Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to Business

We now return to our regularly scheduled quilt blog . . .

Well! We are now in our first full week of school and I am feeling like I am back to a regular routine. And planning to get back into the regularly scheduled blog posts too.  A few weeks ago I was starting to wonder if I was loosing my marbles trying to keep track of all the various aspects of life, but after a few days of kids back in school I realized, "Oh. That was just summer."  It was very reassuring to feel like I wasn't totally going off the deep end.

Anyway, I am trying to get caught up on all the stuff I have sorely neglected. Like many Thank You's!

First off, a big Thank You to Lady Bug Quilt Shop for sponsoring this blog.  Sara has a wonderful collection of great fabric at great prices including the newest Basic Grey line, Origins, by Moda, adorable Hooty-Hoot by Riley Blake, and my favorite (of course) Punctuation by American Jane for Moda!! Check them out!

A few very generous bloggers have recently featured Diary of a Quilter:

Kim from Today's Creative Blog did a little feature here. Wow, I was so flattered to be listed in that kind of company. I had the chance to meet Kim in real life this summer and she is a hoot. Her blog is an amazing resource for ideas and links to very creative places.
Amy's Creative Side
Last week Amy (the quilter formerly known as Park City Girl) posted an interview with me. I frequently have people ask me how I have time to work on the quilts that I make. Well, this interview gives you some of the answers. Amy and I live in the same state and we have yet to meet in real life. But I think we are going to finally do something about that!

Sew What Today and TipNut also recently featured some of my tutorials. Thank you so much! And finally, thank you so much to those of you like Be@Home and Cheryl who have nominated me for blogging awards. I sincerely appreciate each time someone thinks this dorky blog is mildly entertaining. I apologize that I don't always have time to participate in the questionaire portions of awards - I already spend way too much time on the computer - but thank you SO much for thinking of me.  Okay, I'm starting to sound like Sally Fields. 
Next: a Class! For any locals, I am teaching a Table Runner Class Thursday September 9th from 10:00-12:30 in Highland, Utah as part of the Dog Kennel Quilt Guild's Day of Quilting.  If you are interested in coming (do! it would be so fun to hang out!) contact JoyLyn at herb.thyme{at}yahoo.com
my next project
Finally thank you so much for all of your kind responses and awesome quilt-name suggestions from the last post! I want you to know how much I sincerely appreciate every comment someone takes the time to write.  Somedays I wonder why I invest so much time in taking pictures and writing about my quirky life and hobby.  The kind things you all say really motivate me to keep doing it. 

Also, the really interesting spam I get. I won't bother sharing the chinese character spam I get because sadly, I have no idea what it says. But I thought you'd all enjoy this one from "Andrew Marks":


Really trustworthy blog, please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know they would enjoy reading it. Incontinence Products

Don't worry. In case you were tempted to click, I un-linked the hyperlink eliminating the possibility of infecting your computer with a horrific virus. But the thing I want to know is how Andrew knew that after having four babies I can no longer jump on a trampoline or have a really good sneeze.  

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Modern Quilt for an Old Friend

An old friend of mine got married this summer. Not that that's unusually big news, but this friend has had quite the journey.  We've been friends a long time - high school, college roommates. Years later we even ended up getting married within weeks of each other, had our first babies within months of each other - and then things changed drastically for her.  Her first husband was diagnosed with severe mental health issues.  She was pregnant with her second baby and no longer in a safe situation. Tragedy of the cruelest kind. 

As I get older and find out about more people I knew in my adolescence who have grown into serious mental health issues, it breaks my heart. Because there's so much stigma, and so many helpless feelings there. I have another friend who's husband has cancer.  While equally tragic, it's socially normal to rally around someone battling something like cancer, but how to help someone who is battling their own brain turning them into a different person is daunting. It's not like you can just bring them a casserole and hope they get better. Mental health issues are not for sissies, I tell you.
Anyway, after years of being a single mom, putting herself through graduate school, and supporting her girls  all alone, my friend married the greatest guy this summer. If anyone deserved a big dose of happiness, it's her.  And so, to celebrate a new family, I wanted to give them a quilt. 
The inspiration for this quilt came from a picture of a throw-pillow I saw in a magazine. (Don't you find that sometimes you find quilt inspiration everywhere?)  Everything came from the stash, including the back and binding. I love that feeling. My only regret is the binding. I don't love it, but it was too late by the time I finished to change it. These pictures were hastily taken 10 minutes before I had to leave for the wedding. (Such is the life of our crazy summer.)
I'm thinking about publishing a pattern for this quilt.  But I'm still looking for the perfect name.  If you have a great suggestion, let me know. If I pick yours, you can have the pattern for free!

Pattern now available on sidebar! ---->

I'm linking with Today's Creative Blog!

