Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Just Between Friends/Calendar Girls

I thought a long time about which quilt to feature for Bloggers Quilt Festival. This has been a strange year and there wasn't really a new quilt that was ready to go. So since my dear friend, Sue, passed away in March, which has kind of defined 2010 for me, it seemed fitting to feature a quilt from about five years ago, for a couple of reasons.

Perfect fabric for the back: Just Between Friends/Best Friends (by Mary Engelbreit)

Long before I knew anything about virtual quilting bees and online block exchanges, a group of us did our own block exchange. Sue picked out a focus fabric and decided we should each make star blocks, any star pattern as long as it was 12" finished. The quilting expertise ranged from quite experienced to those who had never made a quilt before but were eager to learn.

So we picked our individual star block, made 12 of the same block, and then shared them, so everyone had a set of 12 blocks, one each from every other person in the group. When we were finished, we planned an evening where we would have supper, exchange our blocks, take a group picture, and then....

Remember the movie Calendar Girls? One of our friends and her husband own a photography studio and we thought it would be fun to take individual pictures, each holding our own block, and then assemble them into a calendar.
This was the funniest part of the story. My friend, Maggie, thought it would be a "good" idea to email my parents, and here is part of what she wrote to them:

"Tonight I am checking in to see if you are aware that Cindy is Miss April...If the movie Calendar Girls is unfamiliar to you...some older women stepped out for charity. In fact, they stepped right out of their clothes for a wildly popular calendar. And Cindy has participated in a local Calendar Girls situation...In case she hasn't told you. Anyway, she is Miss April. She has a pieced 12x12 block placed strategically over her chest...kind of racy, don't you think? Well, you know how those pastor's kids can be...."

We waited and waited, and never heard a peep from my parents.  Finally, Maggie called them up and stopped by. I think they were really quite nervous as she prepared to unveil the calendar to them. Close your eyes if you're a little nervous about seeing me as Miss April...

Anyway, I love this quilt and all the fun times and good memories. Thanks, Sue...

And before you leave...I'm a sponsor for Bloggers Quilt Festival. Leave a comment on Amy's blog and you will have a chance to win one of these selvage pincushions, custom-designed especially for this fall's BQF. See? It even says "BQF 2010" in the middle of the pincushion.

Enjoy the rest of the show!

Monday, October 25, 2010

and the winners are...

Well, the random number generator first picked number 61, Anne from Film and Thread, who said:

"I'm not entering the giveaway, but the answers are: I have saved the selvages since I learned that they were desirable, but I have no idea if I will ever use them. And, no, I haven't been to the festival, but would love to some day. "

So I entered the numbers again, and this time it picked number 4, Felicity, who said:

"I haven't been to the International Quilt Festival, and I just started saving selvages to send to someone I know who makes lovely pincushions out of them. ;) "

So Felicity, the fabric will soon be on its way to you.

Now for the copy of the magazine, which won't arrive to my house for a week or so yet, so please be patient:

Number 19, Michelle, who said:

"Congrats! I would love to get a copy of the magazine - and the fabric wouldn't hurt either ;)"

I'll contact you both by email and we'll get things rolling.

Thanks to everyone for all your kind comments. It means a lot to me.

The pincushions should be in the etsy shop soon. I know I keep saying that...but I finally photographed them today.

And there has been destashing. So expect to see fabric in there as well!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Read all about it!

See these pincushions? They have been on a journey. So have I, but they actually got to do the traveling. It started back in March when I was searching for a name for my new etsy shop for items made with selvages. I posted several times about the trouble I was having with finding a name, like this  one. I got a lot of good input, and finally settled on Sewing on the Edge, with the awesome tag line of "selvaging my sanity one stitch at a time." One of the people who commented later contacted me and wondered if I would be interested in having my pincushions in a magazine. Uh, seriously? Seriously??

Turns out she is assistant editor with the Quilting Arts group of magazines. So my pincushions got shipped off to New York and I got to write instructions on how to make them.

I think they had more fun than I did. Well, you just saw the picture I took of them.

Look what happened when they were in the hands of professionals:
They made it to the cover. They are COVER GIRLS!!

A little closer:

The Table of Contents:

Wanna see the whole page? Sure you do...
See those two pictures above the pincushions? I'm sharing the page with Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! and Ashley Newcomb of Film in the Fridge! Kinda like being in the company of rock stars. Eeek!!!

So turning to page 72....a two-page spread! Sorry if I keep showing you the same picture over and over. I know for some of you, being published is kind of same old, same old, but not for me, that's for sure.

Okay. Last time. Promise.

Didn't they photograph well? They will all be going into the etsy shop this weekend.

Working with Pippa Eccles from Quilting Arts was an amazing experience. Thanks so much, Pippa!

Anyone want some free fabric? Six fat quarters from Valori Wells' line, Sole.

Anyone want a free copy of International Quilt Festival? The cover looks like this (just in case you forgot...)
They officially hit the newsstands on the 26th and I get a couple of complimentary copies. They haven't been shipped quite yet, but when they arrive on my doorstop, I'll send one of them over to the winner's doorstep.

