad out of the uniform plaid worn at my daughter's high school.  The chair will be sold at a silent auction dinner.  I had originally been asked to make calls to people asking them to donate contributions for the auction.  However, my very least favorite thing in the world is making "sales" calls!  I shared this with another woman on the committee who had mercy on me and took my call list.  In exchange, she asked me to make a plaid chair pad and decorate a lamp shade in the school colors.  I have yet to finish the lamp, but here is the chair finished in one short afternoon...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Getting Started

Today was the first day all five of my children were in school. The oldest is a senior and my littlest started kindergarten. I am alone at home for the first time in 17 years! I thought it was about time I took the piles off my sewing machine and start tackling some projects. I had a pile of mending that has covered the machine all summer. The sad thing is it only took me 25 minutes to finish all of it! Why had a put it off so long?

Our 3 mo. old kitten, Perwinkle, had to investigate the sewing machine. Afterward, she plopped down next to it for a nap. Cats are the best sewing room buddies. Just don't tell my dog I said that!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Explanation

As you can see from the blog explanation, I have amassed over 42 unfinished projects. I don't really know how it happened. One day I decided that quilting was my passion and then one very recent day, I realized that I had not actually finished a quilt in over six years! There are some contributing factors, not the least of which is raising five children. Maybe for me quilting is more about the thrill of the hunt than the actual process, or the excitement of seeing a new line of fabric and dreaming up what could be made with them. For whatever reason, I see, I buy, I bring it home and add it to the stash.

Perhaps what is motivating me to do something about this problem is that I no longer have anywhere else to put fabric! I have read articles in magazines with tongue-in-cheek suggestions for how to hide a fabric stash from the rest of the family, but with five children, our house is already stuffed to the gills. I am blessed to have a space of my own-even if it is part of the laundry room, but it is beautifully outfitted for sewing and crafting.

My youngest child will enter kindergarten in the fall, and for the first time in 17 years, I will be home alone. My husband has lovingly forbidden me to take on any new projects or volunteer positions, and our children have seconded his motion. "Yeah, Mom! We want you to stay home and get the laundry done!" They really are very wise and have my best interests at heart. They don't like a frazzled mom anymore than I like being a frazzled mom. They want Momma to be happy and what makes Momma happy is to be knee-deep in fabric with my sewing machine whirring!

About two weeks ago I was hit with the idea to blog about my 42 UnFinished Objects, and it's an idea that just won't go away. I've reached the point of actually creating my first blog despite my belief that I really have nothing interesting to say. However, it might be fun to see if this motivates me enough to start making some progress on those projects and bring that number down to something a little more manageable, like 20 UFO's! If nothing else, maybe someone who wanders onto my blog will be inspired to finish something in their life they started--before it gets out of hand!