Author: daisyeyes

Embroidery: New Pattern!

It seems like ages since I’ve worked on anything embroidery related. Once I finished up my last custom orders a few months ago, I had zero desire to pick up a needle and thread. It was by far the longest stretch I’ve ever gone with some sort of creative depression and just block. I did manage to work on a few things down in the studio, but the days of sitting and just enjoying stitching were not there.

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I decided last week to finally put out into the world this redraft of an old pattern that I made early in 2017 for a custom request. She really loved the Helen Keller quote, but wanted a design with mountains; so I drafted up this pattern for her and then it just sat on my computer. She sent me a photo of her stitching (super cute), but I had no interest in going anywhere else with it.

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In the end, I actually think this is a way better design than the original and it is a super pattern for beginners. It’s easy to trace, has some great stitches for beginners (backstitch, chain stitch and split stitch) and I’ve actually designed this pattern in two sizes – either for an 8-10″ hoop or a larger 10×10 square.

You can purchase your own copy here.

Happy Stitching!

A Heritage

My home growing up was filled with handmade items. We had quilts laying around that my grandmother had made. Every year my aunt sent us pillowcases that she had embroidered Aunt Martha’s designs on. My mother sewed my clothes on and off for years while I was younger. And up until she passed away, my grandmother Ida would come stay with us and I don’t think we had a visit where she wasn’t making things while she was visiting.

When I went to visit extended family, their homes too were filled with the same sorts of things. My grandmother’s home in Oregon was overflowing with things that she had made or other family members had made. I remember the back bedroom with this tiny little bed perfect for my 8 year old self. Overflowing from it were little handmade dolls and stuffed animals and other crazy creatures. The bedding, from the pillowcase to the bedcovers, were made by the hands of those that surrounded me in that house. But in those memories I don’t honestly remember my mom or grandmother sitting much with me in an organized fashion and sewing. Maybe I didn’t have any interest at the time. I honestly can’t remember. But I do know that this life surrounded by handmade things was very natural.

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Fast forward to today and I’m still surrounded by things that either I’ve made or things passed down to me and to my children. My daughter pulled out my old life size Annie doll – complete with all her matching clothes from the 1980’s movie. I sat there thinking about this doll and the connection that she is to a woman that I dearly miss. And I thought about this home that we’ve made for our children complete with a mix of things handmade and store bought.

I wonder at what point handmade things became this Pinterest thing and not merely a natural thing in our homes? At what point did life transition from making things as a fact of life to making things as a hobby or to be fashionable? When I was growing up it was not unheard of to have toys that your grandparents or even parents had made. It was becoming a little odd, but definitely not something that we felt like we needed to write up a tutorial for to share with the world. We’ve lost such a connection to making things as necessity that the necessity has become that we make a tutorial or a pattern or teach a lesson or find a class.

I’m thankful for this connection that I have to my past generations. And I’m thankful that making in our house has become a little more natural of a thing. Because that’s what making is. It’s not a skill that someone possesses and someone else doesn’t. It’s something that all of us are able to do. We are all makers and designers. Whether we make things with metal, fabrics or food.

Sewing: Sugar Skulls Quilt

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Back before Christmas I was fastidiously working on a gift for my brother and sister-in-law. Alas, since we are all in the world of social media, I couldn’t really share much while I was working on it. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to do a quilt for them and one day while paging through Tula Pink’s latest quilt book I found this pattern for a sugar skull quilt and knew I’d found the pattern.

Then I started looking for fabric and when I saw Alexia Abegg’s Sienna line that it would be perfect. But then I had to wait…and wait…and wait, because it seemed like the fabric was never going to be released! I even chatted up with her mom at Craft South in Nashville and finally found out that it had been delayed.

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Thankfully it came out by mid-November and I was able to get it and get started. The background fabric was a solid that I found at our local quilt shop. It’s not a solid navy and kind of has a shibori element to it (which was perfect since my sister-in-law does fair share of indigo work herself.

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I absolutely loved working on this quilt. It came together really easily and I was super happy with how it turned out. I decided to quilt it on the diagonal and I’m sort of wishing I had done a little bit of a wavy line in it – but maybe not.

Reading: March 2018

I know it’s nearly mid-April, but I honestly have been spending so much time on the computer doing other things that I haven’t felt like writing at all. I also haven’t been reading quite as much either because of this…

Currently

David Copperfield – this monstronsity is our June book for my book club and I started it way early because I knew I’d never finish it if I didn’t. I really loved the first third, the second third has been a little bit “ehh”, but it’s sort of ramping up again. I go in spurts and sometimes can sit and read it for a while and other times honestly fall asleep. I really do love Dickens, but sometimes his descriptions are so laborious that it’s just too much. But I do love the character of David and he’s so humorous, which seems strange to me as he is a Dickens character.

