Logic is TOTALLY Overrated

So.  My husband was at Costco the other day and came across two women & a toddler, who was sitting in the cart. 

Halfway through the store the little one got antsy and started demanding her freedom. 

The mom said, "You have two choices:  either sit here in the cart, or let your Aunt carry you."

Little's response?   "Me pick PURPLE!"

Next time someone offers me two unacceptible options, I'm picking PINK!


Project Simplify - Day 27

Well, after MUCH fabric play & yardage consideration (I kept running into the "crap, I don't have enough of that fabric" problem) I surprised myself by going with this two-color grouping which is mostly Roman Holiday, and the blue and cream tonals from Glace - another 3 Sisters Christmas line (the same line Camille used for this quilt in the book) that came in a kit I've had for a while.

I mean, I love two-tone quilts and I really love this smokey blue-gray & cream combo (with little hits of red!).  But for some reason I was trying really hard to use the entire Roman Holiday line. 

For years I'd walk into a store, see a quilt and want those.exact.fabrics to make it for myself.  I had trouble imagining quilts in different colors.  I know lots of other quilters struggle with the same issue.  Let's face it, fabric ain't cheap and making quilts - especially big ones - is an investment in both time & money.  And believe me, I've made my fair share of costly "experimenting with fabric" mistakes.

I'm still not the world's best fabric picker for quilts.  I really admire people who can walk through a quilt store, "cherry pick" bolts from all over the place and put together a fabulous fabric collection for a quilt. More often than not, I rely on a fabric line when I make a quilt.  But time and experience has made me a little more comfortable & confident with my personal fabric likes & dislikes.

Plus - just a personal goal - I'd like most of the quilts I make for Project Simplify to look at least a little - and preferably a lot - different from the ones in the book, if only for those of you who are still learning to visualize quilts in different fabrics.  Maybe you'll be inspired to give future quilt designs a second look if they're made up in colors & prints that don't appeal to you.  You just might find an unexpected treasure!


Project Simplify - Day 26

Chapter Five - The halfway mark!

I really like this quilt - Spot On. 

Remember Donnie & Marie Osmond's hit "A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock & Roll?"  This quilt - to me - is a little bit traditional, a little bit modern.  The large graphic circles strike me as contemporary, but the sashing & on-point set of the blocks reads traditional.  I think you could tip the balance either way with the fabric selection.

I'm going traditional with this fabric collection from a few years ago by 3 Sisters for Moda called Roman Holiday.  I'm a sucker for a good Christmas fabric line and 3 Sisters - more often than not - has me at "Hello". ;)

I made this quilt by Bunny Hill a few years ago for the shop and most of the fabric was from this collection.  It was so pretty I had to buy the FQ bundle (plus yardage, of course) for myself.

I also made this little wall hanging (my own design) a few years ago.  I hang it over my kitchen sink at Christmas time.  Kinda cute, no?

Hmmm, what a surprise ... it's cross-hatched.


Project Simplify - Day 25

I'm pleased to introduce you to "Flower Garden".

Sooooo pretty, isn't she?  Wish I'd had her for Easter.

The pain of top-stitching this quilt is but a distant (ok, not that distant) memory.  I really am glad, (and maybe kinda sorta a little bit proud) that I stuck with it.

We did have a little boo-boo.  Remember that thing I have about not letting the same print "touch"?  My helper & I have absolutely NO idea how this happened!

Oh well ;).

For the back, I still had some of the Robyn Pandolph I used for the last quilt back.  If I'd planned things out a little better, I'd have saved it all for this one - because the quilt top is mostly Robyn and I just like doing little things like that - but never mind.  I took a bit more yardage from my shelf (yay!) to complete the back.

Stash Redux:

  • Yardage - 3.7 yds / 3.3 m
  • Weight - 1 lb / 0.5 kg

For a grand total of:

  • Yardage - 39.6 yds / 36.1 m
  • Weight - 13.6 lbs / 7.4 kg

Wow, can you believe it?  I'm halfway through the book!  Five quilts done - four more quilts & four pillow covers to go!


Oops, I Did it Again!

Ever since Camille gave me permission to blog my way through her fantastic book Simplify, I've been trying to think of a way to thank her. 

