November 09, 2012

More Homebuilding........

Although construction slowed near the end of October, it picked back up in early November, and now several new homes are partially done:

These two houses above are still missing their dogs/cats, but I plan to figure out their fabrics at the end when I have a better idea of what all the blocks look like.  And they (and the one below) are missing embroidery details, but I think I'll do all the embroidery at the same time.  Anyway, these are what I've been working on.
Also managed to finish one Flower Garden block:
AND, I was lucky enough to win some pretty fat quarters from Valori Wells' new Wrenly Christmas line!  Pretty exciting!  Just love the surprise of a package in the mail!
Now I just have to decide how I want to use them.........  Thanks again Valori!!!

It's snowing outside my window at the moment.  Hope you're all staying warm!

Happy Stitching!

October 19, 2012

Housing Starts Up in October!

Last spring I began work as contractor for a large housing development called Raining Cats and Dogs by Bunny Hill Designs.   The first house went up really quickly (except for the embroidery) and I thought the neighborhood would be ready to move into by summer.  But, building slowed and soon halted (maybe it was due to the economic environment and difficulty with loans, although I doubt it--after all, I was building primarily from stash.)

This fall, new funding (or fabric) sparked renewed interest in the Bunny Hill development, and construction started again.

This house is mostly finished, except for the door, windows. and flowers at the bottom. And, of course, it hasn't yet been sold--when it is, there will be a dog with umbrella on the right.

Other houses aren't as far along in construction--paint colors are still being chosen.

Of course, any good contractor surveys the competition. My beautiful daughter and I tried to check out the Pittock Mansion in Portland but we got there at closing time. (Don't you think it looks a lot like my housing development?) ;)

We had a wonderful time together (too short though)  And the pillow shams were delivered!
Then I was off to visit with my mom and dad, and was able to complete one more house.  Though most of the houses remain unsold, you can see a kitty has claimed this one, and is anxious to move in. (I'm not sure how happy she'll be when she discovers there is going to be a dog under that umbrella!)

Several other houses are under construction (I try to applique at night), but these had to come off the design wall for another project, so construction of new houses has slowed significantly.  I suspect it will pick up again in November--at least I hope the current project is done then!  (more on that another time)

Happy Stitching!

September 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday--Just Takes Two

A few more Just Takes Two blocks.......but many, many more to go before I'm caught up. 

Maybe my goal should just be to keep up with the new ones! 

September 10, 2012

Just Takes Two...

Two hours, two days...maybe two weeks or two months--hopefully not two years :)

Lately I've been working away trying to catch up on Just Takes Two.  I thought I'd done pretty well keeping up with the first group, so I was surprised that even after sewing for several days, I still have roughly 20 more blocks to go.  I guess since I used more than two fabrics for my Just Takes Two, it's only fair that it seems to be taking two=too long.

I had planned to use only my plaid scraps, but often the size just doesn't work. And yes, cutting different fabrics, and hauling them out and putting them away after cutting for one block is more time consuming and makes a lovely mess, which I had to clean it up last night--to find one of our phones.  So these will be the only new Just Takes Two blocks for awhile.

I figure if I work on the rest of them as they come out, plus add 3 more each time, I may be able to catch up.  I decided not to begin stitching the sections together since mine are so varied, that I'm afraid it would end up all unbalanced in color.  So they'll remain as blocks until most (or all) are made.  Also debating just how badly I want to hand applique the remaining blocks--I'm thinking machine applique may be the way to go.  (I'm sure this indecisiveness is what's holding me back on those 20 undone blocks, don't you think?)

In other news, I was lucky enough to win something in a giveaway that I didn't know I'd entered!  Doubly exciting!  I won a Spirit of the Bear Snap Sack kit, with yummy batik fabrics in gorgeous colors from Kelly who blogs at I Have a Notion.  Kelly also sells lots of quilting goodies at IHAN, so it's a good place to check out if you are needing something.  (I was going to steal a photo of my winning kit from Kelly's blog, but since it's protected, and I'm really too lazy to ask or to find my camera, you'll just have to wait until I stitch it up to see it!)

