31 August, 2010

Quilting Again

Finally, I started a new quilt.

On Saturday I needed a mental health break, so I ignored the laundry, the dishes, and even my own hangover, to quilt. I got a bunch of cutting done after playing with fabric combinations. This is where I started.

Do you remember this inspiration?

27 August, 2010


I'm not really sure how to explain it, but I'm kind of digging pink lately.  I find myself drawn to pink images, and especially pink fabric. Maybe because it feels indulgently girly? Or simply because it makes me smile.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, courtesy of David Lebovitz. It tastes exactly like my summer berries and cream.

Binding one of the last doll quilts. Thrilled with that Amy Butler as a binding.

Hanging on to late summer evenings and celebrating Smilosaurus' new obsession with a pony tail (this is as good as that gets).

Baking pies with my girls, still in their PJs on a lazy weekend morning.

Experimenting with some new low volume ideas.

In love with my new, custom necklace from SuLu Designs. In love more that the girls notice it when I wear it and tell me how much they love it too.

And where do you see pink today?

23 August, 2010

Catch Up

The reality of dealing with a medical issue, a husband on the road constantly, and some major life changes means that my actual sewing got behind. Yeah, old story, right?

So, I told Hubby to leave me alone during naptime on Friday and I banged out a couple of things. Namely, I caught up with some bee obligations.

These are the blocks for Jody. She is making a quilt for her stepson, in the Drunk Love Style of Denyse Schmidt. I'll admit, that I wasn't all that excited once I saw her choice.  Solids? A pattern for a wonky log cabin? Neither are me.

But I embraced the solids, partially thanks to Cherri. And I ignored the pattern, only acknowledging the Courthouse Steps piecing versus the Log Cabin Piecing. Seriously, people use a pattern for this? Okay, calm down, Cheryl. Not everyone is comfortable with improv style work. In the end, I LOVED the blocks. Seriously, I adore these blocks and it is taking all my willpower not to keep them.  Well, whatever willpower I have left after not making pie, again.

(And yes, I know they aren't squared up, I left that for Jody, to determine the final wonk.)

The next block was my first for the Mid Mod Bee. Rossie was up first with her orange kelpie inspire block. I think it is awesome that she went for a row, rather than a block. And more awesome than that? She dyed her own fabric for this. So, so cool. This was so easy to make, but fun to think about how to make it my own compared to the other submissions.  This is going to be one stellar quilt.

For a girl who was really reluctant to sign on to a bee, she is sure having a good time!  Even if I am late most of the time. And thanks to the bees I feel ready to tackle piecing again. I think I've got some mojo back.

20 August, 2010

Nadine's Bookcase Quilt

With the last stitches going in this morning to the strain of Dinosaur Train and a hot mug of black tea by my side, this commission baby quilt is finally complete.

Made for an old book club friend - can you tell my inspiration? - to welcome her new baby girl. My instructions were simple: very bold, very bright, modern, and girly. We collaborated on the main fabric selection, but otherwise she left it up to me.

Although I've long been a fan of the Fun Quilts design that mimics Library books, and the subsequent one in The Modern Quilt Workshop, it was a design that I was never motivated to make. Perhaps because I felt it to be too popular, or the fact that it simply isn't my own? But when my friend asked me to make her a quilt it was the only design I could see myself doing.

With her request for a bold fabric on the quilt though, I had to rejig the concept. Instead of bright/dark on a light background, I went for low volume fabrics for the books on a wild background. It makes me think of a bookshelf backed with wallpaper. 

The quilt measures at a slightly odd baby size - 40 by 60. But I felt the size was necessary for the overall effect I wanted. And to show off that amazing fabric. but it will transition well to a toddler bed and a child hood nap quilt. I do hope her sweet girl cherishes this for a long time.

Commission quilting is still new to me and I did learn a valuable lesson here: pick an easy quilting pattern! A fellow modern quilter at the Calgary Modern Quilt Guild helped me decide on a pattern of overlapping rectangles. I loved it and it really is perfect for this piece. But boy, was it time-consuming.  All that stopping and started! Worth it for the overall look, but not smart from a financial perspective.

When we were picking fabrics I had three choices for the front. We both loved the final choice the best, but the 2nd and 3rd place choices were also well loved. Needless to say, I decided to showcase them on the back. Two Kaffe Fassets with that strip of cherished Denyse Schmidt barbells. 

And now the quilt is washed and packed up, ready for it's journey across the country.

PS  If you are joining me from Amy's Creative Side, welcome! I was honoured to be nominated for a Blogger's Quilt Festival Feature.

17 August, 2010

Inspiration to Quilt to Inspiration

Do you remember when I started the Grass quilt and I said it was inspired by our intended landscaping? Well, the landscaping is finally done. (Minus one patch in the backyard.) I thought I would share the inspiration and final project together. Toddler legs as part of the package.

