Sunday, January 13, 2019

Week 2 | Stretched 9 Patch + Spiro Star

 Week 2 | Stretched 9 Patch and Spiro Star

Annetta | I both love and dislike this weeks pattern. I want to try this pattern in other colors and give myself a chance to fix the mistake I see. The square challenged my tension. It was an easy project for the most part, but turning a circular flower into a square was tough. My square still wants to be a circle. I realized too late what was happening and didn't have time to rip back to fix it. I am hoping that when it's all sewn together the square will eventually even out. It's also amazing what a crochet hook can design with a simple string. When I put, my now two, finished squares together I see a lot of light blue and mint. It's hard not to rethink my color choices because it's too late.

Favorite part of the week:
My son and I had birthdays this week. He was on the 10th and I came on the 11th. celebrating our birthdays was the best part of my week. There was lots of eating out, cakes and presents, but there were no birthday songs because they don't do that in Slovakia. My son is growing up and I am turning older. 

Stephanie | This week I picked the Stretched 9 Patch pattern. This was a chaotic week for us, with my husband in Colorado for work, and my oldest going off to public school for the first time, I wanted something on the easy side that wouldn't cause any unnecessary stress for myself. I didn't want to have to think too much or fiddle around a lot, I needed simple. This pattern came together very similar to Week 1, so for anyone who is sewing along, this will be familiar. This block is only 2 colors. Color 1 cuts as 2 parts, the main center square at 6.5" and the 4 corner squares at 3.5". Color 2 is cut into 4 strips at 6.5" x 3.5".  As in week 1, sew a corner block to the top and bottom of 2 strips. Take the remaining 2 strips and sew them to the top and bottom of the main center block. Then sew those 3 columns together, remember to match up seams. Seam allowance at 1/4 inch.

Favorite part of the week: My favorite part of this week was when I picked up my daughter from her very first day of public school (4th grade) she tells me it was the best day ever and wants to continue with it next year. We have home-schooled since Kindergarten and we were both so nervous about this new adventure, but I felt it was the right choice this year to switch to public school for both my older girls. They and dad protested and so we stuck with home school again this year. My oldest and I just clashed too much with each other for it to be successful for us. She finally agreed to give public school a try for the remainder of this year knowing we would reevaluate for next school year come summer. So that first day when she was so happy and excited and certain that this is the path for her, I felt so happy, relieved, and validated that this was the right choice for us.  I also took down all Christmas decor and added a new little table to my sewing spot - yay!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Week 1 | Winter Cottage + Framed Windmill

Week 1 Pattern: Winter Cottage + Framed Windmill

Stephanie | I worked on the 'Framed Windmill' pattern. This block requires 4 colors. This block consists of 2 different strips of fabric measuring 18 x 2 1/2", sewn together, then cut into (4) -4 1/2 blocks. Rotate the cut squares to make the 'Windmill' pattern. Sew all 4 blocks together. Using a 3rd color, cut (4) 8 1/2 x 2 1/2" strips. The 4th color is (4) squares at 2 1/2". Attach 2 squares to the top and bottom of 2 strips. Then sew the 2 remaining strips to the top and bottom of the windmill block. Finally attach the strip + square combo to the left and right of the windmill block, making sure to match seams. The seam allowance is 1/4" throughout. I liked this pattern, it was easy and came together quickly. The pattern in the book had a striped and solid print fabric for the main windmill block, I liked the striped fabric, I felt it added to the movement of a windmill, so I kept with that look.

My favorite part of this week:  Just getting things started, we talked about kicking up A Year to Inspire again for a while, so it feels good that we are here again. I also started a daily Bible study which will take me through the Bible in its entirety through the whole year. And, my oldest will start attending public school this week. We have done home-school so far, and it just hasn't been working for us. I feel this is the right move for her, she needs to have her independence away from the home, to make new friends, and most importantly, to have a teacher who isn't mom. So its been a crazy week trying to prepare for all these new changes, and getting on schedule and making sure all things are in order, but its all for very good things!  

