Category Archives: Life

Color Inspiration Thursday {4}

The past two days have been gloomy and rainy, but I can’t complain. My garden and all the newly planted seedlings and seeds are surely loving the rain, and before the rain we enjoyed quite a few blissfully perfect days here in midcoast Maine. Warm sun with days in the mid 70s, a cool breeze, minimal bugs, nature’s blooming glory all around: perfect.

As a result of these perfect days, I have some new spring photographs to showcase in this week’s Color Inspiration Thursday. As a treat, and because I couldn’t help myself, I’ll be posting more than two this week. Just a reminder for those of you who are new to Color Inspiration Thursday, I’ve created these palettes using the Play Crafts Palette Builder and my photographs. The corresponding Kona cottons are also supplied by the Palette Builder, so those are listed below each palette.

pink palette color inspiration Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Plum, Medium Grey, Petal, Cerise, Candy Pink, Pomegranate

Pink, pink, pink. I just love the blooms on this apple tree. They first emerged in perfect spherical pinkness, slowly opening like a rose to unfurl their soft petals into a glorious array. I probably took at least 200 photographs of these blooms over the past week; I just couldn’t help myself! My sister-in-law absolutely loves the color pink, so I think she would quite appreciate a quilt in these colors. The grey is a nice added touch to help smooth out the pinkalicious overload!

pink and blue color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Periwinkle, Deep Blue, Crimson, Deep Rose, Sweet Pea, Avocado

I just had to include another photograph of this tree. The ceramic bright blue bird feeder we have hanging in it contrasts so nicely with the pink blooms and green leaves, creating a lovely balanced palette. I love the inclusion of a dark and light in each color for this combination.

lights whites blue green palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Steel, Palm, Fog, Ivy, Parchment, Medium Grey

Do you see the bee on his way to fill his pollen pouches to overflowing? This cherry tree is a cacophony of sound this time of year, resonating with a deep, constant, humming buzz. I’m hard of hearing, and my hearing is progressively worsening each year, yet I can hear the buzz in this tree loud and clear. It is right in front of our porch, so my kids and I love to sit and watch the hundreds of bees buzzing around us, and listen to their harmonious hum.

To be honest, I was going for a white-on-white palette when taking this photograph, but no matter how white-on-white the tree seems in real life, and no matter how many angles I tried, those blues and greens still emerged. I like the palette, though. It feels soft and gentle to me, and while I’m not typically a pastel person, I think I would like a quilt made with this color scheme.

purple color palette lilacs

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Baby Blue, Crocus, Hibiscus, Evergreen, Spring, Petunia, Lilac

No collection of spring photographs is complete without lilacs. I used the feature on the palette builder to add more colors for this palette, since I wanted to get a few more purples into the mix without losing that lovely baby blue and the contrasting greens.

What is your favorite spring/early summer flower?  Would you plan a quilt around its color scheme?

Color Inspiration Thursday {3}

Today I thought I’d mix up our color inspiration a bit and use photographs from someone other than myself. Were you getting tired of nature and flower photos? I hope not, but either way, this week will act as a little break. I was going through my photo files looking for some good brights (who doesn’t love brights?), and I found a couple of gems taken by my dear friend Brittany from Brittany White Photography. Both photographs are of my daughter, and I love reminiscing to the days when she was such a wee itty bitty girl. And oh, the color!

red color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Coal, Mushroom, Deep Rose, Crimson, Raisin, Cardinal

This photograph was taken years ago, when Brittany was first starting out her photography business and went by the name of Lucy James Photography. My daughter is exactly one year old in the photo, yet I gasped when I saw it since it evokes feelings of maturity that I had not yet associated with my baby girl. The colors pulled from this photo are both soft and elegant, and I could see them in a comfortable lap quilt draped across a living room couch, or even as a king quilt in a master bedroom suite.

bright teal palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Pool, Breakers, Silver, Denim, Candy Pink, Crimson

And so quickly, she grows. A year and a half later, my daughter was captured wearing my favorite colors, seriously. This is exactly the palette I was seeking when I set out to find this week’s color inspiration, and I’m grateful to Brittany for eagerly agreeing to my use of her photographs in my palettes. Anyone who has been following my latest sewing projects knows that I’m absolutely STUCK on these colors. Turquoise, magenta, a bit of silver (low volume): I’m a happy quilter!

I just love Brittany’s photography; she captures such depth of soul and beauty in all of her subjects. Check out her website or her blog for some more portraiture eye candy, as well as for bits of inspiration and tips (while not specific to quilting, this 6 tips to better photos post is quite helpful!).

