Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Garden Quilt Show

Remember this day? (I know. It's the day I was kind of being a drama queen.)
Well I'm finally posting the pictures I took of the quilt show.
The quilt on the far left is one of mine.

Another wonderful yard. Lots of adorable details in the yard itself.

Wouldn't you love a vintage stove with colorful watering cans in your yard?

And here are the quilts. Lots of great ones.
Most of these quilts were made by ladies in a quilt group that my mom is a part of.
(Although she hijacked a few of mine, so there may have been other usurpers.)

I love this little vintage cowboy quilt.

This quilt was started by my mom on September 11, 2001. She'd been planning it for a while and during that day of needing something comforting to occupy her hands and mind, she started working. This comes from a pattern by Peggy Waltman. I'm not sure if it's still available or not.
I made the sunflower quilt in the background. It's one of my favorites.

Repro-vintage aprons made my mom. Cute, huh?
(Can you see where I get my fabric/sewing love?)

The pink quilt on the left is one that I designed for American Quilting last winter.
I also cut all the kits for it, so it was fun to see one someone had put together.

And there you have it. Lovely, right?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Making progress and messes

I am starting to make some progress! Yay.

There is still much to be done, but it's nice to no longer have deadlines and I can just move at my own (or my kids') pace. I haven't sewn in a month (besides the binding on that quilt) and I'm itching to go. Last week I started unloading my boxes of stuff and it got me so excited. I even spent some time at my kitchen table cutting squares Saturday night and I was in heaven. (Can you imagine how pathetic that last sentence would sound to a lot of people?? ha ha.) Felt so good to have that rotary cutter in my hand.

Here is one of my unpacking projects: my future sewing room! [Yes, a ROOM. That annoying high-pitched sound you hear is me trying to suppress a squeal so I don't embarrass my family.] I always forget to take "before" pictures, but here you have one. Can't wait to take "after" pictures. Or at least "progress" pictures.

Right after we closed on the house I came to walk through the empty house, knowing it was finally ours. I had my boys with me and they were walking around saying things like: "here is where we will put our couch and here is where we will put my bed . . ." when the youngest opened a closet in the basement and said, "Here is where we will put our monsters."

at which point I thought to myself, "no. Here is where I will put my fabric."
It could be that we were still talking about the same thing.

And speaking of my boys (which seems to be a lot recently) they are in heaven playing with the Styrofoam packing pieces and dad's tools. They've been having a heyday. Part of me was thrilled that they were doing something that kept themselves happily entertained and exercising their creative juices. But I finally made them move to the back porch because I got tired of vacuuming up shredded Styrofoam. I should have taken a picture first - it looked like a snowstorm in our family room.

I wonder if my husband ever wishes he could move my fabric to the back porch? But then again, he's probably happy to see me quietly entertaining myself sometimes too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A new quilt

Remember when this was a blog about quilting?

Well, I finally have a new quilt to share. This one has been in the works for a while now.

Three years ago I made a baby quilt for American Quilting with some adorable retro-looking Fireman prints by Alexander Henry. I kept my own pieces and decided to save them to make a crib-sized quilt a little later. And it was one of those rare cases of being glad I waited because I no longer loved some of the prints I originally used. Instead I dipped into my American Janes which matched perfectly. (I love that Dalmatian print too!)

So this spring, with my little guy about to turn 3 and a lover of all things Fireman, I decided to pull out those pieces and finally finish that quilt. Which I did, except for the binding. My son loved it and carried it around for months without a binding. Then, during these last couple of weeks with moving delays and all my fabric and sewing stuff packed away, I needed some therapy and took the opportunity to finally bind this quilt.

The back.

Here is a close-up of a few pictures from the back.
Don't you just love those happy little firemen and their mascot dog?

And now here is the quilt in its new home. The three-year-old graduated to the toddler bed when we moved. (Remember the bed here?) The pillow case is a thrifted vintage Merrimeko trucks that I bought last year and have been excited to pull out.

