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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gearing for fall...

Hello my friends, 

I am emerging from lots of sewing, most of which I can't share yet... I know! A bit frustrating, but also very exciting - I simply CAN'T WAIT for the end of the year when both, McCall's Quilting and Quiltmaker Jan/Feb issues are likely to come out - with my quilts in them!! EEEEK!!

Rememeber that second stack of lovely colors I showed you earlier?


It is a queen size quilt now and I am so happy how it turned out!! I wish I can share it all now, but here are few little sneak-peeks...

I quilted it all on my friend Robi's Nolting, and it was so much more fun! Both because I love, love love quilting on a long arm (doodling is so much easier!) and even more so because I could do it in a good company - Robi was sewing up a storm behind me and a whole quality control department - aka her lovely cats! - were there too, of course! At the end I had to do it in a bit of a tight time, but it was still just fun!
The thread of choice was 50wt Aurifil - I use this taupe, neutral color cone for all my piecing, did it in this quilt too, and it actually turned out to be the best choice of color for quilting as well! 
I quilted some leaves...



And some flowers too...


I used Dream Wool batting for the first time and I really love the enhanced definition of quilting it gives! It is also very light!! Definitely doing that again... 

After quilting fun was over, I decided to do that "faux-piping" binding and I just love it!


You know, I realized that I didn't do a queen size quilt in a while now, and boy was that a pile on my sewing table!! Not to mention some unusually hot and humid Buffalo weather while doing it... (yes, no AC in our old house...) - but it was all so worth it!


Of course I had to take few photos, just for myself and while doing that, found that this lovely new mum, a "just because" gift from our next door neighbors, was such perfect color for my little photo-shoot!


Did I mention I love that binding? He, he...


Once that quilt was in the mail, I had to do a quick baby quilt - a coworker is having a baby boy any day now and this needed to be done fast! So digging through my sizable kids fabrics stash, I found this lovely (and wide!) border print with animals - a dozen happy pinwheel blocks, some polka-dot background fabrics and those border strips and - VOILA!



I used minky for the back and this happy, sunny yellow stripe for the binding. I really love how quilting actually showed well on the minky!
Beautiful, turqoise 50wt cotton Aurifil was a choice for quilting


Look how quilting shows!


I had fun with just doodling different designs in pinwheels, some fun messages in between - like "smile", "dream", "love", "skip" and "jump"...

..."hug"... :) All the things I wish this little one will do all the time!




Speaking of baby quilts... One that is so extra special is still not done! My precious Natalie is still waiting for her quilt from Grammie... I know, really bad Grammie. :( But you know what, it is important that it is made with love and just as it should be in every detail, so I am OK with that. So is she, he he...
I just wasn't happy how it all looked when I started placing it all on the design wall, and it also needed to be a bit bigger, so back to making more HSTs, in few more color combos...
Yeah, I do things whenever I can - so this was taking Thangles paper out - in bed! LOL! Smesometis my poor husband just shakes his head...


So after making more, here is what I have. I did this lineup on my design wall literally just this morning, early, and then had to go to work! Snapped this photo quick just so I can look at it during my lunch break and see what needs to be changed later today...
Quite a few things, I see, but that's OK!


I am trying to create a lower contrast and lighter area in the lower middle, where elephants will be, and then darker, more contrast  on top and bottom... Not quite happy with this one yet, but I do have some extra HSTs to play with. Later tonight...
In the meantime, cooler weather is here and pups are much happier during our walks - I just love this photo from this weekend... Marley is really such a great big brother. And Charley is learning and growing into a great, lovable buddy. They make me smile every day.


At the end, I have to share my beautiful photo - Labor Day weekend was first time we were ALL together again (since our daughter and her hubby came to visit ). It was a time to treasure and I am so happy we took this photo. I call it - MY EVERYTHING. 💗
My family is my heart beat and I am so grateful, every day. <3


Wishing you beautiful days of autumn, 
Love, 
Marija

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Celebration of life, love and family

Hello there my friends,

well I am a bit late here, but of course its never too late for happy news - our second grand daughter arrived!! 

