Saturday, December 31, 2011

30-Day Challenge:: Photo Mosaic

Just like the title says this is a mosaic of some of the most significant(to me) projects and events from the past year. It includes some super highlights like the article about me published in American Craft and the debut of my fabric line as well as some sad moments such as the passing of my dear sweet puppy, Scout. It's been the most change-filled year of my entire life and I am by no means the same person now that entered this year, but, there's something to be said in acknowledging that things probably are exactly as they should be. Here's to more change(hopefully all good) and many more opportunities to create in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

30-Day Challenge:: Gratuitous Cute Puppy

What does this puppy have to do with me, my work, or my blog? Absolutely nothing. Some total stranger was selling these 5 week old puppies on a little grassy knoll near a shopping mall and I took a few pictures of them. Our lives intersected for a few minutes. Mine and the boy selling the puppies as well as mine and the puppies.
Do you ever glance at the person sitting in the car next to you when you're both stopped at a light and think about their lives? Are they married, single, happy...? What do they do for a living? Do they like it? You'll never know because you'll most likely never see them again, but you often can't help but wonder. We're a curious bunch, aren't we?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

30-Day Challenge: Work Space

Making it in a bit under the wire, but who's keeping track, right?
I've been spending a lot of time lately in this space as I'm working on another fabric collection. The ideas have come a little more slowly this time and I've rejected more than I've selected. All that is a little unusual for me, but maybe that's the way the 2012 version of me works. Tomorrow is always a mystery and you have to be willing to roll with the punches, even if you're the one throwing them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

30 Day Challenge:: Blanket in Progress

I call knitting my fiber hobby. You wouldn't think that someone who sews and designs for a living would want to spend their free time engaged with more fiber, and, truth be told, I don't want to spend all my free time that way, but some of it is definitely devoted to knitting. Knitting also inspires some of the sewing and quilt designs I create. For instance this blanket. The pattern is Abby's Blanket by Kristin Kapur and and though it's not even close to done, I know that seeing it on Ravelry influenced this design. I like that idea of cross-pollination and would love to one day work in the opposite direction and design knitting patterns based on sewing designs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why wait? The 30-Day Challenge

My friend, Adam, doesn't believe in New Year's resolutions. It's not that he doesn't think folks should set an intention to improve something in their lives and then act on that intention, it's just that he doesn't see the point of waiting until New Year's Day to take on those improvements. I actually agree with him, despite the fact that I love making New Year's resolutions. I enjoy thinking about what I want to tackle and even reflecting on what I changed or didn't the previous year. I like the "clean slate" feeling of it. But, I have to agree with Adam, there's no point to waiting until New Year's Day.
With that in mind, I want to tackle a 30-day challenge that I read about on another blog, but before I do, I'm going to engage in something I rarely, if ever, do here in this space.
I try to keep this space almost exclusively about my work or things that inspire my work and always with a positive spin. I think approaching life with a positive attitude is probably the best gift you can give yourself. Unfortunately, life is not all cherries and kittens, though I'm allergic to cats, so I don't know why kittens would be a positive thing in my world, but.... Anyway, the past year has brought so many blessings, both professionally and personally, but it has also been the most challenging year of my life in terms of my personal life. Without going into too much detail, but also reassuring all you terrific readers that I'm thankfully at the "light-at-the-end-of the tunnel" point, 2011 has been the year I went from married to single.
It's all(mostly?) good now and in many ways the process has been full of growth. Sometimes it takes a major shake-up like that to force you to re-examine your life and how thoughtful you are about your everyday existence. As part of that I've done a lot of reading, both online and otherwise, and found so much wisdom out there. One site that I particularly like is Marc and Angel Hack Life.
Their current post is titled 30 Challenges for 30 Days of Growth. If you take the time to read the post you'll discover that they're not expecting you to take on all 30 challenges listed, but to pick 2-5 that you feel you can make a daily commitment to for 30 days.
One of the challenges I selected is #30: Document Every Day with One Photograph and One Paragraph. It seemed like a bit of a no-brainer to choose that one because, hey, I already have a blog, and I could certainly work on improving it and generally being more attentive to it.
So, with that intention in mind and, noting Adam's point about the senselessness of waiting to take on a challenge, I'm starting today. For the next 30 days, I'll be posting a picture and a brief paragraph that, hopefully, relates to that.
Sound good? If you'd like to join me or want to take on some of the other challenges listed and feel like a public declaration of that intention would aid the process, feel free to let me know in the comments.
As for me, here I go.
Last night I was teaching a class at Stitch Lab, which, by the way, is the best fabric and sewing store in town, and had a few minutes to walk around and shoot some pictures. I'll upload all of them to my flickr, but this one seemed especially appropriate for my first entry on my 30-day challenge. I'm not going to lie to y'all, I worry that I won't make all 30 days. It's like flossing daily. I leave the dentist's office with the best of intentions and then daily flossing becomes every other day or once every three days. But, and this is a big but, you can't make the change without setting forth the intention and there's something powerful about stating it publicly. So, I'm making my intention known about this aspect of the 30-day challenge. As for the daily flossing....hmmm...we'll see.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Don't let the pictures fool you...

