Sunday, December 28, 2008

The road is paved with good intentions

Looking back on 2008, I did have a humble list of 10 things I resolved to do during the year.

If I only accomplished 60% of them, am I operating at less than passing marks?

Maybe I'll implement a bell curve and say that I am doing OK since most people completely ignore their New Year's resolutions.

Either way, here's how I stack up.

2008 Resolutions and status report:

1. Devote more time and energy to our family (my favorite thing to do, this one is a gimme).
Status: Done. Duh, I produced a baby! If that doesn't cover the energy part, I don't know what does.

2. Finish my sister’s
Dear Jane Dear Hannah wedding quilt (this will be a HUGE stretch)
Status: Pathetic. I will admit I hardly touched it all year, sorry sis. You were bumped for the baby quilts (above). You know that's a much higher calling.

3. Fine tune my humble little blog, have a freebee section of patterns and handful of some small things in a little shop section.
Status: Done. My amazing husband even helped me register a domain for my blog,
www.quiltotaku.com, which I have aspirations to flesh out this year. Gosh, I feel another resolution coming on. I have so many ideas!

4. Write in permanent ink on my Baltimore album quilt blocks.
Status: Zilch. I am still too chicken to write on my blocks. Maybe I'll get up the
moxie soon.

5. Hit the gym more.
Status: Sad, but can I pull the "I was pregnant" excuse and promise to repent in 2009?

6. Do something special for our house that it well deserves (new light fixtures? Paint the scary ugly kitchen?)
Status: Done. New light fixtures help out a lot.

7. Become a certified quilt appraiser
Status: Getting there. I realized it takes several years before you can get certified, so I'm well on my way by having appraised many quilts this year.

8. Attend at least 2 major quilt shows, photograph them, and post comprehensive flickr sets for all to all enjoy
Status: Done.

9. Be more green: seek out a
CSA source for our family, grow more of our own food in the garden, and make an effort to buy locally as much as possible.
Status: Done. We used Two Small Farms all season, and are already signed up for next year. This was one of the highlights of 2008 for me.

10. In another environmentally friendly vein - Keep my over 10 yr old, 115K+ mile, beloved car even though it’s totally impractical doesn’t have a trunk and only holds 4 people.
Status: Done. I have even been known to happily cram my husband and two kids in there with me on rare occasion.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And to all, a good night!

Santa was good to us all this year. Hope your holiday season is peaceful.

My other holiday wish for you is that you sneak in some time to quilt!

This is a photo of my little Sonny Angels, I couldn't resist picking up a Santa from their holiday collection.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums

Gifts are wrapped.

Holiday meal was done a day early in order to catch friends going out of town, and was a huge hit.

Handmade ornaments are delivered to the beautiful kids next door.

All we need is Christmas itself now.

Please accept my humble thanks for reading along tonight as always, and have an amazing Christmas this year.

Warmest wishes,
Marisa

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Handmade baby gift

Yesterday I got a little knit cap in the mail from my quilting friend Diana, for our baby boy. It is the first ever cap that she has knitted. Wow, so super cute! It was the nicest thing I've gotten in the mail in a long time.

How special that my son is the lucky one to get to wear it on his sweet little head. Thanks Diana!

If you are just looking to relax for a couple moments, I would HIGHLY recommend taking a break from all your rushing around to view this awesome quilting video by Lauren of My Aunt June blog.

It's one of my favorite posts out there, and I really love her style of quilting. So modern, and done on machine. Not my usual cut of tea, since I prefer to quilt by hand, but the results are so beautiful that I just have to try it.

Hope we can squeeze some ice skating in before Christmas is here. I'm already feeling very merry.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What are you wearing?

What are you out there wearing for the holiday this year? Found a perfect little top that is oh so very cute to wear on New Year's Eve?

I'm hooked on LAMade, Michael Stars (picked up a new top to wear on Christmas by him), Splendid (got my best friend a little jacket thingy by them for Christmas, thank goodness she doesn't read my blog), and Ogle (my New Year's shirt from here!).

As you can tell from the above, the hand made ornaments are almost done.

If you decide to make them too, and also want to start a tradition of making them every year - a couple of things I've learned along the way:

- Use at least 1 solid fabric, or some fabric with decent white space where you can write the name of the owner on the ball with your pigma pen.

- Be sure to write the year on there too. It's fun to look back at past years.

- Something I didn't do off the bat, but should have - if you are giving these to kids every year, then write their age on there as well, so they can pick them up in later years and say - wow, 2008, I was 3 years old back then!

- Make a note of how long of a silk ribbon you use on top, you'll want to use the same size next year so the collection looks good. If you give them all away, you might not remember how long it was.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Handmade Christmas Ornaments - year 4

For the 4th year in a row, I am making my own Christmas ornaments.

This year instead of making 5 of them, (kids next door, and my son) I'm making 6!

One for the new baby of course. I can hardly believe he is already three months old. Time is flying too quickly for me with this new baby.

If you want to see pictures/posts from previous years, please feel free to check them out.

I use Jinny Beyer's book on Patchwork Puzzle Balls, and include a silk ribbon on top to be the hanger on the tree. I only stuff them with 100% cotton which I also order from Jinny's web site. This stuff is great, makes the balls really firm, and stands up over time very very well. It works for anything you want to stuff actually, not just Christmas ornaments.

