Thursday, December 16, 2010

10 days and counting!

Just 10 days to Christmas and my world is still a mess! Give it up, right? I'm currently working on a custom quilt for a woman using kids tshirts, blankets, clothing, and an old tattered favorite quilt. This is a first using parts of an old quilt so it will be interesting how I manage to work that into the design. I have ideas...just hoping my quilting machine doesn't hate the thickness of those parts. It will be a wonderful gift. I started working on it last night and I'm headed back up here shortly. I will post pics as I approach completion.

Still have not chosen a color for my kitchen...don't know why I'm so worried about's just paint and it can be redone fairly easily. Heavy sigh.

I bought a load of Cherrywood fabrics for another custom quilt...thankfully it does not have to be completed in time for Christmas. I'm making this one for a man who has always wanted a quilt of his own. I have met some really nice people doing custom's fun to work this way and meet people I'd never run across otherwise.

Check out Cherrywood fabrics...just google them. Soooo pretty, suede appearance. Can't wait to hold them in my hands. Great company to work with. Good customer service and small enough to feel comfortable and welcome. It runs $14/yard so no mistakes allowed on this! I'm making 2 for him and one for the site so look for it after the holidays on my Etsy:)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Life and it's snowing in Iowa!

Well, the first snow is here...quite beautiful! Here's a shot from my sunporch door:) And of course the first wet dog pic of the year. Right after I took this pic she shook all the wet off all over my computer desk!

Chaos has resumed around here impeding my ability to drywall repairs in progress...can't walk anywhere around my house though I've managed to get to the coffee pot!

And, cute kid pic:) My best friend was here from NC ...her daughter is my daughter's best friend also. Just had to share:)

I'll get back to the sewing room eventually!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Etsy shop to check out

Quick post just to share an Etsian that I LOVE!!! Check out I don't have time right now to figure out how to import photos from her site on here, but as soon as I do I'll add some. Brilliant colors...just plain beautiful!!! I want to order something but I can't choose ... there are so many I love. When life settles down around here I'll make a decision. I'm in the middle of numerous, unplanned home projects as well as custom work and various appointments...all good, no great, stuff...just all at once. I used to be better at this multitasking, million things going deal...not so much now but I'll make it as always:)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quilts in the Closet

I've been digging through my closet and pulling out quilts that need to be quilted, finding backings for them and getting it all organized. I thought I'd post pics of my upcoming quilts (well, most of the 'quilts in the closet'...the wind picked a fight with me before I completed all my pics). So here is a little show of what is to come. If you are perusing this and see one that you love, you can always contact me and I can give you a cost, get it quilted asap, and list it for you:) I have a few more but I'll put up pics of those at a later date. I wouldn't want to overwhelm anyone:)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cotton Charts

Okay, I'm in part just playing with my new IMac to see what I can do...and in part this is interesting. Here is the graph showing the increase in cotton prices over this past year. Just a little bit of fun:)

December 1st and Counting!

Where is the time going?? It's the first of December...I have our tree up, 80 percent of Christmas gifts purchased, 2 new quilts listed and 2 more by tomorrow....ummm...the house is a mess, my sewing room is chaos. Well all is as planned I guess:)

I went on a little fabric binge the other day....very much fun. I was good though and the vast majority was blender fabrics...with the exception of a cute snowman kit (which I can make and list on Etsy) and the newest Laurel Burch fabric...just the main print though. I do love Laurel Burch; bright beautiful colors and amazing unique designs. I will be listing a cat quilt later using her fabrics.

I just read on line that cotton is supposed to increase in price after the first of the year...that's not good...fabric is already pushing the $10/yard mark...what's next?? I suppose I could not buy anymore fabric and use what I I could ever stop buying fabric!! It is a bit tough though to be paying the $10, let alone $11 or $12. I guess we'll see how bad it all gets. I just pulled up the stock trading charts online and prices have doubled since it's not just rumor. The big question will be whether once prices go up, will they ever come back down again. The price is already dropping from that highest level.

Okay, I suppose it is time to get to work now. I had a quilt headed to Canada that never made it:( Thankfully it is one that I can remake as I still have the fabric, so that is my agenda for today...I pieced it yesterday and today I will quilt it so I can get it bound and resent off. No more USPS...gotta stick with UPS or FED EX from now on. Lesson learned...could have been worse and the man was very very nice in giving me a chance to fix this.

Life is Good!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses

Some days...well weeks, I forget to be calm and remember to love what I do; not race through to the next thing at warp speed. It is impossible to love anything when you are too close to that list with a sharpie marker waiting to check things off. Last night I remembered that and slowed down. Note to self: Make a sign reminding myself to enjoy and slow down. It's kind of like when we are driving and we have that urgency to get somewhere and we pass people and curse under our breath and then you realize you made it to that stop light just in front of the guy you so desperately needed to pass! Rushing really doesn't save us that much time (exception: cleaning house) in the end. It just makes the process more painful and sucks the life out of life. I'm going to try hard to remember this over the next few weeks as I live in the now for the holiday season.

