Tuesday, May 19, 2015

All Over The Place

For a while, I felt like Edward Scissorhands with fabric and thread flying about.  Every where I looked, I had threads stuck to my clothes and had multiple projects sitting in-progress waiting to be finished.  Well, I finally got caught up and I've stepped back from the table for a few days to refocus and recharge (although I DID do some sewing last night but more on that in a minute).

 
The recent heavy rains have taught us what areas of our house cannot handle large amounts of water and as a result, we've been trying to figure out what our next steps are to make things flow better, pun intended.  The mister had a shift in work times while at the same time recording an album and being sick so things have been a bit hectic, to say the least.  I have about a week and a half before the summer semester starts back up so I've been working on various projects for my other job and StreetCats before getting back into the classroom.  Throw in a massive garage sale, my mom's surgery, and a toddler that hasn't napped since November and you've got a household in need of some reprieve.  

Cue stress cleaning.


Remember my embarrassing craft closet mess?  I'm happy to report that it has changed dramatically!  Seriously, cleaning and organizing is so cathartic to me.  I have a ways to go but it's actually functional now!  My latest crazy project is a product of cleaning the craft closet.  Since I started actively sewing, I've been hanging on to every single scrap by throwing them in a bin and tucking them away.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Not any more!  I decided that it was time to do something with those scraps so as I watched the last episode of Mad Men the other night (cue ALL of the tears), I started to sort and sort and sort.  There is a bit of a plan?  Maybe?  Kinda?  I started sewing some of this up last night but just like the craft closet, it has a ways to go.
 
Remember when I made pillows out of fabric made from one of my mom's paintings?  You don't?  Let me remind you.  There you go.  Well, I loved the way that turned out so much that I had more fabric made out of one of Rio's many paintings!  I'd like to make her a special quilt out of one of these days but I'm in no rush.  For now, I just admire her work.
 
And since this post started with a photo of a sleeping kitten, it seems only appropriate that's how it ends as well.
Until later!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bag Bounty & A Sale!

Bags.  I can't seem to stop making them. 
This dandy I made for myself on Mother's Day.  I've been in desperate need of a purse change for quite some time - I'm not the kind to change my bag day to day - when it dawned on me to just make my own.  Duh.  The problem was what style I wanted and how to execute it.  After planning the construction in my head for entirely too long and pulling some of my favorite fabrics, I started and finished this last Sunday thanks to some quality time with my machine.  And I freaking love it. 

I'm suddenly not petrified of zippers and feel like I'm getting better with each one I install.  In fact, they are kind of fun!?  I can't believe I just said that.

In addition to an exterior zippered pocket, I put in a split open pocket on the interior.  The bag functions wonderfully, is the perfect size for all of my odds and ends, and (to me) is fashionable to boot!

The rest of the bags I've been busting out have been gifts or commissions, and there is still one more yet to be made!  This next batch resulted as a need for a 4 year old birthday present and a lack of desire to buy something.  I came across this tutorial and churned out the first bag like lightning.

It was so fast and easy that I quickly decided that Rio and her little friends all needed one too so four more magically appeared.  They were each made with specific little ladies in mind and all share the same lining.  Fun, yes?

My last one for the weekend actually came before my purse shown above.  It was a commission that I ended up loooooving the functionality of and decided that I definitely needed to base my new purse off of it. 
The features are all of the same except this one has a cross body strap and different material for the strap.  It will be picked up tomorrow and then will go on a trip around the world! 
If you're wondering if I'd make a bag for you, the answer is yes.  Just start the conversation and we'll make it happen!

And for those who like sales, I'm having a 25% off sale in my shop right meow!  All sorts of things I've made, fabrics, and trims!  Use the code quartersale at checkout...expires this Friday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Motherhood

Last week, my mom had to have a full hysterectomy.  It kind of came out of nowhere and served two purposes:  preventative measures and to know for sure whether uterine cancer was present.  That morning, Cinco de Mayo to be exact, an aunt of mine drove to town to stay with Rio (since my mom is my usual childcare) so I could join my dad, my Mimi, and two uncles to wait. 
I'm not one that is usually very verbal with words of love for my family; I never really have been.  While we waited that day, I thought about all of the things I wished I had more freely spoken to my mom.  With Mother's Day just around the corner, 'mom talk' was abundant and it was hard for me to imagine a life without my mom.  So many around me though have had to continue on without their mothers and I truly wonder how they do it. 

