EliseAndEmerald

The Crafting Adventures of Elise and her alter ego – Emerald


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365 Quilt Challenge

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I have always been intrigued by the various craft-a-day challenges that my fellow artists bind themselves to for a whole year.  Be it the crochet/knit temperature blankets or the #1yearofstiches, I have often thought of giving them a go.  So, when 2017 came I decided I would like to get on the bandwagon and start a daily craft challenge of my own.  Actually I wanted to do them all. Simultaneously.  Because I’m crazy like that and think I can add a million new things to my plate on a whim.

You can do ANYTHING, just not EVERYTHING.  This.  I need this tatoo-ed on my forehead AND embroidered on a pillow case! I have a bad habit of trying to take on more than I can chew and making myself miserable in the process. So, I decided to just do ONE!

My mother has quite the craft stash (like I can talk) and people are frequently gifting her more items to add to her collection.  When I come to visit she usually lets me go through the treasures to see if there are any that I would like.  In one of my most recent visits, I came across this page-a-day calendar for quilting.  And this became my inspiration for the #365quiltchallenge

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For me, this challenge is about more than just quilting.  While I am getting better everyday at reading new patterns, matching seams and points, and sewing the correct 1/4″ seam allowance, I am also working on me.

I tend to have a plan for everything.  I am generally uncomfortable with “going with the flow” in my daily life and like to have plans prepared for my day, week, month, year, and beyond.  Now you may say that planning to do a quilt block everyday from a pre-designated book of blocks doesn’t really get me out of my comfort zone.  But, consider this – I have no idea what I am going to do with all these quilt blocks when I’m done.  They are not even close to all the same size (by design, not by poor sewing skills) and 365 is way more than I would need to make one quilt.

The point of this exercise is exactly that.  I have no idea what I am going to do with these blocks when I am done.  Sometimes, life if just a series of tasks, lessons, experiences and events – you have no idea how they will transform you until they have already happened.  For me, that IS just going with the flow.  It is letting someone else decide my plan and only making my own adjustments when absolutely necessary.

This is also an exercise in letting go.  Letting go of trying to have the perfect life.  I have been holding on to this box of fabric for quite a while now.  I started with just a few fabrics in yellow and teal because I HAD to have one of the fabrics.  I attempted to make a quilt with the fabric and it just didn’t feel right.  So I stuffed it in a box and pulled it out every once in awhile to see if inspiration would strike.  I also added more fabric to the box -hoping that the “perfect pattern” would materialize so that I could finally do something with this stash of fabric I had been collecting.  But life doesn’t work like that.  You can’t just keep your dreams in a box and hope that someday inspiration will strike and you will have this perfect storm, whirlwind, fairy tale life.  You have to work for it.

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So I dug out the box and let go of the notion that I would find the perfect pattern. I set to work to just USE the fabrics I had been holding on to for so long.  Pretty fabric sitting in a box does no good at all.  I have decided it is better that they be made into SOMETHING than never doing anything with them at all.  As they were varying sizes, shapes, and colors – it was extremely unlikely that I would ever find a pattern that would make all these scraps work together anyway.  So I let it go.

Letting go actually feels pretty good. I am really enjoying using these beautiful fabrics to make scrappy blocks.  Each and every block has a new and different combination.  Each block is unique.  It makes me happy to finally be doing something with these fabrics.  I get to see them and use them every day.

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This 365 Quilt Challenge has also been a lesson in consistency.  Humans thrive on routine and I feel more balanced when I can maintain my daily habits.  Too many days, however, things get off track and my schedule goes haywire.  It is nice to have one consistent thing everyday.

Likewise, this challenge forces me to be creative everyday.  I consider the quilt block of the day my warm-up for creative work.  It gets my brain in the right frame for creativity and often I remain in my craft room to continue working on other projects as I feel inspired.

So far I have made 20 blocks!  I have missed a few days but I am pretty proud of my overall consistency!  If you want to follow along with my daily blocks – follow me on Instagram! @EliseandEmerald

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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Red Heart Log Cabin

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Hello my lovely readers!

While I was updating my blog (since I once again have neglected it for awhile) I noticed I was missing a post on the quilt I made for my mother-in-law!  I was so excited to share the pictures with all of you – I can’t believe I forgot about it! But, there it was – sitting in my drafts folder…

I gave this quilt to my MIL back in September for her birthday and she was thrilled!  This quilt was very special to me as well because the pattern was designed by my very own mother!  It is a variation on a log cabin pattern that features a heart in the middle.  My mom’s original design was sewn in pinks, browns, and greens.  For my MIL I knew the design needed to be done in red!

