Saturday, March 31, 2007

New friend

Not every day that you get a brand new member of the family. This one will serve to keep us safe over many years to come....and it will also allow for more visits to family down south, so that's win-win.

Friday, March 30, 2007


This little jam-filled, head made of bread, "Anpanpan" character is the most popular cartoon for ages 0 - 12 in Japan. His episodes are available on Amazon, and I think he's the cutest thing ever.

I have some quilting fabrics with him and his friends on there, so might make a little Anpanman quilt for the baby or something. Too much fun. So easy to create applique patterns from these guys too.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Annie Smith's Podcast - Wow!

Annie Smith, who I've mentioned many times before (because I LOVE her podcast!, and pls see her link on the right as well) has recently posted her podcast program #80 on her web site, Oh my goodness!! She mentions me (I'm blushing), the trip to Japan & meeting other quilters and listeners of her podcast (Hi Nancy and Josey!!) and all the fun I'm having learning more about quilting in Japan.

What a huge honor, wow, that is so cool. Thanks Annie for taking time in your busy schedule to answer my voicemail and for all the dedicated work you do for us listeners.

Above is a picture of the cover of Yoko Saito's book on 156 pieced blocks. Instructions in the book are all for hand work, (no paper involved!) but think I could probably also convert some to paper pieced blocks. Anyhow, the book is awesome. If you don't have your copy yet... ISBN978-4-529-04331-1.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quilty goodness - en route

I finally got to the post office today, to mail out the apples to apples doll quilt, so that is happily on its way.

My other acomplishment for the morning was getting a little humbug bag mailed off to my friend, Nancy. It will be waiting for her at her new address, when she does finally move there, returning from Japan. Hopefully she likes it. I got some friendly feedback that the fabrics I used were a little on the crazy side. (Maybe it's not cute after all?) Oh well...I like it. I'm sure she will too.

Ok, so you know I am on this wool kick...I think there are some places out there like this - that - and the other thing (Weeks Dye Works - does this stuff not look incredible?)...where one could buy some very cool wool online. I am thinking of designs to use up my recently aquired wool...stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Apples to apples

The owner of Wee Wonderfuls blog, Hillary Lang, is making a doll quilt wall in her new baby's room. I'm thinking it may take her a really long time to finish all those small quilts, and when your pregnant, goodness knows that you don't really have a lot of extra energy.

So, I decided to pitch in a bit, and make this small doll quilt for her, and hopefully add to her collection. I just finished it this afternoon and I've really had a good time working on it. Hand applique for the apples, and machine quilting with a tiny bit of hand quilting in large pearl cottons just to spice it up.

I guess I'll have to name the quilt "Apples to Apples". I can post the apple pattern if anybody is interested...

Monday, March 26, 2007


I will admit that part of me was wondering if my mom would ever get around to making the log cabin blocks that we wanted to use to set the Dear Jane blocks for my sister's wedding quilt. She's busy, has tons of projects going on, is playing around with her new long arm quilter, and is of course also working.

After my visit down there, I have seen that these little miracle blocks have not only be created by my uber-talented mommy (seriously, a dedicated and precision machine piecer) but they have come together to make this quilt look more miraculously spectacular than I was expecting. This is only a portion of what the finished quilt will look like, but I think we are seriously off to a good start. Thanks Mom for your hard work, this quilt is a 2 heads are better than 1 story.

Mpix (awesome place to print your photos, or blow up photos by the way) is having a sale for the next 7 days. I suppose this only applies to people here in the states. Not sure, anyhow, if you order this week, you can get business cards printed - 100 for $10. This includes double sided, full color, and for gloss it is only a tiny bit extra. Thinking it's time to get some quilting business cards!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Have you see the quilts of Gee's Bend in person yet? I had this pleasure recently in San Francisco...if they are in your backyard - please try to visit them!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Leaving the O.C.

Today is my last full day in Orange County, visiting the family, hanging out with friends. It is very sad to see this magical time come to a close, but all good things come to an end or so they say.

I'm still washing and ironing all the fabric goodies I picked up along the way down here, and will have a fun an interesting time trying to stuff them all in my luggage.

I found this cool site in Etsy. It's this artist that will take your images of you, your kids, even your quilts I guess...and frame them in tiny 1 inch silver frames, for necklaces. Cool gift idea.

The quilt above is not my quilt. I photographed it when I was at the Quilting in the Garden quilt show in Livermore, California, last September. I hear that they will finally open that show up to any and all participants this year, so sounds like I could enter a quilt if I wanted to try that. Might be fun!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flying Geese

Today I visited Flying Geese quilt shop in Southern California (Old Town Tustin to be exact).

