Thursday, January 30, 2014

Patchwork Pillows & More!

I think you can tell that I've really fallen head over heals with quilting by now.  The thing is, there's no way I'll ever have as much time as I'd like to make as many quilts as I want so I've figured something out - quilted pillow covers!  They don't take me near as long, they fulfill my quilting needs and I don't have to mess with bias tape ;)  Don't worry though, there will be plenty more quilts but I'm sure looking forward to making more and more offbeat pillow covers to accompany my more simple ones.  Here are a few of my first ones, made entirely of scrap fabric from larger projects over the years!  These were began at the cabin during my weekend alone.  I couldn't love them anymore. 

I've already begun cutting into some of the fabric from the crazy haul last weekend and have some pret-ty cool things coming to the shop, if I do say so myself!  I feel so good about my little creative world lately.  It's a great feeling.  Until later!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Great Fabric Haul

I realize I can be quite the chatterbox on here (and in real life!) so I'm going to attempt something.  The short story and the long story.

The Short Story:  Took a quick road trip to Oklahoma City on Saturday to dig through a warehouse FULL of amazing fabric.  Came home with the car loaded down, without paying a penny for the fabric...and you can too!  More on how at the end of the long story :)
The Long Story:  A few months ago, a friend of mine in OKC started texting me about this warehouse full of fabric that she became involved with through her dad.  This was right around Alliday, Indie Emporium AND the holidays so I was just never able to get away to hunt!  She kept sending photos and I kept getting more and more intrigued.  It was just a matter of finding time to go! 

Fast forward to last week.  She informed me that they were going to start opening up the warehouse to the public but wanted me to come out there first.  I'm still humbled that I got such preferential treatment out there! Saturday looked like it may be the day.  I convinced my dear Dawn to adventure with me and I'm so glad she came!  We had an absolute blast.  Brent jumped on a day with the kid (they went to the aquarium!), gave me his car, told us to take our time and have fun!  The weather looked like it was going to beautiful and that it was.  

We hit the road bright and early and after a night with spotty sleep thanks to the kid, I was struggling a bit.  Thanks to lots of caffeine and great conversation, we made it and found ourselves in Spencer, OK, which is right outside of OKC, behind a random church in a metal warehouse.  It was overwhelming at first, to be honest.  My friend had already started a pile of things that she thought that I would like and it was HUGE!  It took me a bit of walking around and taking everything in before I could even think about digging in. 
The story goes that my friend's dad had a friend with a fabric shop that had to close in the eighties.  When the shop shut its doors, they moved all of the fabrics and everything else within its walls into this metal building, covered everything up and shut the doors for almost thirty years.  For whatever reason, they've now decided that everything in the building needs to go and even talked about just trashing everything!  This is where my friend came in to save the day.  She wasn't going to let this fabric go to waste so now she's working on getting folks in to take what they want...for free!  Seriously, for free! 
I found some absolute GEMS.  Like I would gasp every ten minutes or so when I would come across fabric that seemed like it was made for me.  It was like American Pickers for fabric hoarders!  Such a rush.  We literally filled up the back of my car and you can't even tell that we took anything from the warehouse!  Truth be told, I'm toying with going back.  Things were a bit musty but so far, everything I've washed has come out perfectly fine.  I've done about 15 loads of laundry so far and still have a good number left!  
We spent about two hours going through fabric and I don't even feel like we scratched the surface.  After we finally got back in the car (it was impossible to stop grabbing pieces!), we journeyed back into OKC for lunch at S&B's Burger Joint, did some shopping in the Plaza District and stopped by The Spice Shop so I could use a gift card.  We decided to not jump on the turnpike quite yet and took a detour to Arcadia to visit Pops!  I'd never been before and was quite impressed!  If you're not familiar, it's a hip gas station on Route 66 that also houses a diner and over 100 different kinds of soda pop.  That place was hoppin'!  It was a fun little stop.  :)  We got back into town right as the sun was starting to say goodbye.  It took a bit to get all of the fabric unloaded but it was SO much fun to go back through it all again!  It was the epitome of a perfect day.  I slept HARD that night.  
So now I'm assessing what to do with everything that I hauled home!  I'm dying to start cutting into things and am toying with opening up a supply section to my shop for some of the fabrics and trim that I have excess of.  Things feel good.  :)  I'm thinking of trying to go back within the next month and encourage you to do the same!  My friend has given me the green light to share her number with the world and to let everyone know that 'If you have a smile, you get fabric for free, as long as a mile!'  Her number is 405.816.5660.  Let me know if you go and maybe we can caravan!   