Since I made you wait so long for this post, I will just keep it short and sweet and just give you the photo shoot!

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Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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Naught to Nautical Quilt

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Hello my lovely readers!

My favorite big brother is a submarine Sonar Technician in the United States Navy.  We are all very proud of him and his service to our country.  As he has been in the Navy for almost 15 years, he has been given a whole bunch of Navy/nautical themed items.  As I prepared to make a quilt for him, I wanted to be sure it paid homage to his long-standing military service while also being not too nautical.

My mother had gifted me a box of fabrics from Connecting Threads that was full of fat quarters in fun colors. One half of the box was solids with white polka dots and the other half was solids with white stars.  When I came across the Suburban quilt pattern in the Quilty Magazine in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue, I knew it would look FABULOUS with some of the star fabrics.

It is a very simple pattern, but it has a lot of visual interest. Couple that with a repeating pattern in multiple colors and it is a beautiful match!  For the rest of the quilt I added some navy solids and military green solids to break up the pattern.  I searched through Moda’s Because of the Brave fabric line to find one in blue that featured dog tags.  I used it for the binding and it went perfectly with my quilt top.  In addition, it is butter soft and so nice to sew with!  Moda makes some great quality fabrics! For the back I used a navy minky fabric.  Even though my brother lives in Hawaii, I couldn’t resist using minky on the back – it is just too soft!   I told him he could use it on the cold submarine or pack it when he comes to visit us in the freezing tundra of Northern Iowa!

Before I shipped him the quilt for his birthday,  I had a little photo shoot!  Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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International Women’s Day Art Challenge

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Hello my lovely readers!

I am currently working on a hand embroidery pattern series called “Powerful Women Series.”  It will feature inspirational quotes by inspirational women.  It will be dedicated to all the beautiful, strong, intelligent female role models I have in my life!

It is quite a lot of fun to be designing these patterns and I thought maybe other artists, makers, and crafters would want to join me in creating some awesome works!

So, in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016 I thought it would be fun to get everyone together for a fun design challenge! I have chosen a quote that I will be designing an embroidery pattern for and I would love if other artists would join me in designing their own interpretation of the quote using their own chosen medium! See below for all the details and get designing!

International Women’s Day Challenge 2016

Using the following quote as inspiration, design a piece of art using whatever medium you choose.

  “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail.  Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”  – Oprah

That is it! Those are the only rules and anyone can join the challenge!  Just make sure to post a picture of the final results  on Facebook or Instagram using hashtag  #internationalwomensday2016! Beginning on March 8, 2016 and ending April 8, 2016 – Let’s fill the internet with this positive quote for a whole month!  Tag #eliseandemerald as well so I can see your amazing finished product!

I hope  you will join me in this challenge and I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with!

If you want to stay in touch and get updates on my Powerful Women Embroidery Series, or any of my other current projects, follow me on Instagram or find me on Facebook!

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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5 Year Anniversary! (Part 3) The Photo Shoot

Hub-Hub and I on our wedding day 7/31/2010.

Hub-Hub and I on our wedding day 7/31/2010.

Ok, Ok – I admit it – I didn’t actually go all that low-key with this anniversary surprise.  I think Emerald has been encouraging me to be more courageous! I just HAD to surprise the Hub-Hub with this super-awesome photo shoot for our big 5 Year Anniversary!

5 years ago we had a rainbow wedding.  33786_516426815871_560235_n

 

When I was planning my wedding, I thought it would be fun to have a reception at an amusement park.  I imagined how exciting it would be to spend the entire day riding rides and eating fair food with my family and friends.  Most importantly, I dreamed of having my picture taken in my wedding dress on the ferris wheel – not too mention all the other great photo ops we would find along the way!  Unfortunately, my wedding budget just couldn’t quite handle that.  So we decided to morph that idea into the theme of the wedding.  We had bright colors, a popcorn bar, cotton candy, balloons everywhere, and miniature white ferris wheels on the tables.  If we couldn’t go to the amusement park, then we were going to bring it to us! It was awesome!

Fast forward five years – I am driving past the county fair grounds on my way to work when I get a wild idea. Mind you, this was Wednesday.  I messaged my sister-in-law to see if she would mind taking pictures for us and called my hair salon to see if I could schedule an up-do – um….. for the very next day?!?.  By some miracle I was able to get both of things coordinated and a plan was formed!

