Excuses.

Hi!  It has been SO long since I blogged!  Sorry!  I really didn’t mean to be away so long.  I do have a few excuses….

It started in March… I sprained my ankle REALLY bad while cross-country skiing with my family.  That was an emotional blow for some reason & that knocked me into a deep depression.  I sat on the couch for a month too depressed to do anything & when I started to think about ways to die, I made an appointment with a doctor.  While doctoring for that depression my doctors & I came to the conclusion that I have Bipolar II.  I was relieved to start on some medicine to help but scared of what Bipolar would mean for me & my family.  Then I realized I have been dealing with it all along, I just didn’t realize it wasn’t normal.  Getting on some meds would probably only  help and make family life better.  After finding the right medication & the right dose, I am back to my normal-but-better-balanced self.  I am much more even-tempered, less moody, and my anxiety is usually WAY better.  The most wonderful thing is that my medicine allows me to sleep normally for the first time, maybe ever!

(Bipolar disorder is simply a type of mood disorder that cycles between periods of depression and periods of hypomania or mania (elevated mood).  Moods are both high & low, people with Bipolar disorder are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else & with the right medication moods can be controlled.  The II of Bipolar II means that I have the form with less severe manic periods, Bipolar I has more severe manic phases where people do more outlandish things like go on major spending sprees.  However, people with Bipolar II are at a higher risk of committing suicide (30% I read somewhere!) so it is still very serious & very scary.) 

I haven’t talked about my diagnosis with very many people because people don’t understand what it means.  There is a horrible stigma.  People imagine a very chaotic and messed up life when they think of Bipolar disorder and that is not my reality, so I haven’t brought it up to very many people.  No one would guess I have a problem because it normally doesn’t affect my life in ways people on the outside see.

My main problems are/were:

1) periods of depression: varying from feeling down, to feeling like death would bring sweet release if it just didn’t take so much energy to make happen (scary but it’s the truth.)

2) periods of hypomania: where my brain won’t stop & I start too many projects & plan too many things & I can’t stop talking & I might as well stay up till 3 AM because I just want to get my project done!

3) anxiety: panic attacks preventing me from doing the things I want to do, like going to church, or grocery shopping or even hanging out with my friends.

4) insomnia: all of these symptoms were preventing me from sleeping so I was having trouble falling asleep and waking up a million times a night if I did fall asleep.

By Fall I was thinking clearly again so I decided to go back to college!  Fall semester I took a full load of 16 credits and got straight A’s!  Yay me!  But it was tons of work and a crazy schedule so there was no chance for me to do ANYTHING crafty, bloggy, or fun…

During my Christmas break I  was able to do a little crafting & made a bunch of drawstring pouches, a couple zipper pouches & knit a bunch of dish cloths.  Sorry I don’t have pictures of everything.

Leftover dish cloths 🙂

knit dish cloths

I head back to school on Monday with another full load of 15 credits so I will probably not be around here all that much until summer, but I am so looking forward to summer & crafting & blogging a little more!  I have a couple of quilts I want to finish by springtime & a bunch of other random sewing I want to do.  I have decided to keep my project list short and give myself few deadlines so I don’t stress over my lack of progress on my crafts.

Quilt tops to work on…

2

I’m hoping to turn the stack below into a beautiful something for my oldest niece who is graduating from high school this spring!

3

I hope you have a wonderful day and get lots of crafting done this winter!

XOXO,

Naomi

 

 

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March

March around here has been a blur of cold weather, too much snow, a sprained ankle, so many scouting activities, & hoping with all my heart that a real spring & summer is on its way.  I am ready for the snow to melt, no longer needing heavy jackets, &  more sunshine!!

March blocks These are my March blocks for do. Good Stitches (Peace Circle).  We used a tutorial found here.  This quilt will be really interesting with all the different solid colors.  I am excited to see it!

January log cabin quilt

The top for my January quilt is done!   It’s been hanging on my desk waiting for me to go through my batting to see if I can find a piece large enough to use on this quilt.  I am in love with the on point setting & the polka-dots.  This is so not the vision I had in my mind when I asked for log cabin blocks, but I am glad I let the blocks work themselves into this setting & also happy that my current obsession with Navy was a good fit for this quilt.

