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Hello Yellow!

Well, hello gorgeous!

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#100happydays 2/100

After just a little rain – voila!  My hedge is in bloom – yellow!  A color only found in spring.

Yes, it’s spring.

It is.

So inspired, I decided to plant bulbs:

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#100happydays 3/10

Well, maybe my inspiration was helped along by Joe saying, “Hey, why don’t you plant those bulbs that have been in the shed all winter?”

M’kay.

I’m not much of a gardener – but gosh – look at that determination on my face!

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Anyway, while I planted and weeded, I listened to NPR’s book podcast.  The things I learned!

Like –

1.  Cannibalism is more f’d up than I thought it was – not that I ever really thought about it. This guy just wrote a biography of David Rockefeller, the lost, possibly cannibalized son of Nelson Rockefeller.  Did you know that a cannibal, once he’s done his, er business, believes that he is now the person he cannibalized.  So, say, Debbie eats Jane.  Debbie then becomes Jane, and then goes to Jane’s house, and Jane’s family is expected to treat Debbie as if she were Jane.  This bit of information had me thinking for quite some time.

2.  Brittney Griner really knows that she is enough.  I listened to an interview with Brittney Griner, the pro basketball player who just published her memoir.  Amazing – now here is a positive role model for young girls.  She is fierce, she is competitive, she is proud – she celebrates her size, her unfathomable height, her giant limbs. She is confidence.

3.  There are rules of time travel.  I listened to an interview with a woman who edited some kind of Almanac of Time Travel – and she was talking about the short stories in the anthology, and she brought up about how one of them broke all of the rules of time travel.

That rolled around in my head awhile too – rules of time travel?

There are rules?

How can there be rules to something that doesn’t exist?

Huh.

4.  Short Stories these days are really really short.  Lydia Davis’s stories are so short they only have one period in them – only a sentence. But, here’s a longer one:

He could be our dog. But he is not our dog. So he barks at us.

Ah to be in college now.  I can just imagine the 2 hour discussion my modern short story class would have had about those three sentences.  Because they’re sentences, right, not even a paragrah? Not a story? But it does tell a story, so I guess it is a story.  Is a structure that tells a story always a story.

Yep, those bulbs were planted before I knew it.

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Hope everyone enjoyed the spring day!

A New Source for Pocket Scrappers – The Pocket Source!

Are you stopping by from The Pocket Source blog hop?  You should have arrived here from Samantha, The Scrapmaster. Fantastic!  I’m so glad you were able to visit my little corner of the Internet, so that we could all chat about a fantastic new resource for pocket scrappers, The Pocket Source!

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The Pocket Source is a new online community devoted solely to pocket scrapping.  I generally refer to my little creations as Project Life, because I’ve been using Becky Higgin’s line of Project Life products, but the truth is, pocket scrapping has been around for ages, and while Becky Higgins Project Life system certainly lit the pocket fire, there’s all kinds of pocket scrapping out there – and The Pocket Source can be your go-to source for every one – whether you’re digital, or paper or hybrid, whether you record your memories daily, weekly or monthly, or maybe you’re using your pockets for just a special occasion or a trip – it’s all there.  There’s something for all pocketers at the Pocket Source.

I’ve been pocket scrapping since October 2012.  I had never been a traditional paper scrapper, although I have always been a memory keeper.  I’ve kept a diary or a journal all of my life, and I’ve always been the girl with the camera – your go-to girl for photographing special events and weddings, ever since high school really.  In 2010 or 2011, time flies, I can’t even remember anymore – I rediscovered my love of photography, and made it more than halfway through a 365 daily photography project.  And then, once the project was over, I thought, huh, what to do with all of these photographs?  Photobooks?  Eh.  And, I started exploring the possibilities – it lead me to image transfers, and art journaling, and making ATC’s, and eventually, I found my way into digiscrapping land, and while I liked making traditional digi-layouts, and with my love of photography and my penchant for memory keeping, scrapping seemed like a natural fit.  But, I didn’t really have any desire to have an album of my printed digi pages.  And that’s when I went pocket.

