Thursday, January 28, 2010


Just a little one.  Just because.

But first:

Thank you to Shasta, the High Road Quilter, for her Ten Best Posts Today Award.  Head on over and check out her other links.  I'm honored, Shasta.

Also, please note the new button in my sidebar.  I am now a proud member of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. Our fearless leader is Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson (you probably already follow her blog, and if not, you will), and she is working on a great meeting place for us so we can hold our first meeting. More about that later, but in the meantime you can check out the PMQG link.  I also have a button for The Modern Quilt Guild, and they are springing up all over.  Look for your city on the right sidebar of the site and click on the link!

I have been doing a little bit of sewing each night this week.  I am doing "something" for "someone" and can't say what or who just yet, but I'm having fun with my Jennifer Paganelli stash!

And now to that giveaway!  I have been an extremely frugal quilter lately -- trying to make do with fabrics in my stash, only buying fabrics on sale, etc.  And I haven't bought any new tools or gadgets for a long, loooooooong time.  So, to win a set of 4 fabulous Amy Butler Love fat quarters...

...tell me about your favorite quilting tool or gadget.  I'll start things off, but since I don't really have any of the latest tools/gadgets, here are some other things that "enhance" my sewing experience:

Riedel "O" stemless wine glasses (they don't tip over -- really).  Fine, thin crystal, providing that little bit of elegance that I thought I would miss without the stem.  Of course, this is for late afternoon and evening sewing.

For early Saturday morning quilting I recommend a latte served in Spode Blue Italian.

Now that you have your beverage of choice, put on your favorite music or pop in a DVD and light a Thymes Frasier Fir candle:

Frasier Fir Candle
 These wonders are definitely not just for Christmas!  Some pine or fir scented candles have a harshness to them, but these are pure bliss and put me in my happy place as fast as anything.  To me they do smell like Christmas, yes, but also like summer in the woods, camping, the yards of some of the homes I have lived in.  They smell like home to me.  If you have an extra $26 just burning a hole in your pocket, try one.  And if you don't like it, sent it to me!  I'm all out!

My last quilting tool/accessory is any quick and easy meal (made at home or from a restaurant) so that I can hurry up and get sewing!  Hmmmm.  That sounds like a post for another day.

Anyway, leave me a suggestion below, and maybe next time I will share a few actual quilting tools.  I'll draw a winner Monday night.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday contentment

Yesterday was Saturday.  It was an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day!  I had an out of town board meeting to attend (4 hours), plus a bit of a commute (3 hours round trip), but the meeting went well and I enjoyed the beautiful drive and listening to CDs from my daughter.  Given a choice, I would have chosen a different sort of Saturday, but I made the best of it, and despite being tired, I made a nice dinner for my family and then finished my January Dollies Online quilt top.

The pattern is called Hurry Home, and it was designed by Amy Lobsiger, aka Mrs. Schmenckman.
There are so many things to love about dolly and mini quilts.  Not only are they adorable, but they are quick to make and use up scraps of beloved fabrics too small for a larger project.  See my Amy Butler Gypsy Caravan scraps?  Still one of my favorite lines.

As you can tell by the picture, we are not having a repeat of yesterday's glorious weather.  My plan was to take a picture of  my dolly quilt top outside in the sun, but I looked outside to find a light but continuous drizzle.  And I found it oddly comforting.  Today is a stay-in-my-cozy-home-in-my-comfy-pajama-pants-and-do-whatever-I-want kind of day.  And a little gray drizzle is just the perfect stay-at-home kind of weather.  Throughout the area, there are probably plenty of people complaining about the weather.  Not me.

Earlier in the week I finished this block for a quilting bee:

Jessica is making a Coffee and Brown Sugar quilt and included the solid teal in the fabrics she sent, asking that it be used near the middle of whatever block we made (our choice).  This is Pinwheel #9, one of many free patterns available from Quilter's Cache.  This was just one of those blocks for me!  I think I made a mistake at virtually every step in the process.  You would have thought it was my first quilt block!  But it came out just fine in the end.  Phew!

