Saturday, February 27, 2010

A happy little afternoon

A happy, sunny, little afternoon here. Makes me believe that Spring may come soon.

A couple of days ago I moved the sewing machine up from the basement. At our old house my sewing table was in the middle of the family room. While I don't miss the mess that came with that set-up, I do sometimes miss sewing in the hub of the action (I seem to get more done that way). So in honor of the Olympics, I relocated for a couple of days.

This afternoon while all the bigger kids were at school and my little guy was being entertained by Curious George on PBSkids [see above], I was quite productive! (Just so I don't sound like a totally negligent parent, he did relocate to the table with me and draw pictures with markers while I sewed. It was a "picture" of a dragon, a knight, and a queen. The Queen had just cut-off the dragon's head. I think this was Cupid's symbolic tribute to his heroic mother.)
I made my first ever string blocks. I've been wanting to try this method forever and once again, a Bee project finally got me to do it. These blocks are for Rachel. She has a great tutorial if you want to make some of your own!
And here is the mess at the kitchen table. The reason the mess is usually confined to the basement. But it was worth it to watch the Women's Figure Skating finals last night while I made more Union Jacks. Did anyone else watch? Weren't they wonderful? I was so impressed with that final group especially. I even got teary watching Kim Yu Na from Korea. Gorgeous performance in every way. And I was so relieved for her. I can't imagine that pressure and those high expectations. And then Joannie Rochette. Such inspiring grace.

Speaking of women's figure skating, the other night we were watching the short program and I was touched by the girl skating for Turkey. (I think that is what I love about the Olympics - not just the big-name gold medalists, but the athletes who are just as dedicated and sacrifice just as much for their sports, who proudly represent their countries, with little recognition.) Anyway, I pointed her out to my 8-year-old, thinking I would be a culturally illuminating mother and said, "Look! This girl is from Turkey! Her name is Tugba." My daughter responded, "Hmm. I think I'd rather call her Lynelle."

Okay . .

Hope you have an equally sunny, productive, inspiring, culturally illuminating weekend at your house!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Turquoise for me and turquoise for you

First of all, a shout-out to Melissa for identifying my thrift-store find as an authentic vintage piece of pottery. Woo! I think I'm going to grow some tulip or narcissus bulbs in this baby. Wouldn't that be lovely and springy? Looking at it again, it made me realize how much other turquoise/aqua stuff I've been drawn to just recently. (No, this isn't an underhanded ploy to try to sound really hip. Okay, maybe it is.)
This piece is also authentic vintage. It belonged to my grandmother.
It's a nice big covered dish and looks brand new.
The color, polish, shape, everything are beautiful.
I feel so lucky to have it.
Mostly because it reminds me of her. (She was so classy.)
How about some turquoise snowflakes on vintage Pyrex?
Perfect for the snowy day we had outside.
This week I found these two great Verna Mosquera pieces on clearance.
(I pretty much only buy pieces bigger than 1/2 yards when they're on clearance.)
I'm going to use the ticking strip as a border on the pink, red, and aqua quilt in the previous post. Not sure with the floral yet. Maybe skirts, maybe throw pillows. Maybe a bag or apron? I'll let you know. (Because I'm sure everyone is dying of curiosity.)
Here are a few of the thrifted sheets from last weekend.
I have an abundance of yellows and pinks and a little orange and green,
so I was very excited to find blues!
These bowls are a recent acquisition as well, but definitely not vintage.I love so much about them. Not just their color.
Their shape, their size. And their price.
$2.99 each at IKEA!And look, there's mugs and other dishes too.
So pretty and so cheap!
I saw some other really cute melamine bowls at Target last Saturday. And a great price again. I couldn't find a picture of them online (they were with the seasonal Easter stuff) but I did find this good looking set. Also, this vintage looking stoneware set, the exact same color as my thrift store find. (I couldn't link directly to the exact dishes - just the general category.)

So turquoise (aqua) stuff available for everyone! For pretty cheap prices too. I'm amazed at how just little bits of that color go a long way. Anyone else have some good finds to share?

Monday, February 22, 2010


Check out this hive of activity!
(Some interesting looking men walked in and asked if it was the Sewing Olympics.)

