Monday, July 30, 2012

The Gardener

Hi fans! I know you have all been searching the internet and wondering where I have been this past year! Well, I am back, but not because I have been quilting and have a finished project to update you on, unfortunately. I do have an almost done project, but the baby came before his blanket was finished and what they say is true. You have no more time for hobbies once a baby is in the picture! But I do hope that I will be able to squeeze a minute or two in here and there to finish and will post pics then.

But thankfully, I actually have had MORE time for reading since our little bundle of joy arrived. And one of my favorite authors right now is Kristen Randle. I literally found a book of hers in a used book store this past year. In an effort to try new things I picked it up because the title and the back cover sounded interesting. Reading it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of the whole pregnancy! I read it twice. In a row. I am not sure if it was all the hormones that made it just so absolutely wonderful for me, but I think anyone who loves reading should read it immediately.

But that is not what this post is about! This post is about her new book The Gardener. The Gardener is a must read for any one who has teenaged children or who works with teenagers on a regular basis. It deals with numerous serious issues that kids today face. But it is done is such a lovely and real way, and is laced with humor and mystery and wonderful character development.

The Gardener is the story of a girl who has moved to a new town and a new house. The house comes with a Gardener. Is he good? Is he evil? Just like in real life, nothing is quite what it seems. And our heroine has to figure that out...sometimes the hard way. What I love about the book is that the characters are so real. They are people you know, not cliches or exaggerations.

Kristen is a kindred spirit to me, even though I don't know her. There is just something so familiar in her perspective on the world. I just love entering into her writing and seeing life from the eyes of her characters.

One more thing I really love is that she incorporates quilts into her books. In this story, the heroine's mother is a quilter. They spend time together in the book creating quilts. It is lovely.

So please go out and grab a copy of one of her books. Several are available on Kindle. Some other wonderful titles are Breaking Rank, The Lady and the Fool, and Slumming. I think all are considered YA fiction, so read one to feel young!! They are all a lot of fun.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another little lappy quilt

Well, I had such fun with Scrappy Lappy that I have continued the lappy tradition. Unfortunately I took no pictures of the one I made for my new nephew, but I have now made a third little lap quilt, and I thought I would post pics.

This one really is quite small. About 2 feet by 4 feet. But it is really cute. I used more triangles and pin wheels in the peicing. And I used lots of colorful fabric. I am running out of some of my favorite scrap peices, but I had enough of many of them to finish this little quilt.

The back is flannel and jean. I love using jean fabric from old pairs of jeans that I had lying around. There is variation in every peice.

I also put batting into this one, so it is a little thicker than the other lappy quilts I have made.

I am not sure what I am going to do with this one. I had intended to give it to a widow of a soldier from Columbia. She was 9 months pregnant when her husband died. So very sad. But once it was done, I just didn't think it was good enough for someone so worthy. So I don't know what I am going to do. But it is a cute little quilt anyway.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Halloween costume.

So, for the first time in a long time I dressed up for Halloween this year. And of course I could not do anything simple, I had to do something sewing based. I called myself the "Pixelated woman". I don't have a final shot of it, but it turned out OK. I even had make up to try to make my face look pixelated.

This concept was something I found online, but it was much harder to execute than I thought it would be. I did have fun with it, but it took forever, and not everyone "got" it. :)

Anyway, this project took up a lot of the fall, so I thought it was worth noting here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book bag for 2011

So I got more than one cool gift this year! Along with my sewing machine I also got a Kindle. And although I got a nice hardback green case for it, I started thinking about ways to protect it. And as I realized how often I was going to want it with me, I began to think that a carrying bag was a good idea. I also got myself a planner (purple!) and a journal (orange) for the new year, both in the same size as my Kindle.

So the logical conclusion was to design a bag that could hold all three...and of couse one custom made to match the books I would be putting into it!!
So I just went through the scraps I had in my leftovers bag. And sure enough, I had some great options. So I quickly put together the exterior.

