Friday, February 27, 2009

Some Japanese goodness

A new little project I'm working on. Finally using my small collection of Japanese prints. This has been in my brain and on my cutting table for a while. Now it's finally having its' turn to be sewn together.
A few other vintage reproductions included. I just love the little girl loosing her hat on her wild ride on the see-saw.

I'm also sewing with a linen/cotton blend for the first time and really liking the look. I'm even more curious to see what it looks like after quilting and washing. I'll let you know how it goes.
And if you want some Japanese goodness of your own, check out this new-to-me blog, Lovely Little Handmades. Kerri is giving away 5" squares of all of these prints. So adorable. She has some beautiful quilts as well.
Have a happy weekend dreaming of toadstools and hedgehogs and all their little chums.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Show and Tell

Well, I must confess I fell-off the wagon. But my resolution lasted 2-months and I'm right back on. It was the economy that needed me, right? So it was very altruistic.

Here are a couple of little finds. These came from Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove. I needed some good solid neutrals and these were on clearance. Plus, my first pieces of Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope Strings. (They still had a pretty good selection of the collection, if anyone is looking for some.)
A really beautiful store. Really clean, well organized, beautiful lighting, fabric, pattern displays, etc. Unfortunately we got there right before they were closing and I was too chicken to ask if I could take pictures, but here is a little one from their web page.
It was so funny to take my aforementioned quilting-novice sister and to see her unbiased reaction to the different stores we visited. Not all quilt-stores are created equal. A couple were less-inspiring than some of the others - mainly display issues.

But you never know what treasure might be lurking. One of the last stores we hit on the way back up to Berkeley I walked in thinking, "Nope. Nothing here for me." And then my sister pointed out a plastic bag full of vintage buttons for about $3.00. They didn't look as appealing all thrown in together, but there were definitely some good ones and the whole bag was not too much more than the three green glass button's I'd bought the day before. So here they are sorted:

These ones are also glass. They are so cute! My favorites are the blue and white -mainly because I love blue and white china. So sweet.
I love this assortment of orange and coral buttons.

And then there were these stray metal buttons:With this little Salzburg button. I love it! I'll save it for if I ever make a Sound of Music tribute quilt. :)And finally these old "handmade labels." [Not that the labels are handmade. You know what I mean.] The packaging looks old, but am I just kidding myself? Is this how they still come now? Anyway, I'd never bought some before, so I figured they were a good combination with the old buttons.And there you go.

Good news on the nap front. The greatest solution ever happened: spring weather. After playing outside, the kid is much more worn out and is actually taking a nap AND going to bed at a decent time. Hallelujah. And Hallelujah for warmer weather. My snow is melted. YAY!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Findings

After we arrived at the Oakland airport and were safe inside our rental car, my mom whipped out a folder containing mapquest directions to all the quilt stores she could find in the greater Bay Area. Even I was a little overwhelmed. :)
We managed to hit a few (not all - mainly for my sister's sanity, although by the end she was the one suggesting we hit one or two more.) This one was my favorite of the 7 or so we stopped at during our trip. And turns out we didn't even need mapquest for this one after all - it was only a short block and a charming-walk away from our hotel in Carmel.
A very sweet little shop (emphasis on the world little) that exuded charm and personality - as did the owner, Nancy.
No big collections of fabric lines, only a few well chosen bolts, plus lots of ribbon and trims.


I couldn't walk away from this place empty handed. Also, the day before at the beach I saw a girl carrying a vintage log cabin quilt, probably made in the 40's out of pinks and reds and turquoises and greens - it was fabulous - and I am totally kicking myself that I didn't stop her and ask if I could take a picture. (I think I was a little flabbergasted that she was going to actually put that beauty on the sand and sit on it!) But I did vow that I would make one of my own. So seeing these fabrics with that quilt fresh in my mind, I decided I needed to give them a home.
Nancy also had a beautiful dish of antique Czech glass buttons sitting on her cutting table. They were calling my name too, but I only adopted three. They are so pretty. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with them, but if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm back

Hello Blogland. It's been a while! I've missed you, but important things must be taken care of.