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fuzzy Friday: A Bit of Fluff

I've been very, very focused on our animals lately.  I don't know if it has to do with the cold weather and lots of snuggling, attempting to write an article for an animal lifestyle blog or the anniversary of Pimmy's passing coming up but I just can't get enough of our pets.  
Their interactions with Rio just astound me in the best way possible.  She LOVES to carry Sammie around and, while it really doesn't look comfortable, that cat lets her lug her left and right without protest.  For some reason she doesn't carry Vera but will run over to her, say 'hi Vera' and pat her multiple times a day.  Mondo gets hug after hug as well as big pats on the back.  He's a leaner when you pet him and the other day, Rio gave him a few good pats on the back which led him to lean, naturally, which pinned her between him and the refrigerator!  It was hilarious, to say the least. 

These photos are from one of those bitterly cold days when our little family was able to be at home together.  I walked into the bedroom to find these two snuggled up together in the sunlight.  Vera has taken to bathing Sammie, like she used to do Pimmy.  Seems as though Sammie loves it.  I'm glad they have each other.  I'm glad we have them. 
May your Friday be as fuzzy as ours.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Tulsa Loves Tex Quilt

Before I share this quilt's story, let me begin by saying that this quilt does not yet have a home but it does have a purpose.  This is the Tulsa Loves Tex Quilt.
Let me go back a bit to the first Alliday.  While I was hunting down artists that caught my eye, I knew I wanted to grab the artist responsible for explodingmary.  It didn't take much for me to discover this was our own Tex Montana, a legend in many rights.  I got her.  And I was thrilled.  Tex's work is unbelievably perfect and complex while being simple at the same time.  It's modern quilting at its finest.  I've been a fan since the first time I saw her work.
Yeah, it's amazing.

Fast forward to the days when I was pregnant with the kid.  I asked Tex if she would make some custom bedding for Rio's room and she quickly agreed, making us the most perfect nursery bedding I could ever imagine!  Not only did she make art with fabric but she gave it to us as a gift.  I had budgeted for this bedding and was ready to pay what it was worth but Tex wouldn't have it.  I'm still floored by that generous gesture.  This is why all of my quilts have been gifts; I've been passing on the gift that Tex gave to us.

I am proud to consider Tex a friend, an inspiration, an amazingly kick ass woman and gift to to have the opportunity to know.  Over the Christmas holidays, Tex learned she has an inoperable cancer that she must attack through treatments and her own admirable tenacity.  She's totally got this.  I've no doubt.  But she does need our support to pay for the medical expenses she first encountered while without medical insurance.  On February 13th at Dwelling Spaces, a silent auction and concert will be held full of highly-coveted art that can be yours which will 100% go to Tex.  This quilt is just for that.
This quilt's journey began a few months ago, actually.  I picked up this Tulsa-themed fabric by Tulsa Gal Designs from Made and gathered potential fabrics to accompany it but set it all aside because, at this point in time, I have a hard time quilting without a person in mind for the finished product!  The moment I heard about Tex and her battle, I knew why this quilt needed to be made.

I'm honestly in love with the way it turned out.  I *may* go back in and do a bit more quilting on the bottom half but I haven't decided yet.  Maybe I should consult the mighty Tex :)  
I made my own bias tape again with the backing fabric.  It's amazing how much I simultaneously hate and love making my own bias tape!  It's always worth it in the end but, man, is it a bit of work!  Speaking of the backing fabric, it's SO soft.  Luckily I have tons of it (estate sale, for the win!) so I can use it in the future as well.  It's the perfect backing for a little quilt.  I threw in a couple of bright white pops on the back, just to give it a little something extra.
If you're interested in this quilt, helping out Tex or seeing the other goods people will be donating for the auction, you can find out more information here!  I hope it's able to help out m'lady at least just a bit and is able to live long in someone's home.  :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One of Those Outfits: The Millionth First Day

Class is back in session as of today which means so is waking up early and attempting to look put together!  ;)  I thought I'd document the first day's ensemble just for kicks.  
I'm teaching the same two classes as last semester - Speaking for College (presentations!) and Reading for Academic Purposes.  Both of my classes are busting at the seams with some fantastic students from allllllll over the world which has me quite energized for the semester.  I've got good feelings about this group!  I'm mentor teaching the Speech class again to a new instructor which always helps me figure out ways to continuously improve the class.  This semester we decided to finally say goodbye to the textbook and replace it with the curriculum I've been tweaking for the past seven years.  For the past two weeks, I've been working on compiling everything into an organized teaching guide for our department and finally finished it up right before I hit the road last weekend.  Not going to lie, I'm incredibly proud of it and proud of myself for how far I've come in teaching this class.  It's an area I don't speak much about here but teaching ESL is a HUGE part of my life.  I can't imagine not doing it.