More photos soon of course when I finish them. For some reason, I'm obsessed with making all my Christmas quilt projects with 1930's repro's. I just love the antique look of them in combination with the holidays. It's a very different twist on Christmas.

This year I am even using some real 1930's fabric - feed sack - in one of the balls. Think the kid will appreciate that her fabric is almost 100 years old? Um...probably not. I do though.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quilt Top Mania - More!


Yes, the answer to my last post was "C" - blocks are antiques, and I used other repro's to put sashing on them. Working with other people's quilt blocks is always a challenge especially when said blocks are no where near square.

I'm still pushing my way through my stacks of quilt blocks and making them into tops. The above quilt top was also just completed last week and includes my collection of Oakshott fabrics that I have been working with lately. They are beautiful and very easy to work with.

Now the work to baste and back the little tops in preparation for quilting will start. Have you ever worked with Ecology Cloth? I'm curious to know, why is it different/better than regular muslin? Any tips for me? My local quilt shop didn't carry it, so I suppose I'll be picking some up online.

Who out there has worked with it before? I need the inside scoop!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quilt Top Mania

You know I love quilt blocks as much as the next person, however, isn't it a lot nicer to have a quilt?

I am on a rampage to 'bust' my blocks, get rid of these little pieces of individual fabric, and whip them up with their friends to form quilt tops.

Can you tell me the date the above quilt top was made? Vote for the answer you think is real:

a) This quilt top is antique, made circa 1890, and was bought by Marisa and photographed for her blog.

b) This quilt top was made yesterday by Marisa, she used reproduction fabrics.

c) This quilt top is made from antique blocks Marisa bought from Cindy's Antiques, and she used reproduction fabrics as sashing since all the blocks were crazy different sizes and would otherwise not have fit into the same quilt.

d) This quilt top is not made of any Japanese fabrics, so I refuse to vote!

And if you've ever dreamed of being in New York City for Christmas (which I have only had the pleasure of doing 1 time in my life) then check out Cindy's blog - Quaint Handmade - AWESOME photos of the holiday window displays there. Thanks Cindy!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Doll Quilt in plaids

Kathie of Inspired by Antique Quilts blog sent me a pre-cut out little quilt to be whipped together.

I could not resist these little blocks calling to me and brought my sewing maching out to turn them into a mini quilt.

Thanks a million Kathie! I LOVE the fabrics and putting them together has really be fun.

Lately my tummy has been craving an 'adult' doughnut from Dynamo. I've never had one.

Do you think I'm crazy to want to drive 1 hour for a $2.50 Maple-Bacon flavored doughnut? Maybe I've lost my mind.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NO THANK YOU, Thanksgiving!

Have you ever had such bad tummy troubles that you stayed in bed for the next 3 days and even 5 days afterwards still did not feel 100% like yourself?

If so, then you know why my Thanksgiving this year was what I will just call "less than fun" in order to spare you the juicy details.

The only thing nice about it was that my folks helped take care of the boys while I was down for the count.

Wondering what Christmas gift to get for the the quilter that has everything in your life?

How about a pair of scissors by Bagsmith? Made in France, with handles that look like the Eiffel Tower (or a bunny...or even mother of pearl!)....who wouldn't want a pair to just slip into their applique bag?!

Yarn balls above are from Purl Soho's Koigu yarn collection which I picked up when I was recently at their warehouse in Tustin, California. I met Jennifer Hoverson (sister of Joelle), co-owner of Purl. I must say that Jennifer is even more beautiful and lovely than her fabrics and yarns.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Mommy, Gramma has a big big huge chicken!"

In the U.S. today is Thanksgiving, which means lots of turkey and goodies to eat.

My son woke me up this morning saying that his grandmother had just put a really big chicken in the oven. Boy oh boy did that 'giant chicken' (turkey) taste good.

Thanks for playing along with the guess that quilt date. Caron of Michigan Quilts! Blog, as well as Una of Samsy Blog hit the nail on the head regarding the quilt on my last post. It was from 1890 - well done ladies.

If you are still awake enough after eating all that turkey, and you want to chill out and watch some very cool videos, check out these posted by Keith Loutit. He is a photographer out of Australia, and puts together amazing and beautiful stop-action / time lapse videos using a still camera with a tilt-shift lens. It makes the subjects look like miniatures even though they are full life-sized. My favorite one is the 2nd link, "The North Wind Blew South."

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Date That Quilt" Game

This afternoon I visited the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California.

They have an awesome exhibit there right now called "American Quilts: Two Hundred Years of Tradition," and it runs through March 15, 2009. If you have the chance to see it, I would very highly recommend it.

As I walked through the exhibit, I did not look at any of the dates on the info signs next to the quilts. Instead, I tried to guess the year the quilt was made by using the knowledge I have gained during my quilt appraisal studies.

For most of the quilts, I was able to date them with 10 years of the date the museum had posted. A couple of them I was a bit off, but it was the solid fabrics that threw me. I'm still learning to identify the dyes used during various time periods.

The log cabin above was especially attractive. That setting is so pretty and the quilt was just striking in person.

Any of you care to guess what date it was made? I know it's tough with the picture being so dark. Hint - fabrics are all silks.

In other news, my sister just gave me this crazy pretty "binky bling" pacifier clip for the baby. It is made of Swarovski crystal and is the cutest baby gift I think I've ever seen. Perfect for the baby that has everything. I think I'll turn it into a scissor leash or something after he gives up the binky.