Cat in shoes

Sox has been especially adorable lately.

Cat in plant

What a goofball!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!  My kids are home this week & I have been loving them up.  My house is TRASHED & LOUD but those are signs of a happy home.  (That’s what I keep telling myself anyway!)

XOXO, Naomi

 

 

My Mojo Is Back!

(My sister keeps telling me I need to blog…  so here I am.  Thanks for the push Brita!)

I have a few things for show & tell today!  Yay!

Kitchen Towels

At Christmas time I whipped up 4 kitchen towels as gifts, this is only 2.  I forgot to take a picture of the other 2.  Oops! I just bought the towels & made some appropriately sized binding strips out of scraps & attached it to the bottom of the towel.  Super quick, used scraps & they turned out really cute!  I might have to make some for my own house soon!

scrappy patchwork rug

This is my new scrappy kitchen rug! If it gets spaghetti stains I will just sew more scraps over the stains!  I’m excited to see how this will stand the test of time.

To make a Scrappy Kitchen Rug:

  1. Layer a piece of linen (or other fabric) & batting
  2. Pick scraps (some big, some small), cut off extra threads, square up, etc.
  3. Sew the big scraps on first (edge stitch, leaving raw edges)
  4. Quilt it horizontally about 1.5″ apart
  5. Next  sew the smaller scraps on (I used my smaller scraps to cover any puckers I got from quilting)
  6. Quilt it vertically about 3/8″ apart
  7. Cut another piece of batting plus a backing,
  8. Layer the top, batting & back & attach all the layers together (I used a little circle stitch mode 3, #23 on my Janome Memory craft 6600)
  9. Add some binding

Viola!  A rug!  I will wash it soon & show you how it fluffs up!

reading

W spends most of his days reading.  Sox decided to hop up with him one day & curl up on his back!  A-DOR-A-BLE!!!  Sox likes to snuggle more than any cat I’ve ever met.  I am happy he returned this morning from a 5 day walkabout.  He seems pretty happy & hungry, but he must have been fighting  because he is all scabby.

color

January layout log cabin

This is the January quilt for the Peace circle of do. Good Stitches.   I asked for scrappy, warm & cool log cabins (with no pink or purple).  I was imagining a different layout, but when I tried it out the design was hard to see.   So I tried this layout & I like it so far.  I will just have to see how it all turns out when I have all the blocks.

February blocks scrappy trip

These are my February blocks for the Peace circle of do. Good Stitches.  We used the Scrappy Trip tutorial  which turned out to be really fun & WAY easier than I expected.  I can’t wait to see this quilt take shape.  (P.S. Can you BELIEVE I finished my blocks so early?!  I’m trying a new thing.  It’s called NOT procrastinating.)

arcadia blocks

I FINALLY pulled out my Arcadia fabric to make a quilt for my bed!  The blocks are done I just need to sew them into a top!  Exciting!!  The colors look a little off in this photo.  (My camera has been taking dark, blurry photos lately…& by lately I mean the entire time I have had it, it just seems worse lately.  Maybe I just suck at photography.)

w's brick quilt

W’s quilt is DONE!!!  I will get good pictures of it someday (or not…) but it’s a pretty basic brick pattern.  Both the boy’s quilts turned out ENORMOUS!  I’m not sure what numbers I was using to determine the size but they are extra wide & long.  Oh well!  They will maybe just get more use out of them as they move into different sized beds!  🙂

stacked coin black raspberry lime

I finally made a back for this quilt & quilted it!  I just need to hand sew the binding & wash it up & it’s done!  YAY!!   This was made using the stacked coin quilt along   at Don’t Call Me Betsy.

So it turns out I got my sewing mojo back!  Yay!