While we are on the topic of inspiration, last week I read a blog post that I think any creative person can relate to. Cheryl Arkison of Naptime Quilter wrote an honest and open post about being in a creative slump. This is from the author of popular quilting books Sunday Morning Quilts, and A Month of Sundays, with another manuscript underway! Yes, even the famous quilters get into a slump. Even the big names grow in bitterness and frustration at a continuously cluttered house. I’m not alone in this. There was something releasing in reading her blog post. It helped me to realize that we all feel the daily frustrations and at times get into slumps where creativity just won’t happen, AND that there are steps that can be taken to help emerge on the other side. I asked Cheryl if I could share her list of suggestions for getting through a slump, and she said yes:

– Keep sewing. Keep your muscles moving, your brain activated to the process.
– Finish something, anything.
– Take inventory of the WIPs, admit that you won’t finish some and pass them on.
– Wash the windows, or get them washed. New light, clean light will highlight the path and let the butterflies in.
– Try a new technique.
– Give away a quilt, a finished quilt.
– Say no to a commitment.
– Get up early to sip tea and do nothing in the quiet morning light.
– Colour, paint, or create with your kids.
– Turn off the computer, walk away from Pinterest and Instagram
– Put away the inspirational stack of fabric you pulled out two years ago.
– Sign up for a swap or bee.
– Take a road trip, even if just for the day.
– Have faith in yourself.

I love this list. So many resonate with me, and I think that final tip is so key. Have faith in yourself. For me, sewing and creating in general is an outlet of creative energy and my attempt to make beautiful things daily. If sewing begins to make ugly things, even in my mind, then perhaps it is time to go paint with the kids, put the fabric aside, and open the window so that the butterflies can come in.

I would add “Lay in the grass and look closely at nature” to this list, since getting a close look at the bees busily buzzing from flower to flower renews my awe at the world. And for me, where there’s awe, inspiration flows.

What suggestions do you have for getting out of a slump? Perhaps search for color inspiration everywhere you go? *wink wink*

Color Inspiration Thursday {2}

Yesterday when I checked the forecast for today and the next three days, it said “rain, rain, rain.” We woke up this morning to a bit of drizzle, but blue skies. By the time I got home from dropping my daughter at preschool, it was sunny and gorgeous, as it remained all day. Needless to say, we spent the day outside!

Now that night has fallen and my kiddos are sleeping, it’s time for me to keep my word and post my second weekly Color Inspiration Thursday. As I explained last week, on Thursdays I plan to post a color palette or two that I have created using the Play Crafts Palette Builder and my old photographs. I will also include the corresponding Kona Cottons since the Palette Builder lists them for me!

My hope is that these palettes help inspire you, maybe spur an idea for a new quilt or sewing project, or even just brighten your day and trigger those happy aesthetically-driven feelings. Even if you didn’t get to enjoy a sunny day filled with spring-time joy, new blooms, and keeping-the-bugs-at-bay breeze, here’s your dose of color:

lavender color palette

 Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Cadet, Avocado, Sweet pea, Pansy, Wisteria, Magenta

For this palette, some of the Kona matches were a bit of a stretch (specifically the colors on the outer edges–do they look like cadet and magenta?), but when looking at the Kona colors together, I almost prefer them to actual colors pulled from the photograph.

palette with kona cotton coordinates
The coordinating Kona cotton thumbnails are shown above. I like the cadet–a little bluer, and the magenta–a little brighter!

Regardless of whether you go with the range of purples from the photo, or the Kona colors chosen to match, I could see these colors becoming a quilt for my late Grammy June. Grammy was the sole quilter in the family, and my inspiration to begin quilting. She loved purple! I have to say: purple is certainly growing on me.

 

summer color palette

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
White, Avocado, Grass green, Stone, Sienna, Wasabi

I’m partial to this palette since it includes both white and gray, which find their way into my quilts always very often these days. I feel like this palette has a country, down home feel. Do colors do that for you; do they illicit a specific “feel”? They definitely do for me!

Color Inspiration Thursday {1}

I love color. I’ve always loved color. There’s just something about bright, coordinating, complimenting, or even sometimes clashing color that makes me happy. I’m a very aesthetically driven person, so I often admire the color combinations that appear around me.

Colored pencils aesthetically arranged
You store your colored pencils in color order, too, right?

