Last Thursday Afternoon

Sept 4 a

Sept 4 b

Sept 4 c

Sept 4 d

Sept 4 e

Sept 4 f

Sept 4 g2

Sept 4 g

Sept 4 h

Sept 4 i

Sept 4 j

Sept 4 k

Sept 4 l

Still feeling quiet over here.

I haven't picked up my camera much in the last few weeks. Using the iphone is just too easy. When the golden, autumn light was streaming through the kitchen window last week, I started chasing it. There is nothing extraordinary about these photos, but they are my every day which, I guess, makes them special in an ordinary way. I am putting them up here to remind myself to notice the little things.

Also, I miss the old flickr.

xo. E.


Currently

Desk

I'm here. Feeling very quiet. School has started. 7th grade for Kate and high school for Jane. Different schools, different schedules. Taking my time to figure out what is what and how I am going to be in two places at one time. Or rather, how to make it work best for all of us without anyone losing their mind. Wish me luck.

I'm sewing. And reading. And trying to learn Illustrator a bit. I'm also teaching - my string quilt this weekend at Q First in Quilting in Lexington and basic sewing to 8th graders as part of our school's art electives. Both should be fun.

I'd like to start meditating. Does anyone have any good starting tips, apps, etc., that you would be willing to share?

Monday, it's back to work for me. Book #2 is my biggest work in progress. Coming at you Fall 2015.

Back soon.


I'm back

June 18

Hello!

I disappeared. I didn't mean to, but life happens. Thank you to all that checked in to make sure that I am ok - I am! It's just been a crazy few weeks...

Jane graduated from 8th grade. So. Hard. To. Believe. And still, so right, you know?

Ppd on

I altered my painted portrait dress and wore it out. I love this pattern. There will be more. And more. And then probably even more.

I had my annual colonoscopy (I have ulcerative colitis). TMI? Probably. But, I had a lot (understatement) of anxiety leading up to it as my last two scopes were only so-so - not really bad, but not great. This time all was better than it has been in years. I am thankful and relieved and happy and will continue to take my meds and eat healthy and all that.

We packed up and left town for Mexico on Kate's last day of school. It was a great way to start the summer.

While gone, Fatty and I both suffered from food poisoning. That put a little damper on the trip, but it was still good to get away.

How to

I read 10 books on vacation. TEN.

And my MacBook crapped out. It couldn't be fixed. Insert sad face here.

Quilt progress

Two days after we returned home, I took a great class with Quilt Dad, John Adams. It was fun and I am super excited about how my quilt is coming together. It's Pacific Crest, the cover quilt from John's new book, Beyond Neutral, (affiliate link) which is A-MAZ-ING.

Father's day flowers

When I came home from sewing all day, there were flowers for me for Father's Day. Fatty is the best, I tell you.

My new computer arrived earlier this week. It is shiny and fast - yay!

Studiomess

I didn't turn it on until I cleaned the entire studio. It took 3 days, but it is also looking shiny, so there's that.

And now I am going to pay the bills and then get back to making things.

See you around.


Peony Season

Peonies

Peonies 3

Peonies 4

Peonies 2

Peonies 5

Peonies 7

Peonies 6

Excuse the abundance of photos, but if you have been following me and this blog for any length of time, you know that peonies are my favorites. This year they came on fast after such a long, cold winter. I was a little surprised at how early they showed, but still so happy to see them return. Each year I watch in anticipation and each year I am still just awed at the huge blossoms that come out of those little buds.

Life is so busy for our family right now. Soccer is wrapping up, field hockey is starting. The end of the school year is in sight. Jane is finishing up her 8th grade year. It's really hard to wrap my brain around the fact that she will be in high school in August. At the same time, she is so ready to make the move that it only seems right. I'd be lying if I said that there hadn't been some tears already. And I'd be kidding myself if I said that there won't be more. Watching these girls grow is such an incredible gift. I feel lucky to be along on their journey.


Three cool crafty things you should know about

Popping in this Friday to make you aware of three different opportunities for crafty people like you and me...

