Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I hope you all had a happy Halloween whereever you are.
If Halloween is even celebrated where you are. :)
We had a successful (busy) weekend here.
Hooray for Daylight Savings tomorrow.
I'm off to enjoy my extra hour of sleep.
(That is if my kids let me, but not getting my hopes up.)

Monday: back to business and finally catching up on lots of emails
and possibly writing blogposts that are actually somewhat interesting.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Toadstools and tutorials

For a while now I've been collecting toadstool tutorials.
So I thought I'd share.
The cute little guy above is found on The Storque by etsy.
This beauty is by LucyKate Crafts.This little cutie is from How About Orange . . .
This one requires no sewing skills at all - just a steady hand with a paring knife.
It's a radish! Found here.

Now, you're wondering what in the world Toadstools have to do with Halloween.
I give you Martha:
Is that the greatest or what? (And don't miss the snail out of a cucumber!)
So if you were blessed with an abundant squash harvest this year, you too can create adorable, trendy, Halloween decorations!

Today is full of Halloween parades and class parties. Fortunately I didn't have to pull an all-nighter on any costumes. They were all finished in time for a party at church on Wednesday night. It was kind of nice to have an early deadline to prevent last minute scrambling. But I have to admit, by Saturday night I will be ready for Halloween to be done.

PS - I haven't had the chance yet to thank anyone personally for the great party food suggestions.
You folks really saved my bacon. Bless you cyber-friends!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A glimpse of today

Halloween costumes under construction.
Look at that little pile of Happy Camper fabric waiting patiently for its turn.

This can't be good for pumpkins.

While we're on the subject of Halloween, my assignment is to bring 'finger-food' to the 5th Grade (10 year olds) class party on Friday. I want to bring something besides candy because I figure there will be ample amounts of that this weekend. Does anyone have any good suggestions, links, ideas?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finished plaid quilt (and other random stuff)

First, a picture of a recent finish. Woo!
(Because this is first and foremost a quilting blog.)
I'm pleased with the orange border and blue binding.
A good snuggly fallish quilt.

Many thanks for the swine flu well wishes. I think we're on the mend. (fingers crossed.)

(Disclaimer: Sorry the rest of this has nothing whatsoever to do with quilting.) For you other SYTYCD (so you think you can dance) people: nothing like a show full of good dance (Wade!) to end a day of: taking care of sick and cranky people at the same time as you try to finish all the final fall yard work before it snows tomorrow. Whew. Mandi Moore's choreography made me full-on grin. At first I wasn't sure what to think when she didn't choreograph to some classic 80's hit, but man, Viva La Vida was awesome. Oh wow - that is how I want to dance in heaven. If I tried it now my children would start yelling, "MOM! STOP!" plus I'd probably throw my back out or dislocate a hip joint or something worse. And cute Ryan Di Lello. A few years ago my husband used to occasionally teach classes at BYU and Ryan was one of his students. (My husband taught Intro to Public Relations, not Advanced Latin Ballroom - although that would be pretty cool. Not that Public Relations isn't sexy too.) A short time later my husband was in charge of the youth group at church and asked Ryan to come teach a class in some basic partner dance moves. I was there. He is a really nice guy. So that is my brush with SYTYCD fame. And there you go.

Now, onto finishing Halloween costumes!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tamiflu is our friend

So last Sunday night we were at my parents' house for dinner and my sister asks, "Have you got the swine flu vaccines yet?" and I answered, "No, but I should probably get on that." Well, before I had time to even think about finding a location to get some of the elusive shots, my 5-year-old came home from school the next day coughing and not looking so hot. Enter the swine flu. Sadly with him we didn't get it diagnosed until it was too late for him to take Tamiflu, but when my 12-year-old daughter started having symptoms on Friday, we promptly put everyone on the drugs. My husband started feeling crumby yesterday, but the other 3 of us are doing okay and I'm praying the meds do their job. We're surviving - nothing apocalyptic - but not the funnest week we've had. So now that I'm going into week two of being a hermit, maybe I'll finally finish getting this room put together. Can you tell I'm making progress? Well, probably not (other that the stuff on the walls) but serious progress has been made. I don't know if it will ever be Better-Homes/Martha-Stewart worthy, but as long as it's organized and functional and inspirational to me and not just black hole of craft junk, I'm good.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shop update

They're in! Click on photo to get to etsy the fast way. :)

Quick explanation of a minor change: In the past I have always created quilt kits that included backing fabric. That has slowly become the trickiest part for me because I don't have access to huge amounts of yardage and many people wanted the same pieces and I didn't have them. I am still listing a few kits with specific backing yardage, but I also decided to try the option of listing kits containing everything for just the top of the quilt (binding included) at a lower price, allowing you to pick your own back from your favorite source (including your stash). You can also email me if you need fabric line recommendations.