Friday, November 21, 2008

120 Original Embroidery Designs by Yoko Saito

It's rare that I would actually run (not walk) to a book store to get a copy of a book, but this is one of those times.

Today I got my copy of 120 Original Embroidery Designs by Yoko Saito and it literally blew my socks off.

ISBN978-4-529-04653-4 for those of you who just HAVE to get your own copy. I special ordered it from Kinokuniya and they got it for me within one week!

Not since I picked up Ms. Saito's Taupe Applique book have I been this excited.

In this book Yoko Saito combines quilted applique and piecing techniques along with embroidery details to create projects that are out of this world.

Themes are beautifully represented in various motifs including numbers, alphabet, musical notes, botanicals, a desk top tape dispenser (adorable - go figure!), and the cutest little airplane you've ever seen. Of course final projects are purses, and small boxes, but patterns could be used on any quilt you can imagine.

Need I mention again that I'm in LOVE with this book?

Oh, and to top off this incredible week, I won a quilt kit over at Kathie's blog, which I have mentioned before - Inspired by Antique Quilts. Having never won anything before, I'm really walking on clouds. I think they are taupe-colored ones!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

House Applique Quilt - more blocks on the way


Been busy in the evenings (after bed time) putting a few more house blocks together. Think I only have 3 more to stitch up at this point.

Somebody asked me to give a link about the little dolls that helped me wind up my yarn in a couple of posts ago - more info here, but in Japanese only...sorry! They are called Sonny Angels.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a little tiny acorn necklace from this Etsy seller - Contrary - Oh so very cute. Could be a good place to snag some Christmas gifts or something.

Hope all your weeks are off to a very quilty start!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

House Quilt - applique by hand

House quilts have a special place in my heart. I love the traditional red and white antique versions.

The one I decided to make is a more modern version. Remember those Oakshott fabrics I picked up? Well, since I didn't have a lot of them, I cut enough house blocks to make a small 16 block quilt.

The blocks come together quickly. I'm doing them all by hand, using freezer paper.

I cut out the freezer paper in the shape of the house by tracing it, then iron the waxy side of it to the right side of the fabric that will become the 'house'. After that, just pin it on the backing fabric, and turn the edges under as you go around using a blind applique stitch.

Easy as pie.

My favorite thread is YLI's #100, 100% silk thread. It is so thin that you really cannot see it in the finished block. Use the thread color of the house, not the background, or a taupe color if you don't have the right color at hand.

And if you haven't seen Kathie's house block on her Inspired by Antique Quilts Blog, take a quick click over, it's awesome. Very repro-looking but could also pass for Japanese Taupe as well. Cool!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hamburger Helper is not "Helpful"


In an act of desperation, and by special request of my favorite 3 yr old, I made Hamburger Helper for dinner for the first time.

Why do they call it "Helper" when it takes a perfectly delicious pound of ground beef and makes it quite icky. Even our 3 yr old refused to eat it. Smart kid.

Today was our 2 month appointment with the baby and he got his fair share of shots. He was contently sleeping off the pain so I decided to visit Green Planet Yarn in Campbell, California.

I must say that the owner of this shop was not only the most friendly and kind person I have met in ages, but she was not bothered one tiny bit when I walked into her shop with a bouncy 3 yr old and a ScreamingAtTheTopOfHisLungs 2 month old. She literally held the baby bottle while I signed my credit card slip.

If you are in the bay area, go there - take a class - buy some yarn - needles - whatever! This shop is sweet, friendly, and I for one will be back there.

Oh, and the photo above is a little collage of the photos I used on my LuLu calendar. Cool site, but a bit disappointing that they don't have a photo preview for calendars.

Monday, November 10, 2008

2009 Quilt Otaku Calendar - published on LuLu

After booking a bunch of doctor appointments for the new baby in 2009, and having some cool events to pencil in on the new year calendar, I decided to create a Quilt Otaku 2009 calendar to keep track of all the important dates.

It came in the mail today from LuLu and is so very beautiful in its huge 13.5" x 19" stunning full color. Their printing services are really high quality. I am actually pretty impressed.

Just in case you want your own copy, I make it public and accessable through this button.

Support independent publishing: buy this calendar on Lulu.

The best part is that it has a lot of space, so if you're busy or have a lot of family events to write in, you'll be all set.

Pictures are all taken by me, and include photos of quilt projects, some knitting things in progress, and other pretty sewing things/creature comforts.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

MeMe

Posie Gets Cozy had this adorable and super short MeMe so I just have to chime in, I cannot resist. Feel free to play along if the spirit moves you.

I was going to use my yarn swift to make some neat little yarn balls this weekend but I decided to delegate the job to these little helpers. I will admit that I crave more of them as they made fast work of the yarn.

