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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August Recap

August was insanely busy, but I don't have many pictures to prove it. It was a month where work was so intense there wasn't much room for anything else. Ethan was still in America, and Rob and Haven had gone to the Philippines. So it was just me and the cats. 

Yes, I talked to them. Yes, they answered back. Unfortunately we don't speak the same language... but I'm sure we understand each other. 

So anyway - my HUMAN friends and I worked hard in August. 

This is me and Kitty (OMG I just realized how funny that is... that IS her name!!!) at the CARE Fair promoting Arts and Crafts. 
 For one week we hosted all the Arts and Crafts Directors in Europe for a training. We all shared about our programs and talked about ways to improve. It was an amazing week that I could talk your ear off about. But I won't. One of my contributions was showing them all how Canvas and Corkscrews works by having them be attendees. This is us!
 We clearly had fun...

And this is my painting.

I taught Cake Decorating, and these are the Wilton 2 "graduates" with their cakes.
 And my cake from teaching them the basket weave technique. Those are cake balls on top shaped to look like apples.
 These three cakes (all from class) were entered into a baking contest and got 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for the "Presentation" category! I was so proud of our group!!
 Melissa, who got first with her sunflower cake, couldn't stay long enough for the awards, but here's Anne and I proudly wearing our little ribbons!
 I finished this quilt in time for it to be given to the recipient. I blogged about it here if you missed it.

The whole family came home at the end of the month, but I only got a photo of Ethan. Mostly to prove to my parents he made it home - since he flew alone. So proud of him! It was nerve racking for all of us, but he did great!
So grown up - even got his own ID card! He no longer needs me .... until he gets hungry... 
It's been ridiculously cold here this month. Cold and rainy. So cold. Did I mention it's cold? But hey, here's a double rainbow. So life is good!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Painting with Thread

If you follow me on Pinterest you might have seen some pretty cool art quilts that I pinned a couple of weeks ago. Our Deputy Commander is leaving and I was commissioned to make a quilt from our Directorate. She is a pretty special person with a neat story, and a great supporter of the arts. So I wanted to make her something really nice. I wanted to use the Mandala as inspiration for the quilt.

In researching this concept I came across this one that apparently was in a quilt show. Isn't that quilt STUNNING?!?! I found this thread on The Quilting Board which I THINK is the beginning of the same quilt. And that's how I figured out how to do this:


So it started out with a sketch from the link above to build the pattern. I stuck some Steam a Seam onto the scraps of fabric and then traced the pattern. The cool thing about Steam a Seam is it's sticky, so you don't have to iron it until you are ready to permanently set it. So you can play around with the layout until you are happy and then blast it with the iron.
 Then I put it on the long arm. It's going to be a wall hanging so I didn't stitch the edges. The original quilter satin stitched her edges. I didn't bother. I knew the quilting would hold everything in place.

And twelve hours of quilting later...

 My shoulders were so sore by the time I was finished... but it was worth it!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

July Recap

Yep, it's the last day of August and I'm just now posting photos from July. It's been that kind of summer! So here's a quick run down. 

This is actually from June, but I didn't post this quilt. The pattern is You Zig, I'll Zag. I used Road 15 fabric from Moda. 
That is Rob's mom holding the quilt. It started as a quilt for Bob while he was going through chemo, but then he ended up not having to do chemo!! So it became their 50th wedding anniversary quilt. They have been on many journeys and lived in many places, so that's why I chose the zig zag quilt pattern and the road fabric.

I taught a bunch of classes, as usual. 

 I taught this young lady and her mother how to quilt. (Her mom didn't want to be photographed, but her quilt turned out great too!)
 Then we had a BLAST the next day making pillows all day! That's FOUR different pillows that we made in one day!
I taught the Washi Tunic to a group of girls.
 And I taught the Wilton Method 1 - Buttercream class. These are the girls with their graduation cakes. We started with 7, but some of the ladies couldn't make the last night of class.
 I made this Mendhi inspired cake one week of the class. Next time I attempt a design like this I will use a smaller piping tip!
And then this cake was my "graduation" cake. Rob was in the Philippines for his birthday, so we (me and the church friends) ate the ocean cake in his honor. : ) 
(The sand is brown sugar, but you should use raw sugar for a better color)

Before Rob left we went to the Stuttgart Jazz Open. We went for Jamie Cullum. It was our third time seeing him, and by far his best concert that we've been to. He was so amazing that night! 
That's a palace behind the stage. One of the neat things about living in Europe!

Through a crazy turn of events I bought a VESPA!!!! Yes I did! To make a very long story short - I got an amazing deal on this and paid way less than the retail price. I couldn't pass it up. It is SO.MUCH.FUN!!! 
 When we went to the States in June we left Ethan behind. (It was planned. Don't worry - we didn't forget a whole kid at the airport.) He stayed with my parents and spent the summer running around Texas! Here he is learning to water ski - something I never did manage to learn!
So that was July. Just one more month in our crazy life!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cake Decorating

I started my first Wilton cake decorating class last Thursday and it was amazing!! I didn't think I really knew that much more than the average baker, so every time the ladies said, "I didn't know that!" I felt really good about teaching! 

