Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Something Different

I think it's time I took a break from showing you the fruit and vege quilt and do something completely different.

I am making something from the following objects - a foam ring, strips of brown fabric, and two circles. Any ideas?!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pears done

Yep the pears are all done, and I think I want to reach out, grab one, and take a big sweet juicy bite!
They were so simple, just two pattern pieces - the pear and the stem, but I love them. I need to remind myself that sometimes simplicity talks louder than complexity. And not just in quilting!

Did all you US folk have a good Memorial day? Ours was pretty low key - it involved grocery shopping and our first BBQ/eating outside of the year. And it was hot. As in over 90 degrees hot. Blech. I'll look on the bright side - at least I'm not shoveling snow, right?!

I also Skyped with my parents in New Zealand.
This is my Dad, and how he appears in this photo is his exact personality in real life...
And my Mum at a beautiful beach in NZ with my middle boy back in 2004...
And also a photo of myself with them circa 1980? (YOU do the math!)
They had somehow lost Skype on their computer (they're 77 now and lose things easily hehe!) and so we hadn't talked for over a month. I got an email from my Dad last night saying they needed my phone number and to Skype as it was urgent. Scared me to death wondering what was wrong! Turns out they just missed me and wanted to make sure everything was OK! Gotta love parents :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seen-It Sunday

Sundays are crazy busy for me. Some days I am at various church meetings from 9am 'till 2pm, and when I get home I just want to do a whole lot of nothing. So much for being a day of rest! But it's invigorating and highly rewarding so being busy in this case is definitely a good thing :) As a result of my crazy Sunday schedule, I've decided to start a new thing, "Seen-It Sundays" where instead of entertaining you, I let other bloggers entertain you, by linking you to things that have piqued my interest during the week.

This week three things come to mind.

Firstly, if you hadn't heard, Quilt Market was held in Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago, and there have been many reports about it from quilt bloggers. One that I really enjoyed was by Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio. What I enjoy about her report is that she lists the quilting trends she noticed. Go read it and find out what is trending in quilting now!

Secondly, Chavah Kinloch of Creating My Reality made a fantastic light shade for her daughter's room. She used fabric to wrap around a wire frame to create something totally unique. And best of all it cost her a maximum of $1!
As quilters, we have a lot of fabric lying around. This would be a great thing to do to use up older fabrics that we perhaps aren't as enchanted with anymore!

And thirdly, my dear friend Brenda of Pumpkin Patch Primitives wrote a wonderful post about her frustration with the attitudes shown towards her teenage son who has autism.
I think it's a fascinating must-read for everyone, and even if we think we're doing the right things, we still can learn and be educated.

Back tomorrow with pear progress!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Block 6

I'm on a roll folks! Block number 6 is...
Pears! I have a *thing* about pears - a good thing - I love them and have a small collection. If my house were bigger, so would be my pear collection! It was a no-brainer that there would be pears in this quilt. I haven't appliqued them down yet, but will start that as soon as this post is done.

I couldn't decide whether to do green, yellow, or red pears, so thought why not do one of each? They are all delicious in their own way.

So there are 6 blocks down, and just two more to go. They're still in my head, and hopefully they'll go down on paper the way they are in my head!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Block number 5

My husband actually guessed the subject matter of this next block correctly the first time...
Carrots! The above photos are of the block before and after being needleturned.

This was a wonderfully simple block with only 2 pattern pieces. However, the curves in the carrot leaves give you a little bit of a challenge - enough to make it fun, but not too hard. I have another simple block all ready to applique, but I'll save that for tomorrow.

I actually sat down and figured out how all these will go together and worked out the measurements last night. Unfortunately I am going to have to do the bowl of lemons block again as the background is too small. Lucky I like applique so much!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I thought I'd give you a break from the strawberries (which have undergone another change!) and show you what I did in my garden today.

I have sadly neglected my garden and yard since we bought this house 4 years ago, but this is the Summer of the garden! We aren't going away this Summer, we have having a stay-cation instead, with family traveling to visit us. Since we will be home a lot, I really want to enjoy the outside, and so beautifying it is high on my priority list.

Remember back HERE when I dug out a strip of sod next to our pathway? Today I finally planted and mulched the strip.
The hardest part was the prep - when I started digging to loosen the soil, I kept hitting rocks. However, only some of what I was hitting was rocks - most of it was big fat ugly pieces of asphalt buried several inches under the dirt. Talk about frustrating!

I did eventually get it all out, and kept the rocks to use as a border.
My boy, Joaquin, who is 6, laid the rocks out all by himself - I think he did great! He also planted some plants while I was talking with my neighbor. He had noticed the pattern I was using, Day Lilly, Marigold, Lambs Ear, and copied exactly what I had done. Can you tell this kid is learning about patterns in Kindergarten or what?!

