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Today I’m participating in the series “Blog Around the World.” Several sewing/quilting bloggers have been doing this, and I’m excited to join in! (Thanks to the amazing Amy of nanaCompany, who offered the above image to anyone participating… its too cute I couldn’t resist).

You might ask what the following picture has to do with this blog hop. Well, nothing really, except that “Blog Around the World” sounds a lot like “Christmas Around the World,” which has me feeling nostalgic for the days that I danced on the Folk Dance team at BYU.

It was this very weekend each year, that we were performing for “Christmas Around the World.” It was a huge production, and is one of my favorite things I have ever done in my whole life.  There were dances from all around… Hungary, Ireland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, China, Africa, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, and the US (clogging)!! I am sitting in the middle of this picture, wearing a Hungarian costume (with embroidered flowers on the bodice and hat). Every single time I danced the Csárdás, I thought of my T-roy, who was in Hungary serving a church mission, the very time I was touring with the folk dance team.

I’m supposed to be here talking about sewing! haha. So here is a little bit about my sewing background, and what’s been going on in that department lately!

1) What I am working on?

Oh boy, that’s funny!!!!!!! I literally have 20+ unfinished projects at the moment, and no I’m not proud of that. It tugs at me almost every day… I really wish I had more time to sew. I love it, and could spend hours every day sewing without growing tired. But I have to discipline myself. I’ve got 4 young kids, so I try really hard to not let my hobby get in the way of their needs. Which means I don’t crank out projects very fast, but I try to award myself at least 20 minutes every day to do some type of sewing.

Here’s a peak at a few of my “works in progress.”

–Weekender Bag
I’m oh-so-close to finishing this… the exterior is finished and I just need to sew in the lining. More details coming soon!

–Blocks for a Bonnie & Camille sewing bee that I’m in over on Instagram

–A Mug Rug for Santa’s cookies and milk! This is my first clamshell project, taught to me by Mary.

–Baby Ornaments for my Kids

–My Super Tote

2) How does my work differ from others its genre?

I suppose I should define my ‘genre’ first. When I began this blog, my subject matter was all over the place… sewing, crafting, cooking, attempted DIY projects. The more I created, the more I realized I would always rather be sewing during my free time. With a limited amount of sewing time, I have to be choosy about which projects I want to devote my efforts toward.

I used to enjoy sewing clothes for my kids, but I hate cutting out patterns, and I get frustrated when they outgrow a handmade outfit or stain it. I’d rather find clothes for them on sale at Old Navy (and save money doing it)! Every now and then, I’ll sew an outfit or a costume for a child. My 8 year old and I made this dress together, which was a great experience for both of us!

Mini Maxi Dress

I occasionally sew apparel for myself, which is fulfilling because I won’t outgrow my clothes (well… hopefully)! I think its useful to understand garment construction, so I create a few simple things for myself every year, to stay in touch with that aspect of sewing.

Improv Maxi Skirt
Bandage Style Knit Skirt

But my favorite kind of sewing these days– my ‘genre’ of choice– is quilting! I absolutely love mixing or matching fabrics, using scraps, fussy cutting, and hand quilting. There is so much to learn about sewing. One of my goals with each project is to try a technique or design that I’ve never done before. I may not be a master at any particular technique, because I’m always yearning to try something new. This is why I love sewing– I’ll never allow myself to get bored with one pattern or fabric. 

Deer Reverse Appique Mini Quilt

In truth, I’m not exactly sure how to define my style yet. At this point, my tastes are eclectic and I dabble in all sorts of fabric, designs, patterns, and quilting. I definitely have ‘idols’ who influence my quilting choices… I admire the work of Mary Dugan, who has an amazing talent of matching saturated and bright prints, loves curves, and adds her signature pick-stitch or loopy free motion quilting. There’s Amy Sinibaldi, who creates the most adorable things with linens and low-volume prints, and super sweet hand quilting. I love Camille Roskelley and her fresh, clean, yet modern projects. Katy Jones has a quirky style, incorporating bold colors and texty fabrics. And Ashley J, who is one of the quickest and most precise quilters, always choosing just the right fabrics for just the right project. Depending on my mood, I will likely channel one of these designers to create something of my own!

My work is rarely perfect, but its all made with lots of love, and usually a baby sitting on my lap. As long as I’m learning as I go, I always feel happy with what I’ve made.

Made for Mary

3) Why do I create what I do?

