Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In Review

Last year's review I had four quilt tops that followed me into the new year. Three of those quilts were completed and gifted to family. The last of the four is being quilted by hand. In total, I completed five quilts this year. Five! I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't have the proof above me! This year was filled with quilts, placemats, and burp cloths. Lots and lots of burp cloths. =)

This year I got to experience crafting with my loved ones and the joy that it can bring about - not just in the finished product, but in the time spent crafting together. Wonderful! I was inspired by this amazing woman  and used this book and this book to get into the mindset and to look for projects that were kid and beginner friendly.

This year I also got to sew for my very own baby! Baby Liam was born in August and I was able to make this quilt for him and this crochet blanket. It is such an amazing and different feeling when crafting for your own child. Seeing my handmades being used to cuddle, comfort, and stimulate him have brought a fullness to my life that I wouldn't have thought possible.

My house is slowly filling up with handmade touches and it has made it even more cosy - and even more of an extension of us. I can't wait to see what this new year has in store for us. I'm looking forward to welcoming these new experiences with my family - most especially my sweet sweet baby boy Liam with arms wide open.

Happy New Years Everybody!
Aloha ~ Karisma

Friday, December 26, 2014

Learning to say yes

When my sister and niece came to visit in August I had my sister's quilt laid out on the bed that they 

would be sleeping in.When my sister unfolded it, my niece exclaimed - "Oooh.... auntie will you make me one?" I think something must have shown on my face (my very pregnant oh so ready to give birth to this baby face) because she quickly retracted with a - "naaaahhh... I'm just kidding."

If I could have gone back to that moment, I would have stroked her back and told her softly, "Yes sweet girl. Of course I will make you a quilt." 

So here it is. A quilt for that sweet girl who was the first baby in my sister's family - now welcoming the first baby in my family. This circle that we call life - oh how fast it is moving! Slow down... slow down a bit. I'm trying to soak it all in so I can remember and savor and save. 

All of the fabric for this quilt was from Tasha Noel's Little Red. Batting is 100% Cotton.  Dimensions... errr... large enough to fit on my twin size bed. LOL.

Linking up to finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Scrappy 2015 project: #scrappylogcabinQAL

So - recently I jumped on the Instagram bandwagon and low and behold I have joined my first quilt a long! It is a scrappy log cabin quilt a long! Finally I have a large project to try and clean up my scrap bin. I haven't done much since my sister dug around and made scrappy placemats. I have been wanting to join one for a while but have been a bit intimidated. I have been wanting to do a log cabin quilt for such a long time. Ever since seeing this one!  I think though, for this project I want to make something similar to  this one, using this tutorial.

There is something so wonderful about cutting into scraps - seeing remnants of other projects made for loved ones. A bit of my sister's quilt here... a bit of color from my baby's quilt... my dad's quilt much love. So much memory. Am I the only one so sensitive to the emotional ties that textiles have?

I am going to be selfish with this project and keep it for myself. I want to make a throw size quilt for our living room so that when our family cuddles up, we can be surrounded by a lot of love and memories of family that we hold close even though proximally they are far away.

Happy Sewing Everybody

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

While dad is here III

While Dad and Liam were out for a walk... I got a lot done!

 This quilt started out without a plan... just sewing some blocks together that I had in my sewing basket.

 Without a plan often comes correction. The large red boarder just wasn't doing it for me... so a lot of it got chopped and another boarder came along.

 Here is my sewing basket - with my quilt top and backing materials ready to be pieced.

 This was a first for me ~ using pearle cotton 8 to embroider the label as well as including the label into the backing of the quilt instead of simply appliquéing one on. I liked this overall effect so much better!

Here is the quilt sandwich... ready and waiting to be quilted.

 This was also a first - using masking tape to help me with my quilting lines. Now that I look at it from a birds eye view my tape lines were not very straight... I blame it on the hard floor. I'm going to invest in some volleyball pads if I'm going to be doing so much work on my knees!

 This is actually something new that I tried. I did a zigzag stitch all the way around. I often have a hard time setting the binding. This helped so much!

 Another thing I did differently here was to have the binding tape done prior to switching out my 1/4" foot with my walking foot - it was so nice to not have to stop in the middle of quilting to make this! Really kept up my momentum. I'm going to have to do this from now on!

