Sunday, August 30, 2009

why i blog ( and why I host "give a ways")**

**a serious post

I received a lovely package from a blog-friend this week:

This is a "thank you" and a swap for the goodie package I sent to her. (Thank you, Jenny! I love the batiks, they will work in with many of my other batiks and contain colors I did not have. I love them!) She also sent a lovely note in which she mentions her sister asked why bloggers do giveaways. Well, for me the question starts with "why blog?"

For me, my blog is a form of creative expression. It is a way for me to express thoughts and ideas, to share things I learn and to invite feedback and collaboration. All of that is part of my creative process. While at work, I have others in my office to interact with; at home I do not. I do not live close to any others that quilt, nor do I keep a schedule that allows me to join in a nearby guild . So, my blog is a way to invite that sort of communication, which many times, it does. And of course, this is a place to show what I have done, and hope others enjoy seeing it!

Through my blog have found other crafty-bloggers and really enjoy reading their thoughts and seeing their work. I feel the blogs have allowed me to see and learn things from all over the world that I really enjoy and would not have learned otherwise. There are so many nice, creative and talented people out there! I have learned techniques, patterns and shortcuts. I have been so inspired that I wish I had more hours in the day to try all the things I have seen, and continue to see. I have "met" great, interesting people and feel like a part of their lives. In short, this "virtual" world of blogging has enriched my life. So, I want to give back.

Another reason to "give" things (for me) is just that I love to give. No strings attached. It makes me feel good. We are trying to sell our house and during this year we have cleaned and sorted and instead of having a yard sale (which is an incredible amount of work on top of the cleaning and sorting) I convinced my husband to just give all our excess away. We have taken many loads to Goodwill and gave to others directly that needed or wanted what we had to spare. I guess I have been so blessed that for me it seems normal. So giving my extra fabrics and craft items is a way to share. I also hate to throw away perfectly good stuff and am very glad to have someone to pass it along to!

The final reason I like to give/share is simple (and included in the name of this blog): karma. I like to put good things out into the universe, since I believe that what I put out there is what I hope to receive. I prefer to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". And because I like good things/ideas/friends/people to come into my life, I want to put all the good I can into the world! Just think, if all of us could put good out there, what could we accomplish?

Lastly, I made a conscious decision to make this blog a place of joy. When it began, I would grouse and complain and vent, but that just didn't feel right. The thing about the internet is once you put something on it, it is there forever. So I want to celebrate beauty: beautiful ideas, pictures, inspirations. That is what I want on the internet forever! How about you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24

On this day in 79Mount Vesuvius erupts. The cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae are buried in volcanic ash.

It was another humid stick summer day for me. Work went by in a haze. I am doing a lot of drawings now for a new project and I tend to get lost in the process.

Got home, and found a SURPRISE waiting in my mailbox:

This lovely bag and pin cushion from fiestagirl! Aren't they lovely! Just made my day. She was one of the responders to my give-away earlier in the month. I thought I was just streamlining and finding new homes for my crafting overages, but in cleaning and sorting and giving, I seem to have acquired some blog-friends from it! Looks like I got the best of the deal!!!!

And, I got inspired yesterday.

Remember this?

Well, I had toyed around placing fabric on the design wall beside it.

Didn't seem right.

thought about just trashing it and moving on.

Then I just decided to sit an look at it and see where it wanted to go.

I didn't get out of my pajamas until 4pm Sunday afternoon, I started sewing on this early Sunday morning and it just happened:

I love it. It is 66" square and ready to quilt.

Glad I listened to it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Venture

I have opened my esty shop! You can find 3 big dogs fabric studio here! Yup, I am a little nervous, but I have made a ton of quilts and I hope to sell some to support my quilting habit.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My 1st Bento Box quilt completed

This is "October Sunset". Made completely of batiks, front and back. You can see the fabric I used for the back in the lower left corner, the brown and white batik. A stunningly beautiful piece of fabric. And it fits this quilt top perfectly.

52" x 71" I FM'ed using the stipple.

This quilt was so much fun to make. The pattern is fun to put together, the batiks are gorgeous, I love the dramatic spice tones throughout.