So when she mentioned how much she liked this bag I made based on her quilt pattern "Sugar Rush", I absolutely insisted on making one for her and I asked her to pick the fabrics.

Hmmm, I wonder what she chose ...

I'm off to the post office now! ;)


Project Simplify - Day 24

Kay.  You'd think I'd be used to making a fool of myself.  I admit it's getting easier, but still ...

See, when it comes to all things quilting I usually can pick up a new skill relatively quickly.  I think that must be why I love quilting so much - it's one of a VERY few things I can do well with little or no practice.  And I really thought that with the amount of time & effort I've invested already on this particularly elusive element of quilting, I'd be a lot further along by now.

Here's the latest damage ... (wimper).

This is supposed to be a neat, symmetrical design.  Not this wonky, amoeba-shaped ... mess!

It LOOKS so easy to do ... why can't I GET this?

I had a little (ok, an embarrassingly huge for someone my age) tantrum - which I kept on the inside, but let me tell you I was craaaaabby!  I thought, "Keep trying, you'll get better."  I didn't. 

I once heard that the definition of insanity was repeating the same action but expecting different results.  Well, it's official.  I'd gone banana-nuts-crazy.

But after, like, an hour of unpicking all 12 of these very badly stitched designs (seems my helper has lost interest in the job for the moment - I think I burnt her out), possibly a few bad words and an imaginary blog post in which I shamefully admit defeat, a light bulb came on.  I thought of trying a new tactic - s.l.o.w.i.n.g d.o.w.n.

And suddenly ... voila!

Still not as good as I'd like, but waaaaay better than when I started. 

But here's the thing ...

You know that saying "Can't see the forest for the trees"?  In this case, I think it means that if you look too closely at the details, the occasional imperfections that exist on a tiny scale can ruin your ability to appreciate a perfectly decent quilt.

This happens to me a lot - when I'm making something, I notice every.little.mistake.  But more often than not when it's all bound, washed and in situ, the little "blemishes" disappear into the overall loveliness of what I made with pretty fabrics and a pretty design and then, well ... just never mind the trees, I love the forest!

Here's a look at all three FMQ designs together in the quilt.

So if it's not too arrogant, I think I'll give myself a C+ or B- for execution ... ok, maybe a B ;) ... but a big fat A for effort! 

I can pretty much guarantee that I TOTALLY would have given up on FMQing by now if it wasn't for Project Simplify.  Thank you Camille for graciously giving me permission to blog my way through your book.  I know it was a big leap of faith on your part to let me - a virtual stranger with a fledging blog - use your book this way. 

And thanks to all you quiet and vocal visitors for hanging out here with me.   Your advise, encouragement & support mean so much to me.

I'm feeling much better now. :)


Laugh Lines

"Mummy, is there such a thing as extra-medium?"

I love her. 


Project Simplify - Day 23

Sometimes I can think outside the box and come up with good ideas on my own.  But for now, I still need a crutch for deciding on a FMQing design.  So why not copy (again) what is shown in the book?

Camille's used three different FMQ designs on this cute little quilt:  stippling, that loop-dee-loop from "Little Man" and a sort of scalloped flower thing.  At first glance, I thought that was a bit ambitious for me to attempt, but it is a small quilt and if I want to improve my skills, I might as well go for it.  (You know, broadening ones horizons and all ...)

Here's my practice run.  Not bad, eh? 

The results:  not perfect - still a little jerky here and there.

And a little accidental loop ...

Is it just me, or is it easier to get out of a tight spot with swirly twirly?  Stippling just seems a bit less forgiving.

And then there's my old nemesis - tension.  Hmmph.

One of these days I'll remember that if you practice your FMQ stitching with fabric/batting/thread that's not exactly the same as your quilt, you must double check your tension when you start sewing on the actual quilt!  At least this stuff was easy to pull out.  I gave the fun to you-know-who ... little Miss Loves-A-Ripper.

I'll show you the embarrassing part next time.  That's right, dear friends, I'm not through humiliating myself for your entertainment!


Project Simplify - Day 22

Whoever invented these bent basting pins should be awarded the Nobel Prize for Quilting. 


