thinking about – but not actually – sewing.

scrappy improv flower

In my mind, I am sewing. In reality, I am not. It has been a busy few weeks in our household, full of good things – birthdays, gatherings with friends, dinners out, another birthday (which happens to fall on our anniversary) coming up this weekend, and then a vacation. So, I’m sorry to say that while sewing has not been happening – it is not about to start up again any time soon.

In the meantime, while my dining room has been packed up from its studio-state and serving its original purpose as an actual place to eat, we have decided to split functions on the guest bedroom and make that my new home — once we have the chance. There’s an electrician involved so that I can actually have some overhead light to see what I’m doing, and an IKEA desk that arrived last Friday sans hardware. So progress has been slow. A few steps forward followed by a few steps back.

I’m also doing a lot of thinking about my Diamonds in the Deep quilt.  Of concern: what fabric to use on the back; who I should use for long arm services; and whether or not it’s worth trying to enter it for QuiltCon. So, as you see, there has been much sewing on the brain and in fantasy-land. Just not here on earth.

Last but not least, above is a picture of my latest block for do. Good Stitches. It’s an improv flower based loosely on this tutorial, but also using the methods I practiced in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play class. It’s fun. It’s easy. And a great scrap-buster!

Okay, party people. It’s time for me to referee a backyard game of something-or-other gone awry, so I will leave you until we meet again — hopefully in a new “studio”, with some new projects to share, and a much more committed schedule of communication. Until then, I hope you are having a great summer and I’ll talk to ya soon! xo

an unexpected project.

quilted tooth fairy pillow frontI should have expected it. I should have known this day was coming. With kindergarten complete and a best friend missing two teeth, it was only a matter of time. But my oldest son – my first baby – has his first loose tooth. He’s elated. He can’t wait for it to fall out. I am So. So. Sad. I could handle hearing that he’s a “first grader”. I don’t like it, but I accept that he is starting to only want to play with boys (because girls are “icky”). I get it. But those beautiful baby teeth! Noooooooooooo! Here’s the photo proof. I hope you’re not squeamish!

the tooth is loose!So here I find myself, scrambling to put together a pillow for the tooth fairy, because with the way that thing is hanging in his mouth by a thread, I have a feeling she’s going to be here sooner rather than later. Waaaaahhhhh!

tooth fairy pillow back

It was the first time using a decorative stitch on my machine, so writing his name took a significant amount of time, patience and love! I also made two sizes of piping, neither of which made their way onto the pillow because one was too large, the other too small, and unlike Goldilocks, my craft closet did not contain cording that was “just right.”

tooth fairy pillow (for size)

So I stitched it together just in case today is the day, and I’m linking up with TGIFF! Have a great weekend, friends!

Edit: I’m linking up with the small projects link party at Le Challenge, too! Be sure to stop by and check out the other fun small projects our crafty friends have been working on!

2014 finish along – the solution to my problem.

I was just lamenting yesterday about all of the unfinished works that I re-discovered languishing in closets and corners of various rooms around the house this past weekend. And then I got a heads up from Michelle (who heard from Audrey) that The Littlest Thistle was hosting a finish-along, which was just the motivation I needed to commit to finishing some of these works-in-progress. What’s funny, is that some of the projects are actually quite close to completion and for some reason never made it to the finish line. So in the words of Billy Eichner: Away. We. Go!

1) My First, But Not My Last, Quilt – A picnic quilt.

My First Quilt - still waiting for a finish

You guys! This is seriously the first quilt I ever made. Kickin’ it old skool circa 2011! I lovingly cut each of my favorite fabrics into a triangle (I had no idea about half-square triangle tricks at the time). I sewed it together and was all like, “I’m gonna quilt it in the same pattern as the chevrons.” And then I realized just how hard that was, as a novice, to do with a twin-sized quilt. So I quietly folded the quilt up and stuck it in the bottom of the linen closet. And there it stayed for three years. It’s totally time to finish this baby up!

2) It’s a Man’s World – Lap quilt.It's a Man's World lap quilt

This is another early work of mine. I was all “I’m gonna make something with quilter’s linens and put a houndstooth flannel on the back.” It was actually inspired by*  this pin. I think it was seriously, like, my third pin ever, and I was smitten. And then when I finished, I realized my squares weren’t perfectly straight. So I got discouraged and quietly folded it up and stuck it on top of the picnic quilt, in the linen closet. I recently took it out and quilted it, imperfections and all. But I still need to pick a fabric for the binding.

(*oh did I say inspired by? I mean I basically tried to replicate. I was new to sewing — forgive me!)

3) LIMOD sampler – size unknown.LIMOD Quilt Blocks

This one is up to me. But I’d like to have it completed by the time our guild reconvenes in September. There are ideas swirling in my head as to how I will tie them all together, but I’m not quite sure as of yet.