And I loved digi pocket scrapping for awhile.

And then, awhile was over, and I wasn’t so in love anymore.  I especially wasn’t in love with struggling to make my digi layouts look like paper, or sitting in front of the computer for hours.  And, I certainly was devastated when I went through the great EHD crash of the Summer of 2013.  So, I thought, instead of trying to get these layouts to look like paper, why not just go paper?

It was a big decision. I had the digi thing pretty much down, and I had all of my supplies, there was very little monetary investment left.  But, it wasn’t fun anymore, it was really kind of a drag.  And, if it’s not fun, then I’m not going to do it.

So, I went for it.  And, every since I have, I’ve looked to The Pocket Source for inspiration in it’s Gallery, and advice in it’s Forums.   Because I’m on several digi designers creative teams, I participate in a lot of online galleries – and they’re great, don’t get me wrong- I’m not down on digiscrapping, I still love making traditional pages – but there’s something to be said for finding a niche.  And, if your niche is pocket scrapping, having someplace like the Pocket Source that is specific to this form of memory keeping, is just such a boon.  I found the community particularly helpful (and, er, enabling), when I was making my decision about what die cutting machine I wanted to invest in.  After many thoughtful comments, I ended up going with the Silhouette Portrait, their electronic 8 1/2 x 11 machine.

Yep, did it – bought a Silhouette Portrait with a a Dick Blick 40% off coupon – woo hoo!  The machine definitely has a learning curve, but there’s lots of tutorials around, and I signed up for Lori Whitlock’s class at Jessica Sprague.  In the class she walks you through the cutting process of a minibook –

minibookcutsYeah!  Look at all of that expert cutting!  Well, I felt pretty proud of myself nonetheless.

But, you came here to see Pocket Scrapping and pocket scrapping you shall see.  I bring up the Silhouette because the one thing I missed about digi was having embelishments for my pages right at my fingertips.  And, after taking Lori’s class, and watching this tutorial from Traci Reed, I was all ready to cut my own embelishments from my digistash –

diecutsAll kinds of goodies in there – stuff from Amy Wolff, Laurie Ann, Lynne-Marie, and One Little Bird, Just Jaimee.  I’m so happy that I don’t have to cut them by hand, and I’m totally excited about adding them to my pocket layouts.

Lemme show you –

valentinespreadSorry for the crappy photo – I got home too late from work to take my photos in nature light – so there’s a lot of glare.  By the way, if you want to take better photos of your layouts, this post by Ali Edwards was super helpful.  I didn’t do that here, but I did do it here if you want to check out my other paper/hybrid layouts from this year.

Here’s are a few better shots –

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feb9page2So, what have we got going on here?

prettygirlframeTwo big yeahs here – again Pocket Source enabling, er I mean advice.  First, the sweet little embelishments on the Happy Birthday card (which was from the Sweet Shoppe Facebook hop they did for their birthday the weekend before last), the alpha on the frame, and the little wooden veneer stars – they’re from the Studio Calico monthly kit – the Pocket Source has an entire section in the forums devoted to monthly kits, and while I think I had already ordered the Studio Calico kit when The Pocket Source opened, its forums definitely reinforced for me that I had picked the right kit for me, and made me eagerly anticipate my little package.  The other thing is the Pretty Girl frame – cut by me with my Silhouette.

What else –

rhonnadesignsAs I mentioned in this post, one of my biggest fears about going paper was printing my photos, and I’ve mostly been going with Walgreens, and it’s working for me.  But, with this spread, because of the weather, and my snow days, I had to print at home, and all of these photos were printed on my home Epson – which is something I really don’t want to do on a regular basis.  Yes, the photos are better than Walgreens, but the ink is crazy expensive and so is the paper.  So, it was really important to me to get everything right, and only print once.  So, I tried to do all of my prep work on my phone before I sent it to dropbox, and then onto my computer.  And, I love love love how this iphone photo turned out – with the graphic from the Rhonna Designs app.  The iPhone and apps like Rhonna Designs, Pic-Tap-Go and Beautiful Mess have made life so much easier. And everything at The Pocket Source is designed to make your pocket scrapping easier.