Annetta | This weeks square was called 'Winter Cottage'. We have a week to finish our projects and this one did take a week to do, it also didn't help that it was a week full of holidays! I am a knitter and not a crocheter, but found this particular pattern to be fairly easy to do. I love how big the square ended up being, a whole 10" by 10". I need to crochet this square two more times per the blanket instructions but will do that later in our project. The place I seem to do most of my crochet work is at my desk in between my work breaks. I was very pleased with how the colours worked out together too. I'm looking forward to the colour combination of my next square and compare them.

For this week my favourite moment was when it snowed! I love snow like really love it. My favourite part about it is when it gets really deep you can hear the snowfall and the sound is so beautiful. It snowed about 4" this week and in some moments it felt like a blizzard. Most of the snow melted yesterday as it warmed up, but then froze again overnight. We are supposed to get snow all week and I am not complaining. Slovakia usually doesn't get this amount of snow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A Year To Inspire 2019 Edition : Quilting and Crochet

A Year to Inspire - 2019

What is our project for 2019?

Annetta | Eeep! Our official post people and many years later after our last project, but here we are!

We always have several options for A Year To Inspire when it comes to what we will be doing. Usually, Stephanie and I would focus on the same exact theme, but not this year! Since we are in different countries and our lives have shifted by a lot we decided to focus on different crafts. This year I will be learning to crochet and I will be working on an Intermediate crochet blanket. As a beginner, this will be an adventurous project I am taking on. The blanket is rather large with 35 squares altogether. I believe that if you are going to learn something new then you start with the hardest because, after that, everything will be on the easier side after that. It worked for me when it came to learning to knit and I hope that it works for me again with crochet. I have always LOVED how crochet lets you add so many beautiful colours into a single project. My love for colour really comes out when I see crochet granny squares. The colour options are endless, which takes you on a beautiful journey of discovering the joys of colour.  I will be using 6 different colours for each square. This blanket was originally a CAL (crochet-a-long) and came with colour kits. I wanted to make things single and go with the already selected colours through the kits, but last minute changed my mind and picked colours that matched my colour scheme for our new home in Bratislava. The project itself is called Nuts about Squares and was designed by 11 different crochet designers. If you want to join me in my crochet adventure and crochet-a-long you can take a look at the kits available through Wool Warehouse. The yarn I will be using is from Drops and it's their Cotton Light yarn.

Like stated before, the blanket is 35 squares and there will be some weeks where I will crochet more than one square. Once all the square are all made up I will have to join them all together and crochet a rather large border around it all. As this particular project comes to a close I plan to start another crochet blanket, but I much simpler design and colour scheme. The blanket I am currently planning on crocheting is called the Painted Roses Blanket as roses are by far my favourite flower there is.

On top of our personal projects, we will also post a few images of our favourite moment throughout the week that happened as a 'something extra'. We are still working out the details of how that will look like, but I am sure it will be worth the mention. Also, please feel free to ask us any questions in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Stephanie | Welcome to 2019! I am really excited to start this project. I plan on doing a quilting project this year. I have wanted to sew since a young age, but never really had the opportunity to get into it. I had my first attempt at sewing a quilt for my senior project in High School. I didn't know what I was doing, and I didn't have any guidance, so it didn't turn out that great. I got a sewing machine many years ago as a gift, but was never able to get it to work correctly, I always had issues with it. After Annetta moved away, I was forced to make new friends, luckily I didn't have to look very far. My next door neighbor Amber and I finally began to talk and we hit it off right away, we are both crafty, love coffee, and have kids the same ages- it was destiny! She was really getting into quilting, which made me want to also, she discovered my sewing machine had some flaw to it, that's why it wasn't working for me!! My hubby let me buy a new machine, just days before we moved to CA, and I have been making some little blankets since being here. I am SO excited to FINALLY be able to sew. With that being said, I am a beginner, I will most likely be consulting Amber, my quilting expert friend at some point during this project.