Reading People by Anne Bogel – I really loved the first couple chapters of this book and then it started going into all the personality types and I got all confused. I get it, but sometimes it all just bogs down in my head and I just wonder if it’s really worth it for me to understand it? But it is a good book and I thing she does a great job of bringing a whole bunch of information into a concise little volume.

Caddie Woodlawn – the chick and I are reading this one at night. It’s pretty good; rather Little House-ish, but kind of funnier in some ways.

Finished

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration – hands down the best Charlotte Mason-ish book I’ve read yet (besides CM stuff itself). Totally helpful and something that I know I will use and refer to tons. I highly recommend it!

What’s Next

I need to start reading The Hiding Place, as that is our next book club book and I want to start reading Steven King’s memoir on writing. But first I’ve got to finish this darn encyclopedia.

Reading: February 2018

 

February is typically a super slow month, but it seemed to fly by this year. I think it’s because my kids are getting so much older. Time just flies. It was a great reading month and I actually finished a handful of books. I found myself looking for something to read this week because I wasn’t sure where to go next!

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The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain #1): this was a great and quick read. This series has been on my to-read list for a while to see if it might interest the fantasy loving kids in the house. There were so many similarities between Lord of the Rings and Narnia in this book and I found myself hearing Gollum for Gilgi almost all the time. I couldn’t even get out of my head that Gilgi wasn’t even anything like Gollum – but still. My daughter found the audio version on Libby so she’s excited to start listening to it and hopefully I can gather up the rest of the series to have for our home library.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You: This book was good; very practical. I really think I enjoyed The Shallows more – something about reading what literally happens to your brain when all you do is stare at screens seems to have more of an effect on me! But it’s an easy read and was for one of my book clubs and led us into a great discussion. Honestly I think we could have had multiple discussions about it over the course of months!

Alias Grace: This was my March book for my other book club and I figured out about one-third of the way through that this was the same author of Handmaid’s Tale…which is a book that totally ticks me off. (the ending…argh!!) But I pushed through hoping this one would end better and it did. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I do really love Atwood’s writing style. I’ve started watching the Netflix version and it’s so close to the book! It’s really good.

Uncommon Type: This is a book of short stories by Tom Hanks. I’ve just recently started enjoying short stories – and partially because I’ve told myself that if I don’t like the way the story is going, then I just don’t finish that one and move on. This book was about half and half. There were maybe 3-4 really compelling stories and a few that I didn’t even attempt after the first line and a couple that I tried to push through and didn’t. You could totally hear Tom Hanks reading these, which makes me realize how iconic he really is.

Princess and the Goblin by McDonald
Amazing! I’ve wanted to read this book forever after hearing Tim Keller reference it during a sermon. I don’t often write down lines from children’s books, but this one was full of so many good ones. I need to get my hands on the rest of the books too because I’m eager to know more about Princess Irene and Curdie.

A Touch of the Infinite by Hoyt
This was an excellent resource on ideas for how to teach music in a Charlotte Mason style. The amount of research she put into this book was amazing and found myself taking gobs of notes with the hope that next year as I plan for our composer study and more that I’ll be able to approach it in a manner that will encourage my children to enjoy the music – or at least appreciate it, rather than just bear it.

Currently

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass
This book came out with much fanfare in my Charlotte Mason circles and I went back and forth on whether I needed it or not – but man am I glad I bought it. This is an excellent book and so super helpful. It’s always a win when the book you are reading about an educational “task” actually makes you calmer about it rather than more freaked.

Caddie Woodlawn by Brink
The chick and I are reading this one and so far, so good! My daughter is so much like Caddie that it’s been fun to read and almost every night discover another way that if she were living on the Prairie she would be just like Caddie and getting into all sorts of trouble.

Orthodoxy by Chesterton
I’ve actually set this one aside while I read a different book of essays for Lent, but I started it and it’s challenging for sure. I feel like he’s having a conversation and I’ve missed the first half. But I’ve already found some gems and I do want to keep going.

What’s Next:

I started Station’s Eleven and so far I’m totally hooked. I’m a sucker for a good dystopian book. David Copperfield is our June book and I know I need to start on it soon, so I’m trying to lay out the rest of my reading spring so I can make sure I leave enough time to read that ENORMOUS book! My other book club is going to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I need to re-read that one and we are all going to attend the movie together! Such fun!