And one last thing – one of the big reasons I love having actually little pockets.  I love memorabilia.  Above, you could see my cut up program from our trip to the car show.  Here, I’ve used our movie ticket stubs, and the actual ad that I cut out of the paper.  I love cutting things up, and slipping them in a pocket, and writing all over them.

And the “meh” – my handwriting, created on the ipad, sent to my computer, and then to the Silhouette.  There’s a tutorial here that I used.

mehAnd, wait – there’s more – just a little bit, because I’m just getting started.  I bought a 6 x 8 album to devote to a trip Joe and I took to NYC last year –

nycbookThere’ll be more on this in the future – I just started it last night.  But when I thought about how I wanted to document our trip, with the photos that were just sitting in a pile from a failed attempt at making a paperbag minibook – pocket scrapping was really the only that made me excited.  Love those pockets!

So, stop by the Pocket Source, check it out, for inspiration, for advice, for tutorials, for just about all of your creative pocket scrapping needs. But perhaps most importantly, for the community – it’s so awesome to be surrounded by people who “get” why you had to buy one more core kit, or why you stayed up until midnight to snatch a Studio Calico add on, or why you’re bummed that what you thought your most important photo all week was didn’t turn out the way you saw it in your head. Like minded people – can’t beat it.

And be sure to hop on to the next stop on the blog hop, Emily, at MrsCraftyAdams. Be sure to check out Emily’s blog.  I found Emily’s blog a few months ago when she was doing an blogaversary giveaway, and I’m so glad I found it.  Her enthusiasm for pocket scrapping is infectious, and you can find inspiration from her not only on her blog, but at the Pocket Source as well.

Thanks again for stopping by, and be sure to visit the rest of the creative scrappers on the Pocket Source Blog Hop.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Days and Counting

Joe just asked me what I’m going to do on my fifth day off in a row.

It’s been five days.

Five snowed in days.

Oh, we did go out.

To dig out.

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I don’t even remember how many snows this was – or how many times we had shoveled at this point.  All I know is, that at the deepest point, there’s over a foot of snow.  And there was rain, and ice, and . . . whatever.  It’s supposed to snow again on Tuesday – just in time to go back to work.

And, what did I do with all of this time?  Hmm.  I had grand plans – sewing, mail art, scrapbooking, both Project Life and Digital, and some painting, but . . . I watched a lot of Olympics.  And, I did knit.  Here is the first of the Follow Your Arrow Shawls –

wearingshawlLook how lazy I am – I didn’t even set up my new tripod.

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closeupshawl2holdingshawlholdingshawl2Nope, still didn’t run up to get my new tripod, or new remote trigger.  Just set the camera on the radiator cover.  I can already tell this is the best of them, and I’m really happy with it.  When I cast on the second and the third versions (which I refer to as the ugly stepsister and her sister), I thought the short row section was going to bigger – that it would kind of “wedge” all around.  But, that’s not how things progressed, and if I had to do it all over again – I wouldn’t have bothered with the short rows.  I still would have done a second shawl, I would have just done the opposite clue for everything except the short rows.  Of course, without seeing the other shawls, or the pattern, you have no idea what I’m talking about, and this is all just babble.

And that’s about what I’m capable of at the moment, after five days in the house, basically, Just singing la la la sometimes to hear myself talk.  Joe’s been getting home late (and by that I mean late in the morning), going to sleep, sleeping late (and by that, I mean until about 6:30 p.m.), and leaving early (9ish) to get his train.  So, I’ve been talking to Lemon and Olive.  They’re good listeners.  Hey dogs, should I get off the couch, go up to the craftroom and do some sewing?  Nah, stay here on the couch, curling is coming on.  Ok, you talked me into it.

