Five Photo Friday

16 Sep

Today we’re following Kitty Pearl’s lead and posting our five favorite photos we took this week! Selina has been very consistent about posting her favorite five photos from the week, and for the first time, I have a couple photos to share too! We don’t have five each, but collectively we do! Sharon at A Prairie Sunrise hosts Fave Five Friday weekly! How fun!
So, Here we go!

 

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Sienna and Sunflowers

Last weekend I was lucky enough to happen upon a patch of wild sunflowers! I have always loved sunflowers and this was a perfect way to end summer!

 

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Look how happy this little field is!  How fun!

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This is a weird bug that was on my house this week. My sister is pretty great at identifying bugs and I sent this to her.  It was one of three bugs that day. I still don’t know what it is, but it was fancy!

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Sara's Skirt

Selina’s oldest daughter Sara made this skirt without any help! She did a great job and was proud enough to wear it to school! Naturally, her classmates were very impressed.  This normally shy little girl has an incredible talent and a product she made herself. Great job, Sara!

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Selina made this charming Churn Dash wall hanging this week with scraps, on a whim! Super cute! I love it!  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Lizze

 

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Berry Season!

8 Sep

There is nothing more heartwarming to me than picking berries with my children.  I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of picking blackberries with my parents when I was a child, or if it is because berries only ripen when the long-absent Seattle sun makes its return.  All I know is, when I think of my idea of happiness, picking blueberries with my girls is at the top of my list.  It’s so great, even the dog joins in!

Anyway, a couple months ago our dear friend Kitty Pearl at Road Home Quilting had a poll to choose a favorite vintage apron. She posted a ‘Picker’s Apron’ and I fell in love.  I had never heard of or seen such an apron! It looked adorable, functional and easy to make!  The appeal was that it was an apron that had strings in it you could draw up to turn it into a basket.  I wouldn’t have to use my skirt anymore!

It turns out that was a favorite among many, and would be published in new book; How to Make Aprons. I was smitten and knew I needed the pattern ‘one day’.

How to Make Aprons

As luck would have it, @RoadHomeQuiltin (as followed on Twitter) was giving out a copy of this wonderful book and Selina was lucky enough to win it! She knew how badly I wanted to make the pickers apron and she lent me the book to make it!  I even had a lovely cherry fabric given to me by my Aunt Eileen to make it in.  After a couple calls to my mom for help reading a pattern, (clothing patterns aren’t my thing) I knocked out an adorable apron!

Picker's Apron

I used vintage buttons from my grandmother’s button box as the draw pulls, and vintage ric-rac Selina had as a cute accent! I was very pleased with the end result!

TaDa!

I was able to make this apron, start to finish, in just a couple hours.  We were out picking lots of blueberries in no time at all!

Fresh Blueberries!!

The girls enjoyed picking blueberries and putting them into the pouch of my new apron, but couldn’t wait until it was their turn to wear it too!

Picking Berries!

Each girl got a turn.

Sienna with blueberries

Capri with Apron

We had a very successful picking experience in the back yard with our new apron.  Not a single berry was spilled! In fact, we had enough for a delicious cobbler! The very rainy spring/summer made for excellent berries.

Berry Cobbler

The girls had so much fun with this apron that they went around looking for berries on the blackberry and raspberry bushes. The result was this delicious berry cobbler! In case I haven’t mentioned it, Fall is my favorite season and harvesting is the reward for the labor!

ProTip:  If you make your apron in white as I did, and you’re picking berries that stain, try using Zout to treat the stains before washing! Mine comes out as good as new!

Happy Harvest!

Lizze

A Revelation

5 Sep

I got a very welcome, yet totally unexpected convo from Etsy last night. You may remember my quilts I dropped off at the fair last week. I don’t know how you could forget since I’ve been blabbing about them non-stop… I’m so annoying. Anyway, a lady in Alabama found my quilts listed for sale (Lizze and I have many others on the website and she just happened to choose these two) and wanted to buy both of them. That’s right, BOTH. The only quilts neither one of us has in our possession at the moment. They are at the fair until the end of the month. No interest whatsoever in the 6 months they’ve been listed and them BAM! As soon as I send them out they’re flying off the shelves. What in the world? We should enter quilts into the fair more often apparently.