As I mentioned in my previously cranky post,
(Skip it if you haven't already been bored to tears by it)
I went to my first-ever Quilt Retreat!
(Well, I went to about 15% of it.)
This was a 3-day, 2-night retreat at a hotel in Provo, Utah.
I couldn't pull-off attending the whole thing, but because I have an in
(the retreat was hosted by American Quilting where I work occasionally)
they let me horn my way in for an afternoon/evening of sewing and socializing.
Lots of neat women there.
(Quilters are just fun people, you know?)
Including 4 other Amy's (or Aimee's).
Other talented folks with blogs you may read like Kim, Rae Ann, and Lori Holt.
This was Lori Holt's sewing area.
See? She is just as cute in real life as her quilts!
Another reason I really wanted to attend this particular afternoon was because
Nanette Merrill of Freda's Hive was doing a trunk show.It was so much fun for me to see Nanette's quilts in real life
-many of which I'd admired from afar on her blog.
Nanette is as genuine and wonderful as she comes across on her blog. She's a gem.
(And I was totally inspired by her quilts! You can see more of the trunk show here.
Here are some of the things I got done.
(Wow, it's amazing what a person can do with 3 hours of uninterrupted sewing time.)
A few more of my Union Jack blocks.
And I finally pieced the top for my own daughter's pink, red, and turquoise quilt.
All it needs now is the borders sewn on and it's ready to quilt!Here is what I didn't get done.
My little purse.
I did go to the class and purchase the clasp.
I spent the rest of that time pouring through Lori Holt's stack of quilts.
WOW. They are amazing. I've never seen detail like hers.

Many thanks for all the kind wishes and blogger-editor commiseration.
(And helpful suggestions too!)
It's nice to be among friends when you're not having your finest moment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So why am I feeling cranky?

Even Cupid gets cranky sometimes.
Reasons I feel cranky:

The new updated editor in Blogger is driving me crazy!  I've been trying to write a post about a quilt retreat I went to yesterday afternoon/evening and trying to post multiple pictures is so frustrating and stupid. (Sorry to use that kind of language.)

I think I've been doing too much laundry.

I feel like I've been cleaning my house non-stop, every minute I've been home since we got back from our family trip this week.  And looking around it looks just as messy as it did when I started.

I am so behind on all my emails. (Sorry if you're waiting to hear from me, the week ahead should be a lot less crazy.)

My computer is moving SO SLLOOWWW.

I'm tired.

This blog post is whiney and lame.

I shouldn't feel cranky but I do

Reasons I shouldn't feel cranky:

I got to go to part of a quilt retreat yesterday afternoon.  It took some orchestration, but I got to sit and sew for a few hours straight! And eat a yummy dinner (that I didn't have to make!) with really nice (and funny) quilters. What a dream!

I got to go to sunny California with my entire family last weekend! And it was sunny and warm. (Now that my fabric stash is no longer alone and vulnerable, I can reveal my previously-undisclosed President's Day weekend vacation.)

I got to go to Super Target today! (Oh ST, how I miss you. - I live too far away to go once a week like I used to, but it was so good to be back.)

I hit a vintage sheet jackpot today.  (The thrift store is right by Super Target so I snuck in a quick trip.) Great finds.  I thought they didn't exist anymore.

I am eating chocolate chip cookies, which I made because I was feeling cranky and to share with my little Primary (Sunday School) class at Church tomorrow.  (I think the cookies are helping.)

The Olympics are on. My kids are just as obsessed as I am.  And I love having something to watch with them that we all like.  (Except why all the creepy Shutter Island ads? Seriously, why?)

See? Great stuff.  All this goodness should overcome the crankies.

So I think I should just go to bed and try again on Monday.  At which point I promise not to be so whiney.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Modern Quilts and haste (sometimes) makes waste

 While at work recently a girl walked in with a pattern book that caught my eye.
So I wrested it from her - not really - I politely asked if I could see it and she was kind enough to oblige.
It's called the Modern Quilt Workshop and has a bunch of good quilts.