So leave a comment and let me know if you have ever been to the International Quilt Festival in Houston or if you save selvages. I'll pick two winners on Monday, October 25, at noon PST.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My former life as a ...

...china painter.

What? You were expecting some confession like I used to be a belly dancer? Or CIA operative?

Sorry. Nothing nearly that interesting.

Probably like many of you, I have gone through multiple creative phases. And Mark has never voiced a single complaint (he's such a keeper).

I won't bore you with all of the phases, but one that was quite long-lasting was china painting. It's kind of an old-fashioned art form, and compared to quilters, I would venture to say that there are relatively few china painters. While I did take a couple of classes, I was largely self-taught. I have found out that I'm a visual learner so gathering as many books as possible (that was waaaaay before the internet) and all the supplies I needed, the china painting began. Unlike acrylic or oil painting where you can begin with darker colors and add highlights with light/bright painting, with china painting you start with light transparent layers of color and build up the depth layer by layer, usually firing a layer of paint, painting some more, firing again, painting...And then you can add the embellishments--enamel, gold--and fire it again.

So why am I mentioning all this? Because in my effort to simplify my life and get rid of "stuff," nearly all the china painting items are going, going, nearly gone. I have long since gotten rid of all my supplies. I am now ready to get rid of these:

My blue forget-me-not phase (I think I used this punch bowl at a bridal shower once).

My peach-colored phase:

 Chrysanthemum clock:
 The rose phase:

 The violet phase:

 Morning glories:
These are the keepers:

I'm honestly not sorry to be clearing out some shelf space, even though these pieces represent a major artistic phase in my life. Many were entered in the county fair and garnered ribbons. I even got "best of show" one year. But it's just not my style anymore, or my daughter-in-law's style either. I'm only keeping a couple of pieces, you know, in case my grandchildren at some point become sentimental. Or in the unlikely case that Pottery Barn and IKEA are "out" and Victorian is back "in."

In the probable event that I wish I could remember what some of these things look like, I'm sending the pictures to Christa and she'll use her Fairytale Pumpkin skills and make me a little memory book.

In case you are wondering why I don't give them away to my friends and family. Well. Been there, done that. And besides wouldn't that just be transferring my stuff to someone else who might also be trying to simplify?

And I can't let go of these two little plates that Aaron painted when he was small. His kids might get a kick out of eating their PB&J off of one of these.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Color Therapy Thursday--Making Some Decisions

Earlier this week, I was blog hopping and I'm not even certain where I read this because I was having blogger's ADD--you know, where you catch up on all your favorite blogs, but then start clicking on links from their blogroll, and then to links from the links...anyway.

This topic appears from time to time, sometimes in a humorous way, sometimes in a more serious way. The topic? When does a fabric stash cross the line from being a stash to being a problem? I know. Mostly it's pretty funny and a lot of commenters will say something like "there's no such thing as too much fabric." But is that really true? I look around my personal stash and know that if I never bought another fat quarter of fabric, I could sew for years and years....and years.

This week I emailed my friend, Crystal. She hadn't posted for a while and I just wanted to say hi and check in. I noticed that in addition to her quilting blog, she had started another one about simplifying her life. Now Mark and I have been doing this for some time after hearing a speaker's message really hit home to us. When is enough "enough"? When is your house big enough? When do you have enough clothes? Stuff is stuff, and finally when do you have enough of it? In this economy, it's no coincidence that people are downsizing, some by choice, some by necessity, and information on organizing your stuff is everywhere you look.

So my question: why is it so easy to get rid of other "stuff" in my life but I keep adding to my fabric stash? I admit to many, many impulsive buys. Someone will post a stack of fabric or a new quilt top and the next thing I know I'm at an online store with fabric in my cart.

About five years ago, I worked in one of the local quilt shops...until I could no longer "afford" to work there. Much of my stash comes from that period in my life, a period right after a traumatic event in our lives. Working with fabric was good therapy. After being there about 1 1/2 years and knowing I was going to quit, I felt the need to "stock up" because of my great employee discount. Any new charm packs that came in? I bought two along with some yardage to go along with them. No real plan in mind. But it was too good of a deal to pass up. Right?

Then last year when my dear friend Sue was battling for her life, I admit to using fabric as grief therapy.  Yards and yards of fabric came into the house. No real plan for it. But it made me feel better.

So I'm making some decisions. I started going through my fabric, pretty much piece by piece, and asking: If I were to start making a new quilt today, would I actually consider adding this fabric to it? In any quilt? Ever? If the answer is no, it goes in a donation pile for my church quilting group. My extensive Asian collection? Soon to be gone. Batiks? Some gone now, more will probably be gone in the next go-around unless I can figure out a cool way to combine them with solids for a hip, modern look...

I have been exposed to fabulous fabric, fabric designers and quilt designers online that I wouldn't have even known about otherwise. My tastes in fabric and quilt design have changed dramatically. And a lot of the stuff on my shelves does not fit that style, and it probably never will.

