Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wow what a holiday

I remember being younger and playing all day on Christmas.

Now that my husband and I are the's hardly a day of rest for us. The prime rib was excellent this year, so it was definitely worth the elbow grease.

What was your favorite gift this year?

Mine was this.

It actually was not for me, it was from me for my husband.

We discovered padron peppers in our CSA this past year, and we are hooked. You fry them up in a bit of oil, throw some salt on them, and eat them like potato chips. If you have not had these, maybe you'll want to start growing them in your garden next year too.

Hope your holiday was filled with family and joy, as mine was.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sometimes you feel like a nut, SOMETIMES YOU DON'T

To shake things up this holiday, we discovered quite by accident that our little one is highly allergic to nuts.

You can imagine how much fun we had in the ER with him and what a huge scare that was.

Come to find out that nuts are pretty much everywhere. So now what? Learning about how to find food that doesn't contain nuts, nut products, or food produced on equipment also used to process nuts.

Good times. Never a dull moment.

Ah, but so much to be thankful for this holiday season.

Having some time off work with my family is my #1 thing to be thankful this year, but having the kind of friends that will meet you in the emergency room, rescue your 4 yr old from having to hang out with the crazy folks in there so both you and your husband can stay there with the sick baby, and having those same friends bring you dinner later makes me realize how good we have it.

In other news, my friend Sharon gave me this totally insane and beautiful yarn ball for Christmas. I'm feeling a scarf coming on in the new year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas: Are you feelin' it yet?

Looks like it's only 1 week until Christmas. Are your stockings hung? Anybody out there besides me got some last minute projects still to wrap up?

Raise your hand if you are still working on making Christmas gifts?

Ok, whew, glad I'm not alone here.

I love to make Christmas ornaments every year and this year they are still laying around in pieces. I think they are waiting for my vacation to start so I can give them the attention they deserve.

My sister's family (including the worlds cutest baby girl) visited earlier this week for an early Christmas, so that was one of the big highlights for me this year. I made my sis a funky knit beanie out of this AWESOME Japanese yarn by Make Make. It looks so cute on her.

And if you need some Christmas cheer yourself, I recommend you visit this Snow Carving sculpture post. Wow, these are serious snow artists.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear Yoko Saito

I made block "F6" from the Dear Hannah quilt pattern using Japanese taupe fabrics.

Maybe I should call this quilt Dear Yoko instead of Dear Hannah. Do you think that Ms. Saito would approve of my use of taupe colors? I sure do hope so. I'm in love with little taupe applique blocks.

I'll be making another similar block for my sister's wedding quilt (which she will be lucky to receive on her 10th wedding anniversary at this rate! sorry sis - eek!).

It's starting to look very Christmas-y around here, and the kids can smell the closeness of Santa's arrival. We are still counting days instead of hours which is perhaps the only blessing there.

Mona, a friend from Singapore, visited the Yokohama quilt show and mailed me the catalog. Thank you so much Mona. Those quilts just blew my socks off. I'll have to photograph my favorite page for you or something.

She sent me Yoko Saito's business card with her email address on there. I sent her some fan email, but she has yet to invite me to lunch with her. I'm sure that will happen eventually.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Amish Quilts and Amish Abstraction

Oh so busy busy, almost too busy to keep up the blog posts.

Trust me, I've been out there quilting, and running all over the bay area on behalf of quilts.

On Saturday I attended a symposium that included discussion of the Amish quilt exhibit (on display now) at the De Young Museum, Amish Abstractions.

During the symposium, we heard the point of view of Steven and Faith Brown (owners of the collection) who told us all about their love of the quilts and how they started collecting. They were so generous and amazing, if you can find your way to see this exhibit, you will be in for a rare treat.

Also included in the discussion were Jonathan Holstein, Robert Shaw, Joe Cunningham, and (I will confess the last one was my favorite) Janneken Smucker.

They all had lots to say about quilts, quilt making, and Amish culture. I'll try to share some of my notes with you as I work my way through them.

As I already mentioned, the quilts are DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, so run...don't see this exhibit.

No photography allowed in the exhibit itself, so visit them in person for perhaps the most stunning quilt experience of your life (I mean it, I really do) or pick up a copy of the book which is very nice but really doesn't compare to the real deal.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Stink Eye

Our little 4 yr old has perfected what I like to call The Stink Eye.

When he doesn't get exactly what he wants, he give us this look that we are starting to get very used to seeing. Since we don't give in to the demands I guess we should start to embrace it. I'm wondering if I should take more pictures of it. In certain ways it's really adorable.

Thanksgiving was huge for us this year. We drove to see my family, and I gave my mom the Chevron Scarf that I was working on for the last year. She really loved it. We also visited the happiest place on Earth, so that was a giant thrill.

On the way there I started working on some little Dear Hannah applique blocks again. Gee, it's been a while, but they sure are fun to make. Will post some pictures of them soon for you. Should be quick to square them up.

