Adventures in Cotton

Life, love, fabric and thread

No spare time… and thoughts on doodling

You know how sometimes life takes control of your free time? And makes it so there aren’t nearly enough minutes available to do all of the millions of things on your list? This isn’t actually meant to be rhetorical – I usually have enough time to do what I WANT and what I NEED to do. Maybe not as much time as I’d like, but it’s still possible.

But that’s where I’ve been for the past couple of weeks. We had some truly wonderful family obligations two weekends ago that left hubby, daughter and I completely wiped out. Then last weekend was filled with very long car rides that didn’t amount to much of anything productive. So feel a little lost and a lot looking forward to the weekend.

On the other hand, one of my ponderings has been (for quite some time) the mysterious world of fabric design. I accidentally discovered Spoonflower a few months ago and that has led to many a daydream about the process of those wonderful people who design the gorgeous fabric we love. I am NOT (NOT!) a Photoshop or Illustrator maven, nor am I particularly interested in learning those programs (or shelling out the megabucks to buy them). I have downloaded Inkscape which is the poor man’s version of Illustrator and have spent far too much time angrily staring at the screen and wishing I had the patience and/or motivation to learn how to use it. Yet, I think there must be a market for the hand-drawer (I just made that word up) to be able to express themselves on fabric?

So imagine my happiness and excitement when I found this book online:

OH how excited I am! It has received wonderful reviews so far and I think it’s just the coolest book to come out in forever! AND IT COMES IN AN EBOOK FORMAT! Happy Happy Day! I hate waiting for books to come in the mail.

But wait, there’s more.

This past weekend amidst the hustle and bustle, we took time out to go see The Lorax. I’ve always liked Dr. Seuss – who hasn’t? – and I was interested to see the movie because where has Danny DeVito been? And we are animal lovers so I knew there would be cute creatures everywhere.

So watching the animation got me picking up my pencil and doodling. I am what they call a “closet” doodler. I don’t show anyone my work, I just fill up the pages in my notebook. I have zero training and zero artistic talent, but I can copy someone else’s work like a mo-fo. The stuff I come up with in my own head is woefully boring and repetitive. Sigh. 

Behold:

I like my little cars :)

BUT, I draw anyway. Because I think that practice will help, that maybe someday some hidden part of my brain will release some heretofore unknown creativity that I long for. Or maybe they’ll come up with a pill or something.

Happy Wednesday…

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Feeling like Dr. Frankenstein

It’s alive!

Ooooh I'm gettin' there!!!

My seams aren’t straight and I am hoping that practice and attention to detail will fix that in the future. I’m not patient, I’m not a perfectionist, and my lazy self will call those un-straight seams “originalities” instead of “imperfections.”  :)

There’s something therapeutic about the creative process (although sewing pieces of fabric may not qualify as the creative process!). We have had a rough couple of months at my house and the ability to put all worries aside and focus on my project feels wonderful and cathartic.  Kinda like how I think he feels right now:

My Odie, doing what he does best

My sweet Schnauzer Odie, 14 years old, dirty jacket and all. I hate to take it off him long enough to wash it because he shivers a lot thanks to the chilly weather and his old bones. I wish they gave awards for sleeping because he’d get a blue ribbon every time :)

So while he naps I am going to get back to the machine and the work at hand. I can’t wait to see it once I get all the strips sewn together!!!

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Adventures in WINTER

My wonderful, fantastic, awesome husband surprised me with a trip to Niagara Falls last weekend to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary! But, you may be thinking, what the hell would motivate a person to go to the arctic tundra a.k.a. Buffalo NY in February?

Well, I asked myself the very same question because even though I am from Ohio where winter lasts 9 months, I have been out of Ohio for 18 years and one’s blood thins to the consistency of heated olive oil in all that time. Especially since 15 of those 18 years were spent in Charleston SC where SUMMER lasts for 9 months!

We checked the weather (average temp was 32 degrees with winds 20-30 mph OUCH), packed everything we could find to insulate us from the frigid air, and embarked on the trip. A couple of things I learned:

1. It doesn’t matter what your hair looks like after you take your hat off when the wind chill is 9 degrees.

2. Long underwear is your friend. Damn near your best friend.

3. Hats that have that crocheted look act as a sieve on your head. Zero protection.

4. The entire town of Niagara Falls NY shuts up tight during the winter.

5. Those Canadians got it goin’ on. Too bad I don’t have a passport.

6. The people in Buffalo and Niagara are actually much friendlier than I expected.

7. The Falls are pretty damn cool – especially at night.

Lights from Canada look pretty awesome

 

This one is going in a frame

 

I dearly love my camera (Nikon D3000) and really really need to learn how to use it. I can limp along using various trial and error methods but when it really counts, I can’t seem to make it do crap! On the flight home we were over city lights at night (somewhere) and I tried and tried to get a good picture out the window. Complete crap for pictures.

Anyway, it has taken me these few days to get back in groove, start surfing Pinterest again, start thinking about fabric and WIPs again. I love to be gone but it’s wonderful to be back.

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A milestone reached

In my world, projects always get started but don’t always get finished (at least in a semi-timely manner). But today I can put a big giant CHECK next to “Finish sewing all the blocks for my quilt.” This is my very first full size 100% hand cut and pieced quilt – something I have been thinking about doing but never quite had the cajones. I HATE HATE HATE cutting fabric into millions of pieces (therefore pre-cuts are my #1 fave) but knew that in order to get the hang of the whole process, I was going to have to suck it up at some point and get cutting.

