Monday, October 14, 2013


Wow! This last week was CRAZY! Sorry I didn't get to posting the winner of First Steps to Free Motion Quilting until today. So with no further ado....
The winner is:

My biggest fear with FMQ is I'd ruin a quilt it took me hours & hours to make. Thanks for sharing your FMQ samples & thanks for the chance to win.

Congratulations Joyce! I've sent you an email and you can look forward to reading Christina's book and learning all about free motion quilting!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway!

I am thrilled and honored to be today's stop on the blog tour for Christina Cameli's new book, First Steps to Free Motion Quilting! Even if Christina wasn't a dear friend, member of Portland Modern Quilt Guild, kick-butt quilter, and all-around amazing person I would have reviewed this book for you because it is That Good.

I have always admired people who can do free motion quilting and do it well. It always seemed like such an unattainable skill to me. Then Christina taught at PMQG about fmq on your home machine and I was hooked. Still nervous about screwing up a big project but I loved the personality and individuality free motion designs could give to quilts.

This book not only teaches the basics for learning how to free motion quilt but also has a bunch of great smaller projects to get you practicing. Even this amazing quilt is done just one square at a time - and is a new-to-me take on quilt as you go - so you don't need to worry about practicing on a super-beloved project right at the start.

Christina shares her wealth of knowledge about free motion quilting as well as lots of tips and tricks to help you feel comfortable as you work on this skill. And the projects are all simple to construct so that the focus can be getting in that fmq practice time.

I've always been a huge fan of leaves and branches so I really loved the placemat project featuring botanical designs.

I followed Christina's advice about practicing and doodling first, just to get a feel for how the design worked.

Then I got to stitching on simple placemats pieced from scraps from my last table runner project.

I even tried some of the pebble designs because, you know, why not!

And this is the back of the first practice piece/placemat! Seriously! I totally did that!!! High five!

I moved on to an all-over branching design on the next piece and L. O. V. E. it. This is how far I got before my bobbin ran out and made me stop and take a break.

I truly thought this was a skill beyond my grasp, but Christina's book is so encouraging and inspiring that I know I will be adding much more free motion quilting to my work from now on. In addition to all of the fundamentals and the practice projects, there's a GREAT section in the back on troubleshooting.

Does all this make you want to get your hands on a copy? Because Stash Books has generously offered one for me to give away! Just comment on this post and tell me what your biggest fear is about free motion quilting and I'll randomly choose a winner next Wednesday, October 9. If the winner is in the US they may choose a paper or e-book. An international winner will receive an e-book.

Check out what others are saying about Christina's book here:

9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog 
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts 
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie 
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty 
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio 
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy 
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts 
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts 
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did 
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps

Friday, August 2, 2013

Another one.

Are you tired of my table runners yet?

Because I've had the fabric for this one set aside for, um, 2 years. Seriously.

What on Earth took me so long? It was a piece of cake to stitch up, quilt, and bind - not to mention a joy to work with these beautiful fabrics.

The whole piece is very organic - no measuring, no real pattern. The quilting is random not-so-straight lines. I love it.

And I'm very pleased that I have enough scraps left over to make a set of place mats! Sweet!

This summer is flying by and I can hardly believe that school starts up in only a month. But if I'm being perfectly honest then I have to admit that I'm looking forward to having a bit more time for sewing and being creative. I seem to still have the expectation that summer is this amazing expanse of freedom, but really it's the kids who get the freedom. The parents work harder in the summertime! I'm definitely not complaining and I love my kids like crazy, but this was a hard truth to wrap my brain around.

Maybe I'll have something OTHER than a table runner to share next time!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer sewing

Please tell me that you've seen Lori Holt's new line for Riley Blake, Bake Sale??? It's ridiculously adorable.

I stitched up this sweet little runner using Bake Sale and some of the blenders from Happy Go Lucky and I love how bright and playful it is. This is where I must confess that sewing 2 1/2 squares of fabric together makes me stupid happy!

The black gingham binding frames the cheerful prints nicely. I made enough squares and binding to put together a few potholders as well.

The backing is a green cherry print from Cosmo Cricket from a couple years back.

This is about the only kind of sewing I seem to have time for this summer, between heading out to the park, swimming lessons, ballet for the girl-child, and piano for the boy-child. Of course, there's also lots of time being spent picking berries, swinging in the yard, reading, and making tasty messes in the kitchen so I can't complain. I do have a new quilt rolling around in my brain so we'll see if I can make any headway on that during the rest of break or if it will need to wait until school starts up again. What are you up to?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Patriotic table runner

Life has been INSANE! No time for larger projects like actual quilts but I have managed to get some smaller  items checked off my to do list. One was this table runner for Fourth of July (or any other patriotic holiday that needs a little red, white, and blue pizzazz).

I'm a little embarrassed by how long this has been on the list and how little time it actually took to make. Isn't that always the way?

The fabrics are from the DS Quilts collection at Joann's Binding is kona red. Patchwork and some wonky gold stars make up the front. The back is simple patchwork with a couple of larger strips thrown in for variety.

