Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A New Semester and a WIP Wednesday

I'm back here again for another semester...

and couldn't be happier.

On the schedule for this semester is Health Science for Teachers and my first methods class which covers Assessment, Curriculum and Classroom Management.   (For new readers I am in college earning a Social Science Credential to teach History in High School.)  The health class will be easy and will just require me to stay on top of the reading but the methods class is going to be a challenge.  What impressed me most about the methods class teacher is that he is teaching us the same way we are learning to teach... which doesn't always happen.  He's very dynamic and had us get up and move around the classroom to "teambuild or classbuild" which was super fun as I love meeting new people.  With this activity we had to roam the classroom and ask questions that our teacher had provided us.  Get gal I met told me one of her hobbies is to make "poo" out of felt and embroider names on it and give it to her friends.  Cracked me up and thought to myself that it had to go in the blog.  

I finished up a project yesterday that has been on my WIP forever... The Essential A-Line Skirt from Jona at Stop Staring and Start Sewing.  I used an Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile fabric called Baby Bouquet in Meadow  - using a voile fabric for this skirt was the right idea as it is light and has a buttery feel to it - perfect for a summer day.  I'm looking forward to wearing this skirt soon.  
Essential A-Line Skirt
My current WIP list:

The Supernova quilt top is nearing's a peak:

I ran out of the Kona Celery solid for the border so I need to stop by Joann's to pick up a tiny bit more.  Once I have that in house I'll start sewing this baby together.  

No Progress:
T-Shirt Quilt
School Yard
Italian Sorbetto
Sliced Coins

Please stop by Freshly Pieced with Lee to see what other's have on their WIP lists.  
Have a healthy remainder of your Wednesday,

Monday, August 29, 2011

History Quilter Podcast Episode 13 Cigar/Tobacco Quilts Show Notes

Happy Monday everyone,

I just uploaded Episode 13 where I spoke about Cigar/Tobacco Quilts made in the United States from the 1880's to the 1920's.  This fascinating topic which intersected quilting with marketing and tobacco was brought to my attention by Darla of the Scientific Quilter Podcast.  Thank you Darla.  :)

Darla sent me the link to which is the online museum for the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum located in Golden, Colorado.  Every weekday on their blog they appear to publish a Quilt of the Day where Darla discovered the June 21, 2011 Quilt of the Day - a cigar flannel quilt made around the the turn of the twentieth century with flannel "flags" with designs from ranging from country flags, Native American designs, butterflies and flowers.

Here's the Chicken Satay recipe link from the Steamy Kitchen blog that I spoke about. Go check it out - it's good.

I just purchased Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt and look forward to improving my garment sewing skills with projects from this book.  I heard Kay Whitt interviewed on the Sew Forth Now podcast hosted by Lori and was so impressed by her interview.

Let me know if I missed anything from the podcast that you want to know more about.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Movie night at the Hollywood Bowl

Last night the husband and I took the boys to see John Williams, the famed composer of a laundry list of incredible movies known the world over, conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA.  I've been to the Hollywood Bowl many times over the years and so enjoy the alfresco dining on picnic tables or on tablecloths placed on the grass but last night we did things a little different. We purchased our food at Staccato, a typical feed-the-masses food service outlet but were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was.

We ate sitting on planter boxes made for alfresco dining and enjoyed some very eclectic people watching.  The women wearing the four inch cork heels (and there were more than one) cracked me up the most as the hill up to the Bowl is quite a hike.

Hollywood Bowl - waiting for darkness
Mr. Williams, billed as the "Maestro of the Movies" led the LA Phil (as we like to call them) on a trip across many of his movie scores - some of which they played the entire score and others they combined 8-10 scores into one five minute segment.  The showcase of the night was a visit by Singer/Songwriter James Taylor who
came out onto the stage and narrated a portion of The Reivers, a William Faulkner book which was made into a movie starring Steve McQueen in 1969.  While Taylor was speaking, the LA Phil performed the score to the movie, coincidentally composed by Mr. Williams.  I had not heard it before but it was gorgeous.

River Phoenix as Young Indiana Jones 
Another fun highlight of the night was when Mr. Williams did his own musical commentary while playing on the various screens around the bowl  was the opening sequence of Indian Jones and the Last Crusade (photo shown above).  After showing us the segment without music, they then replayed the sequence with the LA Phil playing the score.  What fun that was to musically understand where and why certain sounds were played in specific places!  I could have listened to that all night.  The rest of the evening was a mix of Harry Potter and Star Wars songs which were big crowd pleasers but I'll admit that I was disappointed that they did not play the main score to Jaws...that's a great score.

One more thing...I just finished the LAST Supernova block.
A little wonky and a huge stretch to find enough fabric but it's finished.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Open Windows now has friends!

