Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Help - I need MORE FABRIC!!

I seriously 'need' more fabric like a kick in the teeth, but I cannot help but wanting some of this amazing Japanese "Hawaiian" fabric.

Having walked right past a table full of it last year when I was in the Yuzawaya in Tokyo, I am a bit dissapointed in myself for not scooping up a piece or two.

I thought, hm... that's interesting...what would I ever do with it? So now I know what I want to do with it, and I have a little quilt in mind, but cannot figure out how to get these shipped to the states. I emailed the Kinkame company, but no reply. (Was using English a bad idea?)

Any kind advice for me, brainiacs?? Help out a fellow fabric addict!

For those of you who live in the promise land of amazing fabrics (AKA Japan), and You know who You are...I hope you have a big stash of these and use them all the time.

Photo above of the Noro yarn that I'm going to try to make into a hat. Oh how my knitting skills are lacking!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A visit to Felton

What a wild and busy weekend.

We visited Roaring Camp Railroad, in Felton, California, for the annual visit by Thomas the choo choo. He's a celeb in our house. We took a nice ride on an enclosed train car up through the trees and it was very pretty.

It looked like there might be some good trails to hike there too. Perhaps worth a look around on foot, when I'm not so pregnant!

The highlight for me was visiting Luminous Threads afterwards. Oh, the yarns in that shop! I could not resist...I ended up with a really pretty ball of it by this Japanese company called Noro.

The shop owner is so very sweet, I really enjoyed the adorable warm space she has created, and wish I lived a bit closer so I could actually take some knitting classes and learn to use all this yarn I've been collecting. I picked up some fabric too, by Amy Butler, perhaps for use in making some pencil rolls.

I think my pregnant self is more apt to buy random things for a 'someday' project than my non-pregnant self.

Was also reading a bit about Ink and Spindle - a coming soon shop that prints their own textiles and will be more than happy to help you do the same. Never visited Seattle before...hm...this is my naughty self dreaming of travel again. I'm off to give myself a little slap on the wrist. (If you live there though, please check it out, it looks soooooooooo cool!!)

Ahh...edit here - I&S is in AUSTRALIA - not Seattle - boo! My brain is in a very sad state. Will be a bit tougher for me to just 'stop by'!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yoko Saito book bliss

My book by Yoko Saito on taupe quilting and Sweden has finally arrived!

I don't spend a lot of time taking photos of books, but this time I just could not resist. The book is cover to cover filled with projects, all 100% of them using Japanese taupe fabrics, including small wall quilts, bags, and even 3D stuffed horses, believe it or not.

A must have for your collection if you're a Yoko Saito wanna be (I'm her biggest fan!).


Also, if you have not seen the dresses that Mari of MariRob blog made yet (from Purl Soho Japanese imported fabric, of course) please check out her post and tell her how beautiful she looks.

Meanwhile I'm dreaming of a day when I can fit into non-maternity clothes. ps. I cannot afford those jeans in case you're wondering. Oh, thank goodness that happy day is becoming more and more near. Something tells me it's going to sneak up on me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Japanese Indigo Quilts

When I lived in L.A. I love a quilt shop called Azabu-Ya. It was on Westwood Blvd. and very close to where I was living while I was working at UCLA.

After I moved away from S. California, the shop closed, but is virtual now and offers tons and tons of beautiful Japanese imports, including some awesome blue and white fabrics.

I'm into the real dark ones including geometrics and flowers. The owner, Mariko, even offers guided quilting vacation trips to Japan.

The above fabric panel is one of many that come as a set. This didn't come from Azabu-Ya, I think I picked it up somewhere else, but it just reminded me of that shop and the fact that I have a billion indigo fabrics just begging to be put in a quilt.

It also makes sort of makes me think of myself playing with my two little sons. Of course, one is still in my tummy, but I'm so looking forward to playing with both of them together. Ah, won't be long now. Only 50 more days, give or take.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Birthday Quilt - almost turning 3 years old

I am not sure I like the ring that the number '3' has to it.

Having a 1 year old or even a 2 year old boy really sounds like you still have a very small little person living with you. Having a 3 year old has a very different feeling in my mind, and I can hardly believe my tiny darling little infant (no longer!) is going to turn 3 very soon.

In preparation for his birthday, and as therapy for me, I I decided to applique the 3rd number block.

Each year, on our son's birthday celebration, I bring out a quilt block with white background and the birthday number appliqued down. All the party participants sign and wish him well. I have enough blocks planned to make a 4 x 4 matrix, of 16 total blocks.

