Bike Rides, Taxes and Scrappy Things

The sun is shining and it’s in the 70s – perfect conditions for my first bike ride of the year. They opened a new road behind us that gives me a beeline to our quilt guild’s meeting spot, and it only takes 10 minutes by bicycle. I can’t wait to fill my basket with quilting goodies and ride. 🙂

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This week I spent two entire days of my life pulling all my {ahem} stuff together so the CPA can do my taxes. Two.  DAYS. >Augh<  I seriously need minions. Or a secretary. Paperwork is not. my. thing. Yesterday, instead of creating, I took care of business in the studio in hopes of being better organized for next year’s tax season. (Have I mentioned I am a hopeless optimist?) Do you have an efficient way to track your stuff?

Today I’m working on some characters for a friend’s animated project. I can’t share much, but it includes monkeys, giraffes and bears, oh, my!
I’m also putting together some scrap fabric so I can turn it into goodies.

A couple weeks ago I sent this lonely little block to Victoria Findlay Wolfe in response to her request for signature blocks.  I’m indebted to Victoria, because her “made” fabric sparked sweet memories from my childhood. My grandfather was a tailor, and early on he showed me how to piece scraps together to make big enough pieces for my wonky, crudely designed Barbie clothes. Victoria’s 15 Minutes of Play was a happy reminder of the this technique and I now “make” fabric regularly and include it in a lot of my work. I think Grandpa would approve. 🙂

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It’s so nice outside, I might baste a couple quilts before the day’s end!

I hope you’re having a great week. 🙂

Officially Spring!

Spring is here! This is when the weather in Virginia gets super crazy:  we start getting really warm days plunked in the middle of all the cold ones… a tease really. Sunday it was 72 degrees. Yesterday it snowed all afternoon.  The cold, wet days are good days to get some sewing done! I whipped up this little bit o’ baby love using scraps. It’s a wonky bow-tie  sorta thing I put together with some units I had left over from another project. I do that a lot.

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I LOVE the look of black and white prints juxtaposed to bright colors. With all that white I needed something for the borders that would add interest and this piece of black and white print made those bow-ties pop. Because money is tight and I love a challenge I was determined to pick from my stash.  I had a fun curly-cue print for the back but of course it wasn’t big enough.  I had two swaths of that black fabric that were just wide enough to add, and I’m so glad I didn’t have enough of the curly-cue! I’m tickled with the final result and the recipients raved. It’s hard to give away something I love so much, but this is for the prettiest baby girl ever, so I didn’t mind.

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I didn’t finish my Alison Glass challenge quilt in time for the guild reveal, but I’m happy with the way it’s coming together. It’s a pattern I drafted myself for a commissioned quilt I’ve been working on. This was the trial run, and I’m so glad, because I had to tweak it. A lot. A. Lot.

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This picture is dark because it was taken in the middle of the night…… That folded over yellow square at the top needs to have its border ripped off and sewn to its other side. Sigh. And the bottom right hand block is the only one of its kind. I might ditch that last row. And now that I look at it, I think I want to extend those cross pieces to the edges. I don’t like the way the colors stop at the edge like that. This trial run has become more work than I intended, but it’s so bright and cheery in person. It might not get finished until the commissioned quilt is made and delivered. 

My doodles for work are so much fun – but mostly they’re things I can’t show until they’re done. (Poetry not intended…)  Earlier this week I got a peek at the header I hand-painted for a gal and I’m excited for it to go live so I can share.

