Thursday, January 31, 2013

Really Random Thursday, 1/31/13: The Quilting Version (Finally...)

My friend, Deborah (Simply Miss Luella), and I headed down to Ontario, California, on Friday morning to attend the Road2California quilt show. It's a really large show--Mark took me last year but decided maybe one time was good for him. Deborah hadn't attended a large quilt show before. So after deciding that although I wasn't still feeling 100 percent, we decided that seeing fabric and quilts would probably be just the medicine we both needed.

We left at noon and decided get to our hotel until 6 p.m.--can you say Los Angeles traffic...

We passed this on the 210--not sure what it is--it didn't seem to be a bridge or an overpass. Can anyone from L.A. help us out?

Actually I took very few pictures at the show. There were some beautiful quilts and it was interesting to walk around. But as far as a show review, I don't have much for you. Elizabeth will be doing a really good review when she has time so I'd watch out for that.
Elizabeth--me (we couldn't get Deborah to pose but she was happy to snap photos)

This is what I have to show for a couple of days of walking around--

The back of a quilt:
The quilter used a great selvage as the center divider:
This was probably my favorite quilt. Exquisite! Why it didn't even get an honorable mention is beyond me. I can never figure out quilt judging...

There was a special exhibit--a series of Route 66-themed quilts:
And you could have your picture taken on the Harley--who could resist that?
Deborah did NOT take this picture--otherwise it wouldn't have been blurred...

 When you have this many women in a convention center, you see signs like this at the entrance at what is usually the men's restroom:
And just in case you still weren't quite sure if you were in the right place...

And that's it for the quilt show. I'd show you what I purchased, but you would be underwhelmed: a couple of pillowcase kits and two yards of Oregon Ducks fabric...Oh, and there may be some fabric on its way to me from the Cherrywood booth. Their Che'fab fabric is pretty amazing. And of course Mark begs me encourages me to support this Minnesota business.

But that's not the end of random yet today...

If you have some fabric that you aren't sure what to do with, here's an idea. Get yourself some Mod Podge and ...
Yeah, I don't know what else to say about that either...

This was waiting for me when I arrived home--a super duper bag knitted from plastic bags. Thanks, Jessie! She has some for sale in her etsy shop!

And the new hard case for my iPhone (ordered from Gelaskins--with a picture of my charity donation quilt from last year):

A friend used the picture of my blog bee hop from last week:
as inspiration for a birthday card for her granddaughter. Isn't that cool? Thanks, Lynette--you are so creative!
And I think this picture, one of my favorites ever, is destined to be reinterpreted in fabric as a mini quilt for my sewing room.
Thanks, Miss C!
Are you having time finding time to sew this week? Well in that case...follow this advice:

Okay. Your turn.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Turning over a new leaf

A few months ago, our son and daughter-in-law taught a class at church called Everyday Justice. It was designed to make us think about how the choices we make in the things we purchase make a difference to people around the world. I had never really thought much about it. Sure, I try to recycle as much as I can, but Fair Trade coffee and chocolate? Not so much. It really opened my eyes to a lot of things. Especially the week we talked about clothing and children working in sweatshops to make things we wear.

That week, however, I started doing research on some of the fabrics I purchase to make my quilts. That is where the largest chunk of my discretionary income goes. I was familiar with Daisy Janie fabric but once I read all the information I was so impressed.

I was thrilled when I got a chance to play with Jan DiCintio's new fabric line, New Leaf. t's a beautiful collection made of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton (you can read more about that here), and the colors are bright and saturated. Jan asked us to use the thought of "turning over a new leaf" as our inspiration.

There was a sketch of a block on my desk, an older block and I don't recall the name of it. The pattern was for an 8" finished block but  I changed the dimensions to make a 12" block.

But did I take process pictures? Totally forgot....I don't think that will be a problem, however.

The center of the block is a 36-patch, so for that you need:

18 - 1 1/2" squares of white
18 - 1 1/2" squares of print

You could easily strip piece them but since I wanted to use a variety, I sewed them together individually. If I were to make a whole quilt top with this block, I would definitely strip piece them.

