Posts Tagged With: quilts

Resolutions – Progress Report

A few updates on that goal list I posted at the beginning of January:

  • Write at least 200,000 words – 100,000 each of fiction/poetry and non-fiction –   My total January word count is right around 31,000, which is approximately ten times what I expected it to be.  At this rate, I should be able to meet my goals without a problem. 
  • Quilt or crochet at least 4 new blankets for charity – One spiral afghan is in progress and should be finished by the end of February.
  • Finish at least 5 items from the Abandoned Projects Pile including:
    • Blue patch-work throw (from 2011 or 12) – The blocks have been assembled and seams pressed.  I’ve given myself a deadline of the first day of spring to have this one finished.
    • Autumn themed full-sized quilt (fabrics purchased in 2012/early 2013) – The bulk of the piecing has been completed on this one, but I still need to assemble everything for the top.  Another one that I want to finish by the end of the winter.

We’ll see how February goes.  Hopefully more words and lots of quilting progress.

Chris Signature

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2014 Creative Resolutions

A new year has begun and with it comes the inevitable resolutions.  Forget the usual thoughts of losing weight, saving money, and all of those practical and healthy ideas that sound so good on January 1st. This year’s resolution ignores all of the traditional goals in favor of this: Get back into a regular habit of being creative.

The past year lacked the usual myriad of creative projects that I normally have going on at any given moment.  Sadly, my biggest creative accomplishment of 2013 was finishing NaNoWriMo.  Unfortunately, the novel that resulted was pretty awful and will likely be destined for the rubbish bin if I don’t come up with a clever re-write very soon.  Other projects seemed to be half-hearted attempts as well and there are still several projects that I started in 2012 that remain unfinished.

So, welcome to 2014, the year of creative immersion. Here are my creative goals for the year:

  • Write at least 200,000 words – 100,000 each of fiction/poetry and non-fiction
  • Quilt or crochet at least 4 new blankets for charity
  • Create 24 new paintings or drawings
  • Make at least 10 new pieces of jewelry
  • Create a new batch of wands for my Etsy shop
  • Take at least 50 decent photos to share
  • Finish at least 5 items from the Abandoned Projects Pile including:
    • Crocheted vest (started last spring)
    • Blue patch-work throw (from 2011 or 12)
    • Photo pendants for the shop (from 2012)
    • Woodland Santa cross-stitch (started so long ago that I can’t remember what year it was)
    • Autumn themed full-sized quilt (fabrics purchased in 2012/early 2013)

No problem, right?  Let the creativity begin!

Chris Signature

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A Few of My Favorite Things

A friend asked a very good question the other day, one that I hadn’t given a lot of thought: “Out of everything you’ve ever created, what are your favorites?” To which I responded: “Why do my friends always ask difficult questions?”  To be more precise about it, I should have said “Why do my friends ask questions that I find difficult to answer?”

I could have shrugged and said “I dunno.”  Or I could have gone the noble route and decried “Favorite?  How can I chose a favorite among these creations?  They are my children.  I love them all equally.”  Well, no, actually, I don’t love everything I’ve ever made.  Thinking about it, I realized that I do have some favorites among the works that I’ve done.  They aren’t necessarily my best works or the ones that have brought recognition or monetary reward.  My favorites tend to be those peices that have given me the greatest sense of accomplishment or in some way appeal deeply to my own tastes.

After some thought, this is what I came up with… eight of my all-time favorites, in no particular order.

These are (starting clockwise at the top left corner):

  1. Logo for my online herbal shop. This was a utilitarian piece, obviously, created because I didn’t want to buy a pre-made avatar.  I won’t claim that it’s a great piece of art, but I loved the process of transforming a badly snapped shot of my garden and turning it into something unique.
  2. Beaded star necklace.  To be techinical, this was the first one beaded star that I created and it took hours to get it right.  What a great feeling of accomplishment when it was all done.
  3. Butterly mobile.  I’ve been creating butterfly suncatchers from recycled plastic and clear paints for years.  It finally occurred to me to make a mobile out of them.  It’s impossible to be unhappy when working on these.
  4. At Scythe Point.  This novel was the product of my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month.  I am incredibly amazed at my own capacity to write an entire, mostly coherent novel in thirty days.  Creating it was an absolute rush.
  5. Favorite photo.  I take pictures everywhere I go and doubly so if there’s an old cemetery, but this one is my personal favorite.
  6. Dream quilt.  This was my first (and probably next to last) attempt to make a full size quilt.
  7. Seaglass necklace.  This piece was created by me for me.  The seaglass came home with me from a trip to the Carribean several years ago and finally found a home as part of this peice.  I’m particularly sentimental about it.
  8. Fall broom.  Autumn is my favorite season so I am perpetually making little fall decorations.  This one is my favorite, well loved enough that it hangs inside the house the other three seasons.