Natalie Mae Vujcic was born on August 4th, 8 lb 14 oz and oh so beautiful!!!

Everyone is doing just great, big sister Juliana is really, really amazing big sister and I can't even begin to describe how full my heart is!!!

Someone asked me how will I divide the love now, having two precious grand daughters.... SILLY! One doesn't divide love - your heart just grows and grows, with every child or grand child!!! That is really the best part!! 
My heart just melts and sings every time I look at this photo...


And of course, all I want to do when I am not with them is to sew something for them!! I am amassing so many cute sewing patterns, I am making pillows, planning to make a small play-tent for that best ever big sister, and of course - diligently working on that special baby quilt! 

A whole pile of Half-Square Triangles are done and lovely Leah (my son's girlfriend and beginner quilter too) saw them on the pile, with Thangles papers still attached, so she took them all and removed the paper for me yesterday, before I even got home from work! Totally made my day!


I am forgetting now how many exactly, but the entire quilt top is made from these 3" HSTs, so needles to say, I love my Thangles - it made this go really fast!

I just love these colors...


So tonight, they are all going up on the wall for the final layout so that top can be pieced! 
I wish I don't have to go to work these days - I have so much sewing to do!! But when I am at work, this is what I look at (when not in the lab but at the computer) - my family love wall!! 


It keeps me smiling all day long, no matter what. And counting my blessings. Every day.  <3

Wishing you as many smiles and blessings, I am off to sew now,

love,
Marija

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hello again!


Hi there friends,

I am going to try and catch up here! 
Summer has been busy and a bit sickly (got a really bad type of summer virus/flu - worst than any winter one I ever had! Go figure...), so I need to catch up with some photos and life and some great news I simply have to share! (although if you follow my Instagram or Facebook page, you know already :) )

First and most important news is that we are waiting (any day now!) for a grand daughter #2 and our precious Juliana will be a big sister!! I simply can't wait and also have to get into a super-gear mode to finish that baby quilt!! This is a set of fabrics that mom-to-be picked for her second princess - arent they just so dreamy and fresh and gentle? I LOVE it.


In case you are curious, this is a Lavishmint collection by Jackie McFee, for Camelot Fabrics. It is just so pretty and happy!
The quilt itself will be similar in style and theme to the Big Sister's quilt I made, but of course with its original flair... I can't wait to show you!! I can't wait for this little girl to arrive too!! :)

In the meantime, babies are being born all around and youngest son's good childhood friend became a daddy recently, so another baby quilt was in order. Their baby shower theme was yellow and gray and elephants - so, yeah you guessed it, yet another version of my elephant baby quilt was in the making!

Made Daddy and mommy elephants

Lots of yellow and gray half-square triangles...


Time for some applique...


And then finally quilting. Baby quilts are just so much fun to make!!


Yellow, gently variegated Aurifil 50wt was just perfect for quilting, with a touch of some gray.


I even tried writing baby's name and it turned out OK!
Isla - what a beautiful name!


A birdie landed on daddy elephant's back... :)


And I even had a perfect spot for few more photos!


As long as we are in sunny yellow mode - do you know about yellow sweet cherries? Do you use them? I was thrilled to finally find this cherished staple of my childhood in a local orchard!! Yellow sweet cherries are just so yummy and so beautiful, yet, I find somewhat forgotten? My Nana loved them and made this amazing sweet preserve from them, so whenever I see these, a flood of memories of my beloved Nana comes to my heart... 


Needles to say, we got A LOT of them and I tried to make my Nana proud by making it...
It looks beautiful, it is not quite like hers, but it will be better next time! :)


Our little miss Sunshine, Juliana is growing, talking and being more and more sweet every day! I am slightly obsessed with making all kinds of cute skirts and dresses for her, like this one:


Or this twirly skirt,


...with a pocket that was such a hit - she had to show it to her Grandpa, in detail! Ha ha!


I really, really LOVE all of the Art Gallery Fabrics KNITS - they are just so soft and yet easy to work with. They are just dreamy...