Last March I made my older son a quilt (Open Windows) and today I finished up the entire bed makeover by sewing pillow shams.  I used this pillow tutorial from the Oct/Nov 2010 issue of Quilt Magazine as a guide for the easy slip in method for the pillow inserts - no zipper involved!  

Open Windows and friends
I'll admit that I am now completely sick of these colors - including the grey - and am so glad to be done with this project.  Woe is me that I think I'm going to go with grey for the t-shirt quilt project.  Help me. 

The best reward for my efforts?  A very thankful older son who gave me a big hug. Love that boy.  

Now if I can only get him to keep the bed looking like what you see above.  

Have a safe and wonderful rest of your Friday,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

History Quilter Podcast Episode 12 Show Notes

Podcast listeners: I completely forgot about posting the show notes for the podcast that I recorded/published last Wednesday evening.  With a three day vacation up the coast and two "back to school" days for my boys, the past week has been very busy and I've had no time to craft/blog and forgot to give myself a visual reminder to blog about the Podcast.  

Please visit or iTunes to listen to Episode 12 where my main quilting history topic was Dear Jane Quilts. 

Here are a few photos I took at the Long Beach International Quilt Festival: 

I met up with Kate of the Quilting Daydreams Podcast.  What a thrill to meet another podcaster!  
Kate and I 
This quilt of Mont St. Michel took my breath away as from far away it looked like an actual photograph and but as I got closer the texture on the quilt jumped out at me which affirmed that it was not a photograph.  
Mont St. Michel
This city girl loves barns.  I want a little red barn in my backyard someday.
Ida's Barn by Elisa R. Wilson
Food Topics:

All three of the following items that I talked about are from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook by Ina Garten.  
For you Nutella lovers, I give you Nutella Swirl Pound Cake.  Very dense, sweet and full of Nutella.

Dear Jane Quilts:

Brenda Papadakis wrote Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt  in 1996 and started a worldwide communal interest in making "baby Jane" quilts.   Ms. Papadakis calls the original quilt made by Jane A. Stickle, the "mother quilt" and all others "baby Jane" quilts.  

Have a fabulous Thursday,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The t-shirt quilt chronicle Part II

This past weekend I started cutting into the t-shirts that were sent to me by my cousin Liz to make her oldest son a t-shirt quilt.  On Saturday I cut the backs and fronts apart, cut off the sleeves and neckline and felt no pang of nervousness while doing so but the next step was another matter.  Thanks to the positive feedback via Facebook and the comments from my Saturday post, I began cutting out the logos on the backs and the fronts but I was sweating the whole time.  The recurring thought running through my head was: What if I cut them too small or crooked?

I persevered and ended up with 33 logos that are 13"x13" and a few random larger and smaller sizes which I may incorporate into the back.   It seems like a lot of blocks but I am making a twin size quilt.
logos cut out...33 in all with a few random sizes

So now readers I need your you see all that purple?  Sally from Fibercrafter's Musings suggested that I use Kona fabric for the sashing in between the blocks which I will be doing to lend a cleaner look to the quilt but I need to chose a color. What color should I use for the sashing/border? (FYI: The purple in the shirts is exactly 1301 Kona Purple.)  Whites/Greys or blacks?  Or something else?  

Today's step will be to stop in at Joann's to purchase fusible interfacing so I can begin ironing.  

I'm linking up with Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory today and before I wrote this I went on over there to see what had been posted already today (it's 7am here in CA and there are already 21 submissions!) and guess what...there is already a t-shirt quilt listed in progress.  What are the odds?  :)  
Enjoy your Tuesday,

Monday, August 15, 2011

A (tiny) Quilt Finish and a Soccer Surprise

I finished a quilting project!  I used the first four Summer Sampler Series blocks to make myself a 24" square table topper and I just love it.  As I have not attempted free motion quilting yet, I quilted it by following the straight and diagonal lines that appear in each block.  Hand sewing the binding on reminded me how much I love doing to get more of my quilt tops finished up so I can work on the bindings.
Summer Sampler Series Table topper
The majority of the weekend was spent on the soccer field watching my older son play in a tournament and this tournament was notable for two reasons:

They won, which is not unusual but comes after a tough last minute loss in a tournament final two weeks ago but more importantly goalkeeper son played on the field!  For most of his soccer playing life I have been used to seeing at at the end of the field wearing this:
Older son playing goalkeeper - the usual
But due to an usual set of circumstances where the team only had 13 players for their first game on Saturday, my son was on the bench suited up as a field player.  (His team has two goalkeepers and they switch off games.)   I am a cool customer when he is in the goal - I don't worry about him getting hurt or making mistakes which cause goals as I played goalkeeper myself in my younger days.  In the second half I looked over at the bench and saw my son jump up and stand next to the coach - and suddenly a sub was called and he went in as a forward.  

