Category Archives: Life

Down the Deadline Rabbit Hole & A Lesson in Organization

Hi! Remember me? I’m currently stuck down the deadline rabbit hole, but am very much looking forward to returning here. I am nearing the finish line for a couple more projects, and then I will have MUCH more time for slow, leisurely stitching and lots of sharing my projects and progress here.

The funny thing about the past few months, which have seemed filled to the brim with exciting, albiet deadlined projects, is that ALL of the projects were taken on in the span of one particularly ambitious-feeling week back in March or April. It was right when I was finishing the final touches on my first commissioned quilt, Kittens at Play, and I was feeling on top of the world, having knocked out a few big deadline projects. Within the span of a week, quite a few project opportunities presented themselves to me, and in my feeling of boundless ambition, I said yes. Then I said yes again. Then I said yes a couple more times. Do I regret it? Nah. There’s no sense in that, and the projects have been fun and exciting. But I certainly will learn from it, and by sharing my story here perhaps you can, too. The lesson? Know your limits.

Leanne from Devoted Quilter emailed me a few weeks back asking if I would be willing to participate in a blog post she was writing about staying organized. Last week, she posted her compilation post, filled with tips from some of her favorite quilters on how to stay organized with quilting.

12-tipsfororganizingyourquilting2*Spoiler alert* My tip for her was to know your limits. When every project is a priority with a quickly approaching deadline, it’s difficult to make a prioritized list and keep yourself organized. On normal weeks, the prioritized list I make in my Quilter’s Planner each week is my saving grace. You can head over to her blog to read more great tips for staying organized, and I look forward to joining you soon!

I couldn’t write a post without ANY photos, so here are a few quick photos I took along the walk to pick up my daughter from school today. Autumn is officially here in midcoast Maine!

birch trees maine october
The birch leaves are *just* beginning to turn.
queen annes lace winter weed autumn maine
Queen Anne’s Lace is fully seeded and ready for winter.
red maple leaves autumn maine
The maple trees are really putting on a fiery show!

How do you manage to stay within your limits even when presented with fun and exciting opportunities!? Clearly, I need some pointers!

Color Inspiration Thursday {77}

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.”
Rudyard Kipling, Complete Verse

Today’s color inspiration brings us into my vegetable garden. From afar it looks like a fenced in plot of weeds and wildflowers. Pass through the gate, wade through the grasses and clover, though, and you will see three little somewhat tended garden beds, gleefully holding a bunch of delicious veggies. Get a little bit closer, and you have the photos shared here today. Want to sing “oh, how beautiful!” while we sit in the shade and enjoy today’s color inspiration? Let’s! This year my garden is severely neglected, but has been weeded just enough for it to do its job: produce food for our family. Balance and nurture, right? Color palettes are made using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs, craftily taken at such a scale so as to crop out the weeds!

kale color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Limestone, Bella Clover, Bella Terrain Cactus, Kona Basil, Kona Grass Green, Kona Black

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2324 – Stone
5010 – Beige
5024 – Dark Brown
5021 – Light Grey
5018 – Grass Green
2692 – Black

Our first stop is with the hardy, delicious, and dare I say–GIANT–kale. We eat kale in egg scrambles, as kale chips, in soups and stews, stir-fries, and more. Kale does amazingly well in our garden and climate, so each plant grows about 3 1/2 feet tall and 2 feet across. Each leaf is as big as my son’s head. One of these years, I’ll realize that even with our family of five, we only need two kale plants, not eight. In the meantime, kale abounds! I love how intricately frilly each leaf is! The range of greens is amazing, too, including everything from earthy subdued to vibrant and fresh. Mmm!

yarrow soft pink paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Forest, Bella Dill, Bella Thistle, Kona Smoke, Bella Parfait Pink, Kona Pearl Pink

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2892 – Pine
2890 – Dk Grass Green
1140 – Bark
2606 – Mist
2515 – Lt Orchid
2405 – Oyster

Next up we have Yarrow. Honestly, when I ordered these seeds from our local organic seed company Johnny’s Seeds, I thought the yarrow would be white or yellow. To my pleasant surprise, it bloomed this beautiful pink! Yarrow is a great companion plant to many vegetables and is one of those plants you should feel free to plant all over your garden. It repels soil nematodes, aphids, bean beetles, and many more. I planted mine near my brussel sprouts, kohrabi, and kale and it is doing its job well so far!