I don't know if you are aware of the dire economic crisis the state of California is in. Well a little while back my brave mother decided she needed to do her loyal duty to help the state she lived in from her birth through her adolescence by stimulating their economy. And knowing that my sister and I would willingly support her in this endeavor, she invited us along on this rescue plan of sorts.
It was difficult, but someone had to do it.
We spent a few days in Carmel - a magical place of wonderful reminiscences of trips with my family and grandparents. Especially poignant since my sweet grandfather's passing 2 months ago. Another day visiting Berkeley where my mom grew up and somehow didn't become a hippie.
It was a very lovely, peaceful getaway. And quilt stores were visited. (More on that later.) My patient sister, who is not a quilter, willingly indulged us, although she did admit to having dreams about bolts of fabric after the first day.
Unfortunately, we didn't stimulate the economy this much:
(you may have to click on the photo to be able to read it)
Even thought it's "priced to sell in today's market," a little under $2 mil was out of our price range. Sorry, Governor Schwarzenegger, we did our best.


And now it is back to reality . . . Kindergarten registrations, getting ready for piano recitals, re-stocking the cookie jar, dealing with a grumpy child who is still refusing naps . . . at least I'd done 12 loads of laundry before I left, so we're not in dire straits in that department. yet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Doll Quilt

I finished the little quilt from the Sew Mama! sew-along. This was not something I needed to do, but since I already had some cute 3 1/2" squares cut, I couldn't resist.
I used scraps and pieces from good old Sandy Klop's American Jane collection - mostly the line Look and Learn (much of which I got back in December for super clearance) or scraps from previous quilts.

Here is the back.
I am such a chicken about quilting with my own machine - hence the grid instead of stippling. I can stipple on a Gammel, but I am not good at it. I need to get up the guts to just try it at home. But I'll use some old, junky practice stuff to do it first.
I had the hardest time getting a decent picture. Part of the problem is the border gets lost - it's too light with not enough contrast. So maybe I'll try another version with a darker border or a dark stop border in between.

And in other exciting news, the Vita-Mix demo-guy was at Costco today. (Affectionately known as "the smoothie man" by my kids.) I love that guy. And one day I WILL buy one of his wares.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh to be some place warm

Back from St. George in southern Utah. (Home of Nedra.) It was so lovely to be some place warmer than home and extra good to get away with our little family. It's amazing how cheerful kids are when both mom and dad are there and they have our undivided attention. :) Makes me want to do it more often.

Good to be warm. Good to get away. Good to be over my cold.

Oh, and good to take pictures of quilts.
(My husband laughed when he realized what I was doing.)
Look at these beauties I found in a couple of pioneer homes we visited.
How could I resist?


I love how 'modern' old quilts are.
I also love that they were made before rotary cutters and fabric stores and Gammel quilting machines, and in some cases, sewing machines in general. And they are another example of how women find ways to express themselves creatively under the most primitive circumstances. Inspiring.
Oh, and we saw dinosaur tracks. Cool.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

And one more for the road . . .

One more red and white quilt for Valentine's Day. This one was made a couple of years ago. I used the scraps from this one for the red and white table runner.
Have a happy weekend. Enjoy all that chocolate. :)
The kids valentines are all done and ready to go in their backpacks. I'm off to find printable Valentine Bingo cards for my daughter's school party tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Classic

One of my quandries with quilting is the rapidly changing world of color style. On the one hand I LOVE to see fabric, color schemes, etc. that are new and fresh. On the other hand, I sometimes look at my old quilts and don't love them as much because the fabrics and colors are "dated." I'm sure that in a few years I'll be looking at my orange and teal stuff and thinking the same thing. :)One color scheme that I think is always classic is red and white. I love it! Sure, the shades of red may change, but that combo always looks good. So last winter I finally made a red and white quilt for myself.

I love these peonies (my favorite flowers) on the back.

This is a quilt I made for the store at the same time, from the same fabrics and the same size (4") squares. [We had ton of really good reds last winter.] Only this quilt was made-up in a split nine-patch pattern. It was really fun. I LOVE that pattern - so quick and easy to make a complex-looking quilt. I love comparing the two quilts. They make nice companions. But I only got to bring one of them home to live with me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Apocalypse Now

Not getting much done today.
A little project I started when I saw the Sew Mama Sew! Doll Quilt sew along. Not something I need to do, but I couldn't resist. And there it sits at my machine, waiting for me to return . . .

This seems to keep happening to me . . . just last week I was feeling like, "Wow. We are in a good rhythm right now. Good schedules for the kids, etc. I am feeling so productive!"

And then the 2 1/2-year-old discovered his new found ability to escape his crib and is now in full protest of his nap schedule. That and he suddenly gets up at 6:15 am!

Plus I got my kids' cold.

This is how I feel:
Every time each of my kids has started to outgrow a nap, I have felt overwhelmed for a couple of months until we adjust to our new routine. Here we go again!

The rough part of a child rebelling against nap time is an over-tired kid by dinner time.

And I keep finding results like this:
(It normally looks like this.)Wish me luck.