May 30, 2010

Rainy Day ~ Revised

After looking at the "Rainy Day" block on my design wall for the last two days, I have decided that the strong circle design fabric is too overpowering for the umbrella design.  I have sewn the block again, using a solid pink and I think I like it better.

The pink patches will show up as pinwheels more than the circles did, and I think the pink solid is not as distracting.

I love the circle design in the first block (left) but when I stand back and look at it from five or six feet away, the umbrellas disappear and all I see are the circles.  The block on the left would look great if I put the pink solid in place of the umbrellas, but I want the umbrellas!

I have to admit that I frequently get "frozen" at this point in the design game.  What if I am making the wrong decision?  What if I spend hours and hours making the blocks with the solid pink and I end up with something I don't like?  Aggghh!  Maybe I should put them aside and make something else!  I defeat myself before I even get started.  Well, today I am making the decision to forge ahead with the pink solid.  But I really, really like the circles.....oh, dear.

May 29, 2010

Japanese Cottons

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are on a four-month sabbatical in Sendai, Japan. My brother-in-law is a professor at Texas A&M and is collaborating with some colleagues on a special project there. My sister-in-law knows I love to quilt and offered to do a little shopping for me. I asked for some cottons and told her to pick some that she really liked. In the mail came these:

A fun selvage for the person in my round robin bee who wants selvages in her block ;)

The cutting slip from the Daiei Department Store in Sendai.

I have never seen a fabric quite like this.  My sister-in-law said it is very traditional Japanese cotton.  It is slightly heavier than a good grade quilt shop fabric, but it is very soft.  It is cotton, but it has a nubby texture like raw silk.  The colors are bright but in a subtle way.  Lovely.  Good job, Kate!

Now the pressure is on to find a pattern to showcase these beautiful prints.
  (Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I am making it for Kate).

May 27, 2010

Rainy Day Block

It is a cold, rainy day today so this has been an appropriate project!  I have been thinking about a block pattern that I can use for my cute umbrella fabric and I have come up with this modified pin wheel block.  It will make a nice secondary design when it is sewn together on point.  I think the circles may be a little too much visual weight.  I might try a soft pink solid the color of the background in the umbrellas and then use the circles in the border.  Hmmmm....what do you think?

May 25, 2010

Block Seven ~ Do Over!

After looking at the block I made yesterday for the Jelly Roll sampler, I decided I didn't like it.  It doesn't have enough contrast over!  This is better.  It will look much nicer with the other blocks and has a little more personality.  I will save the other one and sew it into the back of the quilt. 

May 24, 2010

Block Seven ~ Quilt Along

This is block seven for the Moose on the Porch Quilt Along.  I am not sure I like the light squares in the center, but since this quilt is for my daughter and it's all about the shoes, I wanted to put the stilettos in.  I may make another one using the four square with a darker fabric, just in case this one is too light when I ultimately put the quilt together.  I am using 2 1/2 inch precut strips so I had a hard time fussy cutting the shoes.  I almost cut off the toes on the two on the right, but I don't think she will mind.  Can't let perfectionism get in the way of the fun!

May 22, 2010

Rainy Days

Yesterday I stopped in to my local quilt shop to look at some Superior Thread after reading a number of comments about it on our flickr group for the Journey Quilting Bee. While I was there, I saw this adorable new fabric. It is called Rainy Days and Monday by Riley Blake Designs.

I love the umbrella fabric.

It said, "Take me home!  Take me home!"  So, I did.  That is one reason I have to stay out of pet shops and animal shelters.  Or zoos, for that matter.  On more than one occasion I have come home with something unexpected.  At least this doesn't eat, doesn't need to be groomed or demands to be walked.  The print is so lively and modern.  It makes me smile just looking at it.  Now time to think of a pattern to use it in!

May 21, 2010

A Sweet Centerpiece

Last year when I was helping my mother-in-law and father-in-law move out of their home of 55 years to move to a retirement community, my mother-in-law gave me several beautiful things from her kitchen.  Among them was this silver candleabra.  It was very tarnished and I wasn't sure I would be able to resurrect it.  With some elbow grease I was able to get it to shine again, but there are a few imperfections here and there.  I have a tea cup collection and I decided it would be cute to put the cups on top of the candleabra and use them as containers for a flower arrangement.  My mini roses are just the right size for the cups and the arrangement turned out very sweet and feminine.