I did do one Project Life spread, while I sat in front of the t.v., watching the men’s free fall free skate –

weekoffeb3So, I’m caught up in real time, but I still have to go back and do weeks I skipped.  I’m not going back to the summer disaster – oh no.  I think I’m just going to have to live with missing a few weeks out of my 2013 album.  But, I still have to do the first few weeks of this year – when I was still dickering in my head about whether I was really going to go all paper.  I think I’ll probably combine the last week of 2013 and the first week of 2014, and I should be good. And, I’m missing the holidays – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas – so I think I’m going to do one spread of the holidays, and call it good.

Putting together this past week is going to be a challenge – because for all of the snow, and the trapped in the house business, it was still a photo heavy week.  We had Ramos lunch at our house on Sunday (even though it snowed), and it was Joe’s brother’s birthday.  Tuesday we went to the car show, Thursday I took the above snow photos, Friday was Valentine’s Day, and Saturday was Danielle’s birthday, during which it again snowed.  So, the challenge will be in squeezing all of the photos I want to use in without a digital layout, and figuring out how I want them to go in my head before I start printing them out, and wasting paper printing them at the wrong size.

Again, there I go with the brain barf.

Anyway, I’m doing pretty good with just the 2 core kits (Kraft and Amber), and my gifted stickers from Knitty D.  But, of course, I went paper because I want to use stuff, so I’m getting more stuff.  I’m trading half of my Amber for 1/3 of 5th and Frolic with a woman from Texas.  And, I joined the Studio Calico monthly PL kit club. To do this, I had to cancel my Philadelphia Inquirer subscription – oh well, that paper totally sucks anyway.  I’m keeping my Sunday Times.  And, with all of this time in the house, and with all the coupons, and all the President’s Day sales, I was very restrained, only spent $10 at the Joann’s online sale (half price on a lot of stuff, $1 flat rate shipping), getting Amy Tangerine’s Cut & Paste and a little package of her die cuts.  With all of the time I’ve had on my hands, it’s truly miraculous I didn’t order anything else.

Oh wait, I did – sort of.  I signed up for a beginning Calligraphy class on Skillshare – they had a 25% sale too, sheesh!  But that doesn’t really count, does it?

At least it didn’t involve shoveling.

 

 

 

 

Follow Your Arrow KAL

Endeavoring sucks sometimes.

It’s hard to try your hardest.

And, KnittyD found it oh so aggravating.

Ok, let me take a step back. Sometime in December, Ysolda Teague announced she was creating a knit-along, the Follow Your Arrow KAL.

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It sounded like fun – remember those Encyclopedia Brown books – at least I think it was Encyclopedia Brown – you could choose how the story would progress. and how it would end. If you wanted the dooer to be Colonel Mustard in the library with the poker stick, go to page 5. If you’d like the murderer to be revealed as Mrs. Peacock in the kitchen with the wrench, skip to page 7. In this case, there are five clues, released every Monday. In each clue, there are two options, leading to 32 possible shawls. Fun, right? I have a stalled out sweater on needles, and I thought an Ysolda shawl would be just the thing to get my knitting mojo moving.

There is one catch. I still have post traumatic knit disorder from the Stephen West knit-along. KnittyD, Robin and I all signed up for the thing. No multiple options, but the finished shawl wouldn’t be revealed until the end. Much time was spent picking yarn, discussing yarn, etc., and then after all of the anticipation, the clue was released . . . and . . . we all hated it. All three of us. Not one of us knit it. And, Robin spent a tidy sum on her yarn. So, with that experience in mind, I decided I would knit from stash – stash which no longer included the Stephen West intended yarn because I believe I knit an Ysolda shawl with it.

Anyway, I thought I was going to use my hoarded Madelinetosh Lace, even though the pattern called for fingering because I just figured, eh, it’ll be a little lacier. But then, the night before the clue came out, I went to wind it — and there were breaks in the yarn. Gasp! Professor Plum took a hatchet to my beautiful yarn! I really don’t know what happened – it is somewhat old – probably three years. There was no moth dander anywhere. It’s a mystery.

But now the mystery was, what yarn was I going to use for the mystery shawl?

And, here were my stash choices –

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Handmaiden Sea Silk, Koigu, Blue Moon Geisha, and Zauerball.