 Another new thing - unrolling it as I sew it on... often times it is flapping around everywhere, coming undone. This way was so much nicer and less stressful!

 Ahh the last stretch!

 Here is the zigzag stitch up close!

Look at all that quilting goodness! 

 Whoa! I thought I wasn't going to have enough of the stripped binding tape... I'm happy that I did!

 Putting the scraps from this project into the scrap bin and the leftover yardage back on the shelf.

 Oh my! Look how manageable my sewing basket is!

Ready for sewing on the binding by hand! 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, December 15, 2014

While dad is here II

After finishing the small needle books that I blogged about here - I was inspired to keep sewing. That little red riding hood fabric is so cute and has been in my small and modest stash since I started sewing. That and posy by Aneela Hoey at were the two fabric lines that I bought up.  Two quilts were intended for those lines. A quilt for my sister - which I finished and have gifted to her. And a quilt for my niece... the first baby in our family. 

While all three of my sister's children are special to me - my niece holds a special place in my heart. She was the first baby in the family. I was pretty young when she was born. I think in my very early twenties. I remember ditching morning classes so I could go over to my sister's house and sneak in and snuggle with the baby for a bit. I remember taking her out of her bassinet and preparing her a breastmilk bottle and feeding her (which now that I'm looking back was quiet rude since my sister was breastfeeding and would probably have liked to have relief without needing to pump!) She was my little shadow growing up. She would follow me around the house on her little unsteady toddler legs. Oh how like yesterday it seems! 

When I moved to the islands that little girl was only five. Just starting school. Now, that little girl is ten. She has reached the double digits in age - oh my! She has changed so much. She loves talking on the phone, is into style, and reads ferociously and writes creatively. I'm not sure if this fabric is a good selection choice anymore for this girl - but in my mind's eye she is still that little baby that use to follow me around on unsteady legs - and my selfish heart wants to make her a quilt that sees her as I see her. Later there will be time for a quilt that better suits her age. But for now, I want to be selfish and gift the one using the fabric that I had intended for her. 

It has been a difficult lesson in learning how to purchase for projects. When I first started out buying, all I knew is that I wanted to make a quilt using a specific line. No thought to a pattern or a reference to yardage. All I knew was that I needed to acquire fabric. And acquire I did. Now I have learned a lot as my style and preference developed. I realized that I don't like need a lot of character prints - that I tend to like a lot of small scale prints in my work. And that solids are wonderful to give the eye a rest from the prints. Now that I know this - I'm more careful in how I purchase. 

I made the disappearing nine block squares a while ago. Not loving how the colors came together, they sat in my work basket for a couple of years. After working with the fabric in my small needle books, I wanted to work more with it. I mean - how cute is little red and those mushrooms! So out came the blocks - and without a goal or a vision intended I just started to sew. I knew that I would need boarders because in order for this quilt to fit her twin size bed, I needed it to be larger. So I added boarders - four to be exact. I didn't like the original red that I chose for the last boarder - it just looked so busy and so very Micky Mouse. So I chopped off quite a bit and added the blue boarder. I actually stole the blue boarder from the backing so now I am in the process of piecing a back for the quilt. 

My work basket is full with this project. My heart is full with thoughts of my little sweet niece. My mind is pushing me to finish so that I can send this quilt home when my father leaves at the end of the month. Oh how I hope this will be! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

This moment

This Moment - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see ~ Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, December 11, 2014

In my kitchen: at my table

Growing up - one of my jobs during dinner time was to set the table. My parents were not the Martha Stewarts of table settings or anything. They did have fancy plates and silverware that we reserved for special occasions like Thanksgiving. But the everyday table setting consisted of the bare essentials. Plate, utensils, drinks, paper napkins. Often the plates did not match. Often small chips could be seen on a cup. But there was a specialness that touches me now as I look back. The simple act of being together. The act of sitting, breathing, and sharing together. Sharing of our day. Sharing of a meal that would nourish our bodies. It was the togetherness that stands out to me. The atmosphere of togetherness that makes me push a little harder to achieve that for my own family now.

Upon moving to the Big Island - the circle that I found myself in tends to use paper plates and paper cups when entertaining. I must confess that the convenience of it is so nice. The ability to just throw your plate away when you're finished eating. But while convenient - it is not the most economical, nor the most environmental friendly.

