Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In the Studio Today...

Yesterday I managed to finish writing 2 patterns. Yay! I love the design process- choosing colors and prints, seeing how everything will work together, swapping and switching fabrics and motifs and blocks until it is just right. But then having to sit down, and write it all out in a way that will be not just intelligible to the reader but actually simple to follow and re-create... and to check and re- check and triple check the math (because I would HATE for someone to attempt the project and have the directions be incomplete or incorrect- really, I sweat over that....), and then draw out the diagrams to make sure everything is crystal clear, and check and re-check that applique patterns are correct and complete..... phew! Sometimes I feel like it takes me longer to write the pattern than to design and make the project in the first place!

Here is a little sneak peek at the 2 I finished yesterday:

Lately I have been designing in a way that is backwards to me. Usually in the past I have had the fabric to work with, and I would sketch out a design and then start sewing it together, making changes as I went along. It was helpful in writing patterns because I knew if the block or borders came out wrong, something was wrong with the measurements or the math. It was good to be able to work it all out as I went along. However, lately I am doing all of my design work in an EQ6 program (heads up, I heard EQ7 is coming out soon- I really don't know what they could have added to that program- maybe with the new version it will actually sew the quilt for me??? And make dinner too??). I am working with jpg images of fabrics that won't be printed into actual fabric for several months. After I design the quilt in EQ6, I write the pattern, without actually making the quilt (that part will come later, I will sew up a sample when the fabric is printed). I feel like I can't write the pattern without actually sewing something, so I usually make up a block or 2 with fabric that I have laying around, or sometimes just a scrap of muslin. This helps me to be sure that the math is correct and that everything will work out the way it should. As a result, I have several "orphan" blocks now. Maybe someday they will find their way into a small project, or even a giveaway.
 I actually tried to post this about 8 hours ago, but Blogger was being very persnickety today- anybody else have that problem?

It is 8 pm, I just finished making a lasagna for a surprise birthday party we are having at church tomorrow night. I had some other things to do (like planning out my booth for Quilt Market, I have to ship everything in 6 short days). I am thinking, though, that maybe I will just sit and watch TV for a little while. Maybe read a magazine or 2 (I have a stack waiting for me.... I think I may have disclosed my "addiction" here previously). Yes that sounds like a plan.... (why do today what you can put off till tomorrow...)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Being a parent is hard.....

No doubt about it..... I will admit, I am not very technologically savvy. It is still a miracle to me that I know what a blog is, let alone manage to post one! This morning I got the weekly email newsletter from our daughter's high school. There is a new social networking site called Not surprisingly, I was completely unaware. But knowing of the highly publicized cases of teenagers committing suicide recently because of bullying, both in person and online, I don't think kids need another tool to beat each other down with. High school is hard enough, isn't it??? As parents, we have got to know what our kids are doing, we have to teach and model compassion, and we have to be willing to make unpopular decisions. Here is the article, I thought you might be interested:

Helping Parents to Be Aware of Internet Risks: Helping students to use Internet communication tools in a safe and healthy way is a major concern at ****** Academy. This is a difficult challenge as students go through the process of making connections and building trust with new people. We are working with students to help them understand that what they say online are real words that can cause real harm and can result in real consequences at school and beyond.

A recent addition to the online world is a new social networking site called It has a questions-and-answers format and is linked to Facebook and Twitter. The question asked can be funny, friendly or hostile. The attraction for teenagers is that this questioning is anonymous, which can bring out the worst in many teenagers! No internet communication is really anonymous. A recent speaker showed educators how the IP address for any online communication can be found.

There have been several occasions where feelings were hurt, relationships destroyed and the reputations of both the sender and the receiver damaged. These questions can be viewed by others, making this a very public way to express one's dislike of someone. This format has been causing problems in schools across the nation. Adults would not allow a student to treat another student like this face to face. It is just as unacceptable online.

