Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not Your Typical Autumn Leaves

Once again I have been lazy at posting. I have been running around like a headless chook with all the bus 'stuff'. It all came to a head yesterday when I realised that my family life is suffering and I did something I didn't think I would do - I quit! It was a very hard decision, and I was teary all day trying to decide, but I feel really good about it, and today was a very good day!
My written licence is still good for 6 months, so the option is still there to continue if I wish. But for now I am just going to enjoy the time with my family and make quilts! Yay!!!

So today I have dug up some old photos to show you. These are blocks made for a row by row quilt I did about 5 years ago with an Australian and NZ based internet group. These blocks have been around the world and back! I made the ones in the first photo - I used a pattern my Mother-in-law, Carmen, had drawn, using a real leaf from the park next to where her quilt group meets! My instructions to the group were to make them in unusual colors, "different" combinations, and to use fabrics they didn't think would go together! The title and theme for my rows was to be "Not Your Typical Autumn Leaves". I think the ladies did a great job and I love what I received. I am now thinking, (5 years later) especially with fall here, that it might be time to do something with them all.

And now my question to you all is, what shall I do with them?!! What would YOU do? A quilt? A big one? Break them up and use my very fav ones in a wallhanging? Pillows? Any suggestions gladly welcomed!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Apple Picking

Firstly, I must apologize for not keeping up with my blog this week. I've been super busy with the school bus training and between learning how to parallel park a 26,000 pound vehicle that's also 38 feet long, (surprisingly A LOT easier than one would imagine!) and getting up at 5am, I've barely had enough time to pee let alone post on here!

So I haven't had a chance to do anything quilty this week, but yesterday we did find time to go apple picking! It's a huge tradition in this part of the country, and the apple picking signs are popping up all over the place right now. So here are a few photos of the fun time we had yesterday. The one above is my kids posing with the field of sunflowers - but what you can't hear is them screaming through clenched teeth about all the bees flying around them! But hey it was a great photo op, and nobody was stung!

This photo is my youngest, Joaquin, and I just hanging out under the apple trees... The kids trying to reach some apples!

And above was a beautiful sunflower complete with a bee - I just couldn't NOT take a photo of it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


So yesterday I was in the dentist's waiting room browsing through a magazine and I saw what must be the holy grail of brownies! Just a simple picture of a brownie with a Rocky Road topping. I thought, "I must do this..." so while getting groceries on the way home I added frosting, walnuts and marshmellows to the list and above is what we had as a treat simple that I had to wonder why I hadn't thought of it before? Another favorite brownie topping comes courtesy of my friend Anna....coconut pecan! So so sooooo good!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Teal Teal Teal! (and a little bit of DMV excitement too!)

Believe it or not, it is possible to be excited while in the DMV....

First off may I start by saying that today I sat 4 written driver's licences - yes that's right, 4! (There are a lot when you become a bus driver!) And I am so relieved to say that I passed them all! Tomorrow the fun starts as I get to put all the theory into practice on the real thing. Keep off the roads for the next couple of weeks if you're going to be in NH!!

Onto the topic at hand - the wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, exciting color of teal! I never used to like teal. Didn't think much about it all actually. Then my quilting friend Anna introduced me new ways of using it and right now I'd say it's in my top 3 favorites along with pink and orange!
Last week I drove by this house for sale and since I was the only one on the road I stopped and took a photo - if we hadn't have just bought a house, I'd be mighty tempted by this one, just for the color alone!
I want to show you one of my very favorite color combinations of all time - teal with purple. The first photo on my post today is a portion of a block I am testing for Anna - sorry I can't show you the whole thing, but you will get the gist of it anyway. I just love the play between the colors. Lots of needleturn applique on this quilt!
Then today I'm standing in line at the grocery 3 kids are tugging at me asking for candy and gum and chips and drinks....the usual....and I see something on the magazine stand that makes my eyes zoom in - you know, like on TV - and I forget the kids and the hustle and bustle of the supermarket, for I have seen....
...teal and Purple! Almost makes we want to go and buy this issue of Glamour magazine, just so I can have the cover for inspiration!

I am now thinking I need to make a teal quilt to go on our bed in our purple bedroom. Then I can have my fav color combo around me all night long!

So it makes me wonder - what are your favorite color combinations? Anything that makes you go aaaahhhh or oooooooo or just feel all tingly inside? I'd love to know what they are - as quilters we are always on the lookout for new combos and ideas :)

Friday, September 7, 2007


Today it's back to quilting!

