Detroit Urban Craft Fair

>> Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm determined to make it to the Detroit Urban Craft Fair this year. The past 2 years, I've heard about it, wanted to go, and then gotten caught up in work or been out of town, and failed to make it. But not in 2010. I'm going.


Wishing for...

...a magic work fairy that would get all my work done for me. Far-fetched, but desirable. Instead, I've got a great friend who is keeping my accountable, day by day, to sit at my computer and write what I need to write. She thinks up rewards and punishments for my daily quota of work. It's really helpful to have this form of external motivation as the semester starts to close in.

I did take some time out of work to make a little wishlist on Above All Fabric.

image from here

I quickly realized that I filled up that list with Sandi Henderson's Henna Garden fabrics, in a full rainbow of colors. I've never made a quilt from one fabric in a range of colorways, and I think that would be a neat winter challenge. I also think these are prints that would work with a range of other fabrics already in my stash, so there are amazing possibilities out there. Perhaps these will be my treat to myself for pushing through the next few weeks!


Sunny Days

>> Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom! I hope it remains sunny and gets a little warmer. We've enjoyed several sunny, if brisk, November days this past week. A few posts ago, my mom requested a dresden plate challah cover for her birthday, and I obliged with this sunny one. Her favorite color is yellow, so I knew I would use yellow in it somewhere.

I took out a bunch of rich fall-colored fabrics to play with before deciding on the combination of this Anna Maria Horner yellow print, some Kaffee Fassett pebbles, and a cranberry solid. I made the dresden plate spikes first and played around with various layouts before settling on the rising sun from the left.

I like how the dresden plate falls off the frame into the edge. Initially I thought about using the cranberry solid as a binding but ultimately determined that the yellow was brighter and more fun.

On the back, I combined some of the pebbles from the front with another Anna Maria Horner print, the leaves from her Garden Party line. On the right, if you squint hard enough, you can see the outline of the dresden plate from the front. This time, I decided to make the applique of the plate part of the quilting process, so the back mirrors the front, with both the dresden plate and the parallel horizontal lines. I gave this to my mom a couple days early, on Friday, so we could use it Friday night.


Word-Association: Plumes

>> Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Have you seen these fun prints from dekaAnimals? The peacock plume comes in both the multi-colored, dual-colored, and single-colored varieties. I'm also a big fan of this oval-shaped flowers print, in both the red/orange and khaki colorways.

But plumes also reminds me of Thanksgiving, which, for my American readers, is tomorrow. I'll help with the cooking starting this afternoon. New this year will be this carrot-parsnip soup from the New York Times' Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe list. I'd love to be making the mini brie-and-apple quiches and the garden-vegetable gratin, but the rest of my family eats meat which makes this kosher Thanksgiving a meat, not dairy, meal. I'll have to save those for another time. However, the zucchini cakes are a possibility. Or were, until I realized they used ricotta. They too will be saved for another time...

Happy Thanksgiving!


My Sister's Day, Part II

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The big wedding weekend has now come and gone. I've recovered from the festivities, and have begun editing and uploading pictures for friends and family to see. The photographer was lovely, and didn't mind me following her around with my camera. At least during the pre-wedding photos; I was a little occupied during the actual wedding. I'm sure her images will be even better, but it's been fun to look through the ones that I or others using my camera snagged.

As you may be able to tell from the above picture, the wedding colors were black, white, and red -- my sister's perennial favorite color combination. My wedding gift to my sister exists only in my head right now, but it will be use those colors. To that end, if anyone has any black and white fabrics they might be willing to trade -- from 6" squares and up -- please leave me a comment or send me an email. I'm away from my stash until Sunday, but would be happy to work out any deals and send you some fabric in exchange for help varying my black and white fabric collection.


My Sister's Day

>> Saturday, November 20, 2010

My sister (on the left, above) is getting married to Matt (center, showman-style, above) today. I'm enjoying my last quiet moments in bed this morning before the preparation for this evening's festivities start. Soon enough, hair and makeup appointments will begin -- a world with which I am entirely unfamiliar. I've never had my makeup done and, as for hair, I'm a wash and wear kind of gal. When I get my hair cut, the cutter/stylist always asks how I want my hair styled and I always look back blankly and say "whatever you think would look best." I'm intrigued to see what today's "proffer-my-hair-to-stylist-and-see-what-happens" produces.

