Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shannon's First Quilt!

I have to show you the fabulous quilt my friend Shannon finished today. Shannon is not a quilter, or at least she wasn't, but I'd say she is now! She wanted to make a quilt for her little boy and asked if I would help. Shannon is the kind of person that wants to do it herself and learn along the way, and wouldn't expect me to do it for her, and I love that kind of person, so of course I said yes!

Shannon knew exactly what she wanted and didn't even buy a pattern. She is a trained architect, so she got on her computer and drew up her own picture of how she wanted the quilt to look, then bought it to me and said, "This is what I want"! It was simple enough...except for all the applique. She wanted to applique all different modes of transportation onto the blocks - eg a train, firetruck, plane etc. Shannon's parents ride Harleys so of course there had to be a Hog like Grandma's in the quilt...Now remember, Shannon was an absolute beginner, but eager to learn, so I showed her how to needleturn. The next time I saw her, perhaps a week later, she had done about half the blocks already! She was amazing and took to the needleturn like a duck to water. And I only showed her how to do it once. She finished up her applique blocks and got the whole top put together, then it was time to quilt. Now what do you think a beginner quilter would do? Straight lines? In the ditch? Simple, simple, right? Oh no, not Shannon. I knew from her natural ability to applique that she would do great with free motion, so I set her up at my machine and showed her how to do free-motion words and squiggles, and well, you can see the results:) Isn't it amazing for a first quilt??? I think anything she tries next will be easy. She has already done the hard parts - hand applique and free-motion quilting!

Doesn't it look awesome on her son's bed?!And look, she even made a matching pillowcase that says, "Vroom"

The best part of these past few weeks though has been that Shannon has been at my house quite often - usually 3 hours once or twice a week for the last month or so, and we've had a great time talking, gossiping (oh no surely we wouldn't do that??!!) and just having fun. She has to start another project just so we can keep up with our weekly girl time:)

Shannon also has her own jewellery making business and makes gorgeous stuff. I am totally promoting her on my own here, (she didn't ask me to) because I honestly love her things. She made me a necklace and 2 pairs of earrings to thank me for helping her with her quilt, and they are just perfect for me! She also took some of the little purses I made for the craft fair back here, and embellished them and is selling them. It's just amazing how great she made them look. From this...She also has different ones over on her site.

Anyway, I am off tomorrow to visit my quilting friend Anna in Maryland, just out of DC, and I am beside myself with excitement! A whole week + of quilting and doing the whole touristy thing. I've never been there, so it's very exciting! The kids, hers and mine, are beside themselves!! If you don't all hear from me for a wee while then you'll know why;) I'm sure I'll return with some great stories and photos to share!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

To take part in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, held over at Park City Girl's blog, you need to post a photo of your favorite quilt. I have been thinking long and hard and just can't come up with a favorite! They are all my favorites for different reasons. Usually my very favorite is the one I'm working on at the moment.

So I decided to put up a favorite of my hubby's.
I made this house quilt for him when I was pregnant with our first baby and it was for his birthday. I knew I wanted to make him a quilt, but still being in the first year of marriage I didn't know exactly what he would and wouldn't like. I found the pattern in a quilt magazine and 'thought' he would like it but still wasn't sure. So what does a wife do to find such things out?? Why she leaves the magazine open to that page in the bathroom next to the toilet of course! Sooner or later the said husband will need to do his business, and when there's nothing else to read, of course he'll pick up the magazine, right?

Well you would not believe how perfectly this plan worked! It went EXACTLY according to plan. He came out one day showing me the magazine and raving about how much he liked that house quilt. So it was a done deal. Too easy.

It hangs in our bedroom right next to his computer. Going on 9 years later, he still loves it. Is it my favorite quilt? No. Is it my favorite quilt story? Oh yes!

Now hop on over to Park City Girl, and see the links to all the other fantabulous quilts!

Pink Chalk Studio

I was excited to recently win a giveaway over at Pink Chalk Studio. She was generous enough to actually have 12 winners, 1 Grand Prize winner for a book, and 11 kits of fabric. You can see that the chances of winning were rather good. My package arrived, (about 2 weeks ago now, I've just been slacking as usual!) and I am just delighted with it. I will have to do something special with this lovely little stack of goodies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birthday Time!

It was a busy week for us, with both Easter and my birthday happening! I had a nice relaxed birthday. My Mum had sent me a little package from New Zealand which I had been saving to open on my birthday. Do you have any idea how hard it was to see it there, and to be able to read the customs form on the front, which said, "fabric and confectionary", and to not open it the second it arrived??!!

My Mum did great - she sent me 3 fat quarters of New Zealand themed fabric. The two with the red flowers are the New Zealand Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa, and the third piece has traditional NZ Maori Koru designs on it. Now these are fat quarters that I just wouldn't be able to buy here in the States! I can't wait to do something special with all 3. Quilt fabric is very expensive in NZ, so I know that these 3 FQ's must have cost her a small fortune. She also stuffed in some NZ chocolate, 'Roses chocolates' which are a NZ icon. Great stuff, Mum! Thank you SO much! She did something similar last year if you want to have a look:)

It ended up being the only present I opened on my birthday. Don't feel too bad for me though...for my present, hubby bought the kids and I plane tickets to go and visit my dear internet friend, Anna, who lives in Maryland, right near Washington DC!
I am so excited! Anna and I have been internet friends for a few years now, making and designing quilt projects together, sending each other goodies and quilts in progress in the mail, and talking/texting on the phone. We are both beside ourselves with excitement that we are finally going to be friends in real life! We go in less than two weeks, so the countdown has begun. We plan to quilt and quilt some more while we are together, and make the most of the precious time. We do get just over a week together, but I have a feeling it still won't be enough. Our kids are also excited to play and make new friends. No doubt there will be many pictures taken to document our time together, so you will get to see them of course!

