The past few years I've ascribed to word-of-the-year motivation, and it's worked pretty well. 2015 was all about focus, and I found better ways to keep my priorities on track despite how "squirrel!" our little kids/relocate often/frequent schedule changes life can be. 2016 was for creating a pattern, both in my life-flow and in quilting, and those goals are well underway. I tinkered with my schedule, and now I have a consistent routine for both home and work that still fits the flexibility I need when my husband comes and goes unexpectedly for his job. Plus, my first free quilt pattern will be out soon alongside my new newsletter, with a few other designs underway for 2017 release.
So what's my new word?
This was a productive month for quick holiday makes at our house. The elves who visit each December were kind enough to kick off the Christmas sewing with new pj pants...
Last week another mom in my daughter's Kindergarten class asked if in lieu of gifts for the teacher, we would instead send in donations for a family who had just lost everything in a house fire. The teacher is good friends with the family, and she had been very concerned about their ability to celebrate the holidays following such a huge loss. As tends to be the case in our community, the response was amazing - hundreds of dollars in gift cards, plus groceries and household items. And a quilt.
Welcome, everyone! Thanks for visiting for Sew Mama Sew's biannual Giveaway Day! New to Berry Barn Designs? I invite you to take a look around. My name is Sarah. I love quilting, sewing, teaching (and ice cream!), and lean toward quick projects I can finish between juggling life as a mom and milspouse. Here's what's been happening lately...
I have this habit of squirreling things away and happening upon them at just the right moment: strategic forgetfulness! It's a thing, right?! So while restocking fabric in my sewing cabinet yesterday, I noticed the coloring books I'd set aside for a future giveaway, remembered today would be the first Tuesday of the month... and voila!
As we were putting up our Christmas tree, I started sprinkling decorations around the house and realized we don't have any holiday wall hangings. There's one little (dark, very poorly lit - for the life of me I couldn't get the jewel tones to photograph well for the shot above) corner cabinet where I put our advent calendar, and it was just begging for a splash of color. So what did I [the woman with a half a dozen Christmas gift and swap projects that need to be finished asap] do? Yep. I made one ; )
My birthday is this week, and it'll put me just a year shy of 40. I don't get anxious about birthdays, and I'm neither dreading nor excitedly anticipating the milestone next fall, but it will be the start of a new decade and I've been thinking that I want to mark it somehow. To make something fresh and tangible to kick off a time span that I hope will be more intentional and fulfilling, and less out-of-control-career-and-kid-driven-roller-coaster ; )
So you know how I looove purple, right? I've been mulling over the idea of a scrappy, all violet quilt for a while, and I think the time is finally right.... Except that when I pulled fabrics and culled everything too cool, too pale, or with competing colors in the prints, this is all I have! I should be good to get underway, but I definitely need to broaden my purple selection. For all of you fellow red+blue devotees out there, please comment below if you know of some newer warm plum, tone-on-tone prints I should incorporate!
This week was a doozy. Many of us are reeling from the election results regardless of which candidate we voted for, and many of our fellow citizens from across the political spectrum are acting out in both violent and nonviolent ways. On Wednesday, I felt paralyzed from shock by the reality of our country's choices and behavior, and I wasn't sure of the right outlet for my feelings. I'm generally calm and principled in expressing my views, relishing civil debate and respect for others' differences in opinion, and my blog has never crossed over into political territory - but this week I want to say more.
This month's giveaway is double the fun: two chances to win The Quilter's Planner 2017 - one right here, and one over @berrybarndesigns on Instagram! I'll be drawing winners this weekend, so enter, tell a friend, and keep your fingers crossed : )
For the first time in a presidential election, my daughters are old enough to be paying attention to the news, and we've had some interesting discussions about the candidates, the voting process, and the history of women's rights in our country and significance of possibly electing our first female president. I felt inspired to honor the importance of all of us exercising our voting rights on this important day, regardless of political beliefs, so I worked on this little reverse applique sign to hang where my kids will see it regularly.
Mini Quilt Stats: Finished size 16.5" x 6.5"
Fabric: (top) Kona Snow, (bottom) unknown, (binding) Studio Stash by Jennifer Sampou
Interfacing: Pellon Fusible Fleece
Thread: (handstitching) Superior Threads 3310 #12 , (binding) Aurifil 2783 #50
P.S. And if you haven't yet... VOTE!
I’m calling this playful finish the "Family Jewels." It’s destined for our family room as a large, colorful throw we can all snuggle under together on movie nights, and the made-it-up-as-I-went quilt motif reminds me of faceted gem stones.
I've been doing a lot of digging into what makes me tick as I work on my business and personal goals this year, and as it happens, one of my most favorite things is gift giving (which corresponds nicely with many other people's enjoyment of gift receiving ; ) As such, I'm starting monthly giveaways on both my blog and Instagram accounts, and since Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week, the first Tuesday of the month will be treat day!
Confession time: I hate binding quilts. I know, I know, I've probably mentioned it before, and I'm not the only one out there who feels this way, but my case is extremely severe. See these lovely finished twin quilts? They were meant to be my daughters' birthday presents... two and a half years ago!!! Talk about belated birthday gifts, huh?!
One of my oldest and dearest friends just had her first child, and plans a "muted rainbow" theme for the little girl's room once their current renovation work is completed. Now, you probably know "muted" it not really my color palette, and I had nothing to go on since the room isn't set up yet, but when I saw a fellow Late Night Quilters Club member's similar quilt using these Flying Colors by Momo fabrics, I figured they read about as muted as I could envision and plowed ahead ; )
After a crazy spring and hectic summer, I'm finally back in my [new and improved] studio! (It's becoming a rite of passage that the longarm has to be moved at least once and at least up or down one flight of stairs in each house we live in.) So in an effort to clear out clutter and get back into my sewing routine, I've been pecking away at my mending pile and various UFOs the past few weeks. It's paid off: my husband and kids are all happy to see their missing pants/shirts/stuffed animals again, a favorite old blanket has it's binding back on it, and I can walk around without tripping anymore!
When we lived in the south, we were teased for driving an Outback. We never saw another on the road, and I chuckled at the teeny tiny Subaru dealership the one time I had the car serviced - I think they only had five cars on the lot! Our first five minutes back in New England, though, we noted how every other car on the road was like ours, and joked that it wasn't just us but also our vehicle who was happy to be "home." So last summer as we headed to Kansas, we were expecting to be the exception once again... imagine our surprise when we turned onto our new street and there was another family with a Subaru, and they hailed from our home state! It might be silly to pin so many hopes on a car make, but we were certain we'd have a lot in common and looked forward to meeting them.
And that's a wrap! A whole month of sewing daily for ourselves is under our belts. I've really enjoyed seeing the variety of projects you've all worked on, from quilts to baskets to EPP to setting up a new sewing space! Thank you to all of you who joined me for the 4x7 Sewing Challenge this year.
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