My little guy is obsessed with firefighters. He's been known to wear his fire-helmet to the library (which I totally loved. Years ago one of my girls used to wear a tutu over her clothes everywhere we went and I used to be somewhat embarrassed by that. You can tell that I'm mellowing as a mother because I got the biggest kick out of the fire-helmet wearing.)

One day we drove past some firefighters and their truck and my little guy said, "Mom! I'm going to be a fireman when I grow up. Or . . . a dentist-guy." Hmm. So let me know if anyone comes across any cute, retro-dentist fabric. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the move

This is not us. But it's pretty close. lol. Just a funny picture I stole from my sister, who borrowed it from someone else. :)

Finally checking in. Man, moving is a pain. I told my husband on Saturday that I decided moving reminds me of having a baby: you pretty much lose a lot of dignity or privacy, and afterward you are exhausted. And despite all brave plans to do it on your own, in the final moments of desperation, you gratefully accept the help of many other people. Many other people, who have been so generous and thoughtful. We couldn't have done it without them.

So here we are. Saturday night we pretty much felt like we were camping (only with indoor plumbing.) By Sunday night we had beds set up. Monday we figured out how to get hot water again. Yesterday we finally got our phone line working and today I am back online. Maybe tomorrow we'll have the 4-pronged outlet switched out and we can have our washer and dryer functioning. Baby steps, but we're getting there. Maybe I'll even sew again one day. :)

Thanks for all of your well wishes. It's nice to be back. And it's also lovely to send my darlings off to school, waving from the front porch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I learned from Heather Bailey

Finally sharing a few of the things I learned from Heather Bailey last week. I hope they will motivate you like they motivated me. Here goes:

No idea is too simple.

I was so touched by Heather's sharing her inspirational and spiritual story about inventing hair accessories called Trash Ties. This was the experience that changed the direction of her life and opened doors for many future opportunities that she has gracefully accepted. Listening to her story I was further convinced that God cares about the details of our lives. Through random experiences and meeting people and making connections, she was in the right place at the right time to launch what has become a successful product.

Don't set limits for yourself.

She encouraged us to step out of our comfort zone, to reach out to the people placed in our paths and to dare to dream of things we wouldn't think we are good enough or capable of doing.

This rang true to me as I looked back in my life. I happen to REALLY love my comfort zone. It is a very cozy place to be. But as I look back at the times when I stepped out (or was thrown out) of that comfort zone I see that the people I met and the experiences I had as a result are some of the most precious to me.

Finding my job at American Quilting was one of those experiences. As was starting a blog. So often I felt (and still feel) that it wasn't worth the effort because it wasn't as perfect looking as I'd like it to be. My pictures weren't as beautiful as others I admired, my graphic design skills are pathetic and my html skillz are pretty much non-existent. But I am SO grateful for the wonderful people I've met and come in contact with as a result starting this thing! There are days still when I get so frustrated with my blog not looking the way it does in my dreams (lol) that I want to pack it in, but I continue to remind myself that if I wait to be perfect before I try something new, I won't accomplish much in life. If I wait until I'm perfect at painting before I even try to paint, I'm not going to ever create a masterpiece. If you wait until you're a perfect seamstress before you try to sew, you're never going to create that family heirloom,. It's the jumping in and trying something new, that teaches us and helps us progress. And often, in the end, the journey - the process- is as valuable as the finished product.

Nurture your creative self. Make space for creativity.

I whole-heartedly give an Amen! to this statement. I've already spoken my piece on that subject, so I'll spare you more of my blathering here.

Just as we all have an inner critic, we all have an inner creator. Put the inner critic in her place. Promote her: don't invite her to any of the brainstorming sessions, just the final editing process.

My inner critic is a little too domineering in my life. She's not the type that screams at me, but she's really good at gently nagging. And getting me to endlessly and unfairly compare myself to other people. The perfect way to stifle any creativity.

Find what is unique about you.

