Thursday
Nov242011

Pincushion Prettiness III

We have a winner  ...

"Archie the Wonder Dog", congratulations!  I know you're going to enjoy Gigi's beautiful pin toppers. 

And remember, Gigi's Etsy Shop is just a click away if you're looking to treat yourself or find that perfect little something for the crafter in your life.  She's always coming up with new designs so you never know what treasure you're going to find!

Here's my last pincushion for you this week.  Yep, that's an egg cup!

Ok.  I didn't make this one.  Gigi did.  In fact, it was part of the FIRST giveaway she made for my blog.  But you never saw it.  Even if you've been reading my blog every day from the beginning.  See, I have a confession to make.  When she showed me this first giveaway set last summer, I held it in my hands (I may have even snatched it ... I can't remember) looked her dead in the eye and apologized because unfortunately I was going to keep it for myself because I really really really needed it so could she please make another one. 

True story.  I can be embarrassingly obnoxious.  (Please don't blame my parents ... they really did try to teach me better.)  But apparently I have enough other redeeming qualities that she overlooked my terrible manners and agreed.   (Love you, Gigi!)  (Oh, and I DID compensate her accordingly ... I'm not THAT horrible!!!)

Anyhow, this perfectly pretty little trio - plus yet another Shabby Cupcake of hers that coordinates so nicely colorwise - sits here in front of my computer screen and I look at it countless times a day. 

I love it.  I don't know if it's normal for such things to make me feel so happy.  But I don't care.  Knowing the person who made these beautiful pin toppers - AND being able to call her friend - makes them even that much more special. 

Thank you Gigi!  This was fun.  We should do it again sometime ... ;)

Wednesday
Nov232011

Pincushion Prettiness II

I got yet another adorable pincushion kit at Quilt Market.  (Last day to enter my giveaway!)

This one is from the sweet Brenda Riddle.  Her new Durham fabric line with Lecien is soooooo pretty.  We're shabby chic soul sisters, me & her. ;)

One of the prints in this line features an uber-feminine paisley and Brenda used that motif as the inspiration for the design on this cushion.

Like Lynette's cushion yesterday, this one also  uses a single skein of COSMO Seasons variegated embroidery floss.  Isn't it just so lovely? 

I woke up very early one morning at Market - like dark o'clock early - and I couldn't get back to sleep so I parked myself in front of the tv and happily stitched away until the rest of the world woke up.  (Why sleep when you can lazy-daisy stitch yourself senseless!)  A few more moments here and there and I had all the stitchery done before I left Houston.

The kit came with a tiny ricrac trim and a square of the gray paisley print for the bottom.  Brenda showed me her finished cushion and suggested I quilt the bottom fabric.  I loved the idea so much that I did the same with Lynette's design that I showed you yesterday. 

The original shape for this cushion was a basic square.  But I got this idea in my head to echo the shape of the stitched paisley motif (I later came to my senses and modified it into an oval) which left the perfect little spot to hold a few of my favorite Gigi pins.

And I added a scrap of pink fabric to form the sides ... I wanted the cushion to be "3-D".

I've had this little set of Gigi's cupcake pins for a few years now.  I'd LOVE to put them in this pincushion, but somehow I just can't bring myself to take them out of their pretty packaging!

I keep these on a message board above my computer so I look at them several times a day and smile.

I have one more cushion with a set of Gigi's pins to show you tomorrow.

Tuesday
Nov222011

Pincushion Prettiness I

I'm rescheduling Farmer's Wife blocks to Friday this week because I decided to run with the theme of my current giveaway (still time to enter - and Gigi has added a few more things to her shop since yesterday ... better go check them out ... seriously!) and thought I'd share a few little things I've made lately. 

Pincushions. 

I was a very lucky girl at Quilt Market last month and got a sweet little pincushion kit from the lovely Lynette Anderson.  Here's the cushion all finished.

If you're at all familiar with this talented designer, you didn't need me to tell you this is her work.  Lynette's  style is very distinctive ... and incredibly popular.

(Can't you just imagine these 'lil guys in this cushion?)

I started this pretty little stitchery on the plane home from Houston - managed to get the border and almost one corner done before I landed (the movie onboard was terrible ...  )

Can you believe all this embroidery is done with ONE skein of embroidery floss?

Dude!  I know!!!

