August Recap

I know I’ve said this before, but the past month has been extraordinarily crazy.  I’ve started posts so many times – on scratch pieces of paper, napkins, sitting here at the computer – and they all just get pushed aside for something else.  I don’t know the last time I was as mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted as I’ve been this month.  This is a LONG post, and it starts out a little heavy, but it lightens up.

I started out this month in Boston.  I had a weekend trip up to spend one more weekend with BFF before she moved to Germany for her PhD.  I cannot even begin to express how wonderful that weekend was, but it was also incredibly difficult.  I’m not sure how you get to the point where you’re okay with your best friend moving halfway around the world, but I am not okay with it yet.  She’s been gone for a couple weeks now, and I already miss her in the worst way.  Most of the time it’s totally fine, but sometimes I feel like someone cut out my heart and a lung, and then had a go for a kidney while they were in there.  We’ve been friends for five years, and of those, four have been long distance.  Nothing horrible has ever happened to make it necessary, but it was always possible to jump in the car or onto a plane and fly to Boston if she needed me, and the other way around.  It came close one year though.  It was New Years Eve 2012 into 2013.  M and I had left the bar we’d all gone out to early to go back to his place, make some pizza, watch the ball drop in our pjs, and then go to bed.  I have no idea what time it was, but we were sound asleep and my phone rang.  I sat straight up in bed, knew it was her without looking at it, and answered “what’s wrong?”  She was on the other end bawling her eyes out, and it was all I could do to calm her down and tell me what had happened.  I came incredibly close to getting on the first flight to Boston the next morning, but she promised it would be okay, and it was.  Getting to Germany in the case of something like that is not anywhere close to that simple.  And it would be a big fat lie if I said I wasn’t worried about that.

On a happier note, I did send her off with a metric ton of bags and travel things.  She doesn’t do organization well (I swear we’re the same person), so I wanted to make sure that she had, at the very least, cute tools to maintain some semblance of order while she’s traveling.  I didn’t get everything on that to-sew list done, but that’s what Christmas is for!  She did get a lot of it though, and then promptly tested a bunch of it out on her trip to PA with her mom.  So, without further ado, here’s what she got!

  • A Weekender Bag (Amy Butler)
  • 1 Large Open Wide Pouch (Noodlehead)
  • 1 Small Open Wide Pouch (Noodlehead)
  • 1 Wherever You Go Travel Wallet (Fishstick Designs)
  • 1 Manicure Wallet (Noodlehead/Robert Kaufman)
  • 2 Tiny Neat n Tidy Zippered Pouches (Erin Erickson)
  • 1 Jane Market Bag (Alicia Paulson)
  • 1 Large Wet Bag
  • 1 Travel Document Wallet (Thimble)
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Most of the stuff I sent to Germany with BFF. She’s got a fantastic Christmas coming too!

I went for a palette of teals, aquas, corals, and purples.  Bright colors, a lot of her, a little of me, and where I could get away with it, some fabrics that reminded me of our time at Roanoke together.  We went from pretty much not being able to stand each other to best friends on a May Term trip to Mexico after junior year of college.  We were both biology majors, and the class was a Tropical Marine Biology thing.  After that class, we ended up having vertebrate biology and our senior seminar together, which means we had a lot of very interesting times in classes together!  I used some florals (we also had the same advisor, and she mostly works with plants,) the coral reef on her weekender bag was because Mexico, same with the Cuzco plume on the wallet.  Inside her weekender, there are a couple of zippered pockets.  One of them got a fish print, the other one got a print that has always reminded me of kelp.  The Jane Market Bag was a different beast.  I’d been hoarding that fabric for a WHILE.  Two years, maybe?  I picked it up off of one of the first destashes that Quilt Barn did, and I never really had a use for it.  It’s a home dec fabric, and there isn’t anything in my home that I wanted in those colors.  I was considering destashing it, and then I started pulling fabrics for this project and they insisted I use them for the Market Bag.  I was happy to oblige, and amazing happened.

Sometimes, the projects design themselves.