I'm very happy with how this turned out and I love how it looks on our table. Now I'm thinking it would be fun to use the rest of this fabric to make a cute bunting to hang on the deck railing!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

Has it really been that long since I've blogged? Time sure flies!

Here's a little of what I've been up to over the past month or so:

Added this fella to our family.

His name is Rufus and he's about 3-1/2 months old now. Huge. Lab/maybe mastiff mix. If his mix isn't mastiff, it's probably Anatolian shepherd. He's awesome and quite a hand full! We've managed to get him all potty-trained, now if we could just figure out how to get him to stop biting and jumping up on us then all would be perfect. He seems to be under the impression that he's a tiny little lap dog, but he's pure muscle and VERY energetic!

Owen turned 7, which is hard to believe. He wanted an outer space birthday party so we made a rocket pinata and let the kids decorate their own alien cupcakes. It was really fun, but I'll think twice before having another party at my home on a rainy day with so many little boys!

Bailey graduated from preschool and is on summer break. We've been part of our wonderful cooperative preschool for four years now, so it was a bittersweet celebration. 

Owen has been rounding out his year with some fun school projects, more lost teeth, and a spring music concert. His last day of first grade is next week and then we will have all of summer to enjoy!

I was lucky enough to attend Quilt Market last month! It was right here in Portland and was a ton of fun. I had never been to market before and it was overwhelming and beautiful and inspiring! Definitely looking forward to a few specific lines coming out in the year ahead. Better start prepping my wallet!

Looking forward to spending a bit more time in this space and get my blogging schedule back on track! Hope you are all enjoying your spring and are gearing up for a creative summer!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Quilts

I have some dear friends who were recently in need of quilts. The first was made for a friend going through a divorce after almost twenty years of marriage. The second for a friend who just had major surgery (and is doing swimmingly now!).

After agonizing over color palettes and fabric choices, I finally decided that I didn't care if the quilts matched their homes, these ladies needed happy quilts!

Bright and cheerful colors were pulled off my shelves and put into action. Both quilts were made using roughly the same pattern of patchwork squares-in-squares and all fabric except the backings were from my stash. I cannot tell you how good it feels to be using fabric instead of just accumulating it!

This is the quilt I made for my friend who had surgery. Even though we live across the country from each other, she's like a sister to me and we share years of memories. Each fabric in her quilt was chosen especially for her. We used to work together in Central California, where there are lots and lots of strawberry fields. So, naturally, I had to include some texty strawberry fabric.

One of her favorite colors is red and this is my all-time favorite red print from Alexander Henry's Farmdale collection.

We both used to work as stage managers and have been known to be quite passionate about office supplies, especially ones we used frequently in our work. This yellow print reminds me of those page reinforcement stickers that we used to need for our prompt books.

And the backing is another Alexander Henry print. The snails are cute as can be and a gentle reminder to slow down and enjoy all that life has to offer.

The quilting is just an all-over stippling and I must say, it was really nice to do some free-motion work after all of the straight lines I've been using lately.

I'm also in the midst of a quilt for *gasp* myself! It's provided some challenges but I can't wait to share it here. Hopefully, it will be ready for some snapshots in the next week or so.

Thank you so much for your good thoughts and words of encouragement regarding my anxiety disorder. I really appreciate the notes and comments left here and sent to me privately. Progress is slow but steady and I'm just trying to accept each day as it comes, whether good or bad. If nothing else, this experience has taught me compassion. Everyone struggles with something - and that something may be obvious or it may not. The important thing is to be there for each other. And I thank you for being here for me. xoxox

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Well well well

Look who's writing a blog post!

The new year has brought some new challenges as well as new opportunities. One of the things that a few of you know (though not many) is that I have a panic/anxiety disorder. I joke that it developed after years of being a successful stage manager where I used up my allotment of stress management tools. I was experiencing some good progress but was completely derailed at the end of 2012. The shootings at the mall and in Connecticut, my husband being let go from his job (leading to a lawsuit which is another level of stress), my mother in law passing away, our neighbor's home being broken into - these all kind of hit me like a truck and made it hard for me to accept the world in general as a safe place to be. So the anxiety pretty much took over to the point of it being difficult for me to leave the house.

But things are getting back on track now. I have a wonderful and caring doctor who is helping me and a supportive counselor who is giving me some great tools for managing the condition as well as good friends who keep me smiling. And then there was the Madrona Road challenge by the Modern Quilt Guild.

It might sound a bit hokey, but this challenge was just what I needed to get my creative mojo going again. Violet Craft is the designer of this beautiful line of fabric and she also happens to be a member of my local modern quilt guild. She's a lovely person and I'm a huge fan of Madrona Road.

Some of the flowers in her prints reminded me of dresdens so that's where I went with this project. The line includes a great text print as well and I pulled a few phrases out that really represent to me some of what I've been going through.

The full text on the mini reads: Onwards and experience. She tied all the loose threads together, sometimes unravelling again and again. Stitch by stitch she pieced her soul together.

So, that's the update on me. Thank you to Violet for your beauty, talent, creativity, and words. And thank you to the Modern Quilt Guild for sponsoring this challenge.