It's a COSMO Seasons variegated floss.  The hues in this one skein range from light brown through dark brown and then a lovely purple!  I'd actually been stitching away for a few hours before I had good enough light to even notice the purple.  I almost squealed out loud when I discovered it, but I was in the audience of my daughter's string orchestra rehearsal (seriously, I WILL stitch just about anywhere) so good thing I was able to control myself.

And I got a good idea from someone (will share that tomorrow) to quilt the backing.

I filled it with ground walnut shells ... available at your local pet store as some sort of creepy reptile aquarium filler - which is precisely why I decided to have daughters instead of sons.  ;) 

(Honestly, I don't think my constitution would have survived boys!)

Monday
Nov212011

GIVE-A-WAY!

Happy Monday! 

I know, I know what's to be happy about with no more quiltlets, is probably what you're wondering.  Well, as a sort of olive branch offering, I have another giveaway for you.  You're welcome. ;)

               *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Ok.  Do you remember what it was on Etsy that you had to have so badly that you became a member just so you could buy it? 

I do. 

It was this adorable set of pin toppers - impossibly tiny sewing notions ... IN PINK!  (You may have noticed them in my banner photo up top.)

I've bought many pins from this artist since I discovered her 3 years ago.  And I've even managed to keep a few for myself.  But these pins have become my go-to gift for crafty family members, dear friends and very special people who mean a lot to me.

Now, I'm normally a little shy when it comes to introducing myself (I know, you're probably surprised - but it's true.  My natural tendency is to be introverted.)  But I was so excited about starting my blog I wanted to tell her that I'd included her pins in my banner.  So I emailed her and a  conversation started.

(Are you serious?  LOOK at this little mushroom!)

This past summer, my family spent several weeks in California very near - it just so happens - to where she lives.  So at the risk of making her think I was a crazy stalker person, I asked if she was interested in meeting.  She said yes.

(I'm dyin' here ... now I need to make myself a pink tomato pincushion!  You know I'm gonna.  See what she does to me?)

We got together a few times - for breakfast, hanging out, burgers and yes, crafting.  I begged her to come to our place with all her pin-making paraphanelia just so I could watch her work. 

(Dude ... !!!!!!)

I gotta tell you, it was the absolute weirdest, out-of-body, "pinch-me-I-can't-believe-I'm-sitting-here-with-HER" time of my life.  HER as in SHE MADE ME SIGN UP FOR ETSY HER!  (Can you tell I'm a little excited?!) 

(Can't you just imagine THESE in your pincushion?)

I mean, of all the merchants and crafters with shops on Etsy from all around the w.o.r.l.d,  SHE'S here.  Drinkin' my Pellegrino and hangin' out with me. 

She's amazing.  She is Gigi Minor of Pinks & Needles.

I am just SO HONORED (you really have no idea) to have this opportunity to share Gigi's fabulous talent with you because she's designed this exclusive 4-piece pin set especially for one of my lovely readers. 

Gigi suggested making something that reflected my style.  Naturally, it had to be pink. :)  My favorite beverage is tea and I always blog with a cup beside me.  So she started with this sweet little cup of tea, complete with a tag and string from the teabag!  (Omg, can you beLIEVE her?)

A tiny pale blue blossom that she was inspired to make when she noticed the blue flower in the fabric.

A spool of thread because, well, you know ...

And then the piece-de-resistance, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!  This rose - the quintessential symbol of pretty, romantic, shabby chic, flower sugar ... everything that makes my heart so happy.  (I watched her make this rose and I still don't know how she did it, but to quote a very famous Vulcan, "Fascinating" - except I have to add these ... !!!! ... even though Vulcans don't have emotions.)

She even fashioned a pincushion out of a little pink egg cup and a scrap of fabric from my stash.

She makes every single pin - one at a time - by hand.  Incredibly tiny, detailed and no-holds-barred ADORABLE!  And let me tell you she is a perfectionist.  She takes great pains to ensure all her pins are flawless.

So here's the deal (still with me?).  To enter the draw to win this 4-piece pin topper set PLUS eggcup pincushion - all hand-crafted by Gigi Minor - go to her Etsy shop, have a browse, come back and leave me a comment telling me which are your favorite designs ... and I'm warning you - it's impossible to have just one! 