So, it started like this:

In the beginning...

And then made the leap to this:

Organized and ready

To this:

Getting there

Thirty blocks finished, plus 70 squares (not shown), ready to sew together. I would say at this point the only problem is that I am so terribly awful at picking fabrics that this quilt is kinda ugly (I will own my lack of skill in colors) but hell it’s too late now so whatever. I will continue on the path to finished-ness and to hell with matched fabric. Maybe time and experience will help (but I doubt it).

Sigh. Maybe the quilt elves will finish it for me?

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

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Where’s the Tylenol?

I hate day 1 of a new project. Especially when the project is something I saw in a pattern online, for $12.95, and I’m too cheap to buy it so I sit down with paper and pencil and create the pattern myself. Behold:

Pencil, paper & too many brain cells

So I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the photos of the finished product and came up with pretty good numbers to work from. Went to the store and bought:

Totally adorable!

I couldn’t get started right away because of things that needed to be done and that always bums me out. I mean, do I have to take my daughter to Tae Kwon Do? Well, yes. We’re paying for it for 8 more months. Laundry, dinner, sleep, these are all things that prevent me from working on my projects!

Anyhoo, tonight I was finally able to get started. So here’s how it goes around here:

Cutting large circles with a template

While everyone else is…busy…

Brownie

Odie

So I cut as quietly as I can, trying to keep the swear words to a minimum. But cutting circles is NOT EASY even with a template. I wasted a bit of fabric cutting one that was too small because I was working from memory instead of walking five feet to look at my book (duh). So now I have to go buy more fabric to replace what I wasted. Oh how I hate that. Plus I have discovered that I can’t multi-task at all: if the tv is on while I am trying to cut fabric I will screw it up. EVERY TIME.

But I found an extremely helpful guide here that helped me cut half circles, and full circles here (check out the rest of Scientific Seamstress’ blog too- she’s a smart cookie) and that allowed me to get about halfway through cutting. Even with shortcuts and guides, cutting is the part of the process that I hate the most! But I don’t have much choice do I? Unless I can train those two sleeping beauties to handle a rotary cutter :)

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What to do..what to do…

I have caught the bug. Crafting, sewing, repurposing. I LIVE on Pinterest, I spend far too much time surfing various crafting and sewing blogs on the hunt for my next project. The problem? EVERY project wants to be my next project.  For example:

Project #852?

I got these at Joann’s after Christmas for a ridiculously cheap 70% off because I found a post on how to turn an ordinary canister into a fancy schmancy canister with just Mod Podge and scrapbook paper…

Yay paper!

 

But those supplies have been sitting and waiting to be transformed. Sigh. Then this came in the mail the other day:

Ahhhhh Moda

And now I have to figure out what to do with it. I wish I worked at Moda (click to see the full Circa 1934 line in a cute .pdf) so I could live amongst the lovely fabrics every day. Until such time that they call me up and beg me to bring my craftyness to their doorstep, I will just buy their fabric.

Back to the fabric. I’ve been considering this absolutely gorgeous pattern that I purchased from ps i quilt a week or two ago. It looks lovely with light colored fabric in the picture and I’m not sure I would like dark fabric enough. So I guess I’m still undecided. Thank goodness my wonderful hubby brought these home – maybe they’ll help me make up my mind :)

Yummmmmmm

 

 

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A little fabric love

One of the hardest things about being a fabric lover is having to deal with actually CUTTING into the beloved pattern you have held onto, stored carefully, unfurled and stared lovingly at, only to re-fold and stash again. Behold:

Sigh...I can't..I MUST...I can't...

This adorable print, part of the Critter Community range by Suzy Ultman has been sitting on my shelf for a little while, just waiting to be made into a quilt. The problem is, beyond not wanting to cut, is how to take the different sized blocks and make them into a patterned set of blocks. I’ve done some Googling on how to arrange blocks like this but I didn’t find anything helpful. I’ve never made my own pattern from scratch before – this just may be my first attempt. More Googling is in order I think :)

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The adventure begins….

Very cool pattern!

Besides dealing with bronchitis this weekend, I am also hot on the trail of finishing the cutting for a new quilt. I have only ventured into lap size quilts and am now going to give a full size quilt a try. On our recent trip to Ohio to see my family, we stopped at my brother’s girlfriend’s parent’s (really!) quilt shop Angelics A Quilters Haven in Canton (http://www.facebook.com/angelics.quilters.haven) and where I purchased this pattern.

Then I proceeded to pick out the fabric needed for the quilt from their fabulous selection.  A few of those below I already had in my stash – but all the pretty ones came from their shop ;)

Ooooh pretty!

So off I go to finish cutting while I trying to “rest and lay low,” do laundry and watch Rango with my daughter. As excited as I am to get this blog started I may be back today to post a little more…

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I’m giving it a try…

Well, I’ve been thinking about it for months and have finally decided to jump off the proverbial cliff and start a blog! What oh what am I getting myself into?! Now I’ll have to try and draw a crowd, try new out new things and report on them, and try my very best to be interesting. So here goes….

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