Friday, August 11, 2017

Cherrywood Fabrics Van Gogh challenge - a finish!

I have really enjoyed seeing the last two challenges hosted by Cherrywood Fabrics.  There was the Wicked challenge (see pics HERE) and last year, the Lion King challenge was phenomenal!

Lion King Cherrywood Challenge at Road 2 CA

While at Road to California in January, I was intrigued with the idea of entering this year's challenge - inspired by Van Gogh.  But I don't think I actually purchased the fabric bundle until QuiltCon in February.  I lacked the confidence and was worried about lack of time as well.  In the end, the colors won me over.  Who could resist the lovely blues??

In true "Jen form", I waited until nearly the last minute to start my challenge piece.  I chose Van Gogh's "Starry Night over the Rhone" as my inspiration and got to work.  Here are some progression pics of the process I used.  I basically used the same technique as My Monet quilt, you can find the tutorial HERE, but I'm sure you will get the gist from the pics below.

My rough plan:

Van Gogh: a rough outline of my project

I like to draw out a rough plan, like a road map to see where I am going.

Van Gogh: the first few pieces in place

I started blocking in the background colors. I even kept some of the "fringe" edges where the fabric had been ripped.  I figured that rough edge would help me with a blended look along the horizon.

Van Gogh: background pieces in place

Finally, I started laying down the first "brushstrokes".  These were pieces of fabric fused with Steam a Seam Lite and then cut into random wavy strips.

Van Gogh: first layer of "brushstrokes" down

I just kept adding more and more layers of these little pieces.

Van Gogh: brushstrokes in progress

More and more layers of detail.  As you can see, I started with larger pieces and moved on to smaller pieces to add details.

Van Gogh: I need starlight

Once everything was where I wanted it, I fused the pieces in place with my iron and started quilting in long wavy lines.

Van Gogh: a few more details and the start of stitching

Normally, I would have added tulle to the entire quilt before quilting on top of those tiny fused pieces, but I wasn't sure if tulle was allowed in the challenge and I really didn't have time to find out.  Boy, does tulle make things easier!!!  It keeps all your pieces in place and lets the quilting foot just glide over everything.  Without the tulle, some of my fused pieces wanted to flip over and get caught.

Van Gogh: just keep adding layers!

In fact, I started free motion quilting this project, but after a few minutes of my pieces getting mangled by the foot, I switched up to my walking foot.  I ended up quilting nearly the entire quilt with my walking foot.

Van Gogh: people close up

When I first started quilting, I was a little mad at myself for "ruining a perfectly good quilt with too much stitching", but as I added more and more layers and colors of thread, I felt that was in keeping with what I was trying to accomplish as Van Gogh inspired.  I love how it turned out in the end.

Van Gogh: finished

What do you think?

I found out today that my quilt was juried into the finalist group.  But I have to send it off to be judged and only then will I know if my quilt was accepted into the traveling exhibition.  I'll find out sometime next month.  I really have my fingers crossed.  I just think it would be so neat to have a quilt traveling around for a year to a bunch of shows!  I may not sleep until I know if it was accepted.

Thanks for reading today!  I hope you found it interesting.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blowing off the dust

A finish!  And an old one at that.


I have had this one loaded on the longarm for months, just sitting there.  Waiting.  Waiting for me to feel like it. It's not even like I had to decide what to quilt.  I had already decided to try to do my first pantograph.  I just needed to find my sewing mojo again.

I am happy to report that I have found it!  After months of only going in my sewing room to find stuff that I put in there during the remodel, I have been sewing again.  I literally had to blow the dust off my machines and cutting table.  My first order of business was to finish up this Batik Tile quilt that was one of my oldest UFO's.  The pattern was "Tile Style" by Cheryl Rose Creations and was published in American Patchwork & Quilting back in 2010.  2010!!

One big boost to my sewing mojo was being asked if I wanted to be the featured quilter at our guild's annual quilt show in September.  While I am not sure yet if I have been chosen, I realized that if it happens, I better have some stuff to feature!  So, it has really lit a fire under me!  Now that my longarm is free, I've pulled out a few other finished or close to finished tops to do next.  I've also started piecing my Aviatrix Medallion quilt.  AND......I took a class on a technique that I am so excited to try out!!!  I don't want to tell you about it just yet (in case I fail miserably at it).

In other news, I finished the Whole 30 diet and am right in the middle of reintroducing different problematic foods.  I am still not 100% sure what was causing my issues, but I am feeling so much better.  I've also lost 9 pounds!  The diet was hard!!!  I didn't realize how much I eat to comfort myself or because I was bored.  Identifying these things has helped me though, and I can now recognize cravings vs. real hunger.  I do plan on trying to eat similarly to the diet going forward.

Yes, despite the difficulty, I recommend the diet.  I feel better, look better and I know I ate better.  I never starved myself.  In fact, I stuffed myself the entire time - but only with foods from the plan (meat, veggies, and fruit).  If you want to check it out, the book is It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (Affiliate Link***).  If you have any questions, you can also email me.

Thanks for reading today!  Now back to work.....


