Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bees and Things

I finally finished Feeling Stitchy's July challenge. I did the the bees twice; they were way scary in a pure black next to all the other subtle colors. Again, I ran to my Valdani thread colors - what can I say, I'm smitten with them! I'm pretty happy with Mrs. Bee, but I'm tempted to redo Mr. Bee for a third time..

This kitchen towel is part of a thank you gift for a friend that lives out of state. Utah (where I live) is the beehive state, so this seemed an appropriate gift. I'm going to fill a gift basket with a number of other Utah treats - chocolate truffles, Polygamy Porter microbrews, and more.

And I stayed up late quilting last night. What? Yeah, the Universe is pretty hilarious. It was really hard for me to confess yesterday about my lack of desire to design. Once I purged all my fears, I was flooded with ideas and couldn't wait to get back to it. More on that later..

I received a layer cake of polka dot fabric from my quilt guild last Thanksgiving. I was afraid if I placed it with my stash that it would be forgotten and never played with. I diced the fabric into squares and circles using my AccuQuilt Studio and Sizzix machine.

When I started playing with squares, it started to feel a lot like Tetris. I loved that game as diversion during my college years! Thought a rainbowific Tetris quilt would be fun. I thought for a minute that I must be clever and then it dawned on me that I wasn't probably the first to think of this. I found this fabulous Tetris quilt-a-long online over at Happy Quilting. I don't have enough squares to do the challenge, but it looks like great fun if you are interested.

I can't wait to finish this one up! I bought a Juki/Grace midarm earlier this month.. such a joy to me that deserves its own blog post later this week ;o)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's Going On??

I don't know if you have noticed here or on any of the other gazillion places I post, there hasn't been much sewing or quilting.. just lots of embroidery..


I thought I knew the reason and then I talked it out with a quilting guild friend..not even knowing that was what I was doing.

For the past year I've been pushing, pressing, knocking on doors, and chasing after a dream. Today I still don't even know if that dream will come to be. And in the last couple of months that waiting and breath holding has zapped the joy out of it for me.

I haven't want to design.. I haven't wanted to look at it. So I moved into something that didn't hold expectations. I started working on embroidery.. And yes some of it I designed myself, but for the most part I worked on other artists' designs. I did it without guilt. I wasn't an embroidery artist so it was okay to not stress about making my own design.

Then it occurred to me that it was OK to quilt and sew patterns that aren't mine too.

I'm not sure when I'll get back to designing quilting and sewing patterns, but I'm back to quilting and sewing. I'm working on a Tetris quilt, a hexagon quilt, and more.

The silly stress that we put ourselves through.. Oy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Rare Shopping Treat For Me & Baby

When we moved to Utah a few years ago, I was introduced to the store DownEast Basics. I really loved the modern and modest fashion style! I was very excited when I saw all the home furnishings available now too. However, with my two little munchkins it is a rare treat to go fashion and home decor shopping. I was lucky enough to sneak out this past Wednesday night with just Baby and see what was new.

Here is sweet Baby watching me try on clothes.. yes, she is much more interested in drinking her night-night milk. After trying on a number of fun outfits, this is what I decided on..

I love the versatility of this outfit! I wore it today to work at the library and received compliments all day. The skirt is actually called the "Optional Dress Skirt" and can be worn as a dress all by itself. I'm planning on wearing it as a dress with a black shrug when we go to see "Wicked" in August.. Even the delicious pin double duties as a hair accessory - both a pin and clip on the back. I love it when pieces can multi function, don't you?

There is nothing quite like a new outfit to wear and it was a special treat to have my first solo shopping trip with Baby.

Another beauty I spied with my little eye is this yummy leather ottoman.

It is a smoking hot deal for under $100 ! I will have to write Santa about this and see if we can arrange a Christmas in July. Again.. DownEast does not disappoint - I love that it would provide some extra seating in our front room and hide a number of toys as well.

DownEast Basics is actually in a number of states now as well as online. I would check them out the next time your are in need of a special outfit. Just really awesome, classic style!


Yes this post was sponsored by DownEast.
No I didn't just say those things. I truly love that store and am giving my complete and honest opinion.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Charlotte's Web - Embroidered Cover Art

I've been wanting to open Kiddo's literary world beyond picture books. Unfortunately she gets very antsy with chapter books and it doesn't make for an enjoyable evening for either of us. I thought I would try audio books since we seem to always been in the car. Fabulous! Not only do I get a break from the kid's music channel, but we all enjoy richly written classics. I adore "Charlotte's Web"! The descriptions are amazingly rich and the story is so tender.

Every time we would jump in the car, the beautiful cover illustrated by Garth Williams, always made me smile. I loved Fern's pensive expression and the pastoral scene. I wondered if I could create an embroidery that would do it justice. I thought that if it worked out, that I may create one for each my daughters every year.

I pretty much love it and hope you do too. It took me the better part of the last week and I ended up doing Fern's face twice (the first time she was more reminiscent of Samara from "The Ring"..eek!!)

The thread/floss? Lots of lots of my favorite Muddy Monet from Valdini, a few DMC, and the bright glistening white came from a brand called Artiste (new to me...a bit fiddly, but loved the sheen!)

The best part of it, is that Kiddo adores it. She's been watching it transform and is very eager to have it in her room. I'm not sure how I'll display it. Maybe just as a simple hoop art. I went through pains to make it serene, I really don't want to ruin that feel at the end.

I am going to be doing "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" next for Baby. It's been a favorite board book of hers for months.. Embroidered book scenes.. pretty much the perfect art for this librarian!

And I promise to all my Instagram followers, this is the last of Charlotte that you will see! Want to follow my pictures on Instagram? I'm listed as "allthingsbelle" but of course..