My plan for 2019 is to make 1 different quilt block pattern each week for the year. At the end of the year, they will all be sewn together into 1 quilt top. This technique is called a Sampler Quilt. As you use many different patterns throughout the quilt. I am looking forward to using the Smitten fabric collection by Bonnie & Camille. I selected this fat quarter bundle as its the entire collection of fabric, so everything is coordinated together. There are so many different prints/colors but they all mesh together beautifully. I selected the fat quarter bundle because they are already cut down into smaller sizes- rather that buying an entire yard. Fat Quarters are quarter-yard cuts of fabric cut wide (hence the name fat). Their approximate size is 18" x 21".

Items I will be using:
Smitten Fat Quarter Bundle Fabric by Bonnie & Camille
Bella Solids Fat Quarter Bundle by Bonnie & Camille
3 Yards Solid White Fabric
Block A Day: 365 Quilting Squares for Patchwork Inspiration!
basic sewing items such as, sewing machine, scissors, needle/thread, pins, cutting mat and rotary cutter, iron.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Where Have We Been?!

2015 to 2019 - Where have we been? Let's catch up!

Annetta | 2014 was a year of growth creatively and in my friendship with Stephanie. We talked through 365 of journaling and it was no easy feat. Looking back we see how amazing the project was and all that it cultivated, but we both knew that another year of 365 was just not something we could do. That's where we decided to do the 52-week project but had no idea it would be cut short. You see Stephanie had a surprise pregnancy that year and my husband and I decided we were going to travel to America for a whole year.  None of it was planned, but all of it contributed to our halt in A Year To Inspire. We had to put our energy in a completely different direction and any additions would have caused a lot of stress for us both. What's interesting to me is that we both had something major in our lives. To my sadness, I had to leave Stephanie during her pregnancy and couldn't be there as a true friend should. She experiences some hardships on her own while I too experienced loneliness on the road without a true friend like Stephanie. That year she had a beautiful baby and I had gained the beauty of what America had to offer. Why continue almost 4 years later? Well, we never wanted to stop in the first place, but that's where life took us. Also, I moved to Slovakia after our year of travelling was up and Stephanie moved to California this past year. Our move to Europe was unexpected for everyone including ourselves, but we felt like that's where our family needed to make a home. None of it was a right time to pick up the project we both loved so much until now. With Stephanie settled in California and me finally settled in Slovakia we have the perfect season to continue in our pursuit for creativity. What is so beautiful about this project is how it connects two friends in a way that is truly meaningful, in a way we can look back on and marvel. This year Stephanie and I went different directions in our projects, but we will share more in detail later. For now, we are happy to give the backstory of what happened to our beloved project.

Stephanie | 2014 left me exhausted. We took on a huge project and saw it to the end. Annetta and I were both proud that we were able to do A Year to Inspire for the full 365 days, we weren't ready to let it go, we wanted to continue being creative, but on a less demanding schedule. So we figured a weekly prompt would be perfect. Little did we know what 2015 would look like for either of us. Looking back now, I am surprised we almost made it 1/2 way through the year before we both just fizzled out, we were both done! I was in my first year of homeschooling my oldest. She has started Kindergarten in the fall and we were navigating a whole new chapter in our lives, all with my 2nd child in her terrible twos! January 2015 rolls around and I find myself expecting baby number 3. This was very unexpected and I had a hard time coming to terms with the idea of having another child - I wasn't ready. Things intensified when they discovered a cyst on my ovary that was growing rapidly. I was monitored carefully and saw specialists and prepared for the idea that it was cancerous. In the middle of all that chaos, my best friend was packing up and leaving me to travel around the US. And then the ultimate blow, she was moving out of the country!! It was a very lonely time. Luckily my baby was delivered without issue, the 6-pound cyst was not cancerous. Life had been pretty quiet for us after that until November 2017 when my hubby was offered a job in California. After a lot of uncertainty, we made the official move from Seattle in May of this year. We bought a house on 5 acres and plan to put in a flower and veggie garden along with a small orchard. During our absence, Annetta and I have continued to talk about resuming A Year to Inspire, and now we both feel settled enough to pick this up again. We are excited for this next phase, we hope you are too!       


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