I was not expecting to get a bunch of wool there, but since I'm hot on the trail of cool wool...due to wanting to make a new needle case book, and other inspiration, I really found some cool woolen goodies. Pictures to come soon.

In general, this quilt shop was cool with a large selection of 30's and also some nice repro's. A large selection of Kaffe Fassett as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Taupe applique

My favorite book right now, I think, is this Yoko Saito book on applique. I have been leafing through it and thinking that there is probably not one single block in here that I wouldn't like to make.

Have you seen these taupes by her that Lecien produced? Very pretty...I don't have any of these...yet.

For the birds

When you visit Southern California, you sort of expect sun and warmth. Well...we packed shorts and tanks and ended up with a bunch of rain!

I think this weather is for the birds, and my wiggle worm toddler agrees. He's wondering when we get to go back to the park.

Guess I'll have to take advantage, and do some extra quilting!

Have you seen these new plaids from Daiwabo yet? Mmm...yummy. I'm using them now! Delicious to work with. Even applique is going pretty well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Keepin' busy

Since I'm still on "vacation" I'm getting a bunch of quilting done. Our son, meanwhile, is tearing it up at the grandparent's place, playing with all sort of new toys.

Of course in my time off, we have been visiting just 1 or 2 quilt shops. We ended up at Rosie's in San Diego the other day. That place is really worth the visit. They have room after room of fabric, as well as a dedicated room for civil war repro's. That is some cool stuff. Most fabrics go for around six or seven dollars a yard, which is also really impressive. I managed to find some imported real live made in Japan fabrics by Westex for around $6/yd!! Score!

While I was floating around the repro room, I met this woman who was visiting from the mid-west. Her business is and it seems like a pretty cool site. I love the willow pattern, and think that it would be something I could get into trying.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stamped letters

I ran out and bought this set of stamp letters, after reading Moonstiches blog. Her use of the stamps on little characters is cute. I made little name tags on these small pin cushions for my sister and mom.

The coolest thing on this blog is the instructions for making book covers. I'm not sure how quickly I could pump these out, but wouldn't this be cute for gifts for the bookworms in your life?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dear Jane Binder

This idea, as I mentioned, came from my mom's not my idea, but I'm impressed with it, and think it could be really helpful to other Dear Jane-iacs.

Staples sells a binder and some protective clear sheets (sheets are item #77004, impossible to order online at Staples, even though their sales guys said they were on the web - NOT) but an interesting way to stay organized and flip through your blocks quickly. Think it will keep them in better shape in the long run too.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Craic is 90

Genetically, I'm a mostly Irish person. Of course, there's other stuff sprinkled in there, but today of all days, I am and will claim to be more Irish than anything else.

"Craic" in Irish (this is a "G" rated blog, btw) is not an illegal substance...just means "fun" or enjoyment. The fact that it's 90...well, that means that really now we're all having a great time.

Since I'm taking some time off work for a couple weeks, the craic really has been 90, and so has the quilting actually. I just finished 2 more Dear Jane blocks, so need to iron and trim those guys up. It's so fun having time to do what I like. I hope I don't get too used to this...I think my husband is still expecting me to actually start my new job in April.

Also, have you heard about these online Dear Jane groups? Think some girls in my quilt group have signed up for this. Not sure if they are in this one or not. Cool anyhow.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Grandparent joy

Babies and grandparents have a special relationship, but this baby of ours and my parents are thick as thieves. They run around together...and have a really fun time.

We are visiting for about 2 weeks, since I'm transitional between my old job, and the new one. It doesn't start until early April, so some time off in between to relax with family has been awesome.

Above is the clover plastic tool to make cherry blossom yo yo's that I used on the red one below for the humbug bag decoration. I have never seen this in the US before, I think it's currently only available in Japan.

Also, yesterday, I met my mom's quilting friend, and she gave us a super handy way to store Dear Jane blocks. But that will be for tomorrow's post. Stay tuned, it's really cute. Thanks Mrs P. for the cool idea!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Baltimore bliss....

Before I got super into Japanese quilting, and taupes, I decided I was going to make a Baltimore Album quilt.

I managed to complete all 16 blocks, but I'm stuck at the point where I need to start to put ink on them. It's sort of like giving your quilt a tattoo, so I'm nervous about it, and need to do some serious planning before I put that pigma pen down on these babies.

They are a mix of blocks from Elly Sienkiewicz, Mary Mannakee quilt, and other places along the way.

I used picasa to stitch a "virtual" quilt together. I basically just took 1 photo of each block and picasa threw the above image together in nothing flat. Will probably use some sort of sash once blocks are really coming together, but cute to see them all lined up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

On wait!

