Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quilting Chronicles Part 2


So here is an update on my quilt progress as promised. I've been working on it, when I get some free time. My first goal was to have all the hex pieces sewn together by my birthday. Happy to say that I achieved that goal, with a couple of days to spare. 
I did make a little change to my original quilt design, I switched out one of the fabrics. I decided that the fabric with the red and pink, although gorgeous, was just standing out too much for my taste. Sometimes you just don't know until you actually start sewing the pieces together. Luckily, I was not too far along, and was able to rip it out easily, using my handy dandy ripper. By the way, the ripper and I got to be really good friends during this process. ;) So I found two yellow fabrics that I loved and decided to incorporate them into the quilt design.
I think these patterns are more subtle, and complimented the other fabrics nicely. I am happy that I switched out the red for the yellow.
So once I got all the hex pieces sewn together then I had to cut and sew the border. This part was pretty straight forward, and pretty easy to do. I chose the blue damask fabric, it's one of my favorite patterns in the quilt. 
So now you have a pretty good idea of how the finished product will look. I'm really happy with all the fabric choices, and I think it will be a perfect addition to our guest room. 
After I finished all that, I then had to make a decision about what I was going to back the quilt in. My mom had a great suggestion. She suggested that I use a queen size flat sheet as the backing. I thought this was a wonderful idea, because it would save me money, and time. If I decided to back it in cut fabric, then I would have had to sew the fabric in pieces to match the size of the back of the quilt. Since I purchased a sheet set, I will be able to use the flat sheet for the back of the quilt, and the fitted sheet along with the pillow cases for the bed. I think this is a great tip!
Next I purchased a queen size quilter's batting. The batting is used to go in between your top quilt layer, and your bottom quilt layer. It's what gives your quilt weight and warmth. I found my batting already cut to size at Joann Fabrics. 
The next step is probably my least favorite part of this whole process, ironing. I know that it is necessary for a beautifully finished product, but I do not enjoy it. I had to iron the flat sheet too, geez.

A tip I learned about ironing your quilted pieces, is that you don't push the iron back and forth, you actually continually pick the iron up and put it down. 
Once everything was ironed, I had to layer all three pieces on top of one another. Then, I was ready to safety pin all three layers together. 
I securely pinned the safety pins along each of the four sides. I used 36 large safety pin to achieve this. The reason that you do this, is so that when you start hand sewing your three layers together, you won't have a big shift in the fabric alignment. 
There you have it, an update on my quilt. I am going to be hand sewing each hexagon. I think this process is going to take a while, but I do love the look of a hand sewn quilt. I will be starting the sewing in the center and then working my way out. Once I am finished I will be adding the quilt binding, which is going to be the polka dot fabric. 
Here are my tips I have learned so far, that I am passing on to you.
1. Always iron your material, it's tedious, but so worth it.
2. Keep your ripper close by, you will probably make a mistake or two, or three...
3. Go with your gut, if you don't love a fabric, then find something else. Better to change the design early on, then work hard on something and not love the end result.
4. If you are making a twin, queen, or king quilt, think about using a coordinating flat sheet as the back. I think it's a great option.
5. Don't be too hard on yourself, nothing hand made it perfect. 
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are having a wonderful summer!
Until next time,
XO~Gretchen

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wish for my 39th Year


So yep, today is my birthday! It's official I am 39. One year closer to the big 4-0. It seems like 39 is the holding steady birthday. I can remember when I was young I would always ask my Papa how old he was, and he would always say, "well I am 39." Now when I was younger I wouldn't think a thing about that, because, let's be honest, 39 seems really old to a young child. Eventually I caught on, when we kept celebrating his "39th" birthday. My Papa was as smart as a whip, and young at heart, and now looking back I think he was on to something. So here I sit, officially 39 today. Yikes, how did it all go by so fast? Seems like just yesterday I was turning 30.