Feedback on this change (or anything else on your mind) is definitely welcomed!

Thanks again for stopping by and have a happy fall weekend! Hopefully in a pumpkin patch or at a college football game or in front of your sewing machine.

Return of the red, aqua, and pink quilt!

Hey look. It's my old fence.
Are you wondering if I snuck into my old yard to take some pictures? Well, no.

These are a couple of quilts I made way back in July for a custom order.
I still can't get enough of this vintagy-retro look for a current favorite color combination.
One of my daughters has a new pink room and we are going to make a bigger version of this quilt for her to snuggle with.

Remember when I used to sell kits for these quilts in my etsy shop?
You may not remember because it has been a while.

The reason I have waited so long to finally post these pictures is I was waiting until I had new kits for the shop.
And the time has finally come.

Official listing tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn thrift-store goodness

The month before we moved I made multiple trips to the local thrift store to drop-off loads of items we no longer wanted or needed. And each time I went I showed HUGE restraint and did not go in because the last thing I needed while I was packing all our earthly belongings was more stuff to pack.

Except for the one time I did go in. I told myself I was just going to nonchalantly walk by the sheets in case there were any really great vintage pieces. And . . . nope! I was safe. As I was valiantly trying to make my way to the door, the bake ware aisle gently beckoned, and I succumbed. I told myself that the last thing I needed at that moment was more breakable items to pack. Sheets would be one thing - I could even justify them by using them for padding. But not Pyrex.

I felt pretty certain I wouldn't find anything great because I hadn't the last times I'd checked. But instead, there was a mother load this time. So I severely limited myself to these two. Because the colors were so wonderful and fallish. And frankly, they were a steal. And I had a 30% off coupon. And 30% off cheap is really cheap.

Look how pretty they look with my other bowls.
I'm so pleased with how the colors mix together.
Perfect for this time of year.
And really, the red and green add so much depth to that stack.
So worth it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ode to a faithful fence

Forgive me for being a bit indulgent here, but I had to dedicate a blog post to a wonderful, faithful friend who is no longer with us: my old, run down fence.

Sure it had it's flaws, like rotting fence posts, or needing a new coat of paint. But it sure was the perfect place to hang quilts for blog photos, lending its rustic charm.

This fence has been a happy part of our lives this past year. And in some cases, the absence of our fence was an even happier part of our lives.

So here's a little behind the scenes story for you. Summer of '08, after 16 years of faithful service dividing two backyards, the farthest back panel of our fence started to lean in a somewhat scary fashion. While we and the neighbors decided what to do, we just removed that panel - which turned out to be the coolest thing our children had ever seen. Now they suddenly had a 'secret passageway' to our neighbors' backyard. So we left it that way. Because we had the world's greatest neighbors.

Well, Spring of '09 the rest of the fence dividing our yards starts to tip due to rotting posts and one day we came home from church to find a gusty storm had blown some of the panels over. So we had to take the rest of the panels down while we decided what to do. And in the process we created one huge yard. The bad news was my favorite photo spot was removed. The good news was I could sit at my sewing machine in our downstairs family room and watch my children play in the neighbor's yard (which they much preferred to our own.)

The downed fence created a golden, memorable summer. There truly is nothing better in the world that having wonderful next-door neighbors. The kind who make life better and you don't want to share a fence with.

Looking into the neighbor's yard

But alas, we both had weird, dysfunctional houses (not neighborhood, mind you) that we'd endured and been frustrated with for years and the night I went to deliver this quilt, we mutually confessed that we were each looking for some place new. But during the drama of finding the right new house we enjoyed our shared yards and dreaded the thought of knowing we were going to have to repair the fence before either of us could move.