Alright, after great research, I managed to figure out how to get Kinokuniya books to order me a copy of Chuck's book, 300-dear-Jane-ish blocks. Wondering how long it will take to get my copy, but good it isn't here yet as so many projects on my plate right now.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cherry blossoms

Here's a TINY cherry blossom that I made with the clover plastic template. I tacked it onto that humbug bag, just to spice it up a bit. Too much fun. Super tiny. I think I need to practice some more, and that maybe non-solids will look better, as solids show any and all imperfections.

My Japanese friend, Nancy, has turned me onto this awesome web site, where a quilter has decided to make all 300 blocks by Chuck Nohara in traditional Japanese fabrics. These blocks are sort of an extremely detailed Japanese version of the Dear Jane blocks. Wow - how pretty.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tiny Peacers

Yesterday, my small quilt group met at our house. We are called The Tiny Peacers, because we all love detailed quilting, hand work, and applique.

It was the most fun I've had in a while. The girls brought their projects, and showed them off. Some of them really have been busy lately. A couple of them have started to make Dear Jane blocks, so my hat is off to them for starting down the slippery slope.

I also found this cool web site, when I did a google search for Kumiko Fujita - which I think has some pretty cool JP quilt examples....

This bib is something I did in Photoshop, but I think a real live one would be fun to make too.

Friday, March 9, 2007

First Day of the Rest of my Life

When I was a kid, my dad would always tell us that today, is the first day, of the rest, of your life.

Well, yesterday I resigned from my job of 7 years, in order to move on to another company also still in high tech.

Today was my first day not working. I have a little time off before I start the new job. I'm so excited and thrilled to spend some extra time with my favorite little person (baby?). Now that he's 18 months old, or he will be tomorrow actually, it hardly seems like we have a baby on our hands.

It's very strange to have left behind so many friends, but I don't really plan to lose any of them, so that is the good part I guess.

So, above is an amazing quilt that was given to me by the mom of one of my great friends I met through working with a team of Japanese co-workers. This girl is so amazing, and her mom gave me a TON of incredible quilted items. This wall hanging is for girl's day, I think. Hopefully I have that right.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


This is a quick test of my "BSR" - or Bernina Stitch Regulator. My husband says BSR sounds like a big bad videogame boss he needs to beat.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Turning 50

Who knew when I started this blog that I would shortly be on my 50th post. Well, here it is.

Fittingly, I put up a picture of my new humbug bag, that I made out of a single 8 inch pineapple block made on my new Bernina 440 QE sewing machine.

I don't have a lot of time to play with it, but am hoping to get more eventually.

Zippers! Purses, bags, need zippers! I love metal zippers by Clover. Not sure of the best web site to get them, but still looking.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

At Last!

It's here.

The Bernina is here!

I have been wanting to get a new sewing machine for I don't know how many years, so it is incredible and exciting, and I have been staying up way too late playing around with it.

I was reading the paper this morning, and there was an article about Fall Fashion Week in NYC. It seems colors are muted taupes (nice) and looks are sleek instead of fluffy. Sounds good to me, I guess I'm in style this season already.

I wonder when the next Project Runway will be back on TV. I never watch TV, but I cannot miss a single episode of that show. What amazing sewers!

Friday, March 2, 2007


When our son gets excited, hey says "Woahhhhhhh!!!!!!" Which is so utterly adorable.

I had one of those amazing days today, so I think I will say that word a couple of times myself. Who knows where to go from here, but more details on my day at a later date. I'll just leave it at Woahhhhhhh for now.

So have you heard of this company called Decole? Their products are insanely cute. I must find a way to get some here in the states. Any ideas? Help!!! I want some!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2007


When I get myself into a situation where I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do, and there's a lot of uncertainty....and on top of that, the situation is pretty life changing...I start to get butterflies in my tummy.

They are pretty much there all the time. If I eat, if I don't eat. If I sleep, if I don't sleep. Sometimes it creeps up into my head. Headache butterflies, I guess I'll call them.

Not sure how long they will stick around this time, but anyhow, at least until tomorrow. Probably longer.

For the most part, I enjoy change, but in general I get attached to people and relationships, so that is always the hard part for me.

Well, enough about that.

The humbug bag above is a gift to my traveling friend Julie, who can put her little goodies in it while traveling the universe. I did another practice yo yo heart and tacked it on there. Oh so cute.

Even though the present time is a bit crazy and uncertain for me, I look to the past to remember people have survived much worse and larger things. Reproduction fabrics inspire me to calm down and take a deep breath.