Now I'm off to figure out what to work on in my relatively clean sewing room.  Only one more missing phone to find--surely that is lost in the garage--thank goodness for old fashioned corded phones that can't wander off!  Happy Stitching!

September 05, 2012

I'm Sorry Amy! ;)

What kind of fabric shopper are you?  Do you buy a little here or there--just things you like? Or do you shop for specific projects, buying only fabric that you have a plan for?   Do you buy practical fabrics that you can always use?  Or splashy inspiring ones?  Only your favorite colors?  A variety for stash building?  A fat quarter here or there?  Only a particular designer's line?

When you love a line, do you buy the full group of fat quarters like these?
Chicopee - Fat Quarter Bundle Complete Collection



Or do you buy fabric because it just makes you happy, is just the color you need, or is just plain cute (like these little pigs)?  Or do you buy for no reason at all?  Or maybe all of the above!
Nursery Versery -  Piggies in Hot Pink
Nursery Versery

I usually buy fabrics for projects I'm working on when I need more of a certain color or style that I didn't have in my stash. New fabrics spice up the old and make me see them differently too.  And some things just don't substitute for others.
Medium Chevron Fat Quarter Bundle
Riley Blake Chevrons
And, if while shopping I see something I especially like or that is different from what I have in my stash (like these popular chevrons), I may buy it without a purpose, because you never know when you might just need a chevron, a robot or a witch! It just depends on mood and budget.  

Of course if I've been to the dentist or doctor or done anything yucky that I can reward myself for doing, then I get at least a fat quarter of my choice!    But, one thing I really haven't done much of is to buy precut bundles.  They are certainly tempting--just too hard for me to justify, given my stash. I've rarely bought more than two or three pieces of any line, and only a couple bundles of fabric my whole life (and that's quite a long time!)

Lark Fat Quarter Bundle in GlamourLast fall when Amy Butler's Lark line came out with all the hoopla, everyone online seemed to be buying it and talking about how pretty it was.  So I caved to all the peer pressure and decided to see what I'd been missing, and when there was a good sale, I ordered a selection of Lark--and more fabric than I have ever purchased of any single line at one time.  Very daring!!--I blame it on the bright harvest moon, a sleepless night, and a sale combined with late night online shopping. :)  

On the exciting big day when Lark finally arrived, though, I hated it.  Ok, that sounds too mean, but I didn't like it.  At all.  I use and buy all kinds of fabrics, but Lark was disappointing to me.   Apologies to Amy Butler, but I just didn't like it, and I didn't see what everyone else saw in it. 

I thought this yellow/grey one (Souvenir in Lemon) was fairly disgusting, and was certain I would never be able to use it with anything other than its fellow Larkians. 

And I didn't like these black ones because they weren't really black and they weren't grey and my eyes just kept telling me that they looked faded. (River Shine and Ivy Bloom in Cinder)

 There were some pieces I liked, and some were ok, but some I just couldn't see me using--ever. Definitely not a good use of my money, and rather depressing to boot. So I thoroughly reprimanded myself for buying something unseen and online, promised myself to only shop in person, and quickly packed Lark up and put it away where it wouldn't make me feel so bad, and then forgot about it.

Then this summer a funny thing happened.  As I was digging to find fabrics to use for the Capriccio pillow shams, a piece of ordinary solid tuquoise fabric just happened to fall against the stack of Lark while I was moving things around.  The turquoise didn't really even match, but it was close enough.

Suddenly I heard music, the light changed and the room became magical.  Lark was beautiful.  Lark had possibilites!  That turquoise changed everything.   I fell in love with Lark.   LOVE.  Well ok, maybe not love--this is fabric after all--but I loved all the Lark possibilities.

I pulled fabrics from my stash and played for hours with different fabric combinations.  (My husband thought I was crazy, as I sat on the floor playing until well after midnight.)  They all looked so marvelous together.  The question became not if I would use it, but what would I make!   I immediately began searching my mind and books for an idea that would be grand enough for my Lark.