To the right is where the missing fence belonged.
Don't you love that mountain?? I miss that too.

The night I watched the final fence repairs in August I was melancholy. And when I woke-up the next morning and went into my nicely fenced-in yard I felt claustrophobic and full-on depressed. I knew it was the beginning of the end of that sunny period of our lives.

But isn't that the secret of life? Enjoying what that space of time has to offer and opening up our hearts (and fences) to the great people God puts in our path? And now I have a snazzy new fence, with no rotting posts (but no place to shove thumb-tacks either.) I know that after we settle in, we'll find new places to take pictures of quilts and new people to open our hearts too, but I'll always treasure the memories of the summer we lost a fence.

Friday, October 16, 2009

more quilt kits on sale

After selling out of the Amy Butler kits since posting about it on this blog, I thought I'd let you know there are others. You can find the info at the American Quilting blog. If you're local, there's a shop hop going on in northern Utah this weekend. Drop by American Quilting in Orem for lots of good deals.

Happy weekend! I am hoping to catch-up on correspondence this weekend. And 100 other things! :) See you Monday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip

Today I am blog-sitting over at Aunt Spicy's while she is on a fun getaway.
And I'm sharing my favorite, easy recipe for pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies.
Because who can resist a good pumpkin chocolate-chip cookie this time of year?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I sewed something

I just had to share a little something I sewed this week.
The random brushed plaids felt fallish to me.
I'm especially jazzed about how the colors turned out.
Wow, it feels so good to get behind my machine again.
But I kind of feel like I'm cheating because the rest of my house is so out of whack.
So I'm making myself buckle down and finish unpacking before I do anymore.
But wow, it felt good.

This one still needs a border. I'm thinking orange.

In other news:
Tomorrow I am blog-sitting for Aunt Spicy, so drop by!

And secondly, if you were ever contemplating getting the kit for the Amy Butler quilt I made for American Quilting this past summer, now is your chance. They are 40% off for a shop-hop this week and they'll probably be gone by Saturday. The number to call is 801-802-7841. Good luck!

UPDATE: the kits are gone! Wow. Faster than we thought.

I am finally finishing the pattern for this quilt, along with baby sized version. Hope to have it in my etsy shop next week in downloadable PDF form!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We have a winner. Or two!

I hope that no one has been holding their breath this morning waiting for me because you surely would have passed out by now! More on my morning in a minute. Lets name our lucky winners.

Our good old Random Number generator produced the numbers 13 & 85 which means Jodie and Suzi are our Autumn Amy Butler winners! I will get in touch with you ladies to get your mailing addresses.

Let me just say here, many thanks for your lovely comments. It was a lovely, uplifting thing to read such kind sentiments. Thank you. Blogging is such an interesting thing. As I'm sure many of you have noticed, it's sometimes a weird sensation to publish something without any idea of who is out there consuming it or what they think. A couple of times people have randomly told me, "Oh, I read your blog!" and I always get a little embarrassed and start replaying old posts in my mind, wondering if this person thinks I am a buffoon. lol. So thank you again for the bloggy love and encouragement. I think if we all met each other in person, we'd have a really fun time hanging out. :)

In other news, I have been sewing (when what I really should be doing is assembling shelves) and I'm off to do more. I will share tomorrow!

Apologies again for the delay this morning. Things are a little off-kilter around here. My 3-year-old is displaying very strange behavior lately. Things like thinking it is hilarious to take off his clothes multiple times a day- especially when he is protesting something, or casually sliding his full bowl of cereal and milk off the edge of the table and onto the floor. I'm not sure whether to attribute this behavior to normal 3-year-old stuff or to some kind of anxiety about our move and new surroundings and unfamiliar routines. I'm sure it's a combination of all of the above, but it's getting a little old. Also, last night I discovered my daughter who said she has been doing her piano practicing all week, has not been doing all of it and is not remotely ready for her piano lesson today. So this morning as I was sitting with her at the piano before school, holding her hand through her practicing, my boys decided it would be fun to be streakers through the living room. Life keeps me on my toes. But as I type right now my little guy is happily entertaining himself with his trains. I will milk this moment and go look at more quilt festival quilts!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quilt Festival Fall 2009

I'm a little bit tardy getting to the party, but loved the Quilt Festival last spring, so I had to show-up this year too.
Just call me fashionably late.

