Monday, October 28, 2013


 The vog has finally cleared - hopefully for a while. When the weather is like that, it becomes so hard to function! To be honest I have only recently begun to get back to sewing... I have a feeling I may not be able to finish the only deadline that hasn't been checked off this month - my sister's quilt top... I made a little progress here and there - but I am finding that it is very very important to read directions. I have become so accustom to flying ahead of the directions, that I find myself having to take so much time to remedy mistakes that could have been avoided had I... yes, read the directions more clearly.... so, now my quilt top has the half hexagon in the single color on the ends - and although I thought it was sew together 12 rows - it is actually 18... I am now in the process of trying to finish this section up... ::smile:: but I am learning more and more about the process of quilting - and I am finding that I like working and creating with my hands so much... I am just learning to stop and walk away when ever it gets to be too much and I start making mistakes - I have to keep reminding myself to slow down... slow down and enjoy it....

So much of my life has been based on deadlines - school, work, - I don't want hobbies to be like that too... so although I thought that making deadlines for my quilting projects would work - (they actually really do - I just didn't factor in loosing a whole week to feeling like blah because of the vog...) I might have to readdress some of the dates that I put. ::smile:: Feels good to admit that I must say.

So what have I been filling my time with? I've been cooking more for us - mostly on the stove top I must say because I've been running from the oven... I refuse to add even more heat to an already overheated house! So although my hands are itching to bake some bread and cookies for us - I must refrain!

But that doesn't stop me from craving and wishing for the smells and tastes of fall. So I have tried to satisfy my cravings with foods that can be prepared (or prepared by someone else ::laugh::) on the stove.  Like pumpkin pancakes and syrup, and apple turnovers with a cup of decaf Irish Breakfast tea with a splash of cream... and to pair a favorite activity with those tastes of home is my kindle and my library of period romance dramas that I have neglected for oh too long. ::contented sigh:: It has been a good balance. I did manage to get on my sewing machine yesterday - that is where that strip of avacado kona cotton came from on the quilt top. Progress is being made... although it is a bit slower than my date book would like... ::smile:: With the cool trade winds back my fingers are starting to itch to be back in use... hopefully I will have more to show you soon...

Until then, Happy Sewing.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Walker Wall Hanging

When I was in San Diego with Ross last summer an old church friend invited us to her house for tea. It is kind of a tradition that we have had since I was a teenager and living in San Diego. D would make tea and biscuits and fruit and we would sit and visit and talk about everything and nothing. We still carry on the tradition. Every visit Ross and I make, we know it will include a visit with D and her family.

Well, this past visit, when we came over for tea, we noticed that D had done a lot of home improvement projects. She had knocked down a wall that separated a room and her living room, and now the living room was twice as big! When I asked her what she would do to decorate all of the empty space she had mentioned that she would like to have quilts on the wall so that it would warm up the house.

She asked me if I knew any body who would be willing to take on a project. Although I recently joined a Hawaiian quilt club in Waimea, I wasn't sure if any body would be willing to take this project on. Everybody is really busy preparing for crafting events that they are signed up for.

Well - she seemed so intent on having one - I told her I would do it.... although I'm still new to quilting. She got really excited when I said that and it made me happy - although my heart was racing. I am one of those personality types that wants to make everyone really happy - making people happy makes me really happy. So - although I had the Coming Home to Kuiipo  quilt on my plate - I told her yes. Yes I would be happy to do it. And truly I was.

She sent me the fabric and told me that she wanted it to be beach themed - you see in her living room she has pictures of sunsets and sand and seashells and she has seashells on her walls - so I knew just the patterns that I would use. All four of those patterns actually appear in my Coming Home to Kuiipo quilt, so I was already familiar with the needle turn applique for those blocks.

When I got the fabric, she had actually sent me a lot of fat quarters. Apparently JoAnn was having a sale on fq so she sent me a lot to choose from. The dusty sunset colors were what my eyes gravitated towards. I like the fact that they were vibrant but at the same time soft.

As I write this I am working on applique for the last block - the orange sea horse block. I hope to finish quilting this by the end of the year so that I can start hand quilting my Coming Home quilt in the new year.

Sometimes I get discouraged at how much time goes into this project - but the thought of her receiving her finished wall hanging pushes me forward and keeps my hands moving on it.

I hope my post's about the Walker Wall Hanging are clear now. Sorry I never introduced it before. =)

Well - I better close this up.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Reflections on inspiration

Do you remember the time in your sewing journey that you asked yourself what type of style you would like to be seen in your work? How long did it take for you to figure it out?  I started looking at pictures on the internet of things that inspire me - move me - or things that I just think are beautiful.  I started thinking about my favorite stores like World Market, and boutiques that carry things from all over the world.... I like the world travel look, things that are grounded in nature.  I've always loved different cultures and customs... lets see if reflecting on these things will manifest within my next projects... hmmm.... I wonder if this is an excuse to buy new fabric? ::smile:: What inspires you?