Now, my hubby also gave me another wonderful present, not jewelry like last year, but something worth so much more. He wrote the following on his blog, which of course, made me cry...get ready, it's a long one...and you might need a tissue, too!

36 Things I love about Joanna
April 8th, 2009
Joanna turns 36 today, well in America her birthday is tomorrow but since she was born across the dateline it’s today. She’s hoping her family gets to call so she can quote the Conchords and tell her mum it’s not her birthday. But since I haven’t forgotten here’s a list of one thing I love about her for each year she’s been alive:

1. Her accent. How can you beat it?

2. How kind she is to live so far from friends and family just to be with me.

3. How the kids fight over who gets to jump in bed with her in the morning. It’s annoying while it’s happening but nice to think about during the day.

4. How she does EVERYTHING around the house and does not complain a bit.

5. That she drives everywhere on my days off. Well as long as we’re not going to a city bigger than Nashua. Fortunately we rarely do.

6. When she’s driving she lets me pick the music. How can you beat that?

7. She lets me leave the light on to read at night. Even though she doesn’t sleep nearly as well.

8. Whenever I ask if I should buy something her answer is yes you should, you know if we can afford it or not.

9. She lets me watch whatever I want on TV. Some of this is because we now have a DVR but either way I get the remote whenever I want.

10. The kids are always writing her love notes and drawing pictures for her. This means she’s treating them as well when no one is looking.

11. She lets Sofia steal her perfume.

12. I love how Coleman says he’s going to marry her when he grows up.

13. I love her quilts. She made a very beautiful hand dyed house quilt that is on the wall right by my computer right now.

14. She lets me nap whenever I want.

15. She makes sure Sofia does her homework every night. If you knew Sofia right now you would know this is a time consuming job.

16. She loves the rain. Most people here complain about it because they’re so used to it but even though she’s grew up next to palm trees she still loves it.

17. Other people love her accent. I’ve met so many people that wouldn’t have a thing to say to me if it weren’t for her accent.

18. I love to hear her laugh.

19. I love when Joaquin begs her to read to him.

20. She’s so good with money. I had to force her to spend $300 on clothes last week for herself. I don’t even think she spent it all. Most wives would not be like that.

21. She doesn’t dismiss my half cracked plans without actually weighing the options.

22. She always forgives me.

23. She leaves me alone when I need time by myself, even when she really wants attention.

24. I love how the boys beg to have her tuck them in at night.

25. She didn’t mind marrying me in the county office.

26. She was so sure I’d get the job I was applying for that she got pregnant before we found out I got it.

27. She’s never complained about a present that I got her.

28. She loves her garden.

29. I get to sleep in every Saturday.

30. She absolutely cannot roll her Rs.

31. Right before we were married she gave me the best birthday I’ve had with only $5.

32. She’s a very competitive Uno player. It drives the kids crazy when she wins.

33. She fixes everything around the house.

34. She laughs at my constant jokes.

35. Whenever I go on a trip I miss her after a day or two. I’m even bored when I have free reign in Las Vegas.

36. She’s my best friend.

Now, do you see why that present is better than anything he could have bought me?! I think I'll keep him around for another year ;)

We had a great Easter, which I'll post about over on our Family blog.

I'm busy this week quilting a large quilt my above-friend Anna designed, so it will be ready to take on my trip to her place. There are 12 blocks and it's taking me about 90 minutes to quilt each block on the machine. Phew - my arms are sore just thinking about it. 3 blocks down, 9 to go. So to finish off today, here's a little teaser...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What once was lost is now found...

I know, I know, here I am once again apologizing for being so absent of late. I have been desperate to post, but I lost my camera, and a post without photos frankly is just not that much fun!

I have been searching for my camera, turning the house upside down to no avail. Finally, today, I thought I'd ask my kids if they knew where it was. My 4 year old, Joaquin, said, "Oh yes - it's in my backpack in the basement". He has a speech delay, so you can just imagine what a good sentence that was for him, and how cute he sounded saying it! So I look in the basement, and sure enough, the backpack is down there, in the toy box, with my camera in it! Woo Hoo!! Joaquin is the child in our family who can find anything - you just need to ask, and it took me a couple of weeks to think of asking him! Next time I lose something I will make sure to just ask him first :)

On top of all that, my hubby had surgery to get his gall bladder out. Finally, after 2 long years of attacks, he is pain free! So you can see, my time has been taken up by things other than quilting lately.

But I HAVE been doing a little bit of quilting these last few weeks, and have still kept up my goal to sew every day. Firstly, this wonky log cabin framed with a gorgeous Kaffe print. It will live in my kitchen when it's finished.

Remember these blocks? Well here they are finally sewn together. Now I just need to decide what else to do with them - ie should I add something else? A border? A border with some applique? Words....such as 'Welcome'? Any ideas? Anyone?!! I am just drawing a blank. Part of me thinks that I should just finish it up as it is and be done with it. But then another part of me thinks that it needs more - that just plain blocks serve no purpose. Does that make sense??

So anyway, my design wall right now looks like this... I really need to do something fun with those houses!