Jan 19, 2015

A Special Delivery

I am sort of new to quilting; I started experimenting back in 2012 and worked on my first major project in the Fall of that year, a sort of memory quilt for my in-law's. This was not a quilt per se, but a cover for their washer and drier. I was able to continue experimenting with different ideas and kept feeding my quilting bug with blogs, webinars, videos and online classes. The MQG once hosted a webinar about improvisational piecing, and the best advice the teacher had was: "Never buy kits." I guess I'm not a very good student... 

OK... I confess... I'm weak! I bought a kit! 



It is a package full of wonderful, colorful, quiltiful stuff to piece the top of the 2015 Craftsy's BOM! Luscious fabric that will be my  inspiration in learning new techniques and taking me away from my comfort zone. From baskets to applique, I'd better shape up and make at least two blocks a month! 

Isn't the fabric just gorgeous?


The combination of focus fabric and neutrals is just stunning! I am amazed that these colors are "unexpected" to me, but they work great together. I guess that is a token of so many more things I need to learn. Now, I just need to wiggle around this full-time schedule and find the time to practice...


It's probably the colors in the following picture that really caught my eye and it was just impossible to let it go... I'm weak... (Oops! I've already said that... :P) 

Yes, that's right! Craftsy has this new free mini class with Jinny Beyer - and I'm so excited! I have seen some of her products, and now that I get to see her in action, it's amazing! She is actually hand sewing the blocks! Now, how cool is that?!? 



I must confess I'm a bit surprised at myself. This quilt will be too traditional for my usual taste, and has a bunch of baskets (which I generally run away from) but it has a je ne sais quoi that I could not resist!

On top of it all, and particularly after my last post about not being able to quilt, 
I found some good excuses reasons for making this quilt: 
  • Gorgeous color palette
  • I'll get to work on it a bit at a time, and will -hopefully- have a quilt completely "outside my box" by the end of the year
  • New techniques to learn
  • Free Craftsy class that I can watch over and over and that doesn't expire


I am ready! Mylar, thread and even tailor chalk are getting ready to work on the first block, a May basket... in January!  :)


Even if you don't want to make this quilt, I would recommend you visit Craftsy and get enrolled in this mini-class. You never know what you'll learn!

Well, let the adventure begin!

Stay blessed,

Yiya




Jan 6, 2015

Blogging keeps me sane!

After such an unexpected long hiatus from Blogland, I can only say: Life goes on...

I often wondered why major bloggers and crafters posted every now and then that they will not be active in their blog for a certain period of time.  After two or three months, BAM! A new book! Well, I do not have a new book, nor did I finish any projects. I do not even have a picture to share in this post... 

Life happens - and it goes on.  

In the meantime, ideas have not stopped fuzzying around in my mind and I could only wish I had a brief moment for at least putting them down on paper. I look back and realize that I never met my super blogging resolution for 2014, at least 4 posts a month. I am not sure I would like to set a similar one for 2015, but I'll do my best!

(Big sigh...) With all the commute time and a full-time job, I could only wish there was some kind of gizmo that could automatically download all those tickling and fluttering ideas in my head to paper, PDF, blog post or some kind of document that is easily accessible! I have rediscovered the wonder of post-its and other note taking artifacts, but it seems impossible to keep up with the constant flow... Maybe those self-driving cars that are often seen in movies will be available sooner than expected, and we will all be able to craft safely in the back seat... Ha! Wouldn't it be nice? Just think of all the projects that would be completed while going to and from work!

At this point, I can only thank all of you who kept coming back while I was trying to keep up with dishes, dirty laundry and house chores - which I think I will never catch up with. Your visits and comments are such an encouragement!

I have found out that this thing of writing and posting is quite a fantastic activity.  I can only promise that I will keep trying.  I have started a new project and materials are coming soon. I also started concocting a super fun idea for a quilt project. There are WIPs and WIPs accumulating in the dining crafting room, so I believe that there will be plenty to share during this year!