Above is a photo of a wedding signature quilt block. I'll confess that I have been trying to make some progress on that project too.

Looking forward to so many things - shopping for a Christmas tree, visiting a sick friend who recently moved to a hospital closer to me, buying an electronic portable drum set kid toy that has some serious volume control, seeing my sister again in only 2 weeks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2010 Quilt Otaku Wall Calendar

In the spirit of getting ready for Black Friday (the most popular shopping day of the year in the US), I created a little wall calendar for 2010.

Lulu's printing service helped me make it available to the general public.

They added a preview function this year so you can see each of the monthly pages which is nice.

Time to order one for your favorite quilter, kick off that holiday shopping, and scratch folks off your list.

Happy shopping!

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

Oh, and if you HAVE to have that map wall sticker...(my 4-yr-old said, "Where's Antartica?") head over to Firm Living. They will hook you up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to hang a quilt on the wall - tutorial for hanging Doll Quilts

There are many ways to hang a quilt up on your wall.

Thirty years ago, it was popular to put Velcro on the back of your quilt and also to the wall in order to hang a full sized bed quilt.

That seems to have evolved to people putting cotton sleeves on the back and running a wooden dowel or curtain rod through.

All of the above involve putting holes in your wall, and that is a level of commitment that I'm not always sure I'm ready to make.

Because I love small quilts, or doll quilts really, I put together the below tutorial on how I like to hang these little quilts on the wall.

You are not making any holes in the wall.

Using the method as described puts a minimal amount of stress on the back of your doll quilt which I also like since keeping my quilts in good shape is another one of my goals.

Hanging quilts like this will work best for small quilts, small wall hangings, and doll quilts. Full sized bed quilts will need to be hung by other methods.

So here goes...let me know if the info is helpful and if you like my humble little tutorial video!

How to Hang a Doll Quilt

The method requires the following supplies:

- Picture Hanging Strips, by 3M Command (2 'sets' per each doll quilt if you want to attach upper corners only; 4 'sets' per doll quilt if you want to anchor the bottom corners as well)

- Sewing machine

- Scissors

- Applique needle

- Thread

- Cotton twill tape (2 pieces that are 7" long and 1/2" wide if anchoring at top only; 4 pieces if anchoring bottom also)

Video Tutorial HERE. Note that the video itself is just less than 10 minutes long and will take a couple of minutes to load and start playing after you click the link.

Compliments to my amazing husband for his awesome camera work! Thanks honey.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What is this amazing thing? (brain teaser)

If you're smart enough to read blogs on the weekend, I figured I'd give you a real special treat here.

Can you tell me what the above is?

Is it...

a) a bow tie for a very large hamster

b) a rare specie of butterfly usually found in the Tambopata Candamo nature preserve in Peru

c) a deadly weapon usually thrown by ninja warriors, similar to shuriken used in the Edo period

d) the best new quilting invention since sliced bread, perhaps Marisa should post a tutorial on what this thing is all about

Hm....any smarty pants out there wanna take a guess?

Monday, November 9, 2009

That's what you get for not finishing

This weekend was a productive one.

We got a bunch of chores done and I managed to carve out some time to work on my creative projects.

I put most of the wild and crazy binding on the feathered arrows quilt. Since the blocks are antiques I asked my quilting buddies if it was disrespectful to spice up the quilt and put a funky outrageous binding it.

My friend Pamela said, "Well, that's what she gets for not finishing the quilt!"

I agree. Maybe I'm here to punish those who have come before me by taking their half baked projects and making crazy things with them.

If that doesn't motivate you to just finish your work in progress quilts, I don't know what will.

I got the above necklace from Nonchalant Mom, this very cool web site with super modern and hip clothes/accessories for kids and moms. The necklace itself was designed by Verre. It's just a bit of blown glass, but I'm a sucker for good color. The natural colored one is on my wish list.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And the Tiny Shall Inherit the Earth

In my 'knitting' group (where I usually quilt instead of knit) the girls have all sorts of projects going on.

My friend Sharon of Knits are for Kids made a hoodie for her son, but he grew faster than she could knit.
Having the smallest kid around does have it's benefits, as in this little guy can still squeeze into the projects that her little dude is too big for now.

Check out her skull caps that she made for the boys. Both of mine got them. Will post some photos of them together in them.

Meanwhile, I started a little beanie of my own with some Make Make Yarn (made in Japan, of course).
I also picked up the binding for my recently finished quilt from SuperBuzzy - it's going to be a polka dot pattern.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting to know Yoko Saito, in English!

I finally finished quilting the funky quilt that I made using antique blocks. The blocks were made around 1890. I set them with some modern repro-ish looking fabrics, and quilted away. The blocks look like they have arrows in them and with the feathered quilting inside I'm thinking of calling the quilt "Feathered Arrows".

