20 February 2017

WIP Finished for Refugee Family

Somehow the past year and some feels like a blur. I have been a stay at home mom for almost 15 months. I took a leave of absence/loss of mojo for about two years, but I am getting my feet wet again and I want to share about this blanket I finished.

I started it back in 2013, and it stayed folded up and stored. 

The women's group at my church, called the Relief Society, adopted a refugee family through UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council). We gathered household items and fully furnished an apartment. My heart was moved with compassion and I had at least 4 quilt tops waiting to be finished, so I decided to donate the top, batting and back. I didn't have enough time to machine quilt it; and I wanted to include other ladies in our Relief Society to help finish the quilt, so we tied it. I brought it to our church during the day and some ladies took turns helping me mark and tie the quilt. One lady even brought her homeschooling sons and used the quilt tying as a review math lesson. We used 100% cotton thin yarn and darning needles.

Once it was tied, I brought it home, did my best to square the quilt. I machine bound it with scraps left over from the blocks on the quilt. I made a roll of binding for this quilt shortly after I finished piecing the back.

I felt so happy that I had this quilt in a state of "readiness", and ready to be finished waiting in my closet.

16 January 2017

Deanna Gets Real

I took a long break from blogging and quilting over the past year or so. November 22, 2015, I was rushed in for an early emergent C-section. We had a scheduled one planned for December 2, but my babies decided to come earlier than planned.

Amelie in front, Jane in back

We found out at 18 weeks one of our sweet girls would not live long, if at all, after birth. Our other baby grew slowly. Their growth was monitored carefully, and we prepared ourselves for bringing home one baby; while mourning the loss of the other one.

Thanksgiving in the NICU
After 3 weeks in the NICU, we were able to bring our baby Jane home. I found myself in awe over her tiny body, tiny fingers and toes, that was healthy. I felt very blessed for having such a robust little girl; and I felt pained at the loss of our other daughter Amelie.

Home at 1 month old
Jane and I tried very hard to breastfeed, but were unsuccessful, so most of my days revolved around waking to pump, freezing and thawing breast milk and eating enough to make more. Jane continued to grow at her own pace and by 4 months, made it on the growth charts, however she was unable to roll over or sit up on her own. At about 4 months, I felt a change inside.

I was trying so hard to feed the baby and play with the baby and recover from surgery and on and on, postpartum depression sank in, and by month 5 I decided to get some help. I was prescribed some medication which took the edge off. My husband was assigned to work out of state for 10+ weeks, so I retreated to my sister's home and stayed with her while my body adjusted to the medication. She helped me so much. She, in her no nonsense way would allow me to cry and would cry with me, tell me it was ok to stop pumping, and helped me teach Jane to roll over and sit up. Jane cut some teeth and as if an alarm went off, she was able to roll over, sit up and scoot on her belly.

Now, Jane is an active 14 month old and enjoys independent play. I finally feel ready to begin quilting, sewing and blogging again.

26 June 2015

Projects I Want to Tackle

I think I may have hit my nesting phase a week shy of the second trimester.  Recently I have spent many lazy evenings on the couch perusing pinterest to find delicious projects I would like to complete by October for my little humans.  I took stock of my juvenile prints and have a few items picked out to make receiving blankets, burp rags, bibs and their special baby quilts.

Here's a smattering of links I would like to use as "pinspiration" for these projects.

From website listed above

I will be doing double duty on this one!  Two babies, two car seats.  Perhaps this might be a way to differentiate the children once they arrive.  Her tutorial seems simple and straight forward.  Many of these car seat canopies use minky.  I seldom have negative feelings, but I HATE MINKY.  I am just too much of a spazz to use this fabric.  Especially on something that will be getting a lot of wear and tear.  Minky makes such a mess just by cutting it, let alone dealing with its propensity to stretching all over the place.  My babies are due in December, so they will need something that will help them maintain their body heat.  I think this will be an easy option and keep me from having to purchase more fabric.  I am determined to use up my stash!


From website listed above
I have actually MADE these before eons ago.  I really like using coordinating flannel.  The two flannels stick together making cutting and sewing a treat.  I may not round my corners as the tutorial shows because I am not adept as sewing "round" stuff.  I want to use a quilting cotton and a flannel on mine.  I think that will be a nice alternative because during spring the temperatures in North Carolina have a tendency to fluctuate.  I feel like having ALL flannel might cause baby heat stroke.  No one wants that.


