Saturday, September 24, 2011

Too much.

Pin It I promise this is actually quilt related.  Just hang in there.

Have you ever taken the time to sit down and actually think about your thoughts?  Seems stupid to say but this is something that I don't take enough time to do.  Here lately, I'm so busy I have time for nothing, much less to think about my thoughts.  However, I've done it.  And what I've decided is that right now, there's just "too much".  Too much of what?  Everything.

I have so much going on and so much to do and I don't want to do any of it.  Some of you are my "real life" friends and have some idea of how much I have to do.  But the truth is that nobody really knows.  Except for me.  I'm all alone in all of my have-to-do-ness.  I'm not saying that my have-to-do-ness is any worse or more important than anyone else's.  I'm just saying that for me, it has become too much.

I have no attention span.  My mind races and my thoughts fly from one thing to another.  I can't remember anything (which is really hard for me because I really have a ridiculously accurate memory).  I'd like to think that all of my woes can be blamed on being painfully busy.  I'd like to think that when things calm down, I will sleep like a normal person, not cry myself to sleep out of desperation anymore, or maybe even just feel normal.  But I'm not entirely sure that my being busy is the problem.  It's just magnifying the problem.

Taking an inventory of what I've been feeling and thinking over the last few weeks of "busy", I'm realizing that I'm all over the place emotionally.  I'm annoyed, I'm tired, I'm scared, I'm mad, I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm frustrated... you get the idea.

I just want it to stop.  I want to sit and do nothing and think about nothing and be a blob of nothingness.  But that can't happen.

However.  (Here's where I make my quilty point)  All of this cataloging of my feelings and thoughts has led me to this awesome quilt design idea. 

For the past few months I've been working on designing a wholecloth/painted/appliqued/thread-painted/I-haven't-decided-yet quilt based off of this:

That would be the tattoo (that I designed) down my left rib cage.  I'm sorry if you have a problem with seeing me in a bra and pajama pants, but I figured that if I'm okay with it, you should be too.  I got that tattoo during a time in my life when I felt pretty similar to how I feel now.  The characters stand for "Strength" and "Courage" and the koi and lotus have their own meanings that I will not get into just yet.

This is NOT the project that I am going to take on.  It will have to wait.  No.  The project that is currently brewing in my head is one of those projects that I have to do.  Do you have those projects?

I will take all of my feelings and thoughts and literally stitch them into a quilt.  This is not a project that I will be sharing my progress (at least I don't plan to).  It's a project for me.  It's something I want to do to wipe the slate clean.  It might be a show quilt, it might hang in the studio, it might be given away.  I don't know.  I don't care.  I just have to make it.

But won't this add to my have-to-do-ness?  Yes it will.  In a way.  The difference between this and the rest of my have-to-do-ness is that I not only have to do this, but I really want to.

Thank you if you made it all the way through all of this babble.  Didn't I mention I can't organize my thoughts anymore?  =]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A quilt, a calendar, a good cause

Pin It Some of you may remember the most recent quilt that I made and finished.

I was in a bit of a mad dash to finish that puppy.  It was originally supposed to be for my special friend's December birthday.  But then something came up.

Megan, otherwise known as The Bitchy Stitcher (who is also one of my favorite customers) had this crazy idea for a calendar.  What kind of calendar?  Well...  the Quilter's Shirtless Man and Spicy Burrito calendar, of course!

What were the rules?  A man.  Without a shirt.  With a quilt.  And a burrito.  Simple enough, right?

But my willing man didn't have a quilt!  So I had to finish it in time for the calendar.  Didn't I? 

Of course, he went above and beyond the call of duty.  I told him I was leaving to get him a burrito and when I got back, there he was.  Butt nekkid, y'all.

There were a total of 14 men that volunteered to pose for the calendar, but we all love the cover model the best!

What is the point of this calendar?  Megan's brother has brain cancer.  So she thought it would be a fun and humorous way to raise some money to help with his medical bills.  All of this information can be found on the links I provided above.

Remember, this is a fun calendar for a good cause that would make a perfect gift for the non-sense-of-humor-challenged.  These men were pretty brave to step up and do this for the women they love.  You can find previews of all of the men on the site where you can order a calendar.  Or two or three.  Or TWELVE, like the cover model's wife did (I ordered two... for now).

There are coupon codes to get the calendar at a discounted price, if you look for them.  Or email me and I can give them to you.  If I could buy a billion of these calendars and send them to everyone I know, I absolutely would!  So what are you waiting for?  Go! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

One of my secrets revealed: Oliver!

