Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Quiltin' with my mom

So, while we were relaxing in our Yosemite cabin, I had the great pleasure of quilting with my mom.

She showed me how to make this adorable humbug bag. It's super easy, and you can really make it in any size you like. I threw a bunch of thread spools in mine, and it seems to be working well.

Not bad for my first "practice" try. Now to make some in taupe colors....

This link is to a similar bag, w/ a free pattern and the real pattern is only $8!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Star Struck

So I never care about movie stars, their lives, what they do, or what press there is on their latest goings ons.

But...when it comes to Oscar, I have to admit that I'm star struck. The truth is, that I still am not interested in the actors, but THE DRESSES! Wow, this year, there were some really pretty ones. I'm planning on running out and buying a copy of People Magazine asap.

This quilt block is another made by my supertalented little sister. It's one of my favorites. From the pinpal book again.

Also, I found this interesting english web site w/ some Japanese looking fabric.

Monday, February 26, 2007


We just got back from a weekend in Yosemite this afternoon. The winter wonderland thing was certainly happening. If staying there, in The Redwoods, I can highly recommend cabin 23B. No pets, no smoking, but that worked well for us. Think a trip back there would be awesome, and next time I'm bringing my quiltin' sister too.

So what does one do late at night, in a cabin, in the woods? Well...seeing as this one had electricity, it was only fitting to try out my mom's new Bernina! Yes, she ran out and bought one, in support of my new love for Bernina. I think she's trying to encourage me to get one. Not that I need encouragement. That machine is AWESOME! She taught me how to make this adorable bag, and how to use a zipper foot. So many mysteries solved. Will photograph the bag soon.

Quilting with my mom is such a rare treat. Too bad we don't do it more often.

Ok, so I love photography as well, and shot several rolls of film. Now for the development of the film. Yes, I said film. Ok, so I use a digital camera for my blog, but in my other life (as a photographer) I am still old school, and I love my film. Calypso over the mail maybe? Hm...

And Oh, the above image is a photo of one of the pin pal applique blocks that my little sister made for me. She's soooo talented, and sooooo exact. Just my kind of girl. Beautiful work.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yoko Saito

If there is one quilter that is famous, that I would love to meet and take classes from, I think it is Yoko Saito.

Her books, her taupes, her style....I really admire all of it.

This picture is from my good friend who lives in Japan and has the opportunity to see some really amazing examples of her work in person.

I think I could look at her quilts all day long.

Some more interesting pictures of the Tokyo Dome show this year were posted by folks on Flickr.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You know those times when without coffee, you just could not function? That is a nice thing to fall back on, when there's a lot to get done and sleep is on the short side.

My other favorite kind of buzz is a fabric buzz! This very cool web site - super buzzy - is carrying a lot of the fabric that I ran into when I was in Japan. I haven't ordered from them, but I think I may have to do that very soon!

As for this grandmother's flower garden, it's in honor of my mom (an incredible grandmother) and all the hard work she's doing to keep the baby entertained this week for us. What a wonderful woman, and - of course - a quilter too!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Finally, valentine

Tonight my husband and I are going out for an "adult" dinner, belated Valentine, since I was in Japan for the actual valentine's day.

Time to wear an outfit that will not be drooled on! Wow. Not sure how far back in the closet I will go. Thank God for grandparent babysitters! Baby and grannies are both in bliss to have eachother to keep company.

In other news, I'm not sure what Daiso is all about, but I think it's a new Japanese housewares shop to hit the bay area. I haven't had time to check out the Foster City, CA location yet, but sounds like fun. Maybe on a rainy weekend day...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Another Dear Jane block...for my taupe quilt, of course, and a nice surprise today - my mom made a TON of the off-set blocks to go w/ my sister's quilt.

Must get those on the blog soon.

Are there people out there using Gcast to make their podcasts? Just curious.

Annie Smith still has my favorite podcast. It is so informative and entertaining. I always am just waiting for the next one to come out.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Taupe - it comes in every color

I know I talk a lot about taupe fabrics.

