Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #10, Hurricanes and Happy Birthday!

Just a quick post...It's been a week of hurricane prepping around here and yesterday we celebrated my husband's 46th birthday. We are still awaiting Irma's arrival to our area, although today we started feeling the effects of the weather in the outer bands. As I type this the lights have flickered a few times and the storm has been downgraded to a category 2 and is tracking north from Naples. The photo below is from earlier this morning just around the time when it started raining. We have all the potted plants inside and the raised beds have wheels so we rolled them under the patio and strapped them together.

Continued prayers for everyone affected by the storm...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #9, Insignificant Scraps

Not a whole lot to report for this past week. I've done a little more stitching with the scraps and rearranged some blocks on the wall and managed to fill several bags with scraps that I'm happy to let go of. All this scrap sorting, which I realize is so insignificant when you think of the tremendous amount of devastation in Texas--so many people are displaced and some have lost their lives, really prompted me to take time to reflect on what is really important in life, scraps being way down at the bottom of the "ladder of importance". My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Harvey.

And now there is a possibility Florida may wind up in the path of Hurricane Irma as it continues to build strength and is currently tracking toward the Caribbean Islands. This week I may spend more time storm prepping than scrap stitching.

Thoughts and prayers for protection going out for everyone who may be affected by Irma...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #8, Scrap Vortex

Caught in the scrap vortex, 
but first some inspiring moments captured...

This was the sunset from last Sunday evening...

We were't able to view the eclipse on Monday as it was too cloudy. Swim practice started back up Monday evening but it was cut short right about halfway through due to weather. We made it home in time to capture a few gorgeous shots of the surrounding storm cells.

On Tuesday I pulled this back out to work on...

I added a few more stitch lines to it and then washed off all the Solvy...

Once the Solvy was removed it went into the dryer.
I'm really digging the texture! 

After working on the Solvy project for a bit I took a break to scroll through Pinterest. Pinterest is wonderful for inspiration or for just mindlessly passing the time. Sometimes I'll see things that I'll pin for future ideas to develop or if I like an article and don't want to clog up my email with it then I use Pinterest as a virtual filing cabinet. Every now and again though I'll come across something that I have to try right away which is what happened during my little break when I came across a pin that was posted from the Patchwork Pie Blog. You see, I started a scrappy improv project over three years ago in an attempt to use up every last scrap, you know, waste not, want not, yada yada. I've worked on it a few times here and there but life and other projects seem to be major distractions and so it gets folded and filed away for another day. In the meantime scraps accumulate from other projects and my ziploc bag system of organizing the scraps falls to the wayside because I don't take the time to use the system the way it was intended, instead I just open the drawer and shove the scraps in, and I wind up with a big ol scrappy mess! And who wants to sew when everything is in chaotic disarray? Not this girl I tell you. Just looking at the drawers where the scraps are hiding out can be overwhelming enough! Anyway, besides the mess of it all and the distractions that lead to the mess another reason why it gets folded and filed away is the method that I had been using to sew the scraps together in the first place--tediously sorting and pairing like sized scraps. My whole scrap sewing world changed when I came across the pin from the Patchwork Pie blog. I started cranking out scrappy pieces to add in no time!

Here's what it looked like when I started...

...and here's a view with some of the new pieced sections not actually sewn to it yet.

After my bit of fun I still had to deal with the mess and disorganization of my scraps so I decided to deal with it once and for all and I got busy sorting. I finally got to a point where every scrap had been gone through and put in it's proper place. Then I arranged some piles on my sewing table and got back to work. Sewing along I started feeling overwhelmed at the amount of scraps that I have and that I'll probably never use, which is a disconcerting idea for me because my thought is if it's not being used then what purpose is it serving to just sit idle? Feeling a great sense of obligation to use all these scraps I needed some advice and so texted my quilty kndred spirit friend Julie about it. Her counsel was perfect--It was okay to just use the ones I wanted and let the others go! Yes!! I was headed in a similar direction with larger fabric pieces that I had been pulling and setting aside to either donate or list in my Etsy shop so why not do the same with some of these scraps? That's what I'm going to work on this coming week, detachment from the scraps in this scrap vortex! So, if you're in need of some scraps I'll be listing some very soon in my Etsy shop, direct link in sidebar.