Here are some things I am thinking about making:

  • clothes.  Doll clothes for my nieces, pajama pants for my boys, tank/t-shirt/skirt for me.
  • quilt with curves.  Maybe single girl, drunkard’s path, snake, color wheel, dresdens.
  • pillows for the couch.
  • something with applique.
  • something with hand quilting.
  • I need to start a new knitting project.
  • something with my selvedges.
  • something scrappy.
  • something paper pieced or with a muslin foundation.
  • beard hats & aprons for M&R

Here are some things I am thinking about finishing:

  • Beach bag
  • Summer Sampler
  • Swoon
  • Orange sweater (working on the sleeves!!)
  • Christmas quilt
  • Aprons

I’m hoping my enthusiasm for all of these things continues so I accomplish all of these things by summertime!  Wish me luck!

A Whirlwind November

December, where did you come from?!

November flew by in a whirlwind of doctor appointments, a birthday, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, a broken toe, conferences, Cub Scout meetings, delivering popcorn & wreaths, karate, & trying desperately to figure out how to make my headaches & tummy problems go away.

I did manage to finish up my May quilt for do. Good Stitches.  Yay!  It felt lousy to keep seeing those beautiful, sunny blocks sitting on the shelf, waiting for me to have time for them.  I’m happy to have found the time to sew this happy quilt together!  May quilt

We used the Positively Perfect Nap Quilt tutorial & I asked for pink, red, yellow, & orange blocks.  I hope this quilt puts a smile on the face of the child who receives it.  I know it makes me smile!  🙂

XOXO, Naomi

January Quilt

Hip-hip-hooray!

I finished the January quilt for my do. Good Stitches quilting bee!  I’m so happy to have this off my list of things to do.  Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, I have, it’s just that I have been extra busy or unmotivated lately, so it seems like it took FOREVER.

January stars

Do you like the circle quilting?

back of january quilt

The back has an aqua hounds-tooth print, Kona ash & medium gray, the yellow is a DS Quilts print, & I used the triangle scraps from the ribbon star block I made for the front.

detail of back

I really like how this turned out.  I was very unsure of how to quilt it, but decided on the circle quilting.  It was pretty fun to do, I’m glad I tried it.  I will be boxing this up & getting it in the mail soon!  I hope some sweet foster child loves this quilt!

🙂

Have a great day everyone!

XOXO, Naomi

Zig-zag Quilt

What a weight lifted off my shoulders!!

I finally finished my youngest son’s zig-zag quilt!  Yay!  I started his quilt in 2010, I believe.  I got the top & back all finished, then moved on to his brother’s quilt.  I got that top & back finished & then set them aside, not having time to finish them up (you know, with surgery & recovery & all that).  I hate when that happens!  Well, now all my unfinished projects are yelling at me, begging for some attention.  I can’t move on until I finish up some of these lonely, forgotten projects.

So, I have finished one & it feels good.  I wanted to do more quilting in the white spaces, but just didn’t have the time or patience.  I just wanted it to be DONE.  Someday I will have more patience & confidence to do some fancier quilting.  I would love to maybe take a class on quilting so I feel like I know what the heck I am doing.

zig zag front(Never mind the crooked pictures, it was FREEZING out!!)

  • Fabric: Kona White, Orange, Cyan, Chocolate & a green I can’t remember the name of, various batik fabrics from Joann’s
  • Pattern: I am pretty sure I used this tutorial from Purl Bee as a guideline.
  • Quilting: Echo quilted along the outside of the zig-zags.
  • Size: Twin (61″x89″)

zig zag back

My favorite thing about this quilt is that T thinks the friendship stars on the back are “ninja-stars”.  Hilarious! 

2011 Peace circle do.Good Stitches Quilts

If you’re like me you love to see the finished product…

I thought you would like to see the finished quilts for my do. Good Stitches quilting bee!

1. do. Good Stitches Peace Circle, 2. MayFinished2, 3. PEACE – Hourglass Quilt, 4. July Quilt for do. Good Stitches (Peace)

1. Starflower Quilt, 2. Stars Finished Top, 3. Quilt top done…, 4. November blocks (Peace)

 

(The November quilt isn’t done yet so those are just my blocks…)

I hope the kids who receive these quilts love them & get some sort of comfort in their lives from having their own quilt, lovingly made for them.  I’m looking forward to a whole new year of quilt making!  Great job ladies!

