Author Archives: Teresa

Back at it for another year

In many ways, this feels like a year that wasn’t. The last 18 months have been a whirlwind of changes and adjustments, some great (a fabulous job with a wonderful fabric company) and some not-so-great (sunk $6k into what should have been a reliable car, but ended up with car payments on a new one instead).

Last January, before much of the craziness started, I set all sorts of goals for myself, things I wanted to start, finish or some combination of the two. But as life tends to do, it gets in the way of all my grand plans. And so while I was sure I was going to be able to finish all the quilting on Grandma’s quilt in 2013, I only managed to finish eight blocks before it got lost to the chaos of moving to Cali.  Eight. [hanging head in shame] Sorry, Grandma.

But I’m back at it!

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I’m setting the bar low this year and am promising to finish just one block a week. Of course, it will end up taking me two and a half years to finish it this way (there are 143 of those little blocks!), but at least it’s progress. And who knows, maybe there will be weeks when I can get two or three or five done.

So while I feel like I’ve let Grandma down somehow by not finishing, I just have to remember that the darn thing sat in a box at my mom’s house for 40 years before this. Sheesh.

And there you have it, my one New Year’s resolution for 2014 (and probably 2015, too!). I will complete one block a week until it ‘s finished. And then I’ll have to decide who gets it.

Do you make long-term resolutions? Do you stick to it?

Christmas in SoCal

This was a weird Christmas for us: the first when our trio wasn’t together and our first as a duo in Southern California. So we did something new and different.

I’m lucky enough to have my sister live just down the street, so on Christmas Eve, we went to her (bigger and nicer) home and made goodies together. I used my trusty old Good Housekeeping cookbook for the ginger snaps and the recipe Grandma Coates used every Christmas to make butterhorns. 20131227-194426.jpg

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12 Days of Color

It’s not perfect, but I like it anyway. 20131218-134420.jpg

My friend, Scott, of Blue Nickel Studios is counting down the 12 Days of Color and showcasing a different block each day as he counts down. He’s using a bunch of the Konas for the blocks, but I decided to try out Day Four’s design (by the awesome and amazing Katy Jones) in some batiks I had on-hand. Turns out, I kinda like it.

You might notice, it’s not exactly a square like it’s supposed to be. I decided I wanted it to just butt up to all the edges and I’m gonna make it into something else…a pillow? the side of a bag? Any other fabulous ideas out there?

Winners!

I bet you thought I forgot all about the giveaways, didn’t you? But it’s not true!

20131209-094250.jpgI remembered, I just haven’t had much time to get to actually posting thanks to a bout of the icks that have hit our little household. With people sick at my work and at her school, it was bound to get to us and this weekend it knocked the daughter for a loop and I got to play nursemaid.

All that to say, sorry, I’ve been distracted by life.

So without further ado, the winner of the fat quarter bundle for Sew,Mama,Sew’s Giveaway Day is Janet  and the winner of Megan Dougherty’s new book, “Quilting Isn’t Funny,” is Joyce!

Congrats to you both and look for an email from me so I can get those out to you right away!

 

Quilting Isn’t Funny, but I sure am laughing

Bias: The irrational inclination to believe that holding down a job or cooking some food for once is a more productive use of time than quilting.

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Are you familiar with The Bitchy Stitcher? Megan Dougherty is the mastermind behind the blog that takes the idea of a stitch-n-bitch to a whole new level and she cracks me up.

I’ve been enjoying her sarcastic little rants for some time now, but now that I’ve read her new book, Quilting Isn’t Funny, I realized I’d missed out on some real gems.

Like everyone else on this book’s blog tour, I’ve snickered and snorted my way through it, publicly embarrassing myself and left unable to explain why it’s funny. You have to be a quilter to understand why I choked on my mocha when I read:

…But like all things of this world, fabric and tools and machines are impermanent and imperfect, and let’s face it, the only person who is going to bitch about my seams not aligning is that snotty lady from the quilt guild, and she can suck it.

This is what I love about Quilting Isn’t Funny. You’re just reading along, nodding “impermanent and imperfect” yeah, totally;  “that snotty lady from the quilt guild” haha, I know exactly who she could be talking about  and then bam, Megan hits you with her snark. “She can suck it” and I bust out an exhale of laughter.

And can I explain to my daughter why that’s funny… the imperfection, the snotty lady, the quilt police and the pointed dismissal of all criticism? No. I’m left laughing to myself in the kitchen while my daughter does homework and throws awkward glances at me.

Thanks for that, Megan.

Quilting Isn’t Funny is available now in softback on ebook versions. Whatever suits your fancy. Personally, I loved the electronic version, tucked neatly into the Kindle app on my phone,  but you (or the loved ones you buy it for) may very well love the paper version.

Megan also offers up some fabulous pins with her witty little phrases that you should probably check out, too. My favorite is “Don’t make me cut you.” And that’s because of Miss Bon Qui Qui:


I could watch that another fifty times and still LMAO every single time.