In any case, I showed up in Boston with a pile of stuff for her, and she was thrilled.  I still had to finish a few things (like, um, sewing in the lining of the weekender.  Oops.), but for the most part, we used them to transport her stuff from work home, and then as we started cleaning up her bedroom to take back to her parents’ or over to Germany.  I did get this really awesome snapshot of her while I was working on sewing in the lining…

We had a fun weekend in Boston, with lots of good food and some pretty unintentional BFF things happening.  I got to see the sights, we did a lot of walking, I skipped my runs.  All in all, it was a solid weekend.

I got home late Sunday night, M and I had a lovely few hours together before bed, and then he woke me up at 5AM Monday to drive him to the airport.  He spent a week in Dallas for training, came home Thursday night, and we had a bunch of errands to run, family stuff to do that weekend.  I got not a whole lot done, but I did get my Broadway and Hogwarts swaps shipped out mostly on time!

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Broadway Mini Quilt!

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This doesn’t need much introduction! This was the Hogwarts Swap Mini I sent out!

M flew back out to TX for more training the following Tuesday, and I peaced out on Friday for the DCMQG Quilt Retreat.  It was SUCH a fun time.  I honestly could not ask for a better guild.  Everyone is so supportive and inspirational.  I had a super productive two days at retreat, and managed to get a bunch of swap work done, plus a little tiny bit of selfish sewing.

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Unfortunately, I had to leave retreat early on Sunday to get to the airport to head to the National Meeting for work.  I spent Sunday-Wednesday in Boston, and I was so tired by the time it was over.  It was a great experience to be able to go to the meeting, and I’m really hoping I’ll be able to keep going!  I did manage to get a little bit of work done, and I spent some time in our booth on Tuesday (the last day) working on my (drumroll please…) Epic Chemistry Quilt.  I’m not spilling the details on the full design, but it’s going to be pretty sweet.  More than one member was super excited to see me working on it, which was pretty exciting for me!

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I ended up spending most of Wednesday sitting in the airport.  I got the call at 12:30 that my 3pm flight was cancelled, so I hustled it over to sit on standby and hope to get a flight.  I managed to get a little something finished for my Zodiac Mini Swap, and also finished up the embroidery piece of the Best Birthday Ever package I shipped out at the end of the month.

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When I finally got home (on a 6pm flight that was delayed until 7pm,) I was pretty much ready to sleep for a week.  The last week of August was mostly just a cluster of exhaustion, but I finally got my life together and finished up that Best Birthday Ever swap, and got back on the Marathon Training bus.

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So, it’s now September 2.  My next post is going to be a run down of the swaps that I’ve finished/received starting with Alison Glass, as well as the DCMQG Bee update that I’ve been slacking on.

Sewing, Planning, and Running

I opted to skip the Freshly Pieced link-up this week.  I’ve been fairly horrible about taking pictures and not sharing them on instagram, so I didn’t see the point in re-documenting it here.

It’s been a kind of terrible week.  We got some news last weekend that I’m still trying to digest, and I’m definitely not okay with it.  But it seems that there’s nothing we can do.  It’s been killing me, and I took a day or so to sit around and feel sorry for myself, and I’ve been trying to turn the rest of the horrible feelings into sewjo, which has worked kind of well.  Usually, when bad things happen, I run.  I run out the anger and the frustration and the sadness and I get to go home without the ability to feel anything else.  Running usually helps give me some power back when I feel like everything is out of my control, but this is the one time it’s not going to work.  Everything that’s happened has honestly brought into focus the fact that we/I have no control, that we can do everything right and it still won’t matter, and there’s nothing that we can do to change it.  I want to run, I want to fight, but I feel so defeated.  And that will be the end of the vague-blogging.

That said, I decided to take the week off of running and just let myself exist and sew, which seems to be what I need.  It’s been unusually satisfying to create this week, and it seems that my soul is crying out to make beautiful things from little pieces.  Because I don’t have enough projects on my plate, I think I’m going to start working on a postage-stamp scrap vomit quilt.  We’ll see when that gets started, since I have a ton of other stuff that HAS to be done first.  You can see my WIPs on the WIP page by clicking on the pink menu button.