1. Wise Craft Pin it to Win Contest

Wise Craft-Pinterest

Blair Stocker is hosting a very fun contest in conjunction with her new book, Wise Craft. (You can read my interview with her about it here.) She is challenging us to make projects from her book or projects inspired by the ones in her book. All you have to do is take a photo of your finished project, tag it with the hashtag #wisecrafthandmade, and post the photo to pinterest, instagram or the Wise Craft Facebook page. You can enter as many projects as you want! The project ends on July 31st so you have loads of time to get those crafts made. The prize package is pretty stellar - it includes a quilt made by Blair! For more info and all the nitty gritty, see her post about it on the Wise Craft blog.

 

2. The Sew-Along Central Newsletter

SAC-LOGO-e1399389891976

Meg has started a newsletter that will fill you in on all the sew-alongs that are happening so you won't miss a thing! Ever found out about a sew-along that you would love to join, only to find out it is almost over? Yeah, me too! This will solve that problem! The newsletter will fill you in on all those great community-building opportunities each month. You also have the opportunity to tell Meg about your sew-along so you can spread the word. So cool! Sign up for the Sew-Along Central Newsletter by following this link. You can find more info over at Meg's blog, Elsie Marley.

 

3. The Accu-quilt Quilt Block Design Contest

ContestAnnouncement

Accu-quilt, makers of the GO! cutter, are hosting a quilt block design contest. The contest is already underway, but you still have time to enter a design and get people to vote for it. The prize package is AMAZING. Long arm machine, anyone?!? All the details are over on their site. This is a great opportunity to flex those design skills. Go for it!

************

Hope your weekend is lovely. Happy Mother's Day! I'm celebrating with some selfish sewing, perfectly behaved children and a soccer game. Can't wait!


Catching up

Scout

Scout has claimed the tree as her own. I find her under it most days. And if she is not under it, she's close by, in the chair or on the couch, watching it as if the ornaments might come to life. I should take note and claim the other chair. It's cozy by the tree.

We are mostly decorated now. The painters have been here for the last week and a half, working on our front hall. Ceilings, walls, trim, banister - the works. I admit not entirely thinking about the fact that they would be here while I wanted everything to be decorated for the holidays. Am I crazy or what? Still, it's beautiful now and I couldn't be happier.

We've had two snow days in the last three days of school. I've embraced it. The girls have loved it. I am so looking forward to Christmas break, during which we can stay in our pj's until noon and not do much of anything if we don't want to. It's been a busy fall and I can see the constant activity slowing down after the school play this week. Also, Jane takes her high school placement test on Saturday. When I started this blog, she was starting first grade. Where does the time go?

There has been some sewing happening, but it's of the top secret variety so no details or photos yet. I am not making many gifts this year - just a few smaller ones. I find that although I love the making, it does add to the stress of the season. I do have a backlog of projects to photograph and share - mostly clothes, really. I've had some good success in the garment sewing department, but I have a hard time getting photos of myself. I should probably enlist some help, but with the short days, it's rare that anyone else is home during daylight hours. Maybe this weekend. (Marcia, if you are reading, I'm looking at you.)

I finished reading The Book Thief last week in anticipation of seeing the movie with the girls. It is such a lovely, sad and happy story. I highly recommend it. Before that, I spent many hours reading the latest Elizabeth George novel, Just One Evil Act. I loved it. I remember the first time that I read one of her books. We were in Kenya with my parents, one year after we had been married. My mom introduced me to the Inspector Lynley series and I quickly devoured each one I could get my hands on. Now, when a new one is released, I am quick to jump in, but slow enough to savor every word. I'm without a book right now, but I think that reading would help ease the busy-ness of the moment. Time to find something new.

I'm still painting most Fridays. I started in January and it's been a good year of growth for me. I like looking back and seeing what I've done. I actually took 5 paintings in to be framed yesterday. This is huge. They have all been sitting in my living room, waiting for homes. Right now I am working on these peonies based on this photo I took way back in 2007. This one is stretching me in good ways.

If you've stuck with me this far, thank you. I know this is a little rambling and full of a lot of random information, but I was recently told (Hi Rob!) that I had stopped putting bits of life on the blog. When the words went, so did the everyday moments. Finding the right balance between the craft and the living is tricky, but I'm working towards finding it again.

My mantra for the season this year is the same as last: All is calm, all is bright.

So far, so good.

(Links to Amazon are affiliate links.)

 


Interview and Giveaway on Wise Craft (and More)...

