Alien quilt top has landed

It has been a long journey through space and time, with a few detours along the way. However, I am happy to report all have landed safely.  Soon the birthday boy will be 4.  I have only one week until the big day and I am pleased to say the quilt top is finished!  I have to toot my own horn here and say, "THIS IS TOO CUTE!"  I am so happy with the final result of this quilt top.  This quilt was made entirely from inspiration.  I had a very small idea of what I wanted the end result to look like, but mostly I just decided to have fun.  This was easier said than done.  Not having an image of what I was trying to complete drove me mad on occasion.  It was almost too freeing!?!  Many times I had to walk away and give myself a break.  There were several blocks that had to be omitted from the final draft because they were just too ugly, or they colors were wrong.  For the most part I had to trust that it would work it's self out.

I was stunned at how difficult it was to trust in myself.  I know I love to quilt.  I know that I am an artistic and creative person, yet to create an entire quilt out of just my imagination, no planning, no drawing and no measurements, was quite a lesson in trust.  I constantly found myself doubting my abilities!

Often when something turned out different or unexpected I found my first reaction was to hate it!   I had to force myself not to trash it.  Force myself to look at the unexpected in a new way.  I had to Trust myself and it was so hard!  As I worked out the details of this quilt I had to remind myself not to judge, but to be open to all the possibilities.  It was only when I did that my creativity was able to blossom.  As soon as the negative thoughts and self doubt crept in, it was as if all the creative energy was completely drained from me.  Being open and trusting in myself was genuinely an alien experience.

There are so many things I love about this quilt, the end result was completely worth the journey.  Not only did I learn new techniques, I also learned a great deal about myself.

I have several blocks that I love, but I have to say this label block is my favorite.


Twirling ( A Princess Post)

Do you remember being 7 or 8 or how about 9?  I know sometimes it is hard for me to remember last week!  But think back to being a little girl and how it felt to get dressed up.  This always seemed like such an exciting time.  Picking out your dress and shoes maybe arguing with your mom (just a little).  Do you remember how important it was to put your dress on and immediately twirl?  How much fun it was to watch you dress or skirt spin out like a princess.  Watching all of the fabric flow around you you couldn't help but smile.

I am currently have 3 such dresses underway.  I have been asked, and it is my great privilege to make bridesmaids dresses for my brother's wedding.  I haven't always seen this type of request as a privilege.  It has taken some "re-thinking" and a conscious effort on my part to see it as an honor.  Truly it is an honor. I was asked not only because it was well known that I sew, but because of the care. time and love I put into my sewing.  As I approach each dress I imagine that this is the equivalent of wrapping my daughter and my nieces in a bundle of love.

Just watching the smiles irrupt on the faces as they try on the mock-ups gives me energy and enthusiasm for finishing the project.  This unbridled, carefree happiness that only a child can have is quite contagious.

This week I was able to finish up, mostly, the dress Emma will wear in the wedding.  OH how she lit up when she heard that I wanted to have her try it on!  

Once we were able to pin the dress in all of the appropriate places, she took off to show her brothers.  They were less than excited.  Getting dressed up to them is equivalent to torture. Torturous not only to wear, but just as torturous to try on.   I am sure I have never seen them smile when they were told to wear their tie.  Maybe a groan or an eye roll and definitely whine, but never a smile.

I followed Emma around, trailing just out of site.  Watching her imagination bloom.  She stood in front of her mirror and curtsied and twirled for at least 10 minutes.  Talking and singing (which as you know is an important characteristic of a Princess) to herself, playing with her hair and going through her jewelry box just as happy as could be.

She came to find me minutes later to show me just how well the dress twirled. I was informed that this dress makes a "bell-shape" when twirled.  Which is her favorite kind.  I was informed that the bell shaped dress makes a lovely poof when you twirl and sit down immediately, as it traps the air under the skirts.  (I have proof she showed me at least 5 times).

She went on to explain the other dresses make a fan when twirled. (Who knew there was more than one type of twirl.)  While fan shapes lay nicely when you have to sit and look cute, they are not nearly as fun to twirl.  I have it on good authority that this is because if you twirl too fast boys can see your underwear.  Definitely don't want that.