Now, I need to start a handbag for my MIL's 80th birthday, and a quilt for my nephew. So much to make, so little time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favorite quilting tools

Okay, I understand and appreciate the revolution brought on by the rotary cutter, and I love my rotary cutter(s). My sewing shears are kept away from paper and my templates and rulers are stored together. I even splurged on a 24"x36" cutting mat (with a 50% off coupon from Michael's, they put them in the Sunday paper occasionally). But there are 2 tools I really love which make my quilting more enjoyable.
First, my design wall:

My design wall is actually made of flannel backed vinyl tablecloth yardage. Cost about $6 total. It is 54" wide, I bought 4 yards, cut it in half and hung the 2, 2 yd pieces side-by-side with a slight overlap. I used pushed pins to hang on the wall. Cheap and indispensable. I hang blocks up to arrange and often hang up FQs to coordinate.

Next thing I love:

My Viking Husqvarna Sapphire 830. Love it. Hums along like a dream. the longer throat accommodates the roll of quilt as I free-motion. As you can see, I do have a quilt in process. Hope to have it quilted by the end of the week. Love the batiks!

Don't forget to change your needles often when sewing/quilting!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Backyard visitor

We have a blue plastic baby pool for the dogs. They haven't played in it (that I've seen) but we keep water in it just in case. I went to dump the stagnant water out and refill it today and saw a visitor:

So, I will wait and dump the water this evening after the sun sets. Give the little guy a chance to get away.

Interesting colors, the bright blue contrasting with the greens of the water and the toad.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sarge update

Sarge (our most recent adoptee) is thriving! He has filled out and eats well. He loves our walks and really enjoys playing with Pepper.

Some recent action shots:

He has started joining us in the house for about an hour at a time. Longer than that, he gets nervous and paces. I guess he still needs to feel like he can get away if he needs to. He smiles a lot now. In additional K9 news, we took Murray to the vet this morning for a check-up. He is getting close to 14 and is doing well. His only issue? He had gained 15 pounds since his last visit. 15 POUNDS! Well, he does have arthritis and really can't walk like he used to. He really is the round hound!

work in process

I started this today. Loosely based on Ricky Tims' Harmonic Convergence (I have ordered the book but do not have it yet).

I like the composition. My husband loves the colors. Not sure if it needs something else. This will be a wall quilt (25" x 25") and I haven't quilted it yet. The quilting always brings them to life. Any comments/suggestions?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Handsome son beside cool big paiting.
So sorry I did not note the artist, but it is part of the permanent collection at the Mint Museum in Charlotte.

Yet another big, cool painting. Again, I did not note the artist, again at the Mint.

And a 3rd big, cool painting. Again, I did not note the artist, again at the Mint. Mea culpa!

All 3 of these are so inspiring in their size and graphic nature. They go into my "eye candy" file.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Completions

I have been busy!
Finished this on Sunday:

This is the "Cake Mix" pattern. It takes 1 Layer Cake (10" squares) + 1 Jelly Roll (2.5" strips) + 1 yard accent color (I used black). I used the "Kashmir III" collection by Sentimental Studios for Moda. I love these dramatic colors. It is approximately twin sized and I did a free-motion stipple quilting.

I made this tonight:

All that is left is the binding. I used some scrap 2.5" strips and a FQ. I just created the pattern as I went along, string piecing the squares and stitch and flip on the batting and backing. A little mid-week therapeutic sewing!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Give-away results

Since there were only 9 comments (1 comment on my Facebook feed of this blog), I am sending a "care package" to each of you! I will contact you for your address. Thanks for playing and helping me to reduce, reuse, recycle and clean up!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August Giveaway

In honor of my son's 20th birthday and in the effort to clean up, simplify and recycle, I am hosting a giveaway.

See this stuff? Fabric, rubber stamps, stamp pads and shape punches. I will gift it all to one reader. I am sorry but this is open to USA residents only due to the shipping. How to win? Well leave me a comment and your email address. I will use the random number generator to select the winner. This is open from now to tomorrow (Sunday) night at 9pm eastern.

I am cleaning and clearing my crafting stuff, so this is not the last giveaway! I still have to go through my scrapbook papers and ephemera, and all my beads. So check back for those giveaways as well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New quilt top complete!

I have completed my version of the "Bento Box". I love both the quilt top and the pattern. I will definitely use this pattern again. I deviated from the recommended fabric choices (more contrasting) and went with vivid batiks in the same mid-tone. The colors are oranges, purples, wines and blues, and some dark yellowy greens. This is a fun pattern to piece and contains great directions along with alternative sizes for larger and smaller blocks. I made the 7.5" blocks and love how it turned out.
It now goes in the "to be quilted" stack. I am quilting my Cake Mix quilt this week. I am also cleaning out my studio and will be posting some "give-a-ways". Stay tuned!