Paperpiecing 1

Paperpiecing 2

Hi! Happy Weeeknd! Gratuitous photos of my paper piecing from earlier this week because I cannot post without some photos....

A couple of things:

- Blair of wise craft fame interviewed me about QuiltEssential over on her blog. I was so happy to share more about my book and to talk a little bit about the writing process. Pop over there to read the interview and for a chance to win a copy of your own.

- Quilt market is in less than a week and I will be there! I'll be signing books at the Stash Books booth on Sunday at 11:00. If you are at market, please stop by and say hello. I'd love to meet you.

- There are just a few bags of smalls scraps left in the shop, so if you want one, grab them before they are gone.

Ok. I think that's it. I've got big sewing plans for the weekend. You?


Late summer

August 6

Summer 6

Studio 2

Summer 3

Summer 4

Studio


August 8

Summer

Summer 5

August 11

School starts in just a few days and we have been busy soaking up the last of summer between back to school errands. We're enjoying local produce, cooking and baking, organizing the studio, savoring the mild weather, spending time together. Before I know it, we'll be knee deep in backpacks, homework and sports (those have already started!) so I'm going to continue to enjoy what is left of summer.

That said, I am craving a routine. And studio time!


Lately

June 25

This is happening outside Jane's window. Every time I go down our driveway, I see the mother robin sitting patiently in her nest. We are all excited to see the progress of those little eggs.

I finished the quilt with the exception of the binding. And I attempted to video the loopy quilting method and, you guys, it was horrible! I couldn't get the tripod in the right position and I have no way to attach my iphone to the tripod base so I used a large elastic headband and it kept slipping. The whole thing was extremely comical. I still want to do it and will. Now that the kids are home from camp, I'm going to put Jane to work manning the camera so I can focus on the sewing.

I've found myself obsessed with reading this triology. I cannot put them down - such page turners! I think I might actually be relieved when I finish the third book as it will allow me to move on to doing something else.

I watched this creativebug video over the weekend and promptly set about making a rope basket. It's incredibly fun and rewarding. Maybe you want to try? I can also recommend the shrinky dink jewellry video. Jane watched that and has been creating small charms for her necklace and bracelet creations.

And I'm painting...I started a new painting on Wednesday of last week, worked on it again on Friday and am heading out the door momentarily to go work on it more. Hopefully, I'll finish up today. The oil painting has been a wonderful new creative outlet for me. And a great way to stretch my creative muscles in a different way.

And you? What's been going on lately?


That time of year

May 16

May 18

Peony 2

May 22

May 21

May 24

I cannot get enough of the peonies this year. Or really, any year for that matter. I'm scooping them up by the bundle every time I see them at the grocery store. I'm going out to the garden with my scissors and cutting them to bring inside. They are sprinkled throughout the house, but mostly are found in the kitchen, because, let's face it, that is where I am most often found. And I painted them. That was new and fun, too.


Surfacing for a moment

November 23

We had a doozey of a week(end). Last Sunday (the one before Thanksgiving), Kate came down with the stomach flu. Jane was home on Tuesday with a migraine. Wednesday had Fatty in bed with the same bug as Kate - he surfaced on Friday. Thanksgiving morning, I had a fall at the beginning of a trail run complete with split lip, black eye and other scratches and bruises.

I am thankful it is all over.

Beyond that, Thanksgiving day itself was nice. My parents were here along with one of my brothers and his family. Our friends who were planning on coming stayed away (I would have, too!) and I was feeling lucky that I had two 12 pound turkeys so I could give one to them, along with a pumpkin pie and some other fixings. The food was great, the wine wonderful, the company good and the blessings bountiful despite all the illnesses.

The rest of the weekend was spent going to basketball games and hanging out, both at the house and elsewhere. I woke up this morning completely exhausted, but happy to return to some semblance of normal. There is another holiday coming right around the corner, and a certain someone is turning 13 later this week, and I am desperately trying not to lose sight of the magic of this season. Twinkle lights, anyone?

I'm wrapping up a big project in the next few weeks so bear with me if my posting continues to be spotty. With so much going on right now, something has to give and, at the moment, it is the blog. But! I want to be here - I miss making things and blogging about them. Soon.