My thoughts on binding are that maybe a cute and funky print would really spice it up even further. Susan agrees it's a good idea.

Susan, one on the knit nite girls, has an incredible sewing bag that she created completely from Japanese taupe fabrics. Drop over and check her blog out if you have time, her work is 100% perfect and beautiful.

And speaking of Japanese taupes, Yoko Saito just launched her Japanese quilting web site in English. WOW is really all I can say about it. It's so great to learn about her, her quilting, and all of her new fabrics and books (finally without some funky babelfish translator). Thanks Mona for passing the link along!

My favorite page of this web site is the Catalog of Student Work publications that comes out every year. It's an awesome collection of photos of all the quilts her students made that year. I have a couple of these, but not all of them. If shipping were not so expensive, I think I would order the couple I'm missing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween - a global holiday!

I've been many places on this amazing planet, but I've always been right here at home in the good old USA during Halloween.

Maybe that's why I assumed (wrongly!) that it's a global holiday where kids all over the world put on their scary costumes that mom made...or was too busy to make and just ordered online this year.

My German friend reminded me that it's pretty much an American thing. That made me feel sad for all the rest of the kids, and so lucky to live here.

Our 4 yr old is really looking forward to it, and our pumpkins are carved and ready to go.

We visited Uesugi Farms and came home with around 8 pumpkins. Wow. Pony ride was a big hit.

So I finished quilting the mini quilt I was working on, and I also finished my Mom's birthday gift knitted scarf (I still don't really know how to knit) so pictures of those coming soon.

Meanwhile, re-falling in love with the funky Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen) remix on the Romeo and Juliet 10th anniversary remix album.

Totally in love with the art of Leah Giberson - groovy. Her work will some day grace my walls.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Knit Nite

I started a weekly knitting night with some girlfriends, but I don't knit!

What in the world was I thinking? Well...that I could use the time to quilt of course.

Perhaps I should confess that I do think about knitting a lot, even though I basically just buy yarn and put it in a basket.

The quilt that I'm quilting is only about 30 min shy of being fully quilted so perhaps my next post will include a picture of it 'done' before the binding gets on at least.

I found some more PIQF quilt show pix posted here. Oh, and in my last post, that cathedral windows quilt was designed as a giant picture of a tree frog. Seriously! It's a frog! Is that not the coolest ever?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pacific International Quilt Festival 2009

PIQF 2009 has come and gone and I am a little sad that it's over.

The show was pretty good this year and I had a huge amount of fun.

I had the extreme pleasure of assisting Cindy Brick as the quilt appraiser for the show, so I got to see a lot of awesome quilts and learned a huge ton from her. She is really an incredible appraiser as well as quilt judge and quilt restorer. If you ever have the chance to meet her and have an appraisal done, I would highly recommend it.

After my day of appraisal assisting, I spent the next day running around with my camera and doing a little shopping. I didn't get a lot of things, but I did pick up a few cool items.

The quilts at the show were of course the real fun. I took tons of pictures for you (of course) but since there were so many quilts I only photographed the ones that I loved and the ones that I had time to run around and see. There were so many more awesome quilts that I wish I could have taken pictures of all of them.

That being said, if you did not get to go, please enjoy my flickr slide show:

PIQF 2009

Oh, and if you are new around here, I've been posting these quilt show photos for a while. Check out 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 if you like. (that ought to keep you busy!)

I have found 1 other set posted so far this year by GoDutchBaby here.

The above photo of the cathedral windows quilt has a very special twist to it - do you get it? The quilt is so beautiful in person and was made by Leigh Cabell from Denver Colorado.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are you ready for PIQF 2009?

Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) 2009 is well underway and started already yesterday.

I'll be there all day tomorrow assisting the conference official appraiser, Cindy Brick. I'm so excited to meet her as she is such an expert in crazy quilts, and historic quilts in general. It is very kind of her to take me as her assistant and I cannot wait to get more appraisal experience under my belt.

I used to HAVE to visit PIQF in order to see my friend Mariko at the Azabu-Ya booth, but she is no longer doing shows. I will miss her dearly, but will be on the look out for other cool shops this time around.

Pinwheels should be there, and there is always something good and taupe-y to see in their booth.

Oh, and my friend Rebecca has a quilt in the show this year (#1111) so be sure to check it out if you have the pleasure to attend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Clues in the Stitches

Have you ever looked for clues in the quilting stitches?

Can you decipher this deep and meaningful clue?

Ok, well...I wanted to post just a little something light on this rainy Wednesday.

Oh, and check out the tutorial/giveaway over at Mairuru - how to use up some tiny scraps and making something very cool and cute.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Brain Teaser: Who is this superwoman?

Ok, the above photo is of somebody you probably know. Got any guesses you brainy folks? Could it be Madonna? Lucinda Williams? Patricia Clarkson? or.....maybe somebody I ran into at AQSG?

