Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rio's Friendly Flock

A few weeks ago, Rio and I created a flock together!  Our OKC trip was just around the corner and I knew we'd be running into several kiddos that she hadn't met before, so I thought having some 'hello' gifts would be nice for her to hand out.  Plus, I am a HUGE proponent of making gifts, so it's something that I hope to pass along to her.
I thought a fun project for us to complete together would be some stuffed birds!  She has a few of these already that I had made and that I had bought at craft shows.  I knew they were pretty simple and would be enjoyable to her.  I used a pattern that I've had forever that I found online.  When I searched for it to link today, I found this interesting story about the pattern!

I brought my scrap bin to work and explained the two pattern pieces to Rio the best that I could.  One piece must be cut on the fold, which was a new concept for her.  She went through the scraps and found pieces that would fit the fold piece and found other pieces that would fit the belly piece, all by herself!  That evening when we returned home, she matched which body and belly fabrics she would like to go together.  We talked a bit about contrast and going bold while she did this.  I think she aced it.  Then I sewed the bodies of one bird so she could understand how it would go together.  Then the power went out!  Ha!  I gave her a quick lesson in bird stuffing and she finished one up that afternoon.  That evening, after she had gone to bed, the power came back on (yay!) and I finished sewing up the bodies of the other birds.

The next day, we brought all of the bird business back up to work and she stuffed birds all day long!  I can say with confidence that she is a much better stuffer than I will ever be!  I sewed up the ends of them that evening, and then she had her gifts ready to distribute!
It was SO enjoyable to do this small project together.  We each had our jobs but ultimately, it was her creativity and eye for color that gave the birds life.  I only sewed up some seams.  It was also so wonderful to see her pick out which birds she wanted to give to her new friends, and then to see her hand them over.  She was so proud!  Heart swells!
I'm trying to make the most of our summer together before she starts school next month (!!) and this was one more special memory to add to our list.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Adventures Down The Turnpike

Two weekends ago, Rio and I went on a little adventure!  The Oklahoma City Modern Quilt Guild had reached out several months before and asked if I would be their guest speaker at one of their meetings!  (insert a million exclaimation marks!!!) (I'll talk more about that at the end of this post!)  I'd recently spent a few weekends out of town on my own so I thought it may be nice to give the mister some alone time and to make some memories with the kid. 
After waiting out a random thunderstorm, we hit the road!  I got some kid-friendly podcast recommendations (thanks, ladies!) and loaded up a bag of things to keep her busy for the hour and a half drive.  I think we made it twenty minutes before she started asking if we were there yet.  
Lately, Rio's been asking about hotels A LOT.  She's stayed in some before but it had been a while and obviously, she didn't remember those experiences.  So, of course, we stayed in a hotel for our first night!  

I did some quick googling prior to our trip and quickly landed on the 21c hotel in OKC.  Man oh man, we will definitely go back there!  I didn't realize I had already been to one of their hotels before, in Louisville - their first!, and I loved that one as well.  Each hotel has a penguin mascot, each hotel having a different color one.  OKC had purple penguins and they were everywhere.  We even had one in our gorgeous room!  That was too much fun.
We lived it up!  We toured the hotel's art gallery, gave ourselves pedicures, had a fancy dinner, wore plush bathrobes, each had our own gigantic bed, watched a bedtime movie, and had a truly good time.  Oh, I almost forgot!  Our waitress at dinner was named Rio and the woman who checked us out was named Brianna (just spelled a little differently than mine)!  Rio and I both got a kick out of that!
(That's all grey felt above!!)
After one night living like royalty, we packed up our goodies and moved on over to my brother-in-law's apartment!  It was equally wonderful and perfect!  Rio is enamored with her uncle, just like everyone else who meets him!  She's been asking many questions about where all of her relatives live so it was pretty exciting for her to see one of their dwellings for herself.  
Our time with Uncle Kyle included more bedtime movies (such a treat for Rio!), long walks to funky neighborhoods, and late night talks for the adults.  