OK, now for my big news!!
I am not sure what possessed me to get enough courage and send few of my quilt designs as pattern proposals to one of my favorite quilting magazines.... But I did!! Sometime this spring I sent 4 designs to McCalls Quilting  thinking - hey, I tried... :) First, I immediately got an email back saying that they received them and will consider them in future meetings - I soooo appreciated that!! I heard stories from other designers about not hearing from a magazine for months and months...or ever, and regardless of the outcome, this was such a nice way to respond and acknowledge the proposal!
You can imagine my astonishment, excitment and ...delirium of happiness (?) when several weeks later I got an email informing me that not one, but TWO of my designs are accepted for publication!!! WOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
This, my friends, is as close to a bucket list as I come!! 
I can write pages and pages how I feel and how excited I am, but no need to bore you with that. Long story short - for the first design, I am using these lovelies from Lavish fabric collection, by my talented friend Katarina Roccella - I JUST LOVE THEM!


As much as I am DYING to show you more and...everything, of course I can't, so here are just some sneaks...
This one has simple blocks...


Mitered borders (4 of them!)


And that "faux piping" binding that I really love


Oh and backing fabric is so beautiful too!


I am happy to say that quilt is finished and being shipped tomorrow to McCalls Quilting!! YAY!! 
Now on the the next one, that will actually be in sister publication - Quiltmaker. 
Here is a lovely pallett from which I will try to make some flowers bloom...


I am just so excited!!! (as if you can't tell already? haha!)

Forgot to say that both of the designs will be in January/February issues - CAN'T WAIT!!!!

        You know, as I sit here and reflect on all this, I can't help but think about timing of this, about how things do happen for a reason, at the time when they happen . For probably past year (or more), I have been feeling how my creative life is somehow stagnant... Yes, I have been making things, teaching, enjoying some garment sewing... But not nearly as much DESIGNING, having new ideas, and also communicating and interacting with all of you. Blog has been quiet, I struggled to keep it going, I tried and failed so many times to push it and get in gear... And maybe there are some specific reasons for it, like lack of time, more commitments at work, etc. ...but we all know that if you WANT something, you make it happen, right? 
        At the end, I am not really sure why it all happened like that, but what I do know is how much this opportunity and in a way, acknowledgement of all I CAN do, has given me a push, a spark of joy, enthusiasm and energy to get back into it all! I am just so excited and full of plans, dreams and most importantly - determination to do so much more. 

So my friends, I am rolling my sleeves up and can't wait to share! 

Talk to you soon and wishing you all joy,
Love, 
Marija

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's Essential2Dare - my turn on Minis Blog Tour by Pat Bravo and AGF(oh and a tiny giveaway too! :) )

Quick update with giveaway winners! 
(Scroll to the end of post to see if you won? :) )

Good Tuesday morning everyone!

It is a beautiful one here in western NY - sunny but still quite crisp, lots of birdsong, new blooms and young leaf buds in trees... One can't help but smile and breathe deeply. :)

It is also a perfect backdrop for my turn on Minis Blog Tour, hosted by ever-inspirational Pat Bravo. It was just so much fun playing, I feel so very fortunate to be included!




We were all given a selection from two of Pat's new collections, Essentials II and Dare and only request was to make a mini quilt (about 25" X 25").
Doesn't that sound like fun?
Plenty of inspiration for these two collections when you look at those lovely Lookbooks that AGF does so well - you can find Essentials II HERE and Dare, HERE.

So when my set arrived, wheels begun to turn... Here is what I got - awesome, right?


For some reason, the names of two collections kept coming back to me and yes, you guessed it - first came the name, ha ha! Probably weird for most, but sometimes my inspiration and brain work like that...
So the start was "Essential2Dare"! That was going to be the name of my mini!

