Hands in the Dirt: June Blooming

The garden is getting prettier and prettier!  This mix of heavy rain and bright warm sunshine is the perfect recipe for a great big flowery garden!

And it's hard to believe, but the lily of the valley has already come and gone for me.  Really important to treasure the moments and stop to smell the flowers. 

Here, I used the salvage from fabric I was working with to tie a nosegay of lily of the valley together.  So darling and smelled divine!

The next flowers that really come en force... are the peonies!  Just remember to shake off the ants!

Oh yes, I'm loving my hands in the dirt!  Weeds be afraid... very afraid!!

---I'm linking to Outdoor Wednesday's with Susan at A Southern Daydreamer---

Much love for Japan

No Whammy...no whammy... it's Sammy!

Ok, it's officially tomorrow.  And time to you let you in on the big surprise.  Well, not so much surprise, but the big news!

We have known for sometime that we would eventually be a two dog family.  Recently, things have lined up just so and I would like to introduce you to our newest family member.

She's tiny and fluffy.  Blond and sweet.  Complete with four legs and a tail.

This is Sammy the Golden Retriever.

Pictured here at about five weeks old.  Happy belated Birthday to Miss Sammy!

Mr Happy and I met her last week and I have to admit I have fallen head over heels.  She hasn't come to live with us yet, but as you can imagine we have spent most of our time recently preparing for her to join us!

She has the best puppy breath, softest ears, and smallest little paws!

We brought Katie with us to met the potential new member of the Happy pack.  She took the whole meeting in stride.  Sniffed around.  She was very interested.  She was careful not to step on anyone.  And as you can see little Sammy took a real liking to Katie (or she was looking for milk...) 

Although, beyond milk interest, Sammy was also trying to bounce in front of Katie to get her attention.  Too cute!  Yup, wait till I get that on a video clip to share here!

We are still waiting to hear how her first vet check up goes.  And then after that we will finalize when we can bring her home.  It may be as soon as this Friday!

Can you tell I'm excited... and so is Katie!!?  I can't wait to introduce Sammy to her new home and extended family. 

* I'm looking forward moments when I catch the two dogs curled up together.
* I am excited to teach Sammy to sit, lay down, and come with hand signs.
* I'm looking forward to showing Sammy the lake and taking her for her first swim.
* I can't wait to see the pups share a toy or bone.
* I look forward to that moment where we all cuddle up for a nap -- our first official 'two dog night.'
* Or how about Sammy's first hike!

Yes, it's going to be an awesome puppy summer!  Any other two dog (or two pet) mammas want to share any tips or advice as we begin this fantastic journey?  How's that for big news!!! 

Hope you're having a great start to the week!! xoxo

Much love for Japan


Awesomeness from the Weekend

Oh what a long sunny weekend!  Here are some snips of what I've been up to.

A little creating time.  Can't show the whole finish... it's a surprise -- Monika, watch your mailbox love... this one's headed your way!

A Bridal Shower for my soon to be sister in law.  Finally an excuse to play with embroidery on paper and decorate a package with handmade origami flowers!  It was fun to see my brother too!

We ate.  Sushi!!  This was called the Love Boat.  And let me tell you... it was a lovely dinner with the mister.  So much fun and lively conversation.  Just the way I like it!

We've been keeping an eye on a Robin who has not one or two, but three nests under our deck. (sorry for the blurriness)

Here is mamma bird keeping an eye on me while I try and sneak a few photos.  I even got to see her sitting on a nest.  We aren't really sure if it's one mamma or many, but either way I am so excited to see all this up close and personal!

We took down some dead trees and chopped it all up into kindling.  Look at all that warmth sitting there in that pile!

And almost the best for last... remember the bird house?  Well... we have Guests!!!  I have seen two very busy birds build a nest most of the weekend!  I am not sure if they have laid eggs yet, but I am beyond tickled to again see this whole dance up close.  Truly magical!

And I did say almost... as in, I have an even bigger surprise for tomorrow.  You won't want to miss the big news.  

Much love for Japan 


What's on my Sewing Machine (WIP)

No finishes this week; which is ok.  I'm a happy camper with the progress I am making!


Happy Garden (king sized)

This is where I have put my focus over the last week.

I am quilting and quilting to get ready for binding.  I decided to make these organic free motion loops around the diamonds in this pattern.  When I say "organic," I am letting each diamond take on a bit of personality. 

I'm not trying to count and make sure there are the same number of loops per side or that each loop is the same width or height -- I'm just going with the flow and letting each diamond fill with quilting organically.  This quilt from the beginning has been about letting go of structure in favor of randomness/chaos/entropy ruling.  I saw it only fitting that I continue that through to the end.