Love Week

It’s LOVE week! Last night I listened as my son asked his girl what kind of flowers she liked – while he was on the internet looking at prices.  It was comical the way he was including her on the decision-making process… there will be no element of surprise come Friday, but she won’t be disappointed, either. Smart guy.  I love the way they don’t take things too seriously. Valentine’s week is a good time to be a little more intentional about showing love to the people around us – fancy dinners and expensive bouquets can’t substitute for genuine kindness and appreciation. [To the Hunk – I love flowers. They’re always a safe bet.<3 ]

For my part, every year I hand-make Valentines for the Hunk and the kids. Every year it’s  a challenge to come up with something new. Every year it’s a last-minute dash to finish them on time. No matter how far in advance I begin sketching and planning my creative brain will not cooperate – it doesn’t kick into high gear until the deadline looms. Here’s my current mess:

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Speaking of love, I finished this wee doll for Mercy’s upcoming birthday.  I cut a keyhole shape from some brown Kona, stitched it together and slit it up the back to turn it. Easy-peasy.  I think she needs a diaper. 🙂 She’s only 3.5″ tall, so she will fit nicely in a 6″ x 9″ envelope for her long journey to Kenya.

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It’s snowing again! This is the third time this year we’ve had snow – each time on a Wednesday. Crazy, huh?

What’s Up, Wednesday?

I have a confession: I write blog posts in my head. They’re really amazing… perfectly worded with lots of pretty pictures full of creative inspiration.Then reality sets in- I can’t find the camera. There’s a bunch of stuff in the way. It’s gloomy outside and the studio looks less than inviting. All that progress I’m making doesn’t look like much in the picture….the list goes on.

I love Christmas, especially its colors.

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After whipping out some last-minutes gifts I had this irresistible pile on my table (yes, that’s a sock missing its mate…). Instead of putting it away I played a little, sewing bits and scraps together to make something new.  In my excitement I cut my made-fabric into 6-1/2″ squares, and probably should have thought that through. I want to make a Christmas snowball quilt and 6-1/2″ squares means I need a ton of them to make a quilt big enough to snuggle under. Rats.

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And this fun black and white swirl called to me from the top of the pile that is perfect for the background…. only I thought I had more and I don’t, which means I’ll have to come up with something else and rip this one out. Double rats.

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But I am determined! Something fun will come of this, I know it.

What’s New Wednesday

Monday and Tuesday hold the promise of having  an entire week ahead to be productive. So why does one day later feel like I’m running out of time and better hurry? I was once told that time goes even faster as you get older, and in my experience that has been true. It makes me wonder how my 96 year old Gramma Mary must feel. Zoom!

I’ve been busy in the studio, with “real” work and fun stuff. I’m making this tote for this month’s Swap at VBMQG, and it’s a good thing I don’t have time to make another one or I’d keep it. It makes me happy when a plan comes together.

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It’s a fun little tote of my own design, with lots of options for making it your own. The pattern will be in the Shop when it reopens in November with a new look to match the new website and shop look.  I’m sure you’ve noticed things have changed a bit around here. That’s thanks to my friend Christine at Great Oak Circle who’s creating a new website just for me. She’s already relocated the blog, so you get a special sneak peek at what’s coming.  I feel like a kid at Christmas waiting for it all to gel.  😀

I’m also putting the binding on this little piece of baby love.  I love handwork, but hate binding. I’m not sure why it works out that way, but I’d like to get this finished before the baby outgrows it.

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It’s always fun to work on new inventory for the shop – there are piles everywhere as I’m testing new ideas and making a creative mess.  I’ve also learned a LOT this month! More on that Friday. 🙂

New Shelf and a New Trick

The new shelf is up!
You’re gonna laugh, but having two shelves on top of each other looks more “official” to me…  like it’s a real studio now, because it has shelves (plural!) full of things to create with. Silly, right? I think that’s the little girl in me and her own notions about how things work. 😉  It’s not arranged “for real” yet… I just tossed a few things up there to get them off the table… there’s a lot more to squeeze in! 



In the process I came up with this nifty DIY trick that made me giddy proud of myself for thinking of it. The shelf brackets have holes where the screws go in and little nubbins to fill them. I was holding a towel over the nubbins so whacking them with a hammer didn’t’ mess them up. The holes against the wall proved to be a challenge, and I kept dropping the towel. The answer? Felt feet! I cut one down to fit the end of my hammer and voila!  Nubbin-whacking made easy! I keep looking for anything else that needs to be whacked with a soft touch before I remove the felt from the hammer head. 


