colorwaves quilt

fifteen minutes of creativity a day

What can you accomplish in fifteen minutes a day?

In the spirit of “little things add up to big things”, a piece of wisdom imparted by my best friend in college, I’ve been participating in something called Marchalong this month. All this means is that you to commit to setting aside fifteen minutes a day for creativity. That’s it. Fifteen minutes. But if you do it–how many hours of creativity does that add up to by the end of the month? Actually, I’m terrible at math, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot.

I’ve tried this “fifteen minutes a day” idea before with cleaning and decluttering–and honestly, it has never stuck for the whole month. But doing something fun and creative? I think I can make that happen for fifteen minutes a day.

So, how have I been spending my few minutes of creativity so far? First, I finished up my February hand sewing project that I am doing along with the Fat Quarter Shop. I am really loving hand piecing these blocks–I’m almost sorry when I’ve finished the six for the month. But the March blocks will be coming out soon, so I don’t have long to wait. I’ve been stitching away on these in the evenings while we watch Grace and Frankie and This is Us. I’m all caught up now with This is Us and it is agony to wait a week between episodes. I clearly need to find a new British drama to become obsessed with–any suggestions?

patchwork quiltalong, fat quarter shop, hand pieced quilt blocks

In the meantime, I cast on some shorty socks. I got a little obsessed with knitting socks over the summer, but have not cast on a pair in months.  It was clearly time to do so. I cast these on while listening to The Off-Kilter Quilt podcast–which is my favorite quilty podcast. Frances is charming and chatty and just plain entertaining. It’s a great way to spend your fifteen minutes.

knitting, knit picks, knitting project bags, podcasts, tea

Don’t you love this knitting project bag? My friend Minki made it for my birthday last year and I smile every time I reach for it.  People went a little nuts over it on Instagram the other day, but I can’t take any credit for it, except for the little pink knitted patch on the front.

I’m also working on a new quilt design–and honestly the jury is still out on how I feel about this one. I am in absolute love with the fabric line, Sundrops by Cory Yoder. That fact is not in doubt. However, I have rearranged the blocks in a million different ways and I hope I landed on the best one. Stay tuned.

sundrops, moda fabrics, quilting, alphabitties

I like having a few different projects at hand–because sometimes I just don’t feel like sitting down in front of the sewing machine. Or the only way that I’m going to get my fifteen minutes in is in the waiting room at the doctor’s office–so I’m glad that I can pack a sock to knit. But one thing is sure, I’m always amazed at how quickly a project progresses when you actually work on it! Even for just fifteen minutes a day.

What’s for dinner?

Because thinking about what’s for dinner is never far from any woman’s mind, I thought I would share that we are having Jonah’s favorite: Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss. You should try it 🙂 What are you having?

colorwaves quilt

Interview on String & Story

quilt blogs

 The delightful HollyAnne of String and Story sent me a few questions to answer for her FriYAY Friends post. Pop on over to learn a bit more about my creative journey and where I find inspiration. You can read it here.

colorwaves quilt

Your precious handmades. Do you use them?

tea, tea pot, handmade coaster

It all started with this coaster. I was having coffee with my friend Minki the other day and as always, we talking about sewing and the things we love to make. Then she said the nicest thing to me.

“I learned from you to actually use the things I make. Not just take a picture of them and then put them on the shelf.” Aww. To think that I have had an influence on a talent like Minki’s was a nice moment for me. But then I had to confess.

“I’m kind of having trouble with that now. You know that hand embroidered coaster you gave me a couple of years ago? I do use it. And it’s a bit of a stained mess now and I feel bad about it.” I didn’t tell her that sometimes I actually tuck it away in a drawer when she is coming over, so that she won’t see what has become of her hard work.

Then she told me, “I actually think that stained linen is beautiful.”

hand made coaster, Minki Kim

And you know what, she’s right. (This coaster actually looks worse in real life, for some reason.)