As always, 
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #7, Productive Moments

I had some fairly productive moments this past week, most of the energy undoubtedly attributed to all the nervous energy I had as my daughter Sofie returned to public school as a freshman. We've homeschooled for the last five years, which I must confess wasn't what I wanted to do but at the time found it necessary to do so, and let me tell you it wasn't a decision that was made without some serious thought and lots of prayers because we had attempted it once before and the experience wasn't pretty, at all! We've done things much differently this time though and as confident as I am in her abilities to make decisions, her returning being one of them, I think the transition has been harder for me than for her! She was the one calming me down as we waited for the bus on the first day. I had to promise her that I wouldn't be accompanying her to the bus stop ever again. As hard as it is to let go I often have to remind myself of some wisdom that was shared with me from a friend during the year we made the decision to homeschool this time. It has been especially helpful this year not just with the schooling decision but also with the twins' decision to return to the monastery. It's a reminder to put into perspective the bigger picture of the journey that is ever unfolding as a mother and trusting her children to make the decisions only they can make.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

So, with all that nervous energy, I whipped together a couple of quilt tops that will eventually be donated to Project Linus. Right now they're both waiting to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.
That may take a week or a month, or who knows how long...

This one was started over a year ago by my daughter Gianna when I showed her how to chain piece with the sewing machine. She sorta lost interest in finishing it and I just couldn't stand looking at it unfinished in the basket any longer and took action with all that nervous energy I've been going on about...

...and then, again with the nervous energy, I got to the business of trimming up the HSTs 
and started playing around with other possible arrangements.

I mentioned in the birthday post that I had helped my husband collect rainwater...
We've been experimenting with gardening using raised beds and we're learning a lot!
Main thing we've learned--PATIENCE!

We had to make a trip to Lowe's this morning because we decided to pull two of the three tomato plants that are in pots and replace them with healthier plants. We don't think the ones we bought were very healthy from the beginning but then again we could've made a depth mistake when putting them in the soil. Regardless, they weren't looking good! Where am I going with all of that anyway you ask? Well, while we were outside looking at the plants we walked by these coneflowers and I noticed this monarch butterfly flittering about and had to try to capture it, with my phone camera, as I do love to take photos y'all...
Butterflies are a favorite creature of mine for so many reasons and seeing this little guy today after this past week was what I refer to as a providential God moment... it was a reminder of the transformative power of God within each of us.

On the 15th of August, this past Tuesday, marked one year since Cheyenne returned to the monastery.
The photo below was taken on our last visit the day before her twin sister Phoenix would rejoin her there. Although, not without struggle, she is doing well and is on her own transformation journey. She always shares a passage of scripture when she writes and this was the one she included in my birthday card...

"Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; 
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." 
~Isaiah 41:10

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time,
Have a beautiful and blessed week!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #6, Reflections Quilt

I'm happy to report that yesterday I finished hand sewing the binding on the batik quilt! After thinking about several different possible "artsy fartsy" ways to name the quilt my sweet, and a little bit sassy, daughter Sofia persuaded me to name it Reflections--just reflections and leave it at that. I gotta say I do like the simplicity of just "Reflections". I mentioned in a previous post what inspired the design and I'm really pleased with how it all came together in the end. And, it's the first of my quilts to get one of the new fancy quilt labels I had made by Dutch Label Shop. Originally I thought I would hand sew the labels, I avoid hand sewing at all costs which is why I never met my previous goal of sewing them on the other six finished quilts, so I thought I'd use the machine instead. It's soooo much faster and looks nice too! So, YAY for that!!