And the 2nd part of the brain teaser is an acronym that I recently became aware of: "WAF"

Any guesses on what that one means? If you have no idea, ask your husband, he probably knows.

Meanwhile, I am hand quilting up a storm on that quilt top I mentioned back in August. Out of 9 blocks I have 6 quilted and hope to have them all done this weekend. Lofty goal, I know.

I'm also thanking my friend in Singapore for emailing me DVD's with Yoko Saito videos. Working on viewing them as they have a different country code on them than the US and will require a bit of fancy work to view. Thank you Mona, I'll let you know as soon as I figure out how to watch them.

Also, to drool over, is the incredible dress that Karyn made over at Make Something blog. She used Nani Iro fabrics (to die for, seriously beautiful).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

American Quilt Study Group Seminar 2009

I had the extreme pleasure of spending some time at the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) seminar last week.

I sat in on a really incredible lecture on Amish quilts by Julie Silber and Janneken Smucker. They are both so expert the field that I was wishing their session was twice as long.

Another highlight was a lecture by Sandi Fox. If you don't have her books yet, Small Endearments is probably my favorite.

I'm already wondering how I can get to the seminar next year.

The vendors they had were awesome. I bought the quilt top above and plan to quilt it.

If you have any interest at all in antique quilts, AQSG membership is something you might want to check out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bite your tongue

Our little 1 yr old was running and bit his tongue yesterday. I hope it recovers soon as it is making him one grumpy little guy. He's not digging the nursing sessions as a result so I will confess to also being one unhappy camper.

I was reading some back posts over at Hand Quilting Stitches blog by Sara. Her bag in the style of Yoko Saito is in progress and oh so beautiful.

In order to cheer up a bit, a stopped over at superbuzzy and picked up some cute fabric to possibly whip up some curtains for my kitchen. I will come clean and also admit that I got some yarn too.

Oh, and a quick question for you - does anybody out there have this book: Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki? It seems like it's in English from the cover. I'm very intrigued.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apple Picking and The Winner Is...

Thanks for entering Annie Smith's awesome online, global quilt class give away.

The random number generator picked out comment #9, so it looks like the happy winner Cheryl! Send me your email address - note: mine is quilt(dot)baby(at)hotmail (dot) com and I'll pass it along to Annie so she can enroll you.

I'm sure you'll find Annie's class pretty awesome.

We went apple picking yesterday and had a blast although it was super hot and towards the end we were ready to drink our fresh pressed juice and head home.

Ages ago I made a little apple quilt for a fellow blogger, and I've always toyed around with making another one. Guess I'll be adding that to my ever-growing-to-do-list. It certainly is growing much faster than I can mark things off.

Making a pie is starting to bubble up on that list.

And getting one of these split ring keys is on my list now too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quilt Class Give Away: from Annie Smith

My friend Annie Smith is not only an amazing woman, a famous podcaster, and an incredible quilter, but she also teaches classes in her global online classroom over at Quilting Stash Classroom.

She is offering a free seat (!!!) in her awesome online class "Quilting 101" as a give away to some of her favorite bloggers and it looks like you'll be the one to benefit from this contest.

Annie has an intro video posted here talking about why this class is good for beginning, intermediate, and advanced quilters alike.

Want to take quilt classes in your jammies? Well, now's your chance.


In order to win, submit a comment here and I'll pick a winner by random on this coming Saturday night. Polls close at 10pm Pacific time.

I'll pass your name along to Annie, and she'll hook you up.

Each lesson she does includes video instruction. How killer to take time to watch your class 'whenever' instead of having to show up in person? Sweeeeet.

Oh, and the above block is of course another Liberty of London birthday signature block I did for my niece. I'm ahead of the game, this one is for next year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Falling into the iFold

I've finally done it. Taken the plunge. I'm the proud (and maybe terrified) owner of a new iPhone.

I originally thought, wow, this thing could really distract me from my quilting. That was only until I downloaded two new apps for it - QuiltFab and QuiltRef. They are really cute little iPhone applications that allow you to calculate how much fabric you need for the backing of your quilt or the binding you need to put on. Gee, handy.

Got a fav iPhone app? Please pass it along to me, the new kid on the iBlock. Meanwhile, I'll be here playing Stairway to Heaven on my ocarina.

The quilt block above is the 1st birthday signature block for our baby boy. He's a sweet and adorable little 1.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

4 + 1 Kid party

Our kid party was a big hit according to the kid crowd. Our older son turned 4 and the baby turned 1 .

We had this awesome puppeteer, Peter, come, from
PT Puppets. He was super entertaining, super professional, and the show was so great that most of the photos I took of the kids watching it include several mouths hanging open. Highly recommend him if you are in the bay area.

It was our first real 'kid' party, as all the other parties we have really thrown have pretty much been for the adults. Kids had a good time, so I guess I was worried over nothing.