Also, I wanted to share some cool modern art that is showing at the Stanford Cantor Art's Center, and a web site that is very pretty for your weekend viewing pleasure: Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

Here goes my MeMe (allowing 1 word answers only, according to the challenge):

Where is your mobile phone? Which
Where is your significant other? Laundry
Your hair colour? Brown
Your mother? Far
Your father? Photographing
Your favourite thing? Babysmell
Your dream last night? Optimistic
Your dream goal? Sleep
The room you're in? Disorganized
Your hobby? Quilting
Your fear? Underbedmonsters
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
Where were you last night? Mexican
What you're not? Patient
One of your wish-list items? Kitchen
Where you grew up? Burbs
The last thing you did? Nurse
What are you wearing? T-shirt
Your TV? Off
Your pets? Not
Your computer? Seductive
Your mood? Thirsty
Missing someone? Sister
Your car? 12
Something you're not wearing? Shoes
Favourite shop? Anthropologie
Your summer? Rockin
Love someone? Many
Your favourite colour? Taupepurple
When is the last time you laughed? A
When is the last time you cried? D

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Home Made Halloween Costume - astronaut


By special request of my friend Joachim, here's a picture of our tiny 3 yr old astronaut on Halloween. I made the pants and shirt, and bought the helmet from Amazon.

I got some cool patches from the Kennedy Space Center and put them on there also, but you cannot see them in this picture - I think the helmet is covering them for some reason.

Also, the results of the "Quilt Block Election" are in....looks like Nine Patch is the winner. It's such a fun and easy block. Log Cabin was a close second.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

As Al Capone recommended...Vote Early, Vote Often.

Personally, I did the former by sending my vote in through the mail ages ago. Looking forward to my friend Julie's election party later tonight.

Personally, I would love to hold my own little blog-election. Please comment and vote!

If you could make only 1 quilt pattern for the rest of your life...using whatever fabrics you like...what pattern would it be?

Let's see who would get elected. Personally, I have to vote for the 9 patch.

Three cheers for democracy. On a day like today, I'm thankful for those who have come before us to create and defend it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bulky Yarn and Purl Soho in Orange County

We took an extended trip to Orange County, California in order to get to know my sister's new baby girl. She is a living doll, and meeting her was an amazing life experience. Definitely in my top 10. I'm an Aunt!

A happy side effect of being down in that neck of the woods was a visit to Purl Soho's warehouse and the accidental meeting of Jen Hoverson (co-owner, and sister of Joelle Hoverson). What a very nice girl she is and so accomplished for her age, she looks like she's hardly out of high school, so pretty.

I am still sticking with my story that I don't know how to knit, but I was not able to resist picking up some more yarn. This "Bulky" yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas knit up a kid-scarf in no time at all, with only 2 balls of yarn in "Curry" color.

Our 3 yr old loves it and even had it on in the house yesterday.

As the Purl warehouse is one of my favorite, if not my most favorite, places to shop...there were of course many other items that found their way home with me. I know, the suspense is killing you, right?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo to You!

All I can say is a quick BOO and Happy Halloween to you all.

I have kids to dress, and candy to give out. Hope you all have a great one this year.

And Oh Yes, I did make my son's costume again this year (last year was probably better) but he looks so very cute in it. Pictures after the dust clears!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Japanese baby girl quilt - moving ahead!

After several days of feverishly working on the Japanese baby quilt for my sister's beautiful daughter, I finally have all the blocks complete.

Next step is to get them all together, then the bliss of starting to hand quilt can begin.

Some quilters love to make their tops, and send them off to be quilted by somebody with a long arm. I will confess that I love with the quilt is finally ready to be quilted, and think that step is perhaps my favorite part of the process.

Since the end of the growing season is almost here, I have to share a link with you to Stockton and Co. This adorable print of sweet little veggies makes me enjoy all the more our final veggie boxes that will come from our CSA Two Small Farms in the coming weeks.

Without those veggie boxes...I'm wondering what we'll be eating all winter. Dare I mention the words "Frozen Veggies"? You know those are practically curse words in California.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Felted Pumpkin - world's tiniest pin cushion


I created this supertiny felted pin cushion for my friend Marianne, who met me at PIQF again this year.

She knitted THE most adorable booties on earth for our new baby...picture coming soon...and was a complete sweetheart about walking around the show at the snail's pace that characterizes somebody traveling with an infant.

I'm a felting addict now...I'm going to have to make more of these tiny pin cushions.

In the spirit of making my house a complete messy wreck, I spread out the blocks for my sister's baby's quilt again, and am feverishly working on them whenever both boys fall asleep at the same time. That isn't often, but I am making progress here and there. It makes me happy to do anything creative lately.

So is everybody out there as addicted to Etsy as I am? Who are your favorite sellers? Please do share them with me! Here are a few of mine:

Sonatine: Japanese 'cute' fabric
Chocolate Swirl: Mostly Japanese craft books, but other goodies too.
Matatabi: Cute fabrics as well, Love this apple one.
Pippijoe: Adorable fabrics, I have not ordered from here yet, but would love to.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oakshott Fabric


Have any of you smarty pants quilters run into or used Oakshott Fabrics yet in your quilts?

Susan at Sashiko and Other Stitching Blog has used it in a block made from this cool book.

I bumped into it at PIQF at the Pinwheels booth and fell head over heels in love with it. They are solids, and stripe fabrics but have an almost indescribable 'glow' about them. Amazing...true beauty.

After I got it home and washed and ironed it, I just cannot stop running my fingers over it in admiration of it's sheer glimmer and unique glisten.

Unfortunately, Pinwheels only had it available for sale in small packs where the colors were put together for you in a grouping, and you know I really need to pick my own color sets for myself.

So...being the little googler (is that a word?) that I am...I clicked over to their web site on the above link, and found hoards and masses of amazing colors, patterns, and solids.

I emailed them to see what shipping a couple of meters would cost, and within less than 1 day, Michael Oakshott (owner?) emailed back that it would only be just over $12 US.

