Monday, August 24, 2015

How I conquered the Green Eyed Monster?

Let's call her Rose.  I first saw her at a Toastmasters meeting. Instantly, I noticed her beauty, bright smile and cheerful eyes, her perfect hair and makeup. And then she gave a speech. I was awestruck.

3.5" squares

Later we connected on LinkedIn and saw that Rose had an advanced degree and was a federal employee. When Rose won the District Championship, I could not take it any more.

Sewn into 9-patch blocks

Why does someone have to be so perfect and popular and then go on to win the contest too?
I was jealous, very jealous. She represented so many things that I had wanted and did not achieve.

Grey Sashing

I wanted, at one point of time in my life, to pursue a PhD. Did not happen.
When I became a citizen, I tried to get a job with the federal government. Did  not happen.
I had been a Toastmaster since 2005, participated in many contests, won many awards and made a lot of friends. But NEVER won the District contest.

Flimsy Finished

I was not, I am NOT unhappy with my life. I am thankful and blessed. However, whenever I saw Rose or thought about Rose, it became clear to me that I was being consumed by the Green Eyed Monster. I hated it. I hated being jealous. I hated feeling unaccomplished around her.

Fox, Owl & Bird

I could not carry on while I was burning with jealousy. I decided to change this.

I decided that I will try to know her better, may be even become friends with her. I was hopeful that if Rose and I became friends, her successes won't make me jealous. I will feel happy for her.

Puppies & Turtle

Joyce was aware of my feelings towards Rose. (Joyce knows everything about me). No one else knew.
Me: I want to invite Rose and her husband over for dinner.
Joyce: What for?
Me: To celebrate her contest win
Joyce: You aren't going to poison her?
Me: I am jealous of her. I don't want to be. May be if I got to know her better, my feelings would change.

Can you find the elephant?

Rose and her husband came over for dinner. They were lovely guests, made perfect dinnertime conversation and even complimented my cooking.  I got to know her and her husband. I have to admit that Rose is a beautiful person both inside and out. As we became friends, I realized that Rose had had some challenges in her life too.  My feelings towards Rose did change, gradually.

Found a giraffe!!!

When I started quilting, I began to ignore Toastmasters meeting. When I posted my quilt pictures on my blog, Rose was appreciative of my work. When I skipped a few meetings, she sent me a couple of quilting magazines with a sweet note. Rose's mom is a quilter too.

Dots & Stripes too

One day, Rose had to come to Sterling to meet her uncle. She asked if we could meet for lunch later. Of course. Over lunch, she told me that she and her husband had been trying for a while and now she was pregnant.

Bird, Blocks & Buntings
I cried, not because I was jealous. (Paul and I had been trying too.)  I cried because I was happy. Happy for Rose.

Obviously, I made a quilt for Rose's baby. I decided to call it Playschool. The blocks remind me of the cubes in Playschool, where there is a color, letter, animal, fruit etc. one on each side.
I used the multicolored owl fabric as the backing.

Owls - so cute!!!
I used a simple scallop stitch for the quilting pattern and the squiggly stitch on the sashing and the borders.

The bright green binding is my choice. It is symbolic of how I felt - JEALOUS, but I don't any more.
It is symbolic of how I conquered the green eyed monster and reduced it to a strip of fabric!!!

Bright Green Binding!!!

The finished quilt is about 42" square.

Cuteness, quilted and bound
When I gave the quilt to Rose on Saturday, her face beamed with delight.
Rose: It is so cute. I love it.
Me: I love you.
Rose: I love you too.

Finally, the jealousy in my heart was replaced with love and joy!!! The baby is due in October and I am so looking forward to meeting her. Yes, it is a girl!!!

Playschool, modeled by Paul
If you want to make this quilt, it is a terrific, easy and very quick pattern. And a great scrap buster too. I used 3.5" squares, some of them were fussy cut, arranged into a 9-patch block. The sashing strips were 1.5" and the border strips were 2".

I will be linking with my favorite linky parties and hope to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jewel Stars

A few months ago I saw a quilt on Pinterest.  It was a very happy, bright, starry quilt by Leslie Unfinished.  Naturally, I pinned it to my board of "To be Made" quilts.

Jewel Star

Once I finished Homeful, which was a production, I wanted a quilt that could go quickly from fabric selection to a finished quilt.  Meet Jewel Star.  This is just the kind of weekend project that can perk up any child's room.

I wanted bright colors. I purposely avoided blue. Why?
I am not sure. I just was thinking of a girl quilt.

I love the idea of the stars peeping out of the negative space. I decided to go with three stars, randomly distributed in the quilt.

Here is the problem with random - it needs to be planned otherwise there is a danger that it may look too uniform.  I know it sounds counter intuitive. In any case, I decided to sketch it out first.

Rough Sketch Layout

This way I could decide the size and the number of the blocks too, in addition their placement. This pattern is charm square friendly. Since I was cutting yardage and using scraps, I chose a 6" block.

Paul: Who is that for?
Me: Dunno. Just need to make something.
Paul: You are crazy.
Me: Yes. Crazy about you.
Paul: Nah, just plain crazy.
Me: And very busy. Leave me alone!!!

Design Wall
The blocks/squares are arranged 7 by 9 for a total of 63 squares.

Piecing, in process

Stars with starry (white on white) fabric

When the quilt top was complete, I admired it again and again.
And then received an invite for a staff meeting at work...followed by a Sprinkle for a co-worker. Let's call her Julie (not her real name).

A few phone calls later, I discovered the following:
1. It was Julie's third baby.
2. No, she is not registered anywhere...because she has most of the baby stuff already.
3. It is a girl.

Very quickly, all the dots in my brain connected. Jewel Stars for Julie's baby girl. Perfect.

Here is the backing I chose. Birds and butterflies  - pink, purple and peach = perfect

Backing - Peach, Pink and Purple
I struggled with the backing. Since the top is so bright, I wanted something bright to match those jewel tones.  However, the muted colors in the backing left me stumped.

Finally, I chose a black with white wavy dots and I am so happy with it that I have decided to replenish that fabric so that I can make many more bindings out of that fabric!!!

Binding Success

Don't you just love it when the binding works for both sides of the quilt?
I took a few more pictures in the morning, before I left for the staff meeting/Sprinkle.

I am convinced that morning light is the best for taking pictures.  The colors look so saturated.

Happiness in a Quilt

The finished quilt measures 42 by 54, making it a generous baby quilt or a crib quilt.  Those babies - they grow up so fast. Here is hoping that the generous size would ensure that the quilt is usable for a bit longer.

Ooh, pretty!!!

And there is one more thing about this quilt that makes it a bit more special.  A label which is "oh so professional."  Do you like it?
I found them on Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts blog. Here is the link

On the other side are care instructions.

When Julie pulled out the quilt from the gift bag, her face glowed.

"My girl has a lot of hand-me-downs and there is nothing wrong with that. But this will be her very own quilt. "

And that was the sweetest thing I heard.

It is ridiculous that the first baby is welcomed with a shower and the second and third ones just get a sprinkle. I am sure that by the time it is Baby # 5, the celebration would be reduced to a Raindrop!!!
I believe that every baby should be celebrated, whether they are first or not. I hope this quilt is that celebration for Julie's baby girl!

Happy Mom-to-be and Me

Others oohed and aahed, took pictures, and complimented me on my beautiful work and thoughtful gift.  Mission Accomplished.

Julie is due next month and I am looking forward to meeting her new bundle of joy.

This is my 12th finish of this year. A dozen quilts already???
Paul is right. I am crazy, just plain crazy!!!