Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday Stash #101 - Celebrating With a Doe Giveaway

Oh, honey. Sunday Stash is now well on its way into the triple digits! I really wanted to buy up big to celebrate, but honestly, I don't really need much at the moment. (How very dare I say such a thing!) Plus, and I've kept this under wraps, I'm moving house this Thursday, so I've been trying to lighten the load rather than add to it. Mr. Sparkles and I bought an apartment off the plan three years ago, and it is finally ready! I'll have my own dedicated sewing studio in the new place, so stay tuned for all the details once I get it sparkled up.

So not only is Sunday Stash celebrating its centennial, but I'm also celebrating my 1000th post over on Instagram (IG: molli_sparkles). Who better to help me celebrate than my favourite quilt shop ever-ever: The Intrepid Thread! (Personal note to Mr. Sparkles: As soon as I get settled into the new place, there's going to be some major shopping rectification happening.) For now, The Intrepid Thread has generously agreed to give away a fat eighth bundle of Carolyn Friedlander's fantastic, new line Doe. It is so fresh I don't even have a picture of it, so you get this doe-eyed beauty above.

To enter:

1. Leave any comment, but make sure I have your email address or I can't contact you!

2. Followers of @molli_sparkles and @intrepidthread on Instagram can leave a second comment.

3. If you're linking up to Sunday Stash this week, you can leave a third comment.

This giveaway is open internationally, and will run until next week's Sunday Stash #102. Good luck! 

Thankfully, my own acquisitions this week are on the lighter side. I helped out with Pink Chalk Fabrics liquidation sale by purchasing the Jaybird Quilts Hex N More ruler, and Carolyn Friedlander's Shirts pattern. I've been itching to make my own Shirts, and since this pattern can utilise my overabundant charm squares, I've gotta whole wardrobe to make! Since I'll probably be sorting out my own wardrobe, I doubt I will get a chance to get back here until after the move. There's a lot of glitter to pack, y'all. Oddly enough, I'm currently having a creative resurgence, and I can't wait to share all of my ideas with you!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

T-Shirt Quilt: On the Floor

Well this is still happening! If you have been following my overgramming of the t-shirt quilt on Instagram (molli_sparkles) you know I've been churning out filler blocks left, right, and out from under my cheerleading skirt. Yeah, that's where the real magic happens. It's been a whirl wind of activity as I race towards the field goal for my layup! That's right, isn't it? No matter!

I'm not sharing the full design floor shot quite yet. I want this to have a magical reveal just in case my brother is watching from the sidelines. I will tell you that Mr. Sparkles has been providing lots of Truth Tea (mmm'kay!) and he's actually been quite right! There's lots to see, and even more to do with this quilt, so stand by for the full reveal soon.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday! 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I can't find my top.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sunday Stash #100 - Sensuede

Remember a few weeks ago when I found that Pop-Up Fabric Shop around the corner and I bought this delicious piece of faux ostrich leather? Well, um, I may have accidentally found it again! This time I splurged a bit harder on a metre of Sensuede in this sensual teal colour. (Sensuede is a hard-wearing, synthetic fabric with the texture of suede.) It will be perfect for cushions, maybe even paired up with that dark red leather? The red and green tones will give some complimentary sophistication for sure. This metre was only $30, and when I consider quilting cotton in Australia is $24, I had to get me some of that!

Now, I know this is Sunday Stash #100 (yippee!) and normally there would totally be a giveaway to celebrate. I'm just a bit behind the eight ball at the moment, for obvious reasons, so I'll be organising something worthy of three digits in the near future. I'm sure y'all have a backlog of stashed items to share, so if you want to linkup multiple posts from the past two weeks, you just go right ahead!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

I've Lost My Voice

Social media is an unusual thing. It's a cocktail of connections, instant satisfaction, and perceived perfection. These are all marvellous things. They foster an easy community full of beauty, learning and wonder. Why wouldn't I, or anyone, want to be surrounded by that? So when I found the quilt world and its associated role in social media, you bet I jumped right in! (I've said before that I didn't realise quilt blogs existed when I started mine. I naively thought I was having an original idea!) Ever since that graceful swan dive into the pool of Instagram, Facebook, Blogger, Flickr, and Bloglovin' there's been nothing but splashes of love.

Then one day recently, I noticed I was losing my own voice. I could still talk, except my voice was sounding like everyone else's. You see, it wasn't the voice I was losing after all, it was the individuality of my own voice that was diminishing. I had spent so much time in social media land that I began to acclimate to my surroundings. As I said, it's a beautiful place, so it seemed natural to want to do so. Even if my voice were angelic, it doesn't make it my own. (Trust me, I am your worst karaoke nightmare!) So the more I tried to create, the more I realised my own own own output was being heavily influenced by the words, thoughts, sounds, and beauty of my surroundings.

