Friday, June 28, 2013

What I've Been Up To

Life here has been a little crazy, as always.  Recently, I decided to really attempt to go gluten free and joined in with a 6 month challenge.  I am joining in with thedailydietribe.com for the challenge.  For the next 6 months, I will be gluten free.  I will get to talk with a health coach every other week, and I have to write a blog post at thedailydietribe.com 3 weeks out of the month.  It's been one month so far and I have had a few aha moments.  I've been working with Mia Davis at Blissful Chicks and she has been great.  She has been supportive and resourceful giving me recipes to try.

One of the recipes was plain yogurt sweetened with honey.  I bought some plain yogurt this week and was not really looking forward to trying it (not one of my favorite foods), but I actually let my son try it since he tends to like any yogurt.  I added some liquid chocolate stevia from NuNaturals for some sweetness.   I also gave his twin sister some to try.  He didn't like it, but his sister did.  I ended up eating his and was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.  I now feel like I can get plain yogurt and control the sweetness and use a sweetener that I like.  NuNaturals has had a few products that I have tried and been happy with.  I will say that NuNaturals did provide the products for free, but I will definitely be buying certain products that I love, like the liquid lemon stevia, liquid chocolate stevia, and the fast dissolving tablets.

I've also been trying to make time to be creative.  I have been trying to teach myself how to hand piece quilts.  I have made a couple of blocks so far and plan to make a whole quilt with hand piecing and hand quilting.  I have been working on a hexagon quilt as you go quilt.  I am trying to use flannel blankets from when my kids were little as well as some scraps of fleece and flannel.  I am trying to use up my stash since I don't really have room to keep a stash.


fabric for the hand pieced quilt

I am also working on a english paper piecing project where we complete 1 EPP block a month.  I have completed 2 so far with the 3rd one in process.  The 3rd one is made up of 81 1/2 inch hexagons and I just can't seem to bring myself to work on it much.  I will start the next month's block when we get it and work on June's block a little at a time.

1st month's block in process

I also took a class from my Facebook friend who is opening a craft studio/gallery.  We made floating lanterns and I had a blast.  I am contemplating teaching a quilting class as well as a knitting class.  She is actually doing my dream and if I can be part of it, I really want to take the opportunity.  

I am also practicing playing with fabric dyeing.  I have tried some tie dyeing, with the goal to get it to be less tie dye looking and more batik looking.  I'm not sure how to really get there, but it will be a fun thing to practice.  I am also thinking about trying some more art quilting and maybe even modern quilting to branch out.  I ultimately love traditional quilting, but I want to open my mind and learn a little more of what it out there!

Summer has just begun.  The kids will start summer school and I will start, hopefully, working during the day.  It will be interesting to see what the summer brings.  We have started our garden and started going to our local farmer's market.  I am really excited to start getting things out of our garden and using them to cook with.  I hope that I can keep up with my creative time.  It may be hard, but I plan to be really conscientious about maintaining creativity through the summer and beyond!


Amy


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Teaching

I think I may have mentioned that a Facebook friend is opening a studio/art gallery.  This is something that I have dreamed of doing myself.  Unfortunately, someone else beat me to it.  Fortunately, it is someone I know and a friend.  The nice thing is, she has asked me to teach a class.  She has also offered for me to take a class of hers for free.  I am hoping to go to her floating lantern class next Friday and see how she runs a class.

I am considering teaching a quilting class.  I have made a few small quilts and one large one that fit my full size bed.  I feel like I have enough knowledge to teach the class, but maybe not enough confidence to actually teach someone how to quilt.  My friend Liz sent me to the quilt pattern she used when she gave her class.  I am starting a quilt for my kids with the pattern she sent me to.  It's from Elizabeth Hartman at http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2011/03/mod-sampler-redux.html.  I let my twins pick out their fabric with some help from me.  I figured, I better make the quilt that I am contemplating teaching.  We chose the following fabric for the two quilts:

Eva Rose's material

Thomas' choices


I am also looking at some other types of quilts to teach.  I love the cathedral windows, but it may be a little complicated to teach in a class environment, but then again, it may be fine as long as I have the right equipment.  It looks so much harder than it is, it just involved folding and ironing.  The nice part is that it doesn't necessarily involve machine sewing.  You can hand sew or machine sew, which may open it up to more people who may not have a sewing machine.  I have also thought about teaching English Paper piecing, another hand sewn quilting project.  Then of course there is hand piecing in general, but I haven't perfected that as much (not that I've perfected machine piecing).  There is of course traditional machine piecing that I can teach.  I am thinking quilting classes may be what I teach, but I need to feel more comfortable teaching it.

Simple pinwheel block

Hexagone English paper piecing

Hand Stamped Thank You Card

Dresden plate machine stitched, hand appliqued

butterfly dresden plate english paper pieced hand appliqu├ęd

English paper pieced hexagon not sewn together yet

English paper pieced hexagon made with 6 pt diamonds sewn together

English paper pieced hexagon like the above yellow one but sewn together

1/4 dresden plate mug rug

The above pictures are just a couple of the different projects I've made using tutorials that I think I could teach others.  I don't have a picture of a cathedral window, but I could make one up very quick and throw a picture on later.  These are some of the things that I love to make using both hand sewing/piecing techniques and machine piecing techniques!

Just a few thoughts to get down so that I can contemplate what I feel comfortable teaching.  I love to make everything on here, I just need to figure out what I want to do first.

Amy

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More On English Paper Piecing

I'm still amazingly addicted to the idea of English Paper Piecing and I'm still spending time researching what I can find.  I have a few projects in the works.  I joined an English paper piecing quilt a long, with the goal to make a sampler quilt.