Thankfully, she is willing to wait for them to be returned to me and she is buying them for her husbands grandmother. How sweet is that? I am so excited. After having not sold a thing in months, this is a wonderful turn of events. I was getting ready to start boiling shoes for dinner.

I will be kind of sad to see them go if they win any ribbons, but I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures of them hanging up in the Hobby Hall next week.

This whole experience has made me see that other people love and value handmade items. Lately I have been feeling a bit, well, unsure of how to price some of things I make. Yes, I spend a lot on quality fabric to make my quilts. And I spend a great deal of time cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding (by hand). My sister commented on a picture of one of my quilts recently asking how much it was. My palms started to sweat and I began having heart palpitations. I was ashamed to tell her how much I wanted for it. I feel like people don’t understand what goes into making something like this. When all is said and done, after factoring in my time and costs, I’m making much less than minimum wage. But still, when a person can buy a “quilt” at a big box store for less than fifty dollars, they don’t understand what is so special about mine. At least that’s what I thought until last night.

There are people that get it. There are people that see the difference between a good quality handmade quilt, and one you might find perusing the clearance aisles at Target. There are people who understand the value in supporting the handmade culture, and supporting artists in the country in which they live. I will no longer be ashamed to tell someone the price of my quilts, or bags, or anything else. The people I want to buy my things are the ones who “get” it. The saying “you get what you pay for” comes to mind. I’m certain that my quilts will still be around for my great grandchildren to snuggle up in someday and that makes me smile.

Check it out!

 

 

State Fair Time

29 Aug

I have always been hesitant to “show off” my work to people. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I have been working on that a lot lately using this blog, twitter, and flickr to show photos of my completed quilts and other projects. It’s one thing for me though, to show a photo online and to have people say “oh, how pretty!” and something else altogether to willingly bring in something I have made and have it judged. The thought of someone judging my work terrifies me to no end.

Last year I had a conversation with someone who said to me “you need to put your work out there where people can see it and touch it. You need to be open to criticism and be open to getting your feelings hurt in order to succeed. If you never put yourself out there, no one will ever see how wonderful you are.” Granted, this person was a family member so they have to say I’m wonderful, but his words really struck a chord with me. He encouraged me to enter a quilt in my local fair.

Here’s the thing about my local fair. It’s the Puyallup fair. It’s the largest fair in Washington state. It’s a tad bit, um, intimidating. I talked to my friend Lizze (who also happens to be my biggest fan) and she encouraged me further. I decided to go ahead and jump in with both feet. I knew right away which quilts I wanted to enter.

I spent the day yesterday hand-stitching labels and hanging sleeves to the back of two fairly large quilts. After church this morning I drove the few blocks to the fairgrounds and my stomach started to knot up. I remembered the message from service and played it over in my mind “Only a fool would wait for the perfect time”. I bit my lip, grabbed my bag, and went inside. Phew.

Entry #1 Urban Cabin
Entry #2 Royal Garden

 

Now comes the nail biting and the anxiousness of waiting to hear how they did. I’ll have to keep myself plenty busy so I’m not constantly thinking about it. It’s a good thing I have so much sewing to do!

 

Selina

Designer Challenge!

15 Aug

Selina and I were invited by the wonderful folks over at Fat Quarterly to participate in a designers challenge. We weren’t sure what it was we would be doing, but of course we said yes! We aren’t ones to turn down a challenge.

We were sent a printed canvas from Basic Grey and some buttons to play with. We were told we could use it anyway we wanted. We decided to make the most outlandish, bright, and bold canvas we could come up with. We love Tula Pink fabrics so we wanted to incorporate some bits of it that we have used in projects of our own. Selina is making me a quilt using the Plume fabrics, and the pink we chose is a fabric I used with Parisville to make a bag for her last Christmas.

This is the way the canvas looked when we started. Selina is pictured in the background, cutting up the fabrics we decided to use.

At first we were unsure where to go with this, but we assumed that other designers would be pretty tame and stick to the original plan of just showcasing buttons and small bits of fabric. If you know anything about us, we are not tame at all. We wanted to do something completely different with it.

We chose to sew strips of our fabrics together and cut around the design in the middle.