The quilt pics are of the bargello quilts I recently completed for a woman in Oklahoma for whom I've quilted for 8 + years. She is a meticulous piecer; all the points match and everything is perfectly constructed. I love quilting for her despite frequent fears of messing up her beautiful work. I just thought I'd share these for their beauty and to prove:) that I've not been idle these past weeks. I've nearly cleared out my customer quilts and I started yesterday on the 20+ quilts in the closet that need to be quilted and listed on Etsy. (hence the origin of the list that made me miserable yesterday).

So, today I'll be calmer and productive and love what I do...and put the list away!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New IMac!!!

I just bought a new computer!! It's the IMac and it is so cool! No more freezing up computer issues:) I'm so excited! And the photo software alone is amazing...I can do anything!! It's going to take some learning but even tonight at my first lesson I remembered things from using Macs waaaay back when I was in college. This is so cool!

How cute is this baby??!!! Just pulling up random pics from iphotos. You may see a lot of random stuff for awhile:) But isn't she just gorgeous:) She's 11 now, and still beautiful...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catch up!

Well, the quilt I made from Urban Art will remain mine, well, I'll finish it and most likely offer it for sale on Etsy...maybe. I may love it too much and find it perfect to hang in my quilt room:) Stephanie loved it and initially offered to purchase it from me. But then she talked with Camelot and they've decided not to reprint the fabric...sad as the fabric is wonderful, but that's that. She did ask if she could use me in the future and of course I said yes. Overall, great experience and potential in the future for something...who knows what.

I made a purchase yesterday. A new table for my quilt room for cutting and whatever. It's an L-shaped counter height desk perfect height for working on (my current rigged system is about 2.5 inches too high for good body mechanics and may be adding to some back/nerve pain in my right foot). But, as I went to bed last night I had the worst case of buyer's remorse ever...I never spend that kind of money on such things when I can rig something from whatever I have around to work with. I was awake and freaking about the money spent, what am I going to do with the furniture pieces I have been using (we've outgrown our house with all my stuff), I should have done something less expensive...on and on I went. I'm calmer today and I believe it was a great purchase and it will work beautifully and I'll deal with the rearranging and make it all efficient. It will be delivered on saturday and I am excited, although still a little anxious...I'll get over it and for once I'll have something that is good and sturdy and looks nice and will last for a very long time. Just thought I'd share my crazy thoughts...I'm sure none of you have ever done anything like this! Ha! We all do it now and again, right?

I spent yesterday working on cleaning out my garage for winter car storage. I recently retrieved some boxes from my brother-in-law which have been stored in his basement for 15 years. Going through those things was like taking a trip to another life! I found some wonderful things from my past and I realized I've always been into crafting and fabric and design ... I guess I've known that but finding an entire box of books, supplies, crafting and such it hit me that I've always been headed right where I am today. We all live what I think of as a series of lives which in retrospect often seem very disconnected...but threads weave through these lives connecting each one to the next. It's very good to feel this connection; to see that each choice leads us to becoming whatever it is we are and will be. None of it is a waste as it all is part of becoming. I love where I am now and have learned to love all those past lives also. Everything that felt awful at the time is gone now; unimportant within the whole. I guess that is enough philosophizing for's one of my habits:)

New pics of quilting space coming soon as I redesign to incorporate a 6x6 foot 'design center' for my laptop, space for so much!! But first I must finish that darn garage...what to do with loads of yucky chemicals I've fought my husband over for years, maybe finally tackling that workbench filled with his poorly maintained tools that we can't even use since we can't find them. Ahhh really is so very good!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I met Stephanie Brandenburg!!!!

I went out of my comfort zone at the Des Moines AQS quilt show and introduced myself to Stephanie Brandenburg!!! Pic here:) I had spoken to her a couple years ago at another local show but this time I actually approached her and told her how much I love her designs. She is soooooo nice and she actually said if I came up with any good designs maybe she would take it to quilt market??!! Did I hear that right? Maybe it was my own hopes, but I came home and was inspired to create a quilt from my urban art fabrics ... this is what I came up with.
These fabrics are so rich and beautiful. Turns out this is not a difficult quilt to make, but writing a pattern would be challenging because of the fussy cutting. It can be done; I just need to think it through. It uses a load of the focus fabric...4 yards I think...with lots of leftovers so I'm thinking I need to come up with smaller projects to use up the remains. Now I have to get out of my comfort zone again and email her to see what she thinks...whoa...that is a tough one for me...putting a design out there for someone elses approval? But then, what do I have to lose, right? I love it and that is good. Maybe she'll like it too? I'll let you know after I swallow my fears and reach out...wish me luck!