For the rest of the block you need:

4 - 6 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangles of white
4 - 3 1/2" squares of white
12 scraps to make the leaves

Piece the center 36-patch.
Sew a 6 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangle to two sides of the block.
Sew a 3 1/2" square to each end of the remaining two rectangles of white, and then sew these units to the remaining sides of the 36-patch.

Then make 12 leaf shapes. (I tried to link the leaf template pdf here but did something wrong. It is 3 inches from tip to tip and 1 3/8" at its widest point--sorry--I'll work on figure that pdf thing out).
Using your favorite double-sided fusible (I used Steam a Seam, but I wish I would have used Steam a Seam Lite because the leaves were a little stiff), I made the leaves and then fused them to the block, kind of eyeballing the placement. You will want the tips of the leaves that make the circle to touch each other. Then I used my machine to button stitch around each leaf.

Thanks for stopping by on the blog hop, and thanks to Jan for letting me play along with this beautiful fabric!

Be sure to check out all the other stops along the way:

New Leaf Bee Block Blog Hop Schedule
Mon, 1/14 - Becky Moyer, My Fabric Obsession
Tues, 1/15 - Lynn Harris, The Little Red Hen
Wed, 1/16 - Candy Glendening, Candied Fabrics
Thurs, 1/17 - Holly DeGroot, Bijou Lovely
Fri, 1/18 - Melanie Thornton, Melanie Dramatic

Mon, 1/21 - Emily Cier, Carolina Patchworks
Tues, 1/22 - Rachael Gander, Imagine Gnats
Wed, 1/23 - Maureen Cracknell, Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thurs, 1/24 - Leanne, She Can Quilt
Fri, 1/25 - Cindy Wiens, Live a Colorful Life

Mon 1/28 - Cheryl Arkison, Dining Room Empire
Tues, 1/29 - Jacquie Gering, Tallgrass Prairie Studio
Wed, 1/30 - Shanna Bailey, Fiber of All Sorts
Thurs, 1/31 - Katy Jones, Monkey Do

And if you are playing along with the FQ word scramble, my letter is I.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Really Random, 1/24/13: The sick version

I rarely get sick. I spent nearly the whole day yesterday on the couch with a blinding headache and cough, probably the flu. So I've got nothing random. But don't let that stop you...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peace Around the Color Wheel

Thanks for stopping by to see my version of Rene's fabulous new quilt pattern!
I was so excited to be part of the group who pattern tested this quilt. And it's even more exciting to see everyone's version!

I made the baby version. Rene's instructions and illustrations are very straightforward, well-written and easy to understand. The best part is that there are very few seams you have to match up.

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love working with solids. I found my inspiration with some solid scraps and the color wheel that my husband, Mark, keeps in his fused glass studio.

When choosing the colors, I just went around the color wheel, choosing first hue, or the clear colors at the top, then the tint--the color with white added, then skipped down to the bottom to the shades--the color with black added. That gave me enough to go all the way around. For the center spokes I had a rainbow jelly roll of tone-on-tone prints.
Information abounds on color theory, how to make colors work together, which colors look the best together, but I'm often surprised at how Mother Nature works her magic with colors. Surprising, unique and beautiful. And they all get along
Want a little peace in your life? Here is the schedule. I hope you will check out everyone's version and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy for yourself!

Monday, January 21 -  Katie at KT Quilts 
Tuesday, January 22 - Michele at  Nostalgic Cafe 
Wednesday, January 23 - Cindy at  Live a Colorful Life --you're here today!
Thursday, January 24 - Michelle at  Frustrated Quilter 
Friday, January 25 - Stephanie at Peas in a Pod 
Monday, January 28 - Terri at Terri's Notebook 
Tuesday, January 29 - Doris at Made by a Brunnette 
Wednesday, January 30 - Mary at Mary on Lake Pulaski 
Thursday, January 31 - Shelly at Prairie Moon Quilts 
Friday, February 1 - back to Rene' at Rene' Creates

I'd love to know what color combinations you are currently loving. The giveaway will close on Friday, February 1.

