Monday, July 13, 2015

Vacation

Last week, my husband and I both took the entire week off from work.  We didn't really have any plans to go anywhere, but we both needed to just not be at work.  Sometimes it isn't about going somewhere on vacation, but just being able to relax.

I always feel like when I travel on vacation that I need a secondary vacation to make up for the energy spent traveling somewhere.  It was really nice to just be home and relax.  We did make the most of our time and got a fair amount done around the house/yard.

When we purchased our piano a few months ago, we decided to convert our formal dining room into the room with the piano.  This ended up meaning that we had to change the table in our eat-in kitchen area to be one with leaves in it so we could seat everyone for large families dinners.  I don't have a picture of the new table yet, but it was delivered last week while we were home.

In addition to the new table, we then had to find some comfy chairs to put in the room with the piano.  We both hate furniture shopping.  Most of the time you don't find anything you like and you end up frustrated and feeling hassled by the sales folks at the stores.  This time, we did find some chairs!


Untitled

This chair was at the 3rd furniture store we went to (over 2 weekends), but we fell in love with it.  Its comfortable to sit in and looks very nice.  One of the best parts.. its actually a recliner!  It looks like any normal chair (even from the back), but that square section on the front...that's the foot rest.  They will be perfect in the room with the piano and will let one of us sit and relax while the other plays.

Besides a bunch of yard work being done last week, we also spent some time at my in-laws where they live on a lake.  We went up twice and enjoyed swimming and kayaking.

Untitled

Finally since I haven't shown many garden pictures this year.... The catchfly is flowering and is a very pretty orange-red color.


My orange coneflowers are also finally blooming.  They seem to be happy this year, which is good considering we thought we were going to have to replace them since they just didn't do it last year.



I hope you all are enjoying your summer and those of you in the south aren't wilting from the heat too much yet.  I did get a small amount of quilting done on vacation, but not enough to even consider taking pictures.  Hopefully I'll get my mojo back soon and will start making progress on a few things.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Client Quilt

In early June, I was contacted to do the quilting for a local quilter.  She had originally planned on doing the quilting herself, but could no longer do it.  I was happy to do the quilting for her and we made the arrangements to send the quilt my way.

The quilt was a beautiful pieced quilt with embroidered blocks.  Each block was embroidered with a different type of flower as well as the name of the flower.  The client wanted something simple and left it up to me to decide whether to quilt over the embroidered flowers or around them.  After receiving the quilt, I definitely knew that I did not want to quilt over the flowers.  The were very pretty and I wanted my quilting to showcase her embroidery versus potentially covering it up at all.  The client was concerned with some puckering around the designs, but I was able to handle that with the quilting I chose.

Client quilt June 2015

I ended up using a variegated thread for the top portion of the quilt.  The color variation is very subtle, but has a pale pink, blue and green in it.  You can see it in person in the quilt on the white areas and it pulls the colors from the flowers a little bit here and there.

Client quilt June 2015

The top thread was called Morning Sky by Superior Threads (their King Tut line).  The bottom thread was a pale blue (Baby Blue) from Superior's Bottom Line thread line.  I've always had good luck with Superior Threads and haven't had issues with breakage.  Both of my sewing machines seem to love the thread.

Client quilt June 2015

I did a medium-sized loop design throughout the quilt.  I wanted to have the freedom to move about the embroidered spaces and still create texture throughout the quilt.  The client wanted to tie the sashings and blocks together, so the quilting extended throughout the entire quilt and around the flowers and embroidered names.

Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015

I used Quilter's Dream 100% cotton batting for this quilt.  Only one layer was used since I use their thickest loft...Supreme.  It almost gives the thickness of wool, but is great for someone who doesn't want the potential allergic issue with wool.

The next two photos show the completed quilt and really highlights the texture created with the loops and thicker batting.

Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015

The client also asked me to trim up the quilt and add the binding around the edge of the quilt.  I machine stitched the binding to the front of the quilt after squaring it up and left the hand sewing to her (at her request).

Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015


Client quilt June 2015


Overall, the quilt turned out really nicely and the client was ecstatic at the end result.  I always try my hardest to make each quilt something that I would be proud of to call my own.  The best part is that the client was very happy about the result of the quilting and it exceeded her expectations.