I've already done some Christmas shopping myself ... and it's possible everything I bought will end up in my stocking from Santa, just sayin'. ;)

Comments will close Wednesday Nov 23 6:00pm PST (west coast United States) and I'll announce the winner Thursday Nov 24th.

PLEASE double check your email address to make sure it's spelled correctly when you leave it for me. 

And now I'm going to try to calm down and hope no one enters so Gigi will send the pins to me.

Kidding!

Probably ...

:)

Friday
Nov182011

My Cup Runneth Over

Winter arrived last night.  Ugh.  But the bright side is that now my daughters are old enough to shovel.  (And so the rewards of midnight feedings and poopy diapers begins ... mwah ha ha ha.)

So, I was here in my sewing room working away and the little monkeys started banging on the house outside my room to get my attention.  I went to the window and was about to give them heck for trying to wreck what is already a house that has seen better days when they directed my attention to this:

Good thing I don't have PMS 'cause this would have totally made me cry.  I am one lucky mom. :)

(And I didn't think I'd have anything to blog about today ... )

Thursday
Nov172011

Mystery Block of the Month

Confession.  This block - #5 of Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month Club - arrived in the mail the day before I left for Quilt Market.  I was in the middle of packing & stuff when I heard the mailbox squeak.  I dropped everything and was pressing & cutting before the mailman got to the end of the street.  (Yes, I was one of those naughty kids who would snoop under beds and in closets before Christmas!)

This month's block "Vintage Posey" was designed by Brenda Riddle.  Super sweet and talented lady. 

In truth, I wanted to make the block so I could tell Brenda at Market that I made it and I loved it and it came together so nicely.  That is all true.  And the block is adorable. 

But I totally forgot to tell her!

Wednesday
Nov162011

Daisychain Sampler "E"

I decided to just go for it this time and not do the pre-outlining before I satin stitched.

Lazy or brave?

You decide. ;)

Tuesday
Nov152011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 25

Red, Pink, Green, Blue & White (again)

I loved last week's color theme so much I did it again.  Guess I'm really diggin' the crayon box look.

#39 - Friendship

Ok.  You know I have this thing about not letting the same print "touch" in a quilt, right?  Well, I decided to challenge myself and do the complete opposite here.  Yep.  FOUR, count 'em - 4 - of the same print, all cozy and nesting together.  Don't they look friendly? ;)

#27 - Darting Birds

All this rule breaking is kinda fun (just please don't tell my children, kay?)! 

You know, when I first looked at this block it was just another design with more yucky triangles.  Me & triangles ... we ain't exactly the best of friends. 

But when I read the name 'Darting Birds', and then actually SAW the birds - with their cute lil' heads and cute lil' wings - my attitude TOTALLY changed.  I think these little birdies are just so sweet.  

And of course, pink is the leader. :)

Monday
Nov142011

Mini-Series Monday #9

Ok, first things first.

The random number generator found my winners for Anne Sutton's patterns and the adorable Miss Henrietta Squirrel.  (I've already notified the winners so if you see your name, check your email ...)

#1. Allie the Scottie Dog - Andrea

#2. Baby Bear - Karen H

#3. Henrietta the Squirrel - Louise

#4. Lollipop the Lamb - Richla

#5. Scooter Pie the Cat - Chris

#6. Snickerdoodles the Bunny - Katie

#7. Finished Henrietta - Becky

Congratulations Ladies!  And thank you everyone so much for entering!  I know it sounds cliche to say I wish you could all win, but I really do feel that way. 

This giveaway was so much fun, I just might have another one coming up soon ... stay tuned, kay? ;)

               *          *          *          *          *          *          *

And now for the last episode of Project Simplify, the Mini-Series.

Dream Big - or Little (15.5" x 17.5"), as the case may be.

As with the big one, this quiltlet (love that name!) is borderless.  I had just enough scraps to eke out this little one.

Because it's so small, I didn't scrap the binding like I did on the big one.  But my stash didn't let me down and I found a perfectly cute polka dot cream from another Fig Tree line - Mill House Inn - that was perfect for the job.

And I'm totally digging this teeny tiny flower / swirly twirly FMQing that I've done on 2 other quiltlets here and here.  I think it's my favorite FMQ design.

Big and little.

And once again a little back fun. :)

Ok people, stick a fork in me I'm done.  I'm pretty sure this is it for Project Simplify.  It's time to draw the curtains and turn off the lights for this ... wonderful thing that has been so much fun for me and hopefully for you.

