Thursday, April 30, 2015

Really Random Thursday, 4/30/15

The other night, we went to the Warnor's Theater to see our granddaughter in her ballet performance. She was a "Dreamer" in the production of Midsummer Night's Dream. I really enjoyed it. The theater is beautiful, built in 1928. It is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

This is the ceiling in the outside entrance. Gorgeous.
And the ceiling in the theater. Beautiful chandelier.
Box seat.
Here she is--the one on the left. Isn't she dreamy?
After the concert, she was photobombed by her father. She has the most gorgeous skin and big beautiful eyes. It was kind of odd to see her with all the heavy stage make-up. She looked so much older--a little glimpse into the future I suppose.

My friend, Valerie, texted these pictures to us the other night. She and her husband, Matt, were in Memphis and saw this permanent art installation--"quilts" made out of old city signs.
Hi, Valerie. :)
Seen just inside the entrance at Target. Why? We live in California.We don't even remember what rain is!
This sign is in our church sanctuary. It made me think that there must be some exact formula for the maximum number of people in an enclosed space because, really, couldn't they just round up the number to an even 500?
This is happening next Tuesday--my stop on the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks tour. I hope you come back to see my block, Off the Rails.
But for this weekend, I'm going off the grid--no internet connection--off to our annual quilting retreat at my friend's cabin outside of Yosemite.
Dotty, me, Maggie, and Ruth
This year will be bittersweet. I think this is the 15th year, and for the first six or seven years, it was just three of us, Dotty, Ruth and me. Then Maggie joined us. Ruth and her husband are relocating to Washington State and this might be the last year she is able to join us. And Maggie had already booked her flight to Texas to visit family before we set a date for the retreat. So this year, it's just the original three of us. So...or internet connection. Just lots of sewing, eating and laughing with good friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Split Personality: Spring Bloom Blog Hop (and fabric giveaway!)

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Welcome to today's stop on the Spring Bloom fabric blog hop. Spring Bloom is the first fabric line for designer Amanda Caronia. It is a bright and cheery fabric line and I'm thrilled to be participating.
Awhile ago, I had come up with a positive/negative block involving hexies. So I made a practice block, decided it needed more contrast to make it "pop," set it aside and kind of forgot about it.

When I saw Amanda's fabric,  the block popped back into my head so I asked if I could use black as a contrast fabric. I'm really happy I did, because there is definitely some contrast going on here. In fact, as soon as my husband, Mark, saw the finished blocks, he came up with the name: Split Personality.
Each one of these is a 12" finished block, so for the background of each block I cut a piece 6 1/2" by 12 1/2" of one of the Spring Bloom fabrics and another of black, which is from the fabric line Palette by Marcia Derse (also for Windham Fabrics), and sewed them together lengthwise. The hexies are 2" (meaning if you measure any of the six sides, it will be 2").

This block would be easy to enlarge or make smaller, and you can find different sizes of hexie templates here.

I fused them to the background and then zigzagged around the raw edges with black thread. Since I decided to make a pillow, the four blocks were sewn together and then that piece was spray basted to some batting. I stitched around the outside of the hexies--using a coordinating color of thread on the black background and black thread on the colored background, made a simple envelope style pillow back and used a purchased 24" pillow form. (If you have any questions about the construction of this block, don't hesitate to email me.)

Since I had been given a fat quarter stack, and this project didn't use much fabric, I decided at the last minute to make something for Amanda to celebrate her first fabric line. What else but a Sew Together bag? Have you made one?

The best part is choosing all the fabrics, and every time I've made one, I try to use as many different  fabrics as possible.

I saved the selvages and used them on the outside.
I hope you will take the time to check out each stop on the hop.

April 23 Jessica Darling

May 2 Bella Caronia Blog That’s a Wrap

Want a chance to win some of this fabric? Windham is generously donating a fat quarter stack at each stop on the blog hop. So just leave a comment here and let me know your favorite spring bloom.Thanks for stopping by.

(Note: The fabric for these projects was very generously provided to me free of charge by Windham Fabrics, but I had full control over both my projects and the write up.)

(ETA: The winner of the giveaway is SuperMomNoCape, who said: Visiting you from your instagram via @bellacaronia. The pillow you created using her fabric line is gorgeous! I love it!

My favorite spring bloom is the pansy! Thanks to both you and Windham fabrics for the great giveaway!

Congratulations, SuperMomNoCape!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Finish It Friday: Minnesota Hot Dish

My favorite cousin, Cathy, and I are both California girls. We each went to Tabor College in Kansas, and each met and married Minnesota boys.We currently live about 30 minutes from each other.
Here is the thing I have found out. You can take these guys out of the state of Minnesota but you will never take away their love of the state and desire to spend lots of time there. When we were shopping at Costco a couple of months ago, we noticed they were carrying a new line of vodka. We took one of the boxes, and a side panel from the box is now framed and decorating our kitchen. So you're getting the picture, right?
Side note: For years, Mark has said that at some point, we will live in Minnesota for a few months. During the winter. Because "everybody should experience living one inch from death." In other words, on one side of the door you can be warm and cozy, on the other side of the door you run the risk of freezing to death. So far that has not been a good selling point to me. He needs to come up with a different marketing strategy. 

So on to the quilt. Over a decade ago, Terry and Cathy found some land on the Crow River in northern Minnesota and started to build a cabin. Log by log. Seriously. After a few years they built a garage and that was where they lived while they spent weeks in the summer building. And building. And building.

