Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

I wonder when Pac Man will become cute vintage?

Happy Halloween.

Finished the one homemade Halloween costume. Feeling quite proud because it wasn't too bad and turned out cute. Will post pictures next time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween preparations

This quilt is an old standby. That is now part of our Halloween tradition. There is much about it I would do differently now, but it's not one I'm going to do over. Just going to enjoy pulling it out each October.

And I need to get off the computer and finish Halloween costumes. Fortunately I'm only making one, but I really should start it.

Going to be a gorgeous Halloween here. My favorite kind where we enjoy walking around our neighborhood, visiting with friends and not freezing to death. I'm sorry for all of you in snow boots! Snow on Halloween stinks! That's the scariest Halloween of all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What I need to be doing . . .

I have the lovely opportunity to work Saturday afternoons at a local quilt store. I have been doing this for 5 years now. (I can't believe it's been that long.) It is my once-a-week sanity-break. :) It's so nice to have a little bit of time each week to brush-up on my adult-conversation-skills. I am SO grateful for the support of my husband in making this possible. I have had my last two babies during this time and after each was born I thought I would probably have to quit, but my husband (being the wise man that he is) realized that I was a much saner person when I had a set time to leave the house alone each week. Not only is it a dream-job to get to pet fabric every Saturday while talking to other nice quilters, but they even give me money to do it! Amazing!

I also get to make quilt samples for the store, and because this store specializes in kits, I also help put together the kits for the quilts that I make. This is an interesting process. Most of the quilts I make are out of fabric that we have that is not moving fast. I like this challenge. Maybe it's the hidden pioneer-woman in me, using only what I have on hand. (Except this fabric comes from big bolts of fabric with words like MODA on the ends, instead of worn-out clothes.)

Anyway, this is a recent quilt and I need to finish the kits. The main cause for the creation of this quilt was the large bolt of the clown fabric we had. So I decided to make a baby quilt with some of the other fabrics from the Anna Griffin line and include some of the popular Amy Butler Midwest Modern line to make it more appealing. Then we put the clowns on the back.

This is one of the funniest quirks about selling fabric. We almost always put a fabric on the back of a quilt that is either not selling or is down-right not cute. And guess what? It flies out of the shop. It's hilarious. So, don't be sheep folks. Pick a fabric for the back of your quilts that you love, not just what the quilt-shop used, because chances are, they're just trying to get rid of it. :)
As much as I love doing this, it explains why I don't always have time to do what I want to be doing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gettin' my thrift on . . .

I told myself I was going to the thrift store for Halloween stuff, but it also meant I had to stop and look at the sheet selection. Thanks to lovely blogs like this one, I have been turned on to vintage sheets. (This kind of grossed-out my sister when I told her about it.) But old sheets are awesome!!

First of all: they're cheap.

Second: they are so much nicer than current sheets
- they stay heavy and smooth and they don't get all "pilly."

Third: They are cute.

Fourth: they are great for cutting up or for quilt backs!!
(Esp when the back of a quilt can run around $40 and I bought these for $4.)

Look at these fine specimen.

(I put the spool with the first one for size perspective.)

This one, I think I may make into a summer dress or skirt for my girls. (I like the thought of cute, light, but durable, fabric that doesn't need ironing when I'm making clothes.) And it will probably get cut up for quilts.
Found these while I was there. Pyrex. Nice and orangy which speaks to me right now, esp this time of year.
And this vintage Merrimeko pillow case. (Still cracks me up that the 1970's is now vintage.)
Have I actually cut-up any of my new little stash? Um, no. But now I think I'm ready.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Modern kids with farm animals or more poetically: "Ode to Peas and Carrots"

We had our fall break from school this past weekend. Not much sewing accomplished, but we had some fun outings. Including a working farm. A new place for my kids to visit and the best part: it was FREE! Second best part: it was a perfect fall day. So here is our ode to the Peas and Carrots quilt below.
A very old, and well used, looking tractor.
Unfortunately the pictures of the 10-day-old pigs did not turn out well. Wow. They were cute. I could totally see why Fern wanted to keep Wilbur. The baby pigs' mother: not as cute.Not entirely sure what this is -probably some kind of tractor implement - but it looked pretty cool (and possibly dangerous.)Another tractor. Couldn't get enough of them! Even vintage tractors look pretty charming.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Reproduction fabric