Monday, January 21, 2013


A year and a half ago, I met Rene' for the first time. It was at a quilting retreat in Minnesota, just a small group, ten of us. I remember Rene' sewing lots of pinwheels. Lots of pinwheels. Well guess what? She has just released her first pattern!
I was part of the lucky group who got to help pattern test. I made the baby size and I can hardly wait to show it.

The blog hop started today. At each stop you will get to see a different version of Rene's pattern, which comes in three sizes, and get a chance to win the pattern. It's one of those wonderful quilts that is easy to put together AND yields stunning results.

You'll want to stop by and check out the reviews and pattern.  Here is the schedule:
Here's a little peek.

See you on Wednesday!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Get a grip

There has been kind of unsettling start to 2013. I'm not going to blame it on being the Year of the Snake (but I'll say it again....shudder!), and I can't quite put my finger on it.

I have had a hard time getting my creativity kickstarted this year. I have been quilting for a long time. In the course of that time, I worked for a quilt shop for a year and a half. Over the course of all these years, my quilting stash has become, um, somewhat out of control extensive. When I worked at the quilt shop, I justified my purchases because the employee discount was really a good one. Then when I decided to quit, I justified my purchases because I would not longer have such a great discount so I better stock up, save for retirement, etc. A few years later, I started shopping online. The prices were good and fabric was delivered to my door.

My stash grew. It was mostly organized (by color) in the guest room. It expanded to my office. It expanded further into the sewing room. I realized I could never use all this fabric if I quilted full time until I died!

My tastes changed. I decided to destash. I donated bags of fabric to our church quilting group. I donated more bags to the church quilting group. My friends had full access--"Take anything you want. Really. Take it...."
Candidate for "Finish it 2013"
But designers kept designing great lines of fabric. Lines of fabric I had to have. Then a new line would come out that I was desperate to own, and the previous lines got shoved back on the shelf, nearly forgotten.
Scrappy love--it will be even better when it is completed
I have recently come to the conclusion that, for me, having too much to choose from has become a problem for me. It is overwhelming, and thus paralyzing my sense of creativity. It has started to hamper my ability to make a decision. I don't know where to start or what to choose.I have lost confidence in my ability to make good color and fabric choices.
Something is a little too bright here
Even though I have given/donated/sold what seems like yards and yards (and yards) of fabric, there is still more than I will ever use.
Getting close to sending this out to be quilted
Something has to change. Seriously and for real this year. I'm not making a resolution. That kind of thing almost guarantees that I will start obsessively thinking about fabric. Kind of like when you start a diet and can't think of anything but sweet potato fries or donuts or bacon or chips and salsa (and now you know what I think of...)
Ruby turns 1 this week--finishing this soon would be a good idea...
I have been trying to simplify our house--clearing out--things are no longer relevant to our lives, things our kids won't want to deal with later on, things that are taking up space for no reason, things we don't really need. It is easier for me to "breathe" psychologically in a space without all the clutter of "stuff."
Waiting for inspiration...
I want to breathe more easily in my sewing room too. Here is my challenge: I am not going to feel guilty about the fabric that is left after doing extensive destashing--because in reality there is still a lot of it. I'm not going to give away my fabric just for the sake up making space. And I also haven't told myself that I can't buy new fabric. But I'm also going to try to actively resist the pull of the latest new line. Will working with what I have ignite some dormant creative ember? I sure hope so! I guess only time will tell.

What are your thoughts? If you are a quilter with a fairly good-sized stash, does it ever feel overwhelming? Does it ever hamper your creativity? Or does it inspire it? Just curious.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Really Random Thursday, 1/17/13

Come ON, 2013! It's like you are trying to convince me that the Year of the Snake (shudder....) is off to a somewhat questionable start.