As I leave you today, I just want to share that after 24+ years, my husband still leaves me scratching my head about so many things!  If I tell him something 100 times, he usually acts on the 101st time as if just hearing the information for the first time.   But occasionally I say something to him that gets melded into his brain immediately (if I could just figure out what and when!).  Well -- at the beach last weekend I casually mentioned that someday I would like to get a quilt stand.  On Monday he called a man he knows who owns an antique store.  The man emailed some pictures to Steve which he forwarded to me at work.  Two days later we were to meet outside the antique store at 5:00 p.m.  I got there a little early and they were already closing.  Steve got there about 5:10 (he had a meeting that went till 5:00 and another that was going to start at 5:30).  I told him they were closed, but Steve said he could still see them in the store.  So he called them on his cell phone and they opened for us. Not only that, but they discounted the price without us even asking!  And I went home with a new quilt stand in the back seat.

We got it so fast, I still haven't figured out where to put it!

These are two old quilts that are very special to me.  The double wedding ring was the quilt on my bed when I was growing up (and, no -- I did not grow up in the 30s!).  I loved that quilt so much and know every fabric by heart.  The rings were like roads for small dolls, paper dolls, and even cars.  Notice the red and green at the "intersections".  The lone star was given to us by our downstairs neighbor in the town house type apartment we lived in when we were first married.  She was a single woman much older than us, and she so appreciated any little chores we helped her with.  When she moved she gave us this old quilt that someone had given her years earlier for similar reasons. Talk about paying it forward.

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Monday, January 18, 2010

A wonderful (and productive) three-day weekend

Steve and I had a great time at the beach house!  Good food, wine, long walks on the beach together; and I got quite a bit of sewing accomplished.  I had planned to work on a block for a quilting bee, but an error made me set it aside to deal with later at home.  I had printed off a paper piecing pattern from Quilter's Cache and made a test block, which came out great.  Then I changed my mind and decided to do a different block.  And because the first block printed out in the accurate size, I guess I just assumed that the second block would.  But -- no, it didn't.  Lesson learned.  But I did finish the top for this baby quilt (made with Heather Bailey Fresh Cut):

I love coin quilts.  Simple but very pretty.  And for once I planned ahead and made the back and prepared the binding:

The binding will be the pink jelly bean fabric.

I also finished sewing the pieces of the value quilt top together.  I had pretty much abandoned it on my temporary design wall (flannel sheet) hanging in my daughter's room, then realized that I needed to get it out of there before she came home from college at Christmas.  So -- I pinned each HST unit in place.  Not a bad idea, but then I took the sheet down and folded it up.  It seemed like an okay idea at the time, but as I folded it, I knew that it was not my brightest.  Here is what my lovely, careful constructed HST units looked like when the sheet was unfolded:

What a mess!  If you ever have a big project and need help making it harder than it has to be, give me a call.
In order to sew this mess together I had to unpin and then press each one.  I was worried that they might have stretched out some and was ready to square them up, but they were in surprisingly good shape and I stopped obsessively measuring them.  This may have slowed down my sewing, but I was in the beach house with a whole room dedicated to my sewing and a stack of old DVDs to watch, so I just decided to enjoy the process.

And it's done -- well, almost.  I decided that I want to add one more row at the top and bottom.  That way the large blue squares will be completed and not cut off.  I know -- No matter where I stop, some part of the design will be cut off as it just continues on....  But I just feel like it needs to be done.  I have a gorgeous green Kaffe Fassett fabric for the backing: Paisley Jungle.

In other news, Dee of Dee's Doodles (and one of the sweetest quilters on the internet) honored me with this award:

The Lemonade Stand Award is given out for bloggers that show great attitude and gratitude.  These are the rules of accepting the award:

Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
Link the nominees within your post.
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

I can't believe how hard it was to only choose 10, although it helped that some people, like Dee and KT  (KT Quilts 4 Fun) and Penny (sewtakeahike), have already received an award.  Here are my nominees, chosen because of their great attitudes and generosity of spirit.  They have all answered my questions, offered resources, become online quilting friends, supported me in blogland, on Flickr, and even Facebook, and/or missed me when I neglected my blog.  They share their love of quilting with others and are always willing to lend a helping hand.