Friday, October 1, 2010

I really need to clone myself!

Help! My house has been taken over by quilts!! Wait...that's a good thing! I've been taking photos, listing and relisting, sewing custom quilts and pulling out partially completed projects and getting them finished up...if only I didn't need to sleep! My first big custom project is completed, shipped, and happily received:) It's so great when I get such wonderful feedback from buyers for this 'work' I love so much:)

It's time for a new computer now ... part of my sporadic communication on this blog is my frustration with my current computer. I bought it back when I did little more than check my email but now I've outgrown this and plan to upgrade very soon to a much faster processor and graphics card. That will eliminate my frustration with slow loading and untimely shut downs. I will however have to finally take the time to understand just how this technology works and to use it to my advantage. Time for that...well, I'll find it as we always find the time for the things that are important to us...right?

I'll have some more new listings soon for the holidays, but first we'll be heading to Chicago's American Girl store next week for a birthday celebration for one of Meg's good friends. We leave next Wednesday and when we return I'll be refreshed and filled with sewing plans for October...and a new computer too!!

Off to work!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another rainy day

Once again it is raining here in Des Moines. We just got back from a wonderful walk in the rain and splashing through puddles! I'm not minding the rain but I really needed some sunshine to take some photos today. Ah well, there is always tomorrow and another day of unlisted quilts won't hurt. I'm working on a king size custom quilt today and enjoying the process. And I have another custom quilt that needs more design boredom isn't part of my vocabulary:)

I got my new Fabric Trends magazine yesterday. My fav quilting personality has taken it over ... Mark Lipinski... and as expected, it is wonderfully improved!! I read it from cover to cover and am so excited about all the new fabrics arriving soon. But then I started feeling overwhelmed since I have so very much fabric (one day I'll take pics of my stash so you can truly comprehend what I mean here), what am I going to do with more??!!! But we all know I'll buy it anyway and after some brief guilt, enjoy it thoroughly even if it sits on the shelf for 10 years!! You only get one shot at buying a line of fabric you know:) Rationalization is a skill most of us quilters have mastered:)

Okay, I'm not getting any work done here. Tomorrow, one way or another, there will be 3 more items on my Etsy site. Maybe 4 if I get a binding completed on another table runner. Yeah! Then there will only be about 35 things remaining in my closet to quilt and about 2000 on the shelves awaiting inspiration!! Hehe. What a life!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Life with Cats!

This is what happens when I'm working and I go to answer the phone! Some days as I move from the sewing machine to the cutting table, Cuppy takes over my chair, I toss her off and she goes to the cutting table...then to the chair and so on...heavy sigh:) But they are so cute, aren't they? :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shopping:) justified! I have a woman who is wanting a custom quilt like another on my site and so I got to go shopping for fabric...and I HAD to buy enough to give her choices, right? I love blues and greens so this was just the excuse I needed to go nuts! Of course I have enough here to make 4 quilts:)
My daughter and I drove to the amana area yesterday with the goal of hitting fern hill gifts and quilts. It was much fun and a great store. This is where Stephanie Brandenburg works/designs...her design area is so tiny but so filled with wonderful inspiration. She wasn't there though I'm sure I'll see her at the big quilt show here in Des moines next month. Darn me though...I forgot there was a second quilt shop in the amanas so didn't get to that one. Oh time.
I have much to do so I'd better get to it!!! First up though...muffins made in a really cute halloween muffin tin we found yesterday. I'll post pics if they turn out as cute as I think they will!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Working, working, working:)

Can I really call what I do work?? I'm not so sure I has such a negative connotation in our society. It's something we complain about, tolerate, wish we didn't have to do...I know, I was in there for a very long time. But now, not so much. I love sewing. Well, I love quilting...yesterday I made my daughter another sleeping bag for her other american girl doll and I must admit I fussed and complained a bit about that. Zippers! ugh! She is happy now though and it is off my list of things to do...and if I do say so myself, it is very very cute:)

Back to quilting. I've always heard people talk about working at what you love. I understood on a logical level but until now I couldn't relate. I had good days when I was a Physical Therapist. There were days when I didn't hate it. But overall, given the choice, I'd have stayed home on any given day. Now I can 'work' all day long and never tire of what I'm doing. I can move from one task to another happily and so far I look forward to all of it. Vacation isn't an escape from work and I cannot wait to return home and sew. I just have to take care not to work too much as I still have a family out there:) Granted, I'm not making the $70K plus I made as a PT, but thankfully I don't have to either. I can build this as long as I choose and have a great time in the process.