I'm not sure what the problem was last fall.  Perhaps the fabric (or I) had to age a bit.   Maybe I'm not keeping up with new things as well as I thought I was.  Maybe I just need to give some of the new fabric that strikes me as odd and unworkable more of a chance.  I still am not wild about the green/yellow Souvenir in Mineral piece. But the black ones mentioned above will be great as "neutrals" and the Lemon Souvenir somehow ties it all together.  I'm definitely looking forward to playing more with Lark--I've even purchased a bit more of some pieces--a girl's gotta be sure to have enough! ;)

I'm sorry I doubted you Amy! I humbly apologize. Lark is lovely!  Hope I can do it justice!

Happy Stitching!

September 02, 2012

Pillow Shamming!

Do you ever have a project that you drag your feet on or one that just seems to be full of problems from the start?  That's the kind of project I've been working off and on for the past few weeks.  Last summer I finished this Capriccio quilt for my daughter, and this summer she finally started using it. 

She is living with friends where she has a queen size bed , and amazingly the "twin" quilt fits it pretty well. (The "twin" size fits because I made it to cover the sides of her bed while up on double risers--luckily!)  But since there is no headboard there, she's asked me to make her some matching pillow shams.

Which should have been easy enough. But I hate having to work on the same colors again once I've finished something, and matching things from a distance is challenging, and I'd already used up the leftover strips, and well, I wanted to work on something else.

I also purchased the wrong zippers, accidentally cut a hole in the middle of one sham, sewed black borders to BOTH shams only to decide they looked awful,  and then--when it was all pieced--found a strip that was stained/flawed and had to be replaced,  and, well you get the idea.  But progress has been made.  Here's the front of one in process:

And this is the back of one after quilting, which was done in the same design as the quilt.  The invisible zipper is on the left hand side between the red and black strips, and is pretty well invisible.

Both zippers are in now, and the sides sewn together.  They're just waiting for me to sew the binding on (fingers crossed that these will actually fit her pillows).

If you make shams that you plan to quilt, be sure to allow extra for what the quilting shrinks up--I was surprised by how much (and no, I didn't think to measure it, but before quilting they were way too big, and after, I only trimmed 1/2 inch off the width).  Also realize that 2 shams front and back is equivalent to one small quilt--and it has to be the right size when finished or the pillow won't fit--such stress! :) 

Also this month I was lucky enough to win a copy of  Patchwork Sassaman Style by Jane Sassaman in the book's blog hop.  Whoopee!  Full of absolutely stunning quilts made with just a few fabrics and very clever cutting.  Definitely something I need to study further.  Thanks so much to Jane and Lyric of  for hosting a blog hop day!  The book has so many gorgeous ideas!  Of course this means I will have to buy more fabric....much more fabric, right?!

Happy Stitching!

August 08, 2012

Catching Up #2

This Spring was also a busy one family-wise. 

My son and daughter-in-law were lucky enough to find a house they liked and could afford, so we helped move them.  I didn't take very good photos, but this is of their very lovely kitchen. 

It feels good to have them settling in.

And soon after they moved, my daughter graduated (Dr. Alex now--whoohoo!).  We moved her home so she could prepare and pack for her next move.  
Packing mess for weeks!
Our graduate!

   While she was "packing", we came across the pillow I made for her undergraduate years (some 9 years ago--yikes--no wonder she feels like she's been in school forever!)


It's made with old jeans (obviously).

The flower section is actually one I embroidered on my pant leg back in the hippy days when I was in middle school.  I saved it when the jeans wore out.  I can't believe I had saved it all those years, but it was nice to find a perfect use for it.  (Makes me wonder how many other ancient things are in my sewing room!)

I used two pairs of button up jeans, butted together, and topstitched to one waistband to make the pillow closure. 

The pockets were taken from jeans, and topstitched onto other jeans when necessary.

This is the other side.  Pant leg seams were cut to use in the side panels, so the topstitching could be there as an accent.

Then we were off, moving her to Oregon, where we got to spend a few wonderful days on the chilly coast, enjoying every moment.

 At least until we had to say goodbye.. :(

 I did manage to squeeze in a bit of sewing, a Roseville piggy,

a few more Just Takes Two blocks,

 and a couple of Flower Garden blocks.