And AmyLouWho!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Simple Stripes Quilt and Kits


Well, the kids are back in school and I'm starting to catch up on blogging and etsy a little. You've seen this quilt before - this is the one I designed for a simple quilt tutorial at UCreate earlier this month. 
Here are a few more of the details of the quilt.  It was fun working with these fabrics and colors - kind of out of my normal color-comfort-zone. Most of the fabrics are from Nest by Valori Wells for Free Spirit fabrics, with a few Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler and Anna Griffin prints thrown in the mix.
The back.
I added this bird panel detailing and I love how it livens up the back.
I cut kits when I made the quilt and they are finally available in my Etsy Shop! The kit includes the 16 different fabrics used for the front and pre-cut binding strips in either orange or Amy Butler's coral solid. Both look so pretty - the choice is yours.
I have some fabric available for backing. These are not included in the kit price, but I will create a custom listing of $11 and add it to your purchase with no additional shipping charge.  I have 1 available green back, 2 1 available oyster-gray back and 1 available large floral.  For the green and grey backs I will add the bird panel if you want so you can make a back like mine.
Finally, the quilt itself is for sale too! Go check it out.
I only have enough fabric to make one round of these kits, so when they're gone, they're gone. :(

More etsy items to be listed soon. I've had a lot of inquiries about the I-Spy Charm packs.  Those are on the way as soon as I can finish the cutting.  I've found some great new i-spy prints this summer - including some that are on the way still - but I hope to have those ready and listed within the next two weeks. Thanks so much for your patience!

Now I'm off to mop the kitchen floor with the prospect of it staying popsicle-drip free for a few hours! Maybe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are we there yet?

What my kitchen table looks like right now. (Minus the rotary cutter.) 
Just keeping it real.

I can't believe this day is here! School starts tomorrow. (A Wednesday. Weird, I know.) 

And I'm feeling mixed emotions. (Such is the life of a mother with kids.) How did the summer go so fast? Did I really make the most of it?  Is it bad that I'm excited to be back in a routine schedule again? Did I give them too much structure or too little? When can I take a nap? How much longer will the kitchen stay clean when it's just me and the four-year-old at home most of the day? Can I justify watching Phineas and Ferb on my own?

Yesterday I was sorely tempted to give a rest to my 'Turn off the TV' chant and just let the kids go ahead and OD one last time before school starts. But the guilt got to me so we pulled out some of the projects I still had on the list.   While they were busy I even finished the quilt top for my sister.  What's not finished (or yet started) are a couple of tops for my 11-year-old.  (Good old Simplicty 3835). They've been on my list all summer. Maybe today.  Probably not. But the weather is warm for a while yet.

So summer, we bid thee farewell. It's been real. And it's been fun.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Grandmother of Hexagon Quilts

And here it is folks, my Antique store beauty.  It only seemed appropriate for the summer of Hexagons that I would find this antique Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt top. I carried it with me all through our visit at the Antique Emporium just to make sure I wasn't making a rash decision, and in the end, I couldn't resist.
The only quilt my grandmother ever pieced was a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt right before she got married in 1934.  My mom still has that quilt and I've always loved it, but it's looking pretty raggedy after years of wrapping up kids with chicken pox or taking on family picnics.  When I found this quilt top I about fainted.  It's not identical to the one my grandma made, but it's so similar.  The same shade of Nile Green and definitely made in the same era.

This quilt is all hand pieced and in fabulous condition.  No stains, so fading, no signs of wear.  Probably kept neatly folded away some place safe for a lot of years. After starting my own adventures with hand sewing hexagons - much bigger than these babies I might add - I knew this was something I would never in a million years complete on my own. All those tiny hexies? No way.  And the gorgeous, mint condition vintage fabrics sealed the deal. I think I got it for a steal.
I love examining all the vintage fabrics.
And even more amazing, most of the prints are fussy-cut! 
Someone put some serious effort into this quilt.
The colors are so vibrant too. I think the reds, yellows and browns are my favorites.
I have been thinking so much about the woman - or women - (I'm assuming) who made this work of art. I wish I knew more about her.  I just hope she knows that her investment is in the hands of someone who greatly appreciates her talent and time to create such a beauty.  I'm going to hand quilt this one - probably very s.l o.w.l.y, but it's the only way to do it justice. Hooray for happy hexies!
PS If you're local, there's a Garden Quilt Show today at Amy McClellan's home in Orem, Utah. (Remember last year?)  It's from 11:00-1:00 and you can find more details at the American Quilting Blog. Ice cream included!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Antiquing in Maryland 2010

One of my favorite things to do when we visit family in Maryland is to visit the Antique shops, of which there is an abundance.  My favorite is the Emporium on West Patrick in Frederick. It's an antique 'mall' full of different vendor's shops.  It's enormous and I feel like I get a look at a huge variety of old stuff in one location.