While I was at it, I made a couple more blocks too just to get ahead, since they whip together so quickly. If interested in how I make them, let me know and I'll cover in future posts.

Oh, and other HUGE NEWS! I'm finally getting taken off the Two Small Farms CSA wait list. Let the veggies roll on in.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mary Jane's Farm...and Folk School

Alison Lee (totally rockin' podcaster, BTW) of the podcast called "Craftcast" has very recently posted an interview session with Mary Jane Butters, of Mary Jane's Farm.

If you are not an addict of her magazine already, I highly recommend you check it out. She is an organic farmer who sells all sorts of dry goods that are produced on her farm. She includes in the publication tons of patterns for aprons, needlework, and other totally awesome home-spun type sewing projects. I ADORE this magazine and save all the back issues. Free sewing patterns included and photos in general are super inspirational.

Downloading the pod cast now, literally cannot wait to listen to it, I LOVE Mary Jane's 'farm girl' mojo.

Ok, and a quick question for you - has anybody out there ever visited or heard of the John C. Campbell Folk School? Lots of traditional hands-on classes there, including tons of quilting classes. It looks interesting...I'm curious.

One last thing - if you live in the states, you MUST WATCH PROJECT RUNWAY tomorrow night! Season 5, first episode. These folks can sew anything, people! Best show on TV, imho.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wash Away Foundation Paper for Paper Piecing

Thanks for all the anti-night-time-monster ideas. We may be deploying some or all of your ideas depending on how things go over the next few weeks with our son.

Lots of cool quilt patterns are based on a technique we affectionately call 'paper piecing'. I used this method to create the quilt that I'm using for the blog banner right now. Pattern from this book.

There are options to what paper you can use, but personally, I am a convert to the wash away type.

Non-wash away foundation paper requires you to use a very small stitch length when you are sewing fabric to paper, and just requires that you rip off the paper after you finish the blocks.

I have used this method before, and it works well, but the wash away paper has some cool advantages.

I have found that you don't need to use those super tiny stitches when using it, you can use a normal stitch length. Also, when you are done with your blocks, you just soak them in water, and the paper disappears. This puts no stress at all on your seams, and there is no risk ripping a stitch or of left-over paper sticking around forever in the center of your quilt.

There are a couple versions of wash away paper on the market, but I use "Wash Away foundation paper for paper piecing and machine embroidery" by Dritz. Mentioned before that I got it at Columbia River quilting, but it exists in stores as well.

A word of caution when using any paper piecing method (wash-away, or not) it is very important that you do not use a hot iron to flatten your fabric into place. Because you have run the paper through your computer printer, the ink is likely to bleed out onto your fabric from the foundation paper itself - especially if the fabric is white or light in color.

If you keep a wooden iron (using the flat 'back' end, not the pointy side) at your machine, you can easily fold back the paper with very little fuss.

How did I discover this little gem? Gee...maybe I had to re-make a quilt block or two somewhere along the way. Doh!

Mrs. Schmenkman has a blog post that just floored me. How could a quilting book by Yoko Saito exist that is not yet part of my library? Horrors! Looks like a quick trip to Etsy can remedy that situation. Thank you Mrs. S!

Shells above are from a shell photo study I did for my little sister's new home decor. She loves them - yeah!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paper piecing - diamonds in the rough

I finally got a few blocks together on the Japanese baby quilt - the boy version - in blue.

I love how you not only see the solid stars, but the diamonds of patterned fabrics between then. Can you see them too?

In a panic, I ran out of wash away paper for paper piecing (the ONLY paper to use, IMHO) so I clicked over to Columbia River Quilting and had some more shipped. Impossible to find it at my local quilt shops. Their web site is very nice, and they were very good with sending me emails about the order and shipment.

In the last couple of nights, our almost 3 year old has become very very scared of the dark, and sleeping alone in his room. The tiny light of the smoke alarm was blinking and scaring him...there was a scary octopus in his room (no clue where that idea came from)...even the nightlight is scary. It's so tough on him, I just wish I could do something to make him less frightened.

I can remember being scared of things coming out of my closet as a kid.

What was living in the deep dark recesses of your kid room? Monsters, perhaps? Ah, and what does one do to exorcise them? Help!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Liberty of London fabrics for quilting (of course!)

Today I got 2 things in the mail.

First, the good news: The above package came from International Fabric Collection, and hooray (virtual back flip), it contained my new Liberty of London prints.