But I did not want to just have a thin cloth bag. I wanted a little more strength and lining. so I decided to line it in jean fabric and to add two pockets by using the back pockets of the jeans I used. So inside the bag I have two very sturdy pockets that were totally pre-made. Talk about up-cycling! It turned out so cool on the inside. I keep a pen and pencil in the pocket, and I have not had them fall out yet.

I then sewed a button at the top and sewed a hair band into the other side. To close it I just loop the band around the button. Works great.

So I have been carrying my journal, planner and Kindle in this bag. And I really like it. Matchy Matchy-ness makes me happy. :) I think it is great. If you want one, let me know and I will make you whatever colors you need for your books.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New machine, new quilt, just for my Mom Rani

I have so many quilts to blog about from the past 6 months! but due to the limitations of what pics I have available, I am going to start with the most recent and work backward!

So for Christmas this year I got a beautiful new sewing machine! Oh, how technology has changed in the 12-15 years since I got my reliable little White (pictured)! The machine needs a post of its own, but I wanted to show the first quilt that I have made on it, from piecing to quilting to binding.

The machine was a gift from my Mom in law, and she let me pick it out, which was so fun. I have never done so much research! So I wanted my first project to be for her.

Funny enough, my mom Betsy gave me most of the fabrics I used. I just did every square different, but in complementary colors. It was fun being creative.

I was able to use multiple new functions on my new machine. I used embroidery stitches on several of the blocks, which added just a pretty little detail that I never got to add before. I also used a free flowing stitch to quilt the whole thing. It took a while to get used to, so it was far from perfect, but my steadiness improved and I look forward to working with it more. I didn't get a picture of the quilted and binded final project, but I will try to add that. I also found a great backing fabric, even though I was at the store without any of my blocks to match to. I was relieved that it worked!!

My mom Rani was surprised that I got it done so fast, but it was easy with the new machine. And so much fun. I think people are probably tired of getting quilts from me, but I so enjoy making them that I don't foresee stopping any time soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

My sister in law makes good...

Good quilts that is! She is a natural! a savant! But seriously, her work is so lovely. So I am posting some pictures here of what she made for my brother's birthday this year. She really went through the whole process. It began with one good fabric. I love quilts that start that way. You find something you love, or something that speaks to you, or something that means something to someone. That latter is what happened for her. She found a great fabric that would be perfect for my brother, but then what? Well, you have to find a pattern and other fabrics to go with it.

So she came to visit me with her fabric packed secretly away, and asked me what to do next. She we took a trip to the Quilting Frame. We looked through all kinds of colors. I recommended a square based pattern, like an Irish Chain. That was my first pattern, and it was easy, yet beautiful. I love that pattern. When I do yoga moves that require balance, now, I focus on the Irish chain, letting it wind through my mind as I try to keep one leg up and one down.

So she decided on the Irish Chain and picked some beautiful fabrics. We slipped into my work room before she left and used my cutters to get her pieces cut and ready for her to take home and sew. Which she did. She sewed and would call me and we would chat about the process. It was fun. And in the end, she created a beautiful quilt. 

This was so wonderful to me. I did have tears in my eyes when I saw her beautiful work. And she created something that will last, that will warm her family, and will give comfort. And it will be like a story, a memory, of how it is made and what it means. There is love in that quilt. And I love that.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I was looking through some photos this week and thinking about inspiration.
So many things can bring inspiration. It may be a color, or a contrast between two colors. Also, the way colors fall together or balance each other. Shades and shadow are so important too.

It may be a pattern, or a line. Sometimes it is the small  pattern of a block, or the larger pattern of the way the blocks look when put together. Quilts, like flowers, can be extremely complex, but sometimes it is the most simple pattern or color that gives the longest lasting impression of beauty.

Sometimes we don't even see the beauty right in front of us, and sometimes we stand too close, or too far away to see it. Anything can inspire if our eyes are open.

I know this post isn't extremely earth shattering, just a gentle reminder and a chance for me to post some pretty pics.