Aubrey’s Quilt

I finished Baby Aubrey's first quilt this week, and I sure hope Kate likes it.

It's a simple panel quilt , and I quilted it using an adorable pantograph called "Diaper Pins".

While I was quilting, I was thinking about how much we love this sweet baby girl, who will be here in July!

I've also been working on a new project to cute-n things up around here! I don't have much to show you, but here's a little peek at my fabric pulls.

I'm super excited about this one, and am working on a pattern in case you all love it as much as I do!

Have an awesome weekend ladies ;)!



Our Life In Pictures – April 13 – 19, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



P.S. I mentioned when I started these Life in Pictures posts, that I thought it would be a great way for me to slow down and really savor the little things in life. And, it's turned out that taking the time each week to sort through all of the pictures I take of the little moments in our lives has brought a lot of joy, so many smiles, and a deeper experience of gratitude than I had anticipated (even more so than the written/daily gratitude journal I keep).

Anyway, I was listening to a book on Audible today, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less" by Barry Schwartz, and he said something that made me think of these "Life" posts, and I thought I'd pass it along to you all.

He said that people who "experience and express gratitude" regularly:

1) are physically healthier;

2) are more optimistic about the future;

3) feel better about their lives than those who don't;

4) are more alert;

5) are more enthusiastic;

6) are more energetic; and

7) are more likely to achieve their personal goals.

See, the thing is life is crazy busy for all of us. We are so busy rushing from one thing to another, it's really easy to forget that there are hundreds of moments, encounters, and little things that happen each day that are good, happy, smile-worthy – ya know – little mini blessings (a husband's helping hand, a grandchild's smile, chocolate - yummm, Hello Kitty pink duct tape wrapped garden tools, pretty fabric, sewing, having your quilt frame right next to your washer and dryer, watching two of your favorite people enjoy a bedtime snack . . . ). And, when we forget all those little things that we're missing because we're so busy, life can look start to look really crappy. But, when we take the time to stop and look, well – life's full of little miracles. In fact, it's pretty amazing, and maybe that's why gratitude is so good for us.

Hey, does gratitude for gratitude count? ;)

So Inspired by “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

Have I mentioned to you all that, in addition to sewing, I love to read? Well, I do, and I have a particular genre that is my go to. I very rarely read fiction, though occasionally I love to get lost in a good story. But, for the most part, my reading genre is non-fiction, and my go to of choice are books about life and how we live it well.

I'm grateful I can do two things I love at one time – sew and read (or, in this case be read to) – thanks Audible! Anyway, I've read so many good books that have inspired me and changed our lives for the better, and that I've wanted to share with you! So, I'm starting a new category called "So Inspired", where I'll share a little about the books that have inspired me (and probably some documentaries, too ;)!

I can think of no better book to start with than "The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle", by Steven Pressfield. The book is about much more than creativity. In fact, I think it would be better titled "The War of Trying To Do Anything Good With Your Life." Do you have something on your heart that you really want to do with your life, but you never seem to get around to doing it? Is there anything that you think you really need to do or believe in your heart of hearts you should do, but you don't do it? If so, I think you'll really like this book.

Let me just say, I LOVED IT! I've listened to it several times! It is short (less than three hours on Audbile), but it packs a powerful punch! It is a no holds barred, in your face, shot to the heart – reminding you that you have a purpose in life, a gift to share with the world – and, well, you best get to it.

Pressfield explains, in part one, that any time we try to create something or to operate on a higher plane, we will meet with a force he calls RESISTANCE! Resistance is born out of fear (and self-doubt), and Pressfield details the symptoms of resistance ("unhappiness, low grade misery, we feel like hell, we're bored, restless, and we can't get no satisfaction."), and goes on to explain how it manifests! You can read the book for more, but the culprits I most personally recognized were procrastination, distractions, and rationalizations –uuggghhh – my capacity to rationalize is off the chartsl. You see, we all have two lives: 1) the life we actually live; and 2) the life we dream of living. What stands in between, Pressfield argues, is resistance!

In part two, he talks about turning Pro (i.e. beating resistance)! And, this section reminded me of Picasso's famous quote – "Inspiration finds you working". We must beat resistance at its own game. We beat it by doing one thing, and one thing only – doing our work!

Finally, in part three, Pressfield explains that there is also (thankfully) a counter-force to resistance, an energy that comes to our aid when we try to operate on a higher level in life or when we attempt to create. He refers to these counter-forces as talent, angels and muses, and goes into detail about how we can align ourselves with and get in touch with the counter-forces that come to our assistance! Courage and humility in the face of resistance call forth these forces ;).