Okay. I am finally writing a post about quilting. I love lots of quilts, but I especially love OLD quilts. They are my favorite. So scrappy - not because the maker thought it would be 'cute' but because she was using what she had! And yet the artistry in so many old quilts is amazing. This is how I gained my LOVE reproduction fabric! I have collected a few old quilts, but I'm pretty careful with them because they're so fragile. So I love to make new 'old' quilts. And there is so much great fabric out there right now to create that look. One of my current favorite designers right now is American Jane for Moda.This was a quilt made last summer with her Peas and Carrots line. I wasn't necessarily making it for myself - mainly as a sample quilt for the quilt store where I work. But when I was finished I fell in love. So I made another one for myself. I love the blue gingham that sets off the blocks. And I love even MORE the scrappy patchwork fabrics that go with it. So 1940's vintage-farmhousey-looking.And in other good news I discovered a fabulous website this week: ReproDepot Fabrics. How did I not know about this before? Well, actually it's probably best that I didn't. It's a dangerous place. And, as is the case with every fabric store, they already sold out of the fabric I loved most the very day I decided to go back and buy it. If you want the Peas and Carrots panel of the cute kids playing with farm animals, they still have it here. But if you fall in love with it, get it soon as it will probably be gone when you go back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Domestic Diva

Well so far, this blog is more about produce than it is about quilts. But that is what is consuming my quilting time at the moment.

I did it. I actually made grape juice! From my neighbor's organic grapes. I made 11 quarts - which doesn't seem like as much as it should considering how long I had that juicer going - but I am still proud of it. I think there would have been 12 quarts, but we drank a lot right out of the juicer.



After: Ta-dah! It really wasn't hard at all. My only recommendation - don't let the plastic tube fall on the stove burner and melt 4 inches of it while at the same time filling your kitchen with toxic smoke. Especially when the juicer belongs to your kind neighbor. Argh. I'm so stupid. Fortunately I could just cut-off the plastic part that was melted and re-attach the end valve, but now the tubing is 4 inches shorter. I did confess to my neighbor and she is an understanding soul. She had done the same thing to her mother's juicer. Phew.And in other culinary experiments I tried roasting cherry tomatos for the first time. And they were GOOD! And it was so easy. Here is a great explanation.I think I am going to go make some more right now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The fruits of someone else's labor

I can take no credit whatsover for this produce. Isn't it gorgeous?? The apples came from a tree in our backyard. A tree I have largely ignored for the 4 years we have lived here. And this year it produced gorgeous, delicious fruit. I think it's pretty just sitting in the bowl! (If only I had Martha Stewart's photographers and lighting technicians to catch the true beauty.)

Then: A neighbor gave us tons of grapes from their yard. They'd been eating grapes for the past 2 months and didn't want anymore. So they let us pick 4 BIG bowls full. I am going to attempt to make grape juice. Last fall I overheard a lady talking about how she makes a year's supply of grape juice every fall, and I thought, "Oh, I would never do something that domestic." Then this fall I saw how E-A-S-Y it was and I think I may actually be capable of doing it. Monday is the day. We will see. . .
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What I want to be doing

These are two groups of fabric that I keep staring at (and petting) on my cutting table.

Just not sure what I want to do with them yet.

And I love them both so much, I want to do just the right thing. But I don't know what that is yet. I need to use them soon, before I fall in love with something new. I'm thinking bags, but what pattern?

I have a bunch more pressing things that I need to be doing first. So I should probably get off the computer and get to those things!
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Monday, October 6, 2008

coming out of the closet

This is a quilt made for my sister's new baby girl from the Moda Shangri-La charm pack.

I have loved quilts for a LONG time. But I haven't always thought they were "cool" enough to admit that I was among the ranks of those who made them.