April Wreath

I cannot believe I have made a  dozen of these blocks.  It has surely been an adventure in creativity and quilting.  There are so many wonderful quilt design and designers out in blog-land!  I am certain I will never get to all of the projects. They are still fun too look at and find a little inspiration.

This Is my Hoppy Easter door hanging.  It is from a design from Ellie's Quiltplace.  She has many cute little projects to work on for sale in her shop, as well as several freebies.  Most, if not all, of Ellie's patterns are for hand stitching. While I did use my machine for most of my mini-quilt, I did enjoy the little bits of hand-stitching.

I used a new free motion quilting pattern for the area underneath the rabbit.  I tried using the Landscape quilt design from Leah Day's free motion quilting project.  I have admired her use of this design in her quilts.  I have to say it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and the results are stunning.

I used a simple echo stitch to outline the rabbit.  I think it gave him/her just a little extra PoP. (or should I say Hop)

I also tried a new flame or triangle quilting along the sides of the Happy Easter embroidery.  In hindsight, I could have also done a little stippling around the Easter eggs to make them pop as well.  Something to keep in mind for next time!

Now that this adventure in quilting is completed I am off to make up some dresses.  Three little girls are going to be so very excited!


Getting a little Spacy

I am  really loving this quilt.  It is truly a work in progress.  I have been having so much fun that I am afraid to admit that I have been slacking on several of my other duties.  (It's OK, I assure you no one was harmed during the making of this quilt.)  It's all about balance.

This week I have been working on border blocks.  I have been searching for new methods and new thinking on building and designing quilts.  I have stumbled across several quilt artist who are fabulous!  The newest being Gwen Marston.  She has several books called with "Liberated" in the title.  Just the thought of Liberating your quilt methods makes me chuckle.  Her techniques and methods are simple to follow.  She breaks through all of the "old" standard quilting stereotypes.  It is wonderful for me to see someone else who loves to mess with the rules.  My favorite quote so far is, "Fun and adventure along the way is what Liberated Quiltmaking is all about."  Well,  I'm all for that!

Here are some new pictures of the blocks I plan on putting around the spaceship.  I have been playing around with piecing letters and numbers.

  I will be "writing" the words...3,2,1....Blast Off! on the quilt.  Here I have the 3,2,1, I just need to decide on the form for the Blast off.  I am not sure if I want the words to move horizontal or vertical.  One idea i have is to place the words inside of a spaceship blasting off.

I added some alien blocks which are a little smaller than I need.  I also plan on putting a white or yellow border around the blocks and large center block for more contrast. Too many spaceships?  Can one ever have too many?


Pieced Center

I was able to finish piecing the center yesterday.  The most exciting part was when I showed it to Jack.  He said, "THAT IS SO AWESOME!"  That is quite a complement coming from Jack,  I couldn't have done it with out his help.
Today, I am moving on to the Border.  I was thinking about how free and open space feels to me and wanting to do something that represented this feeling.  I was searching around and I ran across Mary Lou Weidmen's books.  I went out today and purchased her book, Out of the Box unleash your creativity through quilts.  Let me just say this is exactly what I needed.  All I had to do was open the book and read her introduction and I was hooked.  Mary Lou's quilts are so fun, playful and full of whimsy, just what I want to pull into this quilt.  I want to be able to play and have fun creating.  Her blog is full of great, colorful pictures that really inspire me to do something different.  Now I am off to play!


In pieces

I was able to piece up the stars last night.  I decided that because the aliens were cute, the stars needed to be also.  I used a book I have mentioned before called,  Cut-Loose Quilts by Jan Mullen.  I needed Wonky stars and this book provided me with them!  I love, love, Love the dark blue and black batik that I am using for space.  It is such an exceptional contrast to the white of the spaceship.

The flames done in orange, tangerine and red Kona cotton were designed by Jack.  I think it adds a nice element of depth to the rocket.  The lights on this strip below were hand appliqued onto the gray fabric.  
lights and flames at bottom of rocket
This strip of light at the nose cone was done with the pieclique method I described in my last post.
Lights and nose cone

It is coming along very nicely, although it is still in Pieces.  I have not set any expectations on getting this quilt finished or having it turn out a certain way, I am simply letting the ideas come to me.  The ideas for this quilt are flooding me!  Off to work on it some more.   New Pictures coming tomorrow.


