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Throw pillow love

After repainting our bedroom I got the itch to pretty much remove everything unneeded from the room, only return a select few pieces, and begin redecorating. With Josiah beginning kindergarten and exiting the little kid phase, I'm feeling like we can finally begin creating a home that feels "pulled together" vs. "thrown together." 6 months later...the room is slowly still evolving. Two of my very favorite additions have been a throw size quilt to drape over the upholstered chair (which will be replaced at some point with something non squeaky and non floral) and 5 pillows for the bed and the chair. I actually chose the pillow fabric last summer to compliment a massive California king sized quilt I've been working on (currently waiting for it to come back from the machine quilter). I absolutely LOVE them! They look fabulous even when the bed pillows are stored under the side table. In a room filled with grey and other neutrals they add just the right pop of color. 

When Jim's away, the kiddies will play!

The running joke in our family when Jim leaves town for work is now... "So what room are you going to paint while I'm gone this time?" A few years ago I painted the kitchen when Jim was gone for three weeks, last winter I painted our bedroom, and this fall I would have painted our living room had I not gotten sick. I'm not sure why he whines about this habit since it means he never has to help and doesn't need to deal with the house being a mess during the process. He should be bragging that his wife paints while he is gone on purpose! Anyway...I've been meaning to post these pics since March, especially since painting our room has now led to several other projects and a complete bedroom redo, and painting has become just phase 1...

Photo series 1 --- Former furniture placement and wall color with the "I'm just going to paint a few spots to see how the color looks...oops! Better paint it all now!" splotches. And my little helper...

Photo series 2 --- All done! I love how warm the grey feels during the day, although it gets a little "grey grey" at night without natural light. I also moved the dresser from between the windows to next to the closet, which totally opened up the feel of the room. Now, instead of seeing a huge dresser once you enter the room, you see a chair and side table and a little wall. This area has been evolving and no longer looks the same, but more on that later!


Oh, what a stash!

Almost exactly 2 years ago I sewed my first quilt and promptly threw almost all of the remaining scraps of fabric away. It's taken this long for me to regret that decision, and now I'm totally kicking myself. At the time, that quilt began as at project to check off of my bucket list, and I was more testing the waters to see if sewing was something I'd ever want to take up again than anything. It didn't take long before I started pinning ideas for projects and purchased my own machine, but without a dedicated space for sewing, completed projects were few and far between and pretty simplistic.

It wasn't until this past winter when Modern Textiles opened their doors that I really became enthusiastic about sewing, and not really until this summer before I began making a point to make time for it. I've limited myself to mainly purchasing fabric for specific purposes or projects to keep my stash of fabric pretty refined and limited, and since I typically use most of what I purchase I have a very limited supply of scraps. Up until this weekend I considered that smart sewing, until I met Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts and my jaw dropped when I saw her scrap quilts and pillows. Wow, I wish I had her eye for fabric. Her style of mixing vibrant colors and a huge variety of fabrics creates the most beautiful effect. Clearly I need to become braver and step out of my comfort zone, and clearly I need to not be afraid to collect a variety of fabrics that I love, even if I don't have a specific project in mind at the time. And now, of course, I'm wishing that I hadn't thrown away those original remnants of the fabrics I used for Josiah's quilt, since they would have been PERFECT in this pillow for his bed!

Isn't that bold, beautiful, cozy, and modern all wrapped up in one? I have never had any intention of sewing anything with little pieces or considered attempting to machine quilt anything I make, but the vibrant colors and prints just suck me in and make me want to attempt a few things that are out of my current comfort zone. This pillow is just one of Amanda's pillows, as you can see here in her blog post. After visiting with her briefly at the shop this weekend and getting to see and touch her work, I'm feeling oh so inspired to try a few scrappy pillows to work my way into working with smaller pieces. Through watching her do some spiral machine quilting in the shop and listening to her talk about how to begin small scale, I think I've mustered enough courage to attempt this on my own. Hence...let the stashing of fabric begin...

I picked up "a few" fat quarters in both prints and solids to begin a collection of pieces to work with. The charm pack (bundle of tiny squares) will be my first project inspired by Amanda. Pillow tutorial on her blog here... Going to be going WAY out of my comfort zone on this one...putting together little pieces and lining everything up accurately, doing my own machine quilting, first envelope pillow assembly (red polka dot under the charm pack will be the backside of the pillow, envelope tutorial here...), and first attempt at making my own pillow form (her tutorial for that here...)...I just LOVED the weight and feel of the forms she made herself. Soft enough for napping on the couch, but much denser and heftier than the wimpy pre made ones. I'm sure no pillow fights would happen with these.

I am totally inspired to try quilting a few pillows to test the waters. Jim will "love" that! Piles of pillows are his absolute favorite. Lol! I just added 5 throw pillows to our bedroom on top of the 6 bed pillows. What's a few more, right? The living room and Josiah's bed clearly need a few.

If you are interested in Amanda's book, which I picked up (and had autographed!!!) this weekend, here is the link...