Above is another 'in progress' photo I took of the party favor gift. Any more guesses?

When I read this post by
Orange Flower Sketchbook I ran to my knitting needles and tried to finish the scarf I am making for my mom. I of course did not finish it today, but I am so so so tempted to try knitting lace after seeing that post.

And for those of you who are fans of the TV show Project Runway, did you know that
Jay McCarroll (season 1 winner) has now designed a line of quilt fabric for Free Spirit? How cool is that!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Birthday Party: Party On!

Our boys birthdays are over and I must say that I'm a little sad since the preparations for the kid party and all the hoopla of the fiesta itself was such a huge blast.

I will have to give you a party brain dump in my next post.

Some of you asked a couple of questions about the birthday crowns.

I used Timtex or Peltex inside the two layers of felt in order to give the crown a lot of body and stand up to the battering it usually takes from my kids.

C&T publishing has everything you could want to know about Timtex in this blog post. Peltex seems to be another version of the same material - which is just thick interfacing.

I don't really prefer one or the other, I've used both in different crown's I've made and they both work well.

And to answer your other question, yes, I did make the crown adjustable by putting some simple ties in the back. Thought it would be more comfie than elastic, and with the size of my kids' never know how big they will actually get!

My mom was here last weekend and brought some goodies from Purl Soho for me. You gotta love these Lorna's Laces Shepherd Striping Sock Yarns for 40% off. Score! Thanks Mom.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Princess 1st Birthday

Today was the first birthday of my darling niece.

I made her a birthday crown (similar to the one I made for my husband and other family members).

She was amazing, adorable, and perhaps the sweetest 1 yr old baby girl on earth.

The crown pattern is from Amanda Soule's book "The Creative Family". A really excellent book, if you don't have a copy yet, it really is time to get one.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What Could I Be Making?

Is the suspense killing you?

Could this be a gift for the kids that are coming to our birthday party?

Might it be the coolest thing ever?

May it cause you to want to come to our party?

Would you like a clue? Ah, I guess you'll have to wait...

I had dinner last night with my friend and film maker Kathleen. After eating already way too much we decided to go totally nuts and visit the candy store. Oh such a bad idea, but oh so much fun.

The film she made called Discmen made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Her adorable husband is one of the star actors. It's rare to see grown men take their spandex so seriously.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

With all the upcoming kid birthday celebrations, company coming into town, and general hoopla soon to be coming our way, we did the only practical thing last weekend.

We decided to ignore the reality that we have plenty of preparations to do, and take a family vacation at the beach. The little surfers above are my sweet boys.

We visited an awesome seahorse exhibit at the aquarium and even saw a pretty insane marine mammal quilt that is shown just outside of their cafe. Really cool that they have their own quilt featured. I found a picture of it on flickr here - sorry I forgot to snap a shot of it myself this time.

Flotsam is now our new favorite book. I think we'll be reading it at storybook time on a nightly basis for a while.

I've been working on a special surprise gift for kids coming to the birthday party. Stay tuned for the big reveal - assuming I finish it! (sweating beads here)

Have you seen this post by Lucy at Quilting with the Past? Her little windmill doll quilt is simple adorable.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Decorative Kid Party Invitation Envelopes

We are having a puppet themed birthday party this year.

In my usual micro-detailed fashion, I wanted to make the party invites super cute.

I ordered them from Tiny Prints - these guys really have an awesome selection for just about every occasion. It's the 2nd time I've used them, and I'm still really impressed.

Instead of just writing all the addresses on there, I wrote them with some funky hand writing and had my almost-4-yr-old color in all the 'holes' of the letters with pretty colored pencils.

Cute, right? Fun way to involve your kids in addressing the invites when they are too young to actually write all the addresses.

In other news, last night I went to a lecture at my quilt guilt (SCVQA). Lecture by Melinda Bula was entertaining, and her quilts were very beautiful.

I think she uses a fusable technique to make these giant floral quilts. Very Georgia O'Keefe looking. Bright colors. I had seen the quilts all before when I attend the quilting in the garden quilt show in Livermore last year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quilt Appraisal: More study time for me!

As I mentioned before, I'm a huge fan of antique quilts and quilt appraisal in general.

My hope is to someday become an AQS certified quilt appraiser. So far, I have been getting some practice, but it has been a bit more slow going since the baby arrived. I'm getting back in the swing of things - starting now.

Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) - a huge and really nice quilt show - is coming to my home town in October.

At the show, Cindy Brick (AQS Certified quilt appraiser) will be there to appraise quilts. She is taking me under her wing as her scribe, so I'll be volunteering to assist her the day during the show.

Really looking forward to learning more about how somebody else does appraisals.

Cindy's web site is an insane wealth of information. She has all these articles published here.

Ones I really loved were on best way to store a quilt, washing and caring for your quilt, and what to do with an old worn quilt.