We were originally going to leave a raw edge, but it didn’t look quite right, so Selina folded the edges under and we used a fabric glue to hold it in place. And who doesn’t love ric rac?!?! I know we do!

Here’s Selina gluing down the ric rac around the edges. We used a light pink ric rac in the center, and a jumbo ric rac in fuchsia around the outside.

Time to stitch down the buttons. We chose the fanciest ones that they sent us to make it look like bling! And is that a feather?!?! Why yes, it sure is! We also got some letter charms, one letter “L” and one letter “S”. You know, like Laverne and Shirley!

This is our finished product. Crazy, just like us! We had so much fun making this! It might be a bit too over-the-top to win any prizes, but we love it and it will hang proudly in my sewing room. Every time I look at it, I will remember the great times we had together working on it. Thank you Fat Quarterly, for the chance to work on something like this. We hope it’s the wildest, most outlandish entry, because that would certainly be fitting for us.

I Got In Trouble

3 Aug

There is a dream sewing machine that every quilter has. It’s not the same machine for all of us. A sewing machine that would make quilting so much more enjoyable and take some of the extra work out of it it for us. For me, this dream machine is a Bernina 440QE. This machine, brand new, is right around four thousand dollars. Throw in the walking foot that I need for attaching binding and straight line quilting and that tacks on an extra hundred and fifty. So, this is a pricey machine and one that has always been out of my reach.

A year and a half ago I got the okay from my husband to buy a new sewing machine. I lusted after those Berninas… oh yes, I did. But I couldn’t afford one. I ended up taking home the next best thing. I was so happy to leave the store that day with my Viking Sapphire 875. She is a gorgeous machine and has so many really great features. This is Ingrid (she’s German so she had to have a German name, you know.). Her and I have had some great times together. But the Bernina was my first true love. I wasn’t looking to cheat on her. I really wasn’t. But you know how these things go.

I saw Bernie in a quilt shop. Sitting there all cute and batting her thread cutters at me. Flaunting her BSR all over the place. I commented to the shop owner how much I wanted to take Bernie home with me, but alas, I couldn’t afford her. Then the owner said the magic words “she’s on sale, you know.”

I left the shop, but her words kept echoing in my mind. Taunting me. I literally couldn’t sleep. I mentioned it to my husband (in a room far away from Ingrid so she wouldn’t hear of my treacherousness) and he said if I sold my beloved Ingrid, I could then have Bernie. I placed ads on Craigslist, facebook, harassed my friends on twitter, but to no avail. No one wanted my poor Ingrid.

I couldn’t get Bernie out of my mind. I wanted her. I had to have her. So I came up with an ingenious plan (or so I thought). I worked out a way to bring Bernie home before I had actually sold Ingrid. I guess you could say that they are now sister wives – for now. I can only handle one lady at a time here, two are just a bit much for me. Plus, my husband is overrun with estrogen in this house so something has got to give. Not to mention that he isn’t speaking to me until Ingrid has packed her bags and left town.

It’s time for Ingrid and I to break up. She has been wonderful and we’ve shared some good times, but we have to move on. We’ve made peace and said our goodbye’s and she is ready to be with someone else.

She has been serviced, oiled, all cleaned up and spiffy. She comes with lots of presser feet and can do so many amazing things. Also included is a genuine Husqvarna/Viking walking foot (cause, you know, a lady can never have too many designer shoes), and an 18″ x 24″ sew steady acrylic extension table. She can be yours for $2000 (or make me an offer I can’t refuse) – plus shipping if you don’t live in the Seattle area.

http://www.husqvarnaviking.com/us/17053_17194.htm <—– Click this link to download an extensive list of all of Ingrid’s many features and benefits.

She has been wonderful to me and has made some gorgeous quilts. I will  miss her greatly. Someone please give her a good home?

Happy Fourth of July!

1 Jul

USA! USA!

I love the Fourth of July! Don’t you?  It makes me think of green grass, picnics, barbeques, hot dogs…What’s stange is I totally know how hot dogs are made and yet I still love them. But I digress.  My favorite part about the fourth of July is the flags!  Seriously.  I have a thing for Old Glory.  I even painted my house red, white and blue.

Seriously, it used to be pale pink!

And if that wasn’t permanent enough for you, I inked myself up with some American (and quilting!) pride!

