Thursday, March 31, 2011

Birth order characteristics of fabric

I had this weird idea the other day. Mark's eyes kind of glazed over when I told him about it. A few minutes ago I finished reading the Blue Elephant Stitches blog post, "writing while pinning," where she says: "I often find myself thinking in the form of writing, and I can write some quite interesting, informative, well-thought out and even witty stuff in my head... but you'll just have to take my word for it, cause it rarely gets any farther than that."

I do the same thing. Usually in the shower. Or if I wake up in the middle of the night. Usually those middle-of-the-night ideas sometimes seem weird in the light of day. This may be one of those very ideas. But I'm going to go with it anyway.

I don't even know why I was thinking about birth order character traits. Mark and I have one son. Clearly not an issue for us. But it's still interesting to read about different traits children may possess based on their "place" in the family. At the same time, I was kind of obsessing over fabric by Denyse Schmidt, probably because I just finished Pop Beads, my quilt top using Flea Market Fancy, and I've got two quilt tops in the works using Hope Valley.  I came super late to the whole FMF party. And as I mentioned, I have paid more than I care to admit to build my collection. Why? Because I really REALLY like it. I like a lot of fabric lines, but this one probably tops the list.

Pretty much missed out on Katie Jump Rope too, so I've been collecting that as well. And I like it. Not as much as FMF, but KJR is pretty social and plays pretty well with FMF.

When Hope Valley came out, at first I was kind of "ehh, whatever" about it but she has really grown on me.

When Denyse's latest line came out, well, I'll be honest, I have not purchased a single fat quarter of it.  I've seen some cool quilts made with it, but I think was more intrigued with the quilt design than the fabric. (My apologies to all of you who consider it one of your favorites.)

I don't know why the birth order traits correlation (from here) popped into my mind, but here goes:

Flea Market Fancy (the first-born child): natural leader, high achiever, organized, bossy (not sure about that but someone was telling me to buy, buy, buy!), adult-pleaser. "First-born children desire control and they will typically become a compliant nurturer or a more aggressive mover and shaker." Seems pretty accurate. I don't believe I have seen any other fabric lines that caused a a write-in campaign to Freespirit Fabrics begging them to reprint.  But they decided to move on...

Katie Jump Rope and Hope Valley (the middle children): flexible, easy-going, social, peacemakers (or substitute piecemakers!). "The middle child(ren) will demonstrate the greatest variety of character traits, but they will usually be opposite of their older sibling."

Greenfield Hill (the last child--although I'm sure this only temporary until the next "child" comes along): risk-taker, creative, self-centered, competitive, bored easily. "They are also often driven to catch up with their older siblings and follow in their footsteps." We'll see.

(image from Freespirit)

If you are still here, then I think you deserve a little compensation for your attention. So how about the scraps from my Pop Beads quilt?

What makes our hearts race a little faster when we see certain fabric is so subjective. That's why we sometimes have to perform CPR on our credit cards (to quote a commenter from yesterday).

Here is the question to answer: Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? Any characteristics you feel like sharing with the rest of us? You can also comment on whether or not this was too weird a topic that I should have kept to myself, but it won't give you an extra chance at winning. (hehe)

I'll  pick a winner on Saturday at 6 p.m. PDT.

ETA: I mean no disrespect whatsoever to fabric designers or fabric lines. I'm glad they are out there designing fabulous fabric for us to work with, something I myself could never do. I also realize the pressure to do something different and wonderful each and every time must be phenomenal. I have just been spending a lot of time with these specific lines lately, and my mind kind of went off on a little tangent.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday #20

My Pop Beads quilt top is completed. I won't lie. I LOVE it. For all of you who are so "over" Flea Market Fancy, let me say this. I came late to the party, and I have paid a small king's ransom to be able to attend!

Here is what I need help with:

1. It's just a small thing really, but I used a couple of fabrics from the "freckles" line, which was said to be companion fabric for Flea Market Fancy, sort of like a first cousin (more on that later). In one corner I have used some turquoise "freckles" and then I got the green leaves in the mail. Would you take the time to switch them out?

2. I need suggestions on quilting. I'm thinking of doing big stitch around the inside and outside of each bead and around the brown connector diamonds, but if someone could give me thoughts on machine stitching, I would be open to that as well.

Have you ever thought of a particular designer's fabric lines having something in common with sibling birth-order characteristics? Probably not. Mark's eyes kind of glazed over when I mentioned writing a post about that.

But I think I will delve into that topic anyway. If you are interested in some Flea Market Fancy scraps (and I do mean scraps), come back tomorrow for a giveaway of these.

Along with something special I intend to do with these:

I also finished these two blocks for the do.Good Stitches Faith circle. (Stashbuster blocks from Material Obsession 2--very fun. I will make more of these!)

Head on over to Freshly Pieced and see what everyone else is working on.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Postman Always Rings Twice...

Well, yesterday he did. Good thing, too, because I needed some major fabric therapy. But if this happened on a regular basis, I would need financial therapy...

