Quilt Show results…

Cons: Exhaustion. Sore feet. A 12-hour headache. Mean women in quilted jackets with big buttons.

Pros: Beautifully crafted quilts on display. Here’s a fav:

Illuminated Alphabet by Zena Thorpe  Illuminated Alphabet by Zena Thorpe. Seriously beautiful applique. Basically, I came away from the quilt show more determined than ever to learn how to applique.

I got to meet EllynAnne Geisel, author of The Apron Book. She was signing her book and curating an apron exhibit. Very cool. I took some crappy cellphone pictures – they’re on my flickr.

Luckily for me, I got a last minute ticket to the Roundabout – a sort of speed-dating meets quilt class, where you rotate teachers every 10 minutes. My two favorite teachers were Jane Hall and Cathy Van Bruggen.

Jane Hall showed a bunch of different foundation piecing techniques, and her book, The Experts Guide to Foundation Piecing, compiles the tips and techniques of 14 different teachers. Awesome information, and she was precious.

Cathy Van Bruggen designs applique patterns, and she showed the basics of needle-turn applique. Since I can’t see myself seriously doing any other method, I was super excited to listen to her. She told us that on her website, she offers a mailing list that sends a new mini-applique pattern each month! Yes! Where there’s free – there’s me! I bought her cool little set of thread in a bobbin-holder, a great selection of Superior Bottom Line colors for most applique needs.

I also took a class from Eleanor Burns, and she couldn’t have been sweeter or more energized, but I think I’d like to get away from the super-fast, crank-em-out quilts.

I’m so inspired by hand-pieced and hand-quilted things. That’s not to say I’m putting my Singer away, I just want to put a little more of myself into my quilts.

Mark had a great article in the current Quilter’s Home about McQuilters…using kits and pre-arranged fabric collections. My friend Stephanie and I agreed that these new trends make quilting more accessible than ever, which is awesome, but I think I’m reaching the point where I’d like to move past that thinking.

As I walked around the quilt show, admiring these works of art that people clearly invested their hearts in, I was suprised by the amount of comments around me that were basically, “man, I would never make that.” One lady said, “yeah, that’s how I want to spend my life, cutting out a million tiny pieces of fabric.” That’s exactly how I want to spend my life! I am in awe of these artists, and I don’t want to be lazy or in a hurry about my craft.

My problem is that I’ve been selecting patterns because they were fast. I don’t necessarily love them, I just know I can do them fast. Then I rush through them. From here on out, I’m only choosing patterns that I LOVE – that I WANT to work on, not throw together. Lord knows, there’s a million of them out there.

Whew!

I don’t know where all that came from.

Anyway, a couple other highlights from the quilt show were Cherrywood fabrics – beautiful hand-dyed cotton that looks like suede. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s awesome. I also picked up an Aunt Becky’s finger protector from Jean’s Impressions. The proprietor, Jean Brown was awesome. She demonstrated the finger protector and a very cool lap quilt frame, and she was as sweet as can be. I tried hand-quilting with it last night and it really helped! I’m still not very good at it, but it went much faster than my two-thimble method.

I think that’s it for now.

Oh, one other thing. I was so impressed with all the entrepreneurs at the quilt show – these dedicated quilt-makers who put their best ideas and life lessons into books and DVDs and travel around to these shows to share them with the world.

Road to CA

I’m headed to the Road to California quilt show tomorrow. I’m super excited…my husband is meeting me to take the baby, and I get the whole day to wander around the Ontario Convention Center, surrounded by all things quilting! I’m really hoping to get a ticket to Mark Lipinski’s lecture – which I didn’t know about until two days ago, when we figured out I’d be able to go to the show. So wish me luck getting a last minute ticket. I promise to post pictures!

my log cabin quilt

log cabin quiltDavid and I spent over an hour in the quilt store selecting the fabrics for this quilt. It’s about lap size, and it’s extra special because mine is the only husband I know who would wander around a quilt store picking the perfect fabrics for a quilt for our home. It’s a log cabin pattern, and I turned the blocks to make the cross shapes. It’s got some problems, but overall, once it was washed, I think it came out fine for one of my first quilts. It’s be sitting around forever with the binding not sewn on, so I finally finished it. Yay, me!

We got all the fabrics at Fat Quarters in Vista, CA. That’s also where I took my first quilting class – of which this pattern is a product.