Pin It I've been keeping lots of secrets lately.  I told you all I can keep my mouth shut when I have to!  Now I will reveal one of them, which is probably a much bigger deal to me than maybe it should be (? - naaaaaah that doesn't sound like me at ALL!) and none of you will even care.

I started hinting at it on Facebook about a month or so ago.  I started talking about it on Facebook a week or two ago.  The nice thing about Facebook is that I can talk about things I don't want the whole world to know about just yet.  I was hesitant to share the news on my blog until it was actually a reality.

I got another quilting machine!  When I say "another", I don't mean one to replace the one I already had.  I mean one in addition to the one I already had.  In. Sane.  Right?

I was worried that my clients would "joke" about me being able to work twice as fast (I get really tired of jokes about me not working hard enough) but I was pleasantly surprised when the usual response I got upon sharing the news was, "when will you ever sleep?"  I already don't sleep.  But hopefully having two machines will help me to not have to work soooooooooooo many hours a day/week/whatever.

Anyway!  More about Oliver!  He is a Gammill Vision, a 22 inch head on a 12 foot table with the Breeze track system.  He will be a nice addition to the 30 inch head on a 14 foot table.  They're not in the same room together yet, but they will be soon. 

Why the name Oliver?  Well.  I just love the name.  And I had kind of forgotten how much I loved it until a friend of mine, Karen Marchetti (she's UH-MAYZING) did an art quilt titled Oliver (see???  UH-MAYZING and if you go to Festival in Houston, you will see him in person!).  I love Oliver, I love the name Oliver, and I sometimes call it Ollie for short.  Just depends.

I've only had the machine since Wednesday and can't stitch on it much as there are some kinks that need ironed out, but I've already managed to put nearly 100K stitches on him!

It's hard teaching yourself to quilt on a new longarm.  I will tell you that much!  Here's my play sandwich.  I don't think I've familiarized myself with it enough to work on any customer quilts yet because my stitching looks like crud (of course this sandwich is stitching over stitching over stitching)!

And I even painted the walls my current favorite color.  GREY!  Which makes the machine look grey, but it's actually white.

I'm so glad that Gammill is so customer service oriented.  I spent a good hour on the phone with their head electrical engineer and who-knows-how-long with everyone else at headquarters.  They're the nicest people! 

Anyway.  That's one secret!  Now tomorrow (which will be *today* by the time this post is scheduled for publishing) I will be blocking one super secret quilt after I'm done teaching for the day.  Then Sunday I'm headed to the Springs (Colorado Springs, that is) and next week?  I HAVE to continue working on the super secret quilt's super secret sister!  You will see both of them in a few weeks and I'm pretty sure your jaws will drop.  =]

I hope everyone has an excellent weekend!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What September 11, 2001 meant to me

Pin It I wasn't going to acknowledge this day, but it's weighing heavily on my mind so I figured it would be better to just get it all out.  This is my outlet.
I was a newlywed, married just over a month.  I worked in the Conference Services offices of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  My husband was deployed.
The offices of the resort were located in the basement of the Williamsburg Lodge, where we had no television reception, poor radio reception, and little contact to the outside world aside from telephones and internet.
Suddenly that morning our phones started ringing off the hook.  People were cancelling their conferences.  Huge corporations were cancelling their conferences.  What was going on?
Then the Food and Beverage director ran into the offices and said that a plane had crashed into the first tower of the World Trade Center.  One of my co-workers yelled, "IN NEW YORK?!".  I very distinctly remember that.  We didn't know what to think.  We trickled upstairs into the lobby to watch the news on the television up there.  We got on our computers to find news on the internet.  People called their loved ones. 
On my lunch break, three of us went over to a co-worker's house to watch the news, as she was the only one that actually lived in Williamsburg.  I sat on the floor of her living room hovering over my un-touched lunch with my mouth wide open. 
I hadn't heard from my husband.  How could I?  He was on a ship and they rarely got to make radio calls.  I was sick to my stomach, scared senseless and went back to work in a complete daze.  Nothing got done that day.  Not only because we were all too shocked to do anything, but because there wasn't much to do with all of the conferences for six months out being cancelled.
That night I went home from work and sat in our townhouse alone hoping to get a phone call.  When my phone rang, I ran to it.  It was my dad.  My dad.  My dad never called me!  He wanted to know if I'd heard from my husband and what this meant for him.  I had no answers for him. It was a few days before I heard from him.
Though my husband and I are now divorced, when I think of that day, all of that desperation, grief and agonizing uncertainly all comes flooding back.  I don't think that will ever change.
What that day reminds me of the most, though is how united we became as a country.  The tragedy brought everyone closer.  For a few months, partisanship meant nothing.  We were all just people.  People that drove around with flags flying from the windows of cars, people that tied yellow ribbons around the trees in their yard, people that mourned loss and celebrated life.  Together.
What have we become now, just ten years later?  Will it take another tragedy for us to stop the political bickering and be civilized, caring, unified adults again? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ramblings. Because I need a break.