Perhaps think I can feel another small quilt project coming on soon....maybe with some of this sage color.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More on PIQF 2008

My favorite quilt from the show this year was by Nancy S. Brown, called Pup Art.

All hand applique and hand quilted. I hear she teaches classes at New Pieces in Berkeley. Note to self - enroll sometime soon!

Glad you liked the flickr set of this year's show. Of course I only took pictures of the quilts that I had time to see (given I had my 2 kids with me) as well as the quilts that I really loved. The pictures are by no means a full set of all the quilts at the show.

I also uploaded a flickr set of old photos from last year's show that I loved:

PIQF 2007

and for those who really cannot get enough...

PIQF 2006 and while I'm at it -

PIQF 2005.

And if you can sit through all that, then you'll have felt like you spent the last 4 years at this quilt show. Nuts.

Other shops that I hit on my second day -

Bonnie Blue Quilts: From Katy (outside of Houston) Texas. They have some incredible Civil War reproduction fabrics. My mom got us a pack of their purple fabrics to share. Oh so pretty.

Cindy's Antique Quilts: From Clinton, Oklahoma, Cindy's shop is more of a museum for sale than a shop. Her quilts are MINT and amazing. She has a huge stack of 1850's red and green quilts that will make you want to empty your bank account right then and there. I'm soooo on the brink of putting one on her lay away program. It is awesome-cool that she offers one. Will my will power (do I have any?) prevail?

On a totally different topic -

Hwireroad.org: My wild and crazy bay area best friend, Julie McDonald, is making a journey on her scooter from California to Washington D.C. to meet people and discuss the upcoming presidential election. Her story is quite interesting, even though I must admit I wish she would just come home soon and drive around town in an actual car or something. Check it out if you have time or just cannot get enough of American political issues.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) 2008

We spent a good chunk of the afternoon enjoying opening day of PIQF.

Please see the flickr slide show that I put together for you.

I took a couple of pictures each of some of the quilts I was really in love with, so I need to warn you that there are just over 250 pictures in the show, so watch it while you quilt or something.

The quilt that my sister and I made for my mom with the taupe houses was hanging in all of its glory on the wall (above), in a very good spot actually.

It didn't win a ribbon, which didn't surprise me at all. I was surprised however at some of the awesome quilts that were there and didn't have ribbons, so I was in excellent company.

Most of the vendors that were there had nice things. Some of my favorites included:

Attic Heirlooms: They had tons of beautiful wools, and accessories. I was hugely sucked in by the amazing ladies that worked at the booth - so friendly! as well as their beautiful goods. All the way from Portland, Maine.

Bird Brain Designs: These girls had antique spools for sale at reasonable prices, as well as the usual yummy wools. Why am I so into wool? I think I'm addicted. I cannot stop. This shop was very bad for me! So pretty.

Pinwheels: Duh, taupe fabric central. I didn't visit their booth yet, since time was limited, but I'll be heading back tomorrow and checking them out in person. Cannot wait!! My buddy Holly who I ran into said it was awesome, of course.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Midnight quilt sleeve

Does it make sense to stay up until midnight putting a sleeve on the back of my quilt just so that I can actually get it into PIQF?

Good idea or not, it seemed the only time I could find to actually prep my quilt for the show. It did actually get delivered on time, 10 min before the cut off to take it there, with the help of my mom and husband (thanks guys).

Whew.

I found this shop in Campbell, California called Recycle Bookstore. They take your books from you and give you cash or store credit.

I have this idea to clean out all my old novels that I've read, take them there and walk away with some more children's books. That's all we read anyhow these days.

With Halloween only around the corner I decided to pick up a book called New Moon. It's all about vampires.

Does it freak me out to read it during 2 am nursing sessions?

Not really. Well, OK, just a little tiny bit. That's the point though, right?

And if you really want to freak people out, try the "zombify" or "blood stain" functions on your family photos at Picnik.

BOO!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nuggets from Heaven


We were wandering through the Apple store last weekend and my husband treated me to an amazing new iPod in purple. I have already established a love affair with it.

As we were leaving the store our 3 yr old saw a chicken nugget laying squashed and abandoned on the floor. His instinctual reaction was of course to eat it.

Luckily we got to him before he got to it, but it was a close call.

The guy behind us exclaimed, "Cool, free food."

Sorry to gross you out, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Oh, and according to the above photo, I was crazy enough to start another chevron scarf, even though I really cannot knit, but I love having something portable that is easy to pick up at any time.

In other cravings...I am LOVING the Civil War Diaries blocks being made by Judy of Quilting with Ragdolls. What beautiful work.

Think that book may find itself into my collection.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pacific International Quilt Festival 2008 - I'm in!!

PIQF is one of the larger quilt shows in the U.S. It is coming up later this month, and they are very picky about what quilts they take into the show.

They have actually already rejected me in past years (boo! Are they nuts?), although they did take 2 of my quilts last year.

Anyhow, this year they accepted the only quilt that I tried to enter, so I AM STOKED!

Come to the show and check out my taupe quilt in person.

It's been just wild lately running all around town, and trying to learn how to leave the house with a 3 year old and a newborn. If my mom were not here helping me, I'd probably be sitting on my couch drooling for the better part of the day.

I just picked up the above shoes for our 3 yr old from ebay, they are by See Kai Run. I am so in love with their shoes. Oh, and the girl versions are really to die for.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1930's Trip Around the World Quilt

Here's a picture of my living room after I got a sleeve on the 30's quilt that I just bought. I think it goes well with the rest of the house and makes a bold graphic statement. Happy little quilt.

I have birds on the brain since I saw Karissa's post at Kitty Kitty Crafts. Her mobile is AWESOME, and she even gave me a link to the pattern. I sooooo have to make one of these. Or 5 of them...

Thanks Karissa for your awesome post, and generally awesome blog.

Also on my brain is Fontifier. You scan in your own hand printed letters and they create a custom font for you. Has anybody tried this? It sounds so cute!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

5 years of bliss



Today is our fifth wedding anniversary.

I must say that it hardly seems like it has been that long. But after all that we've accomplished, it's been a very busy time indeed. My sweet husband is my true love and my hero all rolled into one.

This photo was taken on our wedding day and in truth we were in love then, but are so much more in love now. In love with each other, in love with our little boys, in love with the friends and relatives that support our now 4-member family.

Hopefully we'll be lucky enough to celebrate many more such special days. Tonight we went to Evvia in Palo Alto. It was a splendid meal and I'd recommend it highly to anybody. Excellent and interesting dishes as well as awesome service. Check it out when you are in the neighborhood but leave little ones at home.

I really want to get to this pumpkin patch sometime soon with our boys. I think Uesugi Farms would make for some awesome photo opportunities.

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Front door curtain - Etsuko Furuya fabric

Here's a quick picture of the curtain that is finally finished and on our front door.

I used fabric from Etsuko Furuya that I think I got a Purl Soho, although it's been so long since I bought it that I could have also picked it up on ebay. My memory is certainly not what it used to be back in the day of sleeping through the night!

This afternoon I just got the 30's repro quilt hung in our living room. It looks pretty cool. I'll have to grab some pictures of it during the day tomorrow so you can check it out. A bit on the bright side but still very pretty.

What's the highlight of your Wednesday evening? Well, for me....tonight...it's the episode of Project Runway where they pick the final 3 designers that will show at fashion week. I'm not really a TV person, but I'm a huge junkie for this show and can hardly wait another couple of hours until it airs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Alden Lane Nursery Quilting in the Garden 2008


This afternoon we had the treat of attending the Alden Lane Nursery Quilting in the Garden event in Livermore, California.

It turned out to only be about a thirty minute drive from our house, and we didn't run into any traffic, so it was a breeze to get there.

Tons of quilts were hung up over the nursery's plants. They put up clothes lines and clothes pins to hold the quilts up. Below you can look at all the amazing plants they have for sale.

This year there was even a little jazz band for entertainment, as well as snacks for lunch and cool drinks. That was a good thing, since it was over 90 degrees out there!

For the kids there was a play area that was seriously cool. They sell play structures, so they have huge ones for 'demo' purposes. Our 3 yr old loved it. They even had a maze made out of hay bales.

I put a little slide show together on Flickr for you to enjoy. Not as good as being there, but it will hopefully be close enough.


Oh, and just ran into the cutest blog ever - Mint Basil. Check it out if you have a sec. I'm jealous of her recycled Japanese newspaper basket.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My ultimate apron



I mostly made this apron because I had bought the fabric ages ago and I was bent on wrapping up a few unfinished projects.

The large piece of the apron is an 1850's repro fabric, and I threw an 30's print on there to serve as a pocket. The pocket is designed around the size of recipe card that I have in recipe note card box, and holds it exactly. I think that's pretty perfect. I also put a little pleated ruffle on there made of out some modern black and white striped fabric.

Fabrics from many different time periods coming together in one project is not always a great idea, but I think I'm sorta getting away with it here.

This weekend is the Alden Lane Nursery Quilt Show. It's just over an hour from our house, but I really want to go. They hang all the quilts out in the beautiful garden and they blow around in the fresh air. Not sure if we will really make it there, but if you have the chance, it is quite cool to check out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reading my way through the house

What do you do when you're nursing?

Well, I'm not talented enough for knitting or quilting, since I need some balance for the baby. Instead I've been catching up on all the magazines that I usually don't really have time to get through.

Ready Made is of course my new favorite.

In the current issue they mention this very cool make your own t-shirt shop in LA called Fresh Pressed. I'd like to stop in there sometime on a future visit. I think even kids would enjoy making their own T's.

KioskKiosk is also featured this month. They are having a Hong Kong theme, so all items are from there, and even have a sale going on right now. They pick up every day items that are cool and useful and offer them on their site. Everything from kite string to a welding mask (who doesn't need one of these?).

Oh, and above is a photo of the birthday crown on my husband's adorable head. He's so sweet to like my funky projects! I think he makes a darn cute model too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Psycho Sew


First of all, a HUGE thanks to all of you for your sweet and kind comments about the new baby.

We are still having so much fun with our new little Daxton, and he has easily stolen all our hearts. Even our 3 yr old is in love.

All it took was a little nudge in the right direction, and I had a crazy list of low hanging fruit projects I could easily finish.

Here's my wild list of all the things I decided to finally put to bed:

1) Sew up feedsack pillow for the booth (done, see above in all it's glory). Handy to tuck under an elbow for nursing comfort.

2) Finish apron that I bought fabric for ages ago (done).