Thanks again to all of you who commented throught the process of me sewing my way through Camille's book - twice.  You've inspired me, encouraged me, taught me and best of all, made me laugh.  Seriously, you guys are hilarious. :)

Ok wait.  This sorta sounds like I'm quitting my blog ... I'M NOT!  Wild horses couldn't drag me away from my sewing machine & computer.  I'm just saying good bye to Project Simplify.  Kay?  I'll be back tomorrow with more FW blocks.  Promise.  As long as at least one person out there in Inter-Web-Landia has a decidedly inexplicable taste for my silliness, I'll be here.

Besides, since one of my best bloggy friends (who has an amazingly beautiful blog) just taught me how to make these very cool photo mosaics, I need an excuse to make more. ;)

Thursday
Nov102011

Quilt Market - Giveaway

This was me at the airport waiting for the scale to tell me how much my suitcase weighed, "Oh pleeeeeease, please please please PLEASE be under 50 lbs!"  Whew!  Just barely made it. :)

I'm really happy with all the pretty fabric I brought home.  My creative wheels are turning and I'm dying to start cutting & sewing.

"La Petite Mercerie" by Lecien - LOVE notion prints!

"Woodland" by Lecien.  So adorable.  I know I'll be making lots of gifts for my daughters' friends as birthday gifts & such.

Died and went to heaven with Lecien's "Durham Anew" line.

Moda's "California Girls".  Couldn't resist those blues!

So yummy "Athill" by Moda

But my absolute favorite find was, of course, Yoko Saito's book.  I'm considering putting it in a safety deposit box. ;)

Ok.  Now for some fun for you.

I met one of the nicest people on the planet at Quilt Market - Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.

And she generously sent me home with some goodies to give away here to a few lovely Pretty by Hand readers.  (Thank you Anne!)  Not one, not two, but SIX patterns for her adorable little soft creatures. 

1. Allie the Scottie Dog

2. Baby Bear

3. Henrietta the Squirrel

4. Lollipop the Lamb

5. Scooter Pie the Cat

6. Snickerdoodles the Bunny

7. AND an ACTUAL finished Henrietta made from Anne's fabric. 

(And the limbs are hinged so they move!)

But wait.

There's MORE!

Just to sweeten the deal, I'm sure I can find a pretty fat quarter - or two - from my stash to go with each prize.  (Need to make room for all the aforementioned bundles ...)

So.  If you would like to enter this giveaway to win ONE of these 6 patterns + FQs or the sweet squirrel + FQs (so 7 winners in total), please go to Anne's shop, take a look at her patterns, come back here and leave a comment telling me which of her designs is your favorite. 

Winners will be selected at random.  The first name drawn will win the Allie pattern & a FQ, winner #2 will receive the Baby Bear pattern & a FQ, etc. following the list above.

Comments will close Sunday Nov 13th at 6:00 pm PST  (West coast of North America).  I will announce the winners on Monday Nov 14th.  Please be sure to leave me your email (only I can read it) so I can reach you if you win.

Good luck everyone! :)

Wednesday
Nov092011

Quilt Market - More Eye Candy

And I was worried I didn't take enough photos!!!

Pat Sloniger is a fabric designer and I stopped dead in my tracks as I walked by her booth.

Because of this ...

Dude!  Pastel Houndstooth??!!  Love it!

There were plenty of people celebrating Halloween with costumes and booths were decked out with spooky stuff.  I thought this gal was particularly funny.

One day we had lunch under a maple tree. 

As a Canadian, I'm very partial to maple leaves.  Funny thing is, maple trees don't grow anywhere NEAR where I live.  I've always felt a little sorry for myself that I can't enjoy them daily.  And it struck me as funny that I was sitting under a beautiful maple tree all the way down in Texas!

Sue Daley is an incredible English Paper Piecing aficionado.  Her hand-piecing is to die for.  And the scale of her work makes me weep.  For example, see this gorgeous quilt?

Hexagons.  A bazillion of them.  All hand-pieced.

And these little ones here in the middle?  Wanna know how small they are?

(That's my camera lens cap.)  I KNOW!!!  Impossible. 

Here are a few more of her things that I want to make some day. 

She really has me obsessing over apple cores now!

And she has a book coming out soon.  I need to own it. :)

I think my absolute favorite booth was Rachel Ashwell's

I want my home to look like this.

