Juxtaposition

I’ve been busy sewing on multiple projects over the last month, one which is still a little hush-hush and others are simply things I’ve been determined to finish.

Betz White is getting ready to release a new fabric line called Juxtaposey and it is so colorful.  I mean it’s saturated and deep and vibrant and lush….and there are llama, guys.  LLAMAS.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some and now I’m designing a snazzy “posey” version of a dresden plate using the new Double Wide dresden ruler from Me and My Sister Designs.

It’s coming along so nicely and I can’t wait to share it with you once it’s done in April! It’s just what spring ordered!

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Also, llamas. All the llamas.

In between cutting out tiny little plate pieces I’ve been doing some embroidery because why not?  I seem to suffer from an inability to finish one project before starting another.  Project burn out is real so there’s no harm in switching focus while your brain mulls things over.

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Keep persisting on all those works in progress.

What I’m Reading: 2016 in books

I am very happy to annouce that I managed to read 41 of a 40 book challenge in 2016.  As usual my list included quite alot of romance, but I can assure you it wasn’t from lack of trying to find other interesting books.  There were several that I attempted that just did not peak any interest.

Justin Cronin’s, The Passage, for instance, I decided I just could not bear to finish.  That’s saying something.  If I give an author over 500 pages to conclude a plot in the first book of a trilogy and they still can not figure out where they are going with it, well, I have to start questioning the editor and publisher that picked it for public consumption.  It was an intense book and then a little over half way through it just came to a dead stop and switched gears.  The change in plot and characters was so abrupt that it felt like starting a new book. The only joy I took from discovering it was reading some of the reviews on Goodreads.  I was not alone in my opinion. But yeah.  It wasn’t all fun in literary land last year.

Without further ado here is my book list from 2016 (red highlights indicate excellent reads):

18966806 1. Smoldering Hunger, Donna Grant – paranormal romance
2. Moonlight Masquerade, Jude Deveraux – contemporary romance
3. The Eye of the World (EotW #1), Robert Jordan – epic fantasy
4. Morning Star, Pierce Brown – YA SciFi
5. The Great Hunt (EotW #2), Robert Jordan – epic fantasy
6. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline – SciFi
7. Dark Alpha’s Embrace, Donna Grant – paranormal romance
8. The Dragon Reborn (EotW #3), Robert Jordan – epic fantasy
9. Falling Into Bed With a Duke, Lorraine Heath – historical romance
10. The Midwife’s Apprentice, Karen Cushman – juvenile fiction/classic
11. Smoke & Fire, Donna Grant – paranormal romance
12. And Invitation to Sin, Suzanne Enoch – historical romance
13. Something Sinful, Suzanne Enoch – historical romance
14. Sins of a Duke, Suzanne Enoch – historical romance
15. An Affair to Remember, Karen Hawkins – historical romance
16. The New Shade Garden, Ken Druse – non-fiction, gardening
17. Nightfall, Jake Halpern – YA horror/fantasy
18. Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk – YA fiction
19. Strawberry Girl, Lois Lenski – juvenile fiction/classic
20. The Passage, Justin Cronin – fantasy/dystopian – DID NOT FINISH
21. Outrun the Moon, Stacey Lee – YA fiction/historical
22. Confessions of a Scoundrel, Karen Hawkins – historical romance
23. All the Right Places, Jenna Sutton – contemporary romance
24. Little Black Dress (bookshots), James Patterson – fiction
25. Cross Kill (bookshots), James Patterson – fiction
26. Chase (bookshots), James Patterson – fiction
27. ZOO, James Patterson – fiction
28. ZOO 2 (bookshots), James Patterson – fiction
29. Perfect, Judith McNaught – contemporary romance
30. Hogwarts: A Complete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore #3), J.K. Rowling – YA fantasty
31. Ten Dollar Dinners, Melissa d’Arabian – non-fiction/cookbook
32. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore #1), J.K. Rowling – YA fantasy
33. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore #2), J.K. Rowling – YA fantasy
34. The Secret of the Old Clock, Carolyn Keene – juvenile mystery
35. How to Treat a Lady, Karen Hawkins – historical romance
36. Lady in Red, Karen Hawkins – historical romance
37. Just One Damn Thing After Another, Jodi Taylor – YA fiction/fantasy
38. And the Bride Wore Plaid, Karen Hawkins – historical romance
39. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver – non-fiction – DID NOT FINISH
40. Blood Lance, Jeri Westerson – historical mystery
41. Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles #1), Jeffery Archer – fiction historical

While I didn’t make it through the entire Eye of the World series, I did manage to get to book #4 (where I’m currently stalled because epic fantasy can really become a grind sometimes).  I’ll continue my slog through it, but won’t try to hold myself to finishing the whole series in one calendar year.

