practically/imperfect

finding beauty through imperfection

I Moved!

It’s been a while! And much has changed!

The biggest news? I moved! About a month and a half ago, I packed my car as full as I could, got in, and drove myself to Northern Arizona.

Why?

To start a new job in Sedona.

I just finished my 6th week and have been loving it so far! It’s definitely a new adventure and one that completely took me by surprise. But God has been good (as He always is!) in going before me and preparing the way and I’m looking forward to discovering all that He has in store for me here!

As far as this blog/blogging goes, I don’t know what’s going to happen. (Not that I’m a very good or consistent blogger to begin with.) I have issues when it comes to paying for internet service (big THANK YOU to whichever of my neighbors decided to take their password off today!).

You see, I already pay for my iPhone and the thought of paying for internet at home is sort of depressing. That’s a lot of money when it’s just me. And I would waste entirely too much time online anyway. So we’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, I’m living life in Northern Arizona, waiting for my first guest. I’ve got an extra bedroom, air conditioning, a pool, weather that isn’t nearly as hot as Phoenix, and some AMAZING scenery. Friends are always welcome!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!

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Poor, Neglected Blog

Oh, poor, poor, neglected blog…

It’s been a while! Lots of stuff going though my head, nothing has made it to the blog yet. I need to get back in the habit.

Lately, life has been busy.

Visiting the sister. Sewing for myself. Sewing for others (which I need to do more of). Knitting. Bible studies. Interviewing. Family time. Cooking and Baking. Friend time. Organizing, which is a much bigger job when you empty out a storage unit and your sister doesn’t want as much of it as you thought. And to go along with organizing, purging. Probably other things too, but they’re not coming to mind right now.

But I want to get back into blogging. Some of the things you may see a post on soon:

Grandmother’s Flower Garden in a Star and Flower Layout Pattern/Tutorial/My tips for making it.

Coffee and espresso drinks. That may not sound exciting, but now that the weather’s getting colder, I’m making myself some every day.

Baby quilts.

T-Shirt quilts.

Postage Stamp quilt. You would think that after the Flower Garden Quilt, I’d be done with quilts with tiny pieces for a while. Apparently not, but this one is machine pieced.

Knitting. Scarves, hats, etc.

More stuff in my Etsy shop. It would have probably been good to get stuff in there in time for Christmas, but no one’s buying anything at the moment, so the motivation isn’t there yet.

And other assorted topics. I just need to get the camera out, take pictures, download pictures, edit pictures, and then get them on here.

Plenty of things to write about, I’m just enjoying the creative side more than the writing/describing side at the moment.

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So Close!

A surprising number of people find my blog by searching for “grandmother’s flower garden” or something similar. I know because WordPress tells me that.

One of the first posts I did was about my grandmother’s flower garden quilt. I’m approaching the two year mark of working on this thing and I’m nearing a huge milestone!

I’m almost done piecing the top!

Please don’t remind me that I still have to quilt it and I’m leaning towards hand-quilting. Let me celebrate.

Most of these quilts use a pattern that is all flowers. I decided to use a pattern that includes both stars and flowers. That part of the quilt was done a few months ago, but it didn’t seem quite finished to me. So I decided to add a border. The border consists of one row of white hexagons and two rows of colored hexagons, using the leftover fabric from the rest of the quilt.

Even though it created a lot of extra work {over 600 more hexagons}, I am thrilled with the result. Last night I finished the last border piece and am now in the process of attaching them all. You can see the border in the bottom right picture above.

This has been such a huge undertaking and I’m excited to move onto the next step of the process!

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Family Time

Family is a pretty big deal around here.

So when two of my mom’s aunts announced a few months back that they were making their first overseas trip to come and visit from Finland, we made plans to head down to Southern California (where they would be staying with my grandma, their sister) to spend time with them while they were here.

So last Thursday night, we (my dad, my mom, my cousin, and me) drove down. My mom didn’t want to drive during the day, thus wasting time with family, so we drove all night.

Before the family fun could start, my dad and I tackled the other goal of the trip: emptying my storage unit.

Before:

After:

We fit all the contents of my 10′ x 15′ storage unit into a 6′ x 12′ trailer. (It’s now all in my parent’s garage and backyard.)

On to family…

We spent time together and had dinner together on Friday, but the main event was on Saturday. My grandma has a group of Finnish people that get together once a month, and they all came over during the day on Saturday. By night time, it was just family left and we had a great time, talking, catching up playing games, taking pictures, giving gifts (one of my great aunts was celebrating her birthday and her anniversary), and simply being together.

