Winter is for Stitching

March is here. We are boiling sap, and watching the snow recede more and more. Stepping over, around and sometimes through the mud. The days are growing longer again. I am starting to feel like my sewing days are getting shorter. I’ve been thinking about my gardens. The blueberries, shrubs, and flowers that I ordered last fall that will be arriving soon. The chickens, ducks, and rabbits will be ordered soon. A large part of me wants this Spring to slow down. I am not done sewing!

0228181953_resizedI do sew all through the year but it slows significantly in the warmer months. I am pulled outside. I will sew mostly in the early morning and after dark, which in the summer can come at 8 or later. Here it is March and my garden is still covered with snow, and it is way too cold to start chicks so I have a little more time to keep stitching away.

 

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Another reason for my sewing impatience is I have three projects going at the same time and a (March) birthday quilt that is waiting to be cut! I feel like I won’t get it all done!

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I am sewing the binding on a sweet little baby quilt right now. I have no baby in mind but wanted to make a pink baby quilt. I have visions of craft fairs and a possible Etsy shop some day so I have been just sewing things up.

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This embroidery piece is ready to be made into a pillow or wall hanging. Nice and springy! I may use the scraps from the baby quilt for this.

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I made myself a tunic. It came out good. A little tight in the shoulder area and a little loose in the front neck but I have worn it a few times this winter and I like it. I have tried so hard on another tunic of a different pattern and have been stuck on the placket for the collar. It is in time out. ūüėČ

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So I will leave you with the syrup that came from the sap. A sign of Spring. A sign of less sewing and stitching for me. I am going to enjoy it all while I can. How about you, are you feeling hurried to finish before the good weather returns?

 

 

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I Want a Warm Quilt!

Sometime in the beginnings of winter my daughter told me she loved the quilt I made her and it was really pretty and all but that it just wasn’t all that warm. She felt because it was quilted quite heavily that all the holes in it was making it not warm. She may have a point there but it was probably that it had cotton batting in it. She asked if I would make her a warm quilt. Music to a quilter’s ears!

I decided to make both daughters warm quilts for Christmas. Simple quilts, tied, and with wool, high loft batting. I also used flannel on the backs. They came out very nice and both of my daughters love them.

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I had the girls choose two colors they liked at the fabric store and then I built on that. I used a simple brick pattern. All the blocks are the same shape and size then sewn in brick layer pattern. It was very easy and quick to make. Good thing since I didn’t really start until a week before Christmas. It is amazing what you can get done when you push through it. The only thing I didn’t do before wrapping them was attach the binding to the other side of the quilts. But doing that after Christmas kept me warm in the sub-freezing temps we have had here in Maine.

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And now they are finished and on the beds and declared ‘very warm and cozy’! Success. Did you make any of your Christmas gifts this year?

First and Full

I woke up early this morning. Before 5. I was rested and couldn’t sleep anymore so I got up. It was clear and cold and bright as day but of course the sun had not come up yet. The moon was full.¬† The first full moon on the first of the year. That is pretty special. It was so pretty I had to go outside. I could see every tree, every shadow of every tree. It was beautiful. What a way to start a morning.

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I am back to CurlyCueCreates after a bit of a break. I haven’t been blogging for a couple of months. I haven’t been reading many blogs either. Truth be known I find myself on my phone more these days. I am not happy about it and mean to change it. In all fairness to myself, I have been pretty busy getting ready and enjoying the holidays.

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Like many people I do use this time of year to reflect and resolve. I don’t have any big resolutions this year. I did some new things last year. Went outside my comfort zone so to speak and I am happy with that. This year I resolve to get better at what is working and do better at what is not. How is that? Enough for me.

Since I was last here it did get considerably colder. I wrote how it had been such a warm fall and that I didn’t think we would get winter. Well, of course we have. We have almost two feet of snow and the temperatures have been very, very cold. Over a week now of single and negative digit temps. Brrrr! We decided to go a bit south after Christmas. Only to Boston. The temps were a bit warmer but still quite nippy. We went to Frog Pond to skate and visited Little Italy for supper. It was so fun!

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I have been knitting and quilting! Lots of sewing and creating. I made my sons pillowcases and bought them new pillows for Christmas. My husband and I put together many home made food items for them too. Granola, salsa, and apple rings. This year I made my daughters new winter quilts.