I just can’t help it! I crave it! My love of working with textiles and fibers started as a child. I loved making little things for my American doll, Kirsten. My best friend’s mom taught me how to cross-stitch. My sister still has the cross-stitch I made for her, when I was about 10. I made the blue cross-stitch for my husband before he left on his LDS mission.

As a teenager, I sewed a few things, but I was mainly interested in ballet and snowboarding. My mom is an incredibly talented seamstress, and looking back, I really missed out learning more from her. But my desires had to come on my own terms. Once I left home for college, I enrolled myself in all the available sewing classes BYU had to offer. I majored in Family and Consumer Science Education, and taught middle school sewing afterward. When my first child was born, then the second and third, I laid sewing aside for a few years. But then I discovered blogging, which re-lit my “sew-jo” once again, and I never plan on stopping! It’s a constant balancing act with 4 kids and many other responsibilities, but one worth fighting for. There is something so satisfying about finishing a project. It isn’t likely to be undone and forgotten about in a few minutes. I just love to sew!

Quilted Passport Clutch Tutorial

I love blogging as a method of keeping track of what I’ve made, how my tastes are changing, how my skills are improving, and as an outlet to share with others. Most of my projects fall into one of 4 categories: sewing for fun, sewing to learn something new, sewing for someone else, or sewing for a specific blog purpose.

4) How does my creative process work?

My mind wanders… I think about sewing all the time. I usually visualize the end result before I even start, and then cross my fingers along the way that it will turn out as I hope. I love diving into a new stack of fabric or felt. Fabrics that excite me are the driving force to creating something I love.

I make a lot of smaller quilted items, mainly because I am so busy and I love quick finishes. Since I’m on-the-go a lot, I love bringing along supplies so I can work on a project while my kids are at lessons or while I wait in the carpool lane. It’s liberating to be able to create when I’m not home and can’t haul my sewing machine along!

This was made mainly while my son was at soccer class, as a gift for Ashley.

Reverse Applique Anchor Tutorial

These squares were made mainly while my daughters were at ballet lessons.

Pottery Barn Inspired Advent Christmas Tree 

I appreciate all that I learn from other seamstresses through classes, tutorials, and patterns. Learning from others has really helped build my foundation in sewing and quilting. I try to contribute by adding my own patterns and tutorials on my blog. My Ruffle Duffel Bag is one of my favorite things I’ve ever come up with. It was through a lot of trial and error and hard work that I was able to create it.

Quilted Ruffle Duffel Bag

Sometimes, I get a little scissor happy and just start cutting without a clear plan, hoping that my vision will turn into the reality I hope for!

Thanksgiving Advent Tree Tutorial

That’s it for now! Thank you so much to those who read my blog! I really appreciate you taking the time to stop in on my little corner of the internet!

I was invited by my dearest friend Mary Dugan of Molly Flanders Makerie, to participate in Blog Around the World! When I first “met” Mary, it was through her blog. I had seen so many of her beautiful quilted creations on pinterest, and then I started following her blog. I later found out that we actually lived in my same city. I was practically starstruck when I first met her at our local quilt shop… but I shouldn’t have been, because Mary is the nicest, warmest, friendliest, most approachable person ever. Never did I imagine that a close friendship with her was on the horizon. We share so much in common. I think its safe to say she has become one of my kindred spirits (as Anne Shirley would say). I have been privileged to take several quilting classes from her. She inspires me so much, and has taught me a lot about quilting and sewing. I’m so grateful for her! Be sure to read her Blog Around the World post!

I passed the Blog Around the World torch along to my bestie Ashley of Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night. My life changed for the better when I met Ashley. We met at church, and little did I know how much we had in common… we were both brand new to our state, our kids and husbands hit it off, we started blogging around the same time, and we both love sewing!!! She is my other kindred spirit. She’s one of the funnest, sweetest, and most exciting people to be around. She has always encouraged me to challenge myself and motivates me to try new things. Without her, my sewing journey would not have been as much fun as it has. We used to have playdates for our kids, while we would sit around and stitch and talk about the latest fabrics, trends, and projects we were working on. She moved this summer and I miss her terribly! Our sewing will always keep us connected, and I’m always dying to know what she’s working on next. She’s one of the most talented gals I know. Be sure to check out her Blog Around the World post!

Once upon a time…

I started a blog. This is a tale of my projects, goals, and dreams. Thank you for taking a moment to stop by. I hope you have a beautiful day.

xoxo, Rach H.