Ok, enough on my awesome life! I'm working on getting things quilted! 3 off the last entry are on my site and I'm binding a 4th. There are just not enough hours in a day and I still have so many quilts to finish for customers (I've long-arm quilted for 8 years now). My goal is to get those all completed by the end of september ... kind of a tough goal since my self-proclaimed quilting ADD gets in the way and I'm forced to comply and start a new project regularly:) Then of course there are those quilts I want to make as gifts...there simply isn't enough time for everything swimming around in my head...but I'll get as much done as I can and give myself a break on the rest.

Okay...I'm off to quilt a friend's quilt and get one step closer to returning to my fabric to create something else new:)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coming in September to The Meandering Thread at Etsy!

I posted this before it was sewn together. Completed now and ready for quilting!

Halloween table topper/wall hanging.

Wall hanging...I love halloween fabrics!!

Finally got to playing just a bit with the new Stephanie Brandenburg fabrics. This is just a simple idea of how great this stuff is!

I recently bought a vintage pink irish chain baby blanket...torn and used, but oh so soft and beautiful. This is my modern take on that beauty

Simple hearts quilt for a sweet little girl.

Halloween table runner mostly made from a cool striped fabric I bought last year. These are so fun to make!

And, my favorite! The ghosts and words fabrics are metallics...very fun and cool...just wait until I quilt little ghosts and cobwebs all over it::)

So, you can see I've not been idle! I cleaned up my sewing room this morning...I am a messy quilter:) Now I must get to my Gammill and get all these quilted and bound so I can put them on Etsy! it will take some discipline though as I've just washed all my Halloween fabrics and they are calling out to me to make something of them. I have some really great stuff ... but first I must catch up and get these done. We're headed out on vacation in a week so we'll see what I manage to accomplish before that.
More later!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My nemesis...Time

Wow...I've been gone from here a long time. Time...there never seems to be enough of it, but I'm trying to make the most of it. I recently spent quite a lot of it working with an Etsy customer who wanted 3 king size quilts. I learned a great deal about shipping overseas and communicating on design ideas. It seems it has all fallen through, but my greatest lesson has been to be true to myself and what I want from this experience. Getting talked into working for less than I'm worth ... well, it does not make for a happy quilter. I am grateful for this experience at this early point in development of my shop. And it is never a waste to work on a quilt as it can always be completed and offered to another:) I'm grateful also for being 46 and thus able to look at this as such a great experience...when I was younger I would have gotten discouraged and upset. Not so now. She may be back, or she may not, but she taught me so very much about being a shop owner.

Given that...I have more time now to write and take pictures and prepare for the holidays. There are so many things I want to make. I LOVE Halloween!! Now I must find the time to put together some wonderful items from my stash of fabrics. I'll post pics this week of new projects...I'll be back and focused!!! This week anyway:)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy birthday to me:)

Well, I'm back! It's been a crazy month spent decluttering my spaces and working on customer quilts. Now my studio is ready for some serious sewing and my head is cleared for creativity! Here are the promised pics of my studio space and the current project on the wall as well as the beginnings of a project from the brandenburg fabrics...haven't gotten far, but it comes quickly once I get to it.

Today however will be spent celebrating my birthday:) 46 years old I don't feel it...or maybe I do. Maybe middle age and beyond does feel really good! We have a wonderful day planned ... I love my birthday. When I was little it was always a day when my mom spent the day with me. She was so busy working and in school all the time so it was special to have a day with her. I won't see her today, but as always I will remember the years when it was just us for the day. Funny...when I turned 16 my parents bought me this fabulous bike. It was in my room when I woke up and I was sooooo thrilled. Today kids expect a car, but back then a bike was my key to freedom and I'd have never expected anything more. Times do change....

I promise to get on here more now that I've accomplished my decluttering tasks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Working Working Working:)

I've been working for awhile now on customer quilts all the while thinking about designs and fabric choices for my own projects. I have also rearranged my studio space, stealing a couple more feet of our theatre room for my 'new' cutting table set up (I used the door from our last house on which I had documented my daughters' growth over the 4 years we were there) and my ironing board (not in front of my design wall anymore). I bought another flannel backed table cloth to expand my design wall as well as create a backdrop from which to take pics. I need to get those put up soon. I have not worked in the space yet, but am hoping that little extra space makes things easier. I'll post pics later of the new and improved room...right now I must return to a quilt I'm working on for a is vintage and may be the most challenging I've ever done in terms of getting it to lay flat and ... well, my motto of "it will quilt out" is being seriously challenged...but off I go to do my best. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Quilts, New Photos

I spent yesterday afternoon working on new photos of both old and new quilts. I decided that seeing some of these quilts on a bed would be helpful for people, so I headed to my in-laws house to take pics on their full size bed (how do 2 people sleep in a full size bed??!!). Using my new lights and my good camera the pics turned out pretty good. Still a lot to learn, but getting there. Here are the newest quilts: