Friday, December 5, 2008

And the winner is.....

Doesn't Mr. Impartial Judge look cute in his pjs?

And the winner is.....

That's Jacquie, of Tallgrass Prairie Studio! (in case you can't read upside down)

Thanks to everyone that played along! This was really fun for me to read all the comments, hear about what decorations you love and see that I do indeed have a few lurkers out there. :) Nice to meet you, friendly lurkers!

Jacquie, I'll be emailing you to get your mailing info. Congrats!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Cheer and a Giveaway

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I did. Atleast my bathroom scale says I did. I gained 2 whole pounds of Thanksgiving goodness.

And now I'm ready for Christmas. Down here in Houston we don't get the "dashing through the snow" or "walking through a winter wonderland" type weather. So we have to work harder to create that Christmas mood.

We learned that lesson after our first Christmas here came and went. We cleaned up the wrapping paper, looked around and wondered what went wrong and why we never really felt that same Christmas excitement. We decided that we hadn't had those first wintery clues that the holidays were coming and so we didn't give ourselves enough time to really let the holiday merriment sink in. Sure, we still enjoyed Christmas, but it just came and went way too fast without us realizing it.

This year, we hurried to get our decorations out. In fact, we got out some of them before Thanksgiving. Christmas isn't going to get away from us again this year!

And even though it still feels like it could be September or October or maybe even early spring outside, we are starting to feel the holiday spirit indoors with our tree trimmed, our banisters overflowing with fake pine garland and red and green all throughout the house. It's finally 'beginning to look a lot like Christmas' even in Houston.

Here is my one and only Christmas quilt (I need to get busy on another). I made it in 2007 from the Moda Roman Holiday collection of fabrics. I really like this quilt (even though it isn't hanging very straight at the moment- sorry about that). It makes me feel festive. And I think its really quite beautiful. In general, I don't buy quilt kits. Picking out the fabric is half the fun! But this one was so pretty and fun that I had to have it.

HAve you heard about the Give-away Day hosted by Sew-Mama-Sew?
Well, I'm not a part of it. I only heard about it last night.

But still, since I'm getting all into the Christmas mood, in honor of my Roman Holiday quilt and since it sounds fun, I thought I'd have a little giveaway too. The kit for this quilt had quite a bit of leftover fabric.

We're not talking yards and yards but if you like scraps, like I do, there is plenty here to play with. Some pieces are large and some are just little snippets. This is my give-away offering, some Roman Holiday scraps to help you make a cheery Christmas quilt or something else fun if you'd like.

Leave a comment and tell me about your favorite Christmas decoration- the one that makes you feel giddy and excited for the the holidays, and I'll enter your name into my little drawing. And your chances should be pretty good since I think I've only got about 5 readers. :)

Since I'm not officially a part of the Sew-Mama-Sew Give-away Day I'll give you more than one day. I'll draw a name on Friday morning at about 8 am Central time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Flea Market Dream

I like Flea Market Fancy. Little Blue Cottage is having a giveaway I would very much like to win. Go check it out if you must.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The urge to create has struck hard. I've been a little stressed lately about church and family responsibilities and have really just wanted to close myself up with just my fabric and the hum of my sewing machine. So every spare minute I've had lately has been devoted to a new quilt.

This is how I work:

Gather fabric from my stash.
Not all of these will make the final cut.

Have I ever mentioned that I like scrap quilts? Well, I really do. Playing with scraps just might be my favorite part of making a quilt. I love playing with the fabric to see how the color combinations will work.

And then make pinwheels. I'm making a fairly simple quilt here.
This one looks kinda patriotic.

This one felt very modern to me with the gray and the bright yellow. About as modern as I get, anyway. [side note: Thanks, Kristin, for this yellow and some other cool scraps that are making their way into my projects.]
Oh, and lots of polkda dots of course.

And some bananas, too. Even with the bananas, this block feels very Wonder Woman-ish to me. Anyone else see it?

Now, with 41 pinwheels made (yeah, I won't bore you with pictures of all of them), I'm going to add a little blue border around each one.

I'm really excited with how these are shaping up. I just LOVE seeing all these colors that do not perfectly match, come together in an exciting quilt.

