Saturday, April 24, 2010

Goodbye 33, Hello 34!

Here are the glorious spoils from the "Great Birthday Fabric Expedition"! Not a bad bunch of loot, eh?

I can't begin to express to you how exciting this all was to find! And I'm sure I don't have to, because I know all of you would feel the same way. It was seriously more than I could've hoped for. 
On Thursday morning, Mark and I dropped Lucy and Norman off with their Grandma and drove off down the Interstate to Portland to celebrate my birthday. Thanks to the tips of three lovely ladies (thanks Sarah, Raven and Tiffany!!), we made stops at three small-town quilt shops along the way, and I must say it was a ridiculously great success!!

The first shop we hit had some of the elusive aqua colorway of Mendocino - underwater sisters and fish! I had to get the rest of the bolt of the aqua sisters! They even had some old Lightning Bug prints like dogs on blue and yellow and blue ponies, along with Tula Pink butterflies which I snagged and lots more I had to leave behind. I'm talking Cake Rock, Jackie Shapiro Pop Botanical and Tula Pink Nest. I was already on a high after the first stop!

The next shop had more bolts of yumminess than I have ever seen in one place. Entire collections of Heather Bailey Freshcut and Pop Garden, Amy Butler galore and lots of the hard to find Moda Uptown and Summer in the City collections, just to name a few.

I got a few prints I've been missing from my AB Belle and Love collections,

and even a fat quarter stack of some very rare old AB Ginger Bliss.

The third stop was way out of the way and turned out to be a funny old tin barn full of awesome finds. I sort of blew my fabric budget at the previous shop so I behaved myself, but wow! It was cool to see every single Midwest Modern and Lotus print side by side. There was even lots of Katie Jump Rope, Good Folks and Alexander Henry. This sweet woman had so much fabric in this place that her new Momo Freebird and Hope Valley was still in the plastic wrap!

I started my Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow collection and I'm hooked....must get more of that!

I have my wonderful husband to thank for it all. I am a lucky woman to have found such a patient guy to drive me on all these wild goose chases and just gets a kick out of seeing me happy.

We had an awesome weekend in Portland, one of my favorite cities. I won't bore you with too many of the details of the rest of the trip because I know most of you don't read this to hear about that stuff. But in case you get a chance to visit this great city, here is my short list:
 - The Heathman Hotel for lodging
-Ken's Artisan Bakery for Stumptown coffee and pastries mmmm Marionberry croissant
-Pok Pok Thai for lunch (the wings and a Salted Plum Collins are a must)
-Oregon Wines on Broadway for a glass of good Pinot Noir
-So many places to go for dinner, but a few of my favorites are Olympic Provisions, Castagna, Pizza Ascholls and Le Pigeon
-and if you have time, a drive down to the beautiful Willamette Valley wine country, only 45 minutes south

I've been reflecting a bit today on the last year of my life, and I really do think 33 was my best year yet.  I have the best husband ever, my sweet little girl is almost one year old and the absolute best thing that's ever happened to me and I'm surrounded by such loving friends and family. Yep, I'm a lucky girl. And looking forward to 34:)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday morning pick-me-up (and the Scrap Bag winner!)

Nothing too exciting to report in my world this Tuesday. Just a few new pretty fat quarters (from the Flora & Fauna and Hunky Dory collections - I see more of both of these in my future), a stitchy pattern book to give me some inspiration for this month's Bee-autiful Bee blocks and a new pattern. 
Has anyone used this boxer pattern yet? Mark has been begging me to sew him some boxers so I just picked this one up and I'm hoping it works well. He has requested Liberty tana lawn as his material of choice after browsing through my stash. That or perhaps some of my beloved Heather Ross goldfish. I guess the man has taste! I think I'll make some up in something less rare and precious first in case they don't fit to his liking.