I held out for a loooong time thinking my regular safety pins still worked so why should I buy new ones?  Yeah, smack me upside the head!  Best $5 I ever spent. 


Project Simplify - Day 21

Chapter Four is a sweet little table topper called Coming Home.

At Quilt Market in Houston last fall I met Robyn Pandolph and got a charm pack of her new line "Scarborough Fair". 

I love it. 

I also bought the FQ bundle. 

I know, you're shocked ... ;)

Except for a few squares that I used in Last Chapter's quilt I haven't made anything with this fabric yet and I'm excited that I finally get to play with it.

Since the taupe/cream background fabric I'd planned for the last quilt didn't turn out, I'm going to give it another try for this quilt. 

And FOR SURE this time I'm going to use pink for the border.

Promise! :)


Love Thy Neighbor

Especially if he's a carpenter and you bought a 1952 bungalow (14 years ago) with a "fireplace" that looks like this:

(Sheeesh, I still get the heebie jeebies just lookin' at this photo!)  Yes, that's a bizarrely located electrical outlet.  I know ... I don't get it either. 

I could not paint that thing white fast enough, which was a MAJOR improvement, but still ...

A few months after we moved in, I found a salvaged fireplace insert (dated 1951).  I was so excited thinking I'd solved our living room eyesore.  And it was almost perfect, but in our attempt to make it fit we (meaning not me) removed a few tiles and chiseled away some of the concrete.  

And this is as far as we (again, not me) got.  It’s looked like this for about ... well, 14 years.  Ugh.

There's just no disguising those unsightly air vents.  The duct work was moved a while back (that's right, not by me ... see, I'm the IDEAS girl, NOT the muscle ...) and the vents relocated to the floor, so these grills are now purely, uh, "decorative" for lack of a better word.

I can never not notice this ... this thing.  Let’s face it, it's just ridiculous.  And I'm always embarrassed by it when people come over.  I mean, it IS the focal point of the room, but for all the wrong reasons.

So recently I was chatting with my neighbor (the carpenter).  Long story short, I drew him this ...

And he turned it into this ...

(cue the angels)


I KNOW!!! 

Like I said, I'm the IDEAS girl.   I've been fantasizing about this moment for soooooooo loooooooooong.  It's so beautiful I could weep.  Wait'll Santa sees the stockings hung here.  Thank you neighbor!

Now, can anyone out there tell me how to dress this mantle?  I'm not good at that sort of thing.  All I know is that now the mirror's way to small and I have a whopping 17" deep shelf! 

I'm trying to figure out how to have an afternoon nap up there. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!


Project Simplify - Day 20

Woohoo!  Look who's getting all fancy with her swirly twirly FMQing by throwing in the occasional heart ...


This was fun (after I got over the trauma of my really lousy daisies and breaking thread and all).

When I was putting the binding on I did that silly thing of twisting the two joining ends ...

I love this gently scalloped edge.  It's so much easier than severe scallops with all the inside corners to manouver.

The jury is still out as to whether the variegated thread was a good idea or not.  What do you think?

Do you ever play that game with yourself where you try to pick your favorite block in a quilt you made?  I thought it would be fun to ask my helper which was her favorite .  She had a hard time deciding, but she chose this one ...

and this one ...

and this one ...

and this one ...

and this one ... :)

Mine is this one ...  In fact, it was the inspiration for the name my helper gave this quilt.

She was telling me how she didn't like this one block because it was the only one with a dress on it.  All the others had flowers.  I told her I liked that one little block because it was daring to be different from the rest and that it looked like it was going to a party.  Then my helper said, "Hey!  I'm going to call this quilt Garden Party!" 

Love it.  Hope you do too. :)

I'm regretting a little bit that I went with the yellow border instead of the pink (I already got an "I told you so, Mom!").  I think it turned out a bit too quiet.  Oh well.  It still looks nice.

Now, I usually try to use up leftovers for the back, but since the fabrics came from my scrap bin, I luckily found some older Robyn Pandolph yardage that did the trick.