Oh, and a little confession may be in order.  {If you gross out easily... you may not want to read the next section}

I was working along a diamond quilting my loops and I had done a bunch, and it was getting late... do you see where this is going yet? .... and yes, I quilted through my finger nail with the sewing machine.  Ouch! 

The needle went clean through my nail and out the bottom of my finger.  Didn't hit bone -- and thank goodness it was right at the tip (yes it's safe to keep scrolling down... I'm not posting a picture of my finger).  It hurt, it bled.  I feel foolish.  I was probably going too fast and clearly I wasn't paying enough attention to my hand placement.  Lesson learned.  My finger is fine and I changed out my needle.  But somehow I feel inducted into an "I've Been There" secret quilting group.  Have you been there?

So, I am still steadily working on finishing up the quilting.  I am falling deeply for this quilt too!  And I am daydreaming about what binding to use -- probably one of the causes of that accident.  If you have any suggestions on binding colors or patterns... I'd love to hear them!  I am an open slate.  I have thought of gray dots, green, blue, red... what do you think?

{Insert Name Here}: Bottled Rainbows {ticker tape quilt-along}
No progress other than moving the parts from one side of my work table to another. 
Crewel Spring Flowers
Only a very small amount of progress on this one. 

X Marks the Spot
No action here and I have to admit I am getting a bit stress still seeing this one on the design wall.  Once my king size is done... then this is the next one up at bat!

Katie Fiber Art
No action here.

This Week's Work in Progress (WiP) Stats 
Last WiP Wednesday Total: 5
New Projects: 0 (I'm still being good and focused!)
Finished Projects: 0
Total WiP's: 5 (same as last week)

---Linking to W.I.P. Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced---

Much love for Japan 

Creative Tuesday: Tree(s)

Let's try this again... I couldn't log into Blogger yesterday, so let's pretend for a moment it's still Tuesday.

Update 5/25 AM... still doesn't look like I can log in to leave comments.  *sigh*

It's Creative Tuesday!  So exciting!  It's that time of the week where I open my sketch pad and see what comes out for the theme over at Mr. Toast's Creative Tuesday's assignment!

This week's theme was Tree(s).  We had to be sure to have at least one predominant tree in our creation.  I am great with the Tree theme -- it's a comfort zone even.  In fact, looking back on my previous entries I have done trees with circles, trees on a hike, and trees with flying apples.  So, how to make this one special?  That was the dilemma.

Noodling around in my mind I knew I had a dancing ballerina tree just waiting to come out.  It was time.

Putting together the original sketch lead me to want to add more. 

More texture. 

More color. 

More meaning and magic

This quote seemed spot on..."there are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them" by Vicki Baum.

This truly became a multimedia as I kept reaching for things to add texture and depth.  I started with color pencils.  Added bright pink highlighter.  Then finished it off with soft oil crayons.  Pencil and pen were also used to create the original outlines.

I'm tickled with it.  It really brightens my spirits and reminds me that happiness is but a twirl away!
Mr. Toast, thank you again!  Even though I put these off to the last minute I enjoy each moment as I reflect and create with your theme in mind!  I already say YES! to accepting your next challenge! 

I had so much fun unleashing my creative through this process, hope you consider joining in this or the next assignment (and I hope you do) feel free to check out other artists in the community here.

Much love for Japan


Taking a Sick Day

I'm still recovering from a cold that hit me hard over the weekend.  So, you'll have to make due with a picture of lettuce that is growing nicely even with all the rain we have seen over the last week. 

Hope you had a lovely weekend and looking forward to getting back to my blogging groove.

Much love for Japan


Happy Moment #27: Home Tweet Home

A Friday ritual with Soulemama.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary, happy moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments too!

Tonight, I will also be sewing away in the hopes of finishing the quilting on my king size Happy Garden as a part of this months FNSI (Friday Night Sew In) with Heidi from Handmade by Heidi and Bobbi from Crafty Vegas Mom

It's all about taking a few moments for yourself to indulge in a crazy amount of sewing time!  Take a look and hopefully you can join us -- after all there are prizes involved!

Handmade by Heidi

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
~Omar Khayyam

Much love for Japan


Midweek Project Check-in (WIP)

I haven't finished anything, but I do feel {finally} like I have made a fair bit of progress on things this week!


