Friday, April 30, 2010

It happens every year

My beloved red boots go boot scootin', on Valerie's feet, at the Clovis Rodeo. This year the event turned into a bachelorette party for Jessie, the adorable blond sitting to the right of my red boots her sister Valerie.

This is the kind of partying I'll be doing this weekend. Sorting all these fun selvages into little groups with a theme, and then turning them into items for my etsy shop. Yep, it gets pretty wild in this household...

Maybe I should wear my red boots while I'm doing all that sorting....and pour a glass of wine. Yee Ha!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who you callin' a fat quarter?

I love Australian fabric/pattern designers/quilters. This bag is courtesy of Shannon Lamden, AKA Aunty Cookie. "You'll find something you like. Or maybe not. No pressure. Your choice."

I'm sure I would purchase way too much stuff from these great artists, but  the postage is usually what prevents packages from Australia showing up in my mailbox very often. I guess that's a good thing...given my fabric obsession.

Fabric obsession...have I mentioned before that I'm fabric obsessed?  Or that I love getting the mail every day? Probably.

So when SewMamaSew had a fat quarter exchange during Quilt Month, you better believe I jumped on that bandwagon. And this is what has showed up in my mailbox this week so far, mostly from the East Coast.
I even got something in my virtual mailbox. Fat Quarterly launched their first issue on Tuesday.
Isn't that border awesome? I already have a quilt planned just based on the cover. Aqua, lots of funky squares, white sashing. Hmmm....I wonder if Aunty Cookie has anything in aqua.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Up in smoke

This is our son, Aaron, and our grandson, Levi.

We moved into our first Fresno home when Aaron was two weeks old. I painted his room sky blue, stencilled clouds on the walls, and made roman shades for the windows that had rainbows appliqued on them.

When he got older and wanted more say about his surroundings, we painted his room royal blue--pretty the much the color of the t-shirt he is wearing in the picture. White trim, red mini blinds. It was a great room.

Two weeks before he finished fifth grade we moved to a larger home. But the economy was in a slump, the house didn't sell, so we painted all the walls white and became landlords.

As of yesterday, this is what his old room looks like.

BUMMER: Electrical wiring from the 1940s.

BLESSING: No one injured and good insurance coverage.

'Nuf said.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dumb Dot

One of my best friend's name is Dotty. She is the one who walked me through every step of making my first quilt. But this post is not about her. And she is definitely not dumb!

This is about Michael Miller. As in the fabric manufacturer, Michael Miller. He is the one responsible for my obsession fascination with selvages. I think I had always glanced at the words on the selvage. Sometimes they just had the name of the manufacturer. Sometimes they were interesting. Sometimes they made me chuckle. But I never cut them off and saved them.

And then there was Dumb Dot, by Michael Miller. I remember I was working at the local quilt store when that line first came out. And for some reason, it just cracked me up. At the same time, I was doing a block-of-the-month quilt which used all polka dot fabrics. Going Dotty. That was the name of the quilt. By then I had noticed several other fabrics with the word "dot" in them.  A group of us went on a shop hop and for some reason it was at that point that I became obsessed fascinated with any fabric that had "dot" in the selvage. Michael Miller and Alexander Henry became my new BFFs, because not only do they give all their fabric interesting names, they nearly always give their polka dots a "dotty" name.

On that shop hop I bought every fabric I could get my hands on that said "dot." Sometimes I got by with 1/8 yard. Sometimes I had to buy as much as 5/8 yard. Sometimes I didn't even like the fabric. But as I said, I was obsessed fascinated. Now what to do with all those selvages?

Brainstorm. I would piece them into the sashing cornerstones when I put the quilt together.
It's a really fun quilt. Bright and cheery.
Fun all the way to the edge.
Now I'm soooo beyond collecting just "dotty" selvages. But Mike and Alex are still my BFFs.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cover Girl

Oh, Martha. With a cover like this, you knew I couldn't resist, right? All those glorious paint chips turned into wall art?
These beautiful colored pencils?
These little jars of paint?
You don't know me at all, and yet you know me so well. I was powerless to resist. You had me at the cover.

And I have been haunting the bookstore nearly daily just waiting for this to arrive, and I didn't even know for sure what would be in it.
blogger I follow regularly made it to the cover with that great purse. Congrats, Beki!

As did another favorite blogger who had an article on virtual quilting bees. Way to go, Jacquie!
Picture by Jacquie Gering
Yep, I'm a sucker for a pretty cover.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stash it to me

How do you organize your stash? I have a system that partially works for me.

Fabric is sorted by color, or type (all my batiks are in the same place):

Dots (love....):

And that's where my system kind of breaks down. In my earlier days of quilting, it seemed like most of my fabric fit into a "color" category. But now that I'm so drawn to the newer lines, they are a little harder to categorize.

A few weeks ago, I saw a certain fabric on Crystal's design wall, loved it, emailed to see if she could give me more information about it (aren't those blocks awesome against her aqua wall?)

She said it was a Heather Bailey print.