We visited them three summers ago. We stayed in their garage, their home while building the cabin. Wood paneling in a garage is really very lovely. And it was a great place to stay.
I showered in the three-sided outdoor shower. Along with the mosquitos. But it had hot water and the view was wonderful.
We used the outhouse.
And were amazed at the beauty and potential of this not-quite-completed log home.

Two summers ago I stayed with them for a couple of nights. There still wasn't indoor plumbing. But we had wifi. This is where I was when we heard William and Kate's new royal baby had been born.
Last summer, we weren't able to visit, but it is for the most part finished. (Terry will probably laugh if he reads that.)  They have indoor plumbing, so in my opinion that qualifies as a finish. They spent Thanksgiving there with their two sons and daughters-in-law.
 Photo by Rachel Oberg @de_ma_cuisine
My Friday finish is a quilt I made for this cabin. It is from a Minnesota designer, Terry Atkinson, and the name of the pattern is Minnesota Hot Dish. Every year there is a big shop hop in Minnesota and line of fabric is designed just for the shop hop. I'm not sure which year this is from, and it is different than the fabric I used for the quilt, but it gives you an idea.

And every summer for the past five years I have been going to a quilt retreat in Minnesota. So two years ago, the quilt top was made at that retreat.
 It has been beautifully machine quilted by Darby.
She used a design that gives me the feeling of a lazy canoe ride down the river on a warm summer day.
The backing fabric has some Minnesota landmarks--including the iconic spoonbridge and cherry at the Sculpture Garden. See it there kind of in the center?

Minnesota pattern designer: Check.
Minnesota fabric: Check.
Made in Minnesota: Check.

And something no Minnesotan should be without--a cutting board in the shape of their beloved state. Mark received this one from our son and daughter-in-law for his birthday a couple of years ago.
We're looking forward to visiting the cabin again soon. It will probably be in the middle of summer so I won't have to wrap myself up in a quilt. But maybe Mark will consider this as a home base for my Minnesota winter experience.

I'll bring my sewing machine along.

I'm linking up with my dear Minnesota friend, Crazy Mom Quilts, and also TGIFF.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Really Random Thursday, 4/23/15: The (mostly) shopping edition

Forgot it's Thursday so this is a little late. Oops.

I would like to purchase this book for our son.
He already has a head full of seemingly useless information, all of which he can retrieve in a split second, and yet it is equally filled with all the brainiac information he needs to be a successful optometrist. Meanwhile, I have absolutely no math or science cells left in my brain.

Oh, Target, how I love you.

Wondering how the shaver work on curves before you buy it? Well, demonstrations are provided. (It's blurry because the shavers were going up and down over those curves.) Side note: I did feel slightly weird taking a picture of the Flexiball so I waited until no curious shoppers were around and wondering, "Why??"
 My new favorite coffee:

Even the shoppers are inspiring:
So the other night I sewed this little diamond going the wrong way. Un-sewed. Re-sewed. When I looked at the front, one of the little tails was peeking out through the seam. I cut it off.
Last night I sewed a larger hexie into the rosette, which takes considerably longer because of the three seams. The center diamond? Going the wrong way. In my case, diamonds are clearly not a girl's best friend.
I located all the bee blocks from the three times it has been my turn to make the choice. Aren't they pretty? I'm super excited to work on all three of these sets over the summer. The Dresden blocks actually came from two bees: Mid Century Modern and Sew Sisters. I love them all--the blocks and all the special friends in these two bees.
Yes, indeed.
Seen on Instagram
How about you? Anything random happening?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Animal Planet: the quilt (and LOTS of pictures)

About 1 1/2 years ago, I saw the most awesome picture in Dani's instagram feed (@knitty34)--a quilt full of animals, each one made using the drunkard's path block. I knew immediately this was THE quilt for my grandson, Gabe.

Of course I contacted her right away. Soon thereafter, she had added the template to her blog.

A nice highlight was meeting Dani at QuiltCon in February.
 The first version was pretty much a carbon copy of Dani's.
For some reason, I started searching for the original source. By a stroke of luck, I found animodul, a brand of children's clothes and toys.
Be sure to check out their website for lots of cool ideas: Clothing! Cookies! Blocks! These are all images from a fun video. (I immediately bought a set of plain wooden blocks and they are just waiting for some paint.) friend thought the animal quilt would be a hot seller for the charity auction. And besides, by then I had found some more animals that HAD to be part of Gabe's quilt. The original went to our church quilting group and they are currently hand quilting it with prairie stitching for next April's auction.

It was so much fun sewing this quilt. The one thing I would do differently next time is to add the eyes to each animal block before I sew all the blocks together. Fusing and blanket stitching around each of those dime-sized circles after the quilt top was already together was, well, NOT fun. And the animals really come to life when the eyes are added. Before they have the eyes, it can be kind of tricky to decide what they are.

Before it went out to my friend, Darby, for quilting, Gabe had to try it out.
I was thrilled with Darby's quilting--it is one of my very favorite quilting designs.
And what I love most about the animals is that many of them are open to interpretation. My favorite is this crab.
And the parrot is fun and colorful.
At first I thought this little guy was another version of a turtle. Apparently, he is a frog.
This one has been the subject of the most discussion. I originally called him a whale, until someone pointed out that he obviously was a scorpion. In Gabe's animal world, he most definitely is a FISH. What do YOU think?
And then I saw these two ducks (or is that bottom one a baby chick?) and...well, what do you think the top guy is? Maybe a lizard? Whatever, I will either have to make some pillows. Or start another new quilt!
Anyway, this quilt is probably the one I have had the most fun with. Thanks so much, Dani! Oh, and Gabe is pretty thrilled with it too.

I'm linking to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF and Confessions of a Craft Addict.