Here's a prime example: two lines of fabric that I HAD to own because each was called "Charlotte" (yeah, I know, my selvage obsession kicking in again).

But neither of these remotely reminds me of this precious Charlotte. So into the donation pile they go, unless someone wants to pay postage and give them a happier home (after I cut the selvage off, that is...)

I don't think I'm the only one wondering about all this  fabric purchasing. Jennifer wrote about the very same thing this morning. Sometimes it just gets overwhelming. I love the fabric I have and want to use it. It doesn't do any good just sitting there on the shelf.

So...much of what I have will go to our church group.
Some will go into the destash section here,

and some will be given away (so stay tuned).

Don't worry. I haven't become cured of my fabric addiction (sorry, Mark). But I plan to "plan" a little more and buy with more of a purpose.

And save my pennies for this line coming out soon. I hope.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One in Every Color--The Twilight Zone Edition

A few months ago (quite a few months ago), I posted this picture of these great cord organizers that I had purchased.

And then time kind of slipped away. Until yesterday when I looked at the Twilight Zone on top of and below my desk. In my "real" life, I do medical transcription. This means that on my desk, in order from left to right, I have a TV (there are actually some shows I can watch at the same time I'm hearing voices in my head from my earphones. That in itself is a little scary). Okay, so TV, all-in-one printer (because I need the fax), cordless phone with answering machine, computer monitor and keyboard, desk lamp, transcribing machine, cable modem, hard drive, router, laser printer, photo printer. And of course none of this stuff is wireless. Which means this is what it looks like under my desk. So have you ever called the cable company  when you're having problems and they say, "Please disconnect the modem." Uh huh. Like I would have a clue what that cord looks like...

For some reason, yesterday I decided it was time to label all the cords. Baby, it's a jungle out there!  And it's still scary,but they are all nicely identified.

This is the jumble behind my hard drive. Wow, I wish I would figure out something creative that could hide that mess.
And the jumble below my desk.
And because I promised I would get back to our regularly scheduled (quilting) programming, here is something I worked on last night. I can only give you a peak because this part will go back to Christa and she will do the final unveiling. I have to admit a few moments of misgiving when I initially looked at the pattern. All those 1 1/2" strips, all those little pieces. Which Christa spent hours cutting and sorting into sets so all I had to do was just sit there and sew them together. Just let me say that when I got it this far and had it laid out on the floor, 20 by 77 inches, I had to stand and admire how awesome the pattern and fabric color choices were.

It's going to be a bedspread for the cutie on the left.

I seemingly can't get away from technology. What would we do without it? And how would we be able to be inspired by all the creativity out there? (And yes they are both playing with iPhones.) But all the technology frustration I have felt at times this week just went by the wayside when I had a chance to be surrounded by strips of color and then get warm hugs from these two. What else really matters?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why it pays to be nice

Because when a Ponderosa Telephone truck stops on your road (because you have one of the major junction boxes that are located every 4,500 feet) to check on phone connections for someone else who has no phone service--even though he isn't even aware your phone is out because it's not on his repair ticket, and you kindly (and somewhat excitedly ask): "Are you here to fix our phone line already??", and he kind of looks at you funny and says, "Uh, I didn't even know you had no phone service," and you sweetly say, "We haven't had phone service for a while either," even though you have no clue how long you have been without service, "and since you're here right now, would you mind taking a look at it?" and then he not only fixes the wires in the junction box at the road but also comes into the office and changes out this little wire-filled thingie (which the telephone company apparently isn't even responsible for...) and all you have to do is give him a can of Diet Coke because he's really thirsty and hasn't had anything to drink all day....

Well, that's why it pays to be nice...

Our totally scorched wire.... (on the bottom to the right of the blue wire)

...because of all these lightning strikes in a 24-hour period ending at 6 p.m. on October 4.

And now hopefully we can return to our regularly scheduled programming...

Friday, October 8, 2010

How desperate can I get?

Well, we'll just see. I am sitting outside at 7,000 feet elevation. It is sunny. It is 48 degrees. Why am I sitting outside? Yesterday Mark and I came up to Lakeview Cottages to continue closing up for winter. Last weekend it rained incessantly. Which actually had its nice moments. We couldn't be outside painting, so we were inside our cozy little cabin with friends...drinking wine. During the weekend the rain came down even more, along with over a thousand lightning strikes in the area. Lakeview Cottages? Hmmm. Why can't I get on the internet? Ah....because apparently our phone line was fried by lightning. Okay. Calling the phone company. What is that you say? You have 140 repair tickets ahead of us? Really? You probably won't get to us any time soon? Really????

And that is why I'm sitting on the porch outside of the kitchen at Keola Camp next door to us. Because their phone line did not get fried....and I'm apparently addicted to technology.

Off season. Wacky weather. I welcome your sympathy because I'm sure a lot of you can identify with my addiction to technology need for communication with all my bloggy friends.