I think one reason I love Shabby Chic so much is because of this ...

You don't have to IRON!!! tee hee

So pretty.

Love the softness of the colors in this quilt.

Ok.  I can't stall any longer.  Here's my quilt.  (And I forgot to find out who made the adorable skirt & applique top with this Flower Sugar fabric .. super cute!)

And me in front of it.

And my bag with it.

And the pattern is now available to download for free.

Not gonna lie, it was super cool to see this. 

And a surprising thing that made it even better was one of Yoko Saito's quilts

hanging just a few feet away in the other corner. 

See what I mean?

Magic.

An absolute favorite fabric line from Lecien for me is Petit Fleur.  Soft, pretty & feminine colors with delicate little prints that will never grow tired or look dated.  Timeless.  I.Love.It!

Isn't this quilt adorable?  The pattern is a free download too.  Aren't those just the sweetest little yo-yos?

Ok, well I don't know about you guys, but I'm totally Marketed out!

Wait.  What?  You want to see what I brought home?  Oh.  Alright. ;)  Come back tomorrow, kay?  I might just have a little something for a few of you ...

Tuesday
Nov082011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 24

Red, Pink, Green, Blue & White

OK!  Super colorful today. :)

#24 - Country Path

I followed the color value in the book this time and I'd say this block is a smashing success.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.

#104 - Wild Geese

It took me a while to decide on this block.  I needed one that could handle all 5 colors and again, using the suggested values in the book, this one also makes me smile. :)

Now is it just me or are all these geese playing chicken?  Look.  They're all running towards the middle of the block and they're gonna to crash into each other!

Monday
Nov072011

Mini-Series Monday #8

All In The Family

Omg this was fun to make.  (Oh who am I kidding, these are ALL fun!)

This one seemed to have particularly little pieces.

Of all the quiltlets, this one really felt like a doll quilt to me.  I did one pass of the cross-hatch and it wasn't enough.  So I did a second round and it is fabulously tiny.  It really accentuates the diminutive size of this quilt - 16" x 18.5".  The grid lines are just under 1/2" apart.  (I love little!)

It's going to be the perfect Christmas decoration this year.  My traditional Christmas colors are silver and white with bits of blue. 

I think that's why I went with the blue print for the border.  It's the same print as on the big one, just a different color.

I had a bit of wonky fun with the back again too.  I even included a block leftover from the big quilt. (Top left corner - it got chopped off a bit.)

Next week is the finale episode of Project Simplify - the Mini-Series. 

I know.  Me too.  :(

Saturday
Nov052011

It's Finally Official ...

... I'm definitely a mom. 

My High School prom dress sash was used as a headscarf for a Halloween gypsy costume this year.

Yep ... nothin' else says parenthood quite like that!

Love it. :)

Friday
Nov042011

Quilt Market Eye Candy

Sensory overload.  The talent and creativity at Quilt Market is - to say the least - overwhelming.  So in no particular order, here are some things I liked and/or loved and/or died and went to crafty heaven over when I saw them. ;)

Lecien Cosmo Stitcheries

Super cute chair

Something about this "Dear Stella" pink & orange that caught my eye (picture doesn't do it justice)

Cabbages & Roses quilt

Moda Solids quilt

Cinderberry Stitches' longarmer stitched little toadstools into the quilt.  CUTE!  (Pattern is a free download)

Love Bunny Hill's seasonal applique designs

Brenda Riddle's Durham Quilt (another free download!)

Beautiful Better Homes & Gardens quilt display

Cool Floor!

And major flower power!

Of course, I love the pink in Lori Holt's "Daisy Cottage" fabric line

I mean come ON!  Any booth with a pink table is a favorite of mine. ;)

Loving this colorful chandelier in Don't Look Now's booth.  (I have a thing for chandeliers.)

A silk ballgown with yo-yos?

Totally works for me!

Did you know Ty Pennington designs fabric?  He started messing around with carving images out of wood and making them into stamps for fabric.

Love the sense of humor to have a display of ties in Ty's booth. :)

I popped into this Antique Quilt booth.

This quilt caught my eye.

The first quilt I ever made was a Grandmother's Flower Garden (in country blue, country red & ivory polyester broadcloth.  Dude, it was the mid 80's ... it totally wasn't my fault.) 

