Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Minimalists Game: Lazy Version

This year I got married.  But this post isn't about the wedding or the happily every after.  This post is about stuff.  Until last March I was a middle class single girl living in a 2000 square foot suburban home.  I lived comfortably and had nice things in every room, every closet.  I had a room devoted only to quilting and sewing.  My husband and I moved in together after the wedding, he came from a town 3 hours away.  So we really hadn't sorted or sifted anything, deciding which toaster we'd keep and how we might merge our coffee routines.  He had a garage full of welding equipment, two beds, and a house full of stuff.  I had a garage full of woodworking equipment (table saw included) three beds and a house full of stuff.  You see where I'm going with this. Enter the Minimalists.

Joshua and Ryan recommend playing this game every month where they get rid of things for 30 days.

First day, one thing goes out of the house, second day, two things out, third day three things and so on.  I loved the idea and the playful aspect of teh challenge but it was unrealistic for me to follow the strict regime of divesting while settling into a new life with my husband.  So I modified the rules.  I counted up all the things I would get rid of in a month of playing (496 things in a 31 day month).  And devoted blank notebook pages to equal 496 things.  At two columns a page that's over eight pages of things!

Money as a motivator.
I knew it would be hard to get rid of things so I added a financial incentive.  I would document the fair market value of all my items along with a description and donate them to my favorite local charity the Humane Society of Central Oregon Thrift Store.  Then I could deduct the value of my donation from my taxable income.  Essentially earning about $25 for every $100 in value donated.

Update: December 2014
Success, I'm proud to report over 500 things have left my household.  While I will continue with the occasional purge, I don't think 2015 will be a year focused on reduction.  My husband and our pup are both worried they will be "minimized" which might be a sign it's time to call it quits for now and enjoy our new space!

Housekeeping Focus for 2015 Includes:  
I'll be taking the January Cure course from Apartment Therapy.
I've signed up for A Simple Year to help me focus on 12 months of simplifying in all areas of my life.
I'm implementing a few aspects of the recent book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japaense Art of Decluttering by Marie Kondo

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Muddy Works Fabric and Pattern for Fendi Quilt

Let the cutting begin! I've got a pattern. I wanted to captuure the bold graphic pattern on a large scale.  The execution of this will be 5 1/2 inch finsihed squares and I'll likely add an improvised denim pieced boarder on the right side to give it a more fluid and dynamic feel.  I'm conisdeing clustering the denim by color concentrating the dark patches on the right and the lighter patches on the left.  Denim will be the darker color in this pattern and the Muddy Works print will fill in the white areas.  

This fabric, a light canvas seemed perfect to compliment the recycled denim.  It's Muddy Works by Tomotakke from their 2013 collection.  I love the organic feel and look of this print and am excited to see how the circles take to the abuse of slice and dice to fit into this pattern.  As you can see, the scale is fairly large.  

The print is a grey-blue which almost seems more grey against the stack of variegated denim.  These pants were collected over about a ten year period when I ripped them or just grew out of the size I cut the leg panels out and folded them into a denim bin.  Since all the scraps are odd sizes, it took some time to cut them into same-sized squares.  A step that shouldn't be forgotten when using recycled fabric the processing of it takes longer than when using yardage.  

Here's a preview of the layout.  The large scale dots provide enough consistency that the print should read well in the six inch squares I'm using to craft the pattern.  I learned to get six inch finished half square triangles (HST) I had to cut 6 3/4 inch squares of both the denim and the print, sandwich them together, stitch and cut.  There is a great tutorial for this method from Diary of a Quilter.  I think you could add 3/4 inch to any desired finished size for this HST method.

A red binding would really make this pop.  I'd like to find a red that has a fair bit of yellow in it.  Stay tuned for more excitement from the denim Fendi Gees Bend quilt!  Do you design patterns? Have you thought about selling them via Etsy or directly? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fendi and Gees Bend

Italian Designer Family (Fendi) inspires Gees Bend style denim quilt.

 Inspired by thsi amazing pattern from Fendi's Spring 2014 collection I found on
I started graphing out the pattern and started thinking about how to use it in a quilt. At the same time, I've been enamored with the work of Gees Bend ladies lately and figured it was time to dive into my fairly large collection of denim scraps gathered from my old torn bluejeans over the years.

The denim quilts of Gees Bend really sing and I love the weight of denim.  
And I have lots of denim and am striving this year to work with at least some fabric I already have! 

 Jan Berry's image of a 2008 image of Gees Bend Quilt exhibition.  

I recently watched the Quiltmakers of Gees Bend on PBS and was even more impressed with the rich tradition and community these women have cultivated.  

So I'm working on pattern design and contemplating which fabric to pair with all my denim! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Riley Blake Challenge Quilt

This challenge included tea-dyed Riley Blake striped fabric.  I used a concentrated mixture of PG Tips  brand black tea.   It also included, applique,  up-cycled denim, curtains from Ikea, and a mix of stash solids.

I started the challenge by narrowing the color palette of Riley Blake fabrics, trading with a friend in our Guild to make the remaining colors more monochromatic and somewhat manly (this will be a gift for a little boy).  
I cut equal sized squares and used Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial for a crazy nine patch for the center focus of the quilt.

 After the nine patch blocks were finished I made use of remaining fabric to create some movement, using improvisational piecing to complete the sashing on my design wall.  Here's a WIP shot.  I love the extra blocks set on point along the top and bottom, I think they add a little something unexpected!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Bridesmaid Bag Tutorial

I am making these for the bridesmaids and my MOB and MIL for my grey and yellow themed wedding coming up in March.  They went together quickly and i think will be useful the day of the wedding!  I bought the yellow leather handles at this Etsy shop but you could also use any material you like grey webbing or even folded fabric handles.  I wanted something like this but for less.  If you decide to go for the original they can be found at Cocsheaven Esty Shop.  

Friday, January 03, 2014

This Year, A Love Ninja

This year
more time and energy
to appreciate
the beauty in ourselves everyday
pay attention
challenge yourself to not participate
I will slow down, get quiet, and tune in.
create the space necessary to listen
to what my body and mind are saying,
slow down, take care of me
I choose to say  “No” to unnecessary commitments
develop a foundation to make skillful decisions
and wise changes to my life
I am a curious and objective observer of myself
simply without judgment.
By learning we develop resilience
to tolerate discomfort without reaction
My heart
is patient and quietly certain
I’m fine just as I am now
I will become a love ninja.
Rather than hurling judgment,
I will stealthily launch my compassion,
empathy and love.
A love ninja.

Adapted from

An anti-diet resolution for 2014 by Jenna Hollenstein
Elephant dedicated to the mindful life

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ohio Wedding was born of necessity to combine two challenges.  I'm entering this in the NYC DWR Challenge: MODERN as well as the Central Oregon Modern Quilt Guild 2014 challenge to do a modern interpretation of an Ohio Star. 
MQG DWR Challenge Quilt

I wanted to do something different and yet very familiar for the Ohio stars so I carved a large linoleum block into an Ohio star and printed a couple yards of Kona with a dark gray ink.  The wedding rings were made from this stamped fabric.

The design board was key for this project.  I have a new appreciation for the layout of DWR quilts after attempting one myself!

I also used pants suiting material that was interfaced with pellon for stability and some more solids and low volume whites.  I wanted some uncut Ohio star prints so I braved a few Y seams and blended the rings with some square piecing.  To add a little pizzaz, I bound the quilt in a turquoise color rose printed fabric.
I'm excited to have finished my first DWR the same year I'll be getting married! (well, 3/15/14) It's an honor to enter this contest and display my quilt along side such great creations.