Stay tuned and God bless you!

Yiya

Dec 31, 2014

Honor, by Lyn Cote


I often wonder how blessed we are in so many different ways - today, we live in a time and place where and when we can exercise free will without major opposition. This is not true for Honor, a plantation heiress who, along with her maid, goes from a fairly comfortable life to destitution when Honor makes a decision based on her beliefs and convictions, while defying those of her family.

As a result, Honor has to face harsh consequences, but she stays true to herself despite the unexpected harsh reality she ends up in. In a time and moment where slavery, abolition, abuse and violence are staple, her determination is admirable. Her plans do not come to be as she had expected and marries Samuel out of convenience. They both learn to accept and love each other and become two characters who exemplify Christian character. In this sense, this book could be a great teaching tool. 

However, there are elements in the story and the way it is written that made it less effective or more incredible (as in not being credible), at least for my taste. (SPOILER ALERT NEXT) For example, no one is able to master a language in three days, but due to Samuel's needs, Hope learns to sign in a extremely unrealistic short period of time. I understand this is a work of fiction, but this is way too farfetched. Also, Honor is initially engaged to another man, who clumsily reappears by the end of the story after the author includes a sub-plot that shows his true colors. His showing up at Honor's new house brings a little suspense and edge to the story, but the situation is highly inconclusive, as it is finished almost as fast and abruptly as it started. Personally, I think that this event could have brought much more to the story, rather than turning it into a book with a weak ending.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers, in exchange of an honest review. This has not biased my opinion on the book or the author.

Sep 14, 2014

Addie's Quilt - The End!

Transformation, creation, intricacy, exploration, learning and even prayer... all of them right there along the process!

This is the last post on Addie's Quilt and I can hardly share enough of how excited I have been with this piece of quilty craziness that I had the opportunity to work on!

I don't want to say much; just invite you to enjoy the satisfaction and thankfulness of a finished work...


...and a failed attempt at a fancy picture with the quilt draped on a chair. Oh my! I guess that's why some people are professionals - but not me, hehehe. I guess I'll have to practice more and more before I can get one of those cover-worthy shots!  :)


And why not some pictures of the back? After all, Addie's gramma saw this side first and she thought this was the front!  :)




I like the evening light for photographing a quilt; I can see an interesting play with the piecing and the quilting without having a huge contrast between those.  I kept wanting to have one of those really nice pictures with the quilt draped on the fence, but I'm not sure I am really happy with the results.








And a little something for Addie to remember... Lilies were about to bloom when her quilt was finished!

I do realize this may disclose how long it takes to go from the quilt to the blog, but I think my first baby quilt deserves a little TLC and time!  :)  


It was a pleasure to work on Addie's quilt in so many ways! Not only did I learn and experimented with new techniques, but seeing every single part of it take place is like a dream... Those ideas in my head keep spinning and tickling just thinking of the many possibilities and endless creative moments!


Thank you for sticking with these posts and sharing Addie's story and my adventures in quilting!  

I am working on a new series and I really think you will enjoy it!  :)

Have a wonderful day and stay blessed!

Yiya

Sep 7, 2014

Mosaic Jello - Take 2!

Hello! I hope all of you are doing well!  Man! I miss blogging so much! I guess any blogger has to face busy schedules, and even photo retouching before hitting that "publish" button, but I sure would like to have a recipe for managing it all!  :)
 
Alas! In the craziness called life, my sweet neighbor - those that are like precious stones: rare and amazing - had a little mishap. And I decided to turn around, take a break and prepare something he mentioned he really liked:  Mosaic Jello!!  Woohoo!!  
 
This is such a fun and easy to do recipe. I first blogged about it in Squares in my Jello, when I made some for a Christmas party at church, and it has been quite a hit!


Ever since, making another post showing a wider variety of colors has been in my mind, so here it goes!  