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I will post more about the quilts but for now just snippets. I am still sewing the bindings on. I wrapped the quilts with the bindings on but not sewn to the backside. I just ran out of time! But they loved them and thought they were beautiful. They are very warm because I used wool batting. As I sew on the binding I am covered up in the quilts and now I really want one for me! Something to cover up with on these very cold nights.

Today my husband returns to work after a long vacation. The girls and I are not getting right back into our full schedule. Music lessons start up as does ballet. Cross country ski-ing does too. I think some baking, reading, games and crafts are still in order for a while before we get back into our real schedule.

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Enjoy the New Year!!

I Made the Plunge! I’m Teaching!

For a while now I have wanted to teach sewing classes. I hoed and hummed about it. Planned it out in my head. Thought about it some more and then one morning I got on my computer and posted classes! I got a huge response and was very encouraged.

I started with a four week beginner sewing class. I was so amazed that I had a blast! It wasn’t stressful at all. I enjoyed teaching these ladies (no men signed up) to sew. I just had my second session beginner sewing class the other night and I have added a beginner Quilt class to my list that starts this Saturday.

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I started out teaching about the machine. How to thread it. What the parts all did. We took it slow. I had amazing students. They really wanted to learn to sew.

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Our first project was a pillowcase using the burrito method. My classes include everything. I have a lot of fabric to use up! I think including everything is helpful to a beginner anyway. I remember when I started to sew I didn’t even know what types of fabric were good for what!

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I am using my home right now. I have a finished off basement that is cozy and warm and inviting. I have a big table and desk and ironing station. It worked out well. I did have an offer from a store owner to teach there but once I made it clear that I include fabric and supplies in my classes and that I would not be ‘selling’ fabric she decided it wouldn’t work. Oh well.

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Next up we made drawstring bags. It was so fun to see their faces when the bags started forming. I think one of the best things about teaching is seeing how happy the students are about sewing.

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My first Beginner Quilt class starts on Saturday. Last night I spent some time preparing. I can’t wait!

If you are in Maine and are interested in classes here are the links.

Quilt class and Sewing class.

Oh, My Golly!

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Don’t you hate hearing people say “I’ve been sooo busy!” ? I do, but I find myself saying it. I’ve read articles on how to not be so busy or at least to think about the busyness in a different way. ¬†Like finding joy along the way. Like how we saw a beautiful rainbow on our way to orchestra class last Friday. My busy times have been good ones so it isn’t a negative thing. I do regret not really having time to sit and blog. ‘They’ say it’s all about making the time. So, hear I go!

I finally stopped itching! We are still having summer here in Maine so at least I get to enjoy some of it! I was out in the garden yesterday. I thinned beets while my daughter harvested zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and a few small cukes. The garden is still producing and it is middle of September! I am thinking of ordering some chicks. They would be laying by Spring. The only thing stopping me is my inability to make a decision. I am worried it will be too cold. The chicken FB site says it will be fine. I really should just do it. I have a beautiful, large and safe coop that has gone unused for a year. It is time.

I have been knitting, and sewing. I made a dress ( A Washi ) and I have been doing some alterations for a friend. I am knitting a shawlette for a wedding I may be going to. (I say may because I still have not settled childcare for the girls yet) I am also working on socks. I am finding my groove again. Even making up menus and baking bread again. Routines work so well for me.

Speaking of routines we have a brand new one this year. My oldest daughter is going to school. Eighth grade! I am at home with just one child. That hasn’t happened since 1991! My youngest daughter and I have started Bullet Journals together. So far it is very fun. We are taking our ‘school’ year pretty slow. Planning what we want to do. I know it will have sewing and art. Yes, a little math too. We even put in a rest and relaxation (knitting) time in our schedule. That I love.

I missed the boat in blogging about all our camping trips, the girls’ camps, and some landscaping project that we have been working on all summer. I am looking forward to my 50th birthday! Wow, Oh my Golly, 50! I can’t decide what I want to do. I am torn between going away by myself for some quiet and pampering or a get together with our family here at home. Maybe I will have to do both!

I hope you all are in your fall groove. It feels good!

 

The Summer of Itch

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It isn’t a secret that I am not a fan of summer. I tolerate it. This summer has actually temperature wise been amazing. Here in Maine we have not really had the hot and humid days that we often get. It has been quite mild. It could have been a glorious summer.