This is for block number one

I guess I haven't taken a picture of my tumbling blocks for quilt block number two, but it is in the same colors just the tumbling block pattern.  I made the six point diamonds a little bigger than I was supposed to, so I think I am just going to make three instead of six tumbling blocks.  The current month is eighty-one half inch hexagons in a diamond shape.  Not looking forward to sewing them all together (or even cutting out eighty-one hexagons), but I am looking forward to seeing these all come together.

It's amazing.  Just when I think I've seen all that you can do with regards to shapes and english paper piecing, I find something new.  I now have two more blogs that I am following because of english paper piecing projects.  I looked at getting the book "Pieced Hexies" by Mickey Dupre, but decided against it.  I'm rethinking that decision, since I think it may be helpful to have for creative ideas with hexagons and english paper piecing.   I think I tend to be to concrete when it comes to shapes for english paper piecing.  I'm thinking that if I can just think outside the box, I may be able to come up with my own shapes and designs.  Love the internet, social media, and having the ability to learn all about things like this.  

I also want to keep learning about handcrafting history, especially quilting including hand piecing and hand quilting.  Along with that, I want to learn more about the creative arts and how they affect both your mental and physical health.  I have read about and talked with people who are able to do some amazing projects, but you would never expect it, looking at their physical condition (severe arthritis for example).  I also plan to continue with my goal of creating forty things for others (handcrafted) before I turn forty-one.  I am  also hoping that I can get the courage to teach a class at my local art/craft studio that will be opening this summer.

Lots of goals and projects in the works.  I really love sewing.  I wish I had more time to spend making things, learning how to make things, teaching others how to make things, teaching others how being creative can benefit them physically, mentally, and even spiritually.

Have a fabulous day.  Until next time!
Amy

BTW-going gluten free has been easier than I thought it would be.It hasn't been easy, but I am doing it and actually following through with not eating gluten.  I had a little trouble a a graduation party I was at, but I was better than I would have been if I hadn't been doing this challenge!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June, Summer, and New Things

June 1st, I embarked on a huge challenge.  Ok, it's a huge challenge for me.  My fellow blogger Iris, at http://thedailydietribe.com, asked me to take part in a gluten free challenge.  I think I've mentioned here that, according to an IgG blood test (some say it's faulty), I am sensitive to many food items, including gluten.  This is one thing that I have had a hard time eliminating from my diet.  I wasn't sure that I was going to take part in this challenge, mostly for the fear of failure and the fact that it was 6 months long.  I ended up deciding that my health was important enough to challenge myself, and I thought that this would be a great way to have support through something that is so difficult, at least for me.  Day 1 was great.  It was hard but I had a gluten free day.  Day 2 was really good, but we went to a graduation party, and I couldn't say no to cake and corn bread.  What was good is that I only had a very small piece of both of those things.  What is also good, is that I didn't go back for more. In the last 2 1/2 days, I have had less gluten then I ever have in even just one day.  Though it hasn't been horrible, it hasn't been easy.  I am hopeful that I can follow though and be healthy.

This is also important since I have that crazy gene mutation making me more at risk for breast cancer and I don't plan on having preventative surgery.  I just found out that my mom's cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer and the gene mutation and she is not yet 53.  She is the youngest diagnosed that I know of, 13 years older than me.  I have met with doctors and nurse practitioners and I think my food sensitivities are something I need to focus on so that I don't put more stress on my body.  I am also hopeful that going gluten free is going to help with my weight issues.  I am hopeful that it will help me know my body and what my body needs.  I am hoping that I will lose weight as a side effect of eating healthy.

As I've mentioned, I turn 40 this year.  Sometimes, I have a hugely hard time with this, other times I am absolutely fine.  This weekend someone actually asked me if I was mom or grandma to my kids.  Yes, I could have a grandchild, but I am only going to be 40.  I didn't think I looked that bad.  I actually went out and colored my hair after that comment.  I was thinking about not coloring my hair again, but with how I've been feeling and then that comment, I decided that I needed to color my hair.  I mentioned that I was thinking about doing 40 creative things to donate during the year I turn 40.  I got the idea from 36 quilts in 12 months (http://dailydog.typepad.com).  What I haven't decided is when I should start.  Do I want it to be 40 things within the calendar year I turn 40 or a year from  when I turn 40?  If it's the calendar year, then I can say that I have started, but I only have 6 months to finish 39 more projects.  I made a quilt square for the Boston bombing victims.  If I wait til I turn 40 I have a full year to go to complete this project.  I'm leaning to being able to finish before I turn 41.  Maybe, to make things easier, I can have it be 40 projects before I turn 41, starting the calendar year that I turn 40.  That means, I can count the quilt square and have a little more than a year to complete the rest of the 39 projects.

Now, I've written about Wishcasting Wednesday and putting out your dreams to the universe.  Well, a facebook friend of mine (friends literally from facebook alone) and an artist, is actually starting one of my dreams here in my town.  In the next month, she will open a gallery and studio in the center of town.  She has asked me to teach a class or two, and I am so flattered, but so nervous.  My introverted, shy self is having a hard time thinking that I can do this.  I will probably take hep up on this offer some day, but I need to work up the courage.

Within the dream/passion piece of things, I am still thinking about doing something at my farmer's market with regards to crafting for charity.  Again, I need to get up the courage to do this.  I would love to have a table and collect things that people create and donate somewhere locally.  This will help go along with my goal of creating and donating 40 items before I turn 41.  How cool would it be to spend a Saturday morning creating and collecting things to donate to others to make them more comfortable or so that they know that someone is thinking of them.

These are just a few of the new things in my life.  Here's to completing the goals that I have set forth for myself.

Amy