onions earthy color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Hunter Green, Bella Betty’s Teal, Bella Green Tea, Bella Fig Tree Cream, Bella Paper Bag, Bella Etchings Charcoal

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
4026 – Forest Green
2850 – Med Juniper
5014 – Marine Water
5020 – Light Military Green
2375 – Antique Blush
1140 – Bark

Finally, onions. Onions are my garden pride and joy (very quickly followed by carrots!). After experimenting with a few different varieties of onions, trying seeds vs. sets, I finally discovered the type of onion that thrives well in our area: Copra onions. These are storage onions that I will soon pull, cure in the dry, sunny garden bed, then braid to hang in my kitchen. I learned all of this from a local friend, since I saw a braid of huge gorgeous onions hanging in her kitchen a few years ago and asked if she would teach me everything she knew. She did, and I’m so grateful. I grew less onions this year than last, but they should still last me far into the frigid snowy days of winter. And that earthy color palette that results just embraces the richness of a garden, doesn’t it!?

How does your garden grow?

#100Days100Blocks Thrifted City Sampler

A few months ago when Angie from Gnome Angel announced her newest wild and crazy sew along, a challenge to sew all 100 blocks from Tula Pink’s City Sampler book in 100 days, of course I was intrigued, tempted, and mentally plotting color schemes. But I was good, and knew that I already had a full plate. I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch from the outside. Flash forward a few weeks when the challenge began and thousands of gorgeous blocks started popping up everywhere, flooding my Instagram feed with beauty, diversity, and temptation. Cue…

100 days 100 blocks peekSo fun! Still, I resisted. Then I noticed that Kim from My Go Go Life was making her blocks entirely out of thrifted materials, and they were GORGEOUS. This reminded me of the #MakeDoQuilt challenge recently initiated by Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time, where she invites participants to make at least one quilt top and back out of salvaged clothing, linens, curtains, or other household materials in the next 365 days. She shares:

Did you know that a significant percentage of the stuff that goes into landfills is discarded clothing and textiles? Textile waste is a huge problem which will require changes from how the industry runs business to how we run our homes. If every one of the 16 million occasional quilt makers or 1 million active quilt makers in the US made one quilt a year from discarded clothing and linens, imagine how many pounds of material waste would be spared from the landfill.

Reading this struck my environment-loving heartstrings, and I knew I had to add this to my list of makes for the year. With Kim’s encouragement, I was hooked. Thus began my #ThriftedCitySampler, 10 days late but raring to go. I resisted for quite a long time, really!

thrifted clothing for quiltI pulled some old worn out clothes from our toss/donation piles (a workshirt of my husband’s with elbows worn nearly through, a pair of maternity corduroys that were a hand-me-down given to me by a friend who had received them as a hand-me-down from another friend and worn bare in too many spots to mend, and a thrifted leather skirt I had bought for a project that fizzled before it really began), and hit up a local thrift shop to fill in the gaps a bit. I decided to focus on a monochromatic grey color palette, but asked my kids to choose a pop of color from the sale racks. A large pair of coral women’s capri pants fit the bill, and I’m excited at the resulting palette.

Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13
Thrifted City Sampler Blocks 11-13 (from Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book, for the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel)

It took me a few days to decide how I wanted to share these blocks each day on Instagram. I began by simply sharing each block with a basic flat lay, but with the muted color palette, the aesthetic just wasn’t doing it for me.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100days
Block 14 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 14 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: wetlands!

I finally decided to continue along the environmental advocate path. Appreciating, understanding, and caring for our earth is very important to me, and so I decided to use the sharing of these blocks made out of thrifted materials as a platform to share some tidbits of information about the environment, in the hope that by learning more about this mind-blowingly diverse and beautiful world, people will be more invested in preserving, restoring, and caring for the environment.

block 14 for Tula City Sampler #100blocks100daysEven if you don’t have Instagram, you can follow along with my posts and environmental tidbits by clicking HERE to see my #ThriftedCitySampler stream on Instagram.* I invite you to follow along with my posts, where I’ll share tidbits about this beautiful world: information about a specific ecosystem, an introduction to some of my favorite plants, or sharing wild stories of symbiotic relationships in the world around us.

