The other day after sorting through the latest haul of thrifted clothing, which should be an article all on its own, I thought to myself ” I seriously have to start making some stuff from all this stuff”  But where does one start a project such as this?  Then I spotted one of the biggest bags in my storage room and thought,  ” That’s as good a place as any.”  Looking inside, I discovered it was entirely filled with jeans.  Thus was born my personal Stuff from Stuff- Jean Challenge.

Bag of jeans- bigger than it looks

Now, I love a good challenge, in fact it is probably the most motivating thing in the world to me.  Make it public and it is as good as done.  Well, at least it will be done at some point.  I am not a deadline lover.  Challenges yes, deadlines no!

So here are my rules: I also love rules, I know, I am working on the breaking the rules part to be a liberated artist- still another article to be written. I have also found that I cannot state things simply.  I seem to have to explain every statement I make.  Even my rules get kind of complicated.  What is it with me?

Anyway back to the rules, as simplified as I can be:

1. Use the entire bag of jeans  with as little waste as possible– that means any little scrap cut while making a project gets saved for making something else. I am going to put all scraps/waste into a basket as I go and try to empty it as best as possible and I will show the basket at the end of the challenge- hopefully near empty.

2. Post once a week on my progress to show the projects I am creating– I was thinking every Thursday but I know I can’t keep to a schedule so it will be sometime during the week.

3. Have Fun– This means not to let the rules stress me out, be overly concerned about what other people think and to spend time dreaming and making myself laugh.

Well, there you have it.  A challenge is born and I even have the first project done, which I will post next.   But this challenge isn’t a single birth, no, that would be too simple.  I have decided that this challenge will be the sibling of several other challenges.  The parent of which is a new series called Stuff from Stuff.   But, being the first one delivered, this will be my main focus and I will try not to get too bored and finish this challenge before I go share the others.

If anyone wants to join me in this challenge or has some great used jean projects, I would love to hear about them.  I have searched the web and I am looking for unusual projects as well as oldies and goodies.

Have a great day,

a

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I am in full creative mode now.  I started to blog a philosophical post but have decided to just share pictures instead.  There are times when I need to let my words be few, a wise scripture for me in this season for sure.

So here are the pictures of the designs inspired by the wonderful artists in Altered Couture magazine.  I made my boyfriend thermal a bit more frilly using the material from the T-shirt I cut up for my pattern pieces to make a ruffly edging.  I am getting to be such a girly girl, it cracks me up!  I am on the hunt for a pink spaghetti strap tank to wear underneath.

The sweater below was supposed to have sleeves, but I just couldn’t get them to fit right, so I turned this into a cape.  I am thinking of an edging to finish the raw edges, but for now, wear it the way it is.  I got a ton of compliments already, love those buttons.

Next on the design agenda is to finish the bleach denim jacket project so stayed tuned!

So fun!

My take on the boyfriend thermal refashion

My take on the sweater redo

My take on the sweater redo

I’m addicted to crumb quilting.  After seeing these quilts on Bonnie Hunter’s website called Quiltville, I thought I had finally found a way to redeem myself from  saving all these tiny little scraps and saving and saving them.  You see, I had had good intentions of using them in beautiful applique quilts.  While I love applique blocks and I have dreamed up several wonderful designs, which were going to be embellished with decorative stitching and other embellishing techniques, I just have not found the time to do all the tracing and cutting and hand sewing that is involved to make these one of a kind creations.   But now, now, I have a fast, fun way to use them up instead of collecting them.

Last week, while at my mom’s for a mini sewing retreat, I once again asked for her bag of scraps and crumbs.  Being the great momma that she is, she willingly handed them over to me, but I saw that look that I know means that she has doubts, which are not without good reason, that I would actually do anything with them.  My momma knows me very well and humors me anyway.  Yeah, I know, I am really lucky.

Anyway last night, after chasing after my grandson all day, I wanted to sew but didn’t have the mental capacity to do anything even remotely required much brain work, so I thought I would grab my crumb bin and give it a try.  Several hours later, I ended up with 17 blocks that I cut down to the size I needed and several others that are nearly there.  This was so much fun and I kept thinking I should be going up to bed but I had to use just one more piece to see what it would look like.  They are wild and so liberating.  If you are anything like me and have a hard time not being matchy matchy then you have got to try this technique.  The pieces are so small, I can’t imagine some fabric messing them up.  It really is anything goes here!  Next, I am going to try Bonnies, method of sewing the little cut off triangles into little pairs for pinwheels, hourglasses etc and then building around those.  The possibilities are endless here.    Now, my problem will be to move on to some other brainer projects that I have to work on and reserve my crumb block sewing for the too tired to think sewing sessions or as a reward for finishing a project that must get done.