Photo from website above

I have loved these bibs since I first spied them on pinterest.  I think it would be a PERFECT project for all sorts of my fabric and batting scraps.  Her tutorial is very detailed, but I wonder if I can conquer my fear of curves.  I may modify the pattern and make the bottom portion more square and only deal with the curves around the neck.
I love the idea of fussy cutting shown on this one

I have also sketched out similar chevron quilts for each baby.  In my heart of hearts, I would love one of each.  When I sketched these quilts I figured the one on the left "felt" more masculine and the one on the right "felt" more feminine.  I am not sure if I want to use subtle prints for each color or use solids.  I still have a TON of Kona Navy left over from projects, {Deanna's Dresden and Naughts and Crossesbut I also have a celestial themed print that has swirls and stars with a dark navy background.  I want the grey to be a true grey, not charcoal.  I haven't really found the color I want to use for the grey yet.  I may not attain my goal of only using what I have on these ones.  I think it is allowed, though, since these will be the babies special quilts.  I want the yellow to be bright and sunny.  All of these colors are gender neutral, but complement each other well.  

The babies will share a room as we live in an apartment.  I plan on decorating primarily with Navy, Grey and Yellow.  I registered for yellow and white chevron black out curtains for their room.  I also plan on using a bunting I made as decoration for an anniversary party last year.

I also scored some free terry cloth fabric in white and cream to use in making burp rags.  I also plan on embellishing some cloth diapers with strips of fabric or trim.  Yet another way to use up my stash.

Due to feeling sick and tired, I haven't touched my sewing machine at ALL through the first trimester.  For all my mommy and or quilting friends, is this too ambitious for a first time mommy carrying twins?  What would your suggestions be on my baby quilt plans?

Let me hear your comments!

01 June 2015

Making McNays

It has been quite some time since I blogged about quilting or anything else.  I still feel like I have lost some of my quilting mojo (see last post here).  I have a friend who is welcoming a new arrival in July and I have yet to finish her quilt TOP let alone quilt it and bind it.  Perhaps her little fella will just have to be patient.

I blogged about our first IVF attempt here, unfortunately the little embryos didn't take. :(

We tried again in April and my hormone levels were indicating a pregnancy.  Both my husband and I were over the moon!  we were so excited.  We got to see the heart beat and the first little images of our embryo in late April.  I proudly hung my ultrasound image on the fridge.
After implantation the second time

When working with fertility clinics they generally keep patients under their care until the first trimester is over.  I go in for ultrasounds every two weeks.

Last week, Wednesday, my husband and I went for the second ultrasound and the doctor asked how many embryos took, I announced "One." and he said "Well I hardly ever miss, but it looks like there is two in there."  My husband said "Yeah, that's about right" while I was speechless and a bit flabbergasted!

I wondered why I needed to move into maternity pants so quick.  I really thought my weight gain was getting out of control.  It turns out that I am right on track with twins.  Many of our loving friends have donated outgrown baby toys, or have promised us baby gear.

We are so humbled by the generosity of friends and family.  Expecting twins the first go around will be challenging.  I will have to quit my out side the house job in order to care for them.  That is a bit scary for me since the longest I have been without a job is 6 months.  I often ask myself if I will have the mental fortitude and physical stamina to meet the demands of a stay at home mom.  It will be quite a hit to our household income when I leave the work force.  One of the biggest items we are in need of is a decent washer and dryer.  We were gifted a set from the 1970's complete with faux wood paneling!  Unfortunately, the washer is not wringing out as much water as it should, AND they are very energy inefficient.

I hope to continue to tutor students and dare I say sell quilty items to generate a bit of extra income.  

That may have to happen once the babies are a bit older and less demanding.

So here's to the two little people I am currently "making"

17 April 2015

I've Lost that Quilting Mojo

After finding out our first IVF attempt was not successful, I fell into an emotional and creative funk. I am lucky, though, my husband was supportive during this time. As I look back, I can tell having my hormones decrease quickly greatly contributed to the depressed state. Subsequently, I have had a difficult time trying to get quilting again.

I decided that I would begin to tackle some of my WIP projects.