I've always been a pretty traditional quilter, but since becoming part of the quilt-blogging world I've become drawn to modern quilts.  I love the scrappy, imperfection of them.  Also, I'm kind of a quickie-quilter - not a lot of patience for perfection (mainly because my quilting time is limited and if I was meticulous about everything, I wouldn't accomplish much.)
Anyway, after a quick thumb-thru (I could have looked longer, but I could see this girl wanting me to get my grubby mits off her book)
I knew it was one I wanted to have for my very own.
So I went home and ordered my own on Amazon, figuring that was the quickest way to get it.
After holding my breath for a couple of days, I checked on the status of my order.

And then I discovered that in my excitement I'd forgot to check the shipping address when I ordered and that my new book was being shipped to my sister-in-law in Bethesda, Maryland!  Which is quite far from where I live. (The last purchase I'd made was a birthday present I'd shipped directly to her.) So I had to call her and say, "Uh . . . if a book about modern quilts shows up at your house . . . uh, it's not for you.  And . . . uh, could you forward it to me?"  Which is not the easiest thing in the world for her to do because she is a busy nursing student.  But being the wonderful sister that she is, she helped me out.

So my wait was prolonged purely because of my own stupidity haste. 
But the wait was worth it.
It's beautiful!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Lots of love from my own little cupid.
Who is now a lot bigger, but I still love this picture
we used for our valentines a few years ago.
(Do you think he's going to need therapy one day for that one?)

A couple other thoughts.
I was looking at this Valentine wall hanging and remembered what I was doing when I stitched these. (Do you ever do that? Lots of times I remember what movie I was watching.) Well with this one it was the 2002 Olympics. And then it hit me - it's been 8 years since then! Where has the time gone?

I'm so excited the Olympics are here! I already got teary 5 minutes into the first montage. I've been an Olympic junkie since Sarajevo when I was about 9. And then they came to my own back yard (almost literally - the Sale Lake Olympic stadium is within walking distance of where I grew-up.) Only I had a 3-year-old and a nursing baby at the time, so I didn't do a lot of Olympic spectating other than from my couch like most of the rest of the world. But I'll tell you this - that Olympic spirit is real. During the time that Olympic flame was lit, there was an amazing feeling in Utah and as soon as that flame went out, it left. (Can anyone else attest to this?) Really awesome. Getting to taste that spirit was a sweet experience. Enjoy it Vancouverites!

I've already put together a bunch more Dresdens to applique while I watch from my couch!

And many thanks to Stefanie for her sweet little package! So darling.

Finally: next Valentine's season I think I'm going to start a Cherry Juju Heart export business. Even my sister in California called craving them. It sounds like the world needs more of these morsels of sweet goodness.

Have a Happy holiday (+Presidents' day if you are in the states). I'm going to be taking a little break with my family, but I'll be around later this week.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Since it's that time of year when roses suddenly triple in value,
I thought I'd share some you could make for yourself.
(They don't die either!)
Aren't they sweet??
I made mine from wool. Tried a few different colors.
The best part? They are SUPER EASY!!!
I got my inspiration from Nedra who shared this tutorial by Betz White.
So darling. So simple. So many possibilities.
The other best part?
Each rose takes hardly any fabric.
So even if you're using real wool, it's not very expensive.
The circle above is all that it took to make the rose next to it.
(Bobbin is merely there for size reference - you don't even need to sew!!)And while we're talking about wool, here is another cute little hair doodad.
And while we're still on the subject of cute rose hair doodads,
check out these cute ones from the Purl.
Wow. I haven't tried them yet, but they make it look easy too.

So now? Roses for everyone this weekend!
Have a good one.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not the average trip to the thrift store