Cousins:

The married people present:

Overall, it was a wonderful time spent with family. We didn’t do anything special, we just spent time together. And it was fabulous!

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Knitting in Style

I knit. And I usually do my knitting on Wednesday afternoons after Bible study with the knitting group at my church. It’s a great time to develop relationships and glean wisdom from the other women in the group.

Anyway, in knitting there’s always the problem of “What do I do with my yarn while I’m knitting?” Some people use a plastic bag with one of the corners cut. And this, while functional, is hardly pretty.

So a couple of weeks ago, one of the women in the group showed up with a little bag with grommets in it. Stick the yarn in, pull through the grommet, zip close, and your yarn problem is taken care of in a pretty way.

So one of the other women in the group asked if I could make her a couple. One for her, one to give away.

She gave me free rein on the colors and I love the way they turned out!

They measure about 10″ x 12″, and have one grommet on each side. So you could have two different projects in one bag if you wanted. They’re also big enough so that if you’re doing a small project, you can fit the project in the bag as well for easy transport.

I brought them to her at knitting last week and now I have orders for a couple more. (Maybe with the next ones I’ll get some pictures of them in use.) I may even make a couple to put in my Etsy shop!

I love it when my sewing and knitting worlds intersect!

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Spider Web Quilt

I make a lot of quilts. As I am just one person and don’t need 20 quilts, I’ve given a number of quilts away. Through college, I made quilts for all of my siblings, usually as Christmas gifts. Since I had a lot of fabric (that I got for free) and lots of time, it was an economical Christmas gift.

A couple years ago, I found a pattern I wanted to try and decided to make a quilt for my parents for Christmas.

The only problem? I was also making a rag quilt for my sister-in-law and I made the decision to make both quilts over Thanksgiving.

This was back when I was working full time.

That made for a hectic and extremely sleep deprived month of December.

My sister-in-law’s quilt was finished fairly quickly and I finished my parent’s on Christmas Day, but I was living in Southern California and my parents drove down on Christmas Day, so I had a couple extra hours to get it done.

The pattern I used is called a spider web and it is paper pieced using a ton of scraps.

A lot of these scraps were not actually scraps, but fabric I had bought at a sale and decided to use for their quilt. I also made my sister-in-law’s rag quilt using the same group of fabric, so there’s a lot of carry over between the two quilts.

Overall, I love this quilt and the fabrics I used for it.

But, if I had to do it again, I would do a number of things differently.

First of all, I would give myself more than 3 weeks of time after work and on the weekends to make a king size quilt. Never put that amount of pressure on yourself, especially if the quilt is paper pieced, as this one is. Paper piecing adds a ton of time to the piecing process. And, I think the other things I would have changed would have been taken care of if I had given myself more time.

Second, I would have quilted it differently. It’s just kind of randomly quilted and I’m not so sure I like it so much. Every once in a while, I consider going and pulling the quilt off of my parent’s bed, ripping out all the quilting, and redoing the whole thing. But it’s huge and that would be an enormous undertaking, so I haven’t done that yet.

Third, I would have spent more time on the back. I really wish I had put more time and thought into what the back looks like. Yes, most people never see the back, but I still wish it was a bit diffeerent. I still like the fabrics I used (the same fabric I used for the borders), but don’t like the way I combined them.

That’s my parent’s quilt. Overall, I love it, they love it, and it is still on their bed nearly 3 years later!

 

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Be…

My favorite store in the world is the Hands Gallery in San Luis Obispo. It’s amazing. When I lived in SLO, I would regularly go by and just wander through. I could never really afford too much that they have but it is so inspiring to just be in the store. I can’t wander through as much anymore (given that I don’t live in the area anymore), so I have to settle for sporadic visits and enjoying the few items that I do have from there.

One of which is my “BE…” desktop accessory things. I don’t really know exactly what to call it, but I love it! My sister gave it to me for Christmas a few years back. It is cast silver (it’s pretty heavy!) and reads “BE…”. It comes with a bunch of little green cards that you can slip into a slot in the “…” to remind you what you need to be that day.

BE… different

BE… spontaneous

BE… inspired

… and many more…

But for the last few months, I haven’t changed it, because everyday I need to be reminded to

BE… here now

There are a lot of uncertainties in my life right now and the temptation (for me) is to retreat, to pull into myself, to be unwilling to open up until those uncertainties are resolved.

But what I’ve come to realize is that there are always uncertainties, unknowns, and questions. And even those things I thought were for sure can disappear in the blink of an eye.

So everyday, I need a reminder to be here now. To invest in relationships I have here now. To take advantage of opportunities that are here now. To learn and grow here now.