Hands down, my favorite line she said: "As a teenager I was always the weird one who was making quilts for her friends, but it always made me happy." I loved this sentiment because that was ME too! And I always felt like such a weird-o and totally embarrassed if anyone found out. And sadly, I'm still kind of that way. Which is why it's so lovely to have met so many others (through blogging and working in a quilt shop) who 'get' my love for playing with fabric. But at the same time, I'm still pretty hesitant to tell other people what I do, or even that I have a blog about making quilts.

some of my collection of Heather Bailey fabrics that I'm hoarding, I mean saving for a new project

And yet, it makes me happy. It gives me a lot of creative satisfaction. And if God has given me a talent and something that I love to do, what does it say if I choose to hide it? So embrace your talents - especially if they are unique. Let them enrich your life.

I'm glad Heather Bailey embraced that gift. I think she is one of the major players in making sewing and creating with fabric very cool again and sparking that interest for a new generation of women. And creating very cool fabric to create with. Woo!

Speaking of which, she previewed her new collection Nicey Jane. So adorable. And I loved her explanation of the inspiration behind Nicey herself. :)

And if you would rather hear from Heather herself, you can check out the clip of an interview she gave while in Salt Lake here. It's worth watching. Plus she gives a demo of a very cute flower accessory anyone can make. Even the guy interviewing her gave it a go.

There is also a fascinating interview with Heather at Startup Princess (here). You can learn about her Favorite Knot, how to not feel guilty about the fabric in your stash that you aren't using, and about her spinning wheel! Seriously, its fascinating!

I'm sorry again for the delay in posting this. I spent my computer time this morning deleting weird comments in Japanese that were very dodgy. And yesterday was busy because we finally signed closing papers! Yay! So we will move this weekend. I don't know what that will mean for computer availability over the next little bit, but I'll resurface eventually. And I still need to post a tribute to my faithful fence.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I love Nie!

The timing is too much, so I won't blame you if you think I'm making this up.

So there I was today at Target with my 3-year-old, pulling out my Kashi coupons that the "free-example" (Smart-children lingo for "free sample") ladies had just given me, when I looked at the aisle next to me and saw Nie and Mr. Nielsen (with their boys.)

If you are new to Nie (pronounced 'nee') let me give you some background. Stephanie Nielsen and her husband Christian were in a small-plane that crashed at the end of summer 2008. Both of them were severely burned and Nie was in a coma for months. Her story as a woman who simply loved the joys of being a wife and mother have become deeply poignant as she has struggled to overcome her drastic burns and injuries. Her strength in adversity has inspired me profoundly.

Just this past weekend I told Allison how her story of accosting the Nielsens at Costco cracked me up! but also made me wonder what I would do in the same situation. And here I was.
once again I have no photographic proof of this encounter

For a split second I thought about not bothering them, but then I knew I would always regret not telling this woman in person how much her life has inspired me. Inspired me to be a more patient mother, a more loving wife, a more faithful woman, and to stop whining ever.

So I approached her - and of course I couldn't say any of the things I was really thinking because by then I was trying so hard not to cry. So I just told her that I think she is amazing.

And she was beyond gracious. Not to mention stylish, glowing, and beautiful. She's the real deal.

I was totally teary as I headed to my car and started loading my groceries when I realized in all my excitement, I had left behind the microwave I'd just paid for. So we high-tailed it back into Target where the employees were looking at me like I was a bit daft.

But I was actually glad I had to go back because I got to say Hello again. I had realized as I walked to the car the first time that I wished I had told Mr. Nielsen how impressed I am with him as a father and husband. What a better place this world with be if more men treated women and their families as he does. So I accosted them again and they were equally gracious the second time.

If you haven't read Nie for sometime, you need to visit. I bawled the day she posted the first picture of herself post-crash. This post moved me too.

Quite an amazing past couple of days. So what if a crazy loan-officer drew our file? It has been so wonderful to meet in real life many people I have admired from afar. Report on Heather Bailey tomorrow!

And just in case it buys me any credibility, Andrea Boccelli was in Utah this weekend recording for his Christmas album with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and I did NOT run into him. Even though that would have been really nice too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days. . . but mostly best. OR: I get by with a little help from my [blogging] friends

I knew today was going to be crazy and I wasn't really sure if I was going to pull it off, but I was willing to give it a shot.