My mom started quilting about 22 years ago and started teaching me right away how to do it. I kept this interest hidden from my peers for fear of them thinking it was way too nerdy. One of my most embarrassing moments in High School was at the end of my freshman year. I had just made the High School Dance company and was SO excited. Then the Senior officers introduced each of us newbies with some information they'd got from our moms. My mom told them I liked to quilt and now the coolest girls in the school, all knew!! I thought they were going to think I was the lamest inductee ever.

It was about 9 1/2 years ago, after I had my first baby that I started to really sew again in earnest. I was still pretty sheepish about telling people about my hobby. Then I started working at a local quilt store (another story for another day) and met other fun women who love to quilt. THEN I discovered the blogosphere and the many other amazing women - my age! - who make gorgeous quilts and other amazing projects. To the left are listed some of the blogs I check regularly for inspiration and there are 100's more out there. I also love to just search for quilts on Flickr.
Here's a couple I found today.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fruits (or vegtables) of our labors

This was our best vegetable harvest in the past few years. And I take great pleasure and pride in it. I finally realized that I am officially a tomato-snob. I can no longer eat grocery store tomatoes. They literally make me gag. But home-grown ones are heaven!! So for the past few summers I've tried, with not so successful results, to home-grow some. Mainly because I had nursing babies or really little ones whose audible cries were more critical than the non-audible cries of the tomato plants (who were probably crying none-the-less.) Well, this year I tried our plants in a new sunny spot, actually remembered to water them, and: VOILA! Deliciouso. The little ones are Sweet Hundreds. SO GOOD!

And here are our cute little white mini-pumpkins. I love white pumpkins and I love mini-pumpkins and I can't believe I grew my own hybrid!! Thank you Gregor Mendel. Amazing! (This was not the original plan, but by the time I got myself down to the nursery most of the plants for the regular, larger, orange pumpkins were gone. But they had these ones so we gave them a whirl. Yea!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

A comfortable favorite

I almost started this post with the title: "My favorite quilt" but then I ran across a few more quilts today that are other favorites for other reasons. So I can't honestly list it as THE favorite but it is definitely one of them. This is the quilt that I keep on the family room couch. Sometimes when I make quilts I refuse to let anyone touch them, or I hang them on the wall, or keep them folded away for seasons, etc. This one was made expressly for the purpose of USING. I love wrapping up in it to watch a movie (rare), or take a nap (even more rare). Or watching my kids wrap-up in it (more likely). It's one of those scrapy ones where I loved gathering as many different 4 1/2" squares as I could find - and they all look so much cooler together.

Plus it makes the denim slip-covers on the old couch at our house look so much cooler. (Slip covers are a must at our house. I LOVE being able to throw it in the washing machine whenever it gets marred by marker, or juice, or worse! I realized recently that even if I *could* go out and buy new couches tomorrow, I probably wouldn't until everyone is a little older, or at least potty-trained!)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Here goes nothing . . .

I've been thinking about doing something like this for sometime now and kept putting it off for one reason or another. (One of the big ones being, aren't there already 100's of other blogs just like this?) But since there is absolutely nothing to lose, and even if I am just writing to my mom and my posterity, let's give it a whirl.

This summer I dove into the blogging world. I've been writing a family blog for a couple of years now about our kids and vacations and stuff like that, mainly for all of our out-of-town family. (And now with the advent of blog-publishing! this may replace scrapbooking, since I don't seem to have time for both scrapbooking and sewing. And since I keep finding sewing projects, the scrapbooks are sorely neglected. My poor 4th child. At least he's the most heavily featured on the family blog.)

So anyway, this summer I discovered the rest of the mom-blog world. Or at least a fun little fraction of it. And it was amazing to discover other people like me!! Other moms who are home with busy little kids who still find time to quilt and sew! It was like when Dorothy walks out of her little black and white Kansas cabin into the technicolor land of Oz. I was so inspired by so many other women! When my husband came home, I told him I felt like I'd found a ton of new friends!

So I'm taking the plunge.