Happy stashing and sewing y'all!

Note: Credit for pillow pictures goes to Amanda and her blog. I snapped a few on my iPhone this weekend, but they just didn't do them justice. 


I heart fall!

Oh my goodness, we suddenly lost our brief summer weather, and oh my goodness does it feel like fall. This may go totally against the "norm" of teacher perspective, but fall is absolutely my favorite season. Here's a glimpse of why...

Top 10 Reasons I Love Fall (in no particular order)

  1. Crisp air and turning leaves
  2. Wearing jeans, hooded sweatshirts, boots, and my favorite Ugg slippers
  3. Apple trees & picking (haven't enjoyed this since my grandparents moved from their home 7 years ago, but luckily the home my parents just purchased here in town has one...YEAH for Josiah getting to begin the tradition of fall picking and applesauce making!)
  4. Jim's annual fishing tournament on Long Lake and a weekend with our dear friends in Park Rapids
  5. Making homemade pizza sauce and Jim's mom's freezer spaghetti
  6. Prepping tons of veggies to stock the freezer from our CSA (WAY more fun with my new Food Saver)
  7. The last few lawn mowings of the season
  8. Snuggling under lots of blankets with my boys
  9. Weaning out the yard work in favor of more inside hobbies (photobooking and sewing)
  10. Lots of walks, soccer games, and time outside savoring the last weeks of non-frigid temps
Ahhh, yes...now off to snuggle with that quilt and attempt for the umpteenth time to establish a nightly reading time before bed. Might be time to splurge invest in a new cozy chair for our bedroom...


Strip Quilt, Part 2

So the fabric fiasco that I alluded to in my Strip Quilt, Part 1 post is here...and here's the story. I picked out a group of gorgeous fabrics that all went together at my favorite fabric shop (Modern Textiles), and stacked the bolts on the cutting table. From a side view they appeared beautiful and well-balanced, but after I began sewing the strips together there was one fabric in particular that seemed to stand out more than the others. Yikes! After some major heartache and debate, I decided to explore another option and begin removing that fabric from its many locations in my quilt. My sister and I headed to the local quilt shop, which was filled with many not-so-fun prints, and we managed to find a substitute. The fabric in question appears in the left and center photo, and is a white background with grey leaves. It was replaced by the light grey herringbone, which appears almost solid in the picture on the right.

Did I make the right decision? At the time I was totally convinced that the white with grey leaves stood out too much. I really wanted the bolder prints to stand out, and I think since the white background was so bright it caught my eye more than I had anticipated. The grey herringbone is very soft, more muted, and definitely blends unnoticed into the quilt allowing my favorites to take center stage undisputed. Ironically, now that I'm typing this post and looking back at the original mix of prints, I am finding myself liking the brightness that the one I removed brought to the overall appearance. Oh well...too late now to reconsider any decisions!

I'm now in the process of sewing the backside of my quilt. Below are the three cuts that I am totally head over heels in love with. They will be sewn together in three large rectangles running horizontally. The two patterns are from the first line of Cotton and Steel, and the solid is Moda. They are such a beautiful blend of neutral ivory, and even though they are much less bold than the front, I think they are just as beautiful. 

As much as I'd love to say that the final post on this project will be out soon, it's highly unlikely that I will complete the back, get it to and from the machine quilter, and finish binding anytime in the near future. The holidays with all their road tripping fun might just be the perfect time for the seeming miles of hand sewing required to wrap up this monster of a project. 


Well that wasn't in the plan.

After writing my last post to describe all our issues with secondary infertility, I was suddenly inspired to get rid of our boxes and boxes of Josiah's old clothes, toys, baby gear, etc. We're talking 9 large totes, 8 additional boxes of clothes, and 10-15 boxes or other large items. I've been threatening to do that if we didn't get pregnant for at least a year. Between all that stuff, Jim's hardwood flooring shop, luggage, our "pantry," Christmas decor, gifts, what's left of the decor that was removed during "baby proofing," and who knows what else, the basement is one full level of crap. Ok, maybe not crap, but it's definitely piled with boxes that are collecting dust and sitting all over the place. Talk about a waste of space and probably the most overwhelming part of our house. It's been like that for 2-3 years. Anytime the thought of cleaning it up enters my brain it immediately exits. Way to much stuff just sitting in piles all over the place with no place to go through anything without everything getting dirty in the process. So, with only about 2 weeks remaining in my summer break and almost nothing checked off the list of things I wanted to accomplish this summer either at home or at school, I've impulsively pulled a huge amount of stuff out of the basement and started the process I've successfully avoided for 2+ years. Seriously, why do I do this to myself? At least by the end of this week (Lord, help me!) I'll hopefully be able to breath a sigh of relief when the task I've been avoiding so successfully for such a long time is complete. So much for that vision of me sitting at the picnic table in the back yard, umbrella and feet up, basking in the sun with a book while Josiah plays independently in the backyard. Hah! Let the countdown to Back To School begin...