First the best: today I met Heather Bailey! Wow. I attended part of the Touchpoint Conference for women. Part of me felt so out of place among well-heeled business women and the other part of me felt motivated just being with them. Heather's presentation was so inspirational. I promise a near-future post on that subject. I also briefly met in person other bloggers I've enjoyed for sometime: Pamela, Marie, Sarah Jane, and Allison (who was Guest-Mom-ing at Design Mom this week.) I am always amazed at how fun it is to meet other bloggers in real life and how genuine and great they are. Especially when I feel like such a stalker/wannabe. :)

(And because I was rushing in and out, I didn't get any pictures. Plus I still feel a little tacky whipping out a camera sometimes. So I have no proof. Hopefully you don't think I'm just making all this up.)

From there I frantically rushed to get my 5-year-old to Kindergarten and then swing by the garden quilt show that my mom's quilt group was hosting in the same area. [Teaser photo above and more to come.] And following that I was off to close on our house! Life was crazy but I was feeling good.

Then my husband called. The lady in charge of processing our loan with the lender (the one who just went out of town recently and didn't pass our file on to anyone else while she was gone!) had neglected a disclosure document that needed to be signed (and could have been done weeks ago) with mandatory 4 DAY waiting period attached before we can close. So we can't sign papers until next Wednesday. Which means rescheduling everything AGAIN. [I felt like such a heel calling the carpet installers. Again. Now we either postpone 2 weeks or move into only half the house.] I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Goal line yanked AGAIN. (Sorry, I feel like such a drama queen.)

Well, my wise husband decided it was a night for getting take out from Costa Vida (a rare treat) and heading up to a park on the river in Provo Canyon. I was feeling so discouraged and frustrated but as I sat there watching my happy kids playing I started thinking about a recent post by Nie going up that same canyon and suddenly all my pathetic little woes were put in perspective.

So. . . we'll move eventually. Having this house mostly boxed-up means less clutter. (Or at least it should.)
And in the mean time, those 40 minute round trips to the school include views like this.

And this. I think I can handle that.

And now I'm going to go do something I haven't done in too long: Sew.
Best therapy I have.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quite possibly my favorite quilt

I decided to take advantage of the fact we haven't moved yet to take pictures of my favorite quilt on our trusty, rustic fence.

This quilt was given to me by my mother-in-law a few years ago. She found it while cleaning out her own mother-in-law's home of 50ish years. Our guess is that it was made by my husband's great-grandmother. I felt so privileged that she would give it to me - but I think she knew I would give it a loving home. And it will be a special treasure for my girls one day to have this family heirloom.

I love that the fabrics are so random and scrappy but that chedder-y yellow solid and green-check-with daisy-motif tie it all together. That same daisy fabric is on the back of the quilt.

But it's also fun to note that the maker ran out of that daisy fabric part way through making the diamonds and substituted other greens. (You can see in the bottom-left photo above.) I love all of the prints in this quilt. Looking at them makes me think the quilt was made sometime in the 1930's. [anyone else want to weigh in?] Lot's of feedsack-looking fabrics.

One reader just asked about quilting. Good eyes! No, this quilt is not quilted. It is only tied. This is perhaps it's greatest flaw. The ties do not hold the quilt together as much as I would like and it is therefore a bit fragile. The more a quilt is quilted, the better it will hold up in the long run.

But I love it none the less.
This quilt gives me a nice case of the warm fuzzies.

Which I really need at the moment. We just found out our move has been postponed another week. Argh. This is the second time. The lenders are SO SLOW right now and they are requiring ridiculous amounts of minutia in terms of credit reports and tax information and appraisals. A sad swing of the pendulum because of the hedonistic lending practices of the past few years. Just this morning I read a headline that said: Norms change for home sales; Buyers have to jump through more hoops. I can add a hearty 'amen' to that statement. I don't mind so much that we have to wait because, other than the trips to the new school, I'm not in a hurry to leave our current neighborhood. And I'm all for being thorough and not repeating the process that has made the current financial mess for our economy. The thing that is irritating is having the finish line repeatedly moved - being told "one more thing" or we will hopefully have things ready by tomorrow" repeated a dozen times. I would just like them to give me a final closing date - I don't care when it is - so I don't have to keep rescheduling movers and carpet-layers and babysitters and people to cover me at work.