I waited until Monday when the clue came out, and decided on the Sea Silk.  In fact, I was kind of excited about the Sea Silk – once, it was my favorite yarn to knit with.  And now, it’s not.  The old, nonendeavoring me would have continued on – I was on gauge, it looked ok.  But, it wasn’t the fabric or the drape I wanted.  So, I ripped out much of the first clue, option b, and cast on again the Blue Moon Geisha.

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Again, on gauge, and it looks ok – but, not what I wanted. I didn’t want the mohair halo, and I wanted something springy, squishy, like merino. So, I ripped out almost the whole clue again. Onward.

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This time, I decided I was going to buy – buy!  I haven’t bought yarn (well, except for the yarn I got for my mother-in-law for Xmas) since Sheep and Wool.  I should have been excited, but instead, I was filled with trepidation.  I remembered Robin, and her unknit Stephen West yarn.  So, for moral support, I had KnittyD meet me at Loop, and I spent a good half hour looking at two bins of yarn – Brooklyn Tweeds Loft, and Madelinetosh’s Pashmina.  I knew I wanted the Pashmina – but it was investment.  An investment that would pay off?  Well, what evidence did we have?  History – love Ysolda’s shawls and I never did really like Stephen West, and the first clue had already been released, and looked promising.

But, I went with the cheaper option – the Loft.

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When I snapped this photo and sent it to KnittyD it was probably seconds before the aggravation set in. I knew the yarn was delicate – the guy at the store who wound it broke it while winding, and KnittyD had a difficult time with her Loft Shawl, but I had no idea it was going to break every time I touched it. It broke when I pulled it out of the center pull. It broke when I took out my swatch (yes, I’m endeavoring, so I’m swatching), and then it broke three more times while I was knitting – at the fourth spit splice, I decided enough, and the next day, I took it back.

And, in record time, well in standard Wendy time, because I generally know exactly what I want when I go to buy yarn – which was what was so shocking to KnittyD during our trip to the yarn store, I returned the Loft, and bought the Pashmina.

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And, I have exactly what I want!

And, I finished so far in advance of Monday’s second clue, that I cast on the second option as well – in the  Zauerball –

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This shawl, to me anyway, is definitely going to be the ugly stepsister of the Pashmina.  But, I thought it would be fun to do both options each time.

Hey, Clue was fun every time I played it, right?

Time for January’s BYOC, and a Whole Month of Challenges

MOC-ready

 

I don’t know if I’m ready, but I guess I’m ready – and I’m going to give it my best shot!

Ok, so I’m already one day behind, but that’s because Day 2 is the art journaling challenge, and I really want to incorporate some of my own art, and I just haven’t had time to make it yet.  So, it will not be skipped – it’ll just be postponed.

Are you asking yourself what the heck is she talking about?  Well, it’s time for the Lilypad’s annual Month of Challenges – a themed challenge every day.  If you complete all 31 challenges, you win a $20 coupon to the store.  Then, the are prizes for Best in Show in each category – and – the big winner wins a Polly spot.  And, it’s nice that the challenges coincide with the BYOC – which is really sweet this month.

First up – Challenge 1 – a Blind Scrap – meaning you were given a list of things/stylistic elements that had to be incorporated into your layout.  I didn’t use a BYOC product, but rather a kit from Amy Wolff, Think Happy Be Happy, that I had skipped a few weeks ago because my scrapping mojo was nowhere to be found –

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Fun, right?  Like that Scrabble tile word art?  It’s in the kit – just like that!

Like I said, Day 2 was art journaling, which I’ll get too, and today, Day 3, was a technique day – using brushes over layers.  The gist is, if you were to actually stamp ink or paint over an actual layer of paper, there would be a little gap between the top layer and the bottom layer, because you can’t stamp it flat.  How do you do it?  Check out the tutorial here.

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This is Laurie Ann’s contribution to the BYOC, Fortitude.  As you can see, I used the technique on “Hello” and on the stamped hats we’re wearing.  This is not my favorite technique, which is surprising since I really like things to look like paper.  I guess, for the most part, I forget to do it.  But, it’s the little things that I need to endeavor to do.