*Please let me know if this doesn’t work, those of you without Instagram; it seems to work for me, but I also have an IG account.

block 15 tula pink city sampler 100 days 100 blocks
Block 15 from Tula’s City Sampler book, Day 15 in #100days100blocks challenge hosted by Angie @gnomeangel. Environmental focus: milkweed and monarchs!

So far, I’ve shared information about my favorite ecosystem: wetlands (I worked for 6 years as a wetland scientist before teaching and then mom-ing), and the awesome symbiotic relationship between milkweed and monarch butterflies. I hope you enjoy the journey and perhaps learn something new about this amazing world in which we live.

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been AGES since I’ve joined a linky party and I miss sharing my creative process and in turn, peeking into your recent creations!

Getting into the Swing of Things… or Not

Despite the best intentions, I’ve had a pretty slow start at “getting back into the swing of things” after returning from the Slow Stitching Retreat. I have done zero non-deadline related sewing, my house is not nearly as tidy as I’d like, and there are days where we all just run amok outside all day long. But you know what? I’ve decided that’s all okay. These are the final days of summer, with my daughter beginning 1st grade next week and my son beginning preschool two weeks after that, so I’ve officially decided that it is a-okay for the plans and schedules to go out the window. There will be plenty of time for schedules, cleaning, sewing, blogging, and organization in September.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this past week and a half, a peek at our family fun through phone photos, with not even a lick of sewing involved. It happens! Note: Not shown are the moments of crying and bickering kids, sweaty complaints, frustration, exhaustion, and boredom that are very much a part of life. Just keeping it real–I’m human, too! All my days aren’t sunshine and roses, but I like to share the high points here. Enjoy!

organic you pick blueberries at North Branch Farm
We spent a sunny late morning picking blueberries at our local organic farm, North Branch Farm.
organic you pick blueberries at North Branch Farm
16.6 lbs to be exact!!
meeting up with Karin Jordan's family
Quilty blogger friend Karin from Leigh Laurel Studios took her family on an impromptu weekend getaway to Belfast, Maine, so we got our families together for beach, drinks, and dinner. So fun!
garden flower
I’ve been enjoying the late summer blooms in our garden…
hiding spider in flower
…as well as the clever creatures who hide within them!
hiking Blue Hill Mountain
I hiked to the top of a mountain with a friend and our cumulative 5 kids. It was quite a fun adventure!
Robot Dinosaur on the trail
My son insisted on bringing his friend “Robot Dinosaur” on the hike (yes, it’s a toy digger, but the digger part looks like a dinosaur neck and head, right? Right. Trust me, don’t call it a digger.).
hiking Blue Hill Mountain
The weather was perfect and the view was fantastic! This photo was taken about 2 minutes into the 2 and a half hour hike. We were celebrating being on the trail!
hiking Blue Hill Mountain Maine
Most of the hike was along gorgeous, shady forest trails.
hiking Blue Hill Mountain Maine
With a gorgeous look out on the top, at over 900 feet elevation. The kids did great, the moms-lugging-babies did great, and Robot Dinosaur rested in the woods near the bottom of the trail until our descent.

I hope that you are enjoying the final days of summer (or whatever season it may be in your corner of the world), and I look forward to sharing sewing and inspiration with you again soon! Just last night I pulled fabric for three (3) new Farmer’s Wife blocks, and I have plans to finally finish a much overdo and beloved project, as well as join in (in a very relaxed, no pressure way) on the #100blocks100days challenge hosted by Angie at Gnome Angel, thanks to Kim at My Go Go Life‘s prompting! There is much sewing inspiration on the horizon!

Reentry

I’m back after a wonderfully relaxing, rejuvenating, and surprisingly silly fun week at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Washington, Maine. My reentry into real life was rather abrupt, since I only had a 15 minute drive upon leaving the blissful retreat until I was resubmerged in the thick of parenting, with my 4 year old sneaking a melty chocolate and dripping it all over the inside of my packed car, one big drip falling a literal inch from my stitching project I had peacefully sewn all week, while my 1 year old simultaneously hightailed it down the hill toward the lake. Ahhh, life! I’m now just starting to feel like I might be getting back into the swing of things, and will share much more of my experience here in the coming weeks.