My only regret is that I didn't order a couple more of them. International Fabric Collection was so cool. They said that my shipping was a bit less that I was charged, so they also included $2 in cash. Wow, guess I'll be ordering from them again soon.

Then, there's the bad news: My catalog for the Road to California quilt show came, and no classes in there from American Quilter's Society on quilt appraisal. My dream was to take another brush up class from Bobbie Aug but I didn't see her name listed.

And a couple of clickable treats just for you:

If you haven't checked out Picnik.com pleeeeeeeeease do so immediately! It's an online photo editor with Holga-ish and Lomo-ish digital effects. The basic version is FREE so go now, check it out, stop using boring photos on your blog!

Green Kitchen (serious eye candy at this blog) turned me on to their site, and wow, it is oh so very cool. I used their "1960's -ish" filter on the Liberty fabric above.

And if you haven't been to Greener Grass Design, you may want to pop over there and drool over their textiles for decorating your bedroom, or killer jewelery (silver 'Tiffany' ring, I 'need' one of these), or maybe their Sun Jar nightlight.

I am now a believer that that grass is always greener.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Quilts Japan #123

Picking up my latest copy of Quilts Japan was a big highlight before the holiday weekend.

This issue is very floral-themed although the techniques and fabric families used are all over the map.

There is an awesome taupe quilt with flowers on p. 34 that really caught my eye. It has scalloped edge treatments. I have yet to attempt this, but have always wanted to try it. It's just such a beautiful way to finish off a quilt.

Some interesting Hawaiian block patterns are also included. Hand applique - you know I can never get enough of that.

The best part of this issue is the CRAZY block pattern for the quilt on the cover, and featured on p. 8-9 as well. It's sort of a star/Dresden plate block with diamonds around the outside.

Oh what an undertaking this would be for a bed-sized quilt...ah, but wouldn't this be adorable in taupe fabrics as well? Seriously, what doesn't look good in taupe fabric...

I also shipped off a DVD with files for a photo-study I did. My sister was wanting some photographs of shells for her newly redecorated room. Hopefully she will like them.

I've also been dreaming of visiting SFMOMA's exhibit by Frida Kahlo before I get too tired/pregnant/huge to run around in a museum. Looks like tickets book well in advance...hm...hope I don't have the baby in the middle of the exhibit!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

300th post - oh so much to say!

What can one say except for "WOW" on your 300th blog post. Not sure I have ever had this much fun.

Deep bow to each and every reader out there who takes the time to come along for the ride here. Thank you!

Emily from Ravenhill was kind enough to bestow the "Arte y Pico" blogger award to me (I'm blushing here) for being a creative blogger with originality. Thanks for the honor! I get to pick 5 other bloggers to pass it along to, here goes.

Award looks like this (ooohhh....ahhhh) - 1. Pink Chalk Studio - lovely projects here, very 'art quilty' feel, beautiful photos, huge inspiration.

2. Moving hands - would you like a little Japanese flavor with your crafting addiction? Oh so beautiful projects, pictures of Japan, loooooooove this blog, makes me want to move to Japan.

3. Oiyi's Crafts - for a woman with a tiny baby, this blog has way too many cool creations to be true. Encourages me to be myself, not just a mom, but a crafty artistic person.

4. I heart linen - If you don't read this blog yet - what planet are you living on?! Hello! Rashida lived in Japan, works with lots of imported fabrics, is a super-mom, just started working on her own book, and would have to be my personal best friend if she lived anywhere near San Jose, California (which she doesn't - boo!).

5. Kirin Notebook - Lara not only makes the most adorable things on earth, but she does it with her own self-designed fabrics. Ah...to be that cool...

(Rules below at the end of this post, if you want to continue with the fun for those of you who I named.)

Our friends at Moo have done it again. They are now offering FULL SIZED business cards. Ok... must have these...they are so affordable, and have the same incredible feature of allowing you to put a different picture on each and every single business card (pack of 50 = up to 50 different images).

Finally, that super tiny tiny pin cushion above is a gift I made for my sister. You may remember the strawberry one I made a while back.

I sent her one before, but it was lost in the mail, so my mom agreed to hand carry this one so it would not be lost in the universe again. This time, I got fancy fancy, and attached a silk ribbon to it, so she can hang it off her favorite pair of scissors while quilting and have a very handy spot to park the needle when taking a little break.

Award rules below:
1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog by so everyone can view it.
3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the “Arte y pico“blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) Please post these rules.