Monday, July 30, 2007

Sweet and Simple

Clutch from Bend-the-Rules Sewing.
The outer fabric is the last of the three Etsuko prints that I have framed and hanging on my wall. The other two were used here and here.
I made the back panel upside down so that when it is folded closed you see nice little right side up birds.
The lining is Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy as is the little fabric covered button. (Thanks Maritza for giving me those!)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Week in Quilting

My sister Lauren's quilt top is almost finished. The squares are all assembled and ready to be sewn together.
When I laid it out last night, Harv came in the room and asked "What does Lilly think of it?" On cue, she came sauntering in and went right for the center square. I think that means she likes it.
We don't get very good light in our house so this morning I opened up the front door to brighten things up a little and tried to take a better picture.
If there is one thing that cats are more interested in than a quilt it's an open front door.
I don't think Lauren ever ever reads this blog but I'll have to direct her here. This quilt is a belated birthday gift and I let her choose the pattern (it is Denyse Schmidt inspired) and the color palette but I'm still nervous that she won't like it. I guess I'm mostly nervous because the colors she asked for were blue and cream. I insisted on adding a little contrast with the yellows and browns. Oh well. I'm crossing my fingers!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Recent Acquisitions

More exciting...
Most, best, super exciting!
Is this some kind of joke? I really don't understand how I could be so lucky as to get a beautiful quilt that I absolutely love and suits my tastes so perfectly not once, but twice! I really am blown away. The quilt is from fabulous Maritza.
Poking around on the internet recently, I saw this quilt that would be mine, and I read Maritza's unsure ponderings over whether its recipient would like it or not. She didn't know if it suited my tastes and I didn't give too many specifics about what I wanted. (I believe all I said was "no batiks, no novelty prints") Then I read something that Ashley of Dogged said here. That she was having the same dilemma as Maritza and wanted to come up with something her partner would like without a lot to go on. I realized that this situation felt very familiar.

I have never been one to make Christmas lists and when people ask me what I want for my birthday my usual response is "Oh, I don't know...surprise me!" Of course I don't really mean that, not exactly. I do want a surprise but I want a surprise that says "The giver of this gift has put so much thought into this that they have picked out the exact perfect gift that you didn't even know you wanted but now that you have it you can't imagine living without it!" That is my dream gift.

I know that's not very fair to you gift givers out there. I think my mom especially hates it. My sister Leigh has been known to buy her own gifts and get reimbursed later. And I am far from the perfect gift giver that I would like to be. I am a bit of a procrastinator. But I try! I'm sure you will agree that giving the perfect, thoughtful, surprise gift is even better than receiving one.

So anyway, I don't know Maritza any better than I knew Lynn last time around but I am pleased as punch that she sat down and created this truly beautiful, perfect little surprise just for me. I can't tell you how much I love it. I can't imagine receiving a better quilt.

And I couldn't let you go without sharing the rest of the treats Maritza gave me.
Some fabric covered buttons and a pack of the plain buttons that I can cover myself.
And one of her pocket squirrels! I love this little guy! So cute and you really can't go wrong when you're using this fabric.

Thank you again Maritza! You're great!

Friday, July 20, 2007

At Long Last

Have no fear, swap partner, the quilt is going out at lunch today. Not too bad, right? I hope she will forgive me.
Here it is.
A plaid quilt. I came up with the idea shortly after signing up for the swap and then chose the palette and fabrics based on my partner's preferences. The pink '30's reproduction fabric was my jumping off point. I originally envisioned this design using only two colors but I really love how it worked with three. Besides, I think that my partner is more of a three color kind of gal.
I used the birthing method instead of adding a binding. I really like doing this. I think the borderless look is very clean and modern. The simplicity of it really suits my style. I will admit that the term "birthing" definitely creeps me out. I know that child birth is a beautiful thing but I've heard that it is also messy and quite painful. Those are two things that I don't like to associate with my quilts. Plus, the word "birthing" sounds very cold and utilitarian to me, as opposed to "giving birth". Of course what do I know about've seen my children.
The back of the quilt. Notice anything missing? Don't worry, here it is.
Another admission: I was a little perturbed about the mandatory label rule this time around. It felt a little like an infringement on my creativity. I was very unsure about how to incorporate a label that would work with this design and not detract from the simplicity of the quilt. I came up with this disappearing label. In its restful state, it mimics the diagonal pattern on the quilt top, and you can't tell that it is a label.
If you want to read it, you flip it to the front. When you want to admire either side of the quilt in its unmarred simplicity, flip the label to the opposite side. Easy as pie. I am very happy with this solution.
Using scraps from the quilt, I made a little matching card and a cookie.
I hope they are all well received. The quilt looks so pretty on my new pink wall, I wish it could stay here! But I know it is going to a loving, crafty home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