After Christmas I did some cleaning out and when it came time to donate to the thrift store,
I allowed myself a little trip inside and guess what?
Pyrex: Nada. Zilch.
Vintage sheets: pretty slim pickings.
(I think the word is out on this one because they are definitely getting more scarce.)
But I did come across some treasures - not all vintage, but definitely worth it.And all pretty random and different from what I usually look for,
but diamonds in the rough, nonetheless.
(It was during preschool time, so I had some time to actually look, un-whined-at.)
First of all this silver dish on a pedestal. It was pretty tarnished and unassuming,
but I figured for $3 it would be worth a shot at polishing.
And voila! It polished-up beautifully!
And is now the perfect spot for chocolate covered ju-ju hearts. (Mmm.)
Which are long gone since this picture was taken, I might add.
Then this fancy Rowenta Professional Iron.
About $3.50! I wasn't absolutely sure that it worked,
but I figured for that price it was worth the gamble, since they are usually over $80.
Plus, after my iron saga last year, I figured having a back-up iron
was probably not a bad idea. And guess what, works great!
Another not-so-vintage item. (Maybe 1994 is considered kind-of vintage.)
A James Taylor CD collection with one CD.
This collection was my favorite 16 years ago. I would listen to these CD's all the time and by an amazing fluke, even sat on the center front row of JT's concert that summer at an outdoor amphitheater in Park City, UT - they just happened to release the VIP tickets right as I went to purchase my general admission ticket! So James and I are old friends. We share the same birthday. (He even gave me a personal thumbs up during the concert! I know.) So anyway, while I was away in England for 18 months my sister loaned a boy she liked one of the CD's and he never gave it back! So there it was, half a CD collection with my long missing CD inside. Just waiting for me. All these years later. Makes you kind of veclempt, doesn't it?

Okay, I'll stop being silly. But I was excited. A couple more great, real vintage finds.
This old Samsonite suitcase. I debated about this one, even leaving it and coming back later.
I figured for a few bucks, it would be worth using in some decorative fashion.
Turns out the exact same ones are selling for $80 on Ebay! Score.
And finally, this little beauty was in amongst all the vases.
I am pretty sure that it's real vintage because of the color and style of the piece.
The bottom has markings that say San Carlos Pottery, Calif (don't I sound so Antiques Roadshow?)
and I tried Googling it, but didn't come up with a lot of conclusive evidence.
Please weigh-in if you have any insights.
But even if it's not authentic, valuable vintage. I love it.
Plus, turquoise is the color of the year according to Pantone, so it is one hot little item.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Do you think Cath would approve?

Remember last week when I was inspired by Katy's Dresden blocks?
I decided to make one of my own.
And I decided to use Cath Kidston as my muse and make it bright and scrappy.
I used all pieces from my scraps/stash. And they're all favorites.
I finished last night while watching the final episode of Emma.
It's kind of huge.
I was originally intending to use this as a pillow but it's about 18" big.
Maybe I'll frame it. Maybe I'll put some borders on it and make it into a doll quilt.
Maybe I should make three more and make it into a wall hanging.
That's actually sounding appealing to me.
I'll surprise you. Suggestions are welcome.
And then there's this. This is my first block from this quilt.
I LOVE it. I'm excited to try some funkier versions. But this is a happy start.

(It was a fun British weekend here. When I wasn't running kids late to birthday parties, or celebrating my Dad's and my Grandma's birthdays while people were simultaneously watching the Super Bowl, or on the phone with Poison Control because we weren't sure how much toilet bowl cleaner my poor 5-year-old splashed into his eye. Life is not dull.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

A little bit of sunshine

This is a quilt that has been in the planning stage for a year.
Finally executed.
Last year my sister and I had a fun little trip to California with my mom. My sister, who is not a quilter, was very patient in letting us visit multiple quilt shops during our trip. (Though, Jen you did encourage those last couple!) It was fun to see it all through the eyes of a newbie. She was particularly drawn to Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market line - especially the oranges. And so we discussed a cute little quilt for her red-headed (more orangey-red) one year-old. The colors fit her personality perfectly.
And now here we are exactly a year later and I finally finished the quilt!
(With many thanks to my sweet friend Sherrie Allred for her adorable quilting.)
The other thing I love about this quilt is that it reminds me of the bedroom my sister and I shared when we were little. We had green carpet and the quilts on our beds were orange, green, and yellow. My sister commented on the same thing when she saw the new quilt. A moment of happy nostalgia for times when we used clean our rooms by stuffing things under our beds. :)
I cut a few extra fabric packs when I was cutting the quilt.
They each contain 36 6.5" squares of fabric from designers like
Sandi Henderson, Heather Baily, Amy Butler and some Moda prints.
They're in the etsy shop.
I also have some of the backing yardage available.
Email/convo me if you want some and I'll create a listing.
Edit update: They're gone!

Hope you have a little bit of sunshine where you are this weekend.
(We've had a nice bit here this week - it's starting to give me spring fever.)

I'm finally on the ball enough to link over to amylouhou's sew and tell Friday!