Read what you love!

Science Fair Quilt: Behind the Scenes

If you’re wondering what it took to make Science Fair check out some fun little peeks of the progress that spanned over 2 years!

In the beginning there was a jelly roll…..2015 A.D.

Quilt Blocks by Ellen Luckett Baker for Moda

Cheery vs. Dreary

I am so glad I finally have a new ironing board cover. The green one pictured was about at the end of its useful life.
Nice n' neat. The Hexies take form.

What you’re not seeing is the year flying by and 2016 starting.

Final layout for Science Fair

The halves get sewn together!

Sewing the two halves together.  Hexie quilt top fully assembled!

It was alot of pinning. So much pinning and then I decided I wasn’t going to do my original quilting pattern and unpinned nearly all of it in favor of some basic straight lines.

So it begins.

Way too ambitious for a table top machine. This would’ve look amazing if I’d been able to have someone quilt it on a long arm.
sketching out a possible quilting motif. Got alot of gray space to fill.

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It took about a month of quilting it off and on and moving the sewing machine to the cutting table for better workflow.

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I want to state that I am proud of my binding skills. Though I dislike hand binding it looks so much neater and practice makes perfect.

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Even if you feel awkward taking pictures of yourself with your works of art do it anyway. You’ll need a good laugh one day.

Science Fair Quilt 2017

 

Science Fair Quilt

Science Fair

Hooray! My first finish of 2017! This quilt has been sitting on my bucket list for over 2 years and has been a WIP for just as long. Despite the wind the sun made a rare appearance and we got all of our pictures done.

Science Fair is a pattern designed by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. Julie is well known for her geometrically inspired designs and her clever quilt rulers. Without her Hex n’ More ruler this pattern would have been darn near impossible to make without alot of beer and cursing.

I specifically picked this pattern because my sister Sarah, who I made this for, and her husband are both chemistry and math geeks. Anyone who knows my undying hatred of math (except algebra, you’re cool) should know that this quilt was finished by sheer willpower and the love I have for my youngest sibling.

Science Fair Quilt 2017

Science Fair Quilt 2017

Science Fair Quilt 2017

Science Fair Quilt 2017

It’s always good to have a tall person handy for a quilt shoot.

Happy sewing!

Hello

I’ve been horribly silent these last few months for lot of different reasons, but I FINALLY have my own laptop and technical difficulties aside can finally blog on my own schedule.  No more hurried posts between preschool drop offs and nap time antics!

I will also say that 2016 was surprisingly stressful and not super fun. There were alot of ups and downs and not so much middle ground.  SO here’s to making 2017 WAY better than last year.  I think I got off to a great start by managing to freshen up my knitting skills and get over 6 Pussyhats knitted just in time for the D.C. Women’s March.

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The Olde Towne Quilt

Starting a

As running season slows and things become less hectic I’ve started work on an overdue present. In between my Birchen Quilt and some smaller side projects I unearthed from my stash the Olde Towne pattern.  It’s still new-ish and the fabric, Sturbridge by Moda, is still widely available in stores and online.

Every now and then I’ll dive back into one of my original favorite quilt motifs, primitives. There’s something earthy about the look of a “prim” quilt. The fabrics tend to be darker, more monotone but no less rich and spectacular. I also like that most primitive quilts are simple in design.

This pattern is a good sized wall hanging with a decent amount of challenge. Several intersections have proven to be quite difficult to match on top of making sure each point is centered with the one in the previous row.

So many tiny squares to triangles. I predict lots of squaring up in the next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been alot of marking.  I’d much prefer sewing half square triangles in a traditional fashion compared to sewing on corners.  There is definitely a finesse to sewing just slightly to the other side of the marked line for a perfect matching triangle once they have been pressed up and back. Squaring them up has also been a challenge.  But nothing in quilting is ever exact and I certainly try not to focus overly much on the small off centered seams that can not be avoided once in a while.