May 15, 2010

The First Bee Block

I received the first block in the round robin Quilting Journey Bee.  It is from Elizabeth, who lives in California not too far from where I live.

I love the starling fabric she sent along to be included in the block.  Elizabeth requested a block that is geometric and her favorite colors are red, black and white.  This is the block I made for her

This is an old turn of the century pattern that is based on an antique mosaic tile.  I think it looks very modern when made up in Elizabeth's favorite colors.  We each sent along a journal with our starter block, so I need to write in Elizabeth's journal and then send the blocks on their journey to the next quilter.  I would have never chosen these colors for myself, but after working with them I discovered I really like this combination of colors.  I am sewing for someone else, using their favorite blocks and colors, and it is forcing me to move out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I am sure this experience will allow me to expand my horizons as a quilter (not to mention it's a lot of fun).

May 14, 2010

A Quilting Journey

I am participating in a round robin quilting bee, organized via the internet.  There are 21 of us in five countries.  We will each be making a block for everyone else in the group.  We have been talking to each other via our Flickr group for the past two weeks and I feel like we have known each other forever.  I designed this block as my starter block and have asked that everyone in the group make me a block that they love, using this block for inspriation.  I can hardly wait to see what comes back to me!

May 11, 2010

The Sun is Out!

I have spent a fair amount of time grumping and fussing about the cold, rainy weather we have been having here in Northern California, but the sun is shining and it is beautiful today.  My roses have never looked better.  All this cool, drizzly weather suited them.  Amazingly, I haven't seen any black spot yet.  If you like roses, I want to share these photos from my garden.

So lovely.  I love old garden roses because they actually have a scent.  There is nothing more disappointing than putting your nose in a rose expecting that heady smell and....nothing.  Flowers that have a scent do not last long as a cut flower so breeders are slowly breeding all scent out of modern roses.  I enjoyed taking a few minutes to stop and really enjoy my garden.  Now it's back to the sewing room. 

May 10, 2010

Block 6

Today I completed Block #6 in the Moose on the Porch Jelly Roll quilt-along.  These are such fun blocks to make because they go together so quickly.  I love this one because we were to fussy-cut something in the center of the block.  This fabric, "Objects of Desire," is about shoes.  My oldest daughter loves shoes and I am making this for her, so how perfect!

...a closer look at the center....

Wouldn't it be fun to have that high heel?

May 7, 2010

End of the Swap

I have received the last fat quarter from the swap I was participating in.  It is beautiful.

I love the little brown design on the selvage edge.  The colors are unique and the flowers are really sweet.  This is from Moira of Nottingham, U.K.  Thanks so much, Moira.  I am considering using this as one of three fat quarters that I need to take to a workshop I am participating in given by Dale Fleming (of "Pieced Curves So Simple" fame).  I will try to match the dark rose color of the flowers and the dark brown in the print on the edge for the other two pieces.  They should look terrific together.

I am sad to see the swap end because it was so much fun to wait for the mail to come and have something really delightful and unexpected arrive.  My thanks to the generous quilters who swapped with me!

May 3, 2010


A B-I-G day at the mail box today!  Wow, I feel like I won the fabric lottery.  Seriously.

From Cricket in Kennebunk, Maine I received this beautiful pink geometric print.

this pretty pink floral

this sweet pink and beige print - aren't the birds sweet?

these cute little pieces


 Thank you, Cricket.  What a fabulous gift. 
That was the first envelope. 

The second envelope was from Amy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In it was this beautiful, big, bold floral.   I put the pack of sharps on it so you can judge the size of the tulips.  This is awesome fabric.
Thank you so much, Amy.  I love it.


The third envelope came from Maxine in Sunderland, United Kingdom.  In her envelope there was this gorgeous Amy Butler floral


Candied hearts, vintage buttons, sweet floral ribbon and -- chocolate!
Thank you, Maxine. 

Fabulous fabric, vintage buttons, new sharps, ribbon and chocolate?  It just doesn't get any better than this.  Thanks to the three of you for your very generous gifts.  This was my first swap and I didn't know what to expect.  This experience has far exceeded my expections.  I am still smiling...