Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm not famous. But I sure do feel like a rockstar.

Pin It I just have to take this opportunity to be a total GIRL for a bit.

Words cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for all of the wonderful people in my life!  I have such wonderful, supportive friends!  Last year was sort of a turning point in a few of my relationships.  There was a falling-out or two.  The relationships worth salvaging are now on the mend, and the ones that weren't are over.  Thankfully.  I need negativity in my life like I need a hole in my head.

But this year?  This year has been fantastical.  I have people in my corner, cheering me along in every little endeavor, and I could not do anything that I do without the encouragement.  That includes every one of you reading this, too!

The last week has been spectacular.  It started out with this!

A rose and cupcakes from a great friend for Valentine's Day?!  YES, PLEASE!

Then my post at The Quilting Gallery went up.  The responses that I got to that were just amazing.  I love that I can consider members of the quilting world, near or far, a part of my family.  The emails I received from people I don't even know, just to tell me that they love my work, or even just to say hello really meant a lot to me!

Then a couple of days after that, Anna Maria Horner posted this blog.

That quilt that her sweet little man, Roman is cuddling with?  I quilted it!  (I actually quilted seven of the quilts pictured, but that's beside the point)  Now, to understand how much a little piece of me being on AMH's blog means to me, you have to understand how much I absolutely adore her.  Not only is she a magnificent designer, but she is just a downright NICE PERSON.  I feel so lucky to have met her in May!

Aside from my very unfortunate haircut at the time, it was such an awesome experience!  I even bought her new book.

You know.  Her book titled Handmade Beginnings.  Which is all about sewing for pregnancy and baby?  Yeah.  I bought it.  A month and a half after I had a hysterectomy.  Just because I wanted to own it, and I wanted her autograph.  Because I adore her that much.  But we don't need to share that little factoid with Ms. Horner, right?
Needless to say, to have even a teensy weensy place on her blog was uber awesomenicity for this gal.  Then there was this email I received:
Lisa Marie, a long time ago my daughter and I pieced some quilt tops and sent them off to Anna Maria for the Rainbow Around the Block project. They were made to be given away and I didn't plan to see them again, so imagine my surprise tonight when I was looking at Anna Maria's blog and saw little Roman sitting on one of my quilt tops. And Imagine my delight when I saw how BEAUTIFULLY it was quilted and bound! And then to find your comment that you had done the quilting, to look at your blog, and to find ANOTHER of my quilt tops right there in the picture on the quilting frame! I just wanted to tell you that your work is lovely and I am so proud that my humble tops were completed by you! What a beautiful project this is!
 Really?  Seriously!?  How fantastic is that?  I just about squealed with excitement to read that!

Then there's a matter of my BeDazzled quilt that I'm working on.  I have a few cheerleaders on that project that have absolute faith in me.  I have no idea what I did to deserve that, but their words of encouragement on a project that frankly scares the poo out of me, well it means the world to me.  I'm not sharing too much in way of progress pictures because I kind of want it to be a surprise, but here's what it looks like from the back after 18 hours of trapunto trimming have been logged.

So close, yet so far away.  But I know I can do it, because there are people that believe in me.

I guess in short what I'm trying to say is:
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!  I would be nothing (and really, I am nothing but I feel like something) without the people in my life!  ♥

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meet Debbie!

Pin It Okie dokie, y'all.  I've been holding out on this post since before Christmas, but for a good reason.

I have this client, Debbie.  You're not actually going to meet her, but you will meet a couple of her quilts!  She's just awesome.  I love her!  Debbie brings me antique quilt tops.  I just love antique quilts!  The last one I had the pleasure of quilting for her was this beauty that her grandmother made.

I love it.  The picture does it no justice, as they usually don't.  The colors in the four-patches are much more vibrant when you see it in person.

When Debbie picked that quilt up, she informed me that she had a few more that she needed finished that were pieced by her relatives that are now gone.  Imagine my delight when she told me one of them was a hand appliqued top?  And the squeal I gave when she said it was a Sunbonnet Sue?  (This is, of course, a pre-quilting photo!)

Before I could load it up on my quilting frame I had to fix quite a few seams that had pulled apart because this sucker is OOOOOLLLLLLLD.  Did I mention that this one was made by Debbie's GREAT grandmother?  In total, I think there were nine places that needed mending, and others that looked like they wanted to come apart, so I fray blocked them.

Debbie gave me complete carte blanche on the quilting.  I had tentatively decided that I would stitch in the ditch around the blocks, stitch in the ditch around each Sue, do some very light stippling in the background and maybe cross-hatch the sashing and border.  A day and a half, tops.

That was, until I got it on the frame.

I got this beauty loaded and realized that it was going to be a completely different story.  It was twisted!  I spent a whole day just basting the top square, and then stitching down in the ditch around the blocks to keep it that way.

After that was done, it took me another half a day to stitch in the ditch around each of the Sues.  It took so long because I had to be super careful about trying to ease as much fullness of the background fabric into the body of the applique as possible.  Doesn't look much different, does it?