I can't blame this on social media. This pervasive network is a constant of the world we live in, and it's not going away any time soon. I'll admit to being blinded by its allure. Plus, I'm not saying that all I've created is a stylistic copy of another, or isn't born from some part of me. (Y'all know I still do plenty of my own catwalk-marching-drum-beating fabulousness!) But, I had started to feel tugs at my aesthetic towards what I know I'm not. I want to ensure I curtail that influence before it grows out of control. My desire is to be as original to myself as possible, maintaining my own singular voice in our community. I'm not so naive to think that any of us can work entirely from a creative vacuum, but I am taking steps to minimise the external influence of social media land.

I want inspiration to come from outside the quilting blogosphere, so it feels fresh, new, and individual. Do I rectify this by banning all social media from my life? Impossible. Instead, I have reevaluated what is important to my creative soul and voice, in relation to how I still participate in our amazing community. Attempting to read every blog and look at every photo (as I often try to do) leaves me scanning more than absorbing. So I've cleaned out the blogs I follow, and culled my Instagram feed. I've deleted my Flickr account. I've minimised my Facebook groups. I've also realised I don't have to respond to every single blog comment, as that in itself takes away from the time I have to create. (I'm happy for you to have the last word!) These initial small steps will give me the time and distance to create the quilts that are uniquely me.

Please don't misinterpret my words for non-gratitude, disinterest, or a desire to eschew the quilt community from my life. That couldn't be further from the truth! If you know me at all, you know I love you, the Glitterati, and all that we've built together. But I need this, both in mind and body, to recentre my process and ensure my voice is my own. Remember, your voice is just as beautiful, and it takes all of our differences, to make a resounding chorus for our quilting community.

Postscript: All images are new filler blocks for the t-shirt quilt.

Friday, 14 November 2014

TGIFF - Twinkle & The Last Two Weeks

Oh shazam. What a two weeks that was! When I left you, I shared that I was suffering from Glandular Fever (aka mono), and I had taken a visit to the emergency room. Sexy Dr. James insisted I spend the next few weeks resting into recovery. Well that lasted about three days. As I started to feel like I could actually get off the couch, I needed something to occupy my hands and brain. As I'm usually going non-stop, standing still for any length of time feels like cruel and unusual punishment. (I'm the guy that thinks sleep is a waste of time). I do realise that stillness was exactly what I needed to get better, and I promise I spent plenty of time doing just that. This quilt was definitely created one stitch at a time! 

Starting off, I didn't have any plans. I just needed to do something. The easiest thing for me to do was rifle through my stash. As I was looking through my fabrics, I noticed that some of them were starting to show signs of discolouration on the fold lines. GASP! Now, I keep my fabrics in semi-opaque plastic tubs, but sometimes I do leave the lids off of them. So whatever the reason, I knew I needed to start using some of them faster than I had been. 

I grabbed most of the aqua / teal selection and started cutting them up into 5" charm squares, avoiding any of the discoloured fold lines. I used a stashed half yard of Art Gallery's Lace Elements in gold for the stars, and just went for it. It really got me thinking about why am I saving fabric? If I'm not gonna use it, I need to lose it! I'm not really a fabric hoarder, (my stash is comparatively small), but if I've had fabric long enough for it to get sun damage ... Well, it's time.

I pieced the back from Sarah Jane's Wee Wander, Art Gallery Living Elements, and mostly Art Gallery Pure Elements. There's a couple of pieces of Kona Peacock in there too. Looking back, I actually think it was the Wee Wander that inspired the colour way of this quilt--funny that it didn't even make it into the front! I also started gaining some more clarity about the fabrics I love, and want to work with. More on that another time.

Since I didn't really plan ahead for this quilt, I was one yellow charm square short. No probs! I just glue basted some scraps together, and bam, charm square acquired! If you haven't glue basted before, grab the kiddos Elmer's and give it a go. You can see the seam, but how perfectly does that pattern line up? Totally worth it. For the quilting, I first created an echo line around each star. I then added plus-shaped tacking at some of the charm square intersections. I don't know if that type of quilting is a real thing, but it was easy, quick, and left the quilt with a really loose drape.

I have a small, well, okay, big confession to make. I haven't been labelling my quilts. I know. I've yet to find a labelling style that really suits me. I don't like the look of hand written labels, but woven labels don't have all the customisable information I want to include. I don't have a printer, and my sewing machine doesn't do embroidery. I still include my GFB (glitter flecked binding) on all my quilts, but I do feel like that's not enough. However, that yellow binding is working it out for me!

This quilt is not rocket science. It has no hidden agenda. It is certainly not gonna save the world. But it did save me! This one unassuming little project offered tons of reflection, and has allowed me to see some aesthetics I should be exploring, and those I should leave behind. That's certainly good enough. It also gave me time to reflect on the role of social media in my life. I'll be sharing a blog post about that tomorrow, and while a bit more serious, writing it was extremely cathartic.

So two weeks, huh? During the creation of this quilt I've been back to my GP half a dozen times as they continued to monitor my liver function tests which were extremely high. Mr. Sparkles has been taking extremely good care of me though. He's been pumping all sorts of vitamins into me, feeding me clean foods, and making fresh juices from beets, apples, celery, ginger, and all other good things for your liver. As per Thursday's blood work, my liver is nearly back to normal. Don't pop the bottles just yet--I said nearly--but things are heading in the right direction. Oh and you know, I am itching to tell my liver exactly what I think of its behaviour by throwing a dirty martini in its face!