Stash Redux:

  • Yardage - 4.4 yds / 4.1 m
  • Weight - 1.2 lbs / 0.5 kg

For a grand total of:

  • Yardage - 35.9 yds / 32.8 m
  • Weight - 12.6 lbs / 6.9 kg

Feeling good!


Project Simplify - Day 19

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging. :)


Remember this sweet, innocent-looking spool of lilac variegated RAYON thread?

Yeah.  It's evil.  But I'll get back to that in a minute.

I decided that after my poor "daisy flower" FMQ results I should stick to what I know for now - which is the "swirly twirly".  Fine.

But things were not going well.  I'd only done about 5 minutes worth of stitching and the thread broke, like, at least 20 times!  I rethreaded, checked the tension, everything I could think of to fix the problem.  I was having a serious hate-on for the thread.  But when I started testing out different thread I discovered that the lilac rayon was only half the problem.  The other half?  Well, turns out you really do need A DARNING FOOT on your machine to do FMQing.  The open-toed applique foot won't work.  (Oops!)

When I finally clued in to THAT little oversight, my darning foot decided to punish me for ignoring it by falling off and breaking (another) needle.

Sigh.  So by this time there were so many stops & starts in my top-stitching I figured I should prob'ly take it all out.  I hate unpicking almost as much as I hate practicing.

But ...

Guess who discovered that the little helper girl L.O.V.E.S using a stitch ripper?  (This photo was her idea.)

She was all over that job!  Especially after I showed her how to cut every third or fourth thread and then after a few minutes do that oh-so-satisfying long thread pull.  :)  drrrdrrrdrrrdrrrdrrr!

I sent her off to her Grandmas with the quilt and the ripper and she happily undid my mess.

Then I showed her my secret weapon for removing all those annoying little bits of thread ... masking tape.

If you've ever had body hair waxed ... you get the picture ;)

I love this girl.  Who knew 24 hours of labour followed by a C-section would pay off this way?


Salt Lake City Market, Part 2

Yesterday was mostly about the people I met at Quilt Market (and the fabric ... but only because I knew a lot of you were interested to see what I found ... )

Today is about the eye candy.

Quilt Market is definitely a feast for the eyes.  It can be a little overwhelming because there's so much to see.  And there's no shortage of creativity and imagination that goes into some of the booths.  Here are a few of my favorites ...

Don't Look Now ... wow.  The English language doesn't have a word yet to describe how crazy talented Kellie is.

The Quilted Fish

Crabapple Hill - I've been a fan of Meg Hawkey for a long time.  In addition to several of her little doily/flower patterns that are now discontinued, I've made Heirloom Romance and Berry Picking Party.

Fig Tree - Every.single.time I walked by Joanna's booth she was either being swarmed or she wasn't there.  But we did have a little chit chat with her husband.  What a nice guy!

Sweetwater - we loved that sort of dusty retro feel.

Tula Pink - "Lisa in Texas", I passed on your message.  This picture is for you ;)

Charmpgraphy - I bought a few little charms for my wallet & purse here.  What a sweet mother/daughter team. 

Sandi Henderson - we caught her and her husband playing a quick game of checkers when no one was around.  How cute is that?!

At Quilt Market, there's a "best booth" contest.  Sandi won for one of the categories.

Thimble Blossoms, of course.  And that cutest ever signature red polka dotted chair!

Riley Blake - Ok.  What?  Who comes up with this idea?  I want to live in their head for a little while.

I mean, seriously.  How fun is this?

Now I owe this lovely girl an apology.  Bigtime. 

Let be begin by saying I was born with a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease.  Really.  I have a gift for saying the wrong thing all.the.time.  I'm famous for it.  I never intend to be insulting or disrespectful or rude.  I always think that what I'm saying is nice, polite or funny. 

So, it was the end of Day 1 and I was on sensory overload.  While we were walking by CYNDI WALKER of STITCH STUDIOS' booth, I noticed a quilt and the fabrics looked sort of similar to the Fig Tree bundle I'd bought at Sample Spree the night before.  So I politely asked if those were Fig Tree fabrics in the quilt.  She very sweetly informed me that they were, in fact, her own design called Daydream available through Riley Blake.