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maineWhile I had every intention of taking lots of photos, I also made a conscious effort to distance myself from social media and technology as much as I could, so that I could aim to slow down body, mind, and spirit. Lo, I took hardly any photos at all. But I can tell you this: the retreat was everything I imagined and more and I would jump back there in a heartbeat. I’ve already begun saving pennies for next year. There was a whole lot of relaxing, chatting, stitching, laughing, learning, making new friends, swimming, yoga, relaxing some more, stitching some more, eating, drinking, and so much more.

weeks dye works perle cotton alison glass collectionAnd of course color. Lots and lots of color. This is just a tiny peek at the Weeks Dye Works perle cotton collection Alison Glass brought along for all of us to try, and only a tiny sneak peek at all of the gorgeous color that permeated the week.

Once it all has time to permeate, percolate, settle in, process, and all of those other things a rare and beautiful experience must do before becoming coherent, I’ll write a reflection post with a few more peeks and highlights of the week. Until then, you can read my friend Karin’s account of the week, rich with photos galore (at least someone took lots of photos!) on her blog Leigh Laurel Studios, here. In the meantime, while my reflection on the experience has time to process, I’ll jump back into sharing my projects, inspiration, and tips, picking up where I left off two short weeks ago.

I hope you had a week full of little wonders and surprise moments of bliss! I’ve missed you and look forward to getting back into the swing of the online quilting world.

Monday Giveaway & Off to Slow Stitching

Ahhh Mondays! Mondays often have that heavy feel, transitioning from a relaxing or adventuresome weekend of family fun back into the daily grind of work and household duties. Not this week! I’m home on a quick packing layover, gathering my supplies for the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine!! I dropped in on this retreat for one blissful day last year, but this year I’m attending the entire week! I’m so excited to relax with Sam from A Gathering of Stitches (the mastermind behind these retreats), Alison Glass, Chawne Kimber, my friend Karin Jordan from Leigh Laurel Studios who is also attending the retreat, and all of the other slow stitchers!

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maine alison glass chawne kimberMy parents have graciously come up from New Jersey and rented a house on a lake only 15 minutes away from the retreat center, so during the day they will be playing with all three kids, and every evening someone will drive Finn to me where he will join me for sleep, to be (hopefully) joyfully picked up each morning. He’s still a nursing babe at 14 months, so I’m looking forward to the nightly mama reconnection time, too.

medomak retreat center maineI originally aimed to schedule some blog posts for while I was away, but life has been very full these days, so this week will be quiet. I will be stitching away in this big, beautiful building and its neighboring barn, and will join you upon my return. Keep your eye on Instagram, since I will post a few updates to help share the blissful relaxation of the week! I have a fun color inspiration post pretty much ready for the week I return, and will get back into the swing of sharing my creative process and projects with you next week. And of course, of course, I will share a reflection of my time slow stitching.

fresh adventures amy sinibaldi art gallery fabric fat quarter shopTo hold you over for the week, I do have a fun giveaway sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop! One lucky reader will win this Fresh Adventures Playground Fat Quarter Bundle by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics, which includes 10 fat quarters.

To enter the giveaway today, tell me what type of adventures you like to go on. I’m a big fan of exploring new places, so my ideal day consists of traveling to a new ocean beach, walking along the coast line, hiking through the neighboring woods, and picnicking on the beach. I’d love to hear about what you do for an adventure! Leave a comment and make sure I’m able to get ahold of you if you win.  For an additional entry, click HERE and sign up for my Night Quilter email list (or let me know you’re signed up). Tell me how you follow Fat Quarter Shop (facebook,twitter, Instagramtheir blog Jolly Jabber, etc.) in a third comment for a third entry.

fresh adventures amy sinibaldi art gallery fabric fat quarter shopThis giveaway is open to US and international participants.  The giveaway will be open until Sunday August 14th at 8pm EST when I’ll select the winner randomly with random.org. Good luck, and enjoy your week! This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations One Creative Family!