Need some therapy yourself? You can get some here and here.

P.S. Now I'm a little sorry I went to the links. Bad news for me, but good news for you: At Fatquarter Shop, until April 1, Kona and Bella solids are 20% off with the coupon code "solids." *sigh*. It was still good therapy for me...

Monday, March 28, 2011

When I grow up...

Levi turned 3 yesterday, but his birthday party was on Saturday. What little boy doesn't want to grow up to be a firefighter? His daddy sure did when he was Levi's age.
Christa, as usual, did an amazing job of decorating the table:
And then look what rolled up in front of the house!
There are only four of these hook and ladder trucks in the Fresno area, and one station house is practically around the corner.

Levi and Aaron sitting in the firetruck (did I mention that the fathers were definitely more nearly as excited as the kids for the truck to arrive?)
Nearly a year ago, when we had the fire at our rental house, I floated the theory that it may be an actual job description for firefighters to be nice-looking guys. (Theory confirmed...)
Before they took off, they turned on the lights, (very) briefly turned on the siren, and honked the horn. Such a fun party.

And our gift to Levi didn't cost us a penny this year. We saved all of Aaron's Tonka toys that we gave him when he turned 3. They now belong to Levi.
What we hadn't quite counted on was that the boxes we used to store the four Tonkas would be as big a hit as what was inside...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Stash

Have I ever mentioned that I love polka dots?
Especially orange polka dots?
Maybe so...

(Available here, here, and here.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Extreme Makeover--Blog Edition

The word "extreme" may be, well, a little extreme. But Live a Colorful Life has a brand new look. I hope you like it as much as I do!
It was designed by the lovely Julia, who lives in...wait for it...Berlin!

How did this happen, you ask?

If you read Lily's Quilts, you will have noticed what a fabulous blog header she has.
I asked her about it and she kindly provided Julia's contact information.

Along with having her own fabulous blog header,
Julia also designed the logo for the Berlin Modern Quilt Guild.
We have emailed back and a forth quite a few times (the internet really make the world a rather small place). There may be some minor tweaks that take place over the next few days, but I'm so happy with the results so far!

So welcome to the colorful new look at Live a Colorful Life. And also look for info on a new series that will be starting soon.

In the meantime, I hope to spend some quality time in my sewing room this weekend. What will you be doing in the next couple of days?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday #19

I'm trying not to beat myself up by comparing my progress over the past week with everybody else. Especially those of you who have had sick kids at home. I don't even have any kids at home anymore. Go to Freshly Pieced where you can see what everyone else has been up to in the last week. Yikes! There is a lot going on out there.

Oh, well. It is what it is.

And this is what it is:

Binding machine sewn on Levi's quilt. Now it's back in Christa's hands for hand sewing it on the back.

Custom "fabric" for do.Good Stitches blocks for March (Faith group). Blocks still to be completed...

(These are Rachel's blocks already done. Aren't they cool? They are from Material Obsession 2)

Yep. That's about it. See you next week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"You did NOT!"

Yes. I DID. I know it says in my bio over there on the right side that I buy fabric just for the selvages. Really that has only happened once or twice. And fortunately the selvages have come attached to fabric that I really liked. Case in point.

When I made the pincushion for Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts, it was a little tricky to find the word "crazy" on a selvage. To illustrate how compulsively I read selvages and am familiar with fabric lines, I knew that Robert Kaufman had a line called "Crazy for Dots and Stripes." I didn't own any of the fabric, but I went to my LQS and there it was.

And I happen to be crazy for dots and stripes, so it was a win-win.

But yesterday, I bought a whole yard of fabric that I don't like much probably won't ever use, just for one word. And I can't even tell you what the word is. Yet. Because it's a surprise for someone. I'm so excited I was able to find that one word. Even if I probably won't ever use the fabric.

However, I realize everyone's taste in fabric is different, and I know that some of you out there might never use some of the fabric that is my favorite. So if you think you might use this fabric, let me know and it could be in the mail to you. After I receive it. And cut the selvages off.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I love reading. I love quilting. I love Elizabeth's creativity at Don't Call Me Betsy.

Can you believe this mini quilt with a row of books?

I think the campaign is on to get her to write a tutorial. Do you see the selvages in there? Everybody with me on this one?

Speaking of books. And organizing (which I do love to do). You must watch this short video that Monica posted her blog, Quilt While You're Ahead (incidentally, one of my favorite blog names and favorite blogs). It's short. Watch it a couple of times. It's probably good I don't have this many books. I might be tempted...

The winner of the pincushion is Free Indeed, who said:

"I want to try the mugrug binding tute."

And if you guessed the selvage pillow is my favorite tutorial, well, I don't know what could have possibly been your clue.

I hope you enjoyed learning to know my "sister," Carla, as she celebrates her blogiversary. I can't wait to see what she does in the coming year!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here Come Da Judge (and misc. other stuff...)