I thought I'd show you a work in progress, a lonestar. This is the first quilt I've done which is hand-pieced. I usually sew by machine and hand needle-turn the applique, but never have I done actual hand piecing. I was scared - more like terrified! And part of it was being scared that it would be boring! But my friend Anna had done it before and encouraged me and talked me through it. She learnt from quilting superstar Jinny Beyer, so I went to the library, took out Jinny's book and I was off! And guess what I found out? That not only is it NOT boring, but I love it, and it is so fast. Yep you read that right. Hand piecing is fast! Jinny Beyer says she can hand piece faster than she can machine piece. I completely believe her now!

If you look at the closeup of the sections I've done so far (5 done, 3 to go!) you will see, with the exception of the black, that each section has different fabrics. The goal with this is to show how important the concept of value is. You can have totally different fabrics, even different colors, but if they are of the same VALUE, from a distance they will read as the same fabric! It's like magic how that works isn't it?!

Look at the closeup again. You can see that the fabrics are different. Now look at the distance shot. Doesn't it look like I've used the same fabrics for each section?? They can even be a teeny bit different in value - don't be too fussy - it just brings the quilt to life, gives it some interest!

Here are a couple of photos of the design process - to get great value placement I cut and pasted mini diamonds on a piece of paper. This way I could see how the values worked together and where I needed to change/move things around. And you can see I used a mirror to see how 2 sections would work and if the values would still do their jobs - they did, so I went ahead and cut out the 'real' pieces!

So there is my lesson to you for the day on the very important concept of value! Now go play, let go of pre-conceived ideas and have fun - do what YOU want to do with the colors you crave - it's your quilt to love!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I've been Tagged...

A few days ago, Karen from Cotton Spice Quilt Magazine tagged me so now I need to tell you 7 things about myself. So let me see....

1) This week I started training to be a school bus driver! I can take the kids with me on the bus and a little extra money is always nice, so I thought why not?! I am busy studying for the written tests - 4 of them - on Monday. So wish me luck!

2) I am the youngest of 5 children, and am the youngest by 11 years! (I was pregnant in this photo below- taken in NZ in 2004 - the last time we were all together) You can see in the big family photo above that we also have an awesome ethnic heritage in our family - just in the immediate family we have Caucasian, Maori, Chinese, and Mexican!

3) Twins seem to be everywhere in my immediate family - I have twin brothers, one of them has twins, and my sister has twins.
4) I hate's not done in NZ where I am originally from, and after 8 years in the US I am still trying to get used to it! I actually like the concept - it's just taking me time to adjust lol!

5) I hate cream but love butter!

6) I LOVE reality TV shows - my guilty pleasure this summer has been Big Brother!

7) I didn't get my full drivers licence until I was 30 and I'm 34 now. So you can see why number 1) above is a big deal! And also why, when I told my father on the phone the other day about it, he responded by saying, "YOU??!!!" It was quite a funny moment!

I sure am glad there were only 7 things - I was reaching a bit at the end there! But maybe now you know me a little better than you did before :)
I know I'm meant to tag 7 others, but I think for now I'm going to tag just one - my friend Anna, to get her to add to her blog - she is so full of life and experiences that she could actually count as 7 people and write 49 things about just her!!!
Back to our regularly scheduled quilt talk tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Portland, Maine

So over the long weekend my hubby said, "Let's go for a drive to Vermont". I said great, because we had never been to Vermont before. We get in the car and he says, "I've changed my mind - we're going to Portland, Maine". Once again, I said great, as we'd never been there either! So off we go, and after numerous toll booths (I think there were 4 or 5 each way) we arrive and it is just beautiful! We went for a walk to the lighthouse over huge bolders. My 2 year old scared me to death jumping from bolder to bolder with no fear. I'm talking about jumping over spaces at least a foot long which is huge when you're 2! All was well however and the kids even got to paddle in the harbour. We also saw the biggest boat we've seen in our lives. Couldn't help but wonder what type of cargo it was carrying and where it came from/where it was going to.
Then driving home in the dark we were trying to find somewhere to stop and eat. It's 8 at night, the kids are whining, they're hungry, we have no idea where we are or if anything will be open. Finally we see lights and stopped at the most delicious seafood restaurant which was also very child-friendly - always a plus! It was in Kennebunkport Maine, which apparently is home to the rich and famous (not us lol) and even the Bush family has a home there. We couldn't help but wonder who might have sat in our seats at the restaurant! Do these fish and chips not look delicious?? And the coleslaw was the best I've ever had. Mmmmm I'm getting hungry just looking at it all!
We will definitely visit Portland again, this time a little earlier and not on a public holiday when everything is closed! It looked like a nice arty type of town with a ton of things to see and do. I saw a ton of knitting/yarn shops. Didn't see any quilt shops, but I'm sure they're there somewhere!