Sorry mom!

Yes, that is totally my tramp stamp. Don’t judge! And yes, that’s a needle and thread around my American Flag heart.  Which brings me back to why I’m writing in the first place: Red White and Blue quilts!! The quilt above is one of my very first quilts.  I had this vision in my head of a flag quilt and I set out to make it.  I was so new to sewing, a complete novice, but I wanted to design it, create it and have it finished by Independence Day of 2000.  The great thing about not knowing how to do things “right” is that you don’t know you’re doing them wrong!  I had a blue fat quarter that screamed of needing stars! It already had glitter in it after all, so I eyeballed it, cut it, traced and cut 50 muslin stars, placed them on my sea of blue, zig zag stitched them mostly on, stuffed them, then zig zag stitched them closed!

The stripes were also a spontaneous design. I pieced two different 2″ (or so) strips together, then cut them into 2″ (or so) segments.  Little did I know the REAL patterns would be requiring me to do this for years! Yay me! I was advanced. I discovered that if I matched the bottom left and top right quadrants, the effect was pretty cool! I did that until…well, until it looked right.  But that was about my only reasoning. I was pleased with myself when it came out looking like waves!

Once I had the completed top, I needed to finish it! It was a pretty impressive top for a novice 20-year-old with no pattern! (*not that I would have done the pattern right!) All I knew how to do at the time was pillowcase quilts, and attaching satin borders to baby quilts. I was completely unaware of the phenomenon of “binding”.  I pillowcased it, used remnant batting and stitched-in-the-ditchish.  The finished quilt was not as impressive as I had hoped, but I was still proud of my scrappy, 57″ x 37″ piece of America!  I proudly displayed it on my walls for years!  And then I started quilting.  Really quilting.

My sense of pride in this piece began to diminish.  In my new-found experience, I began to see glaring flaws in my once beautiful quilt.  I had disgraced my flag! I couldn’t bear it anymore and took it down from the wall, folded it up and put it away.

A couple of years ago I mustered up to courage to revisit this quilt.  I tore it open, ripped out my quilting, I bought new backing (A beautiful Moda flag print, Red, White and Bold, the only boutique quality fabric in the quilt at that point! I was such a newb!!) heavy red, white and blue variegated thread and set off to finish this quilt right! The thread was so heavy and was awful to deal with, even on the Bernina! But I did it. I stippled the blue and used a wavy stitch in each stripe.  It is hand bound in my favorite red RJR fabric.  I finally have made this quilt the way it was supposed to be! Now, 11 years old, long may she wave!

It certainly wasn’t my last patriotic quilt either. I used to participate in the Mystery Quilt Series at The Calico Cat, my favorite local quilt store, and ended up with a red and white churn dash. I added a blue border and ended up with this:

Red White and Blue Churn Dash

So pretty, right? Naturally it looked like it should be a Quilt of Valor quilt. If you are unfamiliar with the organization, they hook you up with a long armer who donates their services.  The result was this:

WTH!!

Look at that quilting!

Holy hell! Look at that quilting!! Did I seriously make that?! If this isn’t a testament to having quilts long armed, I don’t know what is! Her quilting took my average quilt and made it incredible! I was SO PROUD to donate this!  Granted, I did want to keep it, but JUST FOR A SECOND! I made a matching pillowcase and sent it off.  Goodness, I sure do love that quilt.

Anyway, among my myriad of other quilts-to-be-made is another red, white and blue.  I got the kit as the replacement for a shabby chic kit I’d had for years and made for my sister.  I would like to think I’ll have it finished by next July 4th. Stop laughing! I’m serious!

July 4, 2012 quilt...I promise. Now hold me to it!!

In other news, I have finished all my Buck a Blocks from 2009. (Shut it.) And am working on finishing them up.  I hope to have all finishing blocks done tonight.  Currently I have 2 done…only 10 to go! Seriously! I’m going to finish them! Ask me about it tomorrow!!

12 7.5" buck a blocks...They'll make into a king size somehow...?

Should you deem my millenium Quilt worthy of a vote, it is competing in the Patriotic quilt contest this week (starting Friday, 7/1) over on the Quilting blogger’s Directory! Thanks so much! And Happy Independence Day, America!!

Lizze