Many of our students are using this website. We encourage parents to end student access to any site with so much potential for harm. Just having an account opens your student to this type of attack. Parents can check the history on the home computer to see if their daughter is using If so, we urge you to make sure the account is deactivated.

Social networking sites have given students access to tools that they may not be mature enough to use wisely and safely. Please discuss this with your daughter and eliminate the risk that this site poses in the lives of our students.

I spoke this morning with a woman from our church, she had to make a very unpopular decision that her 14 year old son was not going to be happy with.... sigh.... loving them enough to do the right thing is so hard....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Odds & Ends

I found just a couple of fellow "color geeks", as my husband calls it...

Here are a few sites which will make a palette from your own photos:
Big Huge Labs
Color Hunter
I did try it out, and the results are cool, but for me, that takes the fun out of it, I like finding my own colors....

Today I am catching up on some work, I popped The Princess Bride into the DVD player for company... "As you wish",  "You were mostly dead all day",  "Mawage is what bwings us togetha today... wuv, twue wuv....", "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you kill my father, prepare to die."

Yesterday we had a yard sale at our church and made $700 to send down to the Dominican Republic, where my husband recently went on a missions trip. You can find information here. The money will go to a very poor church, to help the people there. Just look at the little faces....

For the next couple of weeks I will be busy getting ready for Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis. There is a lot to do..... somehow, someway it will get done..... Sewing, pattern writing, a booth to plan and decorate, catalogs to assemble, boxes to pack and ship... Still have to make flight reservations (thank goodness we don't live near Iceland!!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April's Palette

I love color. I remember as a kid, there was very little that was nearly as exciting to me as a new box of 264 crayons. I love fabrics and paints and colored pencils and flowers in the garden and artfully displayed Tshirts and sweaters at JCrew at the mall. And don't even get me started on the paint chips and color cards in the paint department at Home Depot.....

Now, this may sound weird, but one of my favorite things to do is to see what kinds of colors I can isolate and pull out of photographs and scans of my artwork. I can spend literally hours with a single photo, making dozens of color chips in Photoshop. So I thought that as something new, I would share a palette with you.

This photo was taken 2 days ago, it is a pot of vinca that wintered over on my porch and is now blooming more profusely than it did all of last summer. The light was great and I snapped a couple of photos.
In Photoshop, I pulled out about 25 or so colors from the photo, mostly purples and greens. There is some tan and brown in the photo as well, so I grabbed some of those. Then I had to narrow it down to just a handful, which is very difficult. I try to choose colors that represent the image as a whole and also work well together and complement each other. There are always colors that I really like that just don't "play well" with the others, and so out they must go. In this case, the browns and tans just weren't fitting. I try to include a neutral or two so that the palette is actually usable. For the neutral, since the tans weren't working, I chose a pale purple-y gray.
So this is what I came up with for this photo:

OK so there you go... You could use this palette to jump start a craft or sewing project or decorate a room. Or maybe if you're like me, you'll just look at it and sigh and then go find more colors that you love....

I'd appreciate your input, if you like it and think it's interesting/useful to you, I will do more in the future. In the meantime, take some time to notice the beauty all around you this time of year.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Winner & Weekend Work

This time to choose a giveaway winner, we just put everyone's name on slips of paper and daughter drew one (if you posted a link to my blog you got five extra chances). I didn't feel like doing the random number generator thing this time. The winner of the giveaway was Shelley from the Red Quilts blog. Shelley was actually the first one to comment on the giveaway post- which is nice because when does the random number generator ever pick number 1? Also, Shelley was amused by my observation that some people consider running relaxing, so apparently we are on the same wavelength there..... She would rather sit and enjoy a cup of tea, and based on the comments, I think most of us would agree that that is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon. Congratulations, Shelley!