So - breaking with the custom I've adopted, I went back to my roots and set our table with our dishes, glasses, and silverware. And oh can I say how wonderful it was to sit and linger at the table. To visit and talk and laugh about the happenings within our days. The dishes at the end of it didn't even seem to be such a chore. It was worth it to be able to have the togetherness that was shared at the table.

A little bit of handmade in the placemats added such a nice touch too. If you're wondering about them I made them from this tutorial. And blogged about them here. Next up on the handmade list for the table are napkins. This site actually has 21 tutorials for napkins. Napkins and a table runner are my next sewing projects for the table! For the kitchen table is starting to be one of my favorite places in our home.

Friday, December 5, 2014

This Moment

This moment - a new Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments for all to find and see. ~ Inspired by

While dad is here...

There has been sewing done! My dad is here visiting... and I can't express in words how wonderful it is to have his company. I have looked forward to cooking, baking, and eating with him... but most especially I have looked forward to having dad bond with Liam. Liam has taken to dad's quiet and gentle spirit like I knew he would. They are now strolling and napping buddies. It is so nice to see his little face light up when dad plays with him.

Well, today they went on a stroller walk to the park... Liam fell asleep in the stroller during his walk so dad stayed out for an hour with him... and I got 2 birthday finishes done! Oh my goodness how I have missed sewing with such productiveness!

I have a friend's birthday that I am several months past late in getting her present... but I wanted to make something homemade. I also have another friend's birthday coming up next month, and since I was on such a roll... I decided to get her present finished as well. I'm noticing that the problem with sewing two things at the same time... I tend to make them very similar. As in... almost identical. But I'm thinking that it won't be a problem seeing as how these ladies live on separate islands!

Look at those scrappy backs! Every time I work with scraps for patchwork it's like a trip down memory lane. Each fabric bringing a memory of love, and different family and friends from different walks of life all joined to make one piece of fabric. Oh how wonderful to work with textiles that have the ability to carry such sentiment!

These needle books actually come from a tutorial from one of my favorite blogs. If you get a chance, check it out! The needle book tutorial is very straight forward, and is one of my favorite blogs to read! Amy has such amazing attention to detail and eye for color. She has a book coming out in May and I am very very excited to get a copy and see what amazing projects are lined up...

But I digress. Which if you've been reading along with me... I tend to do a lot! Don't you just love that little red riding hood fabric I used on the cover of the needle books? Well, when I first started buying fabric from online shops I fell in love with this set of prints. I wanted to make my niece a quilt from this fabric. So after sitting on the shelf for many many seasons... it is finally seeing the light and I am working with it.

I'm thinking that if dad keeps taking Liam on long walks then I might actually be able to send a quilt home with him! What do you think? =) How long does it usually take you to finish a quilt?

Linking up to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In my kitchen: the cookie jar

Last week's peanut butter cookies 
Today's empty jar 

 Ready for the week! 

Ahhh.... that is the sound of a happy lady. I love the cookie jar when it is full... but I it when it is empty. An empty container is a sign that the contents were thoroughly enjoyed and that the one I love is full and happy.

Lately Ross and I have... please excuse the cliche... taken to having milk and cookies when he gets home from school. No he is not a student, but a teacher who works at school. This little ritual as well as snacking throughout the day usually empties the jar in about a week between the two of us and the guests that pop up every now and then.

I grew up in a household of bakers. Not professional bakers... but people who just generally loved to bake. Growing up, I would love the way that the house would smell whenever there was a treat in the oven. Especially the way it would make the house so warm.

You wouldn't think it... living in Hawaii... but it does get cold here on occasionally - cold being a relative term. Anyways...I digress. Today is a cold day. Rainy and windy. The perfect day for baking.

Ross requested snickerdoodles and I was happy to oblige seeing as how those are one of my favorite cookies as well. Snickerdoodles are one of my sister's trademark cookies and it alway makes me think of her.

Growing up - I got a glimpse of what type of wife...mother...person -  I wanted to be by watching my own mother and sister and others who were close to me. So many of the women that I admired... whether they were working moms or stay at home moms.. they showed their love through the labor of their hands. From a clean kitchen... to folded laundry... to cookies waiting in a jar. I have been so blessed to have had such examples in my life. I look forward to carrying on the same things that shined so brightly in my life within my own home.