Ah. I have all those HB prints: Bijoux, Pop Flower. And here they are:

Out of sight (even though in a cute basket with a label clearly stating "Heather Bailey"), out of mind. See what I mean? This is where the system is broken.

 How do you stash your stash? By fabric line, like Meadowsweet by Sandi Henderson?

Grouped all together, without any plan?

Grouped together for a future project?

I'd love to hear your organization methods. What works? What doesn't work? Do you have good ideas for sorting your scraps, which is another whole dilemma...

And this is here just because it's beautiful...and smells so sweet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How high would YOU have gone?

I know I'm supposed to be in the "no-fabric-buying" zone. Kind of like the "no-fly" zone. You just don't go there.

So I shouldn't have even been looking. It gets me in trouble.

But for all you Flea Market Fancy fans out there, this is what I found during an ebay search.

Thirty-two fat quarters. The equivalent of eight yards!! I put my bid in at $100. With three days to go, I was the high bidder.

What was I thinking?? I was thinking, "This fabric is impossible to find. IMPOSSIBLE!!!! I'll never find this fabric again. The complete line. And I just saw fat quarters going on etsy for $45 each. This is a bargain. " THAT is what I was thinking.

And then I raised my bid to $125.

So how high would YOU have been willing to go?

Someone (not me--so insert very sad face emoticon here) won the bid for $250, plus shipping and handling.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


That is the amount of money California Garden raised for world relief yesterday at the MCC sale. $3700!! It was the second highest amount of the quilt auction (the highest was $4400) and my personal best of the four quilts I have donated over the years. Considering the weak economy, I was amazed and happy. Mark was hoping it would raise $1 for each piece, so we surpassed our hopes.

The auction starts at 9 a.m. and our group sits in the same spot every year.
This is how the other quilts are displayed--the giant sawhorses.
There were a couple of wholecloth quilts with exquisite hand quilting.
And this totally cute quilt  had "Kerr Jar" hand quilted on each block--such a clever touch.

Along with Christa and Charlotte, and their friends from Seattle, we had lunch with these two cute guys:

And this is the quilt I came home with.

It's a beauty. The best thing is that 90 percent of the money spent on quilts will go for food and water for those in need.

My quilt was number 176 out of the 250 quilts to be auctioned so it was about 3:30 when it finally came up. By that time my hands were sweaty and my stomach was in knots.

This is what it sounded like (and a piece of auctioneering psychology we picked up yesterday was that the auctioneer likes to start the bidding high, with the price he thinks the item should sell for--just to get a goal set in everyone's mind--that was interesting info to me):

Now it's time to start thinking of the quilt for 2012...oh, and to start working off all the yummy food that I ate all weekend.

Friday, April 9, 2010

California Garden

This is the big weekend for the West Coast Mennonite Central Committee sale. It is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. It's like a triple play: connecting with friends you haven't seen, well, since last year at the MCC sale, fabulous food (and by that I mean Weight Watchers can wait until Monday...), and quilts. Ah, the quilts. I heard there are 250 up for auction this year.

I usually make a donation quilt every other year. Maybe you remember the quilt without a name, the so-called 3460. The actual name of the pattern is A New Beginning. But that didn't seem to fit. Mark's cousin, Ione, did an amazing job of quilting it. So without further adieu, may I present California Garden:

I'm always nervous the first day of the sale when I have donated a quilt. Well, I'm actually nervous both days but for different reasons. There are usually eight quilts that get hung up on big rods so that you can view the entire quilt, with four facing the crowd in the gym where the quilt auction takes place. The rest are carefully folded over, um, not sure what to call them. Think giant sawhorses. (I'll take pictures tomorrow.) be one of the four quilts that is hung facing the crowd is like being on the cover of a magazine. My previous three quilts have each been chosen for that display, always a shock to me considering the number of quilts donated and the extreme talent of the quiltmakers. Will California Garden get the same honor? I have no idea. 250 quilts is a lot of quilts, and there are a lot of amazing quilters in this area. But it's always fun when you first walk into the gym and look around to try and find your quilt. On the rod? Or folded over the, uh....whatever they are called.

And being nervous the second day? When the time comes when your quilt is the one being auctioned off, so many thoughts run through your head. Will anyone like it enough to spend money on it? Will at least two people like it enough to get into a bidding war? Will it go for enough to at least cover my expenses? (Not that I get any of the money because it all goes to Third World relief efforts, but you kinda hope that it at least goes for the amount of money you have put into it, not even to mention all the time..)

And will I find a quilt that I simply must have? Even though I have piles of quilts at home and don't really need to buy one, but then all the money goes to such a good cause and it's a tax donation, etc. Well, you get the picture...

Tonight the auction will mostly consist of antiques. A few years ago we came home with this, which is now in my quilting room. And yes, those are baskets of fabric underneath each chair.

My own California garden? The azalea we have by our front door is about ready to burst into full bloom, which is truly spectacular. Expect a picture next week when it is at its peak.
I'll keep you posted on 3460. Oops. I mean California Garden.