So, yeah, this was our New Year’s.  I was really excited because Joe’s regular day off fell on New Year’s Eve.  Not that I like to go out and be crazy anymore, but I was looking forward to dinner and a movie.  Not to be.  Because of the Mummer’s parade, all regular days off were yanked, and he was stuck working his normal hours.  So, for New Year’s Eve I made shrimp scampi, he polished his work boots and we watched Red 2 (terrible!) on demand.  For the next morning, I had planned brunch, but he was too tired to eat it, so we had my fab French Toast for dinner.  What can I say, I rang in the New Year without a shower, and without changing out of my pj’s.  Very glam.

And, not for a challenge, but for the BYOC – Lynne Marie’s Peaches and Cream.  This kit is really pretty, and would make a good choice for the art journaling challenge – very painty, with ephemera elements.

HappyTogetherAnd that’s it for today – or maybe not.  Maybe I’ll get painting upstairs in the craft room.

Or maybe I’ll get sewing.  I haven’t decided.

Have I mentioned that I’m home on a snow day!  Sweet!

 

One Little Word 2014

20140101-133825.jpgI cut corners.

I say, “good enough” when something’s just ok.

I know there’s a popular school of thought along the lines of “I am enough.”  And, yeah, sure, I’m a pretty good person, take me or leave me, don’t try to change me, yadda yadda. But, I can be better.  And in 2013, I really felt like I fell short in so many things.  I think part of it has to do with my huge failure as a stepmother.  I look back, and I can’t help but think if I had tried harder to be better, maybe I would have been.

I can’t undo the past, but I can “endeavor” in the future.

 

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Happy New Year!

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In preparation for Misty Mawn’s upcoming class, I’ve been going through her last class, Face to Face, and doing some of the lessons I skipped the first time around.  This was one of them – a little collage of 100+ Things to Be Happy About.

When I sat down to do it, I thought, 100 things?  Nah.  Not in 2013.  But, you know what, it was pretty easy peasy.  Just simple things.  Some stupid things.  But stuff that makes me happy.  And, now, I find myself adding to it, every day.

Not a bad way to start the day.

And I hope you start the New Year that way.

Find happiness every day.

Here’s to 2014!

The Law of Stash

And what does it really mean to have stash?

It means that you are no longer limited to having only one project going at a time – now you can have not just one work in progress, but two . . . or three . . . or . . . ah, the slippery slope, which of course leads to starting everything, and finishing nothing.

An equation, a new law of crafting if you will –

Stash -> WIP x y = UFOs x y = 0 FOs

That’s probably all wrong – I slept through my logic class.

But, I do know, and was completely aware of the fact, that if I started a second project, I would put the first project in jeopardy. Of course, I had a perfect rationalization at my itchy fingertips – project 1 (Penny Sampler) was confined to the craftroom, proposed project 2 (Modern Medallion), featured much hand stitching and therefore could be done on in front of the tv. Of course, that ignores all of the steps you have to do before you get to the sewing in front of the tv part.

Like the reverse appliqué that had to be traced onto freezer paper, adhered to the background fabric, cut again, and then hand sewn to the center fabric –

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The first border that to be sewn on, and the corners mitered,
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The next white border, that had to leave a perfect 2 1/4 inch strip around, so that when the next border is sewn on, there’s a 2 inch strip for the 2 inch square embroidery blocks.
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I had a lot of unnecessary trouble with this part, the white borders. I hadn’t squared up the previous round’s border, rather I eyeballed it, and it looked like a square to me. But, it wasn’t, and that little bit that was off threw off the entire white border square. So, I ended up trying to trim away the white to work, but of course that didn’t work, it made it all wonky lopsided. So I unpicked the entire white border, recut the fabric strips, and properly squared up the first border.

And now, I’m ready for the tv part!
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Too bad we’re going to the movies!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I Have Stash!!!

Can you believe it – I’m jumping up and down because I have fabric that I don’t need!

Yeah!

Well, I’m sure I’ll use it.

But that’s what I said when I bought all of this yarn:

yarnAnd I think I’ve mentioned before, this is only half of it.  Maybe more than half.