More to come.... The creative urge hasn't left me yet so I hope to finish this one soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quilt Companionship

Hubby has been out of town almost all week long. Its been just me and the two kiddos home alone.

Really, it wasn't that bad. Until yesterday. And then suddenly, I'd had enough of being a single mom. Parenting is tough. Its much easier as a team.

I should clarify that the kids were really good this week. I didn't completely lose it or anything. I just was feeling worn down from giving and giving and giving all week and not having Hubby here. I need him not only as a helping hand but as my best friend and companion.

I love my kids and wouldn't trade being a stay at home mom for anything. But after a long day of staying at home working I need a little bit of refreshing adult interaction.

So this week I sought companionship from my fabric. I got a lot of work done. I'm not going to show pictures of my main project this week because its for Christmas.
But I also started something new. I love starting new projects.

I think I mentioned that my quilt group is starting another exchange. This time we are doing a two color quilt in blue and cream. The block is called Aunt Dinah and I love it. Here are a few of mine. I've got 5 done and 8 to go!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A few happy things

Some of my favorite things from the last few weeks:


Where have I been? I hadn't even heard about this movie! My hubbie surprised me and got this from Redbox last weekend thinking I would like it. It is chocked full of cuteness. I watched it twice in two days and am thinking its one I would like to own, especially since I have a little girl to share it with as she gets older.

One of my favorite things about the movie was seeing all the adorable little girl dresses and hats from the time period.

#2 My quilt wall

My long planned quilt wall is ready for display! I decided to go the easy curtain rod route. I got one that will accomidate both rings for short term displays and sewn on pockets for quilts up longer. As you can see from the picture, the rod is quite long so I can put up some of my bigger quilts. And the rod is unobtrusive enough to not bother me with a quilt of this size. I LOVE the color and character that a quilt on the wall adds to our family room. My sister, when she came over, remarked how much of a difference it makes in this space. Thanks for all of you that commented on how to execute this. Oh, and I did this all by myself! If you remember, I learned how to use the power drill a little while back and used my new skills to finish this project!

#3 Prejudiced No More!

I have to admit that I was reluctant to love this movie when I first saw it. I just didn't think a 2 hour movie could do justice to my absolute favorite love story. I love the Colin Firth version. Mostly because of Colin Firth, I think. But anyway, I just didn't think I could enjoy Keira Knightly's fast paced attempt to recreate the classic Pride and Prejudice.

After watching this movie once, I agreed that it was well done. I liked the more realistic sets and feel of this movie. But I still couldn't let go of my beloved BBC, Colin Firth infused, Pride and Prejudice.

Hmmm.. I guess you could say I was a little prejudiced against this new movie.

Fast forward to now. I watched this movie for the second time last week and boy, oh boy! My prejudices are all gone. This is such a beautiful movie. The love scenes are beautiful. The script is perfectly eloquent. The real emotions are appreciated. This is my new favorite movie.

#4 Quilts appreciated

What is that jumbled mess, you ask? Well, let me tell you. This is a picture of my quilts being appreciated, yet again by my kiddos. They love making tents in the family room. And what is better for that than a couple of large, homemade quilts? I love it when my work is appreciated.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Houston Quilt Fest

One of the perks of living in Houston, is the ability to go to the Houston Quilt Festival each fall. For the second year in a row, my mom came down to spend a quilty day at the festival with me. And this year my sister joined us also. Our little threesome walked and walked and oohed and aahed all day long. We saw all the booths and spent more pennies than I like to count. I spent less than last year, though so I feel like I didn't get too carried away.
Here are a few pics of my loot:

I got this Texas map hankie panel to make a quilt. The booth I got this from had it made up with bluebonnet fabric as a border and that's what I intend to do as well. I love this panel because 1) I'm a Texan 2) I love all things vintage looking and 3) We love maps in our family. My husband is a Geographer so its perfect for us.

I also fell in love with this Santa fabric from Judie Rothermel. I bought it for a vintage Christmas quilt but wouldn't this be adorable as Christmas pjs? I love these cheerful, chubby Santas!

I also bought some Hobbs batting at a great price, a little kit of fabric for an applique pattern I bought last year(so I can learn to hand applique someday) and these fat quarters. I've got several blue quilts planned so I NEEDED to keep an eye out for more blue. That's how it goes with quilt shopping, isn't it? You see something, love it and suddenly NEED it.

I saw Alex Anderson. She has such a nice look about her.

I realized as I was handing the money over for my Santa fabric that I was buying it from THE acutal Judie Rothermel (and her hubbie who was there running the booth). I LOVE all her reproduction stuff.

I probably saw several other 'famous' quilters and didn't realize it.

Makes me get all warm and fuzzy to have these little brushes with greatness. :)

Best of all, I was enjoying spending such a fun and inspiring day with my favorite ladies, my mom and sister. It is so much fun to share a hobby and a passion and its especially fun that I can share that with them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Joseph Smith Tribute Quilt

Another Finished Quilt! My 2008 completed quilts list is growing. Hooray! And this is a special one. This is my completed Joseph Smith Tribute Quilt. This pattern was designed in 2005 (by some very talented ladies- not me) to commemorate the 200th birthday of Joseph Smith, latter-day propehet of God, chosen to restore the true church of Jesus Christ.

He lived at a time of great religious excitement and confusion. At 14 years of age he was affected by the widespread religious revivals in New England and wondered which was the correct church to join.

“So great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was . . . to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. . . . In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” ( Joseph Smith—History 1:8, 10).

As Joseph sought truth among the different faiths, he turned to the Bible for guidance. He read, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” ( James 1:5). Because of this passage, Joseph decided to ask God what he should do. In the spring of 1820 he went to a nearby grove of trees and knelt in prayer. He described his experience: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” ( Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17)

(passages taken from

Joseph Smith saw God, the Father, and Jesus Christ. He was instructed not to join any of the churches, none of them had the fullness of Christ's gospel. It would be his responsibility to restore and reorganize Christ's true church, as it had been when He walked the earth a thousand years before. Joseph was the first prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

This quilt is made from 1800's reproduction prints and each block is designed to symbolize a part of his life. For example, the log cabin blocks at the top tell of how he came from humble beginnings and grew up in a small log cabin. The red stars symbolize the Savior Jesus Christ, who Joseph always testified of. The pink and brown block in the middle is a love knot symbolizing the love between Joseph and his devoted wife Emma. The brown, black and red block on the right symbolizes his death as a martyr.

This quilt is special to me because of what it symbolizes.

Normally, when I quilt its all about creating something of comfort and beauty. I was excited to make this one because not only is it beautiful but it also provided me a way to share my feelings and the life of Joseph Smith with my family.

Thanks for indulging me, blogland, by letting me share this quilt with all of you too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Binding Philosophy

I love sewing on binding. Many people see it as one more labor intensive step before the quilt is done. Not me. I like to think of it as a celebration at the end of a big project. I snuggle under my almost finished quilt and revel in the work of my hands while I add the finishing touch.

I especially love it when the binding is red.

Whenever I use red for binding I think of Mamie from Gone With the Wind. Isn't there something in Gone With the Wind about Mamie getting a red taffeta petticoat from Rhett Butler? She doesn't approve of him giving personal gifts to Scarlett but then he gives her a red taffeta petticoat and she can't resist it. He knows she likes the petticoat he gave to her because he can hear it swishing as she walks by. Whenever I add red binding to a quilt I think of it as a beautiful red petticoat barely peeking out.

Whenever possible, binding should be BOLD. It should be a crisp frame around your beautiful work of art. My other favorite choices for binding: stripes, polka dots (of course), leftover strips of scraps, orange, purple or really anything to add contrast.

My plans for tonight include catching up on my TV shows from the past week (Office, Chuck and a few others) with my hubbie and finishing up my Joseph Smith Quilt. I'll post pictures of the completed quilt later this week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quilt Display

I've got this big blank wall in my family room. I've purposefully kept it blank because I want to put a big quilt up on it.

For about the past year I've been trying to think what sort of quilt I wanted to make for this room. We spend a ton of time in here- its our tv room, playroom, reading room, computer room and basic multipurpose room. I want something colorful, fun, and lively. The quilt isn't supposed to be the focal point in the room but it will add a lot to the decor.

Its a year later and I still haven't produced the perfect quilt for this room.

