Friday, April 24, 2015

TGIF - trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith

Have you read this book? It's awesome. Seriously. So much good stuff.

I love the chapter on Joy and Gratitude in which Brene mentions that she used to do a TGIF post every Friday on her blog.  She would write about what she was Trusting, what she was Grateful for, what Inspires her, and how she was practicing her Faith.  She did this because gratitude has to be a practice in order to bring us joy.

I LOVE this idea. Unfortunately I came a little late to the party and she hasn't done those posts in a couple of years. But I thought I would start doing them here on my blog. So in the spirit of being authentic and brave, here is my TGIF:

Trust -  I am trusting that a person I have gone to for help will actually be able to help me with an exhausting and heartbreaking struggle.

Gratitude -  I am profoundly grateful today that my college daughter was not hurt in her car accident this past week, that my sister was there to help and comfort her, and that my dad (whose car she was driving) was so kind and generous about the whole thing.

Inspiration - Quilting is inspiring me right now. Associating with so many talented people, both in person and over social media has really helped me aspire to improve my skills and express myself more fully in this medium.  (If you are wondering where all my quilting posts have gone, I've moved them to my new quilting blog -

Faith - I am practicing my faith by studying the gospels and finding new insights in the stories and parables. Not taking these familiar texts for granted but really looking at them to see how they might challenge me in my day to day life and understanding of Christ.

I would love to hear what your TGIF reflections are.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Twin House Quilts

Once upon a time Debbie Grifka of Esch Quilts posted a Moda Bake Shop tutorial for this quilt:

It's called Neighborhood Charm and is such a great modern baby quilt. I love the bold graphic design and the movement of the negative space.

Some time later,  both my parents and my sister Michelle were moving. And while moving is a common occurrence in my life, the rest of my family is fairly stationary so it was kind of a big deal. Since I was far away in Turkey and couldn't help with the packing/unpacking or the extensive remodel that my sister's new house required, I decided to turn this cute baby quilt into two twin-size matching quilts (doesn't that make them twin twins?).

My graph paper and I got to work extending Debbie's little neighborhood of houses into a whole suburb.  And then armed with a handful of Moda's Juggling Summer charm packs, I started building houses.

Putting the white corners on each charm results in some waste triangles. But with an extra seam I found I could create tiny one inch HSTs which I pieced together to make a border.
And after making rows and rows and rows of houses with carefully spaced empty lot white squares -
I got them both put together. They are identical except for the color of border and what I quilted in the empty squares. My sister's had a deep purple border and I stitched a picket fence and flowers in the empty space.
My parents' had a rust red border and I quilted trees into those blank spaces. I don't have as detailed a picture of that one but hopefully you can see them well enough here:
Hmm... hard to see because this shot was taken after a washing but I tried several different types of trees.

Here's Helga (my Viking) quilting away on Michelle's:

I waited until our family reunion instead of sending them in the mail just because I wanted to see them open them. (That is pretty much the best part of giving away a quilt, right?)  So here are the twin twins:

For the backs I used some wonderful Turkish fabric I had picked up in my final fabric shopping spree. Turkish fabric is 90 inches wide and makes amazing backing. Right before I left I found several fabrics with English text on them.
The text is more visible in these label shots:

I used some pre-printed quilt labels I had ordered and just a raw edge applique before quilting. I'm not super happy with the result and in the future will attach a finished edge label after quilting.  My sister's is called, "Keep Calm and Re-model On," and my parents' is "Hearth and Home."

I have never made the same quilt twice. And I'm not sure I will again but I'm glad I did it this way - both at the same time. And that I quilted both the negative space and the borders uniquely for each quilt.

After our fun family reunion, both quilts went home to their new houses - to live happily ever after.