The wait was long, we tried to stay busy, and employed silly videos on youtube to pass the time.  For my dad and I, sitting and waiting isn't a strong point.


Several hours later, we had our answers.  No cancer, a successful surgery, and a loopy mother.  We shared a hardy laugh as colorful words were thrown about in regards to sports on the TV and we breathed a deep sigh of relief seeing her come back to being herself again.


After seeing her settled and after getting her blessing, my dad and I decided dinner was in order.  We headed to one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joints and in route, spied a rainbow seemingly sent just for us.  A cold celebratory beer and food in our bellies never felt better.  Back to the hospital to say our good night wishes.  What a day.  Now she's recovering and is doing quite well, even got back to painting some yesterday. 

Yesterday's Mother's Day reminded me how lucky I am to still have my wonderful, creative mother in my life and Rio's.  It also made me sad to think of the amazing mothers no longer in our world.  My Granny, who I miss nearly every single day, and my Mother-in-Law, who I knew for much too short of a time.  I wish so badly they knew Rio and us and our world and our accomplishments and our fears and our hopes.  I wish they were here.
And then I think to my own role as a mother.  I'm far from perfect and I reckon I'm a bit worn thin on many days but dammit if I don't try.  That's all I can do - try my best.  I never imagined I'd have a child, that my child would be by my side 95% of the day, that I would find peace in rocking someone else to sleep, that I would welcome hugs and kisses so freely from someone, or that I would witness someone growing and changing daily.  It's amazing.  I don't know what I'm doing but I try to do the best I can with what I have and hope that someday, Rio appreciates my attempt at motherhood as much as I appreciate what my mom did for us.  I'm learning it's no easy job.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Craft Closet Before

There are so many things about the new abode that I love but one of the things that tops my list may surprise you.  Two closets. 

If you've been reading here for longer than a minute, you already know that I looooooove organizing and being organizing.  It's a bit of an obsession, really.  To the point where I have organized many friends' and families' homes.  Not being organized is hard for me to handle on a very deep level.

Anywho.

In between our kitchen and my workroom, there is a small transitional hallway with a closet on each side.  They are both pretty good sized and have automatic lights when you open them.  It didn't take long to decide how they would each be used once we moved in - one as a pantry and the other as my craft closet.  The pantry side is pretty well organized but is always a work in progress.  The craft closet on the other hand is...
... a bit chaotic for my obsessively organized personality.   A clusterf*ck, if you will.  It makes my eye twitch.

Don't judge.  Don't judge.

I share this to show my very candid before of the closet.  I have grand plans on its organization, I just majorly lack the time to do so.  But I MUST get it done, for my sanity and for its functionality. 
Ugh.  Where to start?!

Below is the true, true before.  EVERYTHING in the pantries (and this area of the house) was very, very, very yellow.  One of my first projects before we even moved in was to paint the insides of these closets.  No small task, but a necessary one.  I even painted the insides of every single kitchen cabinet from yellow to cream.  Yeah, a lot of yellow.
So there you have it - my dirty, disorganized secret!  Fingers crossed I'll be sharing the after sooner than later!

I'm curious if organizational tricks and tips would be something you'd be interested in me sharing?  I'm full of them!  :)

And a little bonus footage: 
This guy loves the craft closet chaos and all of its hidey holes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Miles and Miles of Thread

Sometimes, I just make to make.  I have to.  I'm the type of person who always needs a project.  It's a blessing and a curse.  This quilt was one of those projects.  No destination, no parameters, no recipient, no rules.  Just something to do.  And I think it's one of my best technically and aesthetically.  I'm a proud peacock!
I would pick this project up from time to time between commissions and whatnot so it's been in progress for quite some time.  Sometimes, I find it so helpful to snap a photo of something, walk away, study the photo, and see how I feel about my design decisions.  Maybe it's just me but it's like seeing it through new eyes...through my phone.  ;)  Since this piece took a while, I accumulated many photos during the process. 