I will always have a deep and abiding love for hexagons.

Forever.

I loved the beautiful stack of one color + white quilts.  I want to make one for myself ... one in each color, that is!

I suppose you can guess why I loved this quilt. ;)

Ok, that's enough for today, right?  More next week.  Promise.

Thursday
Nov032011

Daisychain Sampler "A" Part II

Ok, ok.  Satin stitch, here I come.  And I'm going to do it right.  The sampler is coming along so nicely I don't want to spoil it with a sloppy satin stitch so here's my plan.

I learned this trick a long time ago.  If you outline the object that is to be "satined" with a backstitch (some people recommend a split stitch) first, and then satin OVER the outline to hide it, the edges where your needle goes in and out will look much smoother. 

I hate doing is extra step because it's work NO one will EVER see.  It almost feels like a waste of time. 

Until you actually DO it and then see how nicely your stitches turn out.

All right, all right.  I'll stop complaining now.

Time to get knotty ... Colonial Knot-ty, that is.  ;)

Ok.  Totally worth the extra work.  :)

Wednesday
Nov022011

Quilt Market People

To summarize, I had a GREAT time.  I met so many lovely people, saw so many creative, inspiring & beautiful things and maybe managed to squeeze a few bundles of fabric into my suitcase. ;)

Today, I'm going to share some of my favorite people stories.

So.  Have you ever read about someone in a book, and then followed their blog and then chatted with them via email and then met them in real life?  During breakfast in your hotel?  I have.  She's PamKittyMorning.  (I totally can't even call her just Pam.  It's impossible.  She's PamKittyMorning.  All together.  One word.)  And she is hilarious, too.  What a sense of humor on this girl!  We laughed all through breakfast. 

Oh.  And she just so happens to be the talent behind THIS gorgeous fabric line. 

My idol.  Well, one of them.  The matriarch of Shabby Chic herself.  Rachel Ashwell.  You may remember that I met her in Salt Lake City too.  But if you had the chance to meet Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Aniston twice, you would, right?  She was just as friendly and sweet as ever.  Sadly, I think her talent isn't contagious.

And just to prove that my best friend in the whole wide world isn't imaginary, that's her on the right.  She's awesome.  I'm lucky. 

One of the most genuinely talented and warm people I've EVER met is this lovely lady - Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool.  I met her for the first time in Salt Lake and couldn't wait to say hi to her again.  I went to a seminar where she talked about her new fabric line "October Skies".  Yes, she somehow managed to do what I thought was impossible - create a Fall color palette with pink!  (That's one of her stunning new quilts on the right.)

Now lemme 'splain this photo.  No, I'm not in labour or imitating a barnyard animal.  And I didn't actually pee my pants laughing, despite my appearance.  But do you have a body part - or possibly two in particular - that you're sort of self-concious about?  I do.  Just before this picture was taken I asked for a quick second to cover the boobenzes (like draping a white sweater over them is going to somehow make them invisible!).  Somebody said something else, I started laughing and the camera went "Click!" 

Dude!  What happened to "Take Two"?

Since I happened to walk by the Lecien booth once or twice or like a bazillion times to catch a glimpse of my quilt (kidding ... maybe) I got to meet the talented Lecien fabric designers who were at Market.

Natalie Lymer

She's the face behind Cinderberry Stitches and I've admired her talent for a few years now.  She is just the sweetest little Aussie.  Her little 'shrooms are impossibly cute, her fabric is super cute and she's just so ... cute! 

(I think I look like I'm about to abduct her into a dark mini-van that's parked just outside of the camera frame ... )

Sarah Fielke

I didn't get a chance to chat very much with her, but it was super cool to get to meet this very well-known modern girl.  Anyone who thinks of naming the colors of her fabric after favorite slushy flavors from her childhood is someone I can admire. ;)

Lynette Anderson

Another amazingly talented lady.  She's got that incredible energy about her that is very contagious and inspiring.  And she always looks like there's a light shining from her smiling eyes.  I asked her to pose in front of this quilt because I made it a few years ago in a club.  Loved every stitch.

Brenda Riddle

O.M.G.  I didn't get a picture of her.  Aaaagh!!!  But I did have a lovely chat with her.  When I saw her latest Duram collection, I almost died.   She and I are kindred spirits in the shabby fabric world.   :)

Those are the Lecien gals.  Actually, there's one more ... but I'm saving her for last.