And I’m pretty sure the same can be said for Quilting Isn’t Funny. It’s just good stuff. Buy yourself a copy and pick up an extra for your quilting pals.

Want to win a signed copy? Leave a comment and tell me something funny. Anything goes, but if it’s quilting/sewing/fabric related, I’ll throw in an extra entry for you.

Pillow-making and Giveaway Day

Okay, okay, so I know it’s just a slightly-tapered-at-the-corners square, but I’m pretty excited about this adorable little pillow I managed to whip up last night with some superhero fabric and grey linen. I’m thinking about offering them in the Etsy shop. I was selling more quilts for a while, then got lazy busy and haven’t had the time to restock. Maybe pillows would be a good start? I love this Superkids fabric from Ann Kelle enough that I didn’t even do anything special to it. Just some curved corners, French seams and a linen back–bam, a new pillow.

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Birthday quilt–finished!

20131203-155349.jpgShe didn’t want me to show off a picture of her, so this is as close at it gets: my daughter holding up her birthday quilt. She did let me take a photo of her with it, though, which is a minor miracle in itself. I just can’t show it off publicly and that’s okay.

I made this using Aria Lane’s Concerto pattern and I have to say it was so quick and easy that it almost seemed like cheating. The pattern itself calls for four solids, but I decided to mix this up with a little fabric for the Sierra collection by Bren Talavera and some Kona Snow, Pomegranate, Chartreuse and Caribbean.

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I was able to put it together by using strips for the Snow rather than peicing blocks. It worked out fine, required less sewing and when it was all quilted, it didn’t make any difference (imho) in how it looked.

I sent this to Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting PDX, one of my favorite peopl and an amazing longarm quilter. She’s been an integral part of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild and I was thrilled when she said she’d quilt it up for me. The only thing I asked for was a bit of girly, but not overboard and to hide some hearts in there somewhere to remind me daughter how much I love her. And that she did. 20131203-155712.jpg

It took me a week to stitch the binding on, but at last I tied off those last stitches, washed it and it got all crinkled and lovely. Isn’t it beautiful?! I really love how washing gives it a really texture, showing off all of Nancy‘s awesome quilting.

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Pattern Name: Concerto from Aria Lane
Time Required: 10 hours to piece the front + quilting
Rating: Beginner (start with the smaller size if you’re a newbie)
Would I Make It Again?: Yes!
What I Changed: I cut strips instead of squares for the Kona and used a mix of solids and prints, rather than only solids.

Birthday prep

I’ve got exactly one week.

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Cooling Down

I have lived most of my life in the Pacific Northwest where autumn rolls in dramatically with heavy rains and a sudden drop in temperatures. I’ve wrapped my annual body clock around that change, but here we are in October in SoCal and still wearing tank tops and getting sunburnt on the weekends. My body can’t seem to figure out that it actually is fall. But where’s the cold? the rain?

For example, this was last Sunday, October 6. High of 90°F at Disneyland. Seriously? This is fall?

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Of course, if you ask my fellow Californians, the ones who lived most of their lives here, they’ll tell you it is definitely fall. The temperatures are cooling down (into the 70s? oh brr!), the morning marine layer is more common, the leaves are beginning to drop. So I guess this is how fall rolls in down here, gently and with sunshine. I like it.

Quilt Market is just around the corner, though, along with both of my children’s birthdays, and into the holiday madness of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I needed something to convince me of these changing seasons, so I decided to make myself a scarf. Robert Kaufman Fabrics has these lovely new Mammoth Flannels which are soft and warm and, if you ask me, they are the perfect colors to get me in the mood for fall.

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I was able to get my hands on a small swatch of Carolyn Friedlander‘s new Botanics collection, a fabric  that just was calling out to be tagged up with the flannel. The color is Curry and it makes me want Indian food every time I look at it.  But I digress, back to making scarves…. I simply cut a couple of width of fabric strips (about 8″ wide), sewed them together, flipped it and topstitched. Bam! A scarf!

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Now I don’t really have an excuse to complain about the A/C being on high everywhere I go.  I don’t have to be cold in the grocery store anymore because I have a lovely new cotton flannel scarf.

It’s like having autumn wrapped snugly around my neck.

Elephants on Parade

One of the perks of living in SoCal is that lots of things happen here, including the first showing of the Elephant Parade in America. A fundraiser to help save the elephants in SE Asia, the show is spread out around Dana Point and culminates in auctioning the works of art in November.

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Each one is painted by a different artist or celebrity, most of whom I didn’t know.  Instead of worrying about the who/why of the show, the daughter and I just wandered around Dana Point Harbor and enjoyed the over-the-top nature of Orange County.

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Until we found this one. I have to admit, we were pretty excited to see one done by Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer. Okay, so maybe he didn’t do the art, but we’ll never know since someone was nice enough to rip the plaque off.  Whatevs, the art was super cute.

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Some were a little hippy-dippy (see below).

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But they were all pretty great in their own way and, as you can see, it was a beautiful day to just wander around outside.

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And lookie there, even the kid had fun. :)

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