I also snuck out to Home Depot and picked up 3 hydrangeas which are my favorite plant. How many rocks do you think I'll find digging the holes for these?!
After school I hung out with our cat Mittens...
who follows me everywhere I go outside, and watched my hubby playing 4 square with the kids.
He works full time and goes to school full time, so these moments are rare and precious right now.

As for quilting, tonight I cut out two more blocks for my Kitchen fruit & vege quilt, but I have to save something to show for another day, right?!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Block Number 4

Can you tell what it's going to be?
If you guessed a bowl of strawberries, then you would be correct! As you can see, I haven't arranged the pieces yet. This is just how it looked after ironing all the pieces. You can see on the right is a little jug of cream. After all, you MUST dip your strawberries in cream, right?!

However, I'm not sure I like the blue. I originally had a vision of a blue willow type of bowl, but didn't think it would fit the feeling of the quilt, so I cut out the green bowl first from Heather Bailey fabric.
Then I thought I'd just see how the blue looked. I like it in person, but seeing it in the photos it seems a bit busy. Which do you think works better? Blue, or green, or something else, and if something else, what do you suggest? Perhaps something bolder and simpler? I think I'll play around with it a bit more in the morning and see what happens!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rhubarb Done

I spent a couple of hours this morning appliqueing the rhubarb down. I have done so many round shapes lately (think oranges and lemons!) that the irregular shapes of the rhubarb applique were a real treat for me to do.
See how different it looks with the edges turned under? I tweaked it a little bit, moving the pieces around and choosing a different fabric for the lighter ends. I especially like the skinny veins...
I asked my hubby what he thought it was before I appliqued it down and he immediately said, "Trees". I had to agree with him! Once it was all done however, he did say it looked more like rhubarb. Gotta love a man who tells you what he knows you want to hear!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And block number 3 is....

...Rhubarb! This is only the cut out fabric so far, nothing has been stitched down yet, but you will see where I'm going with this...
It will look completely different when appliqued down. Those thick veins will be skinny little things and the whole block will transform!

Why rhubarb? Because it reminds me of my mother. She always had rhubarb growing in her garden and one of my Dad's favorite desserts was stewed rhubarb and ice-cream. When I was young and newly married I thought I would cook up some rhubarb just like my Mum, so I cut it up, put it in the pot with some sugar and water and turned on the heat. Only problem was I thought I'd be clever (big mistake!) and cook it in a pressure cooker! Of course I had no idea how the pressure cooker worked, and next thing I know I had hot sticky rhubarb shooting out the top like a fountain and onto the kitchen ceiling! Now that was a mess to clean up!

Now that I've told you an embarrassing cooking story it's your turn!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amy Butler Quilt DONE

Remember last week HERE where my friend Michelle was quilting a queen sized Amy Butler fabric quilt for her daughter's room? Today she sent me a photo of the finished quilt on her daughter's bed...
Isn't it beautiful? I am LOVING the green wall! Michelle has been sick the last few days (gosh, wonder where I got it from?!! Love you Michelle!!) so if she's been stuck at home like me, I am guessing she had plenty of time to sew that binding down. Not a small job on a queen size quilt.

I look forward to seeing what she makes next. She definitely has the quilting gene.

As for me, still sick, still in bed, but at least I got dressed today. I'm so mad - after a week of rain, today is glorious and I have so much gardening to catch up on. Monday, no matter what!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cough Cough Sneeze Sneeze

No quilting has been going on in these parts today as I am even sicker than I was yesterday. Instead, lots of this has been going on...
Sleep, sleep, and more sleep. My hubby even took the kids out for a few hours after school so I could have a nice quiet house to sleep in. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and be back to business as usual!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thrifty Thusday

This will be a short post tonight as I have a horrible head cold and all I want to do is crawl into bed, see who gets kicked off American Idol, and have an early night. Yes it's all about priorities! Anyway....

I found this old wooden iron at a garage sale recently...

I couldn't resist - I love buying sewing related decor items, and it was only $1. I brought it home and upon closer inspection I saw the following stamped on the the 'sole plate' of the iron...

Now is it just me or does that say something about being made by an inmate in a state prison?! The mind boggles! Certainly makes it a more interesting piece of sewing decor don't you think?!

In other news, since I've been sick in bed for the last 24 hours, I've had time to play around with some design programs I have and made a new header for my blog! I know most of you are reading this through a blog reader, so just take a second to click HERE and go see my blog in person and see the new and improved header. SO much better I think. After 3 years it was definitely time for an update!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lemons Done + Fabric

Today there were two finishes in my house - my friend Michelle who started quilting her quilt yesterday, finished the quilting. I can't believe how fast she did it - I tell you, Jukis are awesome machines! The second finish was my lemon block...

I went back to Joann's Fabrics today to get some more of the Denise Schmidt fabric for the background. Sadly our Joann's only has a few bolts of the collection, perhaps 8 in total. The plaid print from the collection made its way home with me too.