 

Aneela Hoey

I didn't get to meet her at the last Market but I'm so glad I got to chat with her this time!  Her new line for Moda, "A Walk in the Woods" is a-DOR-able.   And you'd be hard pressed to find a kinder, gentler or more talented girl.

Anne Sutton

(And finally a half decent photo of me!) 

I've been a fan of Anne's work for a number of years now.  A few weeks ago I emailed her to ask if I could post a picture of one of her quilts I'd made.  She kindly gave me permission, but also complimented my blog.  (Ok, WHOA!)  So I introduced myself as Pretty by Hand, we squealed in unison and hugged.  We are now friends for life.  I have a feeling many happy people in the world can say that about her. :) 

(And I think it's possible that a few little somethings accidentally made their way into my suitcase as giveaways for one or several of you next week that I may have acquired from a certain someone who likes bunnies ... just sayin'.)

Ok.  I can't beLIEVE I didn't get any pictures with this next person.  I remember posing, but the camera (or the operator) may have malfunctioned.  Grrr.  I am so choked about it. 

Never mind. 

Anyhow. I had a close encounter with a Fig.  Or should I say THE Fig.  Can you guess who?  Yep.  Joanna of Fig Tree fame was so lovely.  She came up to me - because she recognized my bag - and introduced herself.  So how do you think I repay such a courtesy?  All I could think to say while desperately trying to keep my eyes from rolling back into my head and falling over like a fainting oppossum was, "I am SO blogging about this!"  Yes I said that out loud.  Like a threat.  I think I even pointed at her!  Anyhow, she was very gracious and lovely and we laughed. 

And then I spent the next 1/2 hour seriously thinking about having my mouth sewn shut.  (You have NO idea how much action the backspace & delete keys get on my keyboard!)

You know, I wish I could be classy and elegant and refined.  I am none of those things.  I'm the opposite of Audry Hepburn and Grace Kelly.  And just to prove it to you, I'll share one more story with you.  (Like I haven't already convinced you!)

Ok.  First, imagine your ultimate creative hero.  Are they an artist?  A pattern designer?  A fabric designer?  A teacher?  A shop owner?  An author?  My idol is all of the above and then some.

Do they piece?  Hand applique?  Embroider?  Make quilts?  Bags?  Soft toys?  Home decor objects?  My idol does all these things and more.

She is Yoko Saito.  I don't think I can compare her to anyone.  To me, her creations look like they were made with magic.  Her eye for detail is exquisite.  Her skills are impeccable.  Her sense of color, texture, scale, all these things are breathtakingly stunning.  I own a few of her books and I never tire of looking at them.  Even after years of owning them I still find new things every time I leaf through them.

So I was just in the process of buying another one of her books when she happened to walk by.  In true me fashion, I ran over to her and practically tackled her.  Never mind hand shakes, I obnoxiously requested a hug (with sign language of course because I wasn't sure if she would understand my English) and then pretended to be polite by asking if she had a moment to sign my book while frantically tearing off the plastic wrapper before I'd even paid for it. 

Even though I probably broke every rule of appropriate Japanese conduct, she graciously obliged.

She is elegant, sophisticated, dignified, talented, personable, friendly ...  Oh how I wish I could speak Japanese.  My dream would be to some day go to Japan and be her student for at least a month!  But I'd settle for an hour. ;)

I even turned into a paparrazzo while she signed my book.

Hopefully I haven't made her think she needs to hire a bodyguard or get a restraining order.  (Although I wouldn't blame her!)  I was just so excited.

So there you have it.  Some of the highlights of my close encounters with the people that I admire, respect, and who help feed my crafty soul. 

I still have a lot more to show you but my time is a little limited for the next few days.  So tomorrow will be another Daisychain Sampler day and then I will have more Market stuff for Friday or next week.

Tuesday
Nov012011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 23

Yellow, Green & White

#46 - Hill & Valley

Does this block - of hills - remind anyone else of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Lala & Po?

Someone, please say yes.

Are they even still on TV?

 

#22 - Corn  & Beans

I've been avoiding this block for a while.  I dunno ... I think it was the name.  I just kept picturing some old guy wandering around with bits of corn stuck in his overgrown gray beard and farting into his dusty overalls. 

Sorry if I ruined this block for you, but I just didn't think it was fair to keep that visual all to myself.