Time to announce the recipient of the Bohemian scrap pack - it's Karen (badlandquilts)! (Does anyone know how to paste that random integer number thing to their blog??) The scraps grew quite a bit after cutting the pieces out for the back and there are a few nice, big swatches so I hope there's enough there for you to go crazy with!

And this is a little view of what I'm working on for the other side of the Bohemian quilt. I'm sure most of you have already seen this awesome free pattern from Oh!Fransson and I'll show you more as soon as I'm done.

It's been a busy week around here, just returning from a trip from Eastern Washington for Mark's grandfather's funeral (he was 88 and passed away very peacefully). Lucy did really well on her first road trip (thank you new Ipad and Yo Gabba Gabba!) but the fabric hunt proved disappointing. We hit three different shops and no treasures were found:( So much for my fantasy of finding some bolts of FMF hiding in some out of the way quilt shop! Just lots of batiks, ugly calicos and civil war prints!
I'm off to pack up now for a trip out of town again. Mark is whisking me off for a fun-filled birthday weekend in Portland and the Willamette Valley wine country! I'm so excited! Lucy is staying with her grandmas and we are going to hit up some fabric stores on the I-5 corridor and Portland, drink lots of Oregon Pinot Noir and eat at some of my favorite restaurants in the country, including Le Pigeon for my birthday night! We'll be back Saturday to open our tasting room so I'll give you a full report of my fabric hunting when I return!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The (drunken) Bohemian quilt top

Yee haw! I finished the Bohemian quilt top today! Doesn't it look like a bunch of yummy Skittles candy here?

The sun visited us this afternoon so I got a chance to have an assistant hold it up for some sunshine love...
I really don't think I have ever been so close to hating a thing and then loving it in such a short time. But I really DO love it now. Even Mark has come around to liking it (although he is super glad it is off the "design wall" aka dining room wall now).
I really have a lot of this fabric left. And I am still really wanting to go with the Plan B quilt I was mulling over when I hated how the Drunkard's Path was shaping up. And let's face it, I really don't need two Bohemian quilts. So, it looks like this quilt is going to be double-sided. I'll show you what I'm up to just as soon as I get a little further.

Yes it's bright, and yes it may even be a bit obnoxious, but I'm smitten. And I think it looks a lot better in person. Thank you so much to all of you who offered your compliments and encouragement to keep me going on this. It really was almost completely frogged!

And for all of you out there who have been wanting to try your hand at curves, but are a bit intimidated, take it from the very non-expert who is me: it's super easy.

Just a few things to know:

1. Go slowly. Really slowly. This requires patience.

2. Do not consume any wine before embarking on this task. Coffee may be the preferred beverage of choice.

3. Just three pins worked best for me. One down far enough from the edge you'll begin sewing on to allow room for your foot, one at the very bottom edge and one smack in the middle. Line the two points up as seen below so the needle points to the points of the fabric. Does that make sense?

4. Use the needle down position frequently to check your work and move the excess fabric behind you. DO NOT PULL as the bias cut fabric will stretch and distort easily.

5. The first few ones may not turn out perfectly, but I assure you a little practice makes perfect. If I can do it, so can you. And may I just say, investing in a brand new seam ripper is one of life's small luxuries. I had no idea how dull my old one was and this new one sure make's ripping out mistakes a lot less painful.

Sewing curves is actually fun once you get the hang of it. I hope those tips might inspire some of you to give it a go!

So because I have a lot of this fabric left over and really don't need these scraps, would anyone fancy a big zip-lock of Bohemian scraps? There are a few bigger ones, but mostly pretty small but would make a nice string pillow top. Just leave me a comment here and I'll pick someone on Monday to send it off to. The only thing I ask is, please only leave me your comment for it if you really do think you can use them. I know I won't so I would love for them to find someone who can.

We are off for the weekend to Eastern Washington so I'm hoping to hit up a couple of small-town quilt shops to find some hidden out of print gems. Wish me luck, and you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Far Far Away Quilt done!