Then the loose stipple obviously had to be re-thought.  I decided to keep with the stippling plan (she did specifically ask for stippling), I just did it much tighter than we had discussed!

Once the quilting in the blocks was done, I had to decide what to do with the sashing.  There was way too much fullness to even think about doing the cross-hatching that Debbie and I had discussed.  I stared at this quilt for almost an entire day, battling with myself over what to do.  I finally came up with a plan, and thought about calling Debbie to get her approval.  However, I knew she trusted me, and I wanted it to be a surprise.

So I began basting down as much of the fabric as I could, to keep it in place.  Going slow all the way across the board was important with this quilt because the fabric is very old and obviously delicate.

Once I basted through all of the sashings, I stitched a little feathered heart to sort of frame each block.

There was still a lot of fullness to contend with.  Even though I was scared to death, I decided to pebble around all of the feathers in the sashing and border.

And here's the final product!

Now, why did I wait so long to post this blog?
First of all, I had to bind it and get the label on for her.
But also because Michele over at Quilting Gallery saw what I was doing with this beauty and asked me to write a guest blog.  I decided to not so much write about this quilt, but incorporate it in the story.  So I didn't want to ruin the surprise.  If you'd like to read that guest blog posting, you may do so here.  It just gives a little more insight into this craziness I call a life (and you'll actually get to meet Debbie).    :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A funny

Pin It I have some amazing, fun stuff to share with you.  But I'm entirely too tired to think straight right now, so I'll get to all of that later.  Trust me, it'll be well worth the wait!

For now, I wanted to point something out to you that I just noticed myself.

Scroll up to my header photo.  Look at the bottom left corner.


I thought about "fixing" it, but it's the only time my head will ever be up my own skirt.  So I decided to leave it that way.  NEENER!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I kind of have a finish for you! And a bunch of other stuff

Pin It Well, I'm taking another snow day today.  The second snow day in two weeks, in fact.  I just woke up from taking a nap...  for the second time in two weeks.  I kind of wish it could stay winter forever now.  (Don't throw stones at me for that.  If there's anyone that hates cold with a passion, it's this girl!  But, NAPS!?!?)

I figured there's no time like the present to update my blog.  I like to let people know that I'm still alive every now and then!

My last post was in December.  And probably the very next day after posting it, all kinds of things started falling apart!  Family stuff, car stuff, work stuff.  Finish it all off with my kitty nearly dying right after Christmas and you've got yourself a terrible December.  Luckily, my vet is uh-may-zing and took very good care of her in emergency surgery!
***Warning, one of the following photos contains nudity.  I cannot be held responsible for any offense taken to naked kitty boobies.

She has been quite the snuggle monster since coming home from the hospital.  She's slowly, but surely getting back to her old I'm-only-nice-when-I-want-to-be ways.  But she is different.  And she has gained all of her weight back that she lost.  She's my fat cat again!

Okay.  Enough about my cat.  But she's pretty darn cute, isn't she?

I had my usual Sew-In in January.  I was planning on making myself a new skirt for spring, an apron, and a new bag.  The last bag I made to be used as a purse was my cheer-me-up from before I had *my* surgery!   Unfortunately, my plan was foiled when I innocently started working on something else.  It took me the entire weekend, plus a day, but I finally finished the project I started in June!

Just so you know?  Y-seams?  NO FUN!!!!!  I had never done Y-seams before.  After the first one was horrible, I moved on and decided I'd come back to it.  The rest weren't so bad.  But it's time consuming.  Oh, so very time consuming to get it just right.  I like to think it was well worth it, though.

Now the hard part is figuring out how to quilt it.  I decided on and marked a really cool design in each of the corner polygons (or whatever the hell they are).  I'm adding a little more to them, but I'm having a really hard time with the setting triangles!  I've got nothing.  But I'll eventually figure something out.  Can I really call it a finish if it's not quilted yet?  I say yes.  Most definitely yes.

I've been uber busy with other stuff too, of course.  I finished and sent off the first seven of twenty quilts for Anna Maria Horner's Rainbow Around The Block effort.

I also got ONE quilt quilted for the Safe House for teenage girls.  The top was made by my friend Melissa.  I just have to get the binding on it now.  And also get the other four that I have for this project quilted...  :O)

Lately I've been trying to decide how to quilt my Curved Log Cabin.  I threw a play sandwich of batiste on the quilting machine just to play with no-backtrack feathers.  None of these are perfect because I was doing a quickie to see what they look like right up next to one another.  Which type of feather do you like better?

I have another Sew-In coming up in March.  I'm thinking that I absolute, positively, 100% have to make this dress.  You know, to wear it to like, work.  Since that's the only place I go.  Don't care.  I'd do it.

Okay, there's more to share, but I'm going to save it for another post, which should be coming up soon! What should I add to my list of things that I MUST do?  It's 2011, a new year.  I need fresh ideas! So what about you?  What have you all been working on?