Thursday, August 28, 2014

Amazing Aquarium in NC

Oh man! Yesterday James had a half day at school and we decided that was the perfect day to go to Sea Life, a new aquarium that opened this year in Concord, NC.

What an amazing place! This aquarium was small, but extremely organized and basically built for small children. There were multiple places for James to crawl inside the tanks and look out through the water like this:

I really loved this aquarium's focus on education for conservation. They breed multiple species of rays and seahorses and explain why these fish are in danger. Simply put - we eat them too much, or we're destroying their habitat. Sea Life clearly wants to educate children to make good food, transportation, and buying decisions.

Josh and I even learned a lot and we all had a great time because this aquarium was so creative and interesting. The largest shark tank was the coolest because you get to walk through a tunnel and see all the fish swim around you. On the opposite side is another viewing window with this big guy right in the middle:
Clearly this aquarium was built by some very creative people! We really had a great time and I love supporting places like this. So just in case you're in Concord, NC, make sure to swing around the back of Concord Mills (the massive mall that's impossible to miss on the side of I-85) to find SeaLife.

Even better, We're Sew Creative, a super cool quilt shop is nearby, so you can make it a quilting excursion as well!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Josh's Circles & Echoes in a House Block

Josh here for my turn to quilt circles and echoes in our last house block.

I really liked the design effect on this one with the smoke echoes coming from the chimney.

 For the rocks at the base of the block, substituting the design "Underwater rocks" was a great help and also was good practice for circles.

I continue to mix things up by modifying and simplifying the designs. I particularly liked the necklace effect I made with the rocks at the bottom. I can get away with this due to the fact I'm using Spoonflower preprinted fabric, which is marked at the manufacturer and eliminates the entire piecing process.

And here is my completed block:

Until next time, let's go quilt!


Monday, August 25, 2014

New Hand Applique Class with Mimi!

I'm having a much better day, chilling on the couch with a creative project in my hands and a fun Craftsy class on my ipad. Today I'm enjoying Mimi Dietrich's newest Craftsy class Hand Applique Made Easy.
Mimi Dietrich is quickly becoming one of my favorite teachers. She's funny, extremely talented, and has a knack for making complicated things like needle turn applique very easy.

Sign up for this new Hand Applique Made Easy class and save 33%!

Mimi's other Craftsy class is Finishing School, a class all about finishing your quilts with binding. If you're looking for creative ways to bind your quilts, this is also a class you'll enjoy. Click here to save on Finishing School too!

Let's go learn!


40. Quilt Circles & Echoes in a House Block

Today we're quilting along on the Building Blocks Quilt and finishing up our last house block of the month. This is my all time favorite quilting design for this quilt and it's just a simple combination of circles and echoes:
 For this design, I marked every line except the Pebbling in the bottom of the block. That section was far easier to quilt free hand with no marking. Everything else needed to be marked in order to fit together properly. Check out this video to see what I mean:

I love this design so much, it's been turned into a quilting stencil! Click Here to find a 10 inch stencil for this house block design.

This stencil marks a 10 inch house block, which won't fit our 8 inch square for the Building Blocks Quilt. But if you wanted to play with more houses over plain fabric blocks, this would certainly be an easy way to mark it!

I've been playing with other stencils and created this funky wholecloth by combining one of the Cheater Drunkard Path designs four times. It's amazing what you can do with the stencils because it's so much easier to mark the fabric from the surface.

Feeling inspired? Click here to see all the stencils you can play with from Quilting Creations International.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Goddess Sketches

This year I haven't had a main goddess quilt to work on, unless you count Duchess Reigns who is folded up in the corner until I can find the thousand hours it will take to finish her. I made some major design mistakes on that quilt...but I will get back to it sometime.

Still, I even though I haven't started a new quilt, that doesn't mean I haven't been working on several designs. Here's a few sketches I'm playing with right now:
This quilt came to me after reading a story in a Workaholics Anonymous newsletter. The author wrote something like "I needed to find something more powerful than all my fears."  Those words - more powerful than all your fears - really resonated with me.

I've really struggled with fear and anxiety in the past, even made a quilt on what it looks like to be totally stuck in fear, and the idea of capturing that force of strength and compassion was really compelling. So this quilt is about seeking peace and feeling comforted and safe.