I went back to my Block of the Month project, a free class offered by Craftsy taught by Amy Gibson, in an attempt to conquer my FEAR apprehension of paper piecing. I dug through my box of fabric I have set aside for this project and found some pieces that were still big enough for me to use.  I picked my fabrics, cut out my paper templates and "sewed" over the lines to perforate the paper.  I did my best to keep my fabrics similar - meaning having the same fabric in the same spot for each piece.  
I chose a patriotic theme for this project

Honestly, I had a hard time keeping fabric A, fabric B and template all together.  I had to rip out some of my seams which resulted in a casualty of one of my templates. 

Some of my fabric pieces don't go all the way out to the edge of the template.  I found that super frustrating.  
Semi-Complete parts of the paper piecing block

So here I am asking the bloggosphere - what are your paper piecing tips and tricks.  how do you get those layers to stay straight and keep your template together?

11 February 2015

Musing Impending Implantation

Ken and Me on the Cruise in October
Hello Blogging, Quilting, and Actual in Person Friends!  I haven't been doing much in the way of completing or starting new quilting or sewing projects.  Instead, I have been preparing for embryo implantation.  Each night I get a shot or two in my hip area, take a myriad of medications or supplements and try not to "stress out".  

I am so thankful for the outpouring of love sent to us from our local and far away friends.  One woman offered to bring dinner without even asking!  My brother and dad are driving to North Carolina from Washington State to be here and help me while I recover.

The recovery part isn't so bad, its the three days of bed rest that might cause me to lose my marbles.  I think the hardest thing for me will be that I will have time at home, but not be able to sew.  For the first two days I have to be horizontal as much as possible.  I believe it would be quite challenging (and quite a sight) to sew in the prone position.  The second day I am able to take a shower, which is nice.

Our Embryos are at the blastocyst stage
Many have asked how I feel about the IVF process, and especially embryo implantation.  I am cautiously optimistic.  I have to stave off the impulse to purchase maternity clothes and make all sorts of baby quilts. I want to buy all sorts of tiny clothes and wash them and fold them and put them away in the dressers we have for our tiny humans.  I want to feel excited, hopeful and plan for the future of our tiny humans.  I want all those things; but I don't know how I will deal with the disappointment if the embryos do not implant.  I don't know how I can go thorough another two months of appointments and needle sticks.  Or even more scary, what if our child is born but lives for only a short moment.  These are also things I think about.  These are questions I don't have answers to.  I almost feel like there are more people excited for me than I am excited for myself.

Hoping to end up with one of these

30 January 2015

Finishes for Friday

I busted it out this week and finished one quilt, one pin cushion, and one quilt top.

The baby quilt was blogged about here.  I added a picture to share in case you don't want to jump over to that page.

My pin cushion was made from a scrap piece of muslin and an orphan block made from scraps of the WIP Teal Flying Geese Chevron.

I decided to make this pin cushion because I didn't like having to get up from across the room to grab the magnetic one once I decided to sew whatever I pinned.

I put a scrap piece of batting on the back of the block.  I practiced my FMQ skills and stiched the back to the top, trimmed my corners and turned it right side out.  I read somewhere that it was a good idea to add rice or walnut shells to add weight to pin cushions.  Being dedicated to using what I had on hand, I used rice.  I stuffed the rest with some polyester stuffing I had left over from another project.  

Pay no attention to the rouge hand sewing!

I also sewed the blocks together for Naughts and Crosses.  I love the play of the bright yellow contrasting with the deep navy.  I first found the yellow and navy floral prints all bunched together on the bolts.  My heart squee'ed (is this a word??) for joy.  I then collected some more yellow and navy fabrics from my stash.  I even picked up a vintage yellow and light blue floral print and incorporated it into a couple of the blocks.

Another quilt I cannot fit in the picture UGH!

 I tried my best to match and nest seams, but as with all of my projects - I had to fudge a little.  I had a hard time getting the O or the Naught blocks through the needle.  There was quite an intersection of seams and layers there.  I mitigated that by encouraging the blocks through the sewing machine - I tugged on the blocks as they were coming through the back side of the needle.  I am pleased with the way this top turned out.  I need to add a border, but I am stuck with what color and how thick the border should be.  This quilt will be for my Husband so he has something nice to snuggle with on drafty winter mornings.


 I think I will use an all over meandering FMQ for this quilt.  I am thinking about using navy Aurifil for the quilting.

I haven't decided for certain.  What do you think?  Would you use a dark thread or a light thread to quilt?  Would you add a border?  What color border would you add?

Please leave your feedback in my comments section.  Thanks!