Here's a small bit from her email to me:

I just opened the box and I have only one thing that I can say about  your work... you took a first time attempt at making a quilt by me and turned it into a MAGNIFICENT  piece of art.  I am nearly speechless.  I knew it would be nice but I didn’t expect it to be this beautiful.  You are an artist and I hope you realize that.  What you did for my quilt was not an ordinary run of the mill quilting job... you knew how to highlight the embroidery and how to blend the rest of the quilt into one solid piece of art.  I am going to be so proud to give this to my daughter.  Thank you so much for putting the effort into it that you did.  It shows that you care about what you do. 

It makes me extraordinarily happy when a client really enjoys the end result! :c)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Busy! Busy! Busy!

The past month has yet again absolutely flown by.  Its amazing how each year time seems to go by even faster than the last.  I'm not quite sure how that happens, but somehow we're into July already and I barely feel like summer started.

I've been keeping busy lately with a lot of things.  Work (as usual) keeps me busy during the week from about 7:30am until about 6pm.  However, over the past two months, I've taken up running three times a week.  Last fall, I kind of got kicked in the butt to do something about my weight (about 20-25 lbs over what I should have been).  I purchased a Fitbit Flex and have loved having it.  It seems silly, but it keeps me accountable for actually getting up and moving more.

The first few months, I paid attention to how much I was walking and changed my eating habits slightly (no more bagels for breakfast).  By November, I had lost the 20 lbs I wanted to lose.  I've continued with the exercise and become more fit.  I'm still trying to get the last 5 lbs or so (I would really like to be down to 125 lbs again), but I'll get there eventually.

I walked a 5k with my sister a few weeks ago and plan on running (or at least partially running) one in the next two weeks.  I'm definitely more fit than I was and am glad that I've lost the weight and can now run more easily.


Garden 2015

My garden has also taken off in the past month.  My lupines were beautiful while they were blooming.  I now have orange coneflowers up as well as some lavender.  My phlox should be blooming shortly.


Garden 2015

My clematis are also going like crazy.  I have purple, pink and white flowers all over the place.  I definitely need to get an updated picture of it.

Last but not least, I also had a client contact me for quilting her quilt last month.  I finished it up and sent it back to her and will share some pictures here, but that is for another post since I have some nice photos to show.  She did a great job with her embroidery and I made sure that my quilting didn't detract from the embroidered blocks at all.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, June 1, 2015

Garden Update

The garden this year has been doing surprisingly well, despite not having a lot of rain this spring.  All of my plants survived our cold and snowy winter and are coming along very well.  In fact, I think they are doing better this year than in the past simply due to having to "hibernate" longer.

The columbine is doing very well this year.  They are always my first ones to flower and its so nice to see that first pop of color after a long dreary winter.

Untitled

This year I also decided to do some annuals in my planters on the porch.  I skipped it last year and missed out on the color.  This year I have a good mix of white, purple, pink and yellow to brighten things up.

Untitled


Untitled

For my birthday this spring, I received two garden "ornaments".  The first is this birdbath that is shaped like a flower.  The extra color in the garden is nice and the small birds seem to like it.  I've even seen a hummingbird at it.

Untitled

The other ornament was this glass ball with a metal moon around it.  It gives a little bit of sparkle to the garden with the metallic shine.  The glass ball also glows slightly in the evening as it starts to get dark.  Its a nice addition to the garden.

Untitled

Another view of my columbine as well as silver mound.  The silver mound are very happy.  They started out as two plants, which I split last fall and I now have four sections of very healthy and happy plants.  I have to give them haircuts once in a while to keep them from getting out of control, but I like their compact shape and the bit of simple green they add to the garden.

Untitled

The picture below is from about 2 weeks ago.  I had purchase some new small ground cover plants to go in front of the clematis.  The clematis is only just starting to take off in the photo.  Now it has blooms all over it and the green is at least halfway up the trellis.

Untitled


I hope everyone is enjoying their spring and early summer.  Before we know it, it will be hot and humid and we'll be asking for it to be fall!  ;c)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Updates

It has been pretty crazy busy around here lately.  I realized the other day that is has been a while since my last post...again.  At the beginning of May, I had a business trip to visit my team located in Mexico.