... they have nothing to do with the text. This is not the first time I've posted about one topic and "illustrated" that post with unrelated pictures, so you all should be used to this. Sometimes I have a story to tell, but no pictures to accompany that story. As I hate to post without pictures, this is my solution.
Before I get into my topic, I want to caption the pictures by letting you know that they are of a new pillow featuring a new block design inspired by this photo.
OK. Here goes.
 As many of you know, I'm an avid runner. Well, yesterday, I ran what I would to date describe as the most amazing race of my running life. For the past few months I've been training for the Decker Challenge. This particular half marathon is considered one of the hardest around and that's primarily because of the hills that surround Decker Lake. I'm not going to lie to you, there have been a few times, especially in the last couple weeks, when I thought about skipping the event. I worried about whether or not I could deal with the hills and the infamous bad weather that has historically accompanied this race.
And, a couple weeks ago, it seemed that I had a ready-made excuse. I had gone to a "boot camp" style workout and woke up the following morning with a very sore left foot. I didn't run for a week after that. In fact, I didn't run again until the Tuesday before the race when for silly reasons I ended up running twice in the same day, both times about 5 miles. I then ran another 3 miles that Friday and made peace with the concept that what would be, would be.
I woke up yesterday morning and headed out to Decker Lake in my shorts and t-shirt, ready to brave the 40 degree temperature and light rain and, almost from the very start, knew this was going to be an amazing run. I don't know if it was my determination to be patient in the straightaways and not let my pace get out of control or my willingness to be present in the moment and just listen to the sound of all those feet hitting the pavement, but, what I thought would be drudgery turned into a string a magical moments. By mile 4, I knew I was on pace to set a new personal record and as each mile marker went by, I seemed to be running faster and stronger and feeling like I could conquer anything.
Those of you familiar with the course out at Decker Lake know that mile 10 features a long, steep hill which is made longer and steeper because it is so late in the race. I got to the hill at mile 10, ran up, and knew that I was about to finish the best race of my life.
I realize that my story is just about a run and that, in the scheme of things, it's not exactly monumental, but I do think there might be a bigger point here. Maybe that point is about not pre-judging a situation and bringing your whole self to an experience? Maybe it's also about how lucky we are to have a given experience and that we never really know whether the next thing we do may be truly magical?
Whatever the "point", whether I know it or not, I hope I bring these ideals along with me to the next race, the next project, the next moment.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Power to More Pillows

...or rather just pillow covers.
This time it's an improv version of the traditional pinwheels pattern, very similar to this mini quilt I made a few weeks back.
I had a few half-triangle squares leftover from that project and rather than find a completely different home for them, I opted to re-imagine the mini quilt as a pillow.
Add my go-to circular quilting and a little peak of selvedge from my a stitch in color fabrics and you've got one fun pillow top.
I love this typewriter fabric and have used it in several projects. It seems particularly appropriate here where the feel of this pillow is just a wee bit irreverent.
I added this little beauty to my shop yesterday, so I'm on track (so far) for regularly introducing new goodies to my store this month.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cure For Writer's Block?

I had thought I'd post about how I'm determined to add new items to my shop as much as possible this month and to that end I've added this and this as well as created the pillow pictured.
I had thought I'd mention that this pillow was pieced improvisationally and loosely based on the traditional Drunkard's Path block.
I was hoping to touch on how much I like the circular quilting, especially for a top that features circles and how fun it is to bind a top that features lots of color with a simple, black and white, graphic print.I was going to say that if you check my store regularly this month, you'll see new items as well as some of the projects from my book and others.
I thought about saying all that, but I had a bout of writer's block, so....