Recently

Habit 1104

I spent some time sewing the last two weekends. I was unmotivated both times, but plowed on because I like to see progress and my head is more right when I am making. The crazy star quilt top is complete. Another quilt top that I finished in August got a backing. I'm holding out high hopes for basting this weekend and quilting over Thanksgiving.

I've been reading every night before bed. My kids just finished their first trimester of the school year and I was thinking of the amount I have accomplished for myself in that time. The list of books I've read since school started is long and there was only one I didn't like. I'll post it later this week - no time for the links right now. I have been working solidly on other things as well. Things I'm not ready to throw out there, but I want to remember that despite all my doubts (which were and still are big), I am proud of myself.

Kate turned eleven yesterday. And this is blowing my mind. How did we get here? It doesn't seem possible, but it is. She is an amazing, helpful, smart, beautiful, stubborn, strong-willed, enthusiastic girl. I feel blessed and lucky to call her my daughter. She had a nice birthday even thought it was a school day. I let her eat whatever crap she wanted (cupcake after school, pie at the restaurant, cake later - oof.) and she even consented to practicing her piano without any fuss. Fatty and I gave her a sewing machine of her own. The two of us set it up in the playroom and she got busy trying out the fancy stitches on scraps. It was fun to watch.

Fatty's birthday is closing in on us, with Thanksgiving and then Jane's birthday to follow. I don't think I am making any Christmas gifts this year. Well, that's not true. I'd like to finish the snake trails quilt for my nephew - crossing my fingers on that one.

The dog just came up to the back door with a bird in her mouth. Nice.

Back here soon.

 


A start

In progress 1

Thank you all for you good suggestions and comments on my sleeveless tova. I haven't looked at it again. I know I will try to correct the fit in some way, but with the beginning of colder weather, working on a sleeveless top just hasn't appealed to me. I will get there, though, I'm sure.

There have been moments this week when I have wanted to sit down and pound out a few paragraphs on the computer about things I have made in the last few months, but it has been hard to find a good moment. I do have things to share, but they aren't photographed and all that stuff takes time. And truly, right now, as I'm typing this, I should be doing something else entirely. But I'm fried and spent and just need to take a moment for myself. Most of the week has been packed full of things that needed doing, that still need doing, and other things that need even more attention, but that I have been neglecting. That elusive balance thing? Even more so elusive for me recently. But! I am still trying to find it, still working hard to find my groove.

Things are happening in the background around here that I am not ready to talk about on the blog yet. It's all good - really good, actually. But in the meantime, there hasn't been much time for making. I found myself almost in tears on Tuesday night because I can't find the time to wash my car and really, it's so not about my kid-crumb infested, dirty vehicle. When I thought about it on Wednesday morning, it's more about how am not creating anything at the moment. Not trying new recipes, not sewing quilt squares, not even knitting although there is a small project in my purse at all times. No handmade Halloween costumes this year, either. I miss the creativity and the joy it brings to me. And the time to do it. I miss that, too.

All that said, I took 30 minutes and started cutting some fabric for a quilt.

It's a start.

In progress 2


Home from Munich, with a pit stop in London

Liberty 2

Liberty 1

I'm back. Completely exhausted, but happy to be home.

The London leg of our trip was all business, but I managed a stop at Liberty for a little stash enhancement. I went there in search of the remnant table, which on our last trip 2 1/2 years ago was a mecca of good deals. No remnant table in October. Only in June and December/January, just so you know. Still, I found a sweet bundle of tana lawn in blues, reds and greens for a quilt for the sunroom and then purchased yardage of the red solid lawn for a backing. The other stack is the quilting cottons that are also available in the U.S. I hadn't been able to see them in person so I was happy to pick my favorites.

New fabrics give me the itch to get sewing, creating, making, but my time is so limited right now. I've been struggling with how to fit the making into my schedule. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. I know I can figure it out, but I think I am going to have to get creative. Maybe an hour a day? Or setting aside one morning or afternoon? Ideas, anyone?

That said, I do have some finished things to share. Back with the good and the not so good just as soon as I finish the last load of laundry and go through 10 days worth of mail.


Right now

Right now

I'm *almost* finished packing for a trip that Fatty and I are taking tomorrow. (Oktoberfest, anyone?)