*Please note that comment moderation is on, so if you do not see your comment right after posting, do not be alarmed! I will be disconnecting from social media for most of each day on the retreat, but will be checking in each evening to approve new comments. xoxo

Color Inspiration Thursday {75}

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been searching for colors rarely seen in my previous color palettes, namely white, grey, blue, and purple. Last week, we attempted some white palettes and settled for white with a pop of color. This week, I’m sharing a couple of palettes addressing the purples and blues. We tried something a bit new for the second palette, but I don’t think it will be the last time we try it! Color palettes were created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs, with conveniently matched cotton solids and Aurifil threads in case a palette so inspires you to sew!

purple blue color palette natureCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Black, Kona Shadow, Bella Baby Blue, Bella Aubergine, Kona Storm, Bella Betty’s Blue

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2692 – Black
2615 – Aluminum
2562 – Lilac
2566 – Wisteria
2745 – Midnight
4140 – Wedgewood

Purple, lovely purple! Literally one, maybe two days after deciding to seek less frequent colors in nature, one of my kids spotted this pinecone refuse left by some critter alongside a hiking path. I went to investigate in response to, “What’s this, mama?” and viola! Purple! and a bit of blue! I love when my kids find little treasures out in the natural world, since that spark of wonder is what makes the world go ’round! I certainly will do all I can to keep it going as long as I have a speck of influence, and will cherish the treasures found.

reverse color scavenger hunt blue violet Corresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Stone, Kona Surf, Kona Ocean, Kona Copen, Kona Periwinkle, Kona Blueberry

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2605 – Grey
2525 – Dusty Blue Violet

2780  – Dk Delft Blue
2725 – Lt Wedgewood
2720 – Lt Delft Blue
2770 – V Lt Delft

For this palette, we tried something a bit different. There are bits of blue appearing around our gardens–blueberries are beginning to ripen, the blue bachelor button buds are ready to pop any day, and the borage is flowering its fuzzy blue blooms. But no where is there a strongly dominant blue; it is mixed in with the rest of the colorful bits of beauty but alone would not hold its own in a color palette.

To combat that, I decided to try a reverse color scavenger hunt. I picked a couple of borage flowers and gave my oldest the challenge of finding things in the house that matched the color perfectly. Borage is a tricky color–a blueish violet that’s very soft and subtle, but she managed to find one book that was an absolute perfect match: a little book called the Dali Lama’s Book of Love & Compassion, a sweet little collection of positive reflections that was a gift from my husband way back before we were even engaged. Everything else we tried was either too blue or too purple, so I headed up and grabbed some blue-violet Aurifil spools to see if we could get lucky. Sure enough, 2525-Dusty Blue Violet is the perfect match! If you look at the matching Aurifil threads pulled from the palette, the second coordinating color is exactly that! Once again, Aurifil has the perfect match.

It has been fun to seek the rarer colors, and I still have yet to find a convincingly grey palette, nor have I fully succeeded with a white one, so I will keep looking! I challenge you to spot some odd colors in the world around you this week–where do you see blue? purple? or any other unusual colors that stand out to you? Let me know in the comments, or link to a photo!

Enjoy the search!

Color Inspiration Thursday {74}

I have had some fun this week searching out some of the colors in nature less commonly seen in my color palettes, as you helped me name last week: white, grey, blue, and purple. I have also been getting more comfortable with a new camera, since I very recently upgraded our nearly 10 year old Canon with a newer version. Upon reading up on editing RAW photo files in preparation for the big Quilter’s Planner photo shoot, I also made the executive decision to begin a trial version of Photoshop and Lightroom just last night (or should I say, early this morning?). Combine all of those three things together, and that makes for a lot of late nights and fun photo experimentation. AND some really fun color palettes! All color palettes were created using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1 and my photographs.

white flat lay color palette natureCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Sky, Kona Silver, Kona Cloud, Bella Baby Blue, Bella Petal Pink, Kona Zucchini

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2024 – White
2560 – Iris
2606 – Mist
2564 – Pale Lilac
2562 – Lilac
5015 – Gold Yellow

Since low volume fabrics are among my favorites, I decided to begin by searching for white. I enlisted the help of my big kids and we gathered all of the white and light grey flowers and treasures we could find around our yard and garden. Since I wanted to emphasize the white, we laid them out on a big white poster board. Through this whole search for white-rich color palettes, I’ve discovered that it is quite difficult to find a palette created from nature without the green, yellow, or pinks sneaking in. For the palette above, I ignored the green in creating the palette, even though, for me, the green jumps out at you in the photo.