The city, Queretaro, is a very pretty city and is quite old.  It is a large city, too with over 1 million people in it.

I didn't take a lot of pictures while there, but did take a few.  The photo below is of the hillside above the city.  We were driving back to work from lunch and passed by some areas that were yet to be developed.  They had some rain the week before, so things were greener than normal as the area is typically very desert-like.

Untitled

This is one of the areas in downtown Queretaro.  The city has lots of little plazas where people can congregate and just relax.

Untitled

I thought this fountain was cute with the dogs on it.  I have no idea what it was for...but it looked cute.

Untitled


Untitled

One of the nights we went out to dinner was a local steak restaurant.  They brought over this huge platter of pieces of meat that we could pick out.  Since we were still full from lunch, we just ordered three of the steaks (the two bottom on the right, and the one on the left) and shared them.

Untitled

Steaks all cooked.... yum!

Untitled

And you can't go to Mexico without a few souvenirs.  :c)  I picked up some Don Julio (very good tequila) and mezcal, which is similar to tequila but distilled differently.  It has a smoky taste to it and is a lot stronger than the tequila.  I personally prefer the Don Julio... could drink that stuff all day.  The mezcal.... I have to be in the right mood for it.

Untitled

I also picked up a traditional doll that is specific only to Queretaro.  I got this for my 6 (almost 7) year old niece.  Its a cute doll and was pretty easy to find...even in the non-tourist areas.

Untitled


On a more local note, summer has arrived in upstate NY.  When I got back from my trip, it was just as warm in NY as it was in Mexico.  We haven't had a lot of rain though, so at this point, most people's yards are brown and crunchy.  I've only been watering the delicate garden plants (i.e. new this year).  The rest can fend for themselves.

I'll share some updated pictures of the garden soon.



Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring!

It is finally here!! :c)

We had our first truly nice weekend weather-wise this past weekend.  We had one day last week, but both Saturday and Sunday were nice here.  Much of the nice weather has been spent raking the yard to remove the dead grass....definitely not one of my favorite spring-time chores.  I'm sore from all the raking.  Half of the yard was done two weekends ago and the rest of it was done this past weekend.

However, my plants are starting to grow and its really nice to see some green! One of the "weaker" lupine plants below.  For some reason it is struggling a little in its current home, so I may decide to move it later this summer if it continues to struggle.

Spring 2015

I have some silver mound that I split last fall and now have four plants.  They are all a bit smaller, but will definitely grow a bit this year.  You can keep trimming them all year to keep them nice and tidy, so they provide a nice accent to the garden.

Spring 2015

My clematis are starting to show signs of life as well.

Spring 2015

You do have to look closely to see some of the green...but its there.

Spring 2015

I think these two plants are called columbine.  They were a bit over-crowded last year, so I did some re-arranging in the fall to try to give them some more space this year.  Hopefully it will help and make them happier.

Spring 2015

These ones are campanula.  They produce very pretty purple flowers...and lots of them.  These were also moved last year as they were crowded in with the columbine.

Spring 2015

These next two are my happiest lupines.  They have more stalks than I can count right now, so they are definitely in a happy place.  I can't wait to see how many flowers I get out of these guys this year.

Spring 2015

So this next picture is a bit odd.  You all know that I do quilting (or at least attempt to do it when I can find the time to get into my sewing room).  Aside from taking care of the garden, I also help split the wood we use to heat the house in the winter.  I started splitting wood last fall when I was going through a stressful time at work and I've found that I absolutely love it.  It is a great workout and is amazing at stress relief.  Beating on a big hunk of wood is very satisfying!  :c)

Since my husband also splits the wood, there were times last fall that we would both want to split, but we only had one axe.  So one of us would have to find something else to do, or just stand there and pick up the wood pieces.  I decided to fix that this year and put a new axe on my birthday list.  Its the same length as the old one, but is a tad bit lighter and had great reviews on Amazon.

Spring 2015

I didn't get a chance to test it out this weekend since we spent all of Sunday raking (Saturday was spent doing some family stuff).  I'm hoping to be able to test it out this coming weekend and see how it splits.  The reviews on Amazon said that it was really easy to split wood with the axe and has plenty of power to it such that you can actually get through the larger logs.

