Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quilt In Progress

I've been working on this project in all my spare time. I'm having a blast with it too! When it came to starting this project I wanted to make sure I had a definite plan in mind. Sometimes when I create with art, sewing, or quilting I just go with the flow. I didn't feel comfortable doing that with this project. The main reason being the vintage quilt squares. If I mess up I can't just go to the store & buy more. I decided to do a ton of sketching, 3 pages to be exact, & to make some mini mock fabric squares to move around.

The first pattern

Here's what I came up with. These are the four main fabrics. I pretty much knew from the beginning how I wanted them to stack (order of color). Then I just played around with pattern & placement. My goal is to stay true to the vintage feel of the quilt with fabric choices & pattern, but give it some modern flair with the quilting process (more on that later).

The second pattern

I really liked the idea of an argyle pattern but this felt to busy to me. 

 The third pattern

I love the chevron look but this wasn't working for me either.

I went ahead & got started on the quilt anyway. I knew there were some things I could start without knowing where I wanted to take the quilt. So I worked on getting the first layer of fabric on.

 The next morning I was taking a shower & looked down to see pure inspiration! No not my out of shape figure, I said inspiration not depressing! I looked at the drain & knew that was the pattern I wanted to use. Okay, so I did a little more searching on the web & found lots of quilts with a similar pattern but I had to mention this. It really was an idea inspired in the shower, lol!

Eureka! The final sketch & pattern for the quilt.

My friend Melanie came over & I showed her my ideas & told her how I felt none of them really worked but loved parts of them. She offered the idea of combining them & that's what I did! So nice to surround yourself with creative people. 

So I finished the first layer on 19 squares.

Then cut all the edging for the next layer of fabric. I sewed my little heart out last night adding the brown polka dot fabric & I'm almost finished with this too. Yahoo! I'll share the pics with you tomorrow. I love how everything is turning out. I feel like the extra energy spent on planning out this quilt will really pay off in the end.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vintage Scottie Dog Quilt Project

My dear friend Elizabeth sent me a very special box of fabric back in May. I feel terrible that it's taken me so long to get started. Time management has never been one of my strong suites ;) Elizabeth is so dear to me. She was a friend for me when I felt I had none. When I lived in Oregon for a very brief 6 months through a very horrible marriage she was my shoulder to cry on, confidant & friend. Her husband was my lawyer & helped me with my divorce & bankruptcy. She helped me pack up my moving van & made sure I was safe during that move. In a time when things seemed so unbearable, she was there to lift me up & dust me off. A true friend.  Thanks to Facebook we have been able to keep in touch. I really feel like the Lord placed her in my life & I'm so grateful for all her kindness through the years. 

These amazing Scottie dogs were made by Elizabeth's Grandmother.

Could you just die over all the vintage fabrics? 

This one is unfinished & I get to do a little hand stitching so it will match the other dogs. 

I don't even think I could pick a favorite if I tried. 

I find them all so charming. 

I really want to keep with a vintage feel but add a modern touch to this quilt. I have been given creative liberty with all the projects she sent my way (3 in all). So I decided to make this quilt more girlie. The Scottie dogs  have a cute & girlie feel to me. This is the fabric I chose to make the quilt with. My mom found the cute flower one when we were at the store. (Mom you saved my biscuits!!!) I chose the muslin & the polka dots as accent fabric. All in all I think these will work with the vintage fabrics rather well. It would be hard to pull color from every single dog, so I went with fabrics I thought looked the best. The last two Scotties may stand out a little more but I still feel like it can work. Don't you wish you could still find feed sack fabrics? I know you can in some specialty fabric shops but it would be fun if stores carried them all the time. 

I've been sketching some ideas for this quilt & will post them soon. I'm really excited about this project & look forward to sharing the process with you over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

30 Day Juice Fast

Recently Dean & I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead. It was awesome. I will admit when we sat down that night to watch it I didn't expect much from the film. In fact we were both so tired we couldn't decide on what we wanted to watch and settled on that film. I'm forever grateful we did. It was just the film we needed to watch. As a family we have been slowly but surely moving in the right direction of living a healthier lifestyle. I'm not going to say it's been easy. There are times where we take great strides forward & then other times we have to reevaluate where we are at & more forward in a more positive light. This film just made sense to us. It came at the perfect time. I've been so tired lately. Having 4 kids will do that to you :) However it was more than that. I just didn't feel good most days. I suffered from headaches & sometimes I just felt rotten for no reason at all. I desperately wanted to change things but whatever I did never really seemed to help.

This is our new staple. 25 pounds of carrots every two weeks.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead opened a whole new world to me. For those of you who haven't seen the film yet, it's a documentary about a really nice Aussie man who comes to the United States to detox by going on a juice fast. All fruits & veggies juiced for 60 days straight. When he starts his fast he's overweight, & has some health issues he's taking steroids for. Along the way he meets & inspires another man with the same health problems, to change his life for the better through a juice fast. The documentary is so easy to watch & filled with a ton of great information. When Dean & I finished watching the film I told him I wanted to do a juice fast. We kinda joked about it but the next night I went to the store & bout a days worth of Bolthouse juice. Once Dean saw that I was serious about doing the fast we headed to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy our Breville Ikon juicer.

I decided that I would start with a 30 day juice fast. So for 30 days I only drank freshly made juice. I went to the Reboot website and wrote down some of the recipes. The Mean Green & the V28 were 2 of my favorite. I pretty much drank those more than any of the others. Most mornings I would start my day with a fruit juice but I was careful to do veggies for the other two drinks. The first 4 days were the hardest. My body was getting rid of so much yuck. I felt so much better by day five. I'm not going to lie. Dinnertime with my family never was easy the whole time I fasted. I realize that food is such an emotional thing for me. The act of eating dinner is important. Even though I was never hungry, not once during my whole fast, at dinnertime I felt the need to eat. Once the meal was over the feeling went away. It opened my eyes to some horrible eating habits I have developed over the years. I realized that sometimes I eat even when I'm not hungry. It's a real eye opener. 