My plan is to sew crumbs into blocks that I can cut into 3.5 inch squares, piece these into 4 patch squares and then sew these together with a solid black sashing.  I might then add another colorful border and bind it with black binding.  I hope to make a pretty large size quilt and now maybe my momma will be eager to give me those crumbs unless she decides she wants to make a crumb quilt of her own!

I have learned that some places are better left unvisited.  For example, I really didn’t need to visit a nudist colony although that is exactly what I did on Sunday.  Yes, Sunday of all days!  Curtiss had a few jobs to do out of town and one job was at the school were an old friend worked.  I hadn’t seen her in about 14 years so I was really looking forward to reconnecting with her and it just so happened that Sunday was the day that worked best for Curtiss’ schedule.  The only hitch was that I had to ride along to a few other jobs and one of them was at a nudist colony that he had to revisit with a new part.   I was really pretty nervous about the idea and didn’t know what to expect at all but didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see my friend.  I figured that since I was an adult, I could handle the situation.  I planned on staying in the truck, taking some handwork along and just keeping my head down as much as possible.

As with many of my well, thought out plans, it didn’t exactly happen the way I had envisioned.   You see, I hadn’t counted on drinking too much coffee on the trip down and not having a suitable place to go to the bathroom before we got there.  So, I was going to be forced to have to go into the clubhouse to go to the bathroom. I knew from Curtiss’ experience from his visit the day before that I would most likely be the only clothed person in the place other than Curtiss and it would most likely be very well populated with pool goers.   I took a few minutes to muster up my courage, to plan how to avoid contact both eye and physical with people but before I could finish making my plans, I heard a door closing and without thinking glanced up to see who or what had made the noise.  There about 40 feet away, looking straight at me was a fairly young man with nothing but a towel slung over one shoulder and a huge smile on his face.  I tried not to let my mouth betray my surprise and instead of gawking, I smiled, said hello and then got busy with what I had been working on in the truck.  Next thing I know he and a gal were standing in front of my truck smoking cigarettes and putting on sunscreen.  Yes, I did glance long enough to see what was going on.   After they left and the color had drained from my cheeks and since I really had to go to the bathroom, I asked Curtiss to show me the way.  Again, my plans didn’t quite pan out.  My husband can be an ornery guy with a sense of humor that puts me in some awkward situations sometimes.  This was just one of those times.  I no sooner was inside the building when Curtiss thought it would be polite to introduce me to the gal that runs the place.  Before I could react, I found myself shaking the hand of a stark naked senior citizen.  After talking briefly about how hot it was outside and declining her invitation to sit inside their library where it would be cooler, I managed to get to the bathroom with only a few eye to eye hellos inbetween.  Then to my horror, my way back to the truck was  impeded by a very large, very hairy guy who was also buck naked.  So after I smiled and dodged him,  I finally got back in the truck and back to my project.   As I was sitting there, it became very ironic to me that the project that I chose was the dismantling of men’s dress shirts for a quilt project that I want to make. Here I was tearing these shirts apart in a place where people sure could have used them, not that they probably wouldn’t have declined my generous offer anyway but the humor of my situation wasn’t lost.  Another weird experience is how when we are concentrating on something, we absent mindedly look up when a noise gets our attention.  I had brought Jonah with me and he started jumping at the window and getting all worked up.  Before I could think better, I found myself seeing things better left unseen, like thesenior couple walking their adorable little dachsund puppies wearing only sunhats and sandals.  They were brown as berries from head to toe and I thought to myself they must be full timers!   The most bizarre thing from this whole experience is that by the time Curtiss had finished doing all he could to get their system working, I was feeling less and less uncomfortable about these people walking around without a stitch of clothing.

Now, before any of you get too worried about me, while I wasn’t totally freaked out by these people, as they were very nice, their desire or reasons to recreate in the nude are certainly a mystery to me.  I just don’t get it really and don’t plan to give it much more thought despite a generous offer to return with our RV and try it out for ourselves.  On the other hand, Curtiss might need a bit of support.  He still hasn’t resolved the issue with their satellite even after a third return trip yesterday to move the dish.  To him, this has just become another frustrating job and he is getting used to having naked helpers, at least that is what he is telling me and he is sticking to it. LOL!

As for the rest of my textile excursion (that is nudist for an outing while wearing clothing)  my visit with my friend was a very nice one and the trip through the mountains on a dirt road with tunnels and big tressel bridges was certainly worth any discomfort I felt earlier in the day.