After sharing my adventure last year, a bloggy-friend Delores (aka DeeRoo) expressed great joy and admiration, adding the fact that she visits Frederick once a week!  So we made a plan that the next year, we'd visit this place together.  And I'm happy to report, we brought our plan to full execution! Hooray!
There were many very cool and exciting treasures to meet the eye and gladden the heart at the Emporium, but I thought I'd mostly focus on the very cool antique quilts we found. I hope you don't mind - I'm so inspired by antique quilts - the sheer scrappiness of them, the old fabric prints and the different designs.  I loved this green and white one above and wished I could have given it a home on my couch.
This one is a yo-yo bed cover, made in the 1930's of mostly feed-sack prints.
A collection of more Depression-era quilts.  The Redwork quilts were so sweet.
These squares caught my eye from a distance thinking they were pieced. Turns out it's a cheater print, but I loved it! Looks so contemporary - like something you'd find in a quilt shop today. The front of the quilt were these appliqu├ęd butterflies that had sadly, seen better days.
These fans were made of narrow bias-like strips of fabric. So simple, but effective.

This postage stamp quilt is from the 1890's. Lots of great shirtings. I've always wanted to make a postage stamp quilt. One day I'll muster the courage. They always look awesome. (Sorry about the blurry picture.)
There were many great things to 'ooo and ahhh' at while we were there. I have to admit though, thrifting has made me a bit of a pansy about paying the antique mark-up in price.

But I did make two purchases. One was this cool platter. It's a little scratched and stained and faded and looking like, well, an antique.  It was only $3 and I loved the shape and color that looks perfect contrasting with my taupe walls. I have yet to decide where to hang it, but when I do, I'll share.

I made another divine purchase, but that deserves a post all to itself. So you'll just have to come back!!  (Mwah- hah - hah.)
I had so much fun hanging out with Delores! She has been such a kind and supportive blog-friend. It was so much fun to meet in real life! We had a great day rocking the antique place (she makes a much better Vanna White holding up quilts than my girls did last year), eating delicious bagels and, of course, visiting a fabric store: Needles and Pins, also in Frederick. 

I have had some of the greatest experiences meeting bloggy-acquaintances in real life. They are some of the funnest people! Anyone else out there want to meet up sometime, let me know!
(Which one of us looks like they're handling the sweltering humidity much better than the other?)
Dee even brought me the sweetest little gifts. A Lecien Flower Sugar fat quarter, a little remnant of Liberty Fabric (my first!) and a vintage remnant from a dress she made for her daughter 20 years ago. AND the sweetest little mini quilt. It is going on my inspiration wall above my sewing table. Thanks again DEE! You were so much fun to be with! Can't wait to do it again next year! And next time I promise to keep better track of my purse so we don't have to spend 15 minutes searching for it amid the sea of 'stuff' in an antique emporium!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Progress on a nephew's quilt - and summer living

Summer is barreling fast and furiously to an end around here. Well, not summer the season, but summer holiday as school starts in less than two weeks. I feel like we came home from our vacation and hit the ground running, cramming as many last activities as possible into what time there is left. (I'm hoping my body survives!)
Wednesday I was feeling a bit of bloggy-burnout and decided to take the day off and just sew.  My sister had a baby shower that night and I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be fun if I could get her quilt top pieced for the shower tonight?" I had the fabric she'd chosen (from the pile above) mostly cut and thought I could just whip it up.

{Cue maniacal, crazy-person laughter here.}

Soon thereafter I had four extra kids + my own four who all wanted lunch.  Things spiraled down hill from there.
This is as far as I got -about half way and it had to do. Fortunately, my sister was thoroughly pleased with the progress. But, as evidence of the craziness and my mental state, by the time I got to the shower that night I realized I had on two different colored shoes - one was brown and one was black. (To my own credit they were both Old Navy flip-flops, so hopefully it wasn't terribly obvious.)

The rest of the weeks ahead are full to the brim, including camping tonight with our church group (I should be packing food instead of on the computer) and a wedding tomorrow for a wonderful friend. So in order to prevent other wardrobe faux-pas (and more serious acts of lunacy) I will probably be kind of scarce for the next two weeks, until the munchkins are back in school. I may check in here or there, but I plan to enjoy the last opportunities to go to places like this:
I hope you enjoy yourselves as well! Eat some home-grown tomatoes and think of me.

{Speaking of other wardrobe faux-pas, one time last year I realized I had on my sweater inside-out. My husband thought it was pretty funny too and asked the kids, "Do you notice anything different about mommy?" My then-7-year-old daughter (the really blunt one) pipes up, "Um, she's getting fat?"}