And then I had a brainstorm! I don't know why I didn't think of this before. While I continue to muse over the 'perfect quilt' possibilities I need to get a quilt rack of some sort and display my other quilts. And then once I produce the 'perfect quilt' for this room I'll have the means to display it already.

So my question is... what is the best way to display quilts on a wall? A curtain rod of some sort? Those fancy new quilt holders that somehow pinch the top of your quilt all the way across and hold it in place?

Please comment and let me know what methods you've tried and what works best.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm not very politically savvy.

I don't watch very much news.

I let my husband keep track of the stock market.

I get bored watching debates.

I get sick of mud-slinging and Washington Fakes who just try to tell you what you want to hear.

But I vote. And for me, its mainly about just a few issues- issues that are more important than any other.

I'm not Catholic (as you can see on my sidebar). But I saw this on a friend's blog and thought it was spot on!

This is what its all about: Life, Faith and Family.

I'm voting for McCain.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I was browsing through quilt magazines at Kroger the other day and was surprised to see this:
in this magazine
does it look familiar? well, how about a closer look:
and then compare (from my post on May 26, 2008):
make mine scrappy, turn it on point and add sashing and you've basically got the magazine quilt.
i dont know this designer but we must have been on almost the exact same wave length last spring, or something.
i'm happy to know that i can design a publishable quilt. maybe if i get some connections in the magazine world i can get one of my quilts published someday.

i took a little vacation from working on this quilt for a few months. but i have plans for it and hope to get it finished soon. i've gotten more than half of the blocks done and am really excited to see how its shaping up. i still like it better in all purples and cream.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quilt Exchanges

With so much talk on here about my beloved Loch Lomond Quilt Group I thought I should do one post with all the group exchange quilts we've had so far. So here goes.

Our first exchange (2004): Shoofly. For this one we exchanged fabric cut but not assembled. There were no requirements for the fabric except that we provided enough colorful and white fabric to make 4 shoofly blocks. Some people's fabric all matched and some people's fabric was completely scrappy. The combination made this fun. This was one of my first quilts. Its very primitive in its construction and quilting. But I love it. The fabric I chose for this one is the purple in the 2nd row 3rd column. This was the first time I'd bought 30's fabric and I've been hooked ever since. Everyone assembled their blocks however they chose.

2nd exchange (2006): House Blocks. This time everyone sewed together their own blocks before exchanging. We gave everyone the house pattern and let them choose whatever colors they wanted. Everyone was supposed to have yellow windows though, as one unifying element. I LOVE how this turned out. The greens, cream and yellow I used for the sashing, stars and fence were all from my stash and it made me so happy to be able to use them up in such a pleasing way. The dark green is from my son's nursery curtains and crib skirt. Again, everyone assembled their quilts however they wanted.

3rd exchange (2007): Brown fabric. For this exchange we got together and decided upon one fabric that we all liked. From there we could choose any block we wanted as long as it coordinated with the brown fabric (in my border) that we'd chosen. This exchange gave everyone a lot of creativity to choose their fabrics and their pattern. And again, everyone assembled their exchanged blocks however they wanted to. I probably would never have picked out the brown fabric on my own but I love it and how this quilt turned out.

4th exchange (2007): 9 patch. This time everyone had to make 6 inch civil war reproduction 9 patches to trade. We drew for colors and then chose our own fabrics. I let these sit around for about a year not knowing how I wanted to put them together but I've finally gotten the top finished (just this past week) and am excited about it.

5th exchange (2008): Praire Paisley. Patriotic Star Blocks we just exchanged and I showed on my last post.

And there is already talk of another exchange! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paisley Exchange

My Utah quilt group took the opportunity of us all getting together for the quilt show to do a block exchange. Last spring we decided to do another exchange using only Prairie Paisley fabrics and any star pattern (of your choice) in a 12" block to exchange.

Here are the results:

I was so excited to get these blocks. I think this is our best exchange yet. Perhaps because we have matured as a group, these blocks were all fairly challenging patterns and were all very well executed.

My block is the third down on the left side- the one with the blue star within the red ring. I love this pattern.

So now I just have to decide how to put them all together. Any ideas?

This looks fun! I love scraps. I absolutely LOVE quilts with lots of white. So I'm playing. Go here for more info: chickpea studio