Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring is here!

Well, not really. It's snowing here in Chicago-land again. But my projects are all springy, don't you think?
The Peace/Irish Chain/Lakehouse flowers quilt is done. I need to think of a good name for it. Irish Garden is probably a little obvious. Thoughts? Ideas?Anyone? It was the first time I did prairie points. They aren't that hard, but the corners are a pain on the binding. Binding Guru Karen hasn't ever done a binding like that either, so if anyone knows any tricks for it, please let me know. I quilted little swirls all around the flowers to make them poof out and a straight line through the middle of the "chain" squares. Have you ever noticed how photos don't seem to ever do quilts justice? These sure don't. It is soooo pretty and cheerful! I absolutely adore the hydrangea blue in the quilt. My boss said it reminder her of Easter. I would agree, it's all light and cheerful.
I also sent off a mini quilt to my Swap til You Drop partner from my Flickr mini quilt swap. I'll show you a small corner of it, since I want her to see it in person before I put up a photo of the whole thing. It's really fun, yet challenging for me to do such a small quilt. It can't be more than 15" maximum. That's hard for me since I generally don't do anything smaller than 50". Jeanette wanted aqua and red for her quilt, and I just happened to have the perfect fabric on hand! No eye rolling from those of you who have seen my stash.
And I finally finished up a blanket for a friend. It's a combo of Moda's Sanctuary and Seaside Rose lines with Minky on the back. I actually put it together once, but I did the Minky incorrectly and ended up ripping the whole thing apart and starting over. While ripping out all the top stitching and all of the stitching holding the front and back together I remembered how I put the first one together. It worked the second time. I just love these fabrics. Seaside Rose and Paris Flea Market were my all time favorite 3 Sisters lines. I still have a ton of each of them because I can't commit to what pattern would do them justice. I just know that once I cut it all up and put a top together that some other pattern will happen by that will be even more perfect, but I've already cut it all up and the lines are like 5 years old and I can't get anymore! Does anyone else have this problem? I guess that's a quilter's nightmare, isn't it?
Last night I spent a good portion of the evening making mini pineapple upside down cakes. Aren't they cute? It took a lot longer to make a bunch of little ones than it does to make one large cake, but I wanted to do something a little different and bring them in for the nice people that I work with. Everyone is really bumming these days with all the apocalyptic news that is constantly spewed at us both in life and on the constant news streams. I like to bake to help cheer people up. And there was a smile on every face that tried one of my cakes. And the office smelled so good to boot! A little aroma therapy never goes amiss. Since I only have 2 mini cupcake pans, I spent a lot of time washing, spraying and filling the pans. I used fresh pineapple and a touch of rum for goo part on top. I put the rum in at the very beginning when melting the butter for the goo, so that the alcohol burns off. I prefer either spiced or dark rum for this cake. They went over very well. I brought 2 plates of them and there were only 4 left cakes at quitting time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I think this says it all about the Beaner, don't you?
She's an odd bird. Amusing, but odd.
Addendum: the hubby is concerned that people will think she's vicious looking when she's really a sweet and gentle dog. The goofball dog stands at the back door with her nose pressed into the glass, making her nose like a piggy nose. When she does this it pulls her upper lip up and exposes her teeth. Sometimes she also licks the door while pressing her nose. It's really funny. Cracks us up every time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Project Diversity

I was looking for applique info when I came across the Applique Today blog. She has a couple of very nice tutorials on needle turn applique. She also talked about a free online quilting magazine that I had to share with everyone! It's called Cotton Spice and you can download the magazine to your computer! So it's ecological as well. What more can you ask for?
I've been busy the last couple of weeks. I finished up my version of the Peace quilt by Late Bloomer that I made with LakeHouse fabrics. Binding Guru Karen is, well binding it for me. It was my first time making prairie points. They were pretty easy. This is an in progress picture.

I also made the Camille Bag by Penny Sturges out of the fabulous new Darla line by Tanya Whelan of Grand Revival. I have to tell you, I love this bag. I had never made pintucks before, but they were totally easy. And CUTE! I made it as a sample for Tammy Tadd Designs, but I love it so much I think I'll need to make myself another to use while it's on display! And as a side note, I'm eagerly anticipating Tanya's upcoming line French Hatbox. It's absolutely gorgeous. I think I need a cottage (quilting cottage that is) nestled in some rolling hills to decorate with all these fabulous vintagy florals that Tanya designs.

I also started an actual embroidery project this week! It's not great, but it's start. And I think it's totally fun! I used the China Town pattern by Sublime Stitchery. It's going to be a pocket on a grocery bag using the Chopsticks Please fabric by Kaufman. The takeout fabric will be the main panels and the fortune cookies are the sides and bottom. They make me smile.

I don't know, do you think my taste is diverse enough?

I would wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day, but I have a Valentine's Day Curse, bad things happen to me on or around Valentine's Day. I have a theory that if I pretend it doesn't exist, nothing bad will happen. In light of The Curse, I'll just wish everyone a Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Magic shoes

Boy! Have you ever noticed how a fabulous pair of shoes can really put a spring in a girl's step?

I was never a shoe person. Never gave them much thought unless they were uncomfortable. Then my sister moved to Torino, Italy. As one would expect, they were really into shoes there and my sister brought home several stunning pairs. But I resisted the lure of the shoes.

After dinner one night in Torino, we were going up the stairs to my sister's apartment when I noticed her friend was walking sideways up the very narrow, ancient marble steps. I asked her why she was walking that way and she pointed to her shoes and said "because my shoes do not fit on the stairs." Now that's dedication to fashion. I ended up with my sister's Italian shoes through a twist of fate, when her feet stopped cooperating with fabulous Italian shoes and made her wear more comfortable foot attire. Now I am the proud owner of those pointy toed beauties and it's made me look at shoes in a whole different light.

I still don't have a lot of shoes, regardless of what my husband thinks. Today at lunch I went to the mall looking for a Fisherman Cable sweater at Eddie Bauer and came out with a gorgeous pair of Franco Sarto Tea Shootie dress shoes in Smoke (a really excellent dark gray that kind of changes depending on what color it's near.) And a fun name, don't you think? Try saying "Tea Shootie dress shoe" and not smile. And since I actually needed black shoes and they were on super sale, how could I not get them?
Walking through Nordstrom with a fabulous pair of Franco's on and Stevie Wonder's "Very Superstitious" playing on the loudspeaker really makes a girl feel she's the bomb! I don't really think I was walking any different, but it sure felt like I was walking way cooler than normal.

Back at the office I decided to wear them in a bit and walked down to the cafe with my boss. She commented that I was a lot taller in them. I think they made me stand up straighter and put my shoulders back. The shoes make me feel as though I can take on the world. I know it seems like a lot of responsibility for a pair of shoes, but I'm telling you, these shoes are up to it!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2009

I don't know about the rest of you quilters out there, but I for one am constantly amazed and delighted by the Japanese quilt makers. If I had a wish list of Quilt places to visit, Japan would be number one on the list.
Alex of Moonstitches is lucky enough to live in the middle of all this fabulous quilt inspiration and is kind enough to post her photos of the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2009 on Flickr for us all to see. Click on the quilt show name and prepare to be amazed.

I stumbled upon the Moonstitches blog sometime last year. It's really interesting because she is a German living in Japan. She quilts, knits and does various other crafts. I really enjoy seeing what other parts of the world are up to, don't you?