Friday, December 14, 2012

Little peek...

Several friends are having babies soon which means I've been trying to pull together some cute baby quilts.  After going through my stash a few days ago I came up with this:


I'm not sure what it's going to become yet but I know that I like this a lot better than the pile of fabric I bought back in October for two quilts (I still like the fabric but now I think I want to do some thing other than what I had planned originally).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

November

Grandpa Bill and the boys last Christmas
 November was a rough month for us.  Will's father unexpectedly passed away and it was quite a shock to us all.  It sort of put the holidays and all the crazy stress that comes with it in perspective for us this year.  He was a good Grandpa to the boys and will be missed.  And then, four days after we arrived in Florida for the services the boys came down with the chicken pox.  In spite of all this sadness and stress we also have some good news to spread: there will be a new addition to our family next year.

Fall has come and gone



 Fall has been amazingly busy for us.  Sadly little sewing has been going on in the quilting realm for me other than a handful of EPP stars.  I've been trying to catch up on all my mending (why do buttons all start to fall off things at the same time?) and Malcolm's Halloween costume.  We visited the pumpkin patch, went leaf hunting, watch the salmon spawning (I've lived in the Pacific NW almost my whole life and this is the first time I've seen it!), and spent a lovely (but wet) afternoon in the Japanese garden.


Hard to see but the two pink things are salmon swimming up river to spawn.
(So, this post is coming to you in December because I wrote it, uploaded the pictures to the blog, and then never hit post back in October. That's what happens when you are busy - better late than never.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Journal cover


I've been keeping a composition book quilting journal for many years.  Usually I make a paper cover and doodle on it or paste pictures on it but when my last cover started to fall apart I decided I should make a fabric one.  It is a quilting journal after all!


I gathered all my favorite bits of green fabric and even cut into a few I haven't used yet to make up this simple cover.  It was super quick and easy which is just the type of project I needed after working on a lot of hand work lately.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Sandy Lego"


Last week we took a family vacation to San Diego or "Sandy Lego" as Dominic refers to it!  It was fun but a little too hot.  The San Diego zoo is amazing - we had a perfect view of the panda's (their star attraction).



We spent lots of time at the beach and while the boys were digging in the sand, I sat and worked on my paper pieced stars!  And of course, we had to visit Legoland where they had miniature Lego quilts in the Miniland display!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

C&J Wedding quilt

A good friend of mine from college was married this summer in a beautiful spot on the coast of California.  I wanted to make her and her new husband a quilt but they will be moving abroad this Autumn and have limited packing space.  After viewing their wedding photos repeatedly for inspiration I decided to make my first art quilt. 


I'm very pleased with how this little wall quilt turned out.  It's the smallest quilt I've ever made and the little people were VERY hard to cut and sew.  It's all raw edge applique with black quilting for the rocks in the water.  I had the perfect scraps for it - it must have been fate.  The only thing I regret was not photographing it before I packed it up and delivered it.  There wasn't an iron in our hotel room so it's all wrinkled. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Yogurt cake

My book club is reading Bringing Up Bebe this month.  It's an interesting and humorous book about the differences between French kids and parenting style and American.  The author gives a recipe in the book for a yogurt cake that she says all kids in France can make by themselves.  I love to cook and always have Dominic in the kitchen helping me so I thought we'd give it a shot and see if my 3.5 year old could make a cake by himself too!



It went very well and he did almost the whole thing by himself.  I stood by and read the recipe to him, cracked the eggs, helped measure out the oil and vanilla (both were very full bottles), and put it in the oven.  Otherwise, he did it all himself.  He probably could have done more but I was very paranoid about having a brand new bottle of vegetable oil spilled everywhere and the eggs he cracks for breakfast frequently have shells in them.  With a little practice I think he would easily be able to make the entire cake by himself.  It's a great recipe for this type of thing because it's very forgiving to the imprecise measurements of a three year old and it's very basic so it would be easy to fancy it up with lots of different flavorings and add ins.




We kept it simple and just stirred in some chocolate chips (and I only had him use one scoop of sugar to keep it less sweet).  He liked and so did I so we (wait - HE) will be making it again for sure!  You can find a copy of the recipe here.



I even had him clean up the (rather large) mess he made too!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bigger...


Over the last month I've been working on my English paper pieced stars quite a bit and it has doubled in size with enough stars made to add another three rows.  I've really been enjoying working on it again.  The only real issue is that it's now too big to travel with me! I now have to plan things out and snap a picture before I leave the house so I can work on small portions while away from home. 


And, our strawberries have (finally) started to bloom and fruit!  Yummy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pacific NW Modern Quilt Guild Meetup


Last weekend was a whirlwind of quilting madness.  The Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia chapters of the Modern Quilt Guild joined us here in Seattle for a packed weekend of socializing, fabric shopping, and sewing. It was amazing and so much fun.  A huge thank you to my wonderful husband for taking the boys three days in a row so I could run away to shop and sew!


On Friday night we meet at a local restaurant to meet and pick up our goodie bags!  The organizers from all three guilds did a fantastic job with it all and arranged for some wonderful giveaways through out the weekend.  I came home with a new book, eight fat quarters, a wall hanging pattern, scissors, and a cute travel box of pins.


Saturday was our main event and we all rode the ferry over to Vashon Island to spend the day sewing at the Island Quilter.  It was a blast to chat with so many like-minded quilters.  We had fantastic sponsorship of the day too with fabric, batting, machines, and thread all donated to us.  By the end of the day we had completed four cross tops and three (maybe four?) stitch and flip triangle quilt tops that will be quilted up and donated to children's charities.
 