I could not have felt more foolish.  I swear I could taste my feet way, way, WAY in the back of my throat!  She was so gracious about it all too.  What a gem.  "Thank you, Cyndi if you ever read this, for forgiving my careless tongue!"

And can I just now apologize in advance to anyone and everyone I will surely offend with something I say in the near and distant future?  Really.  I'm a very sorry person. 

More Riley Blake.  I heart hexagons!

Now, I don't know if I'm allowed to have a favorite, but if I am, this is surely it.  Sarah Jane.

She has awesome pictures of her booth on her blog.  You really need to go look at them.

She'd be annoying if she weren't so lovely :)  Talented ... nice ... pretty ... talented ...   Oh yeah, and her husband cooks too!

And now, my house is wanting some attention and we have a violin recital happening this evening.  Guess my sewing machine is going to have to wait until tomorrow for some much needed exercise. ;)


Whew, I'm Back!

Oh hello everyone!  Gosh, I didn't realize how much I missed you until I got home and turned on my computer.  ;)

And to all of you lovelies who wished me a great trip ... thanks.  I really had the best time ever.  Having my BFF with me made all the difference.  It's one thing to go to Market because you love quilting.  But having your bestie to share the experience is icing on the cake.  I know I'm a very lucky girl.

Ok, I'm gonna try to share all the best highights of my trip.  If you've never been to Quilt Market, here's a fraction of it ...

The first cool thing happened in the Salt Lake City airport and has absolutely nothing to do with quilting.  You know those moving sidewalks?  I love walking on them.  See, I don't run.  Ever.  If I can help it.  But if I can achieve the sensation of moving quickly without breaking a sweat, I will. 

So while walking on the moving sidewalk, we came upon a small group of people who were nicely standing off to the side to allow for passing.  Then I noticed one of them was Gary Busey.  That's right.  From the tv show "Celebrity Apprentice" with Donald Trump (most recently). 

Now, I was momentarily star-struck because I'd just a few days earlier watched him on an episode of Ellen.  But I thought, you know, he puts his pants on one leg at a time (presumably) just like the rest of us so as I passed him I gently touched him on the arm and said, "I thought you were very funny on Ellen the other day."  He replied, "Thanks!  I've been on twice!" 

I'm glad I had the nerve to say something to him instead of just walking by.

We got to SLC in time to grab dinner and head over to Sample Spree.  Craziness.  In anticipation of a heavy purchasing load I opted not to take my camera with me.  But here's the damage ...

Ruby by Bonnie & Camille

Etchings by 3 Sisters

Butterscotch & Roses by Fig Tree

Christmas Candy by Doodlebug Designs (love the coordinating ribbon!)

I've been coveting this fabric since I saw the drawings of it last Fall in Houston.   I mean, COME ON!  How cute is this print? 

It totally reminds me of an old Susan Branch print I've had for ... like ... ever!

The newest installment of Flower Sugar by Lecien

And Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill has this lovely new collection for Lecien called Whitewash.  Oh yum!  I can hardly wait to start stitching on the linen blend!

Check out this print.  I'd make a dress out of it and wear it ... if I were brave.

Now let me share with you some of the lovely & talented women I was lucky enough to connect with at Market.  There are so, so many more.  These are just the ones I got pictures of: 

The incomparable Amy Butler.  Wow.  She is soooooo nice.  And pretty.  And talented.  (And tall!)

The adorable Camille Roskelley

Of course, I don't have to mention how big a fan of hers I am :)   I gave her a hug, we posed, she signed my book (yes I took it with me!)

and we chatted for a quick minute.   I wish we'd had time to talk quilting and stuff all day, but man that girl is busy!  I tell ya, vendors at Quilt Market are a hearty breed.

She also gave me some bits of her new fabric line "Ruby" to make a little something special.  Hopefully you'll see that later on this week.  Sorry, don't mean to tease you ... ok, yes I do ;)

The incredibly talented Verna Mosquera

This was a slightly surreal moment for me.  I've been a huge fan of her designs since I made Vintage Valentine in 2006.  I also made Happy Hauntings about 4 years ago.  After recently reading a profile on her in Homespun Magazine, I really wanted to meet her.   You know how when you meet someone you've admired for a while, you just never know what they're going to be like in real life.  Let me tell you, Verna is just as lovely as she is talented.