 And now you're pretty much up to date! 

There are a couple things in process, but no photos to show, and if you've read all this, that's really quite enough--poor you! :)

Happy Stitching!

Catching Up #1

I promised to catch you up on what I've been doing since March, when I had just finished the Sparkle Punch Scrappy Stars quilt top.  I did piece a back for it (no photo), and planned to get it quilted, but then (as usual) got distracted. 

In pulling fabrics for its back, I realized I had too many light blue fabrics.  So when I saw this quilt here on on Moda Bakeshop

I decided that was just the thing to use my blues, and it looked like it would be simple and quick.  The blues then became blues and greens, and then became Tessa's quilt.  Here's another view of it on the design wall.

Since the goal was to use my stash blues and greens, I decided to piece a back from stash.  Then I saw all the granny afghan blocks being made across blogland.  (For a tutorial see: and for a granny square quilt along see: 

The granny squares were perfect since I had several leftover green and blue strips to use for the squares.  I decided to piece a row of granny squares to extend my backing fabrics.

But I liked the granny squares so well that back idea grew and grew, and is still in process, but had to come off the design board.  Here's what it looked like when it was last photographed. 

So now I will be needing two blue and green backs!  And this project has been on hold since then.

And finally, Hooray!  I was lucky enough to win a gift certificate on Angela Pingel's blog, Cut to Pieces.  It was hard to decide between all the lovely fabrics that XO Gigi Fabrics had, but these are what I went with--I think  they'll work nicely in another project I've recently started.  You should be sure to check out all the chevron fabrics XO Gigi's got in now--definitely coveting some of them!  Thanks again to Angela and XO Gigi Fabrics! 

That's more than enough for now--stay tuned for Part 2! :)

August 01, 2012

Tessa and her quilt

Couldn't let this week go by without noting that two special someones both had birthdays this past month. Happy Birthday to my two beautiful daughters!  

And while I love them both, this post is more about the furry one of them--and a quilt, of course. 

Our golden retriever, Tessa, has been part of our family for 13+ years. She tolerates us all well, keeps us in line, and manages to do it with style.

Tessa's been having health issues, has lost some hearing and eyesight, but she's still a real sweetie.  She spends most of each day "resting up" for her evening walk with the love of her life, Mr. CatsMeowTwo.   She sleeps either on the cool tile near the front door or by the back patio door where she can see out and pretend to watch squirrels and birds.  Here she is watching her man build a ramp for her so she can get in and out of the patio door more easily.

On brief occasions (if she smells me eating something yummy for lunch or thinks it's her dinner time), she'll come see me and watch me quilt and help me choose a fabric, then will get a drink, but then she usually goes back to nap by one of the doors.  Getting old requires lots of rest!

So one day this April when I went to find her and she wasn't by either door, I was surprised.  I called and called her, but she didn't come (she doesn't always hear my voice--or does somewhat selectively).  I knew she had to be in the house, so began searching all the rooms for obvious spots, calling her, and wondering if she were hurt or sick or well, worse.

After a second time through the house, I was more than a little concerned and beginning to feel that "missing child" panic.  This time searching, instead of looking through the kitchen at the patio door, I walked to the back door and started across my living room, and this is what I saw:

Tessa was sound asleep laying on the quilt I has spread out on the floor so I could decide on a back.   I hadn't been able to see her from the other direction because she was hidden by a desk.

She was happily sleeping away with total abandon, at least until the camera person woke her up.......then she was a bit grumpy.  (Or maybe she was concerned that she'd be in trouble.)  ;)

Tessa NEVER lays on my quilts.  She ordinarily walks carefully around them, although she will walk across one if I leave it out on the floor too long.  Somehow I have to think that she knows that when you don't feel well, nothing makes you feel better than to lay on a quilt--even if it isn't finished!  (and she knows there are few finished quilts at my house)

And so this is my entry to the 2012 Pets on Quilts Show.  You can see all the cute pet photos here.

And, I promise I'll blog soon and catch up about making "Tessa's quilt" and all the other goings on that have been happening here since March--can't believe I haven't posted since then--Yikes!