I really, really love this quilt. I've been sitting on my big ol' stash of Heather Ross's Far, Far Away since it came out last year and just couldn't resist it any longer. It is the first quilt I have made that I am happy with the pattern, workmanship and quilting from top to bottom. I have finally gotten a handle on my new Bernina and I just adore the Stitch Regulator - it makes free motion feel like painting with thread. I think I also finished it more quickly than any of my others.  Using a combination of some very simple blocks and a few wonky star blocks was both breezy and satisfying. I used Kona white as the sashing but all that double gauze makes it super soft and cuddly.

(One of the only sunny mornings we've had up here lately)

I decided to get a little more creative with the back than I usually do (because by the time I finish the top I am impatient to finish!). I pieced it with some more wonky stars and a patchwork border. I may even like the back more than the front!

And a close up of the blocks....

The binding is an organic chartreuse polka dot from Cloud 9.

For now, this one is my chosen cuddle-up-on-the-couch quilt, and will probably stay that way for a while.

Bohemian Giveaway Winners!

I'm so excited to announce the winners of the Bohemian Fat quarter stack and the two charm pack runners up! I used the random integer generator from (Mark erased the screen from the computer before I had a chance to cut and paste it) and here are the numbers in order it selected:




I almost fell over when I counted out the comments and the grand prize winner is none other than Bohemian fanatic Heather (alamodefabric)! Congratulations Heather! This was just meant to be, and I counldn't be happier because we all know this woman is going to give us all an awesome Bohemian quilt to admire!

The two charm pack winners are Kate(kmdegroot) and Holly(binkwaffle). Congrats ladies, I can't wait to see what you'll make!

Thanks so much to everyone for entering and all your inspiring comments!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lucy's First Easter (and new Flea Market Fancy dress)

Wow! It's only 3:30 here and we have had quite a day already. Lucia is napping soundly for once after being wiped out from an easter egg hunt and all the love of her extended family.

The Easter Bunny knows exactly what she likes - Dora and Yo Gabba Gabba.....

She was quite successful at her first egg hunt....

And a little dress modeling. Which I of course only finished late last night. But so glad I did because we don't get dressed up very often around here and she was the belle of the ball. Dress pattern is the Claire by Portabellopixie, and the fabric line is of course Flea Market Fancy.

The four of us are now just going to spend the evening lounging and watching movies, and Mark just said something about whipping up some pizza margherita (umm, OK!)
I hope you all had a beautiful day and I will be announcing the winners of Bohemian tomorrow!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You guys rock

I just wanted to say thank you for all your kind comments and encouraging advice concerning my Bohemian mess the other day.  I hope you don't all think I am some kind of fickle emotional freak, but I must say that now with a little distance and a new perspective, I think I actually like it!  

I took your advice and put up a piece of batting for a make-shift design wall and it really did make all the difference. Plus, it is so fun playing around with all the pieces, sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. Sure, it's aggressively bright and wild, but I am a big fan of color and I'm hoping once it's all done and quilted I'll love it to pieces. I am still toying with the idea of adding some solid neutral. And I have big plans for the back, to make it double sided quilt.

I've really been enjoying all your comments and enthusiasm for the giveaway! And I've realized I'm still going to have lots of this fabric left over, so I have decided to sweeten the deal a little. In addition to the grand prize fat quarter stack, I'm also going to throw in a couple of charm packs for two runner ups. I'm going to draw the winners this weekend so I promise to let you know Monday who are the lucky ducks!

I thought I would leave you with a glimpse of what my poor husband has to put up with on a daily basis-

This is our dining room/kitchen table, and yes, all my fabric and notions are pushed just to the side so we could enjoy this lovely dinner he prepared (garlic rosemary lamb chops, grilled onions, broccoli and Oregon Pinot Noir) while I fussed over this sewing dilemma. Oh, and here is a quote from him when asked his opinion on the pattern: "Yes, it's a bit busy, but I like the circles. But Mrs. Roper called and she's looking for her wardrobe." Funny guy.