You're welcome for not adding the bit about how he's also a little itchy in certain places.

Oops.

:)

Monday
Oct312011

Mini-Series Monday #7

Happy Halloween everyone!

My original plan for today's quiltlet - Happy-Go-Lucky - was to copy the same fabrics as the big one.

But when I realized this episode was going to "air" on Halloween, of course I had to make it in Halloween colors, right?  I mean, what self-respecting quilt blogger would pass up the opportunity to have some holiday fun with a color palette?  Not me!

Now I'm not an over-the-top-crazy-in-love-with-Halloween type of person.  Prob'ly 'cause there's no pink in traditional Fall colors.  Too bad.  ;)  (Unless you've just been to Quilt Market and saw Verna Mosquera's breathtakingly beautiful new pattern made with her new line called "October Skies"!)  But, not to worry.  I have a perfectly fantastic selection of earth tone Japanese fabrics.  So I put together what I think is a nice little grouping of greens, grays & creams with a little smattering of yellows & a kiss of orange.

But then how do I put all these together for this quilt design?  I've made enough mistakes to know that an ounce of prevention ...  And my type of prevention simply involves a little fun with a few sheets of graph paper and a handful of pencil crayons.  :)

Here's my first idea, with all the darks as the main blocks and the yellows & oranges as the block middles.

Hmm, not sure.  Not exactly what I had in mind.  I was going for a "twinkly" effect but this looks surprisingly modern to me.  Let's try something different - more scrappy.

I didn't have to finish coloring this one to know it made my heart happy.

And here's how it turned out.

Perfect.  Halloweeny?  For sure.  But not I'M-ALL-UP-IN-YOUR-FACE-WITH-VAMPIRES-AND-COBWEBS-AND-WITCHES Halloweeny.  (Not that there's anything WRONG with that ... I've made some absolutely gorgeous Halloween quilts that are just that!)  But I can see me enjoying this quiltlet as a nice home decor accent on a wall in my house for a month or so, even though I have an undiagnosed allergy to burnt orange and dark green. ;)

The inner border gave me pause.  At first I thought it would be very dark - maybe even black.  But as I played around with my darks, it just seemed too ... AAAGH, you know?  So I did a 180 and went so quiet and neutral that the fabric all but disappears.  As soon as I laid out the quilt with this print, I knew it was perfect.

And then there was the whole FMQing business.  Sigh.  I really should do rocks.  I'm awesome at rocks.  And rocks are sorta Halloweeny, aren't they?  But I don't FEEL like doing rocks!  It's gonna take forEVER.  "Oh, stop your whining, you Smokin' Hot Quilter Chick and just get on with it."  ;)

So I did. 

And I'm so very happy I took the 2-1/2 hours to do it.

I omitted the outer border AGAIN, like I did on the big one

This quiltlet had already grown to 15" x 17" and I just didn't want it to be any bigger.

All right, the second last episode is up for next week.

We're going straight from Halloween to Christmas!

Friday
Oct282011

Daisychain Sampler G

Ok.  I'm about to say something that might shock you if you embroider ... the french knot & I are sworn enemies.  I am SO not even joking about this, you guys.  I mean enemies as in:

But seriously.  I will never reconcile with the french knot.  And there isn't a single one in this letter - or in my entire sampler, for that matter.  I swore off french knots a few years ago and haven't made one since.

Huh?

Nope.  Not a single one.  So what knot DID I use for this letter?

Brace yourself.  I'm about to rock your embroidery world ...

The Colonial Knot

When you are making it, it doesn't misbehave like a french knot can (and often does for me!  Grrr).  And it lays on the fabric all nice and flat like a donut. 

Yes, go ahead all you lovely Americans and make fun of this stereotypical Canadian who somehow found a way to compare embroidery to donuts.  tee hee ;) 

I have yet to find a situation where the french knot CAN'T be substituted with a colonial knot.  Give it a try.  It's worth the time to learn.  Trust me.  If I can teach my 10 year old dyslexic daughter how to do it, you can do it. 

Here's how my sampler looks so far ...

Ugh.  But now H is more satin stitch (I'm typing this in my very best whiny voice ... can you hear it?)  Guess I better just suck it up and go back to A before my sampler ends up looking like Swiss Cheese on account of all the holes left where satin-stitched letters should be!