Okay, sorry about the rant. Deep breath. I feel better now. You are all such patient friends.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Would you like to live in a lighthouse?

I think I would like to live in a lighthouse if it looked like this.

And had a quilt like this.

I loved the white beadboard paneling everywhere.

My girls loved this little attic room. Pretty dreamy, huh?
But then, there was no fog horn going off ever few minutes.

These pictures came from a 'drum' lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
I figured they would be a lot more inspiring than the pile of boxes that surround me at the moment.

I hope you've had a Happy Labor Day (US holiday.)
We have definitely spent the day laboring.
And now I'm ready for a bath.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reality is setting in

Remember when I said I was planning a big etsy update at the end of the summer?
Well, I recklessly made that statement less than a week before we suddenly found a new house and decided to move. (Lesson learned.) Many of you have been asking about more aqua, red, and pink quilt kits. The pieces are all cut and I was planning to assemble them in August, but with the drastic change of plans this event will be postponed. Sorry. The good news is: the pieces are cut and once we are living in our new house and I'm not making three 40 minute round trips to the new school every day I should be able to throw these babies together quickly. Thank you for your patience.

It has been very cathartic to pack all of our earthly belongings. ("Hah!" you snigger, "Just wait until the bitter end. . . ") Which, truthfully, I haven't got to the bitter end yet and expect to be extremely sick of looking at boxes by then, but in the mean time I am purging like it's going out of style. Just gave away our high chair and changing table. And more. And it feels SO GOOD.

It has also been a great chance to play with, I mean, go through all my fabric stash. And I plan to purge a lot of that too. So watch out, etsy.

(Remember this quilt? Truthfully, I didn't! Embarassing. But I was so happy to see it again and there it is, ready to go to its new home.)

In the mean time our house is covered with boxes and my boys are in heaven. They are building labyrinths, caves, cannons, and condominium complexes for their stuffed animals in the living room. Perfect because I am packing up (and getting rid of some of) the toys. And then when we unpack them in a few weeks: Voila! New toys again!
And just in case we need to mount up quickly and head for the hills, we are ready.

Because you never know when an egg carton, water bottle, plastic knife, sand shovel and water balloon might come in handy.
We're prepared.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quilt show part 2

Are you ready for more? Do you have your ice cream? Alright, let's go.
This little table runner and the apple quilt below were made by another co-worker, Sharon.
I love this apple quilt! I've seen this pattern in all red apples before but I love how Sharon threw in a few Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious apples too. (Sharon has a great eye for color.) I think the added colors totally make the quilt. And it makes me hungry.
Is your mind blown?
Have you ever seen an Oh My Gosh quilt before? Those little 9-patch blocks are teeny-tiny.
This quilt was also made by Marilyn Yerkes. It is a work of art. And some serious labor. And I am so stupid I only got this close-up and never got a picture of the whole thing. Absolutely amazing, I tell you.

Here is a close-up of this little sampler quilt made with April Cornell's Poetry line. The blocks were all beautifully pieced. I am embarrassed that I didn't get the name of the maker on this quilt (or on most of them. I hate for these women not to get the recognition they deserve.)
Once again, check out the tiny pieces in these blocks. Beautifully pieced.

Another cute quilt from our favorite Robots fabric.
This gem was made by Mindy Johnston (Amy McClellan's daughter) out of reproduction prints. I love how the blocks are all the same pattern, but all look different because of the variety of colors used and where the fabric is placed.
This fan quilt is an antique. Great prints, as always, in those old quilts.
Check out this whimsical Christmas quilt. Great fabrics in new quilts too!
And the ice cream sundaes were great too.
(Recognize the turquoise sandals?)
If you want to see more pictures, you can check Amy McClellan's new American Quilting Blog!

Thanks for stopping by. I wish we could have done it together in person. Next year I promise to give more notice so you can all make arrangements to come.