So Sorry

I'm officially a jerk. Doll quilts everywhere are making their way through the postal system. Except for mine. It's sitting at home, waiting impatiently to be quilted, quite embarrassed about its tardiness. I keep telling it that it shouldn't be embarrassed. This is all my fault. But the good news is I should be sending the little darling on its way tomorrow. Only a day late...not too bad! This is so different than the first Doll Quilt Swap. I wasn't working when I did that one and I had never made a doll quilt so I just couldn't wait to make mine and sent it out very soon after recieving my partner's name. This time around there were so many more distractions and much less time for crafting.
The quilt top is done. Here is a little sneaky peek.
I am very happy with it and I can't wait to show you the whole thing. The quilting itself shouldn't take too I said, I'm hoping to get it out tomorrow!
Congratulations to all of you wonderful people who are able to meet deadlines. I hope your diligence is rewarded with equally prompt swap partners!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Very B-Dogg B-Day

A He-Man pillow for B-Dogg's birthday.
Made from a thrifted sheet I got at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The front is quilted. The back is vintage fabric from a thrift shop in Ventura. I guess you can't see that. Well it's there. And I have much more of it so I'm sure it will surface again.
The birthday boy, 31 years young.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Special Cases

New bed for us, old bed went into the guest room. This means that my parents didn't have to sleep on the fold out couch when they came to visit this past weekend. I think they appreciated that.
Now that the guest bedroom has an actual bed we have taken a little more pride in making it pretty and welcoming. With that in mind I embroidered a pair of pillowcases, an "H" monogram with some little wheat motifs.
The patterns are from Sublime Stitching, a great book full of tons of sweet iron-on patterns.
I don't have any embroidery experience but I just love the idea of embellishing all of my linens this way. I started with the guest linens as a little warm-up before starting in on the nice new sheets I bought for our new bed. Soon my friends!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Summer Slippers for my Mom

My lovely parents are visiting from Connecticut. I made my mom some slippers to wear around our house. I used four layers of batting on these. Much cushier.
Here she is wearing the slippers, sharing pictures from their recent trip to Europe with Harv.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Crafts of Late

Harv and I have had this week off from work. It has been exceedingly pleasant and super relaxing. I've been reading a lot, making some yummy dinners, had tea with some friends at the Huntington and spent a couple of nights camping at Big Bear. I have not done too much crafting however. I very often feel a lot of pressure to be productive make the most of my spare time. When I have two+ months of hiatus I feel lazy and purposeless if I am not sewing every possible moment. I typically like there is no where near enough time to make all of the things I am inspired to make and that can feel kind of stressful. I made a conscious decision this week to just take it easy, do what I felt like doing and try to relax. It actually worked! I feel refreshed and ready to go back to the studio, not disappointed about all of the projects I didn't quite finish.
I did manage to complete a few crafts this past week, crafts that didn't interfere with my lounging and hammocking. First, a table cloth for our outdoor table that always looks very gross and dusty.
Now we can just cover up the yuck! Note the handy slit for fitting around the umbrella.

Second, I finished the bedside rug that I started a long time ago, inspired by the new bed we bought this week.
Stabone really digs the rug.
Lilly digs the new bed. The quilt was made by Harv's mom as a wedding gift.
Speaking of parents, mine are winging their way west as I type this and will be arriving at Chez Us tomorrow morning. With all of the relaxing I've been doing this week, there hasn't been much time for cleaning. Yeeps. That's my night. Hopefully I will be able to whip up a pair of slippers for my Ma as a welcoming gift. I also wanted to make some napkins to match the outdoor tablecloth so we could have an extra classy meal out back while they're here. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Doll Quilt Challenge

I am super excited that Kim has decided to use my confetti quilt tutorial as the theme for July's Doll Quilt Challenge. I am so flattered that people will be trying out my method!
In case you want to hop on the doll quilt bandwagon and don't know about this group already, Kim has started a Flickr group where you can share any doll quilt in your repertoire and another that has a monthly challenge. It's a great opportunity to stretch your quilty muscles on a fast and fun project and get some feedback from other quilters.
I just wanted to share the first two quilts that have been posted for the July challenge.
This one, made by Egg Money, has retro-inspired colors and totally amazing quilting. I love the design and her stitches are so precise!This second quilt is made by Jacquie. I love the fabrics she chose...the pinks look so sweet!
Thank you all, you doll quilt nuts, for taking a crack at my tutorial! I can't wait to see what else you come up with!