Oh, and yes I really did cut into my Liberty fabric collection. The above block is the 1st birthday signature block for my darling niece.

I will confess that cutting into Liberty fabric is like taking a small slice into heaven itself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Signature Quilt: 4 yrs old

I whipped up this number 4 block so folks at my son's birthday party can sign it and write a message on it for him.

You can see the 1 block that is done already with signatures, an early version of the 2 block, and the blank 3 block featured in previous posts.

I'm starting two new quilts just like this. One for our baby who is turning 1 year old this year, and one for my favorite baby girl on earth - my niece. She'll be 1 as well.

For the girl quilt I'm going to use my collection of Liberty fabrics. Yes, sports fans...I'm going to actually CUT them. I think I deserve a drum roll or something here.

Anyhow, I applique the numbers down on 8 inch sized blocks, and ask all the party goers to sign their names with a little message for the birthday person of honor. In total there will be 16 blocks. Hopefully it doesn't become too embarrassing before that age. Do you think we'll make it that far?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Win some, lose some

Win some:

I seriously never win anything. I seriously am never expecting to either. However, that amazing feat did take place, and I won a bunch of lovely fat quarters from the blog giveaway that I mentioned Chara Michele was holding.
Thank you so much Chara! Her photos always have the perfect light and her creations are beautiful. Please visit her blog for some inspiration if you have the time.

Lose some:

I quilted a bunch of feathers in the above block, but because the fabric had TINY dot thingies on it you cannot see them at all. Hm...think I wasted some time here. Oh well...on to the next block.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

1 Year Old Birthday Prep

My sister and I are in full planning swing to play for the one year old birthday parties of our babies. Her girl will be 1 in about a month and my boy will be 1 a few days later.

We both have big parties planned.

Her party is a cupcake party, and I have the pleasure of dressing my niece in the the worlds cutest ever skirt for her big day.

Our theme is a puppet party, so we'll be having a professional puppet show. Should be a really huge blast.

My own birthday is quickly coming up and I'm thinking that the perfect gift for me from our sons would be this little fawn mommy necklace (hint hint). Is it not the cutest thing ever?

Oh yes, and I finished quilting another of the feather blocks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Quilted Feathers

This little quilt I'm working on is turning out to have a couple of firsts for me.

I have practiced a lot of feathers just for fun, but never ended up adding them to a real quilt top. Perhaps this is out of fear of getting myself in over my head or not having the dedication to getting them perfect.

Well, I'm going out on a limb here, and throwing caution to the wind. Feathers, here we come.

I'm also using some self-designed fabric on the back - photo of it here on an older post. I love to design fabric with my calligraphy but it's hard to cut into it.

Solution: Put it on the back of the quilt! No cutting required.

And for those of you (my sister) who were wondering what book I want for my upcoming birthday, Album Quilts of Ohio's Miami Valley by Sue Cummings is on my short list.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What I've learned recently

I have spent a lot more time moving my sewing machine from storage (read: the floor of my office) to the kitchen table than using it to actually quilt lately.

The baby was sick last week and has been out of school again this week with no-fun-at-all high fever.

Who knew you could get so many germs rolling through your house during summer. I thought this was illegal.

Anyhow, this is what I have learned lately:
  • If you have 2 kids, they will ALWAYS poop at exactly the same time.

  • If you have 2 kids, they will NEVER nap at the same time.

  • If your 2 kids share a room and 1 of them wakes up screaming in the dead of night, the other one will ALWAYS wake up and climb into your bed.

  • It is possible for a 3 yr old boy to bump his head on a door jam so hard that a golf ball sized lump forms, and the 3 yr old will then most likely look into the mirror and say that he cannot wait to show his friends at school.

  • If you are driving around in the car with your girlfriend for a relaxing trip to the farmer's market, it is highly likely that your 3 yr old boy will pick that very moment to ask you how is it possible to pee if you don't have a penis.

  • If you work full time and raise 2 little boys, you do way less quilting than you hope and dream of doing, but you have way more fun than you ever thought possible.

    OhMyGoshTired, but still in love with my life here,


    ps. if you have yet to visit Red Felt Flower blog, please do so and enjoy the beauty.

    pps. if you want some free goodies and you love photography, visit Chara Michele!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Long Beach International Quilt Festival 2009

This weekend my mom and sister visited the Long Beach International Quilt Festival.

I will freely admit that I felt a small tinge of jealousy when I happened to call them and they were chatting to me about how much fun they had and how crowded it was.

Not sure I plan to go to it next year, but they did pick up a couple goodies for me, so not a total loss. One booth I would have certainly visited is the Shibori Girl Studios booth. Perhaps I will have to go after all next year.

In other weekend adventures, I did chain together a few more signature stars, and managed to baste another small quilt, so not at all unproductive.

At one point, I decided (why, oh why) to bake some french macaroons.