Disclaimer No. 1: This post will be fairly picture-heavy, but unbelievably, no pictures having to do with actual judging. What was I thinking??
Disclaimer No. 2: I have blatantly taken all these pictures from Sharon's, Jill's, Katie's and Toni's blogs without their permission. But I know they love me. So I'm assuming they won't sue me.

We were in Shafter, California, this weekend so Mark could be one of five judges for the local competition of Distinguished Young Women. This was formerly called America's Junior Miss. I used to think it was like the practice competition leading up to Miss America or something. Definitely not the case. It is based on many factors: scholastic achievement, physical fitness, talent, poise, and self expression, and it was called Junior Miss because the girls were in their junior year in high school.
When Mark and I started having college kids over for Monday Night Football in 1996, eventually we found out we had not one, but two, former winners of the the Shafter Junior Miss competition coming to our house every Monday night.
(Jill, Shafter's Junior Miss 2001, and Jason)
(Toni, Shafter's Junior Miss 2002, and Peter)

Over the years, Mark has tried to convince Jill that he would make an excellent judge. She always laughed that off. (If you know Mark, I'm sure you are saying to yourself, "Duh, go figure...") Turns out there was an opening for a judge this year. Turns out Mark's wish came true.

He was one of five judges, and spent Friday afternoon and evening in an individual interview process with each contestant and then the program last night, where they judged everything else. He was well prepared, having carefully studied each girl's application, and then watching some DVDs from previous years, getting judging pointers from Jill.

This is an excellent program, and each girl is a winner. Maybe not being one of the girls who actually wins the title, but winning greater confidence and poise. Mark enjoyed being one of the judges, and if asked again next year he would definitely say yes.

While he was being all "judgmental," I got to go on a house tour of sorts. We stayed with Jill's parents. They have been doing a lot of updating (Sharon has posted a lot of cool pictures--check out her "home tour" posts), and this was the room we stayed in.

It felt like an upscale hotel. Thanks, Bob and Sharon!

Next up, Jill's brother and sister-in-law, John and Katie's house. They have done a lot of updating as well. When I read Katie's blog, I get a lot of crafty ideas,

decorating ideas,

and yummy recipes.

Finally, this morning, Mark and I stopped at Toni and Peter's house. I read Toni's blog all the time, too, and they have transformed their home as well. Seems to be a lot of that going on in Shafter lately. Toni has achieved the "look" I would love to have in my own home.

Toni also loves to cook so, like Katie and Sharon, she posts recipes that are definitely worth checking out (and she takes such beautiful pictures of them).

It was a very fun weekend. Fun to attend the competition and to connect with out-of-town friends we don't see nearly often enough.

Remember how I have posted some pictures that Mark takes while he is actually driving? I witnessed my first "drive-by (photography) shooting" on the way to Shafter, but I'll have to post it later (after I can find the cable to his camera...)

Finally, if you haven't had a chance to stop by and say hi to Carla and help her celebrate her first blogiversary, please do. And you still have time to come back and comment here for a chance to win a pincushion.

Tomorrow (hopefully), a sneak peak at what I'm working on...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy birthday/blogiversary to my sister!

Have you met my sister, Carla, from Lollyquiltz? Well, she isn't my real sister, not from a biological standpoint. However, as we have gotten to know each other a little better, we have decided that perhaps we are sisters separated at birth. SO many similarities!

*We were both born in the same year. I would say which year but I didn't get her permission--and she is a teensy bit older so I need to respect that. :)
*We will both be married for 38 years this year.
*She went to college in Kansas. I went to college in Kansas.
*We both met our husbands in college.
*We both have red hair.
*We absolutely adore our grandchildren.

*We are both quilters. Which binds us together (yes, I could not resist the pun...) for sure!
*We are both hexie obsessed.

(Carla's hexies, organized by color and lots of them are already sewn together!)
(I have quite a few more than this, but they are not sewn together yet).

*We are both doing a quilt based on a Kleenex box. The same Kleenex box! (Imagine our surprise when we discovered that little odd fact...)

 Carla's is almost done:

Mine, not surprisingly, is still living in my head:

I attribute her progress on the hexies and Kleenex-box quilt to the fact that she is older. That seems reasonable, doesn't it?

She has a tremendous sense of color.

And I'll admit to being a bit envious of the beautiful backdrops she uses for her quilt photography.

To celebrate this auspicious one-year blogiversary, we are giving away one of my selvage pincushions, appropriately named "Four Seasons." Head on over to her blog and do some reading. While you're there, you'll notice that Carla has some awesome tutorials, so for a chance to win the pincushion, check out the tutorials on her sidebar, and then come back and tell me which one you would like to try first. The winner will be chosen  on Sunday, 6 p.m. PDT. Want an extra chance to win? If you can guess (in a separate comment) which one might possibly be MY favorite, well, you'll get a second chance to win. Happy reading, everyone. And happy first blogiversary, Carla!