Pin It So.  I've been working non-stop.  Except for that whole Labor-Day-Weekend-Illness business. 
Since I can't show you what I'm working on, I'll just ramble.  Because I've been quilting all day with no problems and now all of a sudden it's like my machine has forgotten how to form a stitch.  That's not entirely true.  I know it's not the machine.  I know it's not the thread (by the way, have I mentioned how ridiculously awesome AURIfil thread is?!).  Something has happened somewhere, some how, some way that is making a mockery of simple physics.

Back to rambling.

I forgot to tell you all about something.  I suppose I didn't see it as "blog worthy" as my friend, Melissa and I have a lot of the same readers and she already posted about it here.  But then I realized, all of my readers don't read her blog (though you should) and vice versa!

Melissa designed a quilt  and made it up and sent it in to McCall's Quick Quilts.  They loved it!  They wanted it!  It needed to be quilted.  Now, let me just say that this was back in the crazy, insane I'm-quilting-my-BeDazzled-quilt-and-please-leave-me-alone days.  But Melissa knows that I will always do what I can for her (at least I hope you know that, Melissa!) and she took a chance.  I quilted it.  It is now published in the October/November issue of McCall's Quick Quilts!

That's a horrible picture I took of the *actual* magazine that Melissa was kind enough to bring over for me to at least see it. 

Here's a picture of the quilt (I hope Melissa doesn't mind me copying this from her blog...  I don't think she will).

Isn't it pretty!?!  As her blog post says, it was originally named How Does Your Garden Grow, but they re-named it to Melissa's Maze.  I kind of like their name better, because it's a possessive, "Melissa's", as in...  no one else's. 

For anyone that isn't familiar with Melissa's work or doesn't know her, she is a designer for Andover fabrics and while her stuff isn't out yet, I've seen it.  It's pretty freakin' awesome.  She also has two (so far) published patterns through  I love how she uses her daughters in her photos for pattern cover photos.  (They're even cuter in person!)

What else do I have to ramble about?

Not a whole lot, other than how busy I am, which I don't think I need to explain (though I probably do).  Regardless, I know (I know) that there are others out there that are grasping at straws even more than I am.  So I won't go there.  =]

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Giveaway WINNER! And some other stuff...

Pin It I first have to thank you all for the wonderful things you had to say about the ovarian cancer quilt.  I absolutely  love the quilt and it will be hard to give it up!

The organization that is displaying it for September (did you know that today is Wear Teal Day?), OASIS of Southern California (which stands for Ovarian Awareness, Support, Involvement and Survivorship) emailed me the other day saying they had a board meeting and wanted to buy my quilt.  It was with a heavy heart that I had to email them back and tell them that they couldn't have it.  However!  I will be making another one for them that they will raffle off next year. I told them there would be no charge, and I got a reply of, "You're awesome!".  It made me giggle.

So anyway.  My friend, Jason, who WILL be getting this particular quilt ended up commenting on my blog post.  He's such a good guy.  He would love it if you all would check out his mommy's memorial site (which is a work in progress).  Here is a picture of him, his mom (rest in peace, Judy!) and his dad, who will be getting the quilt for Christmas:

And Judy's head stone, which Jason designed!

How beautiful is that?!  I look at these pictures and I cry.  I'm such a softie. 

I suppose you all want to know who the winner is of the giveaway, though right?
(There were actually 39 comments, but two of those were from Jason and I'm sure he doesn't want to win some fabric) =]

Thearica!  Who said:

That seems pretty appropriate to me.  How about you?  And I'm sorry, Thearica for your loss!
Send me an email and I'll get it out to you next week!

Meanwhile in all of this, I ended up winning a gift certificate for some fabric from Patchwork Gracie, which is a mother and daughter company, for a quilt contest over at Quilting Gallery.

Did you happen to catch my Guest Blog posting over there?  Are you challenging yourself?

That website is just so awesome.  Michele has started rounding up designers, including me and my friend Melissa, along with a bunch of other awesome people for her Celebrate Christmas Sew-Along!  That should be lots of fun, so be sure to stay tuned and check her site regularly and have some fun with us!

I think I've overloaded your brain enough for today so I'll call it quits and get back to quilting.

I hope everyone has a super awesome holiday weekend!