One of my biggest regrets in life is that I haven't journaled enough. I wish that I would have taken the time, to write down a little something each week, about what was going on in my life. You know, you always think you will remember everything, and you might, but after you are gone, then who will remember? So this is the year I start journaling. Better late than never, right? And part of the journaling will be blogging more consistently. I love the idea of having my little blog to journal events in my life. It's amazing to think that some day when I am 80, I will be able to look back at the craft projects I completed, or the rooms I designed, or the trend of the season. It will all be here, saved in the archives of my blog. That being said, I am going to make it a point to journal a blog post every year on my birthday, talking about what my wishes are for that year, and looking back on things I am proud of accomplishing during the previous year. You can move along if you are bored, because really I am just writing this post for my kids, and future grandkids some day ;) But feel free to read along if you want. This may inspire you to start journaling more too! I'd love to see more of my friends start to blog. Hint, hint!

One of my favorite things that I accomplished this year, and last, was becoming a published contributor for Gatherings Magazine. Never in my wildest dream twenty years ago, as a nursing school student, did I think I would be a contributor for a magazine. Funny how life takes you on winds and turns. But I have found a passion, and I hope that I get to continue to pursue it! My latest article is my favorite. I was able to style and photograph a bridal shower hosted right on my very own front porch, with some of my favorite people. :) Here is my favorite photo from the article. I think it captures just about all my favorite things. I love designing and decorating tablescapes. I adore crafting and creating, and I made the chandelier, along with their headpieces. I have so much fun styling photo shoots, and creating pretty scenes.  My goal in this 39th year is to have more styled shoots and submit the images and story to other magazines. I'd love to contribute a feature to Southern Living Magazine, or perhaps another favorite Mingle Magazine. I will continue to work towards that goal, and try to come up with inspiring ideas to share with you. Maybe someday I'll even get to write a design book. A girl can dream. :)
Another exciting thing that happened during my 38th year was being featured on both Anthropologie's IG feed and their blog. I was one of their top holiday looks. Seriously I was floored by this. Funny how social media can connect people, and a simple hashtag can get you noticed. Here is the photo they used...#OMG

The stockings were from Anthropologie, so that's why I tagged them in the photo.

I've also been crafting a lot more this year, and creating things a little out of my comfort zone. For example, I just started making a quilt for my guest bedroom. My mom quilts, along with my aunts, and I have a friend Melissa from The Polka Dot Chair, who makes beautiful quilts, so I felt inspired by them all to make one. And of course I didn't select a small little throw to start with, I picked a queen size hexagon quilt! Go big, or go home, right? I started journaling about that too. You can find an update here. Maybe it will finished by my 40th ;) I learned how to sew in a zipper, yep, check that off the bucket list. Thanks Melissa :) I have been painting, crafting with paper, making tissue garlands, and yarn pom, poms. I've even tried to coordinate family craft nights with some of my cousins, aunts, mom, and granny. We have created fun projects for easter, valentines, and fourth of July. I better start thinking about a Halloween project. Looking forward to trying new creative ideas this year too!

Something I am most proud of heading into my 39th year are my boys. I became a mom, when most people are picking their major and trying to transition from those teenage years to becoming a full fledged adult. Well nothing makes you grow up faster than becoming a parent. Austin is the blessing that I never new I prayed for. Luckily God saw it fitting to bless me with two more wonderful boys. Now if you would have told my girly 13 year old self that I was going to be a mom of 3 boys, I would have said, oh my no way! But guess what, God gives us exactly what we are suppose to have, and I could not be more thankful for my boys.

They are a big reason I am writing this post, because I want them to be able to look back and remember things about their mom. I even went as far as asking Noah and Max to take some photos of me. Because as we all know, us mom's are never in any photos, we are always behind the camera ;) A friend and I just had a conversation about this. She is never in any photos either.
So here I am going into my 39th year ombre' hair and all. Wearing in one photo my favorite pair of torn and worn shorts, and an Anthropolgie top. Max and my dad always make comments about these shorts. They can't understand why I would buy a pair of shorts with holes and tears in them. Maybe looking back 20 years from now, I will question the whole look too, including the ombre' hair. I mean I did rock some huge hair in the 90's which I loved, but looking back, it was really bad.
And I wanted to remember these fun girly headbands that I made, and my favorite Lulubelles necklace....And I want to show that I like to dress up too. I am always torn between a boho chic girl, and a girly girl. 