Birth of a Quilt

July was my month to be the quilter for the Peace circle of do. Good Stitches.

 I wanted to make a quilt that an older boy could love.  So I scoured Design Seeds in search of a palette that would work.  After consulting with all the boys in my house, I settled on navy, aqua, yellow, khaki, & some brown.  Then I made an inspiration mosaic, in order to convince myself that this palette was going to work!  I asked my fellow bee-mates to use the Rectangle Squared Tutorial.

 July mailEveryday in July I eagerly awaited the mailman’s delivery of my packages!

blocks for julyLook at all these lovely blocks!  Good job ladies!

block layoutI couldn’t wait to start working on the layout.

rectangle squared quilt topA complete quilt top!

quilt backThe back.  (Never mind the crazy-tan-lined feet!)

I basted this quilt & had to let it sit for longer than I would have liked. 😦

finished quiltLife has been insanely busy, so I didn’t have time to consider the quilting too much.  I would have liked to have done something more interesting but I also needed to get it done!  I got a new sewing machine last week (Janome Memory Craft 6600) & immediately tried some easy straight line quilting on this.  My old machine couldn’t do free-motion quilting (it could barely do straight line quilting!), so I will practice that & hopefully my next quilt will be FMQ’d!

rectangle squared quilt doneAll crinkly after washing!

back of rectangle squared quilt I decided after looking at this picture, that a small strip of teal (like the binding) around the white would look great!  It would really make things stand out.  Oh well.  There’s always next time!

favorite blockThis is one of my favorite blocks.  I think I may have to do another project with navy, aqua, & yellow soon!

Our group donates the quilts we make to My Very Own Blanket a charity that gives blankets to kids in foster care.  I hope this quilt is well-loved & gives some sweet child some comfort during the ups & downs of life.

Summer

So it’s finally summer for me!  No more working everyday!  Yay!  I don’t have much to say…  I have been desperately trying to finish up my items for the Spicing Up The Kitchen Swap.  This swap is killing me.  I can NOT figure out what my partner will like.  I feel like nothing is good enough.  I have idea after idea & then I start things & give up half way through, thinking they aren’t what she will like.  I have never second guessed myself so much.  I’m ready to be done with it.  I received a WONDERFUL package the other day!  I will show pictures later…  I’m off to finish this last thing for this swap.  Today is the last day I have to work on it!

Oh yeah.  The reason I blogged today….  I am going to join a sampler quilt along.  Find more information here.  Spur of the moment decision.  🙂

Swim, Bike, Quilt

My Two Cents

So after reading Rachel’s post (the comments are worth a read) regarding things we keep to ourselves & how we feel about this whole quilty online community of ours, I have been doing some thinking.  Here are some of my thoughts:

  • I don’t like all the consumerism going on.  (it sounds like I’m not the only one)  I mean, we all need to make a living but I want to read blog posts about the creative process, not about your sponsor’s newest line of fabric.  I think it’s great if you want to make things & sell them but the sponsored blogs are just getting so old.  If you have a giveaway, don’t make me jump through 5 hoops to enter.
  • I really don’t care if something is “modern” or “traditional”.  What matters to me is if I like it.  I tend to like things I think look more modern.  But maybe it’s just “current”.  Maybe it’s “bright & fun”.  I like a lot of the traditional patterns just with brighter fabrics.  I think my beef with “traditional” is that it is so pattern dependent.  It sucks the creativity out of me.  There is no room to do your own thing.  Because it’s “wrong” if you break free from the pattern.  Although I don’t really love “improv” quilting, which is really “modern”.  It looks unplanned & messy to me most of the time.  Also the whole “dumbing down of quilting” debate is ridiculous.  No one is dumbing it down.  Yes some people make simple quilts.  They are still a beautiful work of art.  Just let people make what they want to.  If you don’t care for it, that ‘s fine.  We are all entitled to an opinion.  Not everyone has the skill, patience, desire, or time, to make a quilt with hundreds of HST’s or flying geese.
  • I just want everyone to feel inspired to try.  I felt terrible when some people were saying that they were discouraged after reading some blogs.  Or that they would never be “good enough” so why try.  That kills me!  If you see something online that you like & want to make something like it, do it!  You can!  If you don’t know how, ask.  Look it up.  You CAN do it!  If someone else can do it so can you.  Especially if you want to.  🙂  Don’t get discouraged because someone else is “better” than you.  Everyone started somewhere.  No one’s first projects were perfect, in fact I bet everyone can point out the flaws in EVERYTHING they make.  Just be proud of what you can do & if you want to get better, practice!  Learn a new technique, talk to people, join a quilt guild, get a few books from the library.  Flickr is a GREAT source of inspiration & information.  This is NOT rocket science.  It takes practice & determination, but not much more.  You CAN do it!