There were so many interesting things in this book, but here are a few that I found particularly noteworthy, and am still ruminating on:

1.    Tom Laughlin's work with cancer patients (i.e. helping them to follow their lost dreams, and many of them having their cancer go into remission) – isn't that fascinating?

2.    The Latin root of the word "amateur" is love. The prevailing theory on this being that we love a craft so much, that we cannot bear to profane it with trying to make money at it. Pressfield disagrees with this, saying that amateurs don't love the thing enough – if they did, they would make it their profession. I'm still up in the air on this one – what do you all think?

3.    He quotes Socrates – "The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self- mastery, while those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them." Hmmm???!!!

4.    Fear and self-doubt are not all bad. They are also a barometer of how deeply you believe in and care about whatever call of the heart you are resisting, and the level of resistance is an indicator of "how important doing your work is to the evolution of your soul." Shwew – now, that's good news ;)!

5.    I found myself wanting to argue with him on many points 1) I'm a wife and mother and grandmother, and that requires a delicate balance, 2) we all have several gifts to give, not just one and depending on the time, one gift may take precedence over another 3) waiting and patience are a good thing, and leaping before you look can be a bad thing, 4) there are times in the week and month, and seasons in life when we need to rest, rejuvenate, take a break from our labors, find clarity . . . . I imagine if I got to talk with Pressfield about these things, he'd say, "Kelly, that's resistance. ***See resistance tactics I found familiar above (rationalization). The jury is still out for me on these, because in all honesty, I think I'm right, yet I also agree with Pressfield that these can, and have in my own personal life, taken the form of resistance.

I truly love this book, it's inspiring in so many ways! In fact, I credit this post to Pressfield and his book, "The War of Art!" Because, you see, resistance says this should be just a fun, upbeat, cutesy, sewing, cooking, isn't life grand blog – I mean who wants to talk about the unpleasant stuff of life. But, my heart screams – NO! Life is hard, and we are all suffering in one way or another, we all grapple with many of the same issues, and, while it's a good thing to share fun and sewing, it's equally important to have real conversations, to share our challenges and struggles, and the wisdom we're gaining and the steps we're taking to address those things! And, sharing about this bigger topic of life and its challenges must be pretty damn important to my soul's evolution, because I've met an incredible amount of resistance (over more than a year) just to get started by writing this first post! And, I think the resistance for me in this is huge precisely because there is something that I love and care about very deeply, and its people, our joys and our struggles, and how we can cultivate better health, more happiness, and a greater sense of wholeness in our lives. I spend far more hours in a given week thinking, reading, and applying what I've learned about how to live well then I ever could sewing ;)! Don't get me wrong, sewing is part of living well for me, too (so there will still be lots of that here), but, I'll also be sharing more posts like this one – about the challenges we face and things I've found helpful and inspiring along the way!



P.S. HA! Pressfield would be proud. I beat resistance – at least for today ;)!!!

P.S.S.  Not that there is anything wrong with blogs focused on fun and sewing!  They are an inspiration to me, I follow many of them, and I love them, and am grateful for them!  The importance of inspiring creativity and making beautiful things cannot be overstated.  We all have different things we are passionate about and unique combos of gifts to share - that's what makes this world such an amazing place to live in ;)!!!

Look at the Adorable Blocks Sandy Made!!

You guys, my heart is happy – and I'm on cuteness overload here! It all started with a comment I got from Sandy in Illinois about printing my patterns. I emailed her back, and she e-mailed . . . and then these darling pictures of the blocks she was making for her Farm Girl quilt started coming :)!! Of course, I asked her if she'd mind if I posted them here – so you all could see her cute blocks, too – and she was kind enough to say yes.

So, here you go ladies – will ya take a look at these ADORABLE BLOCKS:

here's her cupcake,

her pie and rolling pin,

her watering can and spade,

her vintage apron,

her sewing machine,

and her camper :0)!!!

Aren't they all just super cute? I absolutely love the fabrics she used – so sweet (and her sewing is perfection ;).

But wait – there's more! Do you want to know where Sandy sews all of this cuteness? Sandy's a mom and a grandma, and when she and her husband retired, he helped her fix up this darling building on their farm into a sewing space for Sandy and her friends and family to sew!

They call it the Hen House ;)!