I'm going over the information for the babysitter, hoping that I haven't forgotten anything. (And knowing that they are going to manage just fine without us.)

I'm strategizing about how to squeeze in a workout in the morning, a trip to buy a raincoat and taking some cushions to an upholsterer. Something is going to have to give. And I think I know what that is. (The chairs are going to have to wait).

I'm wondering how many pairs of shoes is too many. And trying to figure out which ones should stay back. (Sorry, Toms. You aren't making the cut).

I'm charging camera batteries, getting ready to back up the computer and deciding if one lens will be enough. (I'm thinking the 18 - 135mm should do the trick, but I'm on the fence about the 50mm)

I'm not cleaning the house (which is what I should be doing).

But I am waiting on Fatty to open some champagne. (We're practically on vacation.)

xxxxxxxxxxxx

See you back here when I return. (With something crafty. Pinky swear).

 


Smile-inducing

Lilac

Lilac 2

Lilac 3

Things making me happy this morning:

The sound of legos and playmobil coming from the other room. And knowing which child is playing although I haven't set eyes on her yet this morning.

Sleeping in my own bed last night (just home from spring break).

The anticipation of three full, unplanned days before we return to a normal routine.

Crisp morning temperatures and a garden that grew a bunch over the last six days.

Being home in time to bring the lilacs in, even if they may be past their prime.

Thinking about binding a quilt. And starting another one.

Having the good sense to have grocery shopped last night as soon as we got home.

Checking the hourly weather and planning a run.

 

What's putting a smile on your face this morning?


Hello there.

January 19

I feel like the blog has been neglected a bit lately. And when I start feeling that way, I also feel that I need to check in even though I don't really have much to share. I know it's my space and that I can do what I please, but I like it here even when there isn't much going on.

So, hi.

I just got over a terrible cold. No fun.

The girls should be walking in the door from school any minute and I just pulled chocolate chip cookies out of the oven for them. Nice, right? Selfishly, I am hoping that a little treat will help make homework and chores and errands go smoothly, but it's probably just a wish. Doesn't hurt to try, though.

I've been sewing a bit. It's a little project that I have to keep under wraps for the time being. That said, I pulled out the nice fabric for it. That Liberty of London up there? It wasn't doing me any good sitting on my shelf so I cut it. It felt great. I should do that more often.

I've got a mess of scraps that need dealing with. Most of them are small-ish in size. They'd be perfect for potholders and the like. I've thought about making little kits with the scraps and batting, plus a pattern for a few different types of potholders. They would be reasonably priced. What do you think? Is there any interest in that? Let me know.

I'm scrapbooking, but I guess that deserves a post of it's own. Soon.

Ok. The girls are home. I'm going to make some smoothies to go with cookies.


It's a New Year

Poinsettia

Greetings and salutations.

I didn't expect to be away for so long, but it has been a great break. We spent over a week in Colorado, hanging out with my parents and skiing. It was exactly what I needed - some time to decompress and just be. We had a beautiful, low-key Christmas and I am ready to greet 2012 with a smile. That is something to be thankful for, isn't it?

In order to recover from our vacation (funny how that always happens), I'm easing back into everyday life. I've spent the last couple of days stocking the freezer and cleaning house. The girls are headed back to school tomorrow. I'm anxious to start cleaning out closets and organizing the studio so I can focus on new projects. I have not sewn a single stitch in a few weeks, but I did knit a hat while we were gone. I have so many thoughts on what I want to make and do in 2012. I'm leaning towards less is more and really prioritizing what I spend my free time doing.

See you back here soon for some show and tell.


And just like that

December 16

I woke up this morning to one paperwhite in bloom. It made my day.

The one handmade gift was finished today. Phew. Photos will come after Christmas, ok? The rest is all under control, or as much control as I'm going to have. You know what I mean, right? It's December and it's busy and that's life and I wouldn't change it. Well, I'd like a trick for getting the dog off of the couch. But really, other than that, I wouldn't change it.

The girls are out for their Christmas break and I am anxious to spend some time hanging out and relaxing with my family. On that note, I'm signing off until we reach the other side of Christmas. Thank you all for reading my blog and supporting me with comments and emails and more. I feel very blessed and count you all among my gifts. I hope that you enjoy the holiday season. Merry everything!

-Erin