OK, now I was freaking out.  I was now pacing the sidelines and many of my fellow parents were cracking up at me.
Older son playing forward...and doing it well! 
He played great and actually almost scored a goal which caused our entire sideline (our boys are fortunate to have a huge cheering section for every game)  to roar with excitement.  He loved his five minutes of fame on the field and the best part is was that he was smiling the entire time:

I'm linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday with Megan so go check out the other lovely modern quilting projects are listed.   

T-shirt quilt update coming up tomorrow...I cut into the shirts yesterday! 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The t-shirt quilt chronicle

My "favorite cousin from Annapolis" (Hi Liz!) asked me a few weeks ago if she could commission me to make her oldest son a quilt out of his college t-shirts and I agreed only after making her aware that I've never made a t-shirt quilt before.  Last week a rather large box arrived at my doorstep which upon opening I discovered 22 various college intramural sports shirts:
first look at the t-shirts
Now that I had the shirts I had to start doing some research on how to make the quilt. After about an hour of research I discovered a tutorial by Mandy of Dixie Chicken Quilts that provides clear step by step instructions to making a t-shirt quilt.

This morning I took an accounting of the fronts and backs of all 22 shirts and came up with:
22  12 1/2 x 12 1/2 logos
9   12 1/2 x 7 1/2 logos
a few smaller 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 logos
three 16 x 16 logos

My next step is to cut the shirts up to remove the fronts from the backs.  Once I have those larger pieces laid out then I'll actually start cutting out the blocks for the quilt and I guarantee I'll be nervous at that point.  My cousin told me she trusted my creativity....oh boy I've got to dig down deep to find that creativity! LOL

By the way this photo is the inspiration photo for me that my cousin sent me.  The quilt below is for a female so I am aiming for a quilt similar this this style but obviously for a male.
inspiration photo of t-shirt quilt
I'll be posting every step of this t-shirt quilt process so come back to cheer me on.  If you have made a t-shirt quilt and have any advice, please feel free to share it.  My goal is to be standing in line at the post office on Monday, August 29th to send this quilt off to Annapolis.  Wish me luck!    

Enjoy your Saturday, 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Reading History or Hand Sewing?

I listen to the Stuff You Missed in Class podcast on a regular basis and was riveted recently by two podcasts both with author David McCullough profiled.  If you are not familiar with David McCullough he wrote 1776, John Adams and the most recently published The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris which I just picked up this morning to begin reading and am now hooked.  It tells the story of Americans who traveled to Paris during the nineteenth century (1830 -1900 to be exact) and how what they learned in Paris and brought back to America helped change our country.

He writes the story chronologically and I'm up to where the various Americans profiled are arriving in Paris and viewing their new surroundings with fresh and almost virginal eyes as cathedrals and buildings are so much larger than what they are used to in their home cities.  But now I have a dilemma:  Once dinner is done and people are in their usual places around this house I have to choose between reading more of The Greater Journey or hand sew the binding on this:
Summer Sampler Series Table Topper
I was motivated to sew this afternoon so I picked up the Summer Sampler Series Table Topper and basted, quilted and sewed on the binding...with a little help from Debbie.  Thanks Debbie!  

So do I finish a project or learn more about where the various Americans in my story are going in Paris and what they are learning?  

If you know me at all, I'll do both.   

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Food and Quilts at the Orange County Fair

My boys and I went to the O.C. Fair yesterday here in Southern California with my best bud Julie, her children and her mother Joan.  We've gone before and usually we have the unfortunate luck to go on the hottest day of the summer but thankfully yesterday was a perfect 79 degrees.  The O.C. Fair is truly a suburban fair with the fairgrounds sandwiched in between a major freeway, a community college, suburban tract housing and a stones throw from John Wayne Airport.

Entertainment at the fair is all over the map with several venues sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds.  Tribute bands play every night (I missed out on Strangelove - the preeminent Depeche Mode tribute band - bummer), local unknowns play all over the fairgrounds during the day (actually heard a few really good ones), local dancing groups hit the stage where we were eating - the tango was my favorite, and bigger headliners rock the Pacific Amphitheater throughout the month long festival.

County fairs are a fun way to bring a relatively local community together to eat, to be entertained and to participate in livestock and agricultural events.  At the O.C. Fair this year, eating was the main attraction with seemingly hundreds of food vendors all over the fairgrounds.  If you've watched the Food Network or especially the Travel Channel in the last six months or so you've heard about the fried butter craze, well that was so 2010 because this year it was fried Kool Aid.
Fried Kool Aid
Disgusting. Seriously.

I hated Kool Aid as a kid and these little balls of fried dough sweetened with Kool Aid were not my cup of tea, but hey, I had to try it.  I never turn down something new.  

Julie and I had baked potatoes for lunch which were pretty darn yummy.  The spud shack (forgot a pic) hooked us up with a huge potato filled with any topping we wanted.  Julie went in for Sour Cream and Cheese (Julie - what kind of combo is that?) and I went with Sour Cream and Salsa (yummy).  

