Monday, August 31, 2009

Australian Homespun Magazine

A few weeks ago, I took out a subscription to Australian Homespun magazine. It had popped up around quilting blogland but I could never find it at a quilting store or newstand around here, even the ones that stock other Australian magazines. Then I found Stonehouse Publications online. They are the US and Canadian distributors for Homespun (and more). A subscription is pricey compared to US magazines like McCall's Quilting, but I figured it would be fun to try.

My first issue arrived this week. It is issue no. 73 (vol. 10 no. 6). They are not dated but I think it came out in June because the mini-article on the next issue refers to it as the "Christmas in July" issue. Must take a little longer to get this far. Anyway, it did not disaapoint. I especially like the circle quilt on the cover and am already planning to make it in a collection of scrap fabrics I've saved that coordinate with our tv room decor.

I like this issue so much, I just ordered two back issues from Stonehouse. I'll report in when they arrive.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Winner's Bouquet - Finished Flimsy

The quilt top I made from the Winner's Bouquet pattern and templates by Atkinson Designs is finished! I think Reggie approves. I used a layer cake of Patisserie (Fig Tree Designs from Moda), rounded out with a few other fabrics. The curved piecing was not all that difficult. In fact, if you are looking for a first project with curved pieces, I recommend this pattern.

I'm calling it Cider Mill because the colors remind me of childhood visits to the Franklin Cider Mill, in Franklin, Michigan (northwest of Detroit, near Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills). Cider was (and still is) made in the historic mid-19th century building and they sell the cider, old fashioned donuts, and apples there. The colors in the Patisserie fabrics remind of all that yumminess and even of the mill building itself.

I'm putting this away along with the backing and binding fabrics, to be quilted a bit later. I have some other projects to get to, but more about that later.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sew Sunny Homestyle

I just received a copy of Sew Sunny Homestyle, by Tone Finnanger (aka Tilda). I think the author is Norwegian though this copy was published in the UK. It is full of cool and unusual things to make, including this bottle carrier. (I drink a lot of water and this would be a handy way to carry my sports bottle with me.)

This mouse is darling and there is also a rabbit and a squirrel.

And these Beach Houses.

I got the book from Connecting Threads, which is having a sale - 40% off all books. If there are any books you've been longing to add to your quilting library, now is the time. And while we're on the subject of books, don't forget about my giveaway. It ends Tuesday night and you can find it here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fab Giveaway at Anka's Treasures

Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka's Treasures is having a fabulous giveaway at her blog, Trends and Traditions. Heather produces her own line of quilt patterns and books. Her designs are very fresh, a kind of updated traditional. Many of her designs use pre-cuts like layer cakes and jelly rolls. The giveaway is for some of the sample quilts (yes, the actual quilts!) she made from her patterns. You'll find it on her post dated Aug. 21.

Go visit the blog. Not only are the designs great, Heather also shares lots of quilting construction tips. And the occasional tip on home renovation and construction, too. And sometimes knitting.

While you are entering giveaways, don't forget about mine. You'll find it here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Find - Style Evolution

I have made a great effort this year, trying to be frugal so as to save more to reinvigorate our retirement savings. I seriously cut back on buying clothes. But I am now feeling the need to revamp my wardrobe, give it bit of an update for the fall. My favorite stores are calling to me! However, I can't go crazy - I need to focus on picking up just a few things that will give my wardrobe some needed oomph.

So when I saw this book, Style Evolution, by Kendall Farr, I thought it might have some good advice. The subtitle is How to Create Ageless Personal Style in Your 40s and Beyond. Hmm, 40s and Beyond, that's me. And I certainly would like to have ageless style, don't want to dress like a teen wannabe nor like a frump. Well, I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels the same way, and I don't think you need to be 40+ to find it helpful. The author is full of style tips for bodies that aren't 6' tall and don't wear size 4, what looks good and imparts a sense of personal style without looking like you tried to too hard (even if you put a lot of work into it), or went shopping in your 15-year-old daughter's closet.

It is a really good guide to use to reevaluate your wardrobe, figure out what's working for you and what isn't, and what you really need to get for the coming season. I have some ideas, and more confidence about putting them into practice, after having read Style Evolution.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Japanese Quilting Books

I went to New York City yesterday for a meeting at the ad agency used by one of my clients. Ad agencies today are pretty far removed from the world of Mad Men: no smoking, no liquor, women outnumber men but a wide margin, and though they dress stylishly it is more casual. My meeting ended at noon so rather than an expense account lunch, I took myself off to my favorite Pret A Manger.

Then it was down 6th Avenue and across the street to Kinokuniya, the Japanese book store. I found these two adorable how-to books and thought they would make a great give-away. That's right, it is time for Quilting On Main Street's first giveaway!

Each book has photos and directions for making small household items like placemats, tea cozies, pillows, small quilts, coin purses, totes. The directions are written in Japanese but there are lots of illustrations so they are fairly easy to follow. Book on the left has projects made from squares; book on the left is all hexagons.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post with:

  • Title and author(s) of your favorite quilting book

  • Why it is your favorite - general inspiration, how-to advice, lots of projects you like to make, eye candy - whatever that makes it your favorite.