In the past week, I’ve finished the second handmade item for my SPD Fairy Tale Swap partner, made fantastic progress on the mini quilt for that, finished the Alison Glass Angel Mini and thread catcher, accomplished my June DCMQG Bee block, and added about 15 projects to my plate.  I need to do individual posts for the Alison Glass packages I sent, as well as for DCMQG, so those are coming.

I’m also on the hunt for my next planner.  For the past 6 months, I’ve been working out of a Kate Spade agenda (large, gold dots.)  I love it.  I love how it’s organized, I love the font, I love all the extra space for notes to keep track of my swaps, I love the paper, and I especially love that it’s spiral bound, but with a hard cover over the spiral.  Each month is color coded with the important stuff.  Last minute stuff tends to get tossed in in regular black ink when I’m sitting at my desk at work, but theoretically, each month is a different color.  What I don’t love about it is how the hard cover has worn.  My dots are faded, it looks dirty, and it’s not.  So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been researching hard.  And I’ve come to a few conclusions.  Some of these conclusions might insult some of you, and I’m sorry, but this is where I am.

1. I do not understand people who need 7 leatherbound planners.  If you need this many planners for your life, you are doing it wrong.

2. I do not understand the purpose of spending $60-75 on a planner and then using it as a scrapbook.  If you really want to scrapbook your life, there are gorgeous albums for that.

3. Why, why, WHY is it so hard to find a planner with a covered spiral at roughly the same size as the Kate Spade?

4. WHY does KS not make vinyl covers for her planners?  I mean, yeah, it’s $36 for the large one and that’s not breaking the bank, but I HATE that in 3 months I don’t want to show off my gorgeous KS planner because the dots have started to rub off.

5. WHY ARE DISPOSABLE PLANNERS SO EXPENSIVE?!

6. There are not enough real-people review blog posts about planners out there.  I actually also feel this way about fashion, but that’s another blog post entirely.

I’m honestly down to one of two options.  I’m either going to re-order a KS planner, although I’m incredibly sad that the fun quotes each month are gone for 2016, and then cover it with clear contact paper to prevent some of that wear and tear.  OR, I’m going to suck it the fuck up and order an Emily Ley Simplified Planner in Pineapple when they are available in September.  I’m not super okay with either option, but I feel like there’s not much choice.  Thanks, universe.

And, finally, I’m in the process of trying really hard to reorganize my sewing space.  I’ve been using these fantastic drawers for my fabric, but I’m having a hard time keeping everything folded when I’m constantly rifling through them to find what I need.  And my blue and neutral drawers are about to explode.  They are stuffed full.  In addition, my notions are a disaster and I can’t ever find anything, and I don’t have a good storage option for my UFQs/WiPs.  I’m getting really frustrated with the mess, and I don’t know how to make it better.  I’m also really tired of having to cut on the floor or move my sewing machine off to the side of my table, which usually involves moving eight million other things in order to get enough space to move my machine and cut.  Basically, my space is a mess and I can’t function anymore.  I need some serious help.  Suggestions would be much appreciated.  We don’t have a ton of space here – M and I share a small bedroom as his office/my sewing space.  So, adding a table in the middle of the room isn’t an option (although I feel like that’s where I might be.)  Help.  Someone help me.

DCMQG Bee – May!

I’m loving being part of the DC Modern Quilt Guild.  It was kind of a big thing for me to join – I spent several months thinking about it, and then another few months debating with an out of town friend who had loved her guild before she moved, and she convinced me to just do it.  And I am SO GLAD I did.  I haven’t been able to attend quite as many events as I would like, and I’ve missed every meeting since the first one I went to, but I’m participating in other places.  Like the test group for the Bee!

Lynne asked for a wonky star block from this tutorial in aqua or purple, with a low volume background.  This was my very first time making a wonky block on purpose, and I really loved playing with it.  I opted to do the aqua version (shocking!), and I kept the scrappy to the star, rather than scrappy-ing up the background too.

Wonky Star Block

 

Thanks, Lynne, for a great first round!  I’m looking forward to next month’s block from Anna!