We managed to get a little yard work done this weekend. I actually planted some cool weather vegetables in my little kitchen garden, which is right outside the back door- so convenient for cooking and making a quick salad. It also looks really pretty from my back window. I planted arugula & romaine, and 3 things I have never planted before- broccoli, red cabbage and red onions, so we'll see how that goes. It makes sense to plant salads- they are so expensive to buy in the grocery stores right now and they don't seem to last very long once you bring them home, and I hate having to throw them out when they don't get used up. I just hope the bunnies don't eat them up before we do....
 Can't you just imagine Peter Cottontail hopping through here, enjoying a snack of tender leaves and baby onions.....
They still need to be mulched, but at least they're in the ground. We will have a load of mulch delivered, dumped in our driveway, and then we will spend the entire summer trying to move the mountain.....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Early Morning Musings...

It is early morning and I am sitting on my porch, reading some favorite inspirational and uplifting sites, one is  Max Lucado's website. It is warm- 7 am and it's already 68 degrees, it will go up into the 80's today. The birds are chirping away- they awakened me at about 6:15 this morning with their chattering. I love it. At this time of year, even the loud obnoxious caw of the giant black crows is music to my ears.
I love to think about how all of God's creation (except man!) is so obedient to Him and to what He has called them to do- the trees sense the warmth and begin to bud, the daffodil bulbs emerge from the ground to greet the longer days, the birds chatter and eat eat worms and fly, the fish swim. Even my little dog Daisy does exactly what God has called her to do- she plays and frolics in the yard and takes frequent long naps (I estimate that she sleeps about 20 hours a day now, being 10 1/2 years old she is starting to slow down a bit, but beautiful days like today sure bring out the puppy in her.) Her playfulness and sweet disposition give our family such joy.

You still have one day to enter the latest giveaway- it's a good one!

The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth....

Every animal of the forest is Mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are Mine.
Psalm 50:1-2, 10-11

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oh my goodness- it's ANOTHER giveaway!

There are some fun things going on here. Our new pattern, Chamomile Afternoon, featuring the Love Me, Love Me Not fabric line by Ro Gregg for Northcott, has just been released. The pattern is also featured in Northcott's new ad in the upcoming issue of Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts, which will be in stores this month.


Now, here is something REALLY fun! I'm doing a giveaway- You can win a free pattern AND a fabric kit (compliments of Northcott) to make your very own quilt.
Just leave a comment here and tell me your favorite way to spend an afternoon relaxing- is it a cup of chamomile tea, a hot bath, a favorite book or magazine? Or maybe you're one of those crazy people who go out for a run? (I can't say I understand that one, and I have the thighs to prove it, haha).

Comment by midnight on April 8 and get your name entered in the giveaway. Post a link on your blog to THIS POST and get 5 more entries! (Either mention your link in your comment, or email me to let me know that you've posted a link). 
PLEASE be sure I can get in contact with you in case you're the winner- either through your blogger account or put your email in the comment.
Good luck!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's Resurrection Day

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-3

You stood before creation,
Eternity in Your hand,
And You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand.

You stood before my failure
And carried the cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand.

So I walk upon salvation,
Your Spirit alive in me,
This life to declare Your promise,
My soul now to stand.

So what could I say?
And what could I do?
But offer this heart, oh, God,
Completely to You.

So I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned,
In awe of the One Who gave it all,
I'll stand, my soul, Lord, to You surrendered,
All I am is Yours.
The Stand, Joel Houston

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Block 5 Done (It was bound to happen eventually...)

I FINALLY got Block 5 for my block of the month done:

As you probably have not noticed, the last time I posted that I finished a block was Block 4 back in January. It was bound to happen- I am officially behind. Block 6 arrived in the mail over 2 weeks ago and sits on my desk, taunting me. I guess I should be happy that I've completed #5 of 10 blocks- I think that is the furthest I've ever gotten in completing a BOM project, so yippee for me- I am making progress! (BTW this is Settler's Pride by Maggie Bonanomi.)

Last week I managed to sneak out to a quilt show- I didn't get any photos (I was busy shopping, and I didn't have time!) My favorite acquisition- of course, more wool. I now have a nice little stockpile, lots of pretty colors, and a few new projects buzzing around in my head.


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