Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
and browsed through it before bed. It's got some creative ideas for gifts to make; I'm already planning some projects! Plus, the author, Alicia Paulson, has an interesting blog.
You can find the book here:
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I felt like starting a new project today. I've had this layer cake of Fig Tree's Patisserie for a while, with a pattern already chosen for it, so I pulled it out and got cutting. As you may notice, it is not strips. The pattern came with special templates to use. This quilt calls for a lot of curved piecing, giving me much practice in perfecting that skill. I'll provide some periodic updates on this project.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I used a t-shirt purchased at the school store for the center. I backed the t-shirt with very lightweight fusible interfacing then cut out, centering the school name and falcon logo. I added some strips to get it to the right size to fit the blocks. There wasn't enough fabric between the logo and the neck of the shirt to cut it full size and still center the logo - there would have been a lot of blank t-shirt fabric at the bottom of the block.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
However, I am not sure where to get the towels to use as the base for embellishing. I think I'd like a good quality cotton or cotton/linen woven towel in solid colors as well as some nice terry towels. If anyone has done this before and has a good source, please let me know.
Friday, July 17, 2009
But there are some things we need so today I set out for our local Nordtrom store and the first day of this year's Anniversary Sale. I heartily recommend it; they have some great stuff at significant savings. My lingerie needed replenishing and I was looking for some not-very-high heels in brown to wear to work. I found my favorite bra from Wacoal at a big discount from the usual, rarely ever on sale price and had a hard time deciding amongst three pairs of shoes because I liked them all so much. Miss Main Street needs clothes for fall that comply with her school's dress code. We did not find much in that line but one of her favorite looks is bright colored tights with a black skirt and boots and we found her some purple tights. They also had some good deals on workout and yoga wear from Nike and so on but I have plenty of that so I resisted the urge. We also entertained ourselves in the cosmetics area by experimenting with the testers, but if you are in the market for that they have a lot of special offers and the MAC people were doing free make-overs.
All-in-all, it was an enjoyable afternoon and I feel like I stretched my dollar and kept to my budget.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Then, if you were anything like me, you imposed further boundaries. For example, it took me a good while, and several quilts, to get comfortable mixing lots of colors and design scales together. I was a little too matchy-matchy with my early projects, using just three or four different fabrics in one quilt. I think dabbling with the watercolor technique got me "over it" and now I like a more scrappy look. I also like to use larger scale prints, though I am still hesitant to cut them in very small pieces.
I think it is important to keep trying new things and experimenting with new looks and techniques. That is how I have really developed as a quilter. Of course, I still want to make the occasional "safe" project, the one I know will turn out exactly as I expect it to, either because I'm using the same fabrics the pattern maker used or I have made the design before and can visualize exactly how it will turn out even with a change in fabric. And sometimes I need a quick, no-brainer project. But if every quilt I make is another Yellow Brick Road, I won't develop my skills much nor will I develop an individual style. (Now, I don't mean to put down Yellow Brick Road or the designer - it is a great pattern and every beginner quilter wondering what to do with a stack of fat quarters should consider it - but making it once was enough for me.)
I have a couple things in the project line-up that will stretch me a bit. As soon as I finish the blue and gold...
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Chocolate - I am a major sweet tooth and have a chocolate stash. It used to be hidden but my daughter found it; she has the bug even worse than me, which I did not think was possible. My favorites: See's chocolate mint patties, Trader Joe's chocolate mint UFOs, Cadbury chocolate with almonds, Ritter anything.
Romance novels - I am partial to authors Mary Balogh and Loretta Chase. They can be counted on for about a book a year but Mary Balogh was unusually prolific this year with four new books out already! That's almost overload as my annual allotment is about 7 or 8; any more and it is like eating too much sugar at once.
Cosmopolitans - I refer to that girly pink variation on a vodka martini. I am not of the Sex In The City generation or demeanor but I like my cosmo once in a while. I don't feel guilty if I drink just one.
Purses - There is nothing better than a new handbag to give me a fashion pick-me-up. I just bought a new Brahmin purse in olive green moc-croc leather. It will be a little boost for my fall wardrobe, brighten up all the blacks and browns I wear.
Notice I didn't mention fabric, quilting, making stuff - no, no guilt about that!
Friday, July 10, 2009
...until early 1992 when I just happened into the LQS (Quilter's Barn in Allentown, NJ - sadly, since gone out of business), where I saw a sign advertising their Quilt In A Day class. "Quilt in a day, how is that possible?!!" I was quickly introduced to rotary cutters, machine piecing, strip piecing, and all the modern advances in quilting at the time that made it possible to make a quilt in less than three years. While I was in the process of making a log cabin quilt, my sister told me she was pregnant so the resulting quilt went to her baby, Nicholas, now 16. It was loved to death and is now in shreds. I don't even have a photo of it. The handmade quilt pillows suffered from excessive sun exposure over the years and eventually fell apart and were discarded during a move.
So the quilt shown here is my First Quilt Still In Existence. I made it in early 1995 while pregnant with Miss Main Street (yes, eventually, while not quilting, I met a marriageable man). First Quilt Still In Existence is the double Irish chain pattern in traditional calico prints, machine pieced and hand quilted. We used it as a crib quilt and my daughter still has it in her bedroom, on the back of a chair. It survived in good condition because her blanket of choice was a soft, fringed baby blanket she received as a christening gift. It was known as "Manky" and was the one that went everywhere with her. She still has it and occasionally "wears" it like a shawl while watching tv.
My latest finished quilt is Mon Petit Chou, blogged about here.
Between then and now I have become much more adventurous about color and enjoy mixing more fabrics together. Of course, my skills have improved and I have moved well beyond squares. I still enjoy hand quilting but limit it to smaller projects and let a "professional" handle the larger quilts, though I would like to try quilting on my new Bernina. And I am more prolific, generally completing four or five quilts a year (depending on size and complexity).Now, this is a real first effort, I mean really FIRST! This is what started it all, the skirt I made in 7th grade home ec. It was my introduction to sewing, when I fell in love with fabric and creating, and the whole shebang! Picture it - early 1971, the girls in home ec for sewing and cooking, the boys in workshop so they could learn how to hide in the basement without doing anything productive :>)
A maxi prairie skirt with eyelet trim and an elastic waist. And my mother saved it all these years! Miss Main Street and I brought it home from Michigan along with some other clothes I really did wear in the 70's; she is saving them to wear to a 70's theme party she thinks is going to take place sometime during this next school year.
Thank you Carrie and Camille; this was a lot of fun!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Last Friday (July 3), I drove from my house in NJ to my mother's house in Michigan. Since I was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and it would be only a five minute detour, I thought it would be a good idea to stop at Sauder's on the way. Sauder Fabrics is in Lancaster County, home to many Amish, and is a bargain paradise for quilters. I had to suppress my natural urge to go nuts around all that fabric and limit myself to what I need for current projects, 'cause I still have fabric in the stash that I bought at Sauder's 18 month ago!
Sauder's can do it because they don't have the overhead of a typical LQS in a suburban location. It is a "no-frills" operation - lots of fabrics and patterns but no samples or enticing store decor. And the restroom is an outhouse (I made a pre-emptive strike at the highway rest stop right before the exit).
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
closer up view