That got me thinking about all the handmade, everyday use items I have around that house. Knitted dishcloths are my absolute favorite, but I am always a little sad when one starts to come unraveled. I actually usually merely move it to the rag drawer until it is nothing but a pile of string.

grandma's dishcloth

These are the coasters we use every, single day. They are about eight years old and I hope that I have learned to sew a gap together better than I did in those days. But this illustrates my point exactly. When you use things–you use them up. And sometimes that’s fine, but sometimes its hard–like not saving your fancy china for that dinner party you’ll never actually have.

quilted coasters

I’ve spent countless hours embroidering these tea towels, and they are stained and faded and have holes in them. I will never be able to bring myself to throw them away–so I’m already starting to think about what I can do with them when their useful lives as tea towels is over. Any ideas? What I need to do is start planning for that day now and simply make some more. That’s what we makers do, right? It’s just an excuse to make some more.

dish towels, handmade dish towels

My favorite table runner has definitely seen better days

quilting, linen, patchwork

And so has my favorite tea cozy. Okay, maybe a trip through the wash might help this one.

high tea fabrics, lecien

And even my first quilt, only eight years old, is already looking like this. But this is the most loved quilt in the house. It is exactly the right weight for our warm southern California weather and is the first thing that every family member grabs from the quilt basket each morning. It gets washed because I pick it up from the floor a dozen times a day and it comforts the child with the flu. And over Christmas it cradled my dying cat. So, I’m looking at those frayed edges a little differently now.

French General quilt

So, what to do? I think the only thing to do here is to embrace the beauty of the well-loved and worn. There is a story behind every handmade item. A story about the person who made it and what was happening in their life as they sewed each stitch. There are the stories of the everyday life of the people who are blessed to use it daily. To wash the dishes after a regular, weeknight dinner. To wrap the child reading a book. To set the morning coffee cup on, before dawn everyday.

And if they are not as perfect and pristine as they once were–it’s because they bear the marks of an everyday life well-lived. And I can live with that.

colorwaves quilt

I’ve changed my name to Simple. Handmade. Everyday.

 

hand sewing and drinking tea
{photo credit: Minki Kim}

I just wanted to pop in to say that I’ve changed this blog’s name from They Grow Up Too Fast to Simple. Handmade. Everyday. to reflect the types of things that I want to write about. I started this as a Mommy blog about six years ago to document my children growing up. As sewing and crafting became a bigger and bigger part of my life, and as my children became more and more reluctant to having their lives shared in this space–the blog evolved. Which is totally fine–but the name just didn’t work anymore.

My desire now is to share my love for living an intentional life. Filling your home with handmade goodness that you actually use every day, living simply, cooking from scratch to feed a family of teens, parenting those teens, and all the other tidbits that make up a simple, intentional life are all things that I am looking forward to sharing here. I hope that you will join me on the journey.

xo. Kristin

colorwaves quilt

My favorite hand piecing tools

patchwork-along-blocks

Six blocks down for the Fat Quarter Shop’s Patchwork Quilt Along. I finished them in about a week and a half and I can only hope that I can maintain that pace for a whole year. I am actually a bit sad that they are done and I don’t get the next pattern until next month. My hands feel so idle in the evenings now, while we have our family TV time. Yes, I have things to knit–but I’m a little obsessed with hand sewing right now.

As I mentioned in my last post–I made just about every mistake you could make with the first few blocks. As I continued with the next three, I’ve been experimenting with a few things (especially needles) and I have arrived at a few of my favorite tools.

hand-piecing-tools

Perhaps most importantly, I have found what I think is the perfect needle: Piecemakers Hand Applique Sharp size 12. It is thin enough to have little to no drag on the fabric, an eye that is not impossible to thread (though I do use a very simple needle threader–the red square in the picture), and is a very nice length. I also like the Betweens from the same maker, but I find them a bit short–they don’t hit my thimble in the right place.

Speaking of thimbles, I’ve had this one for forever. I’ve tried all kinds of thimbles and this simple metal one that you can buy at any craft store (probably Dritz brand) is my favorite. Fun fact: I like this size now, but I have a smaller one that works better when I’m a bit thinner.

After making all the marking mistakes early on, I am now marking with a thin, mechanical pencil using the Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer. Yes, you can use any old ruler, but this one has all the right markings and one day I hope to graduate to just being able to mark the dots and not the whole line–and this one has perfect little holes for that.

Everything else is pretty self-explanitory: my favorite Aurifil 2311 50 wt. thread, a small pair of sharp scissors, some nice thin pins, and the ever present red Clover clips to keep things together and organized.

patchwork-blocks

I keep all of this in a little zipper pouch that a wonderful friend made me and I am ready to make the most of “found” moments throughout my day. Most recently, I did a bit of hand piecing in a hotel hallway, waiting for my son to perform with his Jazz Honor Band. Small moments, big results.

colorwaves quilt

last stop on the sew illustrated blog tour & giveaway!

