If you look close enough, you will find beauty everywhere. I find myself fortunate that I have the ability to find it in things that most would see as the complete opposite.
There are times that you encounter certain places, and they just take your breath away. They take your words away. They make even a non-believer believe that there is something larger than ourselves in this world. Every now and then I am lucky enough to stumble upon such a place. This was one of them. Sometimes when I have a bad day, I travel back in my mind to this place…
I am a sloooow crafter. I mean, really slow. I sheepishly look at photos on Instagram that start in the morning with some fabric cut out and end in the evening with an entire quilt top done. DONE! In one day. That just seems absurd in my world. I don’t know if the procrastinator in me would allow such a silly thing to happen. No. I need months. And in this case, years, so finish my projects. Thankyouverymuch.
This quilt took me longer than any other project. In my humble defense, when I began it I was in school full time, as well as working, as well as, well….coming close to losing my mind! This project had a lot of starts and stops. I was nervous because technically this was my first gift quilt. And it was for my mom. And really people? I have No. Clue. what I am doing with this quilt stuff! No pressure. None at all. And honestly? I had a love/hate relationship with the color scheme. I still sort of do. But the pattern. The pattern! *swoon* It is so perfect for my mom, who is such a beach bum. On one of her visits I gave her a couple fabric options, and she immediately gravitated to this Heather Ross collection. And so a quilt was born.
This has become the largest quilt I have made to date. It fits the top of a queen size perfectly. I love the mermaids in this collection so I decided to use them in each corner, as well as in my tag.
While I was binding this beast I had a vomit-inducing moment when I happened to flip one section over….only to see that when I had machine-sewn the binding to the front of the quilt the binding did not completely cover the fabric. Basically…I had a hole. A hole. In my mom’s quilt. WHAT DO I DO?! Did I mention that I have no clue what the hell I am doing with this craft? That I fly by the seat of my pants each time I sit down at the machine *ahem* hence the hole *ahem* SO. Do I rip out 300+ inches of binding? Hmmmm. Ummmmm. NO. Do I did the best I could and made a little patch. I think it came out pretty good. Insert pat on back HERE.
In the end, I’m pretty happy with this quilt. And today it is supposed to arrive at it’s rightful owner. I am biting my nails waiting to hear what she thinks!
A secret about each quilt I make…when I am assembling the quilt sandwich (backing + batting + quilt top) I tuck a small piece of fabric from my own baby quilt, that was hand sewn for me *cough* thirty-some-odd years ago *cough* inside the sandwich. It is not something that you can physically see in my quilts. And I like it that way. It is my little special secret. I like to think that my Bucki would be incredibly proud of me that I picked up our family tradition of sewing, and it is my way of honoring her. And so for my mom’s quilt I wanted to take it a step further and see if I could get her to let go of the only shred of fabric she had of my brother’s baby quilt. He passed when we were teenagers, and all of these years she has carried with her through various moves this one small shred of his red and blue plaid baby blanket that Bucki has sewn for him.
When I sent my fabric bit along with my brother’s to the quilter, I was secretly terrified. How would I even know if she actually had sewn these important little bits into my quilt? When the quilt was returned to me she had pinned each spot, and included a note letting me know that when I hold the quilt up to the light I would be able to see my and my brother’s fabric. And sure enough. There. They. Were. goosebump moment. I added actual safety pins and ribbon to make sure there would be no missing these spots when it arrives at my mom’s. Knowing her, the safety pins will stay in that quilt ♥
79 x 72 “Shirley Sells Seashells”
Fabric: Mendocino by Heather Ross for Free Spirit
Backing: Kona Cotton Azure & White
Binding: Squared Elements in Mandarin for Art Gallery Fabrics
Quilted by: Kathy Olkowski Stitch by Stitch
The post otherwise known as This Girl Knows How to Stretch a Vacation Out!
Alright, sure, it’s been a year already. What can I say? I have a natural aversion to the computer. I admit it. I hate sitting at it. I have very poor time management skills, so while my intentions are to sit down to write a blog post, the reality is that three hours later I walk away from the computer with no blog post in sight and my brain slightly mushy from whatever it is I just wasted all that time on. But really, these photos keep knocking on the screen of my computer. Let us out! Let us out! It’s dark and dusty in here. I need to give them some fresh air, don’t I?
*also, I should point out that in my defense, this post was done a whiiiiile ago. And then this silly little blog was all “oh, you want to add photos to your photo blog? Well isn’t that sweet. NO.” And then we stopped speaking for quite some time. But my silent treatment worked, and it sent me flowers and promised to treat me with the respect I deserve.
Day 7 was one of those lovely leisurely vacation days. Our friends met us for breakfast before we checked out of the resort, and while we enjoyed our food we were visited by the many beautiful birds of the country.
We have pined over the masks made in Costa Rica for quite some time and we were absolutely thrilled to find out that there was a man selling them roadside not too far away. You can find these masks throughout the country, but upon closer inspection you will realize many of them are not up to standard. We stumbled upon them in a few shops and after a quick moment of excitement we would realize that these were not the masks that we were willing to spend money on. I admit, hearing that there was a man selling them on the side of the road did not immediately give me hope that these were going to be the masks. But who knows? And guess what? These masks? These were the ones! While avoiding getting smooshed on the side of a busy road, we stared and stared, before finally making a selection and finally finally being able to say we were the proud owners of a boruca mask! Here’s Henry wrapping up our proud new purchase…
We later went back to our friends’ house in the country, where we hung our with their neighbor’s dog, wandered around the property, and just had a perfect, relaxing day.
We spotted this toucan in the backyard. I mean. A toucan. In. The. Backyard.
I spent a lot of time chasing these bats on their porch. The bats are stealthy suckers. Imagine that! It was kind of like trying to lick your own ear. Go on. Try it.
This is Stinky. He was the perfect fix for my missing daily interactions with dogs. He belonged to someone else…but that’s the thing about Costa Rican dogs. They do what they want. :) And he wanted to spend time with the gringos. And so that is what he did.
We wandered the property with Stinky, and boy do Costa Rican dogs know how to live large. There are no rules. No frilly living for these guys! It is hard to get used to, coming from a country where our pups are pampered to a sometimes ridiculous degree. But it was refreshing to watch….even if some of his antics did make us lose our breath for a moment!
And just because this one makes me giggle…when you live in the country you sometimes have to find juuuuust the right spot for the internet :)
I’m not one to have a whole lot of confidence in what I do. I never really have been. At times, I am able to acknowledge that I can do something well(ish). But to think I am great at something is a foreign concept. And to think that anything I do is worthy of another is just downright insanity! So the sudden idea I had to make quilts for a family member? Completely unsolicited? ABSURD!
What if they hated them? What if they went straight to the re-gift pile? What if What if What if?!?!?! My confidence issues added to my good old fashioned anxiety was about to equal vomit-inducing fears of rejection. Who knew quilting could be so high-stress, right?!?!
I have barely made anything for myself, let alone for someone else (which is exactly why I expertly deflect every suggestion/request I get to create a quilt for anyone ;) ). But I had this grand idea to make a quilt for the children of our Aunts Sue & Karina. We love these women so much, and Sue has made such an impact on so many of our lives. One day I was thinking about them and trying to figure out something we could do for them. They have a new baby and a toddler, and I suddenly knew that I should use this new hobby of mine to gift them something special.
I sent out a sneaky text simply asking for nursery colors for him, and her favorite colors. The response? Her favorite color is rainbow, and we don’t have a color theme for him. SIGH! Come on people! Help an indecisive girl out. Obviously, this response induced all sorts of anxiety. Now what?!?! I knew that these environmentally conscious chicks would appreciate if I could somehow incorporate that into this gift, so I took to the internet and narrowed down my choices by deciding to use organic cotton only. I quickly decided I wanted their quilts to coordinate, and I wanted a simple design (because this girl is a slooooooooooow poke crafter!). I settled on my new obsession- orange, and then worked around that theme. I knew I was taking a risk with the bold colors- I feel like most baby quilts I see are much more subdued, but that word doesn’t really exist in my vocabulary, and really, these kids are Cool Kids. They needed Cool Quilts. I only had to hope that Moms agreed!
In the end, I am in loooove with these quilts, but still, I might have gone into a cold sweat as I packaged these up to send off to California. Again, what if? what if? what if? And then? And then I got the most beautiful text, along with a video, that made me realize sometimes it is worth taking a risk and sharing your craft with others. Even if it does make you want to vomit.