Instead it has been a very itchy and uncomfortable one. It all started in May. A Tent caterpillar got into my jeans. I ended up with a very itchy rash on my right leg, my rear end, waist and both arms (from pulling the legs inside out to check inside my pants). Anywhere the caterpillar went inside my jeans I ended up itchy. That lasted about a week. I managed it with Benadryl and itch cream.

Then at the end of July I got bit by a tick. I didn’t know it though. While camping I discovered a big bulls eye rash on my hip. Okay, so I have Lyme. Two blood tests showed I had it but caught it early. Good! The day I took my antibiotic I started itching all over my legs, one arm, my neck and face. I figured I had hives. I talked to the doctor and she figured it was hives. So then I got Prednisone and a different antibiotic. The itching did not stop. It was terrible. I took myself off the antibiotic until I could see the doctor. Coincidentally, the doctor said I had Poison Ivy. I have never had it in my life. The doctor said because it was my first time I got it bad. He also said because of the antibiotic my T cells and white blood cells had gone into overdrive.

So I started back up on the antibiotic and proceeded to start itching in different places. My back, stomach, breasts, even my scalp. Not an allergic reaction but certainly a consequence of the antibiotic. It wasn’t hives and it was not as itchy as the Poison Ivy so I have been putting up with it.

But I’m not done. Wouldn’t you know it but I started itching a tad bit down there. You know, in my private areas. I had been taking a Probiotic along with the antibiotic the whole time. I had been trying to rest and eat right. So I figured in my denial, that I would not get a yeast infection as well. The itching was mild. I ignored it. I had called the doctor so much that I really didn’t want to again. So about a week into the mild itching I decided to buy some cream. It worked and I was happy. Then while camping the cream started to not work. So again, instead of calling the doctor I went to the drugstore and bought some over the counter anti fungus cream and suppository. Sorry this is so graphic. Well, it didn’t work. I was so itchy, and swollen and uncomfortable that I finally did call the doctor. They must have heard the panic in my voice because for the first time they called me back very quickly and said there was a prescription called in for a pill. (Yes another one) and that that should take care of it. It may take a few days but it should help. Well we are almost 24 hours in and it is a bit better.

I am so, so, tired to itching. I decided to not show pictures of all my rashes and itchiness. Instead I am showing happy pictures of my garden, a dress I am working on, a shawlette I am knitting, and a lovely, beautiful picture of some red leaves I found while camping. I cannot wait for fall. For a freeze actually. Freeze all the bugs and ticks and itchy things for this season. I have had enough!

A Quilt Finished

I am a pretty slow quilt maker. I am amazed at some of the bloggers and people on Instagram that are able to make several quilts a year maybe even several a month. I don’t know how they do it. I am jealous. I try and tell myself it is because I have kids, that I also knit. Both of those things are true of most makers. I almost made myself believe it is because I homeschool my kids but I found that many people do that also and can still pump out several quilts a year. So really it just comes down to the fact that I am slow. Or my priorities are different. I try and sew every night but I don’t make progress very quickly. It’s just the way I am!

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Just this past weekend I did finish a quilt. I call it the Five Stars Picnic Quilt. I made it for taking to the beach and to picnics. My husband says it is too nice for that. I am happy he thinks so. I like it too and it is a nice quilt but I did make it knowing I would be taking it out and using it. I am hoping it will be used a lot.

I showed this quilt in the making in  this post, Five Stars Picnic Quilt. I decided to hand quilt it and that is what took me the longest. After I finished the quilting of lines diagonally through the quilt I felt it needed more. The squares looked a little empty. So I decided to stitch flowers inside them.

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I love how they came out. A lot of the fabric is flowery and it just made sense to put in more flowers. Then the binding needed to be put on. I sew my bindings on by machine and then hand stitch them on the back side. I have heard of a way to sew both sides by machine but I have not tried that yet.

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I use these cool little clips that a friend gave me. They are very helpful. I can sew a long way up the quilt without having to keep pulling the binding straight.

Two other reasons I don’t get a lot of quilts finished is one, I like to play. I like to try new things and experiment.

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I have been trying to use some old denim jeans up. I have been eyeing a pattern out of an old Georgia Bonesteel, Quilt as You Go book. This block is called Glow Shine. I have always wanted to try it. One night I got inspired and just had to try it.