3) Sew 34 stars on husband's birthday crown (done).

4) Block chevron scarf - yes, it's actually done, folks, and I was crazy enough to start another one in blue. Can only block half of it at a time due to it being long, and my ironing board being the spot of choice.

5) Fix sad curtain hanging on window of front door with unfinished edges (done, thanks for shaming me into it, Katie).

6) Finish making table runner for dining room table out of reclaimed kimono fabric (half done).

7) Put sleeve on newly acquired 1930's trip around the world quilt (off to work on that now if I don't pass out first).

I think all of this means that I'm starting to finally feel a bit more like myself these days. Recovery from having a baby is still a slow process, but I think I've started down the path at least.

Oh, and if you are ever in San Jose, California, I must encourage you to check out Flower Flour for breakfast, lunch, or snack. They make some incredible baked goodies, lunch yummies, and a very mean latte. Bonus that I can walk there in about 5 min.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The place where it all happens


Is there one single spot in your house where all the excitement seems to happen?

In our family it is without a doubt our booth.

When we got it we were thinking it would be handy for breakfast, but it has become the hang out spot for dinner, reading, naps (if you can believe that!), and even small quilt group sessions.

I started a small doll quilt wall behind the booth, and still trying to make more quilts to go up. I just remembered a tiny 1850's basket quilt that I picked up ages ago at an antique shop, and it has the perfect colors to join the rest of the grouping.

Tonight I took some 30's feedsack fabric and started a pillow cover for a small throw pillow that will go in the corner.

What part of your house do you end up living in the most?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New baby bliss

What could be better than having a newborn baby in the house?

Hmmm, let me think here...um, yeah, nothing better.

Tomorrow is Daxton's 1 week birthday, and it's hard to believe he's been here that long. It also happens to be my husband's birthday as well.

He'll be 1768 weeks old.

My big online splurges for the week include adorable nursing tank tops for both me and my sister by Larrivo, and birth announcements ordered from Tiny Prints.

It's beginning to look a lot like baby!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Our baby is here!


Finally the wait is over.

Our little one has arrived and is just like an angel. We named him Daxton.

8 lbs 8 oz of love and affection. He's so sweet tempered and adorable that the family is crawling over each other just to get to hold him for a few moments.

Labor was short and as comfortable as one could hope for although at times it was certainly hard. It's always nice to have a supportive and comforting husband along for the tough parts.

Thanks to all of you for your happy thoughts leading up to the big event....all your well-wishes seem to have come true.

More news of our adventures with him soon. We all pretty much feel like we've won the lottery around here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our little boy is 3!


Yesterday our son turned 3.

It was a great day, and we all had a lot of fun. I even snuck a little nap in with him, which was a huge highlight.

I decided to make him a birthday crown after flipping through some of the projects that Amanda recommends in her book The Creative Family.

In my usual fashion, I didn't follow the letter of the law instructions. I used some twill tape instead of elastic to close it. I figured with the growth rate of my son's head, it would be safer to have it more adjustable, rather than less.

Also, I loaded up some glow in the dark thread and did a bit of thread painting so it would glow at bedtime.

He ran around all day in it, and was very proud of the fact that he helped me make it.

It was such a huge hit my husband asked me to make one for his birthday. I was not expecting that, but was very honored to make another one and he looks adorable in it too. I have yet to cut out all 34 stars to put on there for him. I think I can probably do it though before his birthday next week.

That crazy floating baby widgit started counting up the more overdue I become. Thank goodness the baby will be here soon, and pregnancy will be water under the bridge.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Becoming an Aunt

Today my darling little sister gave birth to our brand new niece.

The delivery was quick although (direct quote from my sis) "not fun". Mom and baby are as healthy and happy as can be. Personally I think this little girl is the cutest I've ever seen on a 1" by 1" cel phone screen, and I cannot wait to hold her/meet her. We will travel to visit as soon as our little one is here and able.

Note to self: Better finish that baby girl's quilt!

Our baby has yet to arrive, but the above amazing cross stitch is a gift for him from a family friend who does such awesome detailed work that it is a great honor to hang it on our nursery walls.

Also, if you haven't yet read Jennifer's post at Moving Hands about her brush with fame - Read: Meeting Yoko Saito in person!! - do check it out. I so wish I was there in person, I would just do anything to meet her.

Are you wondering as to what the floating baby widgit will do after my due date comes and goes, and the baby is late? Will there be some giant red warning sign flashing "Danger! Could arrive at any moment!" or something? I for one am curious...guess I won't have to wonder much longer.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Japanese baby quilt, boy version: finished

Days of hand quilting: 17

Yards of thread: way too many to keep track of

Viewings of movie The Holiday: 2 (one with directory commentary)

Quilting needles: 8

Used finger cots: 20

Having a baby quilt done before the owner arrives: Priceless

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Quilts Japan #124 - the Yoko Saito issue

I cannot help but do a quick post about the issue of Quilts Japan that I just picked up.

It's issue #124, September 2008, and is completely packed with photos of the work of Yoko Saito (including cover shot). All of her work is done with Japanese taupe fabrics.

Patterns include bags, table cover, place mats, tea cozy in shape of cat, book covers, bed quilts, wall quilts, lamp cover, and even a cover for your house keys.

Could this be my most favorite issue ever? It's up there, for sure.

