Life Update

Friday, September 27, 2019

Somehow it's almost the end of the month and this is my first blog post other than my regular monthly report! I thought it was time for a bit of an update on what I've been up to, not just this month but in the last year too.

As social media has made it easier and more natural to share every little bit of your life, I've felt myself wanting to keep more things private. But I do miss sharing a bigger look into what's going on in my life, especially here on my blog. I love looking back at older posts and seeing what I was thinking or feeling at that time.

To be honest, this last year has been tough for me personally. In August last year I experienced the biggest flare-up in my arthritis* that I've ever had and it was pretty out of control until May/June of this year. There were stretches of time where I was limiting my times up or down our stairs to 2-3 times a day because my knee would swell up so easily. Since my sewing room is on the second floor, that made it pretty hard to be productive in my sewing! I love to be busy working on projects and generally working with my hands so it was difficult for me to do what I needed (rest) to get healthy.

*I have juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Read more here: Safe Crafting: Sewing with Arthritis

The entire situation forced me to evaluate how I was doing everything, including working on my business/blog/sewing. It made me realize that I needed to take a step back and work at a slower pace in order to maintain my health. That's the main reason why blog posts, patterns, and even my social media posts have been fewer and farther in between. Just like everything else, nothing is permanent, so I may return to my prolific sewing habits someday. For now though, I'm taking things slower.

I have so many things to share, from projects that never got photographed and all the creative work I've done on fixing up our home. It's a challenge for me to fit everything into a day without overdoing it. Taking care of an entire house has taken up so much more of my time than I anticipated. It's all good, but it does mean less time to work.

In the last two months I painted our kitchen, including the inside and outside of our cabinets, which was quite an undertaking. It was actually the big push on finishing up the painting that kept me away from the blog this month. I've also been working steadily on the lined drawstring bag expansion pattern, which I'm still hoping to release this Fall. I'm including a lot of different options, so it's taking longer than I expected. I do think (hope!) it will be worth the wait.

My sweet George bunny has had a bit of a rough summer too. He's been having a major shed and it has been hard on his digestive system. So that's been a lot of extra worrying and he has needed extra care and attention. He has been improving and I'm hoping things will return to normal once it cools off and his shedding is done.

My little cutting garden on the side of our garage has brought me immense joy this summer. I usually go out to check on it a couple of times a day, it's so peaceful to watch the bees and butterflies enjoying all the flowers. I'm looking forward to an even bigger garden next year. I'm going to be really sad when there isn't a constant rotation of flowers in the house over the winter.

I think that's plenty of an update for now! I'll be back next week (for real this time) for my regular monthly report. Then I'm hoping to get back to a more consistent blogging schedule. I can't make any promises, but I would like to be in this space more regularly.

August Monthly Report

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Happy September! It's time for August's monthly report. See past reports here.

I've been really enjoying my little cutting garden that I planted on the side of our garage this year. It gets some afternoon sun, but not a lot. I wasn't sure how well things would do, so I have been pleasantly surprised to have flowers inside all summer!

At the beginning of the month was our annual cabin weekend in Wisconsin, I chatted about it a little bit in last month's report. I came prepared with lots of projects and I actually got through everything I brought a little over halfway through! I finished my pineapple log cabin quilt top (!!), plus made a workshop tote, drawstring bag, and a pair of pillowcases. I've made so many drawstring bags this month, I'm going to share those in a dedicated post next week!

You can read more about my pineapple log cabin quilt in this post here: Scrappy Pineapple Quilt in Progress

I finally started stitching my holiday quilt! I started cutting strips for this quilt last Fall but ran out of steam (and fabrics that matched). I collected a few more prints throughout the year and this month I cut up the rest of the strips and started sewing a few blocks. I'm using Ashley's two by four quilt tutorial. It's been fun to work on!

This is one of the pillowcases I made at cabin weekend this year! I used a Cotton & Steel lawn for the body and a lawn solid for the cuff. I love making pillowcases, especially from lawn or voile, so smooth! I used this tutorial when I make mine: Roll it Up Pillowcase Free Pattern

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in August:

August Fabric
Used up: 37.75 yards
Brought in: 16.75 yards
Net: -26 yards
Year to date: -70.25 yards

August Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: -426 yards

I brought it more fabric this month than the other 7 months in the year combined! But almost all of it was from the fabric sharing table at our cabin weekend. We all bring fabrics, notions, books etc that we no longer want/need to share with one another. It's always so fun to see what everyone makes with your stuff! Thankfully, I offset all that intake by sharing a bunch of fabric too, plus making a bunch this month. Aiming for a lower month in September!

Over Labor day weekend we mixed up an indigo dye vat! We picked up a couple t-shirts that Michael wanted to dye and I dyed a little yardage. I want to make a lawn indigo dyed quilt, so I dyed two random white lawn cuts I had laying around. Planning to do a little more dyeing this weekend too.

If you're interested in Indigo Dyeing: Indigo Dyeing Tutorial

We finally took the time to check out some local beaches in August. We definitely haven't been taking advantage of how close we are to the water. Our favorite that we visited was the Hammonasset Beach State Park. We went in the morning and it was so peaceful. Looking forward to going back soon.

George the boo! He is still going through his Summer shedding, so it's been extra fiber and pets for him lately. He is such a sweetheart.

Have a Great Month!

Quilt As You Go Zipper Pouch

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Happy Tuesday! I have a cute little quilt as you go project to share today!
I made this zipper pouch from Svetlana Sotak's new book, That Handmade Touch, as a part of her book hop! I love making Svetlana's scissor cozy pouch, so I was happy to receive a copy of the book. There are lots of cute projects in it, but I was immediately drawn to the quilt as you go zipper pouch.

The publisher, Lucky Spool, sent me a copy of the book so that I could participate in the book hop.

I really enjoy this technique, and it was the perfect project to use up some precious scraps. Most of the scraps that I used for this project are by Umbrella Prints, which unfortunately no longer prints fabric. I've been hoarding these bits for a long time, so it felt really good to use some of them up!

There are lots of cute details on this pouch, including the little twill tape tab, leather pull, and a metal zipper (from Zipit of course!).

The finished pouch is nice and roomy, it would be perfect as a pencil pouch or for sewing tools! I can see this being a great project for gifting!

Follow along with the rest of the book hop on Instagram (I'm @jenib320!).

You can find Svetlana here: @sotakhandmade and #thathandmadetouch
 Purchase the book here: That Handmade Touch