My sister and I are very different, and wedding planning often highlighted some of these differences in style, approach, beliefs, and attitudes. But my sister can be one of the most generous people I know, and she thought up and helped engineer what would have been the most amazing surprise of the weekend: bringing my best friend from California in for the wedding as my date. I say "would have" because illness unfortunately got in the way, but I had no clue this was in the works and it was the best thing anyone could have thought up and done for me. A big, public shout-out to my sister, mom, and friends for working really hard to give me the most meaningful gift possible: time with an amazing friend. Thank you, D!

And with that....

Congrats to D and Matt !


Devilish HSTs

>> Friday, November 12, 2010

A few weeks ago I started a new quilt top with an Odyssea charm pack. It's lying on my living room floor, waiting for me to finish piecing the squares and rows together (part of my incentive for meeting a big deadline today is having time to sew this weekend).

I love the way it looks, snips of thread and all. But there's something about sewing together half-square triangles that constantly challenges me. No matter how I arrange my piles, order the squares, label the fabric, or otherwise attempt to keep the design in line, some poltergeist (or my own hands) thwarts the process. I feel like I've been doing more seam-ripping than sewing -- a turned triangle, a totally mismatched seam, an errant seam allowance -- for this quilt.

What's your trick for avoiding piecing mistakes?


It's That Time of Year (+ Giveaway Opportunity)

>> Thursday, November 11, 2010

November has arrived (ok, it arrived 11 days ago but it's truly hitting me now), and there's lots going on. A lot going on does not, admittedly, include the above plants growing. I took this picture last year and had some fun playing around with it. But I am a terrible plant nurse, and all of the herbs have since died a slow and perhaps somewhat sad death. In any event...

Art La Flamme of IBOL fame has a thoughtful Veterans Day post. Read it here.

Holidays of all sorts are coming up, which often means thinking about gifts. As easy as it is to get wrapped up (literally!) in gifts for family and friends, it's also a time to think of others. Katie from Swim, Bike, Quilt and Aunt Spicy have teamed up to promote "100 Quilts for Christmas" {or, I would argue, whatever other holiday one might celebrate...Diwali (which just ended, but still), Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanzaa...}. The idea is simple and wonderful: make a quilt for someone in need in your local area. Make a quilt yourself or team up with some friends to make a quilt. Baby quilts are small, fun, and don't take that much time. I've got plenty of work on my plate, my sister's wedding, teaching obligations, and more, but I'll be making a quilt or two to donate locally.

**And I'll sweeten the pot with a giveaway for those who make a quilt and donate it by December 20, 2010. Exact prize to be determined, as I just thought of this idea now, but it will probably be some combination of a bag and fabric, though I'm open to other ideas as well.**


Polar Bears!

>> Saturday, November 6, 2010

Laurie Wisbrun just announced her new fabric collection: polar bears! I love polar bears -- despite the blog name, polar bears are my true favorite animal. I don't have any particular need for this fabric, but it's quite tempting. I'm sure it could find its way into some baby quilts.

I love the blue and red colorway, but I was also glad to see that the collection brings back the sherbet colorway from Wisbrun's earlier Urban Circus collection. While I enjoyed the Urban Circus designs, I didn't like the colorways used in the Robert Kaufman printing of the design. If this design gets picked up, I hope the colorways stay the same.


My Sewing Machine Needs a Muffler

>> Friday, November 5, 2010

Last night was wonderful. Rae organized the SE Michigan Craft Meetup, and it was fantastic. I don't know exactly how many people showed up, but around two dozen of us sewed, knitted, and snacked our way through the evening. It was so nice to meet new people, including Emily who lives close to me and gave a bunch of us some tips on where to find some clearance Mendocino fabric. A trip to the fabric store might be necessary this weekend!

Aside from the wonderful company, last night was lovely because I actually spent several hours sewing, a luxury I haven't had as I scramble to get work done and try to stay on top of all the things I need to do each week. I've had a quilt top and back draped over my futon for months now, and I finally quilted it last night. I am grateful to the other crafty ladies who put up with my loud loud machine -- as Rae said, "it needs a muffler," and she's totally right. Actually, I was a bit jealous of all the newer, quieter, fancier sewing machines the other folks had. However, as Rebekah, the sweet librarian working across from me, reminded me, mine works and that's what matters. Still, a new machines that can do more without violating city noise ordinances would be nice. One day...maybe...

Updated to add this link to Rae's blog post and pictures.


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