The next design is not really a goddess, but may be incorporated into one eventually. At the beginning of the summer I kept drawing empty spaces with lines running through them.
What was coming to mind is the feeling of having your heart torn out - like a broken heart - and what it takes to mend. There are times I feel like the scars of my past are so faded and old they're hardly worth noticing.

Other times, and it seems especially in the summer, I find these scars raw and painful once again. I have a scar on my ankle from when I caught myself on fire in 1999. It might just be my imagination, but in the summer it seems to stand out much more clearly than other times of the year.

So that was the more depressing of the designs I've been working on, but I find it compelling because I want to play with Sharon Schamber's corded lattice techniques. It might showcase something painful, but if done beautifully, it will be an amazing quilt.

Later in the summer I began dreaming a lot more and came up with this design:

I was thinking about the days before I had James when I was full of curiosity about this child I hadn't seen before. Also around that time I began actively pursing my dream of starting a business so I did a lot of day dreaming about what our lives would be like if everything worked out.

This goddess is dreaming, planning, seeking, wishing, and creating a landscape out of her own head. I love this image because I believe it's such a powerful, positive message: what you wish for can come true.

Right in line with this goddess is one more about creativity and unleashed potential:
This one is really a recreation of Release Your Light, but this time I'm going to use the original name of that quilt - Light In Me.

This design jumped into my head after AQS Charlotte when I began asking What does I Am Enough look like? and What does Creativity look like?

My answer is this design - creativity is an open channel. Her heart is open to share, and her hands are open to receive. The sun isn't sketched in yet, but like Release Your Light, she will be exploding with light.

So maybe you can see why I haven't made a true start at any one of these designs - this is a lot to choose from! The one lesson I've learned over the years is not to rush it.

I've decided to work on all of them, solidifying the piecing / applique design first, then the quilting design, then the construction plan. You never know, one of these may even show up as a quilt along project for next year!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cheering up with Pie

Not every day is a great day...(today has been pretty rotten)...

But most days are better with apple pie!

My dad has been blessing us with more than just awesome help cutting fabric and packing orders. He also bakes pies about every two weeks and brings one down for us to enjoy. How's that for a multi- talented employee?

Here's to bad days being made a bit better with good food.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Raising an Active Adult

This summer I had a brilliant "Ah HA!" moment with my son, James. I've been wanting James to get outside more, enjoy the sunshine, build a fort, run around and be active.

But mostly he just wanted to sit inside and play gameboy or watch movies on my ipad. He didn't have much desire to go run around outside when an endless stream of Star Wars, My Little Pony, and Super Mario Brothers could be found inside on the couch.

And who can really blame the kid? I actually HATE to be outside in North Carolina in the summer. It's muggy, hot, and the mosquitoes are relentless. Seriously, seriously no fun.

Eventually I took a good look at my own behavior - am I being active? Do I get outside and play? Not much. The most exercise I was getting was walking downstairs to my sewing machine, then back upstairs to get lunch. I really dislike running or playing sports of any kind. Getting hot and sweaty just isn't my thing. Bah humbug!

My big "Ah HA!" moment was realizing it's pretty ridiculous to expect my kid to grow up to be an active, outdoor loving person when I'm not setting an example for it. I've gotta get outside, be active, play in the grass, and get chewed alive by mosquitoes myself if I expect my kid to want to have anything to do with it.

So we've started walk / running in the morning. During the summer we took a detour on the way to summer camp to walk around the town square. A few laps around the square was a nice way to start the day, and at least in the morning it's not so hot or muggy!

Now that school is back in session we're walking before the bus arrives to take James to school. He's actually a wonderful companion for a walk because he doesn't let me slack off. Now that we have a routine he EXPECTS to walk every morning. He's also funny because he can keep a constant stream of dialog going the whole time: "Check out that bird! Oh, look at that beautiful sunrise! The sprinklers are on!"

It's distracting and silly which is good because it keeps my mind off how much I dislike exercise. So in the end I think I've just gained my perfect exercise companion. I make sure we get up and leave the house early enough to walk and James makes sure we have fun along the way.

Let's go play,

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