So, so far for 2008, I finished one UFO. I’m working on a second…I’ve got some quilting goals for myself this year. Namely, no new projects until the old one’s are finished. It’s a shame to have quilt tops languishing in boxes. Right?

my birthday gift

I haven’t been the greatest blogger lately. First, we were vacating. Then, I was unpacking/doing laundry/forcing my kid to return to Pacific Standard Time. Then I was cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner ever. (Thanks, Martha, for the great recipes! Pictures coming soon.) Then I was shopping.

Today, for the first time in my life, I partook of the great American tradition of stampeding poorly prepared cashiers and customer service people in retails shops of all kinds. My birthday is next week (31!), and I was on a mission to find my perfect gift.

Did I buy perfume or diamond rings? No. Of course not. What I did buy was a new Singer Confidence sewing machine. YAHOO! It is awesome! I got it for $399, normal retail is $599, and it kicks my old Singer’s booty. I also got a new Rowenta iron, normally $80, for only $30.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some sewing to do.

More crafts

I’m officially in the mad rush of sewing for Christmas. Here are a couple projects – the purse and zipper pouch are from Bend-The-Rules Sewing, and the sweatshirt is my own creation. My friend Sara has a question mark tattoo on her leg, and we decided it would make a good logo for her sweatshirt. She got the sweatshirt at WalMart for $10, and I added some cute Denyse Schmidt fabric and blue thread. My first foray into customizing clothing, I think it came out pretty cool. I got the instructions from DIY’s Creative Juice tv show. You can see better pictures (and more projects) on my flickr page. Thanks for checking out my crafts!

bend-the-rules handbag

zipper pouch

sara's sweatshirt

Stephanie’s gifts

So here are the gifts I sent my good friend Stephanie-doo-dah. She’s my crafting guinea pig – she gets all the prototypes. The little bird (filled with catnip and bells) and coasters are from the book Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (awesome book – you can find my review here.) The apron is from an Indygo Junction pattern, and the slippers were made from a pattern on crochetme.com. You can just search for “mary janes” – there are lots of patterns available online.

coaster bag

coasters with bag

little catnip bird

retro reversable apron

crocheted mary janes

Craft Book Reviews

(For my book count, these books are #59-#63. I wasn’t sure whether I should count them in my goal towards 100 books for the year, but since I’ve read them cover to cover more than once, I figured they should count.)

I love pattern books.The easier the pattern, the better the book! So here are a few of my favorites, if you’re interested in sewing and quilting, check them out.

Bending the Rules on AmazonThis first book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
by Amy Karol, is awesome for the beginning seamstress. I’ve already made two of the purses in here. The directions are really easy to follow, the patterns are easy to cut out. There’s lots of room for personal interpretation, but Amy also provides everything you need if you want to create exactly what she’s made. Fun project, great gift ideas – I really really recommend this book. The author has a super cool blog called Angry Chicken, and she’s also set up a fun flickr group where people post the projects they’ve made from the book. These photos are great for inspiration, color options, ect. [rating:5]

Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted GiftsNext is Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts
by Joelle Hoverson (Author), Anna Williams (Photographer). Again, I seriously love this book. I’ve already made a bunch of those sweet birds on the cover filled with bells and catnip. I’ve also made the coasters and I’m working on a pin cushion. Super easy instructions, great patterns, GORGEOUS projects and photos. I love love love this book. The author also has a great blog called the PurlBee and an online shop called PurlSoho. Definitely check them out. I actually found this book through another blog, Wee Wonderfuls – written by the designer of the sweet little elephant, Wee Peanut, in the book. [rating:5]

In StichesNext is Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
by Amy Butler (Author), Colin McGuire (Photographer). I won’t lie, I haven’t made anything from this book yet. Her patterns, instructions, and materials lists are more involved than the first two books. I feel like I’m not quite to this level. HOWEVER, I love the projects – the book is gorgeous, and I look forward to the day that I master the patterns. If you’re a seasoned quilter or sewer and you’re looking for some cool projects for your home, I highly recommend this book. I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new sewers – although I’m sure smarter people than me could handle the challenges just fine. [rating:4]

Denyse Schmidt QuiltsNext is Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects
by Denyse Schmidt (Author), Bethany Lyttle (Author). Again, I love love love this book. I’ve made one of the quilts (top left, orange and white pattern), and it was very simple. I even changed the pattern to fit a little better to the fabric I had on hand and it was no problem. I’ve seen a few of her quilts for sale in other places like Anthropologie and in the Sundance catalog and they were ridiculously expensive. I was excited because I already had the patterns, and I can make them myself! The projects really range from super-beginner to a little more seasoned, so I think this is a book for every level. Highly recommended! [rating:5]

amy butler's midwest modernFinally, Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern: A Fresh Design Spirit for the Modern Lifestyle
by Amy Butler (Author), David Butler (Photographer).