I keep asking myself why I started this blog….  Here’s my answer.  I love to craft.  Not just quilts, although that is my passion right now, but anything that allows my creative juices to flow a little.   I love being a Mom, but making things really helps me feel like me.  I’m more than just Mom, wife, housekeeper.  I am Naomi: Quilter, Knitter, Maker.  When I had my heart surgery I realized that a long life is not guaranteed.  I would like to enjoy the moments I have here & maybe leave some things behind that will remind my kids of me.  Every stitch I sew or knit is made with love so my love is literally sewn (knit) in to everything I make.  I hope that my love is felt each time something I make is used.  So the reasons I started this blog are:

  1. To share the things I make because it’s always more fun when you share.
  2. To give myself motivation to continue working on a project because I can tend to move on to the next thing before I finish the first thing.
  3. To make some friends who feel the passion I feel for quilting.  (I have lots of knitting friends, but a few more of those would never be a bad thing.)
  4. To join in.  All too often I stay out of the conversation.  I run after the kids, I let myself  be distracted, I smile & nod.  I don’t have the confidence I should have.  I think it’s incredibly hard to meet new people, it takes me a ridiculously long time to warm up to new things, by the time I’m comfortable the opportunity to join in is over.  I just want to have a voice.
  5. To hopefully encourage new quilters to give it a try!  It really isn’t hard.  You don’t need fancy, expensive machines.  You don’t need to go into debt just for designer fabric.  I sew with a 1970’s model Singer.  I want a new machine so bad, but the one I have works & does most of what I want it to.  When I can save up enough I will buy myself a nice machine but that doesn’t mean I will be able to make better things.  I think if you’re going to spend money on something, let it be fabric.  Good quality fabric really does make a difference, but find sales.  Honestly, no one needs to spend $10 a yard on something you can find on sale for half that price.  The bottom line is, do what you can.  If you’re on a budget, buy what feels good.  If it feels thin & cheap at the store, don’t buy it, it will be a waste of money, no matter how cheap it was.

So that’s what I have for tonight.  I haven’t been sewing because I’ve been working!  (If you are actually reading this & don’t know me, I am a stay-at-home Mom most of the time, but also have a casual job as a Surgical Technologist.  That means when the surgeon says “Scalpel” I am the one who hands it to him.  Except they really don’t say scalpel in real life.  They say knife.)

I will leave you with some pictures of my cute kiddos.

my son with his bowThis is T (he’s 5) with his new bow.  He is so happy that the Easter bunny gave him this!  This was his own pose by the way.  He went down on one knee because I was bending down to get a better shot of him.  I love when kids do that!

my son with hiw new wandHere is W (he’s 8.) with his real Harry Potter wand.  It is seriously heavy & way better than the plastic one he had before.  He spent some time trying every spell he could think of.  He was disappointed that it didn’t work.  I told him he must be a muggle.  He thought it might be because he wasn’t really old enough yet.  Because you have to be 11 to go to Hogwarts. 🙂

dying eggsWhat a mess… Why are there 12 different colors of dye in one box?  If I would have been using my brain I would have saved some for next year.  How many eggs do most people dye?  We did 12.  That was enough.

easter morningEaster morning

It looked frostier, but I was in too much of a rush to try make the picture turn out right.  It was gorgeous.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!