Please stop me before I bake again! Seriously.

I DO NOT heart French Macaroons.

The French Macaroons kicked my tail. I tried a different recipe (the chocolate version) and instead of sticking to the paper like last time, they were as dense and as disgusting little chewy balls of goop. Oh yeah, and they looked uglier than sin as well.

My husband thinks I should raise the white flag. I think I should call in the expert.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Japanese crafting - Yoko Saito's new book: Taupe Color Study

Ms. Yoko Saito has of course done it again by putting together a beautiful book on the use of taupe fabrics in quilting. In case you are looking for a copy of it: ISBN978-4-86322-130-7 Study Book for Taupe Colour.

This book is full of small projects, mostly little bags. I love it and would use many of the patterns in either full sized quilts as blocks or in small wall hangings or quilts.

I'm still cookin' along, making little signature quilt blocks...slowly but surely. My boys both fell asleep at the same time for about 30 min today so I was feverishly sewing away. I'm trying to batch process about 35 blocks at the same time.

Will post a photo of them once I get some more assembled.

In other news, I'm addicted to this band Mates of State. Are you a fellow addict? Yes, it is embarrassing that they did an Orange County (the TV show) song but they do rock seriously.

I just ordered the new Mates of State album from Amazon along with a boat load of "just corn". Who knew little boys would eat unlimited quantities of veggies if only you freeze dry them?! Go figure.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Road 2 California 2009

Road 2 California quilt show is planned for next January and accepting applications from folks to host quilts in the show as well as sign-up for classes.

Classes that interest me are by Jo Morton because her quilting style is very classic with an emphasis on hand work.

Maria, the owner of Pinwheels, is also having a class on making a little taupe bag, which is another one that looks very good to me. On her web site, she is selling these incredible 4 inch long zippers for coin purses - all in taupe colors. Super cute, super affordable.

The above photo is a quick snapshot of the pieces I'm cutting out (STILL!!) for my Sarah Johnson quilt. Progress is a bit slower that I might like, but I'm plugging along at it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Hope folks in the U.S. had a great long weekend for the Fourth of July holiday.

We did a lot of relaxing, and I logged some serious time holding the baby and tickling him. Important work, to be sure.

Quilting-wise, I did cut out and prep some more blocks for the Sarah Johnson quilt. Hopefully I can carve some time out to work on it this week.

My favorite blog post read for the weekend was this one by Oiyi. As if being an incredible knitter isn't enough in and of itself. No, Ms. Oiyi is off dying roving and spinning it first before she knits up the worlds most beautiful creations. I'm almost inspired enough to buy my own sheep. So very pretty.

I will also confess that the above patriotic quilt is not my own creation. It's a gift from my lovely and talented quilting sister.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Reading

Some of you may be reading Moby Dick this summer, or perhaps works of Jane Austin. Meanwhile, I'm digging into more Japanese quilting books.

This book (ISBN4-529-04120-4) by Kuroha Shizuko covers many quilted works using indigo fabrics. Indigos are very traditional Japanese fabrics that these days are more and more hard to come by. Historically, they were created by indigo dye masters.

Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I used to visit a shop (Azabu-Ya) that sold many beautiful indigo fabrics from Japan so I have a little collection that I've been meaning to use.

Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth blog also loves to work in indigo. If you have yet to check out her blog, it is a visual feast for the eyes and I highly recommend it.

Whatcha reading this summer? Got any recommendations for me? and PLEASE don't recommend the Twilight series. It's way too addicting, I am not allowed!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Opening Pandora's Box

As a general rule, I don't do a lot of food photography, but I could not resist taking a quick shot of the wanna-be-french macarons that I made for my husband on Father's Day. And no, I did not wisk them with the ugly stick, thank you very much.

Not sure if I'm happy or cursed for trying to make them since they were a disaster.

I followed most of the recipe that I found on this online version of Desserts Magazine.

Did my cookies have feet? Ahem, no.
Did my cookies have puffy round dome shapes? Um, no again.
Did they become a huge sticky mess which my husband claimed tasted good anyhow? Yes!

So, do I resign myself to NEVER, EVER making them again, or should I give it another go and see if I can do a bit better?

Any tips you got for me you psycho baker genius-types? (you know who you are...yes this at least includes Rebecca from my quilt group)

And speaking of opening up another Pandora's box, have you visited Pandora yet for your listening pleasure? I think I'm hooked. Music to quilt by.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mini Star Quilt

I just finished putting the binding on this mini star quilt.

The pieces of fabric were went to me by Kathie of Inspired by Antique Quilts Blog (check out her version of the quilt here).

Thanks again Kathie for sending the fabric, I had a blast putting this little quilt together. I hand quilted it too which was a huge blast. More about that in a future post.