Naturally, next thing for me was to actually - dare! 
To dare doing something that I never did before, something that is outside of my comfort zone, something new.
First dare - I decided to work ONLY with what I was given and with ALL of it. In other worlds, no "one background fabric", no obsessing if "this one should really go next to this one" ... No fear if lots of different fabrics will look too busy - all of these things are my little demons sometimes, you know. I guess it is a scientist in me that has a hard time letting serendipity rule? :)

Technical dare this time was to try my beloved gentle curve piecing, but with already PIECED fabrics... Hmmm... Crazy woman. But remember - it's... Essential2Dare! :)

Here is where I started:

Made a strip-set of all colors

Then made a similar one with all the beautiful low volume ones...


Now to layer them and have some free-hand curves cut... Voila!


Yup, just cut into all those lovely strips! Was a bit scary, but I remembered my goal - to dare! :)

With some slow sewing and curve-matching, here is what I got:


Two curvy, strip-y lovelies! But I liked them better this way:


Now what?
This reminded me of another AGF project/blog tour that I did and idea came! (so I guess not everything here was new to me...)


I made some 3D Flying Geese blocks and then did some folding and some fabric inserts... Some trimming and pressing...
At this point I was so engrossed into piecing that I simply didn't take any photos at all!! So sorry about that, but actually it was just so much fun to just work, work work and loose track of everything... I am sure you know what I mean? :)

So, after I came back to reality and remembered to take some photos, here is what I had:

Ta-daah! Top done!



Next dare was to use a color for quilting, color I just LOVE, and not worry about matching it to fabric, it being too contrast-y (therefore revealing all imperfections!!) or any of that...
Just let go and quilt!

My treasured Aurifil collection search selected this one:


Isn't it just a gorgeous color? It's. 50wt Aurifil cotton, 5006.


Again, no photos during quilting, but here is the end result!






Then it was time to take my little mini out for a garden stroll and take few more photos...


Blue geese...


Pink Geese...


Forgot to say - backing was another favorite AGF fabric, from Karatina Roccella's Recollection:


And binding was another beauty from Pat Bravo, from Etno - doesn't it look like it belongs here? :)


Oh and look - I have quite a pretty stack left too, so I just might DARE some more!! After all, it IS Essential 2, right?? He he...


Here is a bit more of that morning stroll in the garden, with my mini...





Hey, it even looks good in my vegetable garden, smack in the middle of some baby kale! :)





You know, as I write this, I am realizing how much fun this was! I need to do this some more!

But wait - I think YOU need to do this too! 

So guess what? - I, the fabric hoarder extraordinaire, who has lots of these two beautiful fabric collections (and so many more, of course!), I want to share some with you!! 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

If you want some of my stash (me thinks - a fat eight of Essentials II, or Dare collections, or...both? For two winners? It will be a surprise!! :)  ) - go visit all the other lovely blogs (again, the whole list is HERE!), on the tour and then come back and tell me what inspired you the most? Or tell me how do you dare in your creative work? Or both? You have till the end of the Blog Tour, May 13th - go visit them all and come back to let us all know your impressions! I iwll give you a weekend to enjoy it all at your own pace and pick a winner on Monday, May 16th (so you really have till Monday).
I hope you will be inspired as much as I am!

Well, that is it my friends!

I hope you already visited Cindy at Raspberry Sunshine and Lucy at Skinny Malinky Quilts and I can't wait for tomorrow to see what Samantha and Tara will show us!

Now that I have my life under control a bit more, hope to be back here real soon with more from my sewing room.
Until then, have a lovely days ahead,
Love,
Marija

GIVEAWAY WINNERS were chosen!!!

Trusty Random Number Generator says....


for first winner!! And that is:
BRENDA!!


Congratulations Brenda, you get a fat-eight pack of Dare fabrics! 


And for the second winner it says: 



And it is GranChris!!!

Congratulations GranChris - you get a fat-eight pack of Essentials II fabrics!!

Thank you ALL again for visiting and leaving me your lovely comments - this was such fun Blog Tour!!

A very special thank you ever-inspiring Pat Bravo for this great opportunity!! 

Love again,

Marija


#DareFabrics #EssentialsIIFabrics  #TheMinisBlogTour #PatBravoDesign