I started my conversation with her by jokingly saying how much I hated making all those little tiny bones for the skeleton in Happy Hauntings (seriously, go check out the picture ... at least 80 in the hands & feet alone, many smaller than a quarter!), but that it was like the pain of childbirth - once it's over and you see what you've made, the memory of the pain fades away and the gorgeous quilt is something I'm very proud to have made.  Her new designs do not disappoint.

BTW, sorry about all the pictures of me ... my girlfriend - who's conspicuously absent from any picture - was the one with the camera and kept making me be in the shot.

The Happy Zombie herself, Monica

Now she's a true treasure.  One of my favorite moments at Market was meeting her.  I love her blog.  She's so funny.  And just the.nicest.lady.EVER!  At the same time, my biggest disappointment at Sample Spree was missing out on her new line Happy Mochi Yum Yum.  It was sold out by the time I got there.

One of my very first blogging buddies, Thimbleanna

I didn't quite catch why we're behind a pillow.  Something about Wilson.  She said it was an inside Quilt Market joke ... !

When I posted about making Camille's Quilt Sugar Rush with Flower Sugar fabric for Project Simplify, I mentioned that I'd purchased some of the fabric from this beautiful shop.  I was so happy to see Sandy again and to meet her sister Holly. 

These sisters are just so cute.

The very first online fabric store I shopped at was  I can always count on finding fabric I love at Jennifer's shop.  She is just delightful.  And by the way, her online shop has excellent customer service. 

We had a good laugh about our reverse color-matching outfits!

And here is a real sweetie, Bari J.  She is such an easy person to talk to.  A real, genuine girl. 

I started reading her blog over a year ago and met her at both Markets last year.  I always enjoy chatting with her.  And you should see her new line with Lecien called Paris Apartment.

And then there was the Queen of Shabby Chic herself, Rachel Ashwell

I KNOW!!!! 

I think the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look on my face says it all ... "Is this really happening?  Please don't make a complete fool of yourself.  Maybe if I don't move I can stop time and just stand in the presence of Rachel forever!"  Good thing I practiced with Gary Busey!  haha!

I have her sheets, some fabric, I watched her show on tv when it was on ...  I can't even imagine a world without her signature style.  She was introducing a new line of fabric for quilting (and I have confirmed that has ordered the entire line - I can't beLIEVE I forgot to take a picture of it all!) and signing her new book! 

Yes, I got a copy.  And she was so sweet taking time to chat with every single person who came to see her.  I still have to pinch myself.

Tomorrow, I'll share the pictures I remembered to take of some of my favorite booths.


I'm Off!

What can I say.  I'm gonna miss my family. (A lovely little note from my sweet dyslexic girl.) 

I'm not equipped to post from the road, but you can always check out PamKittyMorning's Reports! 

Oh, and for those of you following along with Project Simplfy - remember Rule #1?  I'm going with the assumption that there isn't a jury of my peers (quilters) on this planet that would convict me for breaking that rule ... at a Quilt Market ... right? ;)

Have a great weekend!


Project Simplify - Day 18

I changed my mind (again) and picked a different background fabric.  Both my helper and I agreed that the small taupe print was too "busy" with all the scrappy piecing action going on.  But I just so happened ... ;) ... to have a tonal from the same fabric line (Simplicity by 3 Sisters) and it works much better.

For a border I was going back & forth between these two delicate checkered Susan Branch prints.  I thought I'd like the pink better, but again the piecing in the middle is just so ... noisy ... that I chose the yellow (much to my helper's disappointment - she's a pink girl like her mama).

So I've been back practicing FMQing.  I was so happy with the results of "Little Lady" (I'm inserting this picture now as a defense for the next picture) ...

... that I thought I'd be a little adventurous.  If you look closely at the picture of this quilt in the book you'll see that Camille incorporated the sweetest daisy-like flowers with her "swirly-twirly" top-stitching.  Here's how mine are turning out.  (In a word - laughable.)

I admit that I'm biting off a bit more than I can chew right now.  I need to match my execution with my skill level - not my lofty ambition - and clearly I ain't there ... yet.