I just had to share another Professional Women’s Tote  by The Creative Thimble, I recently finished.  It is for my friend, Donna.  She chose the fabrics and I made the tote.  I have to say that this time around, it went together so fast.  I am planning on making two for myself next and with any luck, I will be doing that soon.   I have been going through sewing withdrawl since leaving on my trip to South Dakota.  But that is another post.   Hope you like the photos.  It is really hard to get the colors to show up right sometimes, but these are pretty close.

I would recommend this pattern to anyone.  There are a lot of parts but the instructions are outstanding and it really does go together easily, I think.

Click on the picture for a full size view.

A very quick good bye for now!  We will be on the road to South Dakota and won’t be online until about the 7th.  Thanks for all the prayers for safe travel and I will be blogging a lot more once we get settled.

Blessings to all my peeps,

ariel

Tears: I had to take my contacts out again and go to my glasses. I have been so moved by the Holy Spirit lately and I am leaking all the time. I know it has to be the Holy Spirit because I just had my check up and the hormones are good. Laugh. It is okay! I think I physically represent what scriptures talk about when they say we will overflow with living water! At least, I like to think that is what is happening.

Pursuit: I cannot adequately explain in words what the Lord is doing in my heart but I am compelled to try. I cannot adequately express the depth of the love that I feel washing over me in endless waves. I wish I could just lay down and let it over take me, but the sense of responsibility to my family and friends is in direct competition with the Love of my life. He is pursuing me with an intensity that I have only felt once before. I am aware of His voice tempting me to come away every moment. It is so compelling yet, I sense that there is more to it than what I can comprehend. So I am trying to move cautiously and learn this time, all the while, my heart is on fire. Let me tell you about the first time I felt His presence this way.

Know the WORD: While at my first women’s retreat, I had an amazing experience. I had a private encounter with the Lord who I knew I had met when I was only 8 years old. That reunion was awesome and I was reminded of the call that I had answered so long ago, yet had somehow walked away from and had forgotten about completely. After feeling such joy, I was told to study the Bible for 4-5 hours at a time. His voice in my heart was so clear that I was to KNOW the Word inside and out. Immediately my immature mind raced to figure out how that could be accomplished. I thought I was being called away to Bible college, where else could I study in depth like I knew I must? But I had a family and I could not believe the Lord was calling me away from them. I wrestled with God and the calling I knew He placed in my heart, trying to reconcile it. How could I give up my kids to run away to study, especially since Curtiss wasn’t even a believer yet? I knew of a woman that had done just that and what was said about her scared me to death. I cried and cried as if my heart were splitting in two, but I knew I would chose the Lord regardless of the cost. Later that same day, I heard a woman’s testimony about laying our Isaac down and then I knew the Lord had been asking but never intended to have me go through with it. He just wanted to know, or have me know my heart. Shortly after that, I got a job I didn’t want. Curtiss had asked me to get a job to help with expenses now that Micah was in school. I got the job right after my first interview and it was for a christian man. I was to be the only gal in the office and I had a huge bookkeeping mess to clean up for them. I worked solidly for about 4 months to get everything straightened out and then I had lots of free time on my hands. I had purchased Precept Ministries’ Inductive Study Bible right before I got the job and began to study at work as long as I got my tasks done and answered a phone that rarely rang. My boss seemed to always be out of the office so I was alone there most days. My “free” time that I was being paid for amounted to 4-5 hours a day in intensive Bible study.  God is so good. I pretty much worked my way through that Bible underlining and coloring the key words and filling in the study section at the back of each book. There were only a few Old Testament books that I didn’t cover before things in my life changed and I quit my job. Now, I cannot quote the Bible with ease and most of it isn’t in my conscious memory but I KNOW what God has said and who He is. The Holy Spirit prompts me all the time and it comes out from somewhere, I think it is truly hidden in my heart.

Orbit: I wish I could tell you that that intensity stayed with me, but it didn’t. Shortly after that, I had a long period of emotional instability. I began to deal with the extreme abuse I suffered as a child in a very deliberate way. I was in prayer counseling and my life was completely turned upside down for about 6 years. I felt like a planet with a really out of shape orbit. God was the center of my universe but the distractions of the circumstances of life or my need to please or conntect to other people acted to pull me out, far away, only to fling me back towards the center when I was left empty or hurt by those encounters. I suffered a lot of loss. I almost lost my marriage and more frightening I almost lost myself. I decided the only way to preserve myself and my family was to pull way back and just go through the motions of my christian walk. The orbit became just the way things were.
But Praise God he has not left me to this crazy, unfulfilled way to live. My family has been drawn to Christ, one by one and there is a safety I have now. I have others that are praying and who I can talk to about God and I am less lonely, I was being strengthened. My husband is in the lead and I have a sense of peace that I have never known before.  But . . . I began to feel the wooing and this time I am being encouraged to find the center of my gravity instead of being pulled away. So let me explain what is happening now.