***This post may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase something after clicking on one of my links, I may be compensated, but at no additional cost to you!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Decisions - going forward

When I last posted, I was contemplating quitting the blog.   I'm not, but I am not going to continue in the same way that I was previously.

When I first started this blog, I was a different person.  Well, that's not exactly accurate.  I was a person with different things going on in my life.  In fact, when I started quilting and later this blog, I think I was still in my adjustment period in my transition to being at home full time.  I am not going to debate who does more - working moms or stay at home moms.  All I know is that when I first started being at home, I felt like I had some time to fill.  I filled that time with quilting and blogging.  Back then it was easier too, with small kids that napped or when to preschool for some of the day.

My life is no longer like that.  Sure, my kids go to school now,  And one would think I would have even more free time, but I have found new ways to fill my time and feel busier than ever.  Somehow, the time to quilt and blog has dwindled significantly.  While quilting has remained a "fun" and "relaxing" activity in my mind as something to do when I do get the chance.  Blogging has become more of an obligation, and that is not what is supposed to be.  I don't want you to read the negativity between the lines of any of my posts.  When I look back at the posts I've written in the last few months, all of them seem negative.  I want to get back to the upbeat and excited posts.....but I have to feel that way when I'm writing them in order for them to convey those feelings.

So....for now.....I am going to only blog when I feel that way; when I have something exciting to share; when I have some happy news tell you.  I'm also going to remind myself that a blog is supposed to be an online journal.  Somedays, I may have a lot to write.  Somedays I might have two lines.  Sometimes it might be hours between posts, others months.  (I think initially, my posts will be less frequent).  Basically, I'm going to write when I want to write.

Ironically, I have some things today that I am excited to share!!

First, we took a family trip to Italy for Spring Break and had a truly marvelous time.


I posted a bunch of pics on my Instagram feed during our trip, and I will probably make my Flickr album public shortly.

The trip was amazing.  The kids got along.  The adults got along.  We saw so many wonderful things.  We ate like kings.  We visited family.  And we had fun as a family.  It was excellent.  We are already talking about our next Spring Break.

Second, when we got back, I repacked my bags and went on a quilting retreat!  It was just what I needed.  I felt like I hadn't touched anything sewing related in months, and after a long journey, I needed a little down time to craft.

I finished up my Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Challenge.  I made this little mini:

Riley Blake Challenge Quilt

It didn't turn out exactly like I envisioned, but I like it.  I think a couple of the ladies at retreat wanted to take it home with them.

I also took my Aviatrix quilt kit with me to start cutting.  I almost got through all the cutting before it was time to leave.  It was a LOT of cutting!!!  I have since finished up the cutting and will start piecing things together when I have some time.  I'm not rushing myself!

Third, I have started a new diet.  Typically, I am not one to diet.  However, I wasn't feeling very well before our trip and I had the feeling it was something that I was eating.  I felt great while in Italy, but they have different food requirements/laws and seemed to have a lot less processed food (we barely ate anything processed while there).  When I returned, within a day or two I was already not feeling great again.

I happened across a post on Facebook about the Whole 30 and looked into it.  The drastic reduction of food categories actually appealed to me.  You basically only eat meat, veggies, fruit and healthy fat.  No sugar, no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol.   I suppose I could have randomly chosen a few things in my diet to test if they were making me feel bad, but eliminating nearly everything for 30 days and slowly reintroducing things seems to be a better approach for me.   I don't care so much about weight loss, I just want my body to feel better and my brain to feel better about what I am eating.  Have any of you done the Whole 30?

I am only on Day 3, and I am already feeling better.  Not completely cured, but better all the same.   I hope that things continue.

That's it for now.  I can't tell you when my next post will be, but I hope you pop back by periodically to say hello.

Keep quilting!


Friday, April 14, 2017

100 Day Challenge - Finale!

Welcome to the finale of the 100 Day Challenge!  I hope everyone got loads of things accomplished (especially since I didn't)!

My 3 things:

1) Update the blog - I haven't done anything on this.  I must admit, I am considering taking a break from blogging altogether.  It is not that I don't enjoy blogging, it is more that I am so stretched on time lately.  I even find it difficult to remember to post the Building Blocks Tuesday link up each week.  I am currently on a bit of a Mom-cation and I intend to do some soul searching on this topic.  It may mean a short hiatus or just a transition to more infrequent posts.  When I return, I expect to have an answer.
2) Aviatrix Medallion Quilt - Life has gotten in the way big time lately, and I haven't moved much past getting the fabric out on this one.  However, I do have a quilting retreat coming up in a couple of weeks and this will be one of two projects I am going to bring, so progress is inevitable.
3) Finish Batik Tile Quilt - I loaded it on my longarm, and chose the thread, but then had a bunch of tension issues.  I've chosen an alternative, but just haven't gotten started yet.  So no progress since last check in.

Wow, so big fail on my part!  But I am not discouraged.  We have had a lot going on as a family since New Year's and it has been hard to keep up.  I can either choose to get down on myself or I can move forward.  I choose the later.

How did you do on your goals?  Link up your progress and then go cheer for someone else!

Thanks for participating!


Saturday, April 8, 2017