I think that’s seriously all I can handle making promises on for now. I’d like to see some more progress on my birds, but there’s another project that I’ve barely started that I’d like to get moving on, too. So the rest I’ll just leave to fate!

Check out all of the fantastic finishes from last quarter, and all the potential for finishes ahead at The Littlest Thistle!

weekend snippets.

Star Spangled Bros

Honestly, it is hard to believe the Fourth of July has come and gone! This year is moving much faster in reality than it is in my head. . .

I hope you had a lovely weekend (either here in the US, or wherever you may be). Ours was a little bit soggy to start, but by Saturday the sun was shining and there was no humidity — gorgeous! It basically doesn’t  get any better than that!

Star Block

While it rained, I got busy working on some of my Gypsy Wife blocks. (Here’s Crazy Anne and the Star Block complete.)

Gypsy Wife Blocks

And all of that rain was great for the garden. . .

Tomatoes in the Garden

Squash Blossom

Pepper peeking outThe rain was also a great opportunity to take stock of all of my unfinished projects and start making plans for when and how I am going to bring them to completion. Remember these guys???

My First Quilt - still waiting for a finishI even pulled out the first quilt I ever made, which is still sitting half-quilted and waiting for a binding. I am making a promise to you all, my children will have a picnic on the beach sitting on this quilt before the summer is complete! I’m counting on you guys to hold me to it!

Peanut Sesame Slaw w/ Soba Noodles

Once the rain departed, we got down to business celebrating with friends and family. Last night we made this delicious peanut sesame slaw with soba noodles recipe from Cookie and Kate for a BBQ at the beach. It was a huge hit!

So that’s the story of our weekend! How was yours? Did you get much sewing accomplished? Did you gain a few lbs? I’m happy to say that I managed both, the signs of a good weekend, indeed!

crazy anne with a plan.


crazy anne ready to piece

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on anything with a color palette that didn’t involve some sort of orange, and I can only compare it to this: it’s like eating pizza every night for dinner and then finally eating some vegetables. You still really love pizza, but sometimes a salad is just the thing you need to keep yourself feeling well. That’s what it was like to pull out these gypsy wife fabrics, which have been accumulating in the closet since April! They were a delicious, good-for-my-soul treat!

hope from hartford

The fact that I am so behind the schedule of most others working on this BOM really helped me to enjoy the process, too. There was no pressure to get things done within a specific time frame. I just allowed myself to play with all of the pieces of fabric, (and my new Alison Glass stash) and feel the creativity flow. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Next up, starting to tackle the 60 or so filler blocks!

So! How about you? What’s on the agenda for this week? Will you be sewing much over the 4th of July weekend? Hope you have a relaxing time, however you spend it!

Linking up with Lee at WIP Wednesday!

works in progress: orange edition.

Orange love.

I am excited to tell you, all of the blocks for my orange-y, queen-sized quilt top have been completed! There are a few left to square off before I can choose my layout and start assembling, but the end is near, and I’m not sure if I’m more excited. . . or my husband! Ha! He’s been living this quilt right along with me and I think he’s (rightfully) exhausted! You may remember, I’m making this quilt using a pattern I’m testing (that you are going to LOVE, by the way!!) for the talented Kirsty at Bonjour Quilts. It’s the largest project I’ve ever taken on, to date, and with a timeframe to work in, I’ve been sewing until late each evening to make sure I finish on time!  (er, uh, relatively on time?)

I’m not usually an “orange person” but this year, I don’t think I’ve made a single quilt that didn’t have at least some orange fabric in it. Which leads me to my blocks for June’s do. Good Stitches. It’s a very cool globe-shaped log cabin, which you can see in its entirety by Cath at Wombat Quilts. Doesn’t that look fantastic? Here’s where I’m at so far:

June do. Good Stitches.

Clearly, I need to hustle!

So how about you, do you find yourself in an orange haze this year? Or is it just me? I know Pantone picked Radiant Orchard as it’s color of the year for 2014, but I am convinced it should have been some kind of orange! Amiright?

Okay, and last but not least! At the suggestion of Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty, I’m going to try linking to Lee at Freshly Pieced! My first link party ever. . . so wish me luck!

our little garden.

baby tomatoes

Hi, there! Check this out! All of the rain we’ve been having has been great for our little garden. We are starting to see tiny buds of veg peeking out from under the leaves, and it is making us (me) very happy!  I assembled our raised bed garden from a kit that I purchased online, and it’s the perfect size for my little guys to tend.