I do expect to get some quilting in this week as the next three days have nothing but rain in the forecast.  Hopefully I'll have something to share later this week.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring has Sprung...sort of

Spring has been a bit delayed this year in the northeast, so I've been enjoying seeing a lot of pictures from fellow quilters who are a bit further south and have their spring in full-swing.  I was sewing the other weekend (gasp - I know...it's been a while) and was able to capture this picture out my sewing room window:

Spring April 2015 -1

Just a small amount of snow left and at this point there isn't any snow in the backyard.  We do still have some piles in certain areas that are shady and had a thick snow-cover, but most of it is gone.  We had two days last week where we were near 60 degrees, and two days later we had a bit more snow.  Crazy!

I have been doing a mix of quilting on the Mariner's Compass quilt and also sewing some blocks for a BOM that I picked up last year.  I need the break from quilting, so its nice to do some piecing and applique between my quilting sessions.  I do it all on the same machine, so I typically wait until I finish up a bobbin for quilting and then I'll switch to piecing/appliquing something for a day or two, then load a new bobbin for quilting and do some more on the Compass quilt.

Here's the BOM that I've been slowing working on.  This is the 2nd block that I've completed out of 6.

Summer sampler March 2015

And here's the progress on the 2nd corner of the Mariner's Compass quilt.  Not much started yet, but its started and I'll continuing filling in around the quilt.

Mariners compass - April 2015 - 1

As I mentioned in my last post, we did have a big purchase earlier this winter.  Every year or so for the past 3 years we have toyed with the idea of buying a grand piano (or baby grand).  We both play and have been "limping" along on a digital piano.  The digital was very nice and has lasted us over 10 years of playing.  It was very handy for when we did a lot of moving around the first few years out of college.  Now that we're settled into our dream home, we wanted to get an actual piano.

Just before Christmas we had started looking around and didn't initially find anything that we liked (or liked and wanted to spend the money on).  We eventually found a local used piano dealer and fell in love with a piano he had.  It took us several weeks of trying out pianos and making sure it was definitely the one we wanted.  Then it took another 4-6 weeks for him to prep the piano and for the weather to clear up enough for it to be delivered.

And here she is!!!!

Grand piano

It is a beautiful piano... with how it sounds, how it plays and how it looks.  It is a Steinway piano (we weren't initially looking for a Steinway in particular, but this piano had the touch and sound we wanted).  The difference in this piano from other Steinway pianos is that it is a German made Steinway piano.

Grand piano

The piano was made in Hamburg, Germany in 1937.  It has been certified by Steinway in NYC that it is in fact a 1937 piano from Hamburg and that everything in it is original to the factory there.  No one knows how it came to be in the US, but it did... and we are glad that it did.

We love having it in the house and we play about 2 hours every night and more so on the weekends.  It truly is a special piano and we're so happy to have it.  The one and only downside is that I tend to play it more and it is taking away some of my quilting time.  :c)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crazy....

That one word pretty much sums things up for the past few weeks.  This post is a non-picture post unfortunately, so if you're here for pictures... you can bypass this post.  :c)

The first 3 months of every year is crazy for me at work due to it being appraisal time for the 25 individuals who work for me.  It takes a lot of effort and time to initially write up all the appraisals (i.e. performance evaluations) and it takes even longer to have the discussions with 25 people.

Each year I somewhat forget how emotionally taxing it is to get through the reviews.  I try really hard to make sure the reviews are accurate, which doesn't always make people happy.  By the time I get home from work, I'm completely exhausted from the day, which means I haven't been doing a lot of sewing or quilting lately.  I have been doing some and will be able to share some pictures soon.

The other bit of "news" is that we purchased a piano a few weeks ago.  Both  my husband and I play and we've used a digital piano for several years, but finally decided that we wanted a real piano ago.  I will definitely show a picture of it when I get one taken.  :c)  Its a used Steinway piano with a wonderful sound/touch as well as a bit of history and mystery surrounding it.

I hope everyone has been surviving the last bit of winter the country seems to be having.  I'm hopeful that it will finally feel like spring soon here in the northeast.  We've had a long, cold winter and it will be wonderful to have some spring-like temperatures again.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations