Monday, April 28, 2008

A Big Thanks to Blog World

I just wanted to post real quick about how fun this blogging thing is. I can't believe how much inspiration is out there and how wonderfully easy it is to get positive feedback and share ideas.

I love the show and tell aspect of it all. How fun is it to be able to show off something you are proud of! I can show off my quilts to my husband and kids and they appropriately praise me and my quilts, but I know that fellow quilters can appreciate them a little differently.

I equally love the opportunity to show off something I'm proud of and to get some friendly comments. When I first started this blog (uh, a few weeks ago), I'd check it almost every hour to see if I was getting comments. My husband must have thought I was a little silly to get so excited about each and every comment. I'd giddily run upstairs (he works from home) and tell him I'd gotten another one, who it was from and the nice things they said. Thank you, bloggers!

And now about the inspiration that is out there. Where to begin?! I can (and do) spend hours looking at beautiful quilts made by people from all over the place. And what's more, these people offer suggestions, helpful hints and sometimes free patterns. Another big thanks, bloggers!

While thinking about all the bloggie goodness that is out there, I thought that it might be fun to share some of my favorite finds every once in awhile.

So for today I'm going to start with my three favorite finds from about the past week.

1. This is such a good blog by the sweetest gal named Nanette and her daughters. (I haven't figured out where Freda came from.) They post on a regular basis about QUALITY stuff. I think that Nanette is one of those people that really has the gift of color choice. Check out the cute quilts. One that my sister and I have already committed to make together: I love simple quilts made of squares.

2. Crazy Mom Quilts new quilt along. I have had the priviledge of participating in several quilt alongs with girl friends from my old neighborhood and I LOVE them. I have never participated in an online one but this girl is really tempting me. Look how cute this quilt is! That really sounds fun.

3. And lastly Nicole over at Sister's Choice has really inspired me to get going on a two color quilt. I don't know if she's seriously considering doing some sort of challenge/quilt along but if so, I'm definitely in. I've been thinking about doing a blue and white quilt for about a year or so now and there is a big bare spot on my family room wall that is calling out for a warm, blue and white quilt.

Have a Happy Day, Blog World! Thanks for the inspiration.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

where this is going

Here's a teeny shot of what I decided to do for the little boy quilt.

This project has been so quick. I love making baby quilts! Its so nice to be able to start and finish a project in about a week (more or less). My little boy does NOT need another quilt but I think he's going to get one. This one will probably be hung on his wall. His room has been in need of some decoration. My other decoration attempts (spelling out his name and hanging a map) have failed because he decided to 'redecorate' on his own and torn them down. Hopefully this quilt will meet his approval and he'll let me keep it on the wall. Or I'll just have to make sure its 3 year old proof and will stay put. Hopefully I can get this finished and quilted this next week and then I can post shots of it up in his room next weekend. [If I type it I'm committing myself to getting it done!]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Color Selection

I struggle with color choices. I LOVE so many colors. I have a hard time narrowing down my choices and then feel like I'm getting too rainbowy. So then I swing too far in the opposite direction and end up with very little color variation. Take my house, for example. My family room is all beige and brown and blah. I'm afraid to let myself introduce a little bit of color for fear of going too far and getting mis-matchy.

The last two quilts I've made have been very subdued in color. First of all, my snowflake quilt, which I am happy with, is monotone. And before that, I finished a quilt I bought as a kit called Buttercream Frosting. This quilt, which I'm happy with also, has a very warm and snuggley feel about it. Its wonderful to snuggle under on the couch, but its not really very colorful. Well, I guess it has color but they are subdued colors.

[I hate that I'm introducing this quilt in a little bit of a negative way. I really do like this quilt. It has such a warm and comforting feel to it when I snuggle under it. :) I guess that's one of my deciding factors for a quilt's quality. Does it evoke warm feelings? After all, quilts are supposed to be warm. ]

So now, I'm really in the mood to create something bright and bold. I've pulled most of these fabrics from my stash and added a few others from the quilt store down the road. I'm planning on making a little boy or baby boy quilt (either for a friend's baby or if my 3 year old likes it, for him). Its going to be graphic with modern, chunky log cabin type blocks. So what do you think of these colors? Should I limit my selection to just one of each color or go more scrapy with several of each?

Monday, April 21, 2008

On Being Domestic

I love being domestic. Uh... wait, scratch that. I hate housework. So, ok, I love pretending to be domestic. I love projects like canning and quilting; doing big things that make it look like I'm domestic. My bathrooms are due for a good scrub, but I put that off, and look at this beautiful strawberry jam I made! This beautifully colored goopy mess tastes glorious on biscuits.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Snow in Houston

Here's the result of many hours spent laboring over the sewing machine over the past several months. This isn't the best photo (sorry-you probalby won't ever find great photography on this blog), and its not ironed because I've got a sick baby and only had time to put the borders on today. I'm always anxious to show off all my piecing work when I get a top finished so I hardly ever wait to have it quilted before the show and tell.

I like to challenge myself and the feathered star block certainly was a challenge. I'm very happy with how this quilt has turned out. The original idea was to use an icy blue, white and the feathered star block to create a beauitful snowy quilt. Last winter I lived in Utah. Now we live in Houston. There will be no more snowy winters for me. But with this quilt I can remember the beauty of large snowflakes slowly falling while I'm sitting outside on my patio eating BBQ on New Years. :) I have to brag a little bit about Houston winters because there isn't much to brag about our summers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

pillow experiment #2

And here's the star pillow. This one has a box shape, if you can't tell from the photo. Pattern to come.
This afternoon both my little munchkins had new pillows to sit on as they watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I love it when my work is appreciated!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

something else

This week I've been doing something a little bit different. Awhile back I saw the cutest little red ticking star shaped pillow in a pricey home decor store. I was really tempted to get it for my little boy's room but my friend who I was with said, "no, you could make that easy." so i passed and its been in my mind ever since. so this week i bought some blue striped ticking and have starts pillow making. the star one is still unmade but i'm pretty happy with how this other one went together. this is essentially a quilt block with piping and a back with an opening in the middle (to insert pillow form). second time around i would make it to fit a little more snugly. very potterybarn-ish i think. and i like pottery barn. i made it for my little boy's room but i think it may just stay in our family room for awhile. he can enjoy it here too. :) this was a fun project to start and complete in a few hours. once i get a better hang of this technology stuff i'll put a pattern for this pillow on here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Works in Progress

I just added a quilts in progress list over on the side and to my surprise, the list is not very long. I guess I've been in finish up mode for the past several months and have recently finished several quilts. But you know what? I'm feeling the need to something new and exciting.
The feathered snowflake quilt that I've got in progress was a big challenging and time consuming project, and I loved it. Since finishing everything but the border, I have started another quilt- the candy pinwheel one, and I'm not so sure about it. It isn't stretching me or challenging me in quite the same way so now I'm having second thoughts about it. I like the fabrics. I like the blocks, but this one isn't wowing me yet. Hopefully once its completed I'll like it more, but I still don't think it will have the wow- factor that I like. Oh, maybe I'm just being overly critical because the snowflakes took me about a gazillion hours to make and these are going together much faster. Here's a sneak peek.

Friday, April 4, 2008

What kind of Quilter am I?

So just to be clear, I'm a completely old-fashioned, untrained (or atleast partly trained by friends and family and then self trained), scrapy, not into the latest and greatest tools, unprofessional type quilter. I love to see all the new patterns, fabric and methods for quilting but I don't feel like they are always neccessary to creating beautiful quilts.
I'm not a perfectionist. My points aren't always sharp and my seams sometimes don't match up. But I like it that way. I could either go crazy trying to create a 'perfect in every particular' quilt or I could enjoy the process.
I don't think there is one way to quilt. I like that there are many different ways to get the same thing done. Just look at all the different ways to make half-square triangles! I often laugh to myself when I hear others go on about the only way to do something.
I like to look at lots of other quilt blogs who amaze and inspire me. I'll readily admit that I'm quite inexperienced in comparison. I'm not going to pretend that I have much to add to the quilting world at this point. So this blog is going to be about my journey as a quilter; about me matching fabrics, trying new quilt blocks and enjoying trying my hand at designing a few patterns for myself.
I'm actually feeling a little bit nervous as I start this blog. I don't want the world to think I'm setting myself up as an expert. I'm not. I'm just a regular gal who likes to quilt.
I made the quilt up top a few years ago for a Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum's Aunt Grace contest. It was a fun one to design and make. I love 30s fabric. Its just so light and cheerful.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Antique Beauties

This past week I took a trip out to Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas State Park with my sister and our kids. The little kiddos enjoyed seeing a working historical farm full of chickens, cows, and piglets. The bluebonnets are in bloom and the scenery couldn't have been more beautiful.
I stumbled upon a few beautiful quilts there on the beds in the historical farmhouse. Please excuse the poor photography. But hopefully you can appreciate the beauty of these antique quilts.
The history of quilting is part of the allure for me. I love being involved in a process that has been around for centuries. I love thinking that millions of other women have felt the same joy in creating something beautiful out of simple fabric- mostly scraps. I love that quilts are a lasting functional piece of art that has not only brought warmth and comfort to loved ones for centuries, they have also captured a little bit of their creater amongst their stitches. I feel connected with my own ancestors and culture when I see old quilts and when I work in my own home trying to create something of my own. It's a beautiful thing, don't you think?