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

Well, that was fun! I hope that you have been following along with the Sew Illustrated blog tour. I am in complete awe and amazement at the beautiful projects that were created over the last couple of weeks. Though really I shouldn’t be surprised–this is such a crazy talented group of makers.

To be completely honest, when Minki and I set out to write this book, we weren’t completely sure how it would be received–it was, um, different. But different turned out to be what people are looking for! Since the release of the book and all along this blog tour, I have heard over and over again how people are a little nervous to give sewing illustration a try. But once they do–they are a little amazed that it’s not as hard as they thought. And we keep getting reports of it being a bit addicting. 🙂

So, thank you to everyone that has cheered us on along the way and shared your projects with us on social media! We love to see what you are making, both from the book and just sewing illustration in general. Please tag us and use the hashtags #sewillustrated and #sewingillustration on Instagram so that we can find out what you are making and be inspired by you!

I am also super excited to be able to giveaway a copy of Sew Illustrated to one lucky blog reader! The giveaway will end on September 10, 2016. You can enter below.

Let’s just take one last look at the amazing creations that were featured over the last couple of weeks. Thank again to all the bloggers who shared their talent with us.

Amy at nanaCompany

amy

amy3

Wynn at Zakka Art

wynn

wynn3

wynn2

Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

sedef

sedef3

Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

lisa

lisa2

Amy at chick chick sewing

chick

Stacy at Stacy Olson

stacy2

stacy

Debbie at happy little cottage

debbie

debbie2

Faith at Sarana Ave

faith

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Ayda at  cafenohut

ayda

ayda2

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

melissa

Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

jemima

Veronica at Vivid Felicity

veronica

veronica2

Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

sharon2

sharon

Nadra at ellis & higgs

nadra

Kristyne at pretty by hand

krystine

Elnora on Instagram

elnora

elnora4

 

elnora3

Jennie at Clover and Violet

jennie

Would you like to win a copy of the book? Enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

colorwaves quilt

blog tour stop 20 :: Aurifil

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

auriful

We are winding down from this amazing  Sew Illustrated blog tour. And today takes us the the Aurifil blog, Auribuzz. Why, you might ask? Because great thread is an essential tool in sewing illustration. It is the “pen” or “brush” of your illustration. You can’t beat the quality of Aurifil thread, or the fact that it comes in so many different weights–which is so useful when doing sewing illustration.

But wait! Look at that! Minki has a brand new thread collection to get you started! How amazing is that? This new Sew Illustrated collection features the colors and different thread weights that she uses most often in her sewing illustrations.

Cllick on over to the Aurifil blog, Auribuzz, to read an interview and enter to win not only the book, but a box o f Minki’s thread!

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

 

colorwaves quilt

blog tour stop 19 :: clover and violet

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

jennie

Jennie at Clover and Violet is finishing us up with the last make of the Sew Illustrated blog tour–this sweet  Liberty pincushion. This fabulous project proves once again that the combination of sewing illustration, Liberty, and linen cannot be beat. Click on over to her blog for more pics and to read about her first experience with sewing illustration.

Though this is the last make–we are not done! Check in tomorrow for an interview and giveaway on the Aurifil blog Auribuzz.

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

colorwaves quilt

blog stop 18 :: elnora on instagram

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

elnora

Elnora is sharing her absolutely adorable make for the Sew Illustrated blog tour on Instagram today. Just look at her fussy cutting! It is just the cutest pouch ever! Click over to see her amazing video.

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

 

colorwaves quilt

blog tour stop 17 :: pretty by hand

Sew Illustrated blog tour banner

krystine

I have admired the work of Kristyne at Pretty by Hand for as long as I’ve been on Instagram. I’m thrilled that she is up on the Sew Illustrated blog tour today with one of my favorite projects–this long handled bag. An accomplished bag maker, Kristyne shares her apprehension about trying sewing illustration–and she even very bravely shows her first practice pieces! Pop over to read all about it!

August 15: C&T Publications

August 16: Amy at nanaCompany

August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art

August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane

August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar

August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing

August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson

August 22: Debbie happy little cottage

August 23: Generation Q Magazine

August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave

August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut

August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet

August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon

August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity

August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations

August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs

August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand

September 1: Elnora on Instagram

September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet

September 3: Auribuzz

September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast