Monday, June 30, 2014

Stretching My Creativity....

This fabric is not what the average quilter looks for in the is shiny....and slippery....and not cotton. Our younger daughter saw this fabric and fell head-over-heels in love with it.  The conversation went something like this...

"Mommy, I love this fabric!!  Will you please, please make me a dress?"

"Honey, I am not a dress maker."

"But, Mommy!!  No one else would have a dress like this and it is beautiful!!  I could wear it for graduation."

"It needs to be lined.  I have to pick the pattern.  Remember, I am not a garment maker."

She runs to yet another fabric and wraps it around herself.....

"But I love this fabric, too, and I need a dress for the dance..."

"That fabric is a little easier...Okay, I can try."

Our girls before the graduation dance--this dress was the dry run for the more complicated dress.

  That is how the request to make one dress turned into two dresses....on a short time line.....with a class project of a quilt thrown in for good measure.
The layout took up the whole kitchen table....and quite a while to cut out!
 Despite my lack of confidence, I launched forward.  And, knowing how I sew, I purchased twice as much fabric as they recommended.  Turned out to be the smartest move I made!  Because of the coloring, it had to be fussy cut to line up the color gradations.  Amazingly, I had two inches left to spare.
So, the bodice came together with a minimal amount of ripping, in spite of the pleats and darts.  The pattern did not include directions for lining the skirt and the fabric was quite sheer, so I came up with my own way to make a lining.  My method worked with the pockets, so I will count it as a success.
 Here it is, complete with sleeves and zipper, waiting to be tried on to make sure it fits and fits well.
Eighth Grade Graduation Night!
And, the girl who's on fire in the beautiful dress she designed! 

I am grateful to my sweet daughter for challenging me to try something outside my comfort zone, but would prefer she picks projects without extremely short timelines!  Have to say making this dress made our Little Princess feel very loved and allowed me to feel a certain amount of confidence that I haven't felt in a while.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Memorial Quilt Done!

Amazingly, the quilt top came together very quickly and was soon on the frame!  I did some measuring and adjusting to make sure that the extra blocks were sort of centered on the back of the quilt but allowing enough room for the pocket destined to contain the book.

 Here's a close-up of how much backing was left after it was quilted--talk about too close for comfort!!
I don't think I will do a pieced back again for a while--my heart can't take these close calls.
Next post I will give the step-by-step instructions on how to make the book cover.  It turned out pretty well (surprisingly enough!!) and was very easy. 

The label was sewn on the front....

And here is the pocket sewn on the quilt to hold the book....
Here are some pictures of the girl and her quilt.....
Here's the front...

Here's the back!

Pretty proud of our girl!!  The quilt is now proudly hanging in school, ready to be admired by many! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Surviving Spring

How was your winter this year?  Winter in our part of the world, namely South Jersey, was quite snowy and cold.  Our daughter had six snow days!  Of course, this was the year the school decided not to include any snow days in the calendar, so she will be graduating 8th grade at the end of June.

I love snow days!  Over the years, I have realized that one should never discuss religion, politics or love of snow in public settings--people have very, very, very strong opinions on those topics!  I have had my share of death threats when I wore an "I Love Snow" button to work.  One woman told me to take off the button in her not-so-nice voice.

Snow days are special to me because they are the closest thing I get to stopping my world for a day.  The whole family is together and all the activities cease for just a little while.  There is time for me to catch my breath. I could use a snow day this month.....

The mini mountain of trimmed triangles from nearly 100 square-in-a-square blocks.
Our younger daughter came home from school with a special project--she was going to make a quilt to honor the veterans that served from Burlington County, NJ.  If you are unfamiliar with NJ geography, Burlington County is the largest county in NJ by quite a bit.  The first plan was to include all 42,000 names of veterans who served in all the wars in US history.  Uhmmm, not really possible on such a short timeline.  I do admire Sarah's enthusiasm for the project, but I had to make it a bit more manageable for a group of 8th graders....or for a woman who will work on it while her daughter is at school....

Sarah took her sewing machine to school every day for two weeks.  You should have seen her navigating her sewing machine and cello on the rain.....but she soldiered on!

So, to acknowledge those who served without leaving anyone out, we are going to write the names of veterans' organizations on the blocks instead of individual names.

The idea is for the quilt to look like camouflage with the flag fabric as a backing.  Just in case someone who is viewing the quilt has a loved-one they would like to include, I am making a cover for a small notebook to be placed in a sleeve on the back.  Think I may have come up with a quick and easy way to make a cover since time is so short.  Will post that when I finish it.

P.S. I haven't forgotten about a give-away--am sort of swamped with recitals, graduation and birthday/holiday preparations/celebrations at the moment.  Besides, I am still looking for something cool to give away.  My new plan it to post to my blog every week, regardless of what I am working on.  Have a few ideas for patterns that I'd like to share with you, too.  Am hoping to recharge my battery and have a new BOM for January.  We have done pieced block and applique blocks--which do you prefer?

Big quilty hugs!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Curly Top Finishing Instructions Are Up

My web master, also known as my darling husband, has put the last installment of Curly Top up--the finishing instructions!  You can get them at Ewes Quilting.

I think it would be fun to have some sort of give-away to celebrate the completion of Curly Top and the  slow return to my life--would anyone be interested?  Still mulling the details over in my mind and will let you know the beginning of May.

Curly Top finished--would love to see your version!
Have a wonderful day!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Curly Top BOM for November and December--Late Again, the Story of My Life

As you might imagine from my lack of postings, recovery is a bit slower than I thought it would be, but baby steps are still progress!  

You can find the applique pattern for November and December at Ewes Quilting
November:  Curly Top Counts Her Blessings
December:  Curly Top Trimming the Tree
***If you sent me a picture of a block you created and it didn't get posted, I apologize.  I tried to post the ones that were sent to me, but they wouldn't stick--my blog server was having issues.  When I went back to try again, the pictures disappeared.  I would love to post pictures of all the Curly Top blocks you made.  Would anyone be willing to send them again?  Pretty please?***

For those of you who are reading my blog for the first time, Curly Top came to be because I diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer and was going to lose all my hair during chemotherapy...and I did! At first, chemotherapy was my only treatment plan.  As I continued treatments, it became clear that the cancer was far more advanced than they originally thought, so I had a double mastectomy and radiation.  After that, there were more complications than even the doctors anticipated, but it could have been so much worse!  In August, my dad passed away suddenly--if you remember, I had dedicated Curly Top's August block to him. For all that happened in 2013, I know that God held me close to Himself and protected me--it really could have been so much worse!

Well, my hair grew back, with a vengeance and hundreds of curls, just like it was when I was little.  I now look just like Curly Top!!  (If I am feeling brave one day, I will post a picture of my new long locks--I look like a redheaded Rapunzel!!)

I would like to give my sincerest appreciation for those of you who have been so patient with me, especially for my tardiness in posting the last few blocks.  My email was filled with warm wishes and words of encouragement--each one warmed my heart! 

Big quilty hugs!!