For the next few days, we hopped around town while visiting old, dear friends.  It's hard to believe I moved away from OKC 15 years ago!

First, we spent some time with our incredibly special friends, Dyan and Charlie.  Dyan was partly responsible for Brent and I meeting, and their home was my second home in college.  Pretty important people to me!  While we visited, Rio and Charlie hunted through the magical backyard for seashells to bring home for our backyard.  Best souvenir of the trip.
Another day, Rio and I met up with my friend Chelsea from college and her little lady!  They look like they could be sisters!  Seeing her your kid play with your friends' kids is one of the coolest things.  We spent time inside of the Myriad Gardens before heading outside to a pretty rad splash pad!
On Monday, Rio and I got to meet up with my friend Jemelia and her daughter for a quick lunch and delicious cupcakes.  I'm not much of a sweets person but these cupcakes were mighty memorable, as was our time together!
Remind me to tell you about that little bird someday, mmkay? 
Following that excursion, we were set to meet up with a friend to go to the Science Museum, aka The Omniplex.  Our friends ended up not being able to go and we were thisclose to not going, just because we were beat and I had my presentation that evening BUT we went, and I'm sooooooo glad we did.  I had not been there in at least 20 years and let me tell you, that place is not the same at all!  It was THE coolest kid's place I have been to since becoming a parent.  We were there for a little over two hours until Rio asked if we could leave!  I could have spent two more hours there!  We'll definitely return.
Thankfully, our full time at the Science Museum led to a fantastically full nap for the kid!  That was much needed and was our big wild card as to the future of the evening.  A few hours later, we found ourselves at the NW Public Library in OKC for my presentation!

I've learned over the past few years that I LOVE public speaking.  I may not be the best or most polished public speaker but that doesn't stop me from trying and from learning what to do better next time.  Some of you may remember that I teach English as a Second Language with my biggest focus being a public speaking class for ESL students.  I tell my students that if you wait to speak until you are a perfect speaker, you will never speak.  I would never speak.  They laugh, but there is so much truth in that.  You will never improve if you don't keep trying.  And try I do.
Back to the presentation on hand.  I was asked to speak for about 45 minutes over my work, improv quilting, and assembly line sewing.  I ended up speaking for about an hour with Rio watching The Magic School Bus on the iPad (another big treat for her!).  I think there were maybe 35 or 40 attendees?  I was absolutely elated to see some of my favorite familiar faces in the crowd, some of whom made a hefty drive to see me!  (Hi Holly!  Pro tip - listen to this!) Absolute highlights for me!
The OKCMQG was such a pleasant and welcoming group of people!  I loved every moment spent with them that evening and am beyond grateful to them for reaching out!  I loved it so much I made everyone take a selfie with me at the end!  Ha!  Cracks me up!
So if you made it through this epic post, then you'll feel much like I did by the time we made it home!  We made it!  We survived!  I hope Rio remembers as much as this trip as I will cherish it.  Everything about it was better than I could have imagined and to have shared it all with her made it that much better. 
Until our next adventure!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Archer's Quilt

Being asked to make someone a custom quilt is, by far, one of the greatest compliments I receive in my creative world.  Recently, I was contacted to do just that and it made my month!

