Some June Goals

May 21, 2012

I am horrible at planning and implementing goals.  I usually make long lists of them, and then only get around to doing a handful.  I think part of the problem is that I get incredibly overwhelmed by the big picture, so perhaps looking at things in a smaller version will help me get things done.  I'm going to try one month at a time, and if that's too much... I guess I'll break it down week by week.  Anyways, here is this months goals for moi:

1. Train for this.  Training started yesterday, and I'm hoping to run at least 3 times a week to increase my endurance. (help!)
2. Healthy Eating. Yeah, we eat horribly- a lot of which is dining out. This month's goal is to eat at home at least 4 days out of the week. I WILL put all of the recipes I've found on pinterest to good use.
3. Organize the craft room. After a big project, this room looks like it's been hit by a tornado.  I hate not being able to find anything, and there is entirely too much stuff in this room.
4. Pending item 3, start a sewing a project.  I have some fabric for dresses I've been wanting to make since last year. And then there's this quilt I need to get started on...

So that's four major goals for this month. I'm hoping by keeping this list short, I can stick to all of them :) Are there any life goals on your horizon?

Trying to make this happen:

May 15, 2012

Applique + flower pattern:

Orimono Pillow via Anthro quilt form. I'm thinking pinks, oranges, and yellows (for a little girl that will be joining the world very, very soon).  I love the colors in this fabric and I may use it as my inspiration.
Dear Stella/Play Date/Dotty Stripe- pink via Hawthorne Threads
Let the brainstorming & fabric selection commence!

World Lupus Day: 2012

May 10, 2012

1. First off, thank you so much for all of your kind comments on my quilt post. The quilt was delivered last week and it is patiently awaiting the arrival of it's owner :D  I honestly had no idea how excited I would feel about my friends' pregnancies and babies, but let me tell you- it is an awesome feeling and I am so happy for them!

2. Today is World Lupus Day! 
World Lupus Day

Last year, I posted a month long series on Lupus Awareness. I wanted to do the same this year, but May suddenly appeared and I'm still trying to play catch-up (how is this year almost half-way over?!?).

It utterly amazes me that I have met so many people with some sort of encounter with Lupus. What was once an unknown illness, seems to have become something more familiar. Unfortunately this probably means that more people are diagnosed or know someone that is diagnosed with this autoimmune illness.  But hopefully, this also means that awareness is spreading. And awareness is such an amazing, wonderful thing.

Awareness = more resources for people with Lupus. The Lupus Foundation's website has an excellent page called "15 Questions with...", which discusses a Lupus-related topic every month. I recently discovered this page and I love that questions are asked by people like you and me. They are questions that are perhaps often thought about, but never asked. They are questions that are answered by individuals who have devoted their life to helping people with this illness. It is hard to believe that information sources like this were not available 10 years ago.
There are many, many other great resources out there too:
And of course, it is important to remember that research and awareness is made possible by donations from you. Did you know, the first new drug to treat Lupus in 56 years was approved by the USFDA last year.  That's right- 56 years.  And though that saddens me, it is a reminder of progress.  A path is forming that will lead to an end, and hopefully that end means a cure. To find out how you can help make this possible, go here.

World Map Quilt

May 7, 2012

A very good friend of mine is giving birth to her first child (a boy) at the end of this month.

{A little background: I have known her + 3 other wonderful ladies for almost 18 years now (omg).  I love them all dearly and I'm hoping to create a little tradition of gifting their children quilts at their births.  This is the second baby to be born among our group, and a third is expected in August, which means I should probably get back to quilting soon!!}

Anyways, I made her little boy this quilt using a combination of applique and quilting techniques.  This was my first time using applique, and I have to say I'm quite smitten:

The front:

The background is Birch Fabrics: Whale Watching in Shroom (found here), and the appliqued map is a Moda Bella Solids (sorry, not sure what color- this was from yardage I had in my stash, but here is a similar version).

The back:

Fabrics (from L to R): Patty Sloniger-Bella Butterfly/Sweet Spots in Green; Moda Bella Solid  (similar), Anette Tatum- Boho Chevron, Moda Bella Solid (similar), Khristian Howell- The Woodlands/Dream, Patty Sloniger- Bella Butterfly/Sweet Spots in Aqua, Moda Bella Solid (similar), Joel Dewberry- Modern Meadow/Herringbone in Pond, Robert Kaufmann Kona Solids (similar), Patty Sloniger- Backyard Baby/ Birch Forest in Aqua

I started out by printing a map (google searched until I found one I liked) on several pieces of  paper, which I then taped together.  This would have been much simpler if it were printed on a large scale plotter (which, ironically ??, I have access to, but didn't use).  Then I outlined everything in dark ink.

I created a light table, which I rigged out of a glass topped side table and a scentsy lamp, and traced the (backwards) map pattern onto applique paper.  (I simply followed the instructions per the package).

I ironed the (uncut) applique sheets on to the wrong side of the applique/blue fabric, and cut out the pattern using this pair of awesome scissors (and yes, they are laying on my new coffee table):

Seriously, if you are going to applique anything, invest in these scissors asap! They are magical. I found mine at Joann's.

I decided to machine applique everything to the whale print fabric (instead of hand stitching).  Needless to say, it took a few rounds of practice and lots of frustration. Tension is *key* in machine applique.

The islands at the top of America are my favorite. I almost decided to do away with all islands on the map, but I decided that I wouldn't be okay with it being geographically incorrect :)

The quilting was done in straight lines- I love how it almost looks like an atlas.

My quilting quality is honestly a work in process. I quilt (and sew) on a 1970's Singer, which I LOVE, but it doesn't have any speed control other than how hard I push on the presser foot. It takes a while each time I sit down to quilt to get a rythm going, so there are several areas with uneven stitches.  There were also many, many un-stitches made with my seam ripper. I'm hoping practice makes perfect, so that maybe I'll produce a product with mostly even stitch lengths.

The binding was pre-made, purchased at Joann's. I tried machine stitching it and that was an utter fail.  So, I resorted to hand stitching the binding.  So. Much. Better.

 The finished product:

I love it so much, I might be crazy enough to recreate another one of these sometime soon.