Know the LOVE: The wooing started out first with little presents being given to me; a surprise fabric shower so that I could quilt with my mom, a trip paid for so I could meet some online friends, a pattern so I could sew a birthday present and on and on in almost an embarrassing way. Now, to fully understand, I need to be honest and say that it was very difficult for people to give me presents. I became a taker early on, probably in response to the abuse. I knew how to manipulate to get what I wanted and if that didn’t work, I just took it. But I repented of that a while ago and resigned myself to be content with what I was given, believing in my heart that no one truly wanted to give me anything. I wasn’t worth it and was someone people took from and somehow, I deserved that. With each gift, I could hear God’s voice telling me the desires of my heart mattered to Him and I was moved to tears with these God kisses. He truly desired to give to me and these people also loved giving simply because they loved me. At the same time that knowledge became apparent, I was led back to my home church through some circumstance where I was helping someone else. That first Sunday back, I realized that I was making excuses not to go and I was hiding a bit. Our church is experiencing a revival and I realize I was afraid of the intensity I once felt. So I made excuses and went hit and miss. But, those times, I hit, served to draw me back. I felt a hint of something powerful, something I knew well and I wanted it, afraid as I was. Now, bear with me on this part because although I dont’ completely understand it, I know it to be true. God is a creative person and can use both conventional and unconventional ways to speak to us. A few weeks ago, almost simultaneously, I heard a new worship song that has became firmly stuck in my head and I began reading a new series of books. The worship song is “Where you go, I’ll go” recorded by Brian and Jenn Johnson and the books are the Twilight series. The unusual part is because of my childhood, I stay very far away from anything that even hints at the occult. But several women in our family have read them and said they were really good and Kendal has read them. I trusted them that they would not lead me to read something that would disturb me. I decided to watch the movie with the kids one night and found that the story is very moving. Then I was surprised by my daughter in law who borrowed the books from her sister so I could read them. This song and these books are so compelling. It seems like when I am not reading the books, which have been so hard to put down, I am hearing the song and I am singing the words with my whole heart. When I am reading the books, I am hearing God speak to me about the intensity of the main characters relationships and comparing that with the way the Lord feels about me. The main characters in the story are self sacrificing in their intense need to be with each other.  They cannot fathom being apart and in fact, cannot live without each other. Each character cannot understand why the other feels that way about them. They feel so unworthy of the others love. I began to speak to God and question why He could Love me that way, with such an intensity and with such a need. He seemed to be saying that He could not live without me. That is impossible! He is God and I am just me. But I knew that is exactly what He was saying. This calling back was more intense than I have ever felt. Even that first time. But like that first time, I was being asked to make a sacrifice. I felt as if I was being asked to give up everything that I could possibly hold in my hands and my heart. Even my husband, who is the center of my earthly life even though he may not believe it. This time, mixed with the pain of loss and choice I felt was a peace. My mind had matured some and I asked God for the how, instead of trying to figure it out myself. I felt a sense of complete and utter safety that I have only known that time when I was 8 years old. I know I will do whatever it takes to respond to this intense LOVE. It is overwhelming, irresistible and so undeniable. This LOVE is worth it all. It is yet to be seen How this will come about. What my response will look like.

Excitement: The excitement I feel today is breathtaking and yet there is a calmness about it. I think it is a certainty that great things are happening. It almost feels like I will soon be seeing Jesus face to face. Not in the second coming way, but in a Moses kind of way. To see the lover of my soul and know Him as I am known. The way that will transform me into someone who CAN do His will. Can go where He is going, to say what He is saying and to pray what He is praying. I have wondered How, like the song reminds me, that Jesus only did what He saw the Father do, only spoke what He heard the Father speak. I believe it is all because of LOVE. I MUST be so close, so In LOVE and LOVED that I will be partnering in what He is doing. I believe the Kingdom is at hand and it is in my heart. I believe there is a way to live day by day on this earth but in heaven as well. I think this is the lesson I am being taught and my heart says, “It is about time!” I truly feel that I was compelled by the Lord to share this. I don’t know who is supposed to hear this message, but I pray that you will be blessed. I have an expectation that the message will be received by who it is intended.

With all the Love of Christ that this body can contain,

ariel