What can I say, I love them. They really do come in every color of the rainbow. When you hear the word "taupe" do you think of off white?

Well, I think of red, blue, green, yellow, brown, silver...the list continues.

Here's another block from Dear Jane, this time done with blue taupes.

Some of my favorites come from this fabric company - Daiwabo - and their yard dyes are really spectacular.

On a different topic, if you like reproduction fabrics, have you seen School House quilts? Wow, nice collection of goodies.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Yo Yo's gone wild

I picked up this awesome set of tools while I was in Japan. They are by Clover (popular notion company) and are toooooo much fun. Since I'm on asia time still, I was up until 3am last night playing with them.

They allow you to make yo yo - like thingies, but in shapes of either hearts or cherry blossoms.

Very cute. Ok, so don't get any knots in your thread, and also, you may want to make sure your thread is long enough to make it round the whole thing. I'm sure this is included in the instructions, but since my Japanese reading skills leave something to be desired...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Japanese hospitality

Now that I'm back in California, I'm already missing the Japanese hospitality that I came to appreciate so much.

While I was in Japan, I had the great pleasure to meet up with Nancy (above left, me on the right), and Josey, who are both American quilters who live outside the Tokyo area.

They were the best guides I could have hoped for, and generously helped me tour the city exploring amazing craft and quilt shops.

Thanks girls for all the fun, I will definitely be using all the supplies for quite some time!

So what did I end up with besides a super fun afternoon with a couple of amazing quilters?

Well...the only thing I can advise you on - if you visit Japan...PLEASE PACK LIGHT!!

Save room for fabric, books, notions...because you are going to find some amazing things there.

Yuzawaya was by far my favorite stop. Floors of fabrics. The "small cuts" section was heaven for me, as you can purchase very small pieces of fabric for very affordable prices.

I, of course, went nuts and got all sorts of small and large cuts of fabric, because who only knows when I'll be able to return to Japan again.

I'm sure I'll be talking about this trip for a while, as I have yet to really read all the books I got, and it will take some time for me to wash and iron all the fabric as well.

I think Japan is an amazing place for quilters, and would highly recommend a visit there if there's any way you can make it happen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine over the miles

My valentine sweetie sent me flowers, even to Tokyo. Wow, I'm so impressed!

Thank you, my sweet.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


This trip to Japan has been super busy. Lots of good fish (as usual) but lots to get done as well.

Not sure I'll get 5 min to see a fabric shop, but still optimistic!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ugly rules

Have you seen these Ugly Dolls yet?

"My son" is collecting them. Ok, I'll admit, it's more of a family effort.

It's hard to have a boy, when I only had a sister, and I am so used to the idea of dolls. Clothes for them, quilts for them, tea parties for them.

Now, with the invention of the Ugly Doll, it's cool to have a doll if you're a boy, because's UGLY!

I'm off to Japan tomorrow morning. The only thing I can think about is how much I'll miss my family.

Hopefully the trip will go well, and I'll be home again soon. Perhaps I'll find a scrap of fabric or two, if there's time!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Give it up

Tonight, husband and I threw our son's baby bottles into the recycle bin.

The baby is ready to give them up (and hasn't used them in weeks), but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the baby.

He'll be 17 months old tomorrow. I'm so proud of him, but still a bit teary eyed to see this adorable stage come to a close.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


I like to think that I'm the kind of person who really looks on the sunny side of life. Not sure if that is true all the time, but I don't like to look at the glass as being only half full.

If something happens to me that I end up kicking myself over, I try to make the best of it, and even celebrate it for what I've learned.

Maybe someday we can all just give up the word regret from our vocabulary, and replace it with "gosh, I'm really glad I learned that, and here's my action plan."

Sometimes easier said than done, I guess.

Henry David Thoreau said:

Make the most of your regrets. . . . To regret deeply is to live afresh

Factoid #3: I love San Francisco.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Playing Favorites

Pepsi vs. Coke.