My idea is to perhaps use it as a sashing or border for the fruit and vege quilt, but we shall see. I just like to keep my options open! I'm quite disappointed that the plaid print isn't printed on the straight of grain of the fabric. When you are paying $10/yard for quality fabric, it would be nice if it was on the straight of grain! Some very creative maneuvering will need to be done when I cut into it.

Lastly, refrigerator art is alive and well in our house. Remember when I showed you the economics equation my hubby did on it the other night? It obviously put ideas in the kids' heads, because this is the latest on the fridge...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quilting Amy Butler

I had a friend, Michelle, over today to use my sewing machine for her first ever free motion machine quilting experience. She made the most beautiful quilt top for her little girl completely from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern fabrics.

Here's the kicker - it's queen size! I told her that if she wants to start by quilting a queen size quilt then anything else will be easy! So she practiced on some scraps first and then she was off!

She did a fantastic job and got almost half of it done. Not bad for her first time machine quilting! Even her stitches are looking good...

This is why I am in love with my Juki. It makes machine quilting a breeze, even for a first-timer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Today I continued working on my new kitchen quilt with another block design. The first block was a bowl of oranges, but how could I possibly have oranges but not lemons?! So a bowl of lemons it was.

I don't think I'd ever bought a lemon until I moved to the US. In New Zealand you either have a lemon tree in or backyard, or you know someone who does. In lemon season they are given away by the bagful as they are so plentiful! So I have a definite affinity for lemons. Next I need to applique it all down, then move on to another design, perhaps a nice leafy vegetable. Suggestions are welcomed!

And onto something completely different, a rhetoric question for you. What do you have on the front of your fridge? And what do you think we have on the front of ours? If you said photos...kids' drawings etc, you would be wrong. My hubby has an economics final this week so what else would be on our fridge but this...

What? You mean YOU don't have an economic equation on your fridge?! I had no idea what any of it meant so I added an equation I do understand at the bottom...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bridal Shower

If I didn't know how to quilt, I don't know what I'd ever get others for presents. People have such varying tastes and like such different things, that I fear I'd stand in a store, look around and talk myself out of everything I think of getting them, afraid that it just wasn't their taste.

Enter the framed quilted monogram!

At a time when money is tight, they are cheap to make. Yet they are something that you can't find in a store. I still have to take a guess with the fabrics I use, but I hope the personally made gift outweighs the perhaps unliked fabric choice!

Last night I went to a bridal shower and stuck to my tried and true gift. The bride's last name will start with the letter 'D'.

I was told she liked blue, green, red and yellow. So I went with red. I later found out her favorite color is green, but hopefully it still works for her!

I chose that particular fabric because it has hearts amongst the leaves. Did you notice them?!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side
It's Quilt Festival time again, and this Spring it's being held in Salt Lake City, Utah. It's making me a little homesick, wishing I could be back in the place I called home for 7 years, and enjoying all the festival has to offer with my friend Brenda who is there as we speak! (Major envy going on, can't you tell?!)

But for those of us who can't be there, Amy from Amy's Creative Side is doing her regular Bloggers' Quilt Festival instead - a virtual quilt fest for those of us still at home!

This time around I'm going to share one of my most favorite recent quilts. After doing a lot of modern folk art floral type of quilts, I felt like a change of pace, so I created something with clean and simple lines.

I added some machine pieced veins to the leaves before needleturn appliqueing them down, then added more veining with the quilting.

I almost messed it all up - instead of making bias tape and appliqueing the green wiggly lines on to the red, I thought it would be fun to try piecing them instead! So piece I did, and wow talk about bad! The quilt top was of course quite a bit more wavy than I had hoped for, but with some careful snipping, steaming, and holding my tongue the right way, I managed to get it fairly flat, and then quilted the heck out of it with some intense echo quilting. Who knew the saying, "Don't worry - it'll quilt out" is really true?!

It is now hanging in the entry of our living room where it matches our red leather couches and celery green walls.

Enjoy the Bloggers' Quilt Festival and visit as many of the participants as you can!


As I'm sure many of you know, Blogger has been down for maintenance for the last 24 hours. This put a little dent in my goal to blog every day this year. I came on last night to do my daily post and was shattered!! So what's a girl to do but do a post anyway, but on Facebook! So I'll just cut and paste that post for you right now, and be back later with today's post...

Thursday May 12th, 2011

My house smells like Spring. And to me, the smell of Spring is lilacs. We have 2 lilac trees in our yard and this was the week they bloomed. I cut a bunch of them today along with some Forsythia and some other random branches of blossoms, put them in a vase in the kitchen and now my whole house smells like lilacs. One of my favorite smells on earth. Heavenly.

I also finished up the applique on my bowl of oranges I wrote about yesterday. I am very motivated to design this fruit and vege quilt for my kitchen! Below are the pics of the block before and then after being needleturned, just so you can see the difference.


And after...