{Insert Name Here}: Bottled Rainbows {ticker tape quilt-along}

{I need to take a finished picture of this one to share with you.} 

I adore working on these blocks.  Each one is like it's own little quilt or fabric mosaic.  I spent a ton of time fiddling, cutting, arranging, and re-arranging scraps of fabrics.  I even created some scraps to get the look just so. 


When I started this quilt along I thought I would just be learning how to ticker tape quilt... using the quilt as you go style.  And maybe it would be a good way to use scraps.  I had no idea how utterly enjoyable and relaxing it would be.

Pure bliss!!  It's one of those projects I can do half tired or half playing with the dog which I appreciate also.  So easy to pick it up for a bit and put it down again.  Certainly my new go to project if I have a few minutes.

I started putting a few more blocks together.  I decided a break from green was in order and jumped to orange, lilac, and sky blue (my names for the colors... not the official Kona fabric color names).

You can almost bet I will have a few more to show you next week.  To date I have finished just the two greens, but I am sure I will be catching up with the larger group rather quickly!

Oh, and I had been asked a question about the citrus fabric I plan on using with one of the orange blocks.  And the secret is that it's from an old skirt that I have been hanging on to.  Fun to reuse from unexpected places!

Flourishing Happy Garden (king sized)
Aside from renaming this quilt... I also pieced the backing!  It's a mix of deep blue/navy (not pictured), khaki, and this golden animal outline print.  Here is a closer look at the golden animal print.... I don't know it's name, but I feel in love with it pretty quickly -- and it was only $2 a yard!

Remind me again why I thought it was good idea to make a king sized anything?  I know it will look nice on my bed.  I know it will better assure equal quilt distribution while we are all snuggled in leaving no cold anythings... but oh. my. word. this is a big quilt.

Did you hear my moans and groans the last few days from there behind your monitor?  That was me trying to sandwich this giant.

Let's recap how making the quilt sandwich went... backing, batting, and top.  Smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth.  Pin, pin, pin, pin.  Cut a ton of threads.  Remove all dog hair.  Roll up with a grin of triumph only to find a major wrinkle/bubble in backing after pinning the whole quilt.  Un-do way to many pins to count.  Re-smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth.  Re-pin, pin pin. -- you get the picture... a few tears may or may not have been shed.

Hold on.

What's that? 

Why yes, it's the quality inspector (Katie) come for a closer look.  And it looks as though she has brought her inspection tool: one large fuzzy orange monkey. 

I know... but once she had already done the home run slide on the quilt and plopped down (looking adorably cute) I could only take pictures and then just keep pinning like it was a normal occurrence. 

Because ... well... it is a normal occurrence for this quilter. 

She's the butter on my toast. 

The milk in my cereal.

The peanut butter in my oatmeal... yes that really is a good combination...

What I'm saying is that we need each other. Like, a lot. Yup.

After nearly two hours of wrangling with this monster (the quilt, not the pup) I had passed Katie's quality inspection for comfort and snuggle-ability and the basting was completed too.

Now, I wanted to "stitch near the ditch" through some of the major lines to hold everything in place and give this quilt a bit more strength since I plan to use it everyday on our bed.  Yes.  I said "stitch near the ditch."  As in why fight it... so just roll with it and I also wanted to be able to see the stitches for these lines on the top.

To prep for quilting I cleared off most of my desk to maximize my space, filled a bunch of bobbins, and told myself that I could do this.  Yes, I could!

To fit the quilt through the neck of the machine I used a rolling technique I read about in one of your lovely blogs.  It's as simple as it sounds.  You roll the part of the quilt that needs to be stuffed through the hole.  I give it an A+ rating for working.  Made this seem more manageable. 

There are six lines across I am doing both vertically and horizontally.  I finished the first set of six and finished two on the other side.  It's been doable so far.  I still want to do some fancy quilting in the sashing diamonds -- might get to start on that tonight.

I'm still not really looking forward to taking all the pins out, but it will signal that I am one step closer to saying that I made a quilt for my own bed... what a happy thing that will be -- I can only imagine the sweet dreams we will have in this Happy Garden!

Crewel Spring Flowers
Only a very small amount of progress on this one. 

X Marks the Spot
No action here and I have to admit I am getting a bit stress still seeing this one on the design wall.  Once my king size is done... then this is the next one up at bat!

Katie Fiber Art
No action here.

This Week's Work in Progress (WiP) Stats 
Last WiP Wednesday Total: 5
New Projects: 0 (I'm still being good and focused!)
Finished Projects: 0
Total WiP's: 5 (same as last week)

---Linking to W.I.P. Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced---

Much love for Japan 
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