I also put together a mini-teenie-flickr set slide show of my sister's baby quilt for you to enjoy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Handmade Quilt Label: broderie perse (part 2)

Here's the 2nd part of the Broderie Perse labels - this label is on the back of our baby son's quilt.

Again I took some fabric from Anna Maria Horner's design and cut out some white leaves. I wrote on the leaves in my funky calligraphy style. Oh, and it was so nice of my friend Carol to applique most of it on there for me. That was perhaps the best part.

Makes me want to finish more quilts just so I can put labels on them!

Don't forget to put the name of who the quilt is for, who made it, date, washing instructions if you are going to give it away (wash cold, gentle, hang dry...wash as infrequently as possible), location of where it was made.

On that note...perhaps I HAVE finished another quilt. Maybe Kathie knows which quilt it might be....Is the suspense killing you?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Echino Oilcloth and baby goodies

My mother's day gift from my parents included a piece of Echino Oilcloth (from Purl Soho) big enough for my breakfast nook table. It's spill-proof, kid-proof, and almost bullet-proof. I can think of a zillion things I could do with it besides eat on top of it, but it looks like that is it's destiny.

In a moment of weakness I picked up some matching fabric to make napkins from

I also wanted to pick up some cute new toys for my newest baby-girl-friend that I was having lunch with today, so I headed over to Baby Buzz, which is the cutest baby shop around (you must visit in person - such an adorable/happy/friendly place).

They have oh so many wonderful things for kids. If you live in the California bay area, you really need to check it out. Tons of chewy toys by Haba (my favorite German toy company), as well as this awesome teething ring by a company called ZoLi .

I picked up one for my little friend, but made sure that our 9 month old tested it on his 2 new teeth and I'll say that he totally approves.

Another attractive display had cars from Automoblox - a company that makes modular cars for kids to play with and mix and match.

I literally could not avoid picking up an adorable hair clip for my baby niece. It's hard to restrain myself from wearing it. If you see a grown woman running around with one of these in her hair, it might just be me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Handmade Quilt Label: broderie perse (part 1)

To spice up my niece's quilt, I used a broderie perse applique method to create the label.

Anna Maria Horner (her blog) is a super cool fabric designer that makes all sorts of large prints in wild colors. Her color usage is quite bold and unique actually.

I bought some fabric that she designed for Freestyle from her Drawing Room collection. It has all these great birds and flowers all over it.

The birds had a lot of blank white space, so I wrote the quilt label inside of that, and cut around it carefully to applique on as the label.

I will confess that I also used this method for the other quilt label I just made for our baby son. That label is even better because my dear friend Carol actually ended up doing the applique to put it on there for me! (hee was a complex pattern, and a very heavy fabric as well!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quilt Delivery Service

Last weekend our family drove from Northern California to Southern California to visit the grandparents and Aunt/Uncle/baby-niece.

Her quilt was complete, so I had no more excuses to keep it hanging around my house.

I made a super cool label - more details on that soon - and wrapped up my beautiful adorable niece in her new little quilt. I think she appreciated all the wild colors.

Not having the quilt in my house is a bit sad, but giving it to it's rightful owner...priceless.

Having taken a lot of photos of it before I gave it to her, I am thinking of putting a little flickr set together for you to see more of it.

The name of the quilt is Rising Diamonds - kinda like the Japanese rising sun, but with diamonds instead.

I'm also in love with the NPR challenge, "How Low Can You Go" where people write in with their recipe ideas that feed a family of 4 for under $10. Some very cool and interesting ideas in there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Excess Fabric

Is there such a thing as "Excess Fabric"?

I was searching for a topic for my blog post tonight, since I wanted to show you a photo of the blocks I made for the Sarah Johnson quilt but thought I should have something more intelligent to say than just - hey check out my awesome signature blocks.

So I asked my dear husband what topics I have yet to cover in my blog.

He said, "How about asking people how they use their excess fabric?"


Or maybe not - if you check out the May 2009 give away from Sew Mama Sew, you may find that lots of folks have excess fabric and are more than happy to give it away to you as long as you leave them a comment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Patchwork Quilt Tsushin #150

I'm a huge fan of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin, and their issue #150 just came out.

It included a little insert that was sort of a little marketing flier, but was called Patchwork Quilt Glossary. It discusses vocabulary terms, techniques, and methodologies used in quilting. Kinda cute.

The magazine itself has several pin cushion photos and patterns as it looks like they asked a bunch of folks to make different patterns for them to commemerate their issue #150.

There is an article starting on P.64 that discusses work of the beautiful and talented Yoko Saito and probably mentions her new book. I'm going to put this into my bucket of "If that doesn't make you want to learn to read Japanese, I don't know what will."

And since it's Memorial Day weekend here in the states, and my dad does love to watch the Indy 500, I thought I'd throw a quick racing link out there for you to check out a classic 1976 video of a drive through Paris at 140 MPH.

Background on the film here.

Ladies and Gentlemen...start your engines.