Like I've said before a quilt isn't really finished until it's been photographed, so early this morning I woke up my sweet, and a little bit sassy, quilt model and we headed out to take a gagillion photos. Well, maybe not a gagillion but for her it felt that way! Not to worry, while there are a bunch of photos in this post I promise there isn't anywhere near a gagillion. ;-) It rained just before we made it to the location so it was extra humid as you can tell by the test photo below that I took just after we arrived. My glasses always fog up the same way so it's no surprise the camera lens would do the same. A quick little wipe with the bottom of my shirt and we were good to go!

And so began our picture taking party and visual story of the colors, 
curves and calm that inspired the quilt design along the Cotee River.

A little more humidity...

I just love the early morning light after a cleansing rain, everything looks so crisp and vivid.

That "looking away" model gaze...

Cute little feet that are usually flippering while mine are flopping...

Just as we were about to get back into the truck to ride over to my favorite street 
of beachy houses we looked up and were treated to this rainbow...

One of the cutest little blocks in town...

You can't really see it in this picture but the weathervane 
atop the house below is of a mermaid!
How cute is that?

And take a look at this one with the bicycle mounted on the siding!

This little house has all kinds of fun stuff going on!

Just around the corner from the beachy houses is beautiful Simm's Park...
Some cloud gazing.

Hey look, chickenturkeyvultureducks!

The tail end of the rain cell that passed through earlier.

Nearing the end of the visual story now...  
I managed to get a bit of reflection of the quilt in a small puddle near the bottom stems of the plants in the foreground. Had I noticed that earlier I might have taken a gagillion more photos but it's a good thing I didn't because my sweet, and a little bit sassy, quilt model was pretty much done by then!

She's such a trooper! 
Many, many thanks Sofia!

Thanks sew much for stopping by and following along on this little visual story!
"Reflections" is available for purchase in my Etsy shop DolceQuilts.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #5, Birthday Edition

So, I had another birthday last week! Woohoooo!! I gotta say, I'm so happy and grateful to be alive, wrinkles and all! When I was a high schooler I doubted I'd see my 21st birthday, let alone make it to 46! My life has certainly had some strange twists and turns, I'm certainly not unique in having those types of experiences, but every twist and turn has led me here to this place in my life and I can honestly say that I'm the happiest and most content than I've ever been before. I am married to the love of my life, over 23 years now, and we have four precious daughters who light up our lives. How much more could a girl want, besides more fabric? And truth be told, I really do have more fabric than I'll probably ever use but had to throw that in there for the sake of humor ;-) Seriously though, I'm a woman who has it all! #loveisallthatmatters

Birthday pic with my #1 Fanboy in my sewing space...
HST's still on the wall, untrimmed.

The morning of my birthday I read a blog post from Becky over at Patchwork Posse about how to sew an easy, and oh sew fast, microwave potato bag. When I read it I knew I had the perfect fabric in my stash and as soon as I was done helping my dear husband with collecting rain water, you read that right, I got right to it and sewed one up lickety split. I'll elaborate more on the rain water later :-)

As for the quilt binding, I started hand finishing it yesterday...

...but got sidetracked with another side project that 
I started a few days ago with the trims from the quilt.

As per usual, to be continued!
Until next time,
Have a great week!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #4

Hello and welcome back to my SSR. Not too much to report, as it has been a busy week, so this is gonna be a quick post-a-couple-pics and go, just wanting to maintain consistency in posting and in the self imposed accountability department. :-)

Last Sunday, not long after my last post in fact, I had some time--imagine that--and I stitched the binding onto the quilt. Maybe this week I'll find some time to hand finish and photograph, we'll see. But here's a pic of it...

I also mentioned that I still needed to trim the HSTs before playing around with arrangement.
Well, here they are in an experimental state on the wall and untrimmed.
Yes, untrimmed because I don't like having an empty design wall!