I'm pulling my quilt from the archives. I made this a couple of years ago.
It has become one of my all-time favorite quilts. I smile every time I see it.

I have posted pictures of it on flickr and on this blog about a year ago, but I think that maybe only my Mom was reading it back then, so I thought I would post again. I am a bit of an American Jane (by designer Sandy Klop) junkie. All of these fabrics are from Sandy's collections, most of them from the Peas and Carrots line.

I love the retro, feedsack/farmhouse feel of all the prints and I love the bright colors.

I originally made this quilt for the store where I work and the main reason I chose the turquoise sashing was because we had two bolts of it and I was just trying to use it up. I had planned to make one for myself with yellow sashing. But once the quilts were put together there was no comparison. The turquoise made all the other colors pop and I was in love. So I kept this one instead.

Chalk this quilt up to a happy, unexpected outcome. This experience made me wonder how many other times I've gone with the more conservative or same-old-plan where if I had tried the color or fabric that seemed too outlandish, I would have had a more exciting result. So moral of the story: don't be afraid to try something new!

Thanks for stopping by! If you haven't visited the Quilt Festival at Park City Girl, go.
You are in for a visual feast! There are links to hundreds of other beautiful quilts.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One year (plus a week) & a giveaway

Hi friends. Aren't blogiversarys fun?
So let's have a little party.

Inspired by the fall colors I've got this happy little bundle of
Amy Butler Fat Quarters for some lucky winner.

And while I was cutting the FQ's I thought,
why not have two bundles and two winners.
So let's do it.

Since this is a pretty no frills giveaway, let's just do it the easy way.
One comment, one entry.

Comments close October 12 at midnight MST.

Thanks for coming. This bloggy adventure has been fun. I will admit that sometimes I wonder why in the world I'm doing this - the time it takes me away from my sewing machine, let alone the laundry and the dirty kitchen floor. But, I've loved the connections I've made with so many great women. Thank you for being out there and for the kind encouragement you've given. I wish I had an Amy Butler [or your favorite fabric designer] bundle for all of you.

PS Don't forget the Blogger's Quilt Festival this weekend over at Park City Girl. It was so much fun last spring. Not sure what quilt I'm going to post as I haven't sewn anything new for a couple of months. Might be pulling something from the archives. Can't wait to see what other people share!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fabulous Fall

Dear Fall,

I'm sorry I threw a hissy-fit last week. I really love you dearly. Thank you for reminding me how gorgeous you are. I am looking forward to thoroughly enjoying you.

Love, Amy Smart

These pictures were taken last week on a drive up a near-by canyon. Wow. Breathtaking gorgeousness. The pictures truly don't do it justice. (Can you imagine if some one with actual photography skills was shooting this scenery?)

We took the kids to one of our favorite yearly haunts, Cascade Springs in the Wasatch Mountains. A beautiful area of natural springs erupting into dozens of waterfalls. We love it because there are trails and boardwalks that are very do-able for the kids. This was the latest into the season that we have visited and it was so worth the wait. Did I mention the breath-taking colors?

A few years ago there were some serious forest fires in this area. In the photo above you can see the remains of dead trees in the foreground and background. I loved the juxtaposition with the color of the new growth coming in.

A perfect night. Really perfect.

In other news: while I was writing about my anniversary last week I neglected to realize it was my 1st blogiversary that day. Totally snuck up on me. You too, huh? Well come back tomorrow (Friday) and we'll do a little blogiversary giving.

Also, Stephanie Nielsen was on Oprah today. If you didn't catch it, you can watch a clip of a segment of her at home here. A glimpse into the realities that she lives with because of her injuries, and the simple peace she carries with her. So moving and inspiring. She is amazing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I love Cath

Have I ever mentioned my undying love and affection for Cath Kidston?
I love her style. I love the bright, cheery colors. I think she is one of my favorite inspirations right now. We went in a Cath Kidston shop while we were in England last year and it was dreamy. But also expensive. (Or posh as they'd say in the UK.) Particularly because the exchange rate was so dreadful. But it was fun to dream and be inspired.
Do you love Cath Kidston too? Did you know that you can request one of the CK magazine/catalogs for free?? Just go to the website and click where it says Request a Magazine in the upper right-hand corner. Fill-out the info and a book of beautiful, colorful goodness will magically appear in your mailbox (or I should say post box) a few days later.