Since I am getting the hang of a new camera, I wanted to experiment with the quality of light in different places, so before photographing in earnest, I took simple top-down photos in a few different locations: inside near a bright window, outside in direct bright sunlight, and outside in a shady spot. It’s amazing how simply moving the location of the photo subject changes the quality of the color so drastically. Here are my unedited photos in each location, to show you the differences:

inside near windowInside near a bright window = dancing shadows

outside in direct sunOutside in direct bright sunlight = garishly bright with dark shadows

outside in a shady spotOutside in a shady spot without direct sun = gentle and flat, and with a little bit of lightening in a photo editor, it creates the bright photo with soft shadows that was used to create the color palette above.

I decided to try my favorite, macro photography, to see if I could isolate some fully white-spectrum photos. Lo, once again, this just proved that pink and yellow love to sneak into the whites! I also discovered that it is quite difficult to get true white to pull from a photograph. Greys and beige, yes. But white? No such luck.

white attempt yellow color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Blue Bell, Kona Silver, Bella Saffron, Bella Longhorn, Kona Cheddar, Kona Limestone

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
5008 – Sugar Paper
2560 – Iris

2318 – Cachemire
2930 – Toast
6010 – Toast
2324 – Stone

I knew that the golden center of this flower would pull through just as strongly if not more so than the white, but how could I resist? Such a gorgeous bloom, and a soothing palette. In quilting, I love good contrast and a crisp aesthetic, which often is aided by using a low volume/white or dark/black background fabric. This palette is one that I could definitely see myself using, perhaps in a gender neutral baby quilt, or summery pillow. I probably would drop the Stone and pick up pure White, though, even though it didn’t push through in the actual photo.

white snuck pink color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Lt Blue, Kona Thistle, Kona Lupine, Kona Plum, Kona Cloud, Kona Sky

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2612 – Arctic Sky
2510 – Lt Lilac
2566 – Wisteria
4030 – Plum
2560 – Iris
2710 – Lt Robins Egg

Ahh Thistle, Lupine, Plum; what gorgeous colors! This is a palette that appears in my creations often, although usually with some other colors joining ranks. Again, despite the attempt to find a fully white-grey palette, this was another no-go. Clearly, Mother Nature likes color, too! I still love the photos and resulting palettes, even if they don’t quite fulfill the request for low volume color palettes. I will keep hunting, and look forward to sharing my finds with you next week!

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Reminder!! The Christmas in July Pattern Bundle Sale ends today at 3pm EST!! It’s your last chance to get a fabulous deal on 23 versatile patterns from some of your favorite designers, including Meadowmist Designs, Quilting Jetgirl, Quiet Play, Blossom Heart Quilts, Live Love Sew, 13 Spools, and many more! At the end of the sale, this bundle of patterns will no longer be available, so get it while you can! As an added bonus, everyone who buys it HERE is entered to win a Quilter’s Planner 2017 Starter Kit. Creativity overload (in a totally great way!)! **The sale is now over!

Also, my giveaway for the Raindrop fat quarter bundle by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton + Steel Fabrics, sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop ends tonight at 8pm! Comment on my post HERE to enter to win if you haven’t already!

Color Inspiration Thursday {73}

My garden is in a very temporary visual lull at the moment, with the first burst of blooms dying out and the next round not quite flowering yet, but I have a good stockpile of photographs from earlier this year for color inspiration posts in the meantime. This week features a few of my garden beauty favorites, with color palettes made using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1.  I hope you find inspiration from the detailed intricacies provided by Mother Nature, by the color bursts and combinations found naturally all around us, or by the gorgeous matching quilting solids and Aurifil threads listed beneath each palette!

pink peony color inspiration paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Dahlia, Kona Violet, Bella Berrylicious, Bella Boysenberry, Kona Thistle, Bella Prairie Green

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2520 – Violet
5003 – Wine

2535 – Magenta
4030 – Plum
2510 – Lt Lilac
2850 – Med Juniper

Ahhhh! Peonies are long gone at this point in the year, but their full beauty lives on in these photographs (and my memory). I did not get dahlias in the ground in time this year; otherwise I would be eagerly awaiting their blooms to step into the vacant space left by the passing of the peonies. Time will tell which bloom will steal my heart next. It’s fun how more or less the same flowers bloom each year, since our garden is a perennial garden, yet it is always a surprise when a flower first begins to bloom.