Five things I want to strive for in my 39th year....
       I want to become a more spiritual person and a better Christian
I want to find what my real calling is in this life, you know, figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
I want to learn to follow my intuition, which may help me to find my calling.
I want to journal more about this crazy life I've been blessed with.
Lastly, I want to look back at my 39th year as my best year yet, and feel at peace as I head into the big 4-0!
And my birthday wish for all of you is that...
THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
I found this quote via an etsy shop. Thanks for reading along, many blessings to you!
XO~Gretchen

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Quilting Chronicles

I am one of those creative people who constantly feels inspired by different projects that I see around me, whether it be on Pinterest, or another blog, or my own family. My mom and my aunts have been quilting for a while now, but I just started to jump on the bandwagon. I love the craftsmanship that goes into making a quilt, and all the beautiful patterns from the fabrics. The task seems a bit overwhelming, but luckily I have experts to rely on. I can already tell that my favorite part of the quilt making process is selecting the fabric. Seriously, there are so many beautiful fabric lines out there. I am quite smitten with the new Jennifer Paganelli line at Joann Fabrics. It was released on June 30th, and I was lucky enough to be able to snag some over the holiday weekend. This line of fabric inspired me to get started on my quilt. So here are the fabrics that I am using, not all are from the Jenny Eliza line, some are from Joann's own line, and one is from another favorite fabric designer named Amy Butler





Here is the pattern that I am planning on following....
I love the hex pattern, and I also love when there is white in a quilt. I feel like the other fabrics pop against the white. I chose a pretty little swiss dot print for my white fabric.  
Here is the book I purchased from Joann's with the quilt pattern.

So there you have it, the fabrics that I have chosen, and the pattern that I am using. I hope it turns out as good in person, as I visualize it my head ;) I will be updated my progress as I go along. I'd love for you to leave me any helpful tips about quilting in the comments. You can also follow me on Instagram, I'll be posting updates on there too! Wish me luck, I am excited about this new project. I actually have cut out all the patterned pieces, all 78 of them. 
XO~Gretchen

Monday, June 2, 2014

Artwork for my Boys

So I have been working on creating some artwork for each of my three boys. I love the idea of each of them having something special that I made for them. I am sentimental like that, especially when it comes to my boys. This project was pretty easy to tackle. I was able to finish it in less than two hours. The supplies you will need are as follows:
Art paper
Paint
Paint brushes
Sponge brush to apply mod podge
Decoupage
Scrap book paper
Frame
Pencil
Scissors
The first thing that I did was to cut out triangles, to look like mountains, out of Martha Stewart map craft paper.

I then mod podged the map paper on my white art paper. I always apply the mod podge generously to the back of the paper. Then lay it down, and apply the mod podge over top, trying to work out all the bubbles. 
Next I traced a circle out of a vintage piece of book paper that I had. You could use whatever paper you want, I just felt this worked well, especially since my son is an avid reader. 
I used my Anthropologie candle topper as my guide to trace around. It was the perfect size. 

I also mod podged it on to the art paper. I ended up white washing over top of the book paper so that my words would be more pronounced, and show up better. White washing is simply a technique where you water down your paint, so that you get a washed out look. 
Once all the mod podge dried I hand scripted the saying "Let him sleep for when he wakes, he will move mountains" I really love this quote, and find it so meaningful. I truly believe that all three of my boys have the ability to move mountains, whether it be that they are working in research to help figure out why certain diseases affect certain people, being creative, or bringing a smile to someone's face. My oldest is currently working on research at a local university that looks at how MRI/CAT scans can help diagnose certain diseases which can affect our brain.  My middle son, is so smart and creative, I can only imagine what he will do with his talent one day. And my youngest has the capability to make us laugh and bring a smile to our face at any given moment. He has had a special twinkle in his eyes since the day he was born. :)
Sorry, back to the project, I could go on and on about my boys.
Here is what it looked like after I hand wrote the quote.

I painted the tops of the mountains with white, so they would appear snow capped.
Next I added in some clouds with a pale grayish aqua paint, just to add another layer.

Then I used a dark gray paint to go over my lettering. By writing it with the pencil first, it makes it so much easier to go back over, because once you paint it, it's permanent. ;)

Here is the finished artwork framed. I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's not about creating the perfect piece, it's about creating something meaningful.
With summer vacay just around the corner, I hope you feel inspired to create something with your kids. This is totally a kid friendly project. Make sure they are working both sides of their brain this summer. Have them work on reading, math, and incorporate some art!
Thanks for stopping by, until next time...
XO~Gretchen