Back to the clothes.
Around these parts, it's bone-chillingly cold.  I'm a summer gal so I have to spend a little extra brain power figuring out how to dress warm while wearing something other than layers of pajamas and old man sweaters (which is exactly what I'm wearing right now while writing this!).  Sweater dress and lots of layers on the legs won.  The dress is a few sizes too big on me but I more often than not prefer things a bit too big.  One of these days I'll show some hilarious examples of that over the years. 
So it's nothing too crazy or out of the box but it kept me warm, professional enough for my gig and felt like me so it got my approval.  Here's to a successful semester full of colorful outfits and spicy international food aka my dream team!  :)

Dress - Gap clearance / Scarf - Gifted, Handmade in India / Boots - Target / 
Crocheted Tights - Gifted / Boot Socks - Gifted / Earrings - from the great beyond

Monday, January 20, 2014

make:Tulsa Cabin Retreat

Prepare to be jealous.  I'm about to tell you about the perfect weekend I just had through photos!
As you probably know by now, I'm a member of make:Tulsa which is a group of crafty business owners.  We've been talking about doing some sort of retreat type weekend for over a year and this past weekend, we finally made it happen thanks to my parents' generosity for opening up their cabin to us.  We were missing a few of our members but the bulk of us were able to escape the city for a bit to commune together in the woods!

It was first planned that Brent and Rio would also be there for the weekend but as time drew closer, my desire to have a kid-less weekend won and Brent played super dad (who am I kidding, he's always super dad!) and had a father/daughter weekend in Tulsa so I could have a weekend on my own - my FIRST weekend on my own since she's been born!

Everything was blissfully perfect, with one tiny, and scary, exception.  On my way out there on Friday afternoon, right as I entered the beautiful part of the drive, I came around a curve and found myself the first on the scene of a rollover accident.  I was dumbfounded.  I immediately pulled over, fumbled with my phone to try and call 911 while watching smoke flood the air.  There was movement inside the vehicle but I was most concerned with the stuffed animal I saw in the back window; I was overwhelmed with the thought that a small child was in the car.  Luckily, there were no kids but three guys in their late teens/early twenties who were all able to climb out of the driver's side window.  One asked me for a ride which I firmly replied with, 'man, you can't leave your car upside down in the middle of the road!!'  He was obviously in shock and was covered in blood with a broken nose, at the very least.  After it was confirmed that highway patrol was on their way and that everyone in the car was ok, I was on my way.  A mile down the road I lost it.  It was so very overwhelming and scary.  I wonder if those guys realize how lucky they were.  Fifteen minutes later, I was at the cabin, ready to RELAX.

I brought the beast along with me and I'm so glad I did.  The cabin is his heaven.  Friday night, it was just us two.  We did a bit of walking, saw a family of deer, he did a bit of swimming and I took in the sunset and moon view.  That night at the cabin, I set up shop and starting sorting through my scrap bag to make some crazy pillow covers (I packed in my serger!) which I am totally loving!  I brought a month's worth of projects because, uninterrupted crafting!  We watched some random movies my folks had tucked away and Mondo made a bed in the middle of my fabric pile.  We stayed up entirely too late, snacked way past my eating cut off time and shared the bed which was a treat in itself.  Sleeping in was attempted but apparently my body has decided I'm too old for that. 
By mid-morning on Saturday, people started showing up!  We had THE most spectacular weather for January.  It was a hair too windy for a fire which was a bummer but it was beautiful, nonetheless.  Once a handful of folks had arrived, we chowed down for a bit and then took a tour around the property.  We ended up at the swimming hole and playground where I laughed until I cried.  These people are the best.
After some time frolicking outside, we retreated back to the cabin for an informal meeting to discuss the future of make:Tulsa.  Good things are in store for our group internally and for what we plan to give to our community.  It was rejuvenating.
Most folks headed back to the city lights that night but Jane and Amby crashed over night with Mondo and me which was perfect.  We chatted for hours, I sewed like a madwoman and we munched on and off until the beds were loudly calling our names.  Sunday morning was full of perfect tea, a hearty breakfast and more beautiful weather. 