columbine flower pink red color paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Bella Bunny Hill Blue, Bella Petal Pink, Bella Boysenberry, Kona Bordeaux, Kona Azalea, Kona Herb

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2600 – Dove
2445 – Victorian Rose

4030 – Plum
1103 – Burgundy
2530 – Blossom Pink
5019 – Military Green

One of my favorite aspects of our garden is the wide variety of subspecies that are planted of each flower. There are least ten different species of Columbine, from daintily elegant to full and regal. You can see one of the other species featured in a past color inspiration post here. I don’t remember seeing this red species before this year, but it must have been there, hiding amidst the other copious blooms. I fully enjoyed it this year, and love the rich color palette that results.

In looking through my color inspiration posts, there is a definite trend toward pinks, maroons, orange/golds, greens, and earthy tones. I suppose that’s to be expected when the majority of the photos come from the garden around me. I was thinking it might be fun to have a color scavenger hunt, though, and specifically seek some of the colors more rarely found in nature. I’m taking suggestions for color themes–the harder the better (I love a challenge)!  What color should I search for first? Blue? Purple? White? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Color Inspiration Thursday {71}

Ahhhh, summer is here! The garden has been cranking full speed ahead, cycling through blooms as only nature can. This time of year is a strong reminder to appreciate the moment, since if you don’t stop to smell the flowers, before you know it they are gone and being quickly replaced by different ones! Today’s color inspiration palettes come from photos of some flowers in my garden, but with a slightly different perspective. You know how I love to get up close and personal; well today, I took it one step further. I played with the easy macro band my husband gifted to me for Christmas, and using my iPhone, took some seriously macro (super duper close!) photos of some familiar beauties. Color palettes are made using Play Crafts’ Palette Builder 2.1.

purple star flower paletteCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Cerise, Kona Bright Pink, Kona Violet, Bella Amelia Green, Bella Amelia Purple, Kona Hibiscus

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
1100 – Red Plum
2450 – Rose

5003 – Wine
2882 – Lt Fern
1243 – Dusty Lavender
1240 – V Dk Eggplant

This first flower was featured in a color inspiration post last year, as part of a pink/purple color lay. It’s the one on the far left, the purple spray-like flowers. I believe it’s a Mountain Bluet (Centaurea montana). This year, I went straight to the heart of the flower, and I love the blurred depth of field and soft, rich color. This Mountain Bluet heart reminds me of improv quilting, gorgeously random yet cohesive.

iris color palette purple goldCorresponding solids from left to right:
Kona Magenta, Bella Amelia Lavender, Bella Pewter, Bella Baby Pink, Bella Daffodil, Bella Longhorn

Corresponding Aurifil thread from left to right:
2520 – Violet
2524 – Grey Violet

2606 – Mist
2405 – Oyster
5001 – Ocher Yellow
2145 – Yellow Orange

Any guesses as to what flower this may be? I absolutely love the soft palette that resulted from this fuzzy view down the gullet of an iris (did you guess it?!). Just for scale, here’s a “regular” photo of the same flower:

iris flower in gardenIsn’t it amazing how simply moving insanely close to a flower changes the entire aesthetic!? I feel like I say it almost every time, but it’s a whole new, beautiful world in there!

A bit more about the Easy Macro band; it’s really simple to use and costs just over $10. I’m not an affiliate or anything, but it’s such a clever little tool, I thought I’d share more information. It looks like a big rubber band with a little round lens on it, and you simply stretch it over your phone, lining up the lens with the lens on the phone’s camera. One tip to getting great photos–get far closer than you think is possible, tap the screen to focus, then slooooooowly back the camera up until you find the focus you want. Take the picture! It’s really fun, and you certainly will be seeing more of these easy macro color palettes. I think the narrow perspective helps you focus more on the color than the subject, which is perfect for color palettes!

Do you prefer macro (super close up) photos, or more landscape/scene photos? I am definitely in the macro camp, but I know there’s a place for both styles of photography!

Enjoy your day, and happy sewing!