Everything could change tomorrow, but for today, I will be here now.

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Memo Boards

You know what Memo Boards are, right? Those padded boards with ribbon that you can use as a bulletin board or just tuck things in behind the ribbon if you don’t want to poke holes in them? I love the idea of them. However, in my years of searching, I was never able to find one I actually wanted to buy.

They usually have some weird print on them, like the Eiffel Tower and random French words or cups of coffee and faded pictures of outdoor cafes. Not that I have anything against Paris or coffee, but it always seems a little too cheesy for my tastes.

Also, they’re usually really small. Like I could fit about 4 pictures before the board is filled up.

And, they’re typically expensive. At least for what you get.

A board with a cheesy print that doesn’t really hold anything for $20-$30? No thank you.

Like I said, I like the idea, but I’ve never seen one that I would actually want to buy.

So a few years ago, when I was living in an apartment and wanting somewhere to hold and display Christmas cards and notes and pictures and save the date cards and wedding invitations and anything else a friend might give to me, I decided to stop looking for an appropriate memo board and make one myself.

And I discovered that they’re really easy to make.

{{This was a couple years ago, so I don’t have any pictures of the work in progress, but I may be tackling the failure of a bulletin board in the near future and doing this, so I could do a step by step post for that.}} 

My supplies for this project were 2 of the biggest bulletin boards I could find, fabric, ribbon, batting, a staple gun (with lots of extra staples), spray adhesive, assorted buttons, hammer, nails, pilers, twine, and a yarn/upholstery needle.

Essentially, I upholstered the bulletin board, ran the ribbon randomly across the board, added the border fabric, then attached a button at each of the ribbon intersections, threading the twine through the button and the board.

After the first one, I got much better and got my technique down and the second one went much faster.

Overall, I probably spent about as much as it would have cost to buy two of the cheesy ones from Ross or TJ Maxx and ended up with boards that fit my style and hold pretty much everything I want them to hold, plus some.

Love this project!

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A Baby Shower

Last weekend I had the privilege of helping to give a baby shower for a friend. The mommy-to-be and I have been friends since our freshman year of high school, traveled to Slovakia together, ended up at the same college for a couple years (after I bounced around a bit), and are now once again living in the same area. I love that we are now able to get together for coffee, see each other at church on Sundays, and I cannot wait to meet the little one (due any day now)! So when her sister asked my mom and me to help give a baby shower, we were excited and honored to do so!

I don’t know that the shower had a theme as much as a color scheme… black and white with teal accents. Between borrowing, making, and deal hunting, the whole thing came together and we were able to give a beautiful shower and honor the mom-to-be in beautiful fashion.

Note: There was someone at the shower responsible for picture-taking, it wasn’t me, and I don’t have those, so these are mostly pictures of the set up.

Food table (we did feed everyone, all the plates are simply waiting to be filled with yummy goodness)

Dessert menu

Drink station – Water, Iced Tea, Lemonade, and Coffee

Activity center – instead of shower games (which can get a bit weird at times), we had activities for the guests. They aren’t finding out if the baby is a boy or a girl, so we had people guess by taking a blue or pink flower rosette pin (also their favor for the party). On the desk were Wishes for Baby cards and Sweet Notes for Mommy cards. This allowed everyone to write out their wishes/prayers for the baby and notes for Mommy to read whenever she needs encouraging. Finally, on the black table (along with the super cute diaper cake my mom made) are quilt squares. My gift is a quilt full of notes for the baby from friends and family, so we had them out, along with fabric pens, so guests could write, draw, whatever they wanted. Everyone got really creative and the quilt it going to be an amazing collection of love, Bible verses, wisdom, and beauty for the baby.

Table centerpieces

Gift table – Mommy got an amazing assortment of goodies!

The whole day was wonderful, a great gathering of people who love the Mommy and Daddy-to-be and cannot wait to meet and love the little one!

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Speaking of Free Fabric…

This beautiful assortment of fabric was gifted to me last week by a woman at church.

Like I said last week, when people know you sew, you end up getting free fabric. Instead of throwing away their scraps, people give it to you instead. Then you get to make awesome things with it.

I have some projects that I’m working on right now that need to be finished (or at least get significant progress made) before I start another project.

As for what these fabrics will end up as, I’m open to suggestions for projects or scrap quilt patterns – always looking for good ones!

In the mean time, check out my Etsy shop! Yes, there isn’t much in it at the moment, but at least click on that link because Etsy lets me know how many people look at my stuff each day and I’d love to get a number other than 1 or 2! And I’ll probably be putting a couple more things up in the next couple days!

Happy Monday!

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