Like I said this was gonna be quick!
Thanks for stopping by!
Have a great week!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Stitch Report #3

Hello and welcome back for another SSR :) This past week I managed to make quite a bit of progress on the batik quilt. Right now it's ready to have the binding sewn on so hopefully I'll have it finished very soon. I'm preparing for a very busy next couple of weeks with my kiddos and their upcoming activities, which translates to my being the "taxi mom", so I'm not going to stress out too much if it doesn't get finished! Below are some progress shots from this past week....

But first take a look at this...
The photo below was taken Monday morning in the parking lot where 
my daughter goes for swim practice. 

A couple of weeks ago, on July 7th thanks to time and date stamp, I saw the beautiful painting below show up in my Pinterest feed. I saved the image so I could share it with my daughter Sofia who loves to paint. The morning I captured the parking lot photo I kept thinking about how familiar it looked! I had to show Sofie as we are always oogling over the incredible cloud shows we see. As I was showing her the picture it dawned on me why it seemed familiar so I scrolled through the photos on my phone and pulled up the painting image and at that point we both agreed that it had a similar look to the painting--palette and subject matter anyway. 
The painting is by artist William Hawkins who has a travel/painting blog over at
And, if you're in the market, many of his gorgeous paintings 
are for sale in his eBay Store.

Anyway, I thought that was a pretty neat story to record here in my journal. Sometimes we see things and then later see something very similar or vice versa. I know from experience that I sometimes create something that is inspired by something I've seen before and on a subconscious level that inspiration will manifest itself and it isn't until afterwards when the project is complete and I step back that I'll realize where it came from! 

Okay, moving along shall we...
Once I finished sewing up pairs of strips last week I needed to do a value check. It's not always easy to distinguish the value ranges in color so a simple trick to aid in that is to take a black and white photo as you can see below. Most of the time I set my iPhone camera to mono and just look through it and make adjustments where necessary, you know so I don't take a thousand pictures and add to the digital clutter I've already got going that needs to be cleared but will probably never be cleared and now I'm just running this already too long of a sentence on and on and adding clutter to this post in the form of unnecessary words. 

Below is a slightly different view in color.

As you can see in the photo below I made a few changes, mainly the yellows got rearranged. There's a design reason here. In my head it's supposed to represent an abstraction of rippled reflections. Once I was pleased with the placement of the strips they got sewn together into four vertical columns.

I was pretty certain with my original arrangement but was curious to explore a different design option just in case I was missing something, so I turned the columns and arranged them a few different ways, took some pics and then asked my #1 Fanboy (my dear husband) for his feedback. 

Lucky for him he agreed with my original idea so they got sewn up lickety split! 
Next I auditioned a couple different fabrics for the sky and still water...

I wasn't completely settled with the design. I thought it was a little boring. Yes, it's supposed to represent calm but rippled water BUT I thought it needed a smidge more movement, so I decided to slice it up into a few more columns. I'll admit it wasn't an easy choice to make because it would mean it would take longer to finish and I was kinda looking forward to moving on and then there's the whole what if this really mucks it up and it looks terrible, self doubt, yada yada, and then the whole, "Creativity takes courage" quote by Henri Matisse that I an artsy friend of mine posted on Instagram earlier in the week, and then...deep cleansing breath...then I reminded myself that it's just fabric for crying out loud, risks are fun!! And so, that's what I did...

Getting there...

Looking better...

Trimmed up and added the sky and some still water...

Next, I thought a scrappy binding would be a nice frame and of course, waste not want not!

For the quilting I kept it simple with gentle curves to accent the ripples.

I sewed up some more HSTs for the graffiti fabric project and I can hardly wait to start playing with arranging them, but first they be needing some trimming and there's quite a lot of them! I'm hoping this new rotating cutting mat, that I scored on clearance at Walmarts, will help speed the process!

Have a creatively courageous week and thanks for stopping by!