In keeping with the premise of this project - simplifying my stash - it occurred to me that I should be including thread.  I bought this lilac variagated thread ... oh, maybe 5 years ago ... and have never used it.  I think it might look really pretty for the top-stitching. 

I admit it's a bit risky, but what the heck, I'm feeling brave ...


Oh Yes I Di-id!

(Sorry, that's just me trying to be 'hood.)

Never mind.  From this ...

to this ...

to THIS!  Eeeeeeeeeep!!!

My head nearly exploded when the idea hit me.  This bag just HAD to be born!

I put flowers on both sides so it can never be worn "backwards". 

I love using a contrast fabric for binding on the inside - sort of a designer touch, don't you think?

And I am my mother's daughter so I had to use a practical, dark fabric for the bottom.

The only thing I forgot in my excitement was to make a pocket or two for the inside.  Yes, I could add them now by hand ... but I know I won't. 


To Market, To Market ...

... to buy a fat pig, home again home again jiggity jig.  To market, to market to buy a fat quarter, home again home again ... I'm a fabric hoarder!

Yes, I'm a very lucky girl who's going to Quilt Market this week with my best friend.  I decided last week to make each of us a pretty quilted tote bag and thought you might like to see them.

I love Japanese quilting books & magazines (don't mean to offend, but I call them - shh - quilter's porn!) and have long admired this delightful little design of revolving log cabins, alternating with solid squares, on point.

I practiced making a few of these itty bitty 1 1/2" finished blocks a long time ago (I included them in my banner photo up top) and have been patiently waiting for just the right project to come along.  They aren't difficult - necessarily - but they are quite fiddley because you need to sew a partial seam on a 1" square.  

The bag required only 63 log cabin squares but I ended up making ... almost triple that number.  Why?  Good question.

First, I started out with this grouping of fabric.  I was trying to imitate the book's use of black/white (with a little brown) but with a smokey gray, taupey brown palette.

and ended up with this (the first 42 blocks).

Too scrappy.  I don't like the weird geometric accidents happening from the dark rectangles.  If you look at this picture with squinted eyes you'll see what I mean.  Plus, it looks like a patchwork bruise to me.

But I was determined to get it right so I removed all the very darks & very lights and came up with this grouping.

Too dull.  The results were a little better, (another 35 blocks) but I wanted the piecing to ... sparkle.  I also figured out that some of the "too scrappy" was happening because I was picking my log cabin logs randomly. 

Third time's a charm?  I again removed all the remaining darks, put back all the lights and added a few more lighter lights.  I also planned out the log cabin blocks by using either a light middle square with equal valued dark logs or dark square with equal-valued light logs.

You know how when you plan to make something and you have an idea of what you think it will look like but somehow your imagination never quite manages to see exactly how it will turn out until it's done?  And sometimes you're happy with the results and sometimes ... not so much?  Well, I literally got butterflies in my tummy when this came together (another 35 blocks). 

(And there's no pink in it!?!  Quick, check to see if the sky is falling!) Right now I'm wishing I'd made just a few of the little log cabin centers with the softest blush pink.  That would have been really pretty.

Oh, and then when I was making the outside pocket, I must have been totally distracted because I accidentally made it one row too short - yet another 24 PLUS 28 blocks for a grand total of 164 - and of course didn't notice until I'd already top-stitched it ...

I have to admit that I've absolutely no idea where I got the inspiration for this top-stitching design - it came out of no where.  Up to the very last minute I was just going to ... you guessed it ... cross-hatch (which I still did on the piece behind the pocket).  Maybe I was influenced by all the Cathedral Window quilt stuff I've been seeing around lately.  And I do love the classic Double Wedding Ring, but I haven't made one in years.

Anyhow, it should be big enough to fit my camera, a bottle of water and all the paper one tends to collect at Market.

I'll show you the other bag tomorrow, but I'll tease you with this ...


My Mother's Day

Tissue paper art just never gets old.

I love portraits.

And apparently my freak out a few years ago made quite an impression! 

(Yes, I was literally jumping up and down.  Come on, that spider was HUGE!!!)

Thank you my dear little artists.  You make my life wonderful.

Happy Mother's Day!