To infinity and beyond! *chain piecing has its perks, but can get boring fast* #quiltersofinstagram #chainpiecing #arewedoneyet #showmethemoda

But I’ll be honest. Off centered seams grate on my aesthetics and overall sense of, WHY IS THIS NOT MATCHING PERFECTLY!!!!!!  It’s a vice.

Honestly, work to the best of your ability.  Rip out those seams if you have to and sew them back. When I find myself consumed with the tiny details I step back and look at the overall picture….and have a beer if I’ve remembered to stock up from my last grocery run.

But perfectionism is for the birds. And things, even in Nature, are rarely perfect.

Focus on the bigger picture when you need to re-center. And have a beer and maybe some leftover Halloween candy.  Then come back to it and soldier on.

How did I ever live without a design board? #showmethemoda #primitivequilts #primitive #modafabrics

Aftermath: Columbus Half Marathon 2016

Done with a time 2:43:21. PR'd by 20 minutes from my last half a year ago. Hooray progress, hooray beer and hooray for the running season finally winding down. #cbusmarathon #runnergirl

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I completed my second half marathon and it was a totally different experience from running my first half in fall of 2015.  But before I delve into that the awesome news is I ran a 20 minute PR over the AF Half!! Finishing at 2:43:21 was crazy.  If you read my last post you’ll know that I was aiming for 2:30:00, but it wasn’t to be and that’s okay because it’s still a huge accomplishment! For only being a casual runner who only follows a few basic training rules (wear good shoes, sleep, stretch and don’t starve yourself), it’s phenomenal to see that I really DID physically improve in the last year.  My training actually paid off despite a busy year.  I’m not even disappointed I missed my goal time.  It means I have another year to work and train and earn another chance to PR.

Columbus Half 2016

Obviously I had to ring the PR GONG.  What you don’t know is that that finisher medal weighed almost 3 pounds and was making my neck stiff AND my quads were cramping pretty badly. That silly face is really partial grimace because the hubster was taking way too long to take the picture.

Why was this Half different? Well for starters I had to drive an hour to Columbus and stay overnight at my brother’s house who was still a 30 minute drive from downtown where the starting line was.  That’s not counting having to drive into downtown to grab my race packet the day before and fighting traffic in, out and all around the convention center.  But I will say that because this race is put on annually by Nationwide Children’s Hospital the expo AND the race were both very family friendly and as accommodating as possible. It made the whole event feel all inclusive.

Race day started early for me, like 4am early.  I got to my parking garage at 6am after a 45 minute drive from my brother’s house to downtown and then weaving my way purely by instinct, because Google Maps wigged out on me, around closed roads and one way streets. It was not a good kind of stress to have an hour and a half before start time.  Then I had to pack my hydration belt I decided to wear at the last minute, pin my bib on, do some meditative breathing to calm my burbling stomach and walk my way to the gear check (unknown to me I’d left my dome light on! Fortunately, my battery didn’t drain in the 5 hrs I was away, how crazy is that?).

The race for me didn’t start right at 7:30am because I was in the last corral. I crossed the mat at 7:45am and off I went.  The spectators were great and it was INCREDIBLE having strangers cheering you on for 100% of the race.  It was uplifting and fun.  I high fived as many of the Kid Patient Champions as I could (kids who are fighting illnesses and are representing strength and encouragement for every child out there).  The signs were amazing, “If Trump can run, so can you!”, “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear!”, “Hurry up! Our Catan game is on hold because of you!”, etc.  The weather, a warm 70 degrees, was buffered by a nice wind.

It was a good course with lots to look at and challenging enough to keep you on your toes trying to avoid the road camber or surprise pothole.

My knees got tight due to my quads getting tired at mile 11, but I ran through it and kept pushing only stopping a handful of times to walk out the strain. When I crossed the finish line I didn’t realize I’d set a 20 min PR.  I saw my Garmin and though ok that’s MY time, but what’s the official time? Much to my amazement once I found the Husband and Wee Beastie he told me.

I cried a little, more from relief that it was over and I had managed to pull a good time for myself.  I ran the best I could that Sunday and it paid off.

Every now and then when I find myself thinking about how much something sucks, how I really hate running, or about the general crud that life throws out, I remind myself how awful that first mile I had run in 20 years felt then I look at myself now. I’ll always hate that first mile, but now I can get over it.

Remember to look back to see how far you’ve come.

Ready. Trying to find my zen. Let's hope traffic is smooth tomorrow morning for my 2nd half marathon. #cbusmarathon #halfmarathon #brooksrunning