I have been thoroughly enjoying and trying not to drool all over my copy. Thumbing through it just makes me happy and want to live a more colorful life. (My house is so beige right now - nothing on the taupe walls yet.) Partly because of pictures like the one above. I want to make a quilt like the patchwork covering this chair! And if I were a knitter I would totally keep my things in a bag just like this. Maybe I'll just go out and buy some pretty balls of yarn and put them in a red polk-a-dot (or spotted) bag and prop them on a cozy chair.

I also love all the wonderful britishisms like: rucksacks, tea cozies, favourites, knickers, wellies, brollies, and washing up liquid. Gives me some serious warm fuzzies. Many thanks to Amy for alerting me to this treasure trove.
And while I was just on the CK site I noticed the promotion for this new book to be released later this month. I may need to get my hands on a copy of that.

Maybe tomorrow I will be back with some of my own photos. My camera battery died this weekend and can't find the recharger! I think I've located the box it was in and hopefully today I will be able to re-juice my battery. And in other good news, I finally found the box of my long-sleeved shirts and sweaters under the Christmas tree in the basement. Progress is a good thing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bliss and a confession

Amidst all the hubbub of last week my husband and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We first met each other 14 1/2 years ago in England where we were both volunteering as Mormon missionaries. At the time we were visiting some historical sites in a big group and we had one brief, awkward conversation. But it was enough so that when we met again a year and a half later when I was back in school, we knew the other person and started to have more-frequent, less-awkward conversations. And here we are, quite happy these many years later.

Last year we had the incredible opportunity to go back to England for the first time in all those many years and this time we went together. And it just happened to fall on our anniversary. So we took this picture in that same park (Avenham Park in Preston, Lancashire) where we first met. Pretty dreamy, huh? I still can't believe we really did it.

I am a pretty lucky woman. And not just because I got to go back to England last year. I am married to an amazing man. One of my favorite quotes from a woman I adore, Marjorie Hinckley, in talking about her husband, is, "He gave me freedom and let me fly." I echo those sentiments about my own husband. I feel so grateful to be his partner in life.

Shall I just tell you one of the things he does? I fear that by revealing this information I might have to make him go into the witness protection program so that no one tries to steal him. As you know by now, I work at a quilt store every Saturday afternoon. Not only does he support me in this thing that I love doing, but he makes pizza every Saturday night for dinner when I get home. I know!

Okay, here's the confession part. It has nothing to do with my husband. But with a quilt.
This is a quilting blog, after all.

This is the quilt I made for our wedding 12 years ago. The first time I really attempted piecing a quilt this size on my own. I've always liked Double Irish Chains and so I gave it a go. It a wasn't perfect piecing job - my mom cleaned it up a little - but I was pretty pleased with the outcome.

Here's a close up of the colors: dark green, pink and purple. Same colors as our wedding reception. (Does that scream 1997 to you? Are you having flashbacks of Princess Di and hearing Hootie and the Blowfish songs in your head?)

The most amazing part? My mom and her sweet friend hand-quilted almost the whole thing! Such beautiful work.

So here's the confession: I said I would finish the borders and I've never done it. In fact the basting is still in the quilt. Is that pathetic or what? And now I'm in a quandary. Because I just haven't felt like hand quilting the borders - at least not something that would do justice to the rest of the quilting job. Do I get it machine quilted at this point? I have a friend who would do a beautiful job, but would that ruin the integrity of the quilt to have both hand and machine quilting? I don't know. So year after year, I do nothing. Input and opinions are welcome. Maybe I should make it a goal to finally finish this quilt by my next anniversary.

PS We didn't do much spendy stuff this anniversary since a new house counts as a pretty great present. But thanks to a friend of my husband's we were invited to an opening night of a swanky new restaurant in Provo called Communal where they treated us to all kinds of goodness. Nice. The food was excellente - my favorite was the local fresh tomatoes in oil and balsamic vinegar. Very nice.If you're local, I highly recommend. Mmm.

Happy weekend friends. I'm looking forward to it!