Everybody has their own personal favorite.

Mom vs. Dad.

Well, I'll be truthful here, it hurts, but I'm definately #2 in our little household.

I know, it's no fun to be #2, but there's the hope of improvement and I will be working on a plan to kick my husband out of that #1 slot. He thinks it's funny that I'm after his spot, but it all in good fun.

When the baby wakes up in the morning, he will not be satisfied until his daddy holds him. Maybe if I let him play with the Wii remote or something, I can attract him back to my favors.

Anyhow, here's to regaining mindshare.

Oh, and by the way, my Dear Jane blocks are actually also taupe vs. 1850's repro's. For each block I make, I make 1 in 1850's fabrics (sister's wedding quilt) and one in taupe colors (for me...duh!).

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Basket case

Lately I have been thinking a lot about doing a basket quilt. I love them. They are seriously adorable. Traditional, cutesie (is that a word?), and so much fun. You can use a billion different fabrics. Anyhow, think there is a basket quilt in me at some point.

Factoid 2: I cannot stand massage therapy!

I know, people love it, but not me. My biggest fear is another Thai massage. (bone cracker style)

Monday, February 5, 2007


Another Dear Jane block (of course for my little sis). This one is paper pieced.

I have a very naughty little sewing machine, and it has been skipping stitches lately. I had an extremely stern chat with it this weekend, and it promised to behave so I can buy a new car instead of a new sewing machine.

I think it's good to get to know folks who's blogs you love to read, so this week, I'll give you a factoid about myself every day, and hopefully it's something you didn't already know!

Factoid 1. I love marmite.

I'm not just saying that. I seriously could say that we have a relationship. If you love it too, better keep an eye on your stash!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Lonely valentine

Since I'll be away on business for Valentine's day, I'm hoping to celebrate with my husband after I get back from Japan.

I'm wondering if my husband has any jewelery in mind for me this year...hint hint...just something small and cute. I want to get him a cool video game or something that would be interactive that we could both have fun playing on the Wii. Maybe he will cough up some ideas, or maybe I can find a cool little something while I'm away.

The block above is another little Dear Jane block that I made this weekend for my sister's wedding quilt.

If you are interested in other blogs, I have some favorites:

Japanmanship - a game developer (american) living and working in Japan
Wee Wonderfuls - another crafting blog, and the owner is really super into JP crafts. Her picture today of a doll quilt wall - all I can say is WOW.
Crafting Japanese - this is a pretty cool blog ring, or collection of crafty bloggers w/ lots of JP goodies
3191 - adorable blog done by 2 girls who take a picture a day, and compare them. They live 3191 miles apart

So many more out there...will have to write about them another day...

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Wanting what you can't have

Our 16, actually, almost 17 month son is always reaching for that item that he just can't quite get to. If he could have it, it wouldn't be interesting anymore, but if it is just a tiny bit too far away, it's the most exciting thing on earth.

I wonder if it really is the same for all of us...wanting something that is just beyond us. That new job with the promise of better work and less hours, that new quilt fabric that is $20/yard, that giant new SUV so you can fit all your friends and gear in there...

Maybe we should just be happy with what we have today. Wouldn't that be nice?

Friday, February 2, 2007

Couch potato

Wouldn't this sofa be the best place on earth to watch the superbowl? It looks just like Kaffe Fassett to me.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Who you are

My husband was listening to NPR one day, some time ago, and a caller wrote in to deliver some thoughts on what makes you who you really are.

The general though of it was that you are who you proclaim yourself to be, and that a lot of what is important to you in life will bubble up to the surface if you let it.

Even though she works in an office, and spends time reading legal briefs (or whatever, I actually forget what she did for a living) she considers herself a sculptor and an artist, because that is what her passion is in life.

So, I'm not actually an engineer, but rather: a full time mom, wife, photographer, and quilt artist. Now if the gap between what I really spend my time doing, and my true aspirations could be closed...that would be a miracle.