I'm beyond grateful to have shared this weekend with so many wonderful people but more so, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to know such souls.  They are each such fantastically wonderful people that I am honored to have them as friends.  So thanks to each and every one of them as well as my folks for letting us invade their retreat and to my mister for giving me the weekend off from parenthood.  Perfection.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life with Rio: 15.5 Months

It's been quite some time since our last official Rio update, so much so that she feels like a different kid! Where in the world to begin?
Let's start with eating as it's Rio's favorite thing to do!  She's yet to meet a food she didn't like and eats like a champ.  There may be a chance that I use food to chill her out in a fit.  Maybe.  She completely feeds herself now and yesterday she successfully and consistently used a spoon!  I was QUITE floored by her ease with this.  And the kicker?  It was all with her left hand.  We've been noticing that that may be her dominant hand.  A leftie!  Anywho, back to grubbin'.  It's safe to say that her favorite foods are cheese, cottage cheese, spaghetti, bananas and cheese.  Did I say cheese already?  Good, it's her fave fave. 

We completely weaned right after her first birthday around mid-November and it was easier than I ever imagined it could have been. I didn't really experience any lament for leaving nursing behind because I think I was ready to be done.  I wasn't really sure what I thought about nursing before we began but I wanted to give it a whirl.  My ultimate goal was a year and despite many hurdles (that damn infection!) we made it but I was glad to see the end of it.  Nursing is hard work!  I will never judge a soul for not nursing (and never did).  She does currently get a small bottle right before bed of milk.  We're working on weaning that out but just haven't yet.
Sleeping.  MY favorite activity of hers!  ;)  For the most part she is a stellar sleeper...once she is asleep.  Sometimes it takes a little while to get her down and every once in a while (mainly during molar time, thus far) she'll wake up and be up for multiple hours...and it's exhausting.  Luckily, we haven't had one of those nights in a few weeks, knock on wood!  Typically, this kid crashes around 7 and sleeps anywhere between 7-9.  I love those 9 mornings!  She's still a one-nap-a-day kid which has always worked out well for us.  Some days she'll nap one hour and some days it's three but our golden number is two. Co-sleeping is a thing of the past for us now.  It's all about the crib and it's awesome.

This kid is a freaking character.  She is a certifiable dancing machine and it NEVER fails to make me smile.  She's quite the mimic these days from using her tiny guitar as a phone, sssssss-ing the cats out of plants or attempting to say what you've just spouted, she's all about the game shadow.  It's time I really start to watch my mouth! 
Here are a few of our recent highlights (and there are SO many):  Carrying the cats, reading Goodnight Moon to herself out loud, hugging the fuzzies, giving us hugs and kisses, showing us her belly while patting it proudly, playing piano, surprising us with new words daily and speaking adorable gibberish.  Everyday is full of something new.

Not only is she producing language now (up, Mondo, Vera, baby, Mama, bird, book, more...) but she is understanding what we say more and more...and I love it!  We're beginning to close that communication gap and while I know that will pretty much continue forever, I'm glad that we're starting to understand each other better already.  
In other news, she runs!  She ditched crawling a few months back and quickly put it into high gear.  She's also a daring climber.  That's fun and exciting and terrifying.  Lately she's into spinning.  With that and her love for dancing, I smell a future club kid!  ;)  I do love that she's more mobile now.  More mobility equals getting into more stuff.  Being a person with lots of *stuff*, I was a little worried about baby proofing our house.  Luckily, that was tons easier than I thought it would be and actually fueled my desire to try and simplify our home some.  

One reason I'm REALLY glad we're not nursing anymore is because this kid has TWELVE teeth now!  Four molars and those eight front teeth.  We didn't really have any issues with the front chompers coming in but those molars were a different story.  Those were the sleepless nights.  I know we've got more molars that will be here soon and more than likely, more of those sleepless nights but we'll all survive.  
She's definitely not a shy kid.  She LOVES to be the center of attention and if you laugh, she'll likely bust out some belly laughs with you.  She's a stitch.  I love her more each and every day. 
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