Thank you all for your sparkling support.

Title: Twinkle
Size: 50" x 50"
Pattern: Patchwork charms and stars
Fabric: My teal stash, and Lace Elements from Art Gallery
Quilting: Echoing the stars and additional tacking with Gutterman 50wt, colour 6745 teal
Binding: machine stitched with Aurifil 50wt, colour 2024 white on top and the Gutterman on bottom
Backing: Pieced backing of Sarah Jane's Wee Wander, Art Gallery Pure Elements and Living Elements
Favourite Part: Yellow binding. Because yes.

Linking up with TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts!

"Sure that star can twinkle." - Tori Amos

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Kissing Booth

Well, I will say this, the kissing booth was a smooching success! I had boys lined up around the block, and I went through fifty shades of lipstick to make sure they were all happy. But now, I'm a bit chapped, and a bit sick. I'm sure y'all have noticed that my sparkle has been a bit dulled lately. Well, after many weeks of suffering in silence, it turns out I have Glandular Fever / Mono / Epstein-Barr Virus. Many of you probably remember getting this as a teenager, and it being aptly called The Kissing Disease. I obviously did not do enough kissing in my adolescence!

So on Thursday afternoon I admitted myself to the emergency room due to a spiking fever, and well, I'll just say it: I could see the glitter on the wall, and I thought I was going to die. After many hours in the ER, and much blood work later, it was deduced that I didn't have malaria, Dengue Fever, or pancreatitis, just simply mono. Fortunately, getting to know my extremely cute Dr. James with the floppy hair and big brown eyes made almost dying worth it! Silver lining, folks, silver lining!

Dr. James also informed me that men over thirty (that's me) who get mono also sometimes experience wackadoo things going on with their liver. Yeah, so that's happening to me too. Seriously. What all this means now, is that I'm on forced rest until I'm recovered, and I can't even have a drink to pass the time! For reals! Some people recover from mono in two weeks, but in the worst cases it can last months. :::yeah, that deserves a big ole sideways glance!::::

For the sake of my own speedy recovery, my sewing machine has been set aside for the time being. I  also won't be blogging all that much unless it's about something that's already been in the pipeline. I'm hoping that this forced break will allow me to regain my centre, and refocus my creative energies. Trust that when I am back, whether it be one week, or one month, it is game on. Thank you all for your never-ending support, countless comments of positivity, and wishes of wellness.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday Stash #99 - Goodies

Most of the quilting demographic might not know R&B princess, Ciara, but she's had a few major hits along the way. This was a pretty major jam for her (and me!) a few years back. I woke up with this song in my head, and it seemed kind of fabric appropriate, so I thought I'd lay it down here. 

I bet you want the goodies
Bet you thought about it
Got you all hot and bothered
Mad cause I talk around it
Looking for the goodies
Keep on looking' cuz they stay in the jar
Oh-oh Oh-oh Oh-oh Oh-oh

I doubt Ciara is talking about her fabric stash, but maybe she is keeping her scraps in a jar? 

Annnywho, I had mine own goodies arrive in the mail this week! This is yardage of Art Gallery's Minimalista which I'm using for my Mood Ring quilt back (Giveaway still open!) You may have seen on Instagram (molli_sparkles) that I tried out glue basting for the first time in an effort to join a 70" seam across the back. I was not even about to have these geometric lines going all mis-matched on me! Let me tell you, it worked like Naomi Campbell on a catwalk! 

I also received yardage of Tula Pink's Saltwater which I'm using for my Echo quilt back. Now, I have a rather large bone to pick about this fabric. First, for being in the stripe family, it's hella cool. However, the vertical repeat is at about 30" across the width of fabric. So? This means you can't join two runs of yardage together side by side to create an invisible seam, unless you wanted to forfeit 15" of fabric from each run. Not impressed! I've done it anyway, and while it is not perfect, it's just gonna have to do!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Original Design - D!

It's time for the Fall 2014 Edition of the Blogger's Quilt Festival! Since you won't find my pretty face at Quilt Market this weekend, I thought I'd better share in the virtual quilt festival love-fest. The quilt I most want to (re)-introduce to the Glitterati is my king-sized D! I am entering it into the Original Design Quilts Category, because while it is familiar, there was some original math design madness to make it happen.

I look at it now and think, "Gawd, that's just way too big!" And trust you me, that is not something you hear me say too often! I originally designed this quilt for my BGFF (best gay friend forever), because he is a mad Disney fan. It's made with 2,108, 1.5" finished squares (then I died) from Lizzy House's Constellations range, and coordinating solids. It's pretty close to my original design sketch, and even though it is ginormous, there's just that much more of it to love!

My BGFF still loves it, and often hosts slumber parties for him and his 37 other friends. They all fit under it, no lie! You can see more pictures in the original post, and read all about how a good double entendre kept me sane throughout all this teeny-tiny piecing. 

A big thank you to Amy from Amy's Creative Side for keeping the Blogger's Quilt Festival party pumping! Make sure you vote for your faves in each category, and in the Viewer's Choice ballot!

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