In the past, the commissioned quilts I have worked on have varied widely.  Some have simply told me what colors they prefer and what size they want it to end up being.  Others have told me to go wild and do what I will!  With this quilt, I was given some specific fabrics to work with and a twin size goal.  The recipient would be for a darling three-year-old named Archer.  Lucky kid!  His mom has great style so I knew it would be a fun project!
We met in 'my lair' and were able to pull supplemental fabrics to use, in addition to discussing a layout.  The focal fabric is from Gingiber and features these perfectly hand drawn woodland creatures.  I LOVE Gingiber's work (I even have one of her prints hanging in one of our bathrooms!), so working around her creations was very pleasing.  We decided to 'log cabin' around each panel in a random mix of fabrics that we pulled.  Doing a random pull in a predetermined pattern allowed me to 'assembly line' sew, which is a topic I'll soon be speaking about at the OKC Modern Quilt Guild!  Most of the time when I make a quilt, I improv piece so having a plan on this one was a different experience for me!  It really made it move along rather quickly and ended up making a beautiful quilt! 
We decided to not quilt the animal panels which gave them a more full effect once the quilt was washed.  Where I did quilt, I just did straight, grid lines.  I even marked some of them before quilting, which I never do!  I made the binding from a vintage, plaid sheet that I ADORE.  I absolutely love the way it looks as a binding!  The backing came from Owl & Drum and matches the front animals perfectly!
As a way to say thank you, I made a matching pillow cover to accompany the quilt!  I chose one of the fox panels to match the fox on the backing.  That little guy makes me smile.  :)
 The icing on the cake was getting to deliver the quilt and seeing it in its new home!  Heart swell!
Happy napping, Archer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Me Made May, Take Two

Yes, we're well past the middle of June but let's talk about May.  Last year, I participated in #memademay for the first time.  Participated is a loose way to explain it.  Basically, you commit on your own to wearing something you've made every day of May.  You get no rewards, there are no prizes, and no one keeps tabs on your progress.  After taking part in this last year, I already knew I would do it again this year.  And I did. 

You're encouraged to share a photo of it on social media, but that's certainly not necessary if that's not your bag.  I enjoy the periodic challenge of consistent photo documentation, so I posted a photo each day.  One of my favorite parts of this year's challenge was that Rio was my photographer for all but six of my photos!  She was a fantastic photographer who allowed me to loosen up in front of the camera.  Basically, she would take 50 photos in one minute so I would just move about wildly for a minute.  After, I'd go through the batch and was always able to find several that I loved.  She had a blast being the photographer as well and knew why we were taking photos.  If she didn't remember a garment I was wearing, she'd ask to confirm if I had made it or not.  After the confirmation, she would comment that I must have made it when she was two years old because she doesn't remember anything before then.  Love her thought processes.

Last year's challenge was more, well, challenging.  This year, I had a plethora of handmade clothes that I'd been amassing so I had more options to choose from for my outfits.  It's amazing how much I've learned in regards to clothing construction over the past year and how many garments I had made!

My thoughts on ethical clothing choices have not really changed over the past year.  If anything, they have intensified and I have become more passionate in regards to the origins of my clothing.  It seems that desire is spreading, thankfully.
Last year, I shared my outfits without any order.  This year, I would like to group them together for you.

First, garments made from patterns by Yoshiko Tsukiori, specifically from the book Stylish Party Dresses.  I have a few other of her books but that one is by far my favorite.  The patterns take some great focus and time to trace out but I've made multiples from each of them that I've traced.  I also think the dart placements are a little odd, so that's something to think about if you attempt any of her darted garments.  I've added hidden and exterior pockets to each of these as well.  These dresses are BY FAR my favorites in my closet and I wear them ALL of the time. 
My second category is self-drafted patterns.  Or 'wing it' garments.  Many of these were made by trying to recreate some of my favorite clothing items, by attempting to create something from scratch, or simply refashions.  I think the results were pretty good!
Next up, vintage patterns, which includes patterns from the fifties to the eighties in this post!  Can you guess each decade of each pattern?  ;)  These are always a little challenging because the pattern sizing varies from modern clothing and because each pattern company seemed to have their own way of explaining how to do things.  Patterns with few diagrams or photos are my least favorite.  Also, I'm preeeeetty sure that I made changes to each of these patterns as I went through them.  The shorts, I actually learned to grade on and sized them up more than half of the pattern size!  That was magical.
Finally, modern patterns!  Compared to the vintage patterns, these are a walk in the park!  These include (in order as pictured) the Esme Maxi Cardigan, the Gallery Tunic, the Washi Dress, the Wiksten Dress, the Pearl Shift Dress, and a knit wrap that I can't recall the pattern for.
 And that's that!
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