Another reason I am slow is that I have many projects going on at one time. I am still working on some tiny blocks. These finished blocks are 6 1/2 inches. I am using the 1930’s Farmer’s Wife book. I am using reproduction fabrics (not from the 30’s) and I am being very careful when cutting, pinning and sewing them.

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So, I am sewing. A lot. I am enjoying each step too. Slow and steady. How about you? What are you working on?

 

 

Here, There, Everywhere

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The busiest time of the year is here. No other time during the year am I being pulled in so many different directions. I am appreciating each morning here at home because by 10:30 I am out of the house and sometimes don’t return until night time. Suppers are a real challenge. They must be easy, quick and healthy! We did have hot dogs last week though. Sometimes it is the only way. One day this week we may have to grab something out!

I went to visit my son last week at the Carpenter’s Boat Shop and spent the night. It was so nice to see the things he is working on. I even worked on one of the boats! ¬†Everyone was very welcoming and I was quite comfortable.

I went on a knitting retreat in Portland. I had the best time. Who wouldn’t? Yarn, knitting, wine, chocolate. We went out to eat. We knit. I learned how to double knit. We had a party with door prizes and yarn swaps. We knit. We had cocktails together and knit. It was really fun to be around so many like minded women.

Softball season has begun. The girls are on different teams. One is playing through the school, the other through the recreation department. Pretty much every night there is softball. One in the afternoon, one in the evening.

This is gardening season too. I have been out planting early things like greens and peas. I went to the Fedco tree sale and picked up some tomato seedlings. I wanted to get blueberry bushes to replace the ones that were damaged this year but they were all out! My asparagus is up and the garlic too. Next week strawberries are being delivered! So excited about that.

We are trying to keep up on our homeschooling too so we don’t have so much to catch up on during the summer. Both girls are on the last parts of their math. We are reading about the ancient empires right now. Just finished reading the Iliad. Now we are reading the Odyssey. We still have to finish biology. Waiting a bit for that. It is all the summer things like caterpillars and frogs. I went for a walk in the woods last week and found some owl pellets. The girls couldn’t wait to dissect those!

We have started our daily walks again. Last week we even got a bike ride in, dodging all the rain drops. Boy has it been rainy!

This weekend all my sons came home for a visit. One had just got back from a road trip out in California! I wanted to see pictures. I did and it looked like he has a wonderful time. Another son helped me put my flower garden back together. It got ripped up during some pipe work. That is how the blueberry bushes got damaged too. He helped me see that it is still pretty and all will be well.

In between all the running around I have put together a quilt block. Quilted a block or two on the picnic quilt and finished a sweater. I will show that in a future post. I have to make time for my crafts. It is for my mental health.

So things are pretty busy. I know it will settle down after softball ends. And the garden is all planted. Then I can sit outside, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and relax.

Yea, right.

A Pair of Pillows

I planned and finished a pair of pillows in a week! That is quite an accomplishment for me. It was very fun too. I used Crazy Mom Quilts’ pillow tutorial. It was easy to understand. I love those step by step tutorials. Perfect for me.

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Just like in her tutorial, Amanda advises to quilt it with a batting behind it. I did and I am very happy with it.

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My pictures look better taken outside but the pillows are for inside. They will go in the chairs that are right in front of the wood stove. Even though it is 70 outside right now (in Maine!) and the grass is really green still, it will get cold in a matter of weeks. I am getting ready the only way I know how. Sew!

Happy Sewing!

I am joining Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts today.

 

 

Friends With Liberty Quilt Top

Wow, it has been a long while since I had a finish, but today I do! I finished my Friends With Liberty quilt top.

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My daughter who is almost 10 said ‘It is a simple quilt, but it is pretty’. Well she is right. It wasn’t a very hard quilt to make. It is pretty simple. I wanted to use some Liberty that I had from a club I joined. I love sewing with the Liberty. Very soft and light. Almost like silk.

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I will probably quilt this myself. I don’t actually quilt much. I piece. I like to piece. I don’t so much like to quilt. There are squares in this quilt in between all the stars. They are made up of four different colors. I wonder how to make those squares pretty with quilting? Do you have any ideas for me?

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See what I mean. Kind of plain right now. All I can think of right now is just a big X. I really don’t think that would make it pretty though.

Pretty happy about finishing the top though. Thanks for looking, and please offer up any suggestions for the quilting.

I am joining in with Amanda for Finish it up Friday!