On Thursday, I went and bought the Hub-Hub a new shirt and tie while he was at work. I also went and got my hair done – super fancy. Hub-hub knew there was a surprise coming when he got off work, but had no idea what!  He was sure shocked when I came downstairs in my WEDDING DRESS!

He changed into his new clothes and off we went to the fair for a fabulous photo shoot to commemorate our five year anniversary!  And I *finally* got my ferris wheel pictures!  I was so nervous that Hub-Hub would think it was silly – but he loved it! What a great sport! I’m glad I didn’t let my fear hold me back!

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Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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Five Year Anniversary! (Part 2) The Gift

As you may remember from yesterday’s post – we decided to keep our big 5 year anniversary pretty low key so we can continue to save up for a trip to Hawaii this winter.  That didn’t stop me from trying to find a way to surprise Hub-Hub with a simple and sweet gift to celebrate our big day.

I have a tendency to keep things around if I feel they may be useful someday.  I especially have a hard time getting rid of things that could help me organize something.  Like this file box………….11846044_10207262038527414_859857971_n

 

I have held on to this for YEARS because I felt like it would help me organize something some day.  Then I finally came up with an idea!

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Welcome Home Hub-Hub!  Ready for your gift?

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Pretty un-assuming box………… What’s in it?

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For each letter of the alphabet, I thought of a reason why I love my Hub-Hub.  Some were silly, some were serious, but all were 100% true!  I love my husband very much and I just wanted him to know exactly why!  It wasn’t anything expensive or extravagant, but he loved it just the same! What fun ways do you like to show your spouse, family, or friends that you care?

I did have one final surprise for the Hub-Hub, but you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear all about it!

 

Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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5 Year Anniversary! (Part 1) Table Runner Tutorial

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Hub-Hub and I just celebrated our 5 year anniversary! It was awesome! Despite the fact that it is our first big milestone anniversary, we decided to keep it pretty low-key so that we can continue to save up for a trip to Hawaii this winter.  Of course, that didn’t mean I didn’t want to find a few fun ways to still celebrate our big day.

I had been taking a break from sewing for the last little while so I could get accustomed to my new job.  I am happy to be back in the habit of sewing and crafting a little each day.  In honor of our 5 year anniversary, I thought it was high time I finished the table runner I have been working on for a few years.  🙂

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To make the table runner I used a home decor fabric remnant my mom had given me.  Sometimes I let the fabric be my muse. This particular fabric showed me exactly what it wanted to be made into, but then I couldn’t stop!    I made 4 of these table runners in total – all different – for various friends and family members.  THEN I went and purchased some burlap and started making even more of them! Check out my etsy shop for all of the different varieties!  I am having a blast with burlap!

If you are crafty too and think “Hey I could make that!” – here is a tutorial.  If you do decide to make your own instead of purchasing, please remember that this table runner is my design.  This pattern is to be used for personal use and not for selling or merchandising.  Thanks!

Anniversary Table Runner Tutorial

For this table runner you will need:

  • fabric or burlap remnant – at least 12 inches wide by WOF
  • felt in your choice of color(s)
  • various sizes/styles of letter stencils/templates
  • water soluble fabric marker
  • fabric scissors
  • tape measure
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • thread to match the felt color(s)
  • white or tan bobbin to match background

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  1. Cut your fabric to be 12inches by the width of the fabric (43-48 inches)
  2. Use a loose zig-zag stitch to sew all the way around your fabric.  This will keep the edges from fraying while you are sewing on the letters.  It can fray a little bit – you will sew in the edges again at the end
  3. Decide what names/words you will be using
  4. Pull all the letters you need from the stencils and lay them out on your felt11868583_10207305182725992_1434204167_n
  5. Trace around the letters using a water soluble fabric marker
  6. Cut out each letter
  7. Lay the letters out on the fabric
  8. Rearrange until you are happy with the results.  It may not hurt to use your measuring tape to evenly space everything out
  9. When you are happy with the layout – pin all of the letters down.  It is a good idea to use more than one pin per letter to keep everything stationary while you are sewing11843990_10207305183926022_46320155_n
  10. Edge stitch around each of the letters.  It is helpful to roll each side of the runner up while you are working to keep everything easy to maneuver.
  11. If you use multiple colors you will need to switch top-thread colors in between words.  Sew all of the words of one color and then alternate to the next color
  12. When you have sewn on all the letters use a narrow zig-zag to sew around the edges one more time.  This will prevent any future fraying.
  13. Admire your beautiful handiwork! Great job!

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Thanks for visiting!

~Elise and Emerald

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