13 August, 2010

Big News For Me

It may not be all that exciting to the rest of you, but it is damn exciting for me. In a little over 2 weeks, I'm retiring. No, I'm not suddenly getting a pension and nor did I call in rich. 

Hubby and I have done a lot of thinking and talking and planning and more talking over the summer. We've decided that life as we've living it isn't sustainable for us, as individuals and as a family. So I am leaving the desk job to be a full-time mom, part time writer. I've been writing professionally on the side for just under a year now (see me here!) and it's time to take it one or two or three steps further. And Hubby's business is booming, but that means he is spending less time at home. We realized that the girls saw the nanny more than us!

This is a huge step for me, personally and professionally. I'm terrified that we will devolve into a very traditional wife/husband thing. The only thing I want from the Mad Men era is the furniture, thank-you very much. There is great comfort in knowing Hubby wants it about as much as I do.

I've also never seen myself as a stay at home mom full-time. I admire the folks who can do it, but I know it isn't in me to do. That's why I will still write part-time. I'll be truly taking advantage of all sleepytimes, but I'm sure I can make it work for me.

Professionally, this is pretty big. I'm putting myself out there. I'm stepping out as an entrepreneur essentially. That is also something I never saw myself doing with life. But to be successful you can't just write well. You need to sell yourself, you need to run a business. I won't be doing this half-assed, that's for sure. I've already made great strides and I can see a lot of work and success in my future.

I want, I need to do it. I'm making the change for me, I'm making my life what I want it to be. No one is doing it for me. And I'm damn proud of myself.

Freedom 35, baby!

10 August, 2010

Concept Evolution

One of these days I will actually have some quilt stuff to share with you. Just haven't felt much like playing with fabric lately. But I have sketched. Afterall, I have those wonderful markers to play with.

I wanted to share with you the evolution of a design today.

We live rather close to the Rocky Mountains, I can see them if I'm in the right part of the city and the weather is right. And they are less than an hour's drive away. Sadly, though, we only get there every couple of months. But they are there, taunting us with majesty and the possibilities of fun (I used to mountain bike and until recently, ski).

On a trip to Banff last year, for work of all things, I snapped a couple of photos. The colours and details on that trip were very inspiring in the face of a boring work trip. In the 9 months since, ideas and colour and shape percolated though my head. That trip may have also started my fascination with grey and the accumulation of grey fabrics in my stash!

The Rocky Mountains are young mountains, formed when shifting continental plates pushed the layers and layers of sedimentary rock up. As your drive through them you see, literally, folds and thrusts of rock. You can see layers, where millions and millions of years ago there was once water flowing, depositing the silt to create the rock.

Up close, you can see the shards of shale, the moss growing, the bits of life that emerge from a rocky landscape. From a distance you are awed and made to feel miniscule in the grandeur. Up close it is a slow fascination with life.

So those ideas bubbled around and I finally sketched them out on our recent road trip. Strong diagonals, layers, loads of grey and that little bit of orange. To be honest, I don't know when I'll ever get around to fabric with this, or if I ever will. But the concept evolves.

06 August, 2010

Just Playing

This has been a rough few weeks for our house. As a result, not much quilting is getting done. I just can't motivate myself. I'm picking away at commissions, but I hope the recipients understand. Did I mention its been a rough couple of weeks?

Two weeks ago we had to leave town for a funeral and that necessitated a 2 day road trip, in each direction. Just prior to leaving, feeling the need for some retail therapy, I went shopping at an art store. I'd decided it was time to get some dedicated sketching materials that were all mine. Up until now, if the notion of a quilt came into brain it was usually sketched in black pen on whatever paper I could find, or with my daughters' markers on their craft paper. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it will still always happen. But it was time to treat myself a little.

And boy, could I have treated myself. I had no clue that fancy markers cost so much! I had it in my head that I would be able to get a set of about 50 colours for a pretty reasonable price. Uh, no. At least not at the store I went to. I had to settle for a set of 20, decent quality markers for a good price. I really wanted more colours, but I couldn't justify the expense, no matter how bad of a week I was having.

In the end, this was a good purchase. A smaller set means that it it all transportable. And all I really want to be able to do is to capture a notion of the idea in my head, not a precise pattern. Besides, nothing can replace actually playing with the fabric.

Then, this week, I was at the grocery store and saw a pack of 50 markers for less than $10. At first I sighed in frustration. But I've realized that the best part about my markers is that they are mine and all mine. The girls know they can't play with them.  That means I will never run out of the red.

03 August, 2010

Making Do

We are 4 people and 2 dogs living in 1100 square feet. Out of our dining room we run the home and two businesses. In theory, there is a basement reno underway. It moves in fits and starts, but it still generally moves forward, sort of.

Last year I was using my fence as a design wall. But to be honest, that's rather annoying when you are trying to actually sew from it. So when Hubby gave me the day off weeks back I rigged up this temporary design wall.

This is the wall between our kitchen and dining room. Since I sew at the dining room table this set-up worked great.  Well, except for one large detail - I kept walking into the chandelier.