Author Archives: Teresa

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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


First day jitters

It’s been a summer of change for us: some good, some bad. But today marked the official end of summer vacation for the daughter as she headed back to school. 20130910-233750.jpgBut it’s different this year with a new home in another state and a whole new set of expectations to try to live up to. We had a rough start to it and I can only hope that things improve as she learns the ropes.

It’s hard being a mother, perhaps particularly so a single mother, sending your kid into a situation you know will be traumatic. My girl has a tough shell, but like all of us she’s tender and more than anything I want to be close enough to take her hand and tell her it’ll be okay, that I believe in her every minute, every hour of every day.

I know she’s wonderful and funny and smart and pretty. I just want her to know it, too.

Exploring the neighborhood

We finally got into an apartment a couple weeks ago, but I haven’t had much time to explore the local area. The daughter isn’t one for walking or bike riding, unlike me, so we’ve done most of the discovery of Orange County through car windows. Today I decided to head out on my own to check out the Aliso Creek Trail that runs behind our apartments.

For only being out there less than an hour, it was quite an adventure:

Aliso Creek Trail

Aliso Creek Trail




Now if I could just get the daughter outside.

Getting to Cali Day #1

With three days to make it from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California, I decided to take the long route. All the guys, friend and family alike, thought I should take I-5 all the way to L.A., but the girls all agreed: take the pretty route.


The daughter and I headed west from my parents’ house, driving along until we hit Lincoln City. We had to stock up on some sweets for the ride, including  a bit of taffy (but not the butter flavor–ew!) and sea foam, my very favorite.



The clouds rolled in even more once we headed south toward Newport and stayed with us for the rest of the day. 20130630-121410.jpg


I love road trips and always want to stop and take pictures, but usually I’m not the one in control. This time I was in the driver’s seat, literally, and stopped whenever it suited me. See a funky old building? Pull over. 20130630-121430.jpg


Amazed at the heavy fog? Take a picture. Catch s20130630-121442.jpg


Catch sight of a dinosaur peeking out from the fog?! Stop and take a slew of pics! (This was seriously the coolest thing we saw along the way and you, too, can visit if you head down U.S. 101: Oregon Prehistoric Gardens near Gold Beach, Oregon.)20130630-121457.jpg


We didn’t make it much further that night. The fog was heavy, the windows were making it hard to see and my contacts were bugging my eyes. With a quick search through Yelp, we found a hotel in Brookings and crashed for the night…just the two of us on an adventure.


Making the move.

Sometimes I need a good swift kick in the pants and now seems to be one of those times. To be honest, I’ve had a somewhat rough go of it the last eight months, wondering just what the point was if I couldn’t have the things that made me happy. Then I saw this on Instagram and clung to it:

I knew what wasn’t making me happy but wasn’t quite sure what would. I re-started the Sewing for Orphans campaign and got some sponsors, made more dresses, cheered on other sewists and sent more clothes. That whole project can only make me smile, really, so it is a great thing for me to do and I’m just gonna keep on doing it as long as there are orphans to clothe and I can get the help to ship the dresses, shorts, tees and more to them.

But I needed more. A good shake-up at life. So with a little impetus, I decided to move to southern California to be near my little sister. The whole thing took about a month to figure out and then it was a done deal.

I asked my dad to fix up my little car enough to get us there. Instead he found me a new(er) car and loaned me the money to get it now.


The little white Escort, affectionately known as Ooben thanks to its license plate, has gotten me through a lot over the past nine years, but it was time to retire. So now I have this cute little silver Focus. Totally basic, but I love it.

Then I quit my job at the trade magazine and instead spend the next week teaching these sweethearts to sew in the morning …


and packing everything I own into a storage unit in the evening …


By the time I closed up the storage unit yesterday morning, there wasn’t an inch to spare. It’s stacked high and all the way to the door.And there was still stuff I couldn’t fit in–my desk, our TV, dressers, couch. We’ll be replacing all of it except the TV, which we managed to fit into the back of our car. :)

Then we hit the road, my daughter and I, for a three-day drive to Los Angeles, first along the Oregon Coast, through Sacramento and down I-5 until we reach my sister’s home sometime on Saturday evening.

20130628-071238.jpgIt’s an adventure and it makes me hopeful and happy.


Quilt In Public Day – June 15


Don’t forget to take it outside tomorrow!

June 15 is Quilt in Public Day in Europe, but there’s no reason not to celebrate stateside, as well.

Join me in taking your stitches out in public. Quilt proud, quilt public! :)

Don’t forget to tag your pics on Instagram, Twitter and now on Facebook! #quiltinpublic