Cannot live without an issue of your own? Call Kinokuniya and subscribe!! They are willing to mail out subscriptions, which I think is very cool.

p.s. no baby yet!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nani Iro fabrics


Looks like the waiting game continues here for me, and our little could-come-anytime-soon bundle of joy, with this being basically the -10 day mark.

Our first son was a whole week late, so I'm not expecting any amazing early arrivals, although in this heat, I certainly would not mind a slightly early or on time delivery!

Please think a happy 'be born soon' thought for both me and my sister's little ones, if you have a spare moment.

I have fallen head over heels in love with Nani Iro's fabric designs and plan on using the pink fabric shown above on the baby quilt for my sister's little girl, as border.

I'm not the only one with Nani Iro on the brain...check out Moving Hands for more pictures/ideas. Mari used the pattern book to whip some dresses together that have also been on my mind for a while. I'm still too chicken to make garments, but these creations are pushing me to the brink of trying my hand at it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

35

Does 35 sound old to you?

Well, it does a bit to me, but I suppose I've earned it.

My family is gingerly helping me enter the 2nd half of my 30's by spoiling me in all sorts of ways. My little sister will turn 30 tomorrow, (our birthdays are only 1 day apart) and because we are both pregnant it turns out that we couldn't travel in order to be together this year. I do miss her.

Hopefully all you hip youngster bloggers won't give up on reading my little blog here now that I'm too old to qualify for the AQS Young Quilt Designer's award. And to the rest of you who have already made it past your 35th birthday, I'm right there with ya!

I came up with the cable above for use in the star portion of the baby quilts. I don't think I'll be using trapunto, since the quilts will be used by babies after all, but I'm tempted to do a little bit of it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Let loose at the book store


I went a bit nuts in the magazine section last night at the book store.

I basically bought whatever magazines that were calling out to me, in order to gain some cheap thrills while I have some extra reading time on my hands.

The latest copy of Milk Magazine (fashion and style for kids) with English text included - who knew they offered this version?! - was calling out to me, so of course I took it home with me.

Artful Blogging Magazine also found its way home with me. Having this magazine in my hot little hands feels like a yearbook of sorts for all the lovely blogs I read on a regular basis. Represented here are pieces by Amanda from Soule Mama, Jude of Spirit Cloth, and many many others.

Ready Made was the last magazine to jump into my basket. I am going to subscribe to this one right away. So many DIY projects, ideas, and inspirational photos here. Current issue for Aug/Sept 08 has an antique sewing machine on the cover.

And for the pleasure of you uber-quilting-smartie-pants-nerds out there (like you, Amy) here's what I did after I washed the paper off of the baby quilt top:

1) Took the above photo since the light through the wet quilt made it look like stained glass
2) Hung it up to dry a bit since it was SOAKING WET...waited about 4 hours...
3) Put it on my ironing board and 'pressed it' (did NOT 'iron' it by running iron all over it, just pressed the iron down on each of the blocks)
4) Held it up, and said, gee, that's still pretty square - cool! I'll end up blocking it after it's quilted if it needs it.
5) Basted it by hand with batting and backing
6) Put in in my hoop and started to hand quilt it 'by the piece' which means you quilt lines just inside every seam where each piece is sewn to another piece.
7) FYI, looking good so far!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Going for the Gold

video

Visiting uncharted territory here, with embedded video. Did it work? For a self-admitted-techno-geek, I'm not sure why I'm scared to try this.

It's a clip of me washing away the paper from the back of the quilt. Oh so much faster/easier than picking off the non-wash away type.

One thing I did discover this time around - if you use it while working with very dark fabrics (see border!) you can end up with a hefty amount of lint afterwards on the darks, so wash well!

Couple of cute Olympic stories from our almost 3 yr old:

When he was watching swimming for the first time (which he LOVES) he was asking us why the swimmers didn't have their daddies in the pool!

Last night at swim lessons he decided to push off the wall backwards into the pool, just like the backstroke racers do. It was adorable, I cannot believe he came up with that all on his own.

By the way, do you have this stamp set by Yellow Owl yet? I really want both of them. That would so fall under the category of naughty/greedy shopping for self. Ah, temptation....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Maryann's Peace tomato


A friend from work gave me a Maryann's Peace tomato plant several months ago, and this is the first fruit to come off that plant. I cannot wait to eat it, I doubt it will last another couple of hours. Salt, pepper, basil, balsamic vinegar...mmmmmm!

I was just reading a copy of AQS Blanket Statements (recycled from my mom's quilting friend) and noticed a couple of very cool things.

First, there is a new International Quilt Study Center that just opened in Lincoln, Nebraska. I would love to visit there, and would be scared of the amount of time I could spend in their library.

Next, there was the mention of a very interesting book that I haven't yet run into along the way: Childhood Treasures, Doll Quilts By and For Children. No idea if any of the doll quilt swappers have based their patterns on the quilts from this book, but it looks incredible.

An on a totally different topic, I bumped into this Etsy shop called Tinctory. This necklace is so awesome. I have not played around with smocking, but would certainly love to take a class someday. Until then, I will drool over the Tinctory creations.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dear Dad's birthday. This is an old picture of him with his beloved Jag. I think he had to marry my mother because it was so unreliable he needed her to rescue him all the time.

Hope your day is great Dad, so sorry that I'm not there with you to celebrate in person. Maybe next year, when I'm less pregnant and more travel-friendly!!

I love you!
-Marisa