Randomly enough, the patterned fabrics came from one booth at the Flea Market a few months back.  They presented themselves to me together.  I thought they complimented each other quite well.  Pulled some coordinating solids and just started building.  One-inch strips galore.  That'll make you go a little cuckoo. 
I probably spend too much time just staring at my work, trying to figure out what to do next.  If I'm going to cut something up, I want to be sure that it's the right decision!  Over-thinker extraordinaire over here.
I tried a different method for basting this time around.  At the old house, I had a great space in the kitchen for taping and pinning quilts but I just don't have that same type of floor space here.  Since this is a small-ish quilt, I decided to just lay it over my work table and smooth it out as I pinned.  It had potential to be a catastrophe but it ended up being the most consistent basting I've ever done! 
Then there was the quilting.  I quilted the hell out of this thing.  All eyeballed.  Half-inch strips in V-formation over and over again.  I went through SO much thread.  I freaking love how the quilting shows up on the backside.  It was a labor of love.
After all of that, I opted for simple, pre-made, white bias tape that I added with my machine.  One of these days I'll hand stitch on my binding.  Once it was complete, I took a deep breath, tossed it in the washer, and hoped with all of my might that it would come out a success.  It washed up divinely.  That crinkling is perfection!
I foresee this being a great baby blanket, a toddler blanket (filled with colorful roads for the creative car-obsessed kid), a lap quilt, a couch blanket, a bed accent, or whatever one can dream up.  It's currently homeless and is dying to be used....just sayin'.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Belated Alliday Lovin'

This post is waaaaaay overdue but better late than never! 

Last December, I resurrected Alliday.  If you remember, I wrote a bajillion words as to why I was done with the show I dreamt up and why I was ok with that.  Turns out, I wasn't done with it.  Alliday hadn't died in me, it just needed a facelift, if you will.  So the Fifth Annual Alliday happened.  And it was glorious.  After the previous show, I cried afterwards because I just didn't feel fulfilled and happy about it.  After last year's show, I cried again.  I cried because I was so damn happy with how everything turned out.  Everything was fun.  Everything.  The planning was enjoyable, the changes were exciting to execute, our event hosts were simply wonderful, the artists were absolute delights, and again Tulsa was so supportive!  I am BEYOND glad that I made it happen, that I asked for partners, and that I didn't let my dream die. 

We moved the show to the fabulous RetroDen, shrunk the show from 80 artists to 12, extended the show from one day to two days, had live music, set up a bar, had a scrumptious food truck pull up, and filled both days with more goodness than I could have ever imagined.  It felt so much more personalized, much more me.  The changes we implemented had to happen for the show to continue and those changes are, without a doubt, what made the show shine and what made my heart burst with joy. 

To those who were a part of this special event, I can't even thank you enough.  For those who have supported this dream over the years and shop with us, your encouragement is gold.  Here are just a sampling of photos from the 5th Annual Alliday, in no particular order..  More smile-inducing pictures can be seen here and here

Happy Alliday!  Cheers to the future!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Skipping Town

I'm here!  I'm alive!  I'm just buried under toddler tears, tests to be graded, cat hair tumbleweeds, and wayward threads from therapeutic sewing sessions.  Tis the season.  I did manage to escape the city and allowed my soul to breathe a deep, much needed breath this past weekend.  Brent was all booked up with shows for the weekend, I amazingly had nothing on the calendar, and my folks were headed to the cabin so the beast, the kid, and I stuffed ourselves in my mom's car and hit the road.  It was good.  Really good.  I needed to hang with my folks outside of work and I think they also needed to hang with us in a different environment.  There was fishing, there was lounging, there were cigars, there were swimming dogs, there was sewing, there was rain, there were snakes, there were stunning sunsets, there were deep talks, there were laughs, and surely more notable things.  Rio now won't stop saying that she neeeeeds to go to the cabin.  I know kid, I know.
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