The felt feet are self-sticking, so they work anywhere something bumps into something else… like where the bathroom door bumps into my cabinet. 

 

Time to put some more on the shelf so I can get to work!

An Ah-ha Moment

I’m super happy  to have an entire room to call my studio, but, lately I’ve been frustrated. I need more room to work.  I’ll have a small window of time to sew and I don’t accomplish anything, because my table is full of stuff. Right now, it looks like this:

Not too bad as far as messes go, but  I have to shove things around and pile them on the floor to have enough room to work. I even bought another one of those little fold up tables so I could have an “island” of extra room when I need it… except there’s nowhere to put it without tripping over something else. Ugh. I have this wonderful room all to myself, but I’m not using the space very efficiently.

Yesterday I was perusing my Pinterest boards and came across this picture from Kim Klassen’s studio. I love her space and it’s charm! Then it hit me – I have ONE shelf – and plenty of room to add another one right below it. Eureka!

 

Today I took my little self to the DIY store and bought some more brackets and a  piece of lumber. I’ll have to move my magnetic chalk board, and the space over my computer is usually where I hang my storyboards, but sacrifices have to be made if I want to be productive, right? My goal is to reorganize that wall so I have what I need at hand and empty table space in order to spend time playing instead of shoving.And while I’m moving things…. I’m thinking about painting. Maybe. We’ll see.

Studio Sneak Peek: Santa’s Watching

It’s getting crazy in the studio. FIVE days until my upcoming show. I see cereal for dinner in our future!! Yikes!  It’s been a crazy, emotional, roller-coaster week, and on top of that I have a horrible head cold. Haven’t made the progress I would like, but I’m basking in all the colors swirling around my world.

Oh! And a package arrived from the North Pole with this little guy riding inside. I have no idea which Santa sent him, but his arrival totally made my week. Don’t you love unexpected fun stuff? I named him Clarence, and Hurley’s been warned to get his doggy act together – quick. Santa’s watching. 😉

Studio JRU hosts this link-up every Friday. Take a peek at what’s buzzing in the other studios this week! 

Studio Sneak Peek: Show Prep and Fun Stuff

This week in the studio…
Reveal:  These are the super fun place mats I made for my Secret Santa partner.
I loved them so much I made some for myself.
I’ve been sewing and planning like a fiend to prepare for an upcoming show.
I love looking at this pretty pile of things to be quilted!

 

I had a blast making a bunch of these blocks…
And I whipped up one of these to corral the plastic bags… it was getting out of control. This little gem holds a gazillion bags and looks a lot better than my old “system”.
I did all of that while cooking and dressing the house up for Thanksgiving! I’m thoroughly enjoying my non-student status and the time to decorate and pay attention to details here at home. Happy happy.   ♥
My Black Friday shopping is complete, and now it’s time to get back to work in the studio… maybe after a nap.StudioJRU
Studio JRU hosts this link-up every Friday. Take a peek at what’s buzzing in the other studios!

Studio Sneak Peek: Playing Elf, Handwork and New Things

I’ve been playing elf for my Secret Santa partner, making something fun from these…
 
 
 
I accomplished a LOT on these two hand projects while the Hunk and I drove north, and I’m trying to keep up the momentum. I really really want to use them soon!  
 


I’m so excited I could POP!

First, another gal and I are working hard to bring the modern quilt movement to the Peninsula. We’re starting the first modern quilt guild here, and it will be fabulous! Our first meeting is slated for January and I can’t wait!

 AND…. B*Joyful Studio is getting a new look! I’ve toyed with the idea for awhile, but it felt like a lot… I’m still getting used to the shop – there is soooo much to learn! But I wanted a cohesive look that was all me. I discovered Christine McDermott at Great Oak Circle, and she was pleased as punch to collaborate with me in order to make it all happen. Phone calls, texts and emails are flying – it’s like creative lightening. 😀

How about you? 

 

StudioJRU

Studio JRU hosts this link-up every Friday. Take a peek at what’s buzzing in the other studios!