So there they are, a few of my favorite creations.  Give me a few days, a little creative time, and I’m sure I can add to that list.

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Write, Sew, Sleep… Repeat

November is well under way already.  For most, it’s a month for turkeys and football. In some cases, these are one and the same, but I promise I won’t comment on the recent fiasco at a certain university. For me, November is a time to go into creative overdrive as I try to write a novel, get ready for the holidays, and finish all those little projects that clutter my craft room.

It’s day thirteen of National Novel Writing Month and I’m pleased to report that I’ve hit the half-way mark today, at least as far as word counts go.  The novel itself, which still remains untitled, feels as if it has hardly started.  Dr. Maggie Bailey seems to be developing a life of her own, in spite of my best efforts to stick to a basic plot line. There’s so much more of the story to tell at this point that I may be writing well into December just to finish the first draft.

As a reward for hitting my word counts, I’ve been allowing myself time for quilting.  Instead of putting together a new piece to post in the shop, I’ve decided to finally finish the bed quilt that I started for myself earlier in the year.  I’ve just finished piecing the top and am so glad to have it nearly done.  I’m absolutely in love with the colors and the overall combination reminds me of winter skies.  I should have it completely finished and on the bed by Thanksgiving.  Below is a quick snap of the quilt top as it is now.   I’ll post another picture when it’s completely finished.

Happy Sunday all.  Hope you have a creative and inspired week.

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The Cookie’s Demise

The unique and cloying smell of burnt chocolate chip cookies wafts through my home like some malicious spirit, hellbent on revenge against its murderer.  It creeps up the stairs, drifting into dark corners, just waiting to suddenly surprise me with its malodorous presence. Like the beating heart under the floorboards of Poe’s story, my crime comes back to haunt me.

It all began innocently enough.  Knowing several folks who are on restricted diets, I decided to try my hand at making gluten-free cookies today. Even though I’m not a big fan of baking mixes, I went with one for this first foray into gluten-free baking.  The dough mixed up nicely and spoonfuls of it were quickly panned and put in the oven to bake.

Since I had a few minutes, I wandered out to my living room, sat down with a notebook, and began working a design for a new bed quilt. As my mind wandered down the pattern and color possibilities, I completely forgot about the cookies.

The faintest whiff of cooking sugar drifted past my nose. I registered it with a passing thought that the oven timer hadn’t gone off yet and kept working on the quilt design. The plan is beautiful, a a star-shaped kaleidoscope of autumn colors based on an angled log cabin pattern. My thoughts were focused, not on the baked goods in my oven, but on the rich tapestry of autumn hues of an imagined quilt.

A few minutes later the smell of burning sugar did not lightly tiptoe past, but rather smacked me in the nose with a gauntlet, challenging me to even try to ignore it. A quick jog to the kitchen revealed cookies that were perfectly browned on top and coal black on the bottom, their short lives destroyed by a quilt. The cookies were quickly given an impromptu funeral in the rubbish bin, while the quilt design remains at large, armed and dangerously beautiful. Me, I’m pleading quilty on all counts.

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The Color of My Dreams

I dream in color and there are some specific colors that dominate my dreamtime… blacks, grays, blues, purples, and reds. These colors inspired me to make my first full-sized patchwork quilt in a log cabin pattern. I began collecting the fabrics for this piece a year and a half ago from a variety of sources. I usually stick with only cotton fabrics, but found some wonderful silks and synthetics that I just couldn’t resist using. Piecing started last winter but the project kept getting set aside for others that took precedent.
When I finally pulled the pieced top out again this fall in hopes of finishing it, I discovered to my abject horror that some of the synthetics had burn holes from a too-hot iron. Rather than disassemble the entire quilt (1″ wide strips + 9 strips/block + 144 blocks total = over 1000 individual pieces and a lot of work to tear apart!!!), I carried over the twilight/dream theme and made applique stars to cover the burns and any slight sewing flaws. Because I loved the way it looked, the quilt ended up having over 50 stars added to it. The very last stitch went in in the early hours of Saturday morning (12:52AM to be exact).
I’m happy to say that the quilt looks lovely in its new home (my bed!) and as you can see from the picture, my cat has already staked his claim to it. Looks like even the projects I do for myself aren’t entirely mine!
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