I took some cupcakes to work the other day for someone's birthday, Vanilla Chai cupcakes to be exact, and they were kind of amazing. The girl who I took them to gave me the nickname "Kelly the Cupcake Kid." I love it! I really enjoy making cupcakes because they are so easy. And the first night of the class was all about cupcakes, so I was in my zone. 
But next week is about cakes. And while I have decorated them, I'm no expert! So I wanted to get in some practice. And Marius was so gracious as to have his 16th birthday just when I needed to practice decorating a cake!! 
Red is really hard to make, FYI. It takes a LOT of food coloring.
I toyed with a World of Warcraft cake, but didn't think my skills were quite there yet. Marius likes Bob Marley, so the red, yellow and green cake was born. The layers on the inside match the frosting on the outside. (I just now realized I did the frosting upside down... red was supposed to be on the bottom and green on the top. Oops.) The cake layers are flavored almond, lemon, and chocolate. 
The top has a pink shadow because I was trying a piping gel technique to give me a guide for the lettering. But I didn't have clear gel. And the pink was pretty bright. But the good news is that technique is pretty easy to master!

Ok, so wish me luck for the next session!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Going to longer lengths

I decided to try out the maxi length skirt and dresses that are popular this year. I actually looked into buying one, but didn't find anything I liked. (except for one that I couldn't afford!) So I made my own!

I started with a simple skirt to try out the length and make sure I liked it. 
Voile fabric, simple a-line elastic waist skirt. Added a short skirt on the inside for a lining since the fabric is pretty sheer. 

This one is a skirt pattern that I really liked that I modified to be a long dress. I'm not really happy with what I did with the sleeves, so I might go back and change that. I wore this for the 50th wedding anniversary party.
Pattern: McCall's 6120 extended to dress length
Fabric from Girl Charlee

And lastly I made one out of the new Bianca shirt pattern from Made by Rae. This one is my favorite I think.
This one is made out of rayon and is so soft! I wasn't sure how the Bianca pattern would work extended this long, but I'm really happy with it!

With all three of these I took an existing pattern and extended the length to reach my toes, using the same angle the pattern already had. Each one above is with a different type of fabric and they all worked really well. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

June Recap

We did a little bit of traveling in June, as most people seem to do. There were weeks where it seemed every office was staffed with substitutes because EVERYONE was on vacation!

We started off the month with a quick trip to Munich where our friends were renewing their vows on their 20th wedding anniversary. On our way home we took a spur of the moment trip to the famous Neuschwanstein castle! After 12 years of living here I thought I had better see the most famous castle in the world!

Rob preached on Father's Day - his second time to preach in German!
We adopted a new kitten. She needed a home and we wanted a kitten. A facebook poll decided she is a cross between an Exotic and a British Shorthair. We call her Katniss.
Ethan had surgery to remove the rod that was healing his broken arm.

We just returned from a quick trip to the US for Rob's parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary.
 While we were there the kids got to hang out with cousins they had never met.

And we got to spend some time with my parents.
We went to NASA!
And Haven dyed her hair purple. By mistake. 
So we had an adventurous June! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

X and + Quilt

Everyone is on the X and + Quilt bandwagon these days it seems! I actually started mine a year ago, but just finished it in May. My dear friend Ariane turned 50 and this quilt was for her.

 She loves orange. It's her favorite color! The fabric is from the Moda "Comma" line from last year (or was it the year before...). It's all punctuation marks, so it was fun to make a quilt that is X's and +'s with punctuation mark fabric!

This quilt is double sided! I actually started out with this side, which is a Zen Chic pattern for Moda called Card Trick, I think. I instagrammed this in March of 2013 saying I wasn't sure if I liked it and it might become a backing. And that's exactly what happened.

This is the "front" but really they are both stand alone quilt tops! This is the X and + pattern. This is also a Zen Chic pattern from Moda, but I found a free tutorial for the block here if you are interested. Apparently the block can be dated back to 1938!
Modern fabrics with a traditional pattern. That's how I like to quilt - bridging old and new.

And this was my favorite moment of handing the quilt over. Several of the ladies from the church swarmed as soon as we unfolded the quilt!

I love that so many young people are enjoying quilting and that we can all share a love for fabric and design even when our color and pattern choices are so wildly different than "traditional" quilting. I guess I'm not really a modern quilter. I'm not into improve, or crazy curves or any of that artsy stuff. But I'm not traditional either. I can't stand Thimbleberries or Civil War reproduction fabrics! (Sorry!) But somewhere in the middle is a happy place where I can combine modern fabrics with traditional quilt designs and be happy.