I’ve written before about the Palette Builder 2.1 on Play Crafts in my post Playing with Color Palettes, and I haven’t grown tired of playing with the Palette Builder to create unique palettes from my photographs. In fact, I’ve gathered quite a collection of color palettes. After a few gray sunless days, I need a burst of color to brighten my day. Both this need for color, and a recently found post called Weekly Inspiration on Nini & The Sea’s blog have inspired me to join in with the weekly inspiration idea.  Each week, I will post a color palette or two that I have created using the Play Crafts Palette Builder and my old photographs. I will include the corresponding Kona Cottons since that is one of the coolest features of the Palette Builder in my opinion.

My hope is that these palettes help inspire you, maybe spur an idea for a new quilt or sewing project, or even just brighten your day and trigger those happy aesthetically-driven feelings. Open up those synapses, because here comes color!

Autumnal color palette from a busy bee on a sunflower.
Bright autumnal color palette from a busy bee on a sunflower.

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Seafoam, Cedar, Mahogany, Black, Wine, Lipstick.

I love this palette because it includes black AND a spot for low volume, both of which find their way into many of my quilts these days.

Summer blue color palette
Summer blues!

Corresponding Kona cottons from left to right:
Lake, Cadet, Evening, Azure, Avocado, Moss.

I just love those blues, and this photo reminds me of summer evenings on the coast of Maine. I hope you enjoyed these bursts of happy color!

What is your favorite color combination?

Gardening by Day; Quilting by Night

After a long, especially cold and lingering winter, spring is finally fully here in midcoast Maine. Those first days of warm sun, cool (not frigid and biting) breeze, and sprouting green are precious days. I didn’t know it my first year here, but I know it now. The blackflies won’t be long.

Spring Magnolia

The past few days have been supurb: sunny, warm-even borderline hot, and too early for blackflies. Needless to say, I have been spending every daylight moment out in the garden, playing in the yard, or admiring the flowers with my kids. I know that once the blackflies arrive, we we hide indoors or only go out with long pants and a full head & arms bug net. The blackflies will subside, but for a good solid month, they are a wicked scourge. Swarming clouds of annoying and biting bitties. When my husband and I decided to move from New Jersey back to his home state of Maine, no one had told me about the blackflies. Some days I joke that if someone had told me about the blackflies, I never would have moved here… but I know I’m joking. I love it here in rural Maine.

Days spent in the garden makes for a tired momma, but I can’t help but sew once the sun sets and the kids are asleep.  I’m making slow progress on my Star Crazy quilt, and I like it more and more as blocks get added.

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Before beginning this quilt, I was thinking of adding grays into the low volume sides, to have some of the light stars be grey instead of just low volume. I think now I’ve decided to keep grays out of it, and just stick with the black and white stars.

Star Crazy progress

Star Crazy progress

These blocks are a combination of my favorite colors, AND of fabrics from some of my favorite designers and fabric lines. Seeing Botanics next to Wee Wander next to Architextures, framed by Perfectly Perched and Zen Chic makes me tremendously happy!

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While my sewing progress has been slowed by this gorgeous weather, I feel like I am spending my days the right way. Family, garden, and those first days of spring are SO refreshing and key to a joyous life.

Here are a few more shots of spring from around my homestead, for those of you who find inspiration as I do, from nature.

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Happy rows of garlic in our garden.
onion seedlings
Yesterday I planted about 120 onion seedlings that I had started indoors in early March. I inadvertently planted them in more of a chevron pattern than straight rows! Quilting meets gardening.
onions
Hopeful that these little onion seedlings get big and strong and heavy beneath the surface.

IMG_1125 Tulip Splendor

Fiddleheads coming up in the woods behind our house. Nature is so gorgeous!
A large patch of our lawn is covered in these flowers every spring. Picnics galore!

Happy spring!

Since it’s Wednesday, I’m linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday

Sick Days

With my daughter sick this weekend, and both my son and husband coming down with a bug today, my nighttime sewing time becomes invaluable health-boosting time. As healthy as I feel now, I know that I would be asking for trouble if I stayed up to sew. Instead, I will get all the sleep I can scavenge between sick-tending wakings, and hope I can fend off this bug!

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Today, once my husband confirmed that he was feeling sick too (I’m surrounded!), I made a batch of fresh turmeric ginger tea. Not only is this tea delicious, I immediately feel healthier when I drink it. Psychosomatic or not, I’ll take it!

Fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, organic honey & black pepper. Not shown (but essential!): juice of half a lemon.
Fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, organic honey & black pepper. Not shown (but essential!): juice of half a lemon.

I also made use of my sick boy snuggle time and worked on his vest a bit. I have to create a bit, even on sick days.

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