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quick Gift Idea - Embroidered Hand Mirror & Pouch

I'm still working through my list of gifts that are long overdue. This week I dared to take both girls to Hobby Lobby, I know I'm a glutton for punishment. In the 10 minutes we survived there, I stumbled on to a stash of clearance hand mirrors. They had a garish picture that was falling off from old glue. I bought them all; a smoking deal for some "blank" hand mirrors..

I used the garish picture that was falling off as the template for the new and vastly improved focal art. I decided on some Blend fabric designed by Cori Dantini - "Beauty is You". I love the sweet, sassy girls and thought it would be perfect. I wanted to add some dimension without taking away from the fabric's beauty. Just some hand embroidered hair, accent french knots, and a tiny bit of pink to her lips.

With a bit of jewelry adhesive and a few minutes, I transformed the sad hand mirror into a lovely gift. After another 15 minutes or so I whipped up a coordinating cover for the mirror. A bit of sewn in hook & loop velcro will keep the pouch closed and tidy.

A sweet gift with handcrafted details that didn't take longer then a baby's nap!

Friday, July 6, 2012

My New Passion.. well kind of new..

It may not be any big revelation that my personality is manic and I have some major arty ADD. I used to stress and worry about these aspects of myself, but I think around the time I turned 30 and had two kiddos I stopped and embraced. I think some of the unique nuttiness of each of us is what makes us awesome. Now I could totally be rationalizing so I feel less insecure about my idiosyncrasies.. but oh well..

If it's not obvious, I'm pretty fascinated by embroidery and applique right now. I loooove that it something I can do outside the studio = more time with kiddos & hubby! I love the vintage, but not really traditional patterns like this one here that I blogged about earlier.

I've been slowly designing some patterns of my own, but I'm also loving changing art into embroidery. Since the girls & I are listening to "Charlotte's Web" on cd, I'm bit crazy about it. I adore the sweet cover illustration and have set out to embroider it. I think it would be fun to make one for each girl every year - maybe their favorite or most meaningful book that year? "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" is next on the roster for Baby.. I'll probably do some fun fusible applique & embroidery combo with that one.

I've also wanted to try more organic, less structured motifs. It also turned out that I haven't sent my belated birthday gifts for my two besties. Ack! I thought it would be fun to make some cocktail coasters with a cellular structure embroidered on them. My besties are both trained bio engineers - smary pants, eh?! 

What else is coming? 
I stumbled across this picture book at the library yesterday by Jennifer Adams. I'm quite the smitten kitten! Love, love it! I think I may try it as a wool applique.. Love it!

Some of my embroidery secrets..

*I don't always hoop. I know, such the rebel! I really like to use sticky stabilizer sheets on the back of the fabric and found that hooping really isn't necessary when I use it.

*My favorite thread/floss/pearl cotton right now is Valdani and the wool thread from Aurifil.

*When I do trace designs on to fabric, I don't use a washable or iron off pen. I love to use my mechanical pencil. I have found that even with a single strand of DMC, I'm still able to cover it without any issue.

So addicting and so fun!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Land of the Free because of the Brave

We spent our 4th of July celebrating a birthday boy with friends. Lots of water play, ice cream, and squeals of laughter from kiddos.

 A wonderful day.

Thank you to every man and woman that has protected the freedom, the rights, and the safety of this amazing country.

Hope you are enjoying an equally sweet and safe holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My New Happy Place..

My husband & I love camping and spending as much time outside as we can. Before we had children, we spent many summer nights tent camping in Arizona. After we had Kiddo, we were slightly afraid of what our outdoor adventures would evolve into. We waited to try until Kiddo was 18 months, and were ecstatic that she loved it as much as us. Then we had Baby and tried camping a few times in our new-to-us camping trailer when she was still small.. amazing trips! Last year.. not so good. Taking a crawling baby camping ranks pretty high on my personal torture scale. Tears, tantrums, and complete frustration - not fun and a little traumatic.

We were hopeful and excited now that Baby is walking, running, and listens, that we could return to our summer camping escapes. In a word - fabulous..

My husband had been told that Willard Bay was a great place for families & to fish. We booked a site for 3 nights and crossed our fingers. After spending the week prepping the trailer, shopping for groceries, and packing, we set off on our way. My heart sank a little when we pulled up to the site. It wasn't in the forest, it was hot, and it was crowded with people and boats. It wasn't what I had imagined for our trip.

After we set up camp, we decided to explore the bay and maybe test the water out. That evening will rank high on my places to think about when in need of a moment of serenity. We found a quiet area off the main shore. Kiddo was in heaven bouncing her beach ball and Baby giggled up a storm splashing in the water.

For once I didn't worry about what times the girls went to sleep. We stayed up late eating gooey smores and making wishes on stars. Kiddo entertained us with silly ghost stories and snuggled up to hear about our antics when we were her age. The girls slept through the night and didn't play musical beds. Heaven!

To say my family melts my heart in a million ways just doesn't do it justice. I loved watching my girls search for seashells, spending time hearing their voices instead of the television, and givng them the wide open spaces they had been craving. We spent everyday in our bathing suits soaking the rays and relaxing. We even took the girls out on a paddle boat one afternoon - funny to watch us juggle the girls on our laps as we paddled about the bay.

I am sadly aware that are just a number of summers to enjoy while the children are young. I am confident that Kiddo will remember this one for quite some time. It's true we caught more bug bites & seashells than fish (we didn't catch a single one!), but the memories we are making are truly priceless. Camping with kiddos, even in a trailer, is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is worth its weight in gold..


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...