This one is really more of a coffee table book, although it does have one pattern in it. Still, it’s gorgeous. Her sense of style and her fabric designs are awesome. I was a little disappointed that the book only has one pattern, but it was nice to get a peek into her life, design mentality and creative process. It’s amazing how many talented, inspired people there are out there – and she’s definitely one of them. [rating:4]

Hope you found those reviews helpful – now stop reading and get sewing!

Perfection

I just got home from JoAnns fabric, where I had somewhat of a run in with this mean woman. I was at the register, trying to get the cashier to honor my 50% off coupon, while she was explaining that if I wanted to use it for cut fabric, I needed the fabric cutting ladies way in the back of the store to put it on my fabric slip. Blah blah blah, so while I’m discussing the fairness of this with her, my son is (for the most part) staying right next to me. He takes two steps into the aisle and almost gets mowed down by a woman pushing a shopping cart. I give a loud, sharp intake of breath as I grab my son’s arm and yank him towards me and safety. He starts to cry because I scared him.

I tell the cashier I’ll use the coupon another day and to just wrap things up. She apologizes and launches into a story about the JoAnns she worked at in Montana or whatever and meanwhile, my son is acting a little inconsolable. While I’m talking to him, trying to calm him down, I say how nice that lady was for stopping and what good reflexes she had and then I say how thankful we are to her. She’s within earshot. I then hear her say, “if you restrained him, that wouldn’t happen.”

What?

So I tell her, “wow, what a judgmental thing to say. You must be perfect in every way to make a pronouncement like that. Thank you so much for the helpful advice.”

Perhaps they should hand out trophies to all those helpful people at the JoAnns.

Sheesh.

Saturday happenings

I’m way behind on my book reviews. Like about 10 books behind. But let me just say that if you liked the Traveling Pants books, definitely read Ann Brashares new book, The Last Summer (of You and Me). The title is a little long and unnecessary, but the rest is excellent. Her first adult book. Loved it. Here’s a much better review than I have time or inclination to write.

By the way, that blog I linked to, Books Are Pretty, is excellent. Great reviews that always start with a very funny, often unrelated intro.

Today, my football team (University of Central Florida) got their asses handed to them. 57 to 12. By USF of all schools. The annoying upstart football team formed 20 years after us, and already ranked #5 in the nation. Lame. Lots of mistakes, but I’m confident UCF will rally and win the rest of the season. Go Knights!

I started a new quilt today. The pattern is from Denyse Schmidt’s book Quilts, and it’s coming along nicely. I’m using Moda charm squares from the Fall Back In Time line. Beautiful. Pictures coming soon. I also finished (yesterday) six lavender eye pillows and two lavender and rosemary heating pads. Pictures coming soon also.

Old Town Quilt Show

All day yesterday, I served as photographer and videographer for my quilt guild’s annual quilt show. This involved walking up and down a street about 10 blocks long about 20 times, taking pictures of quilts and quilters. Upside: exercise, fresh air, and meeting lots of the quilters in the guild. Downside: sunshine beating down on me, and schlepping my big booty up and down the sidewalk over and over. At the end of the day, my knees ached, leaving me feeling old and overweight, which makes me feel sad. I’m about to turn 31, which I don’t think is old at all, but someone better tell my body immediately.

Anyway, I took over 250 pictures and over an hour of video. I have hours of cropping, fixing and editing ahead, but my goal is to have a video made of footage and still photos set to music. Any song suggestions?

I also may have inadvertently volunteered myself into a committee chairperson position in the guild. Luckily for me, its the one that I would want if I were to accept any position.

I also got some beautiful baby fabrics and a super cute new pattern book (pictured.)

If you’re in southern California, be sure to stop in Old Town Temecula. It’s beautiful, full of fun antique shops, boutiques, specialty food stores, and great restaurants. I saw some gorgeous fire glass, and of course, hundreds of awesome quilts!