And so…my first gift quilts…
I am slightly obsessed with the backs of both of these quilts. The patterns are so sweet ♥
With each quilt I make, I add a tag to the back. I covet some of the custom tags I have seen out there and at times I toy with the idea of ordering some. But in the end, I enjoy using the fabric from each quilt to make a unique tag.
ummmm, is anyone still here? Am I still here? My aversion to sitting down to the computer has grown stronger and stronger over the months. In case you hadn’t noticed ;) However, it would be an atrocity to just stop posting old vacation photos. The world might end. Or something.
So what the hell? Let’s stretch this shit out, shall we?!
There is that song floating around by American Authors. Best Day of My Life. Day 6? It was truly one of the best days of my life. It was the kind of day that felt like it was going to last forever. And I had barely a worry on my mind (which is a huge feat to accomplish in my world). And I rode a horse. Best day. Obviously.
After our horse ride, and butterfly garden adventures, and iguana stalking, we decided to just wander the property of the resort and see what we could find. There were surprises around every corner, and always something beautiful to see. We were especially excited to see this double crested basilisk up in a tree.
I love photography. You know that, right? You might not, especially if you have been along for this little ride here on the blog. It is a confusing relationship I have with photography. I love it. I hate it. I avoid it. I devour it. I really, truly do love it. And let’s just throw some honesty down here…I am good at it. I can say that. It is not easy for words like that to come from me, I am realllly good at knocking myself down, it’s a little harder to lift myself up. But yeah, I am pretty good at photography. But here’s a little secret- just because I like it, and/or am good at it, does not mean I have to do it all the time. Or that by not doing it, I am wasting it. I do not have to do it all of the time. I do not have to make money at it. I tried that, and sometimes I think that is where we can pinpoint where my relationship problems with photography began.
I don’t like being told what to do. I am bratty like that. And the more people that push my own art on me, the more I find myself pushing it away. Just imagine me as a teenager ;) Plus, honestly? I haaaaaaaaaaaaate the whole process of photography. I adore creating the images. Getting lost in my own little world when I am looking through the viewfinder. But after that? uuuuuugh. Sitting in front of the computer. Culling images. Editing images. And then what? I used to love sending film out, and the excitement of opening that envelope to see your images come to life. Now? I finish up on the computer………….and there they sit. Pffffft.
Photography will always be a part of who I am. But I find that throughout the years I have pushed it to the side to hop around to other hobbies. I used to make jewelry. That was kind of fun. And ahem expensive. And then all those beautiful beads sat in boxes in a closet. And then I hopped on the scrapbooking train. That was fun for about 5 seconds before my ocd kicked in. Scrapbooking + OCD = nightmare. And then one year, I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas. And then I started buying fabric. And then I started making little things. And then. And THEN. I realllly wanted to make a quilt.
You guys…I hobby hopped and then landed on the jackpot. I. Adore. This. Hobby. ADORE.
But let’s be clear on something…I have no idea what I am doing! At. All. But yet I enjoy almost every moment. Even the moments that freak me out and I avoid, once I start doing it, I am so very content. My mind is a very busy place, and when I am in the midst of a project everything just quiets. I just focus on the task at hand, and there is nothing else in the world. I love that. And maybe that is why I love this hobby so much.
I also am learning that I REALLY love making things for people I love. I finally got the confidence to make my first gift quilt, for my mom. I am terrified to send it her way. What if she hates what I created? What if the whole thing falls apart?! But what if she loves it? I currently have a nice long list of gift quilts, and that makes me smile. Hopefully, they will all stay in one piece :)
And what I find the most ironic bit of it all? I find myself thinking…wouldn’t it be nice to get so good at this that one day I could sell my quilts? :p LOL
And so, there you have it. My new hobby. I will always take pictures. Always. But it nice to step away from my camera and not feel like I have to take pictures. In the meantime, I will be sewing :)
I’ll leave you with my favorite thing I have made so far….
geez! I am not sure if it could have taken any longer to get this picture posted. I mean…WEEKS! My blog has not been friendly with me as of late, and so I had given up on it for a time. I decided to be bold this morning, and look at that! Apparently we are on speaking terms again :) I’ll take it!
I hope this shot was worth the wait. It happens to be one of my favorite images from the trip ♥