As I assembled the garden bed, I started thinking about what it is that makes us want to both quilt and garden (for a little #growandsew inspiration, check out Jeni Baker’s community patch, Golden Willow’s lovely garden and of course the stunning garden of SouleMama)? I can come up with lots of reasons, but I’m not sure which one fits me. Is it the need to be doing? Both quilting and gardening are ways of being productive at home, inside and out. Is it the desire to make things from scratch? Making a quilt from scraps and seeing a seedling grow into tomorrow’s dinner is fulfilling. Knowing where it came from. It’s important. Is it a connection to a simpler time and how people lived before us? When asked, I usually explain to people that making quilts is a form of practical art to me, not necessarily about doing something that’s tied to tradition and the past. But maybe I’m kidding myself? Maybe it’s a little bit of all of the above.

pepper buds


How about you? Do you find yourself drawn to gardening in the summer? What’s your theory on why we quilt and garden alike? I’m not sure about where you live, but I am the only one of my friends that sews. A few have gardens. Most think I’m kind of a nerd for sitting at home making quilts! They’re both impressed and bewildered. Do you find you get that reaction, too?

on my mind.

looking north

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my home. Specifically our space. How we use it. How much we have in it. How it’s decorated.  I want our home to be a place of comfort, of safety; and I want everything in the home to add value to our lives. I want everything to have a place. And to feel calm, not chaotic. I know that sounds a little ridiculous with three boys ages 5, 3 and 2. (Especially if you read this, which is really accurate – and funny). But, to the extent that this can be achievable (and here’s an article that has some tips for doing so), I want to try. I want to pare down our “stuff.” And make the belongings we have, more meaningful. So far, I’ve been tossing or donating one item a day. It’s been a few weeks, so there’s been some progress, but in full disclosure — it hasn’t made much of a dent!

So, what’s this got to do with quilting you ask? Well, to make an already long story short (sorry!), you may remember that I currently sew at my dining room table. Which is not ideal, because it’s the only table in the house.  It means I have to move my works-in-progress and put them away. A LOT. But I do it, because sewing is my creative and emotional outlet. Amidst the chaos, it brings me calm. But lately. . .that’s just the sewing time. The rest of the time, when I see my machine on the table, and the ironing board out, and pieces of fabric all over the chairs, and I know I’m going to have to move it because it’s almost time to eat. . . well, it stresses me out!

So, can you help a girl out?!?! Please tell me: what are some of your solutions for keeping things related to your sewing manageable and contained? Do you have a dedicated “studio” space in your house? Do you limit yourself to specific-sized projects? a specific-sized stash? or do you have other ways to make sure your sewing doesn’t creep in and overwhelm the non-sewing spaces in your house? I’d love to know!

sneak peekery.

sneak peekery.I thought it was time to share just a glimpse of the project I’ve been stitching away on over the past few weeks. I’m so excited to be working on a project with Kirsty over at Bonjour Quilts! I’m testing the queen-sized version of her soon-to-be-released pattern, and I can tell you for certain, it is just lovely! I’m not going to give away the complete picture (because there’s no fun in that!), but I wanted to share a taste of how things are coming along, and maybe — just maybe — get you excited to purchase the real deal when it becomes available in the near future!

Because the quilt is queen-sized, this picture doesn’t even show where the blocks are laid on the carpet underneath my couch! It’s HUGE! I’ve never made something so big before, and it’s both daunting and fun in an am-I-crazy?!?! kind of way! So far, the pattern has been a breeze to follow. The instructions are so clear, with picture tutorials on how to cut and construct the blocks as well as for construction of the final quilt (once I get to it!). My biggest challenge is finding time to fit in sewing now that it’s the perfect weather to be . . .

Jones Beach


But it’s raining today, which is a good thing for the garden and my sewing goals. I can’t wait to share the finished project with you! The final reveal will have drama and impact, and I promise, you’ll be totally in love!

time flies (even when you’re not having fun).

May LIMOD Block

Oh, hi, there! It has been a while, hasn’t it? But I made it! I’m back! We were struggling through a stomach bug that hit the family hard, and just happened to coincide with some major molar teething — which led to a whole other bunch of issues (none of which are conducive to sewing! If you can believe that!).

So, in what little time I’ve dedicated to sewing, here’s what I’ve been up to. Up above is the Radiant Ring Block for my LIMOD quilt. And here below, well, these are the May blocks for do. Good Stitches. It’s a low volume plus quilt, with a punch of aqua. Unfortunately, my stash of aquas didn’t have quite as much punch as some of the other gals’, so mine are on the calmer side. But at the time, I was too sick to even think about ordering fabric or getting to the store, so I had to make do with what I had or I’d never get them done.

May do. Good Stitches.

And last, but not least, I’m making some tiny headway on my sunshine-y queen-sized mama. I’m loving the oranges and yellows with the white, so that’s a great thing.

In other news, I’m thinking of volunteering to be the programming person for the modern quilt guild here on LI next year. I was wondering, do any of you have experience in this department? Do you belong to a modern guild? What types of programming does your guild offer? Our budget is very limited, so we are not at the level of getting speakers and offering trips yet. I was just looking for ideas on what other types of experiences a modern guild can offer. Let me know your thoughts if you can. . .I’d love to hear!