I’ve always made a distinction between yarn stash and fabric stash.

Yarn I buy in person.  Fabric I buy online.

It’s all about immediacy.

I worked at a yarn store and got a 30% discount.  Of course I bought what landed in my hot little hands at the store.  And, if I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool or Rhinebeck – I had to buy yarn right?  These were opportunities that weren’t going to come around again, right?  And, buying yarn was tactile.  I never got the whole buying yarn online thing – the only thing I remember getting online was the Socks that Rock monthly sock club – and you know what? I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t the yarn I would have picked had I met the yarn in person.

Now, fabric – my only option right now is to order online.  And the only fabric I’ve ordered online is fabric I needed to complete a project.  I just couldn’t see myself ordering a yard of this here, a stack of fat quarters there for well, some day.  Buying stash, for me, had been, I see it now, I feel it now, I have to have it now.

Until now.

Because there was a sale.

And I’m a sucker for a sale – Craftsy had a 60 percent off sale.  Who cares I have to wait a few days for it to come in the mail – it’s coming! And this is what I got – with no plan in mind – just because I saw it, and it was there.

Just because it’s now stash where the was no stash!

First, 20 fat quarters of Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom – $19.99 –

dewberrystashNext, a Free Spirit bundle that Craftsy called “Garden”-

gardenstashAnd, the stashiest of stash – the box!  A box of 50 miscellaneous fat quarters from Free Spirit.  This is the second time they’ve put this box on sale for $50, and the first time I hemmed and hawed about it (because I didn’t need it), and when I finally went to put it in my cart, it was sold out.  This time – I was quick:

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So, I went from nothing to something in one delivery from the postman.  And, it’s not exactly true that I don’t have any plans for my new stash – I do have those BOM’s coming up next year, and I did buy Stitched in Color’s Handstitched, and her Modern Medallion is probably next up on the wheel – I may even start it while Penny Sampler is still under construction – since I’ll be able to do the handsewing/embroidery in front of the t.v.

Speaking of Penny Sampler – I’ve made more progress! And, here’s the problem with having a design floor instead of a design wall:

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And, she always manages to plop herself done on the newest blocks.  Here, she’s sitting on my penny patch blocks.

So, I finished the village:

villageAnd the forrest:

forrestblock

And my penny patch blocks:

pennypatchblocksI’m pretty proud of myself with these Penny Patch blocks – my seams came together nicely, they’re all the right size 1/4 inch, I didn’t have to fudge any cutting.  When I put the village block together, I had some problems – problems that were easily diagnosed when I made these Penny Patch blocks – my 1/4 inch seam was really really generous – and that’s why everything was coming out a bit small.  Same thing with the forrest.  And somewhere on the road from the village to the forrest I decided that I was going to stop making it work, and start making it better – which kind of moved me to my word of the year – I’ll share that later.  But, I’m now committed to really trying to get my blocks right, unpicking seams when I have to, and strive for something closer to perfect.  Not perfect, but good.  Really good.

So, I put the project on hold after Sunday to make sure I had the right tools to help me along.  I have three more applique blocks to do – and I’m going to try to get the points right. So, I ordered freezer paper, and it came with my fabric stash – so I’ll work on those blocks this weekend.  Then, the precise piecing part of the class requires a 2 1/2 inch square ruler for squaring up the half square triangle blocks.  I’m not going to fudge – I’m going to use the right ruler, and that should be here sometime next week.

And that’s my progress this week!

pennysamplerprogress

That tangerine fabric may become the hanging diamonds block – I’m not sure.  I had originally thought grey – but the grey I ordered isn’t the right grey – too dark.  I think it works, but I’m going to leave it sitting there, until it grows on me, or it doesn’t.  And, if it doesn’t, I’ll have another think about it.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday – check out everyone’s progress!

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12 Months, Many Blocks, That’s My Plan

With Penny Sampler underway, what’s on my mind?

The next project of course!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m probably going to buy Stitched in Colors Handstitched E-Book – but I don’t think anything in there is my next project – maybe, but I’m really buying it now because she’s probably not going to make it available again. So that doesn’t count. Really.