I've been wearing this most of the week, in addition to prescription anti-inflammatory medication and a cortisone shot.
Uncomfortable and inconvenient. I am a totally compliant patient still did some rotary cutting.
Heather tagged me in Instagram to make sure I saw this picture from the  Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild. At first I couldn't figure out why. Wait....! That's a picture of my strippy tripalong quilt!
And then there were these comments--kind of a conversation going on between two Instagrammers:

It kind of made my day.

Sometimes "yellow" doesn't refer to a color. Sometimes it is just a really good song by one of my favorite groups.
It's been cold here. I scrape ice off my windshield in the mornings. I know--that sounds wimpy to all of you who are scraping massive ice and shoveling mountains of snow. Mark took this picture yesterday morning--this is what happens when you irrigate during a cold snap here in the valley: icicles form at the bottoms of the trees in your orchard.

I found this piece of mail more than a little insulting:
But I might have a hard time resisting the offer: 13 issues for $10!!

This little guy is feeling better. (And I never get tired of looking at this picture). He is now walking.
We have had an outdoor skating rink downtown for the last couple of months. Last weekend was the, well, the last weekend. Aaron called and invited me to tag along Saturday afternoon. I didn't skate. I already had one limb in a splint. But I was helpful when it came to holding jackets.
Side note: riding on a Zamboni is on my bucket list.

Your turn:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Really Random Thursday/Friday, 1/11/13: The Disney edition

If you have been to Disneyland, then you know it's not hard to take an overabundance of pictures. My birthday was in November and I celebrated tried to forget the number that was associated with my birthday, making it clear that I did not want a party. Christa organized a wonderful luncheon on the day of my birthday, girls only, with family and a few close friends. But was kind of a milestone. So I decided celebrating in Disneyland was the way to go.

We had such a great family time. Six adults, four little ones, including two in strollers. I'll just give you the highlights.
Even though my birthday was in November, Aaron thought it would be funny to have me wear this all weekend. Here's the really funny thing: nearly every single Disney employee would say Happy Birthday to me. Sometimes they would interrupt what they were doing to wish me happy birthday. Example: in the entrance/exit, you can only go through the stroller opening if you have a stroller. Otherwise you go through the turnstiles. So there is someone at the stroller opening saying "strollers only, strollers only," which she interrupted to say, "Happy birthday....strollers only." It was pretty funny. One lady sang to me: "This is your birthday song. It isn't very long."  And twice, performers who were with a band, driving through the streets of California Adventure in the back of a car or on a float, stopped mid song to say "happy birthday" and then carry on with the rest of the song. After a while I was quite enjoying the attention.

Upper left picture--Mark would say this is his favorite ride at Disneyland--the park bench. Although this time he spent a lot of time watching little ones while Charlotte and Levi and the adults were on assorted rides. What a wonderful Grandpa. Upper right: The Small Small World song can get in your head and never leave, but at Christmas they decorate over the top, and then combine the song with Jingle Bells. Totally worth any song that gets stuck for awhile.

Bathroom floor tile--quilt inspiration?

Why fathers want to take their kids to the shooting gallery in Adventureland--actually it's so the father can do some shooting.

Bottom left--Cars Land at sunset; bottom right--brothers!

Strollers everywhere! You basically park your stroller and only take your most valuables--leave everything else in the stroller. When we left the park Monday night, we passed the stroller rental place. I lost my picture somehow but I asked how many strollers they have for rent. One thousand!! I asked if they ever run out and they said, yes, every Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Take note. Because I would say the rental strollers only represent a fraction of the strollers in Disneyland at any given moment.

Attention to detail is always amazing. Cars Land carried on that tradition.The wreath and swags in the upper left picture were made out of air filters.

Bugs Land

Character" sightings--both Disney and our own two little "characters"

Top pictures--lunch time

Probably my favorite picture. It's like he is saying, "Finally free!! I thought they were never going to let me out of that stroller!"

Well, maybe this picture is tied for my favorite. "I don't care if I finally have my own Mickey ears. I'm tired."

Because this IS a quilting blog, except for once a week when anything goes, I'll end this week with something new in my sewing room:
I found a little time to play on it too...
What's happening in your world?