Aliens come in Peace

I made these two alien blocks a while back with the intention of creating a quilt.

 In my quilting obsessed world where I have no dinner to make, no laundry to do and have a full pot of coffee at all times, it made sense.  I actually had a plan to make twelve of these cute little blocks and turn them into not only a quilt, but a pattern as well.  As the days went by and my list of mother related needs and request grew, I came to understand that, at the time, I must have been completely non compos mentis.  After further review, I have decided that revisions must be made.

Wondering through alien fabric searches I found an alien panel that said, "Galaxy Peace"  I had to laugh.  Peace what a great concept.   That is exactly how quilting makes me feel, peaceful.  It also makes me frustrated, angry, happy, energized, and a whole host of other emotions; ultimately in the end, I am at peace with the final project.  Going back to the drawing board, with galaxy peace in mind, I came up with a plan that was slightly less deranged.  I plan to put a rather large and incredibly cute (if I do say so myself) rocket-ship  in the center of this quilt using my smaller blocks as "accents."  It's a good plan trust me.

After many scratched drawings and an all important consult with my 11 year-old I came up with this preliminary sketch.  Trust me it is absolutely essential to consult an 11 year-old boy when designing space related patterns.  My original drawing was, and I quote "Very Unrealistic."

This bigger, better and new improved design allows me to use a pre-printed alien pattern from Moda called "Alien Invasion" by Amy Bradley Designs. The aliens are wonderfully cute, laid back and totally at peace with their Alien-ness.  The center panel when it is completed will be roughly 50 X 60 inches, allowing for a sizable border with some darling custom alien blocks added for accent.  

Peace Dude
I have been using a new method from Sharon Schamber called PiecLique.  (Peace or Piece again being the central theme.) Let me just say this method for piecing curves is simply, brilliant!  The curves are nice and round with beautiful seams.  I am so happy with how they turned out.  The two aliens above are looking out the port-holes of their new and improved space craft.

I have much of the rocket sewn and strewn about the studio.  I would have taken more pictures but the batteries from my camera were confiscated for a CD player.

Lofty expectations aside I think it is turning out to be pretty darn cute Piece of work.


I am Issaqueena

The elementary school puts on a Living Wax Museum every year.  You may remember when Jack participated, can it really have been 2 years ago!  The purpose of this little evening is to get the kids involved with learning about South Carolina History.  They assign a famous South Carolinian to each of the 3oo kids in 3rd grade.  Each child is responsible for researching their person and coming up with a brief summery about their South Carolinian.  Once that is complete the children then write and memorize their summery, which is supposed to be 1-3 minutes long.  The children are supposed to come to the Wax museum in character, where they are all given a red sticker to place on their chest or arm.  When the parents come through the wax museum they "push" the button (red sticker) on the child and the child brings that character to life.  It turns out really cute and the kids get very excited, as you can imagine.

This year Emma's famous South Carolinian is Issaqueena.  You can read about her here.  As you can probably surmise from the name, Issaqueena is Native American.  Apparently Emma and I have very different ideas of Native American dress.  Why this surprises me, I have no idea.  Emma requested a dress for her costume.  A little off the shoulder number, tight fitting with lots and lots of beading and fringe. You know, something completely impractical that no Native American would be caught in,  dead or alive.  I tried to stress the "authenticity" of making a poncho and faux deer skin leggings.  She would have none of it. So I accommodated her the best I could.  

Here is our interpretation of Issaqueena.

All in all it turned out pretty nice.  The fabric has a tendency to shred, a factor that annoys Emma severely. It was quick to sew up taking just a little over and hour.  There are no buttons, zippers or hooks  which make Mom a very happy person.  And we did it all with nary a pattern in site.

She has been told that she must wear a cami or tank under the dress. Let me tell you she is not happy about that!  I did allow her to skip the tank for pictures.  This dress has a tendency to slide forward revealing just a little too much skin. She is also most definitely wearing it for Halloween.