So hot!

 my weakness! salt and vinegar chips and an icy cold ginger ale
no more room in the scrap bin! 
 2" blocks 
my storage until I can find a better box 

The vog was so thick yesterday and it was so hot - Ross and I stayed home and watched episodes from the first season of Beauty and the Beast on Netflix and snacked while trying to stay cool. We turned on all of the fans - opened up all of the windows in hope of that stray breeze finding it's way into the house   - but the heat and the bad air quality left us feeling low energy and sluggish. 

At night when it got cooler I was able to break out my scrab bin and cut out some 3" and 2" blocks. It is nice having a stash of precut blocks for when I want to play at a later time with them. I cut up a good amount - but my bin is still heaping... makes sense though since after a year of sewing I am only addressing my scrap bin now. Looking at them and the colors I have, for some reason all my scraps look like a baby quilt - which makes sense I guess because the only past projects I have had that weren't made of batik were baby quilts....

Have you ever run into this? Finding that when you sit down to organize your scrap bin, it looks like baby quilt material was flying out everywhere? =) Time for some fabric shopping I think... 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A bit of sewing... vog... and thoughts on my sister

 light brunch for so hot a day
 labeling my rows 
 pumpkin bread snack 
 catching up on laundry 

Yesterday I had a whole day for sewing. Those days are the nicest... I know that large chunks of time won't always be available forever - so I really cherish that time to myself... years later when the seasons in our life shift, I want to be able to remember the peaceful quiet of sewing, and tea, and reading, and the joy of household chores and be grateful that I had this time.

It has been horribly hot and muggy - the vog (the ash that gets sit up from the volcanos in the south) has  been so thick this past week. I can barely see the ocean from our front windows because the air is so bad... it has been hard to breathe - and it has been hard to be motivated to do much. My childhood asthma tends to act up and I try and not push myself...

Today the vog seems especially strong. I haven't had the energy to continue working on my sister's quilt top - the most I did today was some cutting while Ross is at Jujitsu... at least it's all lined up though for when the vog clears and I'm able to jump back into sewing.

Since finishing my Coming Home To Kuuipo quilt top - I've been inspired to keep going on constructing quilt tops. It doesn't seem as daunting as I thought it was before. It is nice seeing it come together. I get excited at thinking of my sister getting a handmade quilt that she can cuddle up on the couch with while she reads her kindle.

My sister is finishing up her last year of graduate school. She is getting her Masters in Library Science. I couldn't imagine doing my Masters while running a household and raising up three little children... but she is almost at the finish line and I am so proud of her. So I want to make her a quilt for her birthday because I think that she really needs the encouragement - and hopefully it will help her and give her that last push until she finishes up.

My sister and I share the same birthday. We were both born on February 22, and being a part in distance is difficult especially around that time. Since we were young we always celebrated our birthdays at the same time... so hopefully if I can't be there in spirit in February 2014 - I'm hoping to be able to give her something special.  Growing up it was always just the two of us so we're really close.  Skype and texts and phone calls at odd hours (three hour time difference, so catching a time that works for both of us can be random) is how we like to communicate. It is especially nice being able to catch up on Skype. One time I was able to help my niece (the oldest of the three) with her homework - that was really special. Hopefully there can be more Skype time in the future.

Ross just got home from Jujitsu. We were planning on going to the beach when we got home, but he said that it might be worse if we go south - so we are planning on a nice relaxing day at home. Which is all fine and dandy with me.... hopefully the trade winds come back... I'm missing our clean air breeze.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Random: hopefully it will be a productive day!

Good morning =) Today I have the whole day off - I have a morning piano lesson to do for an hour and then the whole day is mine! =) Other than loads and loads of laundry, I am planning on getting some work done on my sister's quilt top, and possibly finish two place mats that I have in my sewing basket right now... we'll see how the day unfolds.

I'm really excited about this quilt top. =) It is my first time using my hexie half rulers by Lori Holt that I bought here. I must say that I was inspired to put the hexie half rulers and the Posy fabric together from here. I bought the Posy fabric a while back when it first came out and I was just trying which pattern to do it with, and then I fell in love with how the hexagons looked with the soft fabric...

I'm looking forward to see what a day off leads to!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Project

This is what I'm playing with now. The goal is to try and get this quilt top finished by the end of the month. I think it is very doable. =) I tried to add the blue, green, and yellow to make it a bit more mature since it is a present for my older sister. I'm liking it. It feels very spring time.... we'll see how it turns out. =) 

To be continued... 

Finished Coming Home quilt top!

 The colors are pretty on the ironing board =) 
 Love watching Miyasaki films while I work =) 
 Ahhhh... happy moment. =) 

The Coming Home to Kuiipo quilt top is done!!!! Yaaaay! =) Do you remember what it was like when you finished your first large quilt top? Up till now I only made baby ones - three to be exact. But man - when that last stitch was put in on the sashing my heart was racing in excitement. =) I can't wait to show Ross when he gets home from work!