See that fun sign "Chicks Only ;)!" This is Sandy's daughter, Kelly (the one with the long hair) and her friend at the Hen House

-working on some really pretty pillows ;)! And here's their cutting counter

What an amazing sewing studio – right? It's so warm and inviting – it just makes me want to go there and spend the day sewing with Sandy and company ;).

I really can't wait to see her whole Vintage Farm Girl quilt :)! It's going to be amazing. Really, thank you Sandy for sharing your blocks and the Hen House with me :0)! You so made my day! No – ya know what – you made my whole dang week :0)! XOXOXOXO!

The free PDF patterns for each of these blocks are available here on my blog. Just click the Free Patterns and Tutorials link in the sidebar to find them!



Cozy Christmas Quilt

As I was stitching the buttons on to finish up the embellishments, I was thinking about just how much FUN I've had making this quilt!

I always enjoy sewing, but this one was just so much fun to make – from tracing the fun shapes, to choosing fabric, to the applique, embroidery, and I'm thinking the embellishments were the most fun part of all. So, big thank you's and XOXO to Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet!

Since I just don't find enough time to sew as much as I'd like, I decided to machine applique (it's so much quicker) this one using a very small blanket stitch, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I used my Winter Wonderland pantograph to quilt this one – it has these darling snowflakes with hearts that I love!

Here is another favorite part of the quilting process for me

unrolling it from the frame when I've finished quilting it – it's the first time I really see it in "quilt" form ;)!

I backed it with this darling snowman print from Lori's Cozy Christmas line. I didn't order enough, so I had to add that strip of white to make it fit.

NOTE TO SELF: Factor in the direction of the print when ordering backing ;).

Here is a close up of a few of my favorite blocks:

the sweet little gingerbread cottage,

and the Christmas tree, all buttoned up to look a lot like our real Christmas tree (which is decked out with lots of pink ornaments ;)

the Christmas wreath with lots of love ;)

the Hot Cocoa with giant marshmallows (because the Marshmallows are the best part ;),

this chunky little stocking with its ric-rac trim and heart hanger, and even this

sort of messed up little gingerbread man! You see I was going for a Gingerbread Angel, but when my husband saw it he said "Oh – a Ninja Gingerbread Man", and laughed because he knew I was going for an angel. Then I cracked up, because in all honesty, he does look a bit Ninja-y ;)! I thought about fixing it, but we both got such a laugh out of our differing interpretations that I had to leave it in – sometimes imperfections give special meaning, or a little giggle every time you see them – and well, this is one of those ;)!

Yup, I love this one – imperfections and all!



Joining The Hexie Craze and New 30’s Collection Prints

I'm so excited to have added a few new darling prints to the fabric stash family over here.

These are from the 30's Collection by Atsuko Matsuyama by Yuma, and to be honest,

I'm just smitten with all of them

(especially this pink garden labels print)!

And, while searching online for these, I accidently ran into this darling Vintage Baby Panel that I just had to get (please tell me this happens to you when you're shopping sometimes, too ;)!

It's also by Atsuko Matsuyama - so you can see, I mean honestly girls how it accidentally appeared on my Ipad - and also how I couldn't resist it due to it's extreme VINTAGEY CUTENESS factor ;)!  I really can't wait to quilt this up for little Aubrey Grace (our granddaughter who's coming to join the family in July ;).

And, my sweet friend Marilyn, who I met on Instagram, has been stitching up the most darling little hexagon flowers, and she's given me all of her tips on how to make them. So, I've ordered my supplies, they've all arrived,

and I'm ready to join the hexie craze!

And, I'm thinking this sweet little pink print will be the perfect fabric to start with ;)!



Sugar Dish Quilt

I think I'll call her "Sunny" or maybe "Hello Sunshine", because these little Dresden Plates remind me so much of sunshine!

This quilt was a classic case of love at first sight! When I first saw this pattern (Sugar Dish) by Cluck Cluck Sew, I just had to make this quilt. I added a few rows, including an extra row of Dresden Sunshine to make it a little larger.

And, I used "Fresh Air" fabric by American Jane for Moda.

And, although it's made of 30's fabric, it reminded me so much of Spring time (again – those sunny little Dresdens), that I decided to quilt it with my "Butterfly Garden" pantograph!

And, my new Gammil has a fun little feature

that tells the machine running time (it takes a lot longer to quilt with loading, rolling, adjusting, etc.), and the number of quilting stitches in the quilt! So, this quilt took almost 2 ½ hours of quilting time and has almost 95,000 quilting stitches in it :0)!

I think we're going to be snuggling with this one for a long time to come ;)!