From the comments, I'll compile a list of blog reader favorites for a future post, plus draw a winner who will receive the two Japanese books. Deadline for entering the giveaway is next Tuesday, August 25, 10 pm Eastern US daylight savings time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Further Progress

I made more progress this weekend on my Winner's Bouquet quilt. On Saturday, I squared up the blocks. Each block is 8 1/2" (8" finished). With all the bias edges, they have a tendency to get a little out of alignment but that was easily handled with my 8 1/2" square ruler. Then today, I sewed together the first four rows (there will be eight rows plus two borders). The rest will have to wait until later in the week. I have tv to watch tonight.

I think I am going to call this quilt Cider Mill. I'll explain why in a later post.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cooperstown Without Baseball

It's not that I don't like baseball. But I've been to Cooperstown 5 or 6 times and one trip through the Baseball Hall of Fame was enough for me.

We had a very relaxing time. For three nights, this was my view:

Lake Otsego

Great meals with too much food, reading on the veranda in the afternoon, dancing after dinner, side trips to the Fenimore Art Museum (fantastic exhibit of paintings by American painters in Rome during the 19th century), Farmer's Museum, Fly Creek Cider Mill, and even the LQS, Heartworks, in Fly Creek.

Fly Creek Cider Mill (and gourmet food..and gifts...and petting zoo)

I've had a busy couple of days catching up on work but am looking forward to some hours in the sewing room this weekend.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Find - Mad Men

Another reason I haven't done much quilting lately is that this tv show, Mad Men, has been sucking up my time. I just started watching last week and I am hooked!

I'd heard about it before, of course, from work colleagues and my husband watched a few episodes. But I don't watch much tv so hadn't seen it yet. Our Netflix queue was rather short and in searching for something to put on it, I thought of this show. The first disk arrived last week. Wow, is it good!

In case you have somehow missed the hoopla, the show takes place in 1960 and the male characters work for an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in NYC (hence the name, Mad Men). The acting is excellent and they do a wonderful job with the sets and costumes. They also stay true to the cultural norms of the times; for example, children are not the center of the universe. I had to chuckle at one scene, in the home of Don Draper (the main character). His daughter Sally (age about 6) is running around with a friend, playing outer space, and she has a plastic dry cleaning bag over her head and body. Her mother scolds her, not for playing with something dangerous and possibly suffocating herself, but for leaving the clothes that were in the dry cleaning bag on the floor of the closet! How safety conscious we have become since then!

The scene made me recall a habit of my childhood. I grew up during the '60's, in the Before Seatbelt Era. When my family went out in the car "for a drive" or to go over to my grandparents, I often made my younger sister sit on the floor in the back so I could hog the whole backseat. My parents rarely if ever protested. They were good parents, not neglectful. Makes me wonder how we will be criticized by the next generation. I can hear it, "OMG, they let their kids drink from plastic bottles!"

Now I have to get through as much as I can of the first two seasons of Mad Men in time for the start of Season 3 next Sunday. If you are interested, you can rent it at Blockbuster and Netflix and buy it at the usual DVD retailers like

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More From Stash

Here is some more fabric I found in my stash - apple and cherry prints. I was planning a quilt I was going to call "American Pie." I still like that idea but need to figure out the design.

I had the rest of my sewing classes on the Bernina this week and learned a bit more. I highly recommend the classes for anyone buying a new sewing machine. I've been sewing and quilting for a long time but picked up some worthwhile tips. And now I'll be able to do a lot more with my machine.

Not much else going on of a quilting nature here. Lots of work for the regular job so have had to suspend the hour-a-day regimen for this week but hope to resume by Friday. And I'm in the midst of getting Miss Main Street ready to go to sleep-away camp. This will be her third summer going to Ranch Camp - riding every day plus other fun activities. She particularly likes zip line and rock wall climbing (not something we have in our back yard!) and has reached the age where the girls like to do "makeovers" on each other. And while she is away, Mr. Main Street and I are going on a 3-day getaway!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Treasures From My Stash

Here are few pieces of fabric I bought with really good intentions to use right away. But for some reason (lack of time and lack of a plan mostly) I never used them. I need some ideas:

This is "Carousel" by Alexander Henry (2003). I've had it a few years. My parents-in-law live in Greenport, NY, where there is an antique carousel in the center of town. Miss Main Street loves it, still likes to go for a ride whenever we visit. I was thinking of making a wall hanging of some sort but never figured out exactly what blocks to make.

This panel is called "Chelsea Market" from RJR Fabrics (2008). I bought it at quilt show this past winter and planned to use it in a wall hanging.

All three pieces have a spider web design. They are for the Halloween quilt I will make "some day."

I am a serious chocolate lover - a day without chocolate is...very bad. The fabric with the labels shows various British candy bars and I think they are mostly vintage designs. Fabric is called "Vintage Scrapbook" and is from Woodrow Studio. The other is "Sweet Stuff" from Robert Kaufman.

All of these are in my stash, waiting for inspiration to strike!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Progress on Winner's Bouquet

10 blocks down, 38 to go. I am using mostly Patisserie, augmented with a little Beach House - both fabric collections from Moda. The curved pieces are easier to sew than I thought they would be but do take more time than straight piecing.
The pattern I am using is called Winner's Bouquet, by Atkinson Designs. The directions are easy to follow and the pattern came with acrylic templates to use when cutting out the pieces.