While we were eating dinner last night I asked Ross if he thought that it was too busy - he shook his head and said, "No. It's colorful and happy. Very Hawaiian." He usually doesn't give feedback other than a "good job", so I'm going to take his words to heart. The fact that he likes it makes me want to work extra hard at getting it ready for our bed. =) Oh boy though - I have a lot of hand quilting lined up  in the next year....  I want to stick to the traditional hawaiian hand quilting on this... after all the work on the needle turn applique, it would feel weird to try and quilt this on a machine. =)

The good thing about it is that I'll be able to visit with each memory as I hand quilt each section... I hope to tell the story here as I go... will you join me on the journey? ::smile::

Although I hope to put the quilt sandwich together - I don't think I will be able to start quilting it till the new year. There are other sewing projects on my table that need to be finished. ::sigh:: so I guess it will have to wait.

You want to know something funny? I started appliqueing the blocks in October of last year... I remember because that was when we got back from our Honeymoon to San Diego. How nice that I was able to finish the quilt top in the same month that I started it! Shall I try and be done by October of next year? =) I think that sounds reasonable right?

Till next time!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crossed off!

 Taking the basting stitches out! =) 
 removed basting threads 
 third applique block! =) 
 project on the calendar
 highlight and two sticker reward! 

Another goal for this month was crossed off! =) I am actually more than a week early on this goal's deadline. I set it for the 25th, but I finished it today on the 16th! =) Good stuff yeah!

1/2 way there!

 Oh no! A mistake! 
 Fixing it...
 Ahhhh.... much better
checking the layout - needing a border
  testing to see what it would look like on our bed - have to add the sashing to the sides and sew the two halves together... almost! 
Going cross-eyed... where I will leave you until I've rested please! 

Do you remember when you put your first big quilt top together? I started the Coming Home to Kuiipo quilt top today - in my mind I was going to be able to finish it - how hard could sashing take honestly? Well - even with everything laid out and precut - it still took me several hours to get halfway. After five hours at my machine - with my eyes crossing - I had to call it a day.

I wish I could keep going and finish today - but I'm starting to make mistakes. That usually tells me that I need to throw in the towel and be done. =)

I've been learning a lot about the process by putting this top together. It's like putting a giant patched square together. Pinning...pinning...sewing....pressing...sewing....pressing.... sewing...mistake!!!....seam ripping.... seam ripping.... sewing...pressing...sewing...pressing... done ::smile::

I'm noticing that when the process starts to become laborious - I have to stop because I am no longer loving it.... do you stop at that point or do you push through it and keep going? Well - I had to stop - still working on my quilting endurance ::smile:: So now here I find myself. Having a cup of afternoon coffee and enjoying the feeling that I put in a lot of work this morning on a project that will make our home even more special.

It feels good to nest in your home in this way huh? To use your own talent and skills to add to the happiness and beauty. What a blessing - to be able to use my hands in this way.... so for now I'm going to go and move my body... it's a bit cramped from sitting for so long. Although it is hard to walk away from my unfinished quilt top stacked on my desk - I know it will be there... waiting for me renewed and fresh and ready to fall even more in love with it.

Till next time!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When To DO lists get waylaid

Familiar smells of fall 

My dad's handwriting 
 What I wish I could sit down and do... 
 Calling my name! "Play with me! Play with me!" 
 Where do you keep your threads? 
 Elsie - my sewing table friend. A friend brought it back for me from a visit to the churches in Nepal. 
What my hands seem to be drifting to lately

Yesterday I had all these grand plans of rushing home from work and finishing my Coming Home quilt top - (ever happened to you?) but then I realized that we needed food for the week and mail needed to be checked - all of those little daily tasks that add up to big chunks of time. (We don't even have kids yet! Can't imagine what it will be like when we do!)  I ended up spending a very much needed day in the kitchen making breakfast bread (I usually like a little sweet bread for my morning coffee - I'll sit and eat that while Ross eats a heavier protein (eggs and meat). So even though in Hawaii we don't have an autumn, I miss the smell of pumpkin treats baking... my sister was always really big on seasonal treats - and usually around this time the October smells of pumpkin, and cinnamon, and nutmeg begin to surface.  So in trying to appease the tugging of the heart strings that usually appears when I miss my family - I made things that reminded me of them.

I baked a pumpkin loaf and some muffins, and we shared the muffins with Ross' mother and some of our friends. Everyone has been really busy lately so I wanted to make something that they could grab and go before flying out the door.

I also made a dish that my family calls apritada - but here on the islands they call it pork and peas. Several years ago my dad sat down and wrote out all of the family recipes that I wanted when I moved to Hawaii. He wanted me to be able to eat the familiar things of home. So I made enough for us to take to work for a couple of days....

Since a lot of energy has been going into cooking - I haven't been able to sit at my machine. So I've been working peacefully on the dolphin block for a friend's promised wall hanging. I'm almost half way done with the needle turn applique and it's a nice feeling, because it's also on my TO DO list for this month -

Needle turn applique is one of my favorite things to do to relax. There is something soothing about sitting and stitching from beginning to end. Usually when my heart is anxious, I'll sit and do a few stitches, and something about the rhythmic movement of it calms me. Isn't it the same for you? Does sewing calm your heart as it does mine?