Between doing Danielle’s quilt, and planning and starting the Penny Sampler, I’ve learned a few things. Danielle’s quilt was pretty easy. I picked a fabric line that included all the colors she requested. I went with easy to cut and piece precuts (a Layer cake), and the pattern I used wasn’t something i had to read and figure out, rather it was from one of my Craftsy classes, and I had already watched someone else make it. On the other hand, Penny Sampler is a learning experience on every level – from studying color schemes, to picking fabrics to work with my color story, to actually starting on the quilt, and learning all of the new techniques. I’m completely out of my comfort zone.

But, I am completely engaged.

And, I’m not in a rush. At all. During the period of time that I knit like a fiend, and was pumping out a sweater a month, I dreamed in knit and purl. Knitting was almost a frenzy, and part of it was that I couldn’t wait to wear whatever I was knitting. To this day, 90% of the sweaters I wear on a daily basis are handknit by moi, and knit during that period shortly after I learned to knit. I don’t feel that way about quilting – and it’s not that it’s not a passion, it’s that it’s not product motivated – I don’t even know what I’m going to do with Penny Sampler when it’s finished. It’s probably going to be folded up and thrown over a chair in our living room. Working on the Penny Sampler is just slow, and contemplative. It’s all about the process. Danielle’s quilt was fast and furious, and all about the product.

While I’m a product knitter, I’m a process quilter, and that’s where my enjoyment lies.

So, in 2014, I’m all about projects that are skill building. And that’s where Block of the Month clubs come into play. There’s a bunch of them out there – where you sign up through either a website or a store or a blog – and every month you get a block to complete for the month. Some, that also send you the fabric, are pretty expensive. Others, you just sign up to get the pattern, tutorials and in some cases, a Flickr community to share your progress. That’s where my head is, because again, picking the fabric is part of the process.

Interested? Here’s what I’ve signed up for:

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This BOM is from Elizabeth Dackson from Don’t Call Me Betsy and it’s all about stars – 12 months of stars. 12 inch stars or 6 inch stars, you take your pick.

Next, another traditional block piecing club:

SBC-2014-Large-Button

This one is from Amy Gibson from Stitchery Dickory Dock. Amy hosted the Craftsy BOM in 2011, and while I didn’t make the blocks, I did watch all of the videos, and most of the techniques I learned I’ve incorporated into other things I’ve made. Each month you not only get a surprise block (unlike the Stars blocks, which has a preview for the year), but also a yummy dessert recipe, and this year, she’s doing some kind of “Be” theme – digging deeper than creating a block, and she’s going to have creative challenges and prompts on her blog. I’m not sure what this is about, but I’m willing to keep an open mind and give it a shot. I can always just do the blocks.

That should keep me busy, right?

Right. So I haven’t signed up for anything else, but do have my eye on two others, one is paper piecing –

Quiet Play

This one is made up of 12 paper pieced, kitschy kitchen blocks – totally looks like fun. We’ll see.

And lastly, this one isn’t a BOM, it’s a quilt-a-long with Leah Day at the Free Motion Quilting Project.productimage-picture-building-blocks-download-quilt-pattern-75_jpg_480x480_q85

This quilt-a-long is designed for the beginning quilter to not only learn piecing, but quilting. Most quilting patterns you buy have detailed piecing instructions, and then say, “quilt as you desire,” leaving you hanging. Not this one. Every Monday there’ll be a piecing tutorial, as well as quilting one, and it will wrap up with how to join these piece as you go blocks. By the way, I had never been to Leah Day’s website – well, let me put it this way – I read the blog through feedly, but hadn’t visited the site – so I didn’t know until today that if you buy her Craftsy classes through her blog, she has massive discounts – so generous! so awesome! I’m definitely going to take one of her classes next year. And . . . I’ll probably try this one too.

So I’m going to be busy busy!
And this coming from a girl who can’t complete a 30 day project – and now I think I’m going to do monthly projects – more than one?
Yes, I am.
Yep.
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