Just a little parenthesis: if you would like to make this jello, please read my previous post, where the recipe is described step by step.

Yes, COLOR!! This is what this jello is about. I did not pay much attention to the flavors, I just wanted COLOR!!  Lime, pineapple, fruit punch and grape made it to the final product and it was actually quite yummy.  :)


Here are they after setting... It was hard to keep Mr. Fuzz away from these! He really appreciates Mr. D, and he knew this was for him - probably this was the only reason that kept him away, hehe...

And after scoring the jello to get the little squares...


...in they go to a beautiful bundt pan! Yes, I know... As usual, I cannot make things simple, and I really wanted to make something special.  At this point, feel free to spray the inside or very lightly oil the pan to make sure that nothing sticks.  Give it a little shake to make sure that colors are mixed.


Oh! I also had some punch cups leftover, and I went ahead and made individual portions so that mom and dad could have a bit.  By the way, one of these never made it to be a mosaic... Mr. Fuzz got there first... I'll let you put 2 and 2 together, hehehe 

(Mental note: Mr. Fuzz really enjoyed these jello cubes, so they could be a good munchy treat for him!)


And here they are, right after taking them out of the fridge!!  So excited!!  The challenge was the bundt pan; grandma used to warm up water, but...


...I found out that using water at room temperature would work just as well.  (Sigh!) I used lukewarm water and the jello started to dissolve... This would have looked so pretty and not smeared, but at least I can suggest not to warm up the water!  lol


Mr. D was so happy!  Mrs. D thought it look beautiful!  :) They are such gentle and sweet people! The flavor was great as well!


And here are the little individual servings. These are what I was talking about in my first post about the mosaic jello, when I talked about making this an individual experience, or adapting it to the event. 

Just imagine how easy cleanup would be! And these little cups of yumminess make such a nice centerpiece! 
 

I hope you try making this fun jello. It's yummy, different and so easy to make!

Stay blessed,

Yiya. 

Aug 30, 2014

Addie's Quilt - FMQ

Hello everyone!

Addie's quilt series is practically finished. But it HAD TO include a post just about FMQ.

The most challenging thing about this post are the pictures!  There are a bunch of things that can go wrong and sometimes the actual picture does not capture what we want to.  Or, it shows exactly that itty bitty thing that makes the quilt!

OK, I'm not a professional photographer, but I knew what kind of pictures I wanted.  Let's begin the experimentation with light.

Light enhances either the texture (a.k.a. quilting) or the piecing in a quilt. I had a hard time finding a place that would show details, but I really like how the next picture turned out.



This is in the same area, at a different time of the day. The quilt wasn't finished, but I think the flowers in the middle of the diamond are easier to see... Well, sort of...


I knew I wanted the quilting to emphasize the piecing; hence the diamonds in the intersections. Some of them got to have wavy lines to give yet another dimension to the quilted diamonds; they were like medallions scattered all over the quilt! I had an idea of how I wanted it to look, but the final results just blew my mind!


And here are close-ups of the flowers. It all starts with a simple spiral surrounded by loops that flow around the center.







Here is the back. The diamonds are easier to see, and you can get a glimpse of the loopy quilted flowers.


And here are the corners with the floating strips. The quilting is also a loopy flower surrounded by stippling.


The lines of the quilted diamonds created a nice boundary for the design.


I always like to enjoy the back of quilts as well. In this picture of a corner, the loopy quilted flower created a lot of movement in that lattice-like print.  Happy accident indeed!


Here is another back view of the diamonds. Every other one got wavy lines. This simple addition made a huge difference, simple to make and so classy!


And another happy accident... Two diamonds intersect on the back, right by Addie's name, forming a nice frame to the two embroidered legends. I guess my centering abilities are getting sharpened!  :)


This was an amazing journey for me. Little by little, sometimes just five minutes a time... Addie's quilt is finished and a stepping stone for more learning experiences has just been set!


Thank you for stopping by.  Stay blessed!

Yiya