Different peppers from our garden. I used them in my V28 juices to add a little kick!

This is a typical breakfast drink for Dean & I.

The most common question I got was, "What about protein?" It answers this question at length on the Reboot website. Another statement I got quite frequently was, "Well be careful on that juice fast." I always had a giggle about that one. I didn't knew veggies & fruits could be so dangerous! I never had someone come up to me when I was putting processed foods in my grocery cart telling me to be careful of the Oreo cookies! It woke me up to just how warped our views on food are as a society. 

There is a lot of pulp that is left behind when making juices. We put it to good use in our compost pile. It will turn into perfect compost by the time spring planting comes along.

Picking beans with daddy for one of our meals.

Speaking of grocery carts full of food, our trips to the store became a good laugh for Dean & I. It never failed when it was time to check out we would be the only people in line with almost all produce in our carts. One time the lady behind us was rolling her eyes & sighing while the cashier checked us out. I wonder what was going through her mind? I watched as she unloaded her cart full of soda & processed foods. No wonder she was so cranky, lol! I told her about the juice fast I was on & passed on the name of the movie. It was fun to use our cart full of produce as a conversation starter. I feel like it's my duty to pass this information on. Wouldn't it be great if we could all feel healthy?

Our first head of cauliflower.

Because of this 30 day juice fast I do feel so amazing! I don't have constant headaches anymore. My last cycle wasn't painful & the bumps on the back of my arms (I think they are called Chicken Skin Bumps) have almost completely cleared up. I also have more energy. I used to get so tired & napped almost everyday. Now I don't nap as much. Our youngest is a year so he still has rough nights from time to time. I also don't hit the wall, as I like to call it. I used to hit the wall around the same time every evening. Usually around 5-6pm. I would feel exhausted & overwhelmed, than about 30 minutes later I'd get a second wind. I don't have those moments anymore. It's wonderful because that's the time of day my family needs me most.

Our first time growing onions.

Starting the seeds for our fall planting.

Last but not least I lost some weight. 25 pounds of weight. Please excuse my lovely pictures. Seriously why did I take bathing suit pictures? If I had it to do over I would have worn my workout pants and a tank top. Sigh. So here I am below. It's hard for me to look at these. The before pics are tough to look at because I think to myself, how did I let me get to this point? Even the after pics are tough, because I realize I still have so much farther to go.

Sorry I had to remove these photos. Found out someone was downloading them. WAY TOO much for me. If you are interested in seeing results please send me an email. Thanks

The fact is I didn't get here overnight & I don't expect to get healthy overnight either. What this juice fast did for me was gave my body a chance to move forward in the right direction. It helped me to get rid of the yuck & have a better foundation to move forward with. It helped me to realize I can be healthy & I will feel so much better if I am. I am still juicing & will continue to. I just feel too good not to. In fact since my fast has ended I find the days I juice twice a day I just function better than the days I have only juiced once or like today, not at all (we need to go to the grocery store :). 
I hope if anyone reading this is feeling stressed, or sick, or just not healthy watch the documentary. Consider a juice fast. I'm so glad we have decided to make this a part of our lifestyle. Feel free to ask any questions. I may add more to this post if I feel I have forgotten something. Thanks for stopping by! & for all of you dropping by from the Reboot page, keep juicing! Don't give up. It's worth all the sacrifice!

P.S. Thanks to Joe for opening our eyes to a better way of living! I'll be forever grateful!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

20th Finish

It's hard to believe I started this project almost 2 months ago. I haven't been lazy, just busy fitting other projects into the mix. I've been working on the bibs as time has allowed.

I made these for my sweet friend Maryanne who just had her little Owen just a few days ago. She's the sweet friend that bought me my new sewing machine in exchange for some sewing. These were the last of her projects. 

This set I made for a friend I used to go to art school with. Thanks Dora for supporting my little Artfulife business :)

 Some of the ties I made from fabric & others I made from vintage Bias tape. I won a huge lot of vintage sewing items last fall & I'm trying to actually use the things that I have in the garage. While cleaning out my closet I found not 1, not 2, but 3 bags of stuffing/filling for sewing projects. Add that to the 5 other bags that I have in the garage & well......you get the picture. There have been so many times I bought some sort of sewing/art supply only to realize I already have more than one of said item.

So I decided it's time to use what I have. All of these bibs I sewed are scraps from other projects I've made over the past few years.

All my girls have taken an interest in sewing. Each of them want their own sewing machine & that just may be what they get for Christmas this year. Zoe really gets the whole process & I think she's old enough & patient enough to start learning the basics. 

I made this bib pattern by taking two of my most favorite bibs I was given when Sloan was born & combined them together to make this bib. 

Aris had fun taking scraps of fabric and placing them on top of each other. In her mind she was making a pattern. That's what she told me.

I am amazed at how long she will sit & play with scraps. Who wouldn't be excited for a feisty 4 year old to sit quietly for an hour. I got so much done & it was fun to have her right by my side.

These little button bibs were fun to make. I used one of my favorite bibs to make this pattern too. However I modified it too be wider & longer.

35 bibs in all. All made from fabric scraps. Not too shabby. It feels so good to have this project finished. I'm super excited to start my next project. It's actually 3 projects all for a dear friend of mine & I will be posting about it in the next day or so.

20 down, 32 to go