Sunday was filled with more fun when we met up at a local shop, Dry Goods Design (which I had never been to).  The owner was so nice and made us drinks and wonderful breakfast baked goods (lavender coffee cake!).  It's a super cute shop too - I had a very hard time narrowing down my fabric choices.  I will be back for sure!

You can read more about it here on the Portland Guild blog or view lots of great pictures on the PNW MQG Flicker group.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blueberries


Recently I took the boys blueberry picking.  I wasn't sure how it would go since they are both still young but I remember picking berries every year as a child and I want to continue the tradition with my kids.  Dominic liked it so much that he said he wanted to do it again and he picked almost as many berries as I did!  Malcolm on the other hand was trouble - he was happy to watch and wander until he figured out that you could eat them and then he picked and ate so many I was afraid he was going to be sick!


What do you do with 4 pounds of blueberries?  Make spiced blueberry jam!


I've made this recipe for several years now and I've made a few changes to suite our tastes.  I'm not a big fan of star anise so I use cloves instead and I also add a teaspoon of cinnamon.  And, I use only 2 1/4 cups sugar and half the vinegar.  It turned out wonderful.  It does smell like cider vinegar when you first open a fresh jar but it never tastes like it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stars


The Seattle Modern Quilt Guild is doing a star quilt-a-long.  I've always loved star quilts (in fact, my first two quilts were 9-patch stars) and I immediately started searching for a new/different type of star quilt to make when I realized that I have two star quilts in progress already!  My 60 degree diamond stars and my wonky stars project.  My diamond star quilt is all hand done using the English paper piecing method.  I used to carry it with me all the time and I made 60-70 stars before I put it aside for a while since I ran out of templates and fabric!  Three months later (and lots of fabric shopping and scrap trading) I have another set of templates and lots of fabric to cut into so I started work on it again.  I didn't realized how much I missed working on it until I started up on it - I find the handwork very relaxing. 


This past week the boys and I headed over to the Olympic Sculpture Garden in downtown Seattle and had a lovely picnic in the sun and then we discovered a children's play table in the cafe/gift shop building.  The boys were happy to sit and play out of the sun and I was happy to sit and stitch!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Laundry soap


This past week we made our own laundry soap.  I remember making soap when I was little with my Grandma (except we used ivory soap instead of the Fels Naptha).  It's super easy and quick - even Dominic helped. 


I used this recipe.  And I only spent about $6 on the supplies and easily have enough for 4-5 batches of soap.  It works well so far and it's very eco-friendly. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seattle Modern Quilt Guild show

The Seattle Modern Quilt Guild held the opening of its first show last Friday night at the Island Quilter.  The opening was wonderful - lots of people came and I had a lovely evening chatting with the Guild ladies and fabric shopping.  The Island Quilter is a fantastic shop with an amazing selection and this huge gallery space that is just perfect for displaying quilts. 



This was the first time I've ever had a quilt in a show!  I finished my Wonky Pinwheel quilt just in time to submit it.





What I loved about the show was the tremendous variety of quilts.  Everyone was modern but modern in a different way and each really shows the personality of the quilter. 



There was some amazing hand quilting,



beautiful simplicity,



to scrappy love,



and all the baby quilts hung in a row.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another hexagon quilt


I love hexagons but I've never attempted to machine piece them before.  Then I found a super easy tutorial at Tall Grass Prairie Studio and had to try it.  So far it's going very well.  The first few rows I sewed together required a little bit of picking out and fixing but overall the method is very simple - just time consuming. 


I'm already planning another one - just have to hunt down the right fabrics. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wonky Pinwheel finished


Wonky Pinwheel is finished!  It will be in the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild show in July.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Basting

This is what happens when I try to baste a quilt while the boys are around...


...at least they waited until I was done before they decided to play on it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bubbles blanket


I finally finished my crochet blanket for Malcolm!  It's a very simple bubble pattern in all yellow - this was my car project for a long time.  I really like the pattern - very simple and easy to pick up and put down quickly and not need to worry about where in a pattern I left off.  Malcolm seems to really like it too!

 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eclipse

Last weekend we headed to southern Oregon to see an annular eclipse.  They are fairly rare and this was almost a once in a life time chance to see one (the next one in our part of the world will be in 50 years or so).  It was pretty amazing and spectacular - the only problem was that you really need specialty equipment to photograph it. 


I did get the above picture with my camera phone - somehow it was giving a weird reflection of the eclipse (not really sure how it came out but I really like it!).  While in the area we also hit up the local children's science museum and I found this exhibit:
 

How cool is that!  Both boys got right to it and played with the design wall for a while before moving on to other exhibits.


There was also a sign on the side that had several puzzles to figure out by putting together the quilting squares in the right order.  Tonight I'm off to the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild sew-in to work on quilting my wonky pinwheel quilt.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jay McCarroll challenge quilt


Last year the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild participated in the Jay McCarroll Habitat challenge.  I was excited to take up the challenge since I had never participated in one before.  I really liked the way the fabrics looked online - there was lots of green!  But, when I saw them in person I was a little disappointed.  The green wasn't as pretty as it appeared to be and looked a little drab.  And, I had a hard time photographing it - the colors just weren't coming out well in the prints.  It took me a long time to decide what to do with the fabric  In the end I decided that I would make a baby quilt since a friend of mine was pregnant (and I gave it to her last weekend which is why it took so long to blog about it).



I used a ribbon block tutorial from my friend Jessica.  I've also seen similar tutorials online calling it a "slice and dice" or "slice and insert" method.  It was super easy and I really liked how it turned out.  I'll definitely be doing another one.


And, Dominic had to get in on the photo shoot too!