Alison -- Cardygirl
Allison Anderson --  Strandz
Amy Lobsiger -- Mrs. Schmenckman Quilts
Ayescha Baker -- Izzy Inspired
Cathy Underhill -- Cabbage Quilts
Janet Treen -- Quiltsalott
Jackie Kunkel -- Canton Village Quiltworks
Kathleen Levinson -- Magik Quilter
Sarah Fielke -- The Last Piece
Terri Wilhelm -- Terri's Notebook

Online quilters ROCK!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Friday, January 15, 2010

California Dreamin'

What perks up a quilter with the blues?  Fabric?  Winning a giveaway?  How about winning a fabric giveaway?  I was feeling a little overwhelmed by life about a month ago, when I was notified that I had won a giveaway from Uberstitch.  Although my entry was dangerously close to being eaten by an adorable little helper.  I have to admit, it really lifted my spirits.  Thank you so much, Kristina!  I quickly received these beautiful Janean Morrison fabrics, California Dreamin':

I have been planning on using it for a baby quilt as I have two baby/toddler quilts (for girls) to make before Spring, but I already figured out that one of the expectant mothers is decorating and purchasing items in very different colors -- much more muted and lots of neutrals.  So, I'll poke around and see if these would work for the other one.  Or perhaps you have another idea for me.   I'm open to suggestions!

Now, I am off to the beach for a nice three day weekend.  Not a California beach, but a nice stormy Oregon beach.  I have my sewing machine and projects all packed and hope to get something accomplished -- and maybe even blog-worthy -- by Sunday.

With wises, true and kind -- Joan

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 -- Here we go!

I joined two online quilting bees for 2010, and I finished my first two blocks for one of them, Nittany Block Party, tonight.  No fabric was sent out this month and there were no colors specified, but we were provided with picture examples of several blocks and the instructions to have the center piece of fabric feature people.  I really enjoyed making these blocks and using up fabric strips and pieces left over from the wonky log cabin quilt, the half hexagon quilt, and the value quilt (still in progress -- I know, I know).  To see more of the blocks for this month, check out the Nittany Block Party blog or flickr group:

My month for the this quilting bee is August and my month for the other quilting bee (more later) is June.  It's fun playing around with ideas for what I want and planning fabric and color choices.  I'll also be starting Dollies Online with Sarah and Amy within a few more days!  It's not to late to join me!

With wishes, true and kind -- Joan

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Two things checked off my list....

While I didn't get any sewing done over Christmas and New Years, I spent some time this weekend sewing a pieced binding on the wonky log cabin quilt.  I can't believe the weekend is over, but at least I have this to show for it:

The long arm quilting is by my friend, Karen Walker.  Karen finally started her own blog, chezstitches.  Karen is a wonderful person, and she does beautiful work!  Her quilt-filled home always inspires me!

I adore the back of the quilt!  My first pieced backing: a pink stripe down the center, with this gorgeous flower in the center of it:

Look how pretty with the new dining room chair upholstery:

My lovely and talented daughter recovered the dining room chairs in time for family guests on Christmas Day and in-laws visiting from California after Christmas.  Here is an example of an old chair seat with damage compliments of one sleek black cat and one fluffy white cat:

And a chair with the new green (excuse me, pistachio) fabric:

They are beautiful!  Molly deserves the credit for choosing the fabric (I just couldn't make up my mind) and for getting the job done.  But I was a pretty good assistant (meaning I knew when to hand needed tools and when to stay out of the way).  

Now that I have the wonky log cabin quilt and the dining room chairs finished, I feel ready for anything!  Stay tuned!

With wishes true and kind for many fabulous finishes in 2010 -- Joan