Archives for posts with tag: family

First, the obligatory year-in-review. 2011 was an extraordinary year of personal highs and lows. There are way too many highs and lows, so I’m going to recap a few of the most important and leave it at that:

High: Turning 30 years old. I’m loving this decade so far!

High: Attending four weddings of close family and friends – not only did I love being there in person to share in their joy, I got to explore several areas of the country I hadn’t previously spent much time: Philadelphia, Steamboat Springs, San Luis Obispo, and San Diego!

Low: The death of my incredible, strong, hilarious, loving grandmother at age 90.

High: The opportunity to celebrate my grandmother in the most life-affirming way, with nearly all 30+ grandchildren and great-grandchildren participating in a service that was filled with music, laughter, and a recap of all her grandmotherly advice.

High: Spending a week and a half exploring London with my parents and soaking in so much culture: a play (Driving Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave), an opera (La Traviata), an exhibit of nearly all of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings, a musical (Crazy for You), a performance of the Messiah, a Christmas caroling service at Westminster Abbey, and a Christmas Day service at St. Paul’s cathedral.

High: Learning how to quilt!

(See that transition I just made there? Pretty clever, huh?)

I made my first two quilts this year – my string quilt and my rainbow New Wave quilt. I also made a bunch of small projects such as zipper pouches and wall hangings, and a lot of quilts in progress, too! Here’s most of my projects from this year:

I’m really excited for more crafty time in 2012! I’m hard at work on my wonky stars quilt which was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my niece – I had to give her an IOU. I also just bought a bunch of Half Moon Modern and some Pezzy Print charm packs which I’m really excited to use!

New year’s resolutions: be more creative…be more confident…keep a clean and organized home…do more yoga…love hard and let it show.

Haven’t made enough progress to justify doing a WiP Wednesday the last few weeks. Between two separate trips to California for weddings and the death of my incredible grandmother, I just haven’t had much time at the sewing machine!

The only thing I’ve sewn is one little dumpling zipper pouch using this tutorial from Keyka Lou. I probably would have made a bunch more cause they are so cute and easy but I didn’t have enough long zippers! And…apparently I haven’t taken any pictures of it yet, and I’m too lazy to do so right now.

But I have some other quilting-related photos to share. The wedding that I went to near San Luis Obispo a few weeks ago incorporated a lot of Jewish traditions, including the chuppah or canopy which was held over the bride and groom by their parents and siblings. My friends put their own twist on the chuppah, making it into almost a memory quilt using fabrics that are meaningful to them and their families. There was a piece of traditional Mexican hand embroidery by the bride’s grandmother, a shirt from the groom’s grandfather, a map of the lower United States representing the year-plus walking journey across the country which the groom took after graduating college, a baby onesie from their best friends’ baby, etc. It was really incredible and will be such a wonderful keepsake for them for years to come.

Here are a few other pictures from that wedding weekend, which was held at a state park campground.

One week ago today, my incredible, strong, witty, elegant grandmother passed away. She has six children, 21 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren (plus 1 on the way) and she managed to make us all feel like we had a special relationship with her. To the very end of her 90 year life, she was selfless and retained her sense of humor and joie de vivre. Here is a photo of her at a family wedding two years ago (88 years old and she could still throw it down on the dance floor):

It was really a blessing that we had another family wedding last weekend so that many of us were able to get together and support each other after she died. Our family is big, crazy, and close, and we have lots of silly traditions that it’s more important than ever to maintain. One such tradition is that we typically get all six aunts to hold up the bride and groom for pictures. Not all the aunts were there this time, so some cousins filled in! (That’s me in the brown and orange dress.)

Here’s the amazing cake that my sister made:

One of the best parts of the weekend was getting to spend a lot of time with my deployed Marine cousin’s wife and their new baby. Here’s a quilt that my aunt (the one that got me into quilting) made for her first grandson!

Now that life is starting to return to normal (fingers crossed!) I am excited to get back to the sewing machine! I need to get moving on my wonky stars quilt for my niece Livy’s Christmas present, and last night I ordered the fabric for my nephew’s quilt!

Some visual highlights from my recent vacation in Maine (mostly nieces, nephew, cousins, and dogs!):

I had a wonderful and relaxing time with my family. The 4th of July is a really big deal in my hometown and for my family. There are lobsters to be eaten, beaches to visit, parades to watch, road races to run, cosmos to drink, and fireworks to watch (through a transformer due to unfortunate choice of seats this year)! And yes, my dad uses a front-end loader to portage the kayak…that’s just how we do things in Maine. I spent time with nearly all of my 20+ cousins (and their growing families). AND I finished my first quilt! I’ve posted about it a lot already, but seeing as it’s my first completed quilt, I’m still really impressed with myself and need to show it off more! Haha.

Here’s where I started:

 

I chose the color scheme by looking at all the photos of my niece on Facebook to see what color clothes she wears – I didn’t know what her favorite colors were, so I figured that she would probably like a quilt made of the colors she wears regularly! It was almost comical how often she wears turquoise (based on her Facebook photos), so it made my decision really easy. I added in some pinks and yellows to add a bit of femininity and pop!

I used the Valentine pattern from The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman, whose wonderful blog Oh Fransson I read regularly. There is also a great tutorial on making string blocks here at the Film in the Fridge blog. I found the technique to be pretty straightforward, although it gets repetitive. I finished the first half of the blocks in about a week, then it took me probably six weeks to finish the others because I got kind of bored. However, I love the way it looks completed! If I do another string quilt, I may add some thick borders so I don’t have to make quite so many blocks. I love the look of this quilt with just six string blocks and some yummy yellow surrounding it.

Fenway was unimpressed with the hundreds of paper strips I pulled off the back of the quilt:

But he seemed to like the final result (he’s making his “just try and make me get off this couch” face):

Here’s some details of the quilting I did (two lines through each white stripe in white thread and then concentric diamonds in turquoise thread, plus one little free motioned flower for fun!):

This stage was terrifying for me:

Here’s the finished product:

All done! Now I can get back to my other projects…and start working on a quilt for my other niece! It will be nice to work on something that isn’t turquoise for a change!

I’m all packed and ready to leave for Maine tomorrow morning! Maddie’s graduation quilt is coming with me, so I’m hoping to finish the binding in the next few days and post some pictures of the completed quilt! I’m also planning a fabric shopping trip with some of my quilting relatives, including this store (in my hometown of Bath) and this store. I’ve been saving up, so expect to see some pictures of new additions to my stash soon, too! I see Loulouthi in my future…

I’m just really excited for a much-needed break from work and a chance to reconnect with my family, especially my grandmother who just turned 90 last week. I’m also looking forward to watching Wimbledon, hitting the beach (please, good weather!), and eating some lobster!

I’m a beginning quilter with a penchant for “reinterpreting” the directions, so this may be best categorized as a humor blog. 

I’ll do my best to keep you entertained and contribute something new and interesting to the vibrant quilt-blog community.

Here’s a sneak peek of my current project:

I’m making a string quilt for my niece’s graduation gift. I’m using the pattern from The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman, although I’m making it a little bit smaller than she did in the book – mine will be 6×6 blocks rather than 6×8.

Maddie better appreciate this quilt and proudly display it in her dorm room next year because it’s a ton of work! I know she thinks the check I gave her at her graduation party was her “real” gift…

Here’s the future quilt recipient and her favorite aunt (me):