We're both almost vegetarians so the mammoth sized Turkey Legs or the colossal brick of french fries (I know a vegetable) which looked like it contained a gallon of oil did not turn our heads but we had to go all in for dessert just to say we tried them. 

I present to you the fried dessert smorgasbord:
Fried Brownie, Apple Crisp, Frosting Shots, Fried Snicker Bar and Fried Kool Aid
Between the seven of us we all had a little taste of everything.  The fried food was pretty awful because it was just too greasy.  When I fry food at home I try and cook it at a hot enough temperature to where you don't get the greasy taste/feeling.  My baked potato was the best food I had all day but it was fun to try all the strange foods.  Some other strange combinations we did not partake in:  Chocolate Covered Corn Dogs,  Fried Zucchini Nachos and the ubiquitous fried butter.  

We also tried Chocolate Covered Bacon.  Tasted like chocolate covered pretzels to me.  
Chocolate Covered Bacon
My older son had a hot dog the size of Tennessee: 
Add caption
While the kids ran around going on the rides and playing games, Julie, Joan and I walked the Exhibition Halls, checked out the Livestock and people watched.  In the Crafts and Woodworking Hall we observed quilts that had been entered into different show categories.  My two favorites were:
Best of Show
My new quilting friend Eileen Wintemute had quilt in the show and won Judges Choice and Second Prize.  Yea for Eileen!
Eileen Wintemute
I also love seeing animals at the fair:
tiny little chicks

sheep giving me the stink eye
piglets about three weeks old

llama in need of some serious orthodontic work

"Duke" A Budweiser Clydesdale
All of us had a great day.  One last gem  - as Julie, Joan and I were walking around we heard a loud noise from above and we looked up and spied some of our own animals:

hers, a friend and mine
Do you go to your local county fair or do you travel to your hometown fair as a part of tradition?  Leave me a comment and tell me about it and I'll talk about it on my next podcast.  

Wherever you the beach or at the fair ~ have a great Saturday,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Little Story about Gifts in the Mail

Last week I received a large envelope in the mail and upon first glance assumed it was my boss sending my my monthly bookkeeping data.  Later I returned and discovered it was a padded envelope from Debbie of A Quilter's Table  which is infinitely more fun than receiving work. Two thoughts simultaneously jumped into my head:

How in the world did this package get to me so quickly?
This package is way too big for one little fat quarter of fabric!

My interest was piqued and I carefully opened the envelope and pulled out a wonder of goodies...a little quilt and the all of the instructions/history for the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey #1.  Debbie had participated in the Fat Quarter Shop six month kit club and had received the fabric and instructions/history for each quilt and finished them all up last month.  Please check out her post here where she talks about the finish.

Debbie so graciously sent me "At Mama's Knee", a simply delightful 17" x 17"  table topper which I proceeded to clear off my kitchen table for:
At Mama's Knee  17" x 17"
Not only do I love the little quilt (it's perfect!) I am enjoying reading about the historical aspects of prairie women in the 1840's - 1900's here in America.  Pam Burda of Homespun Quilts is the brains behind the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle and I am most impressed with her historical writing as each month she tells a story which helps to illuminate the quilt kit for that month.  The historical nerd in me loves that she references her sources which is so helpful when one wants to know more.

Thank you to Debbie for your very thoughtful gift of the quilt and all of the instructions/history for the Prairie Women's Sewing Circle Journey #1.  I can't wait to use this when I teach U.S. History someday to future high school students.

Enjoy your Tuesday,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Checking In

On the soccer field, checking in is a move that offensive players should make when the ball has the possibility of being thrown in to them.  Those strikers/forwards/midfielders should be moving around the field near when the thrower is, in order to field the ball and ultimately score a goal.  A static player is of no use to a thrower as they are unlikely to receive control of the ball.  So what's my point?

I'm checking in by moving around the internet quilting world: sewing/quilting, tweeting, reading blogs, commenting and now posting a blog post.  I'm ready to field the ball and move it down the field to score.  I have not defined what the equivalent of scoring a goal in soccer is to the quilting world, I just know that I want too.

After almost a week of minimal sewing I was able to get back into the swing of things this morning to work on some projects.  My super cute nephew Nick just turned five and so I made him a pillowcase out of San Francisco Giant colors.  My siblings and I were all born in the Bay area and although we were all raised and live in Southern California, they remain die hard SF Giant and SF 49er fans.

Pillowcase for Nick
Yesterday I listened to Episode #14 of the Crafty Garden Mom podcast and when I was about 10 minutes into the episode, convinced that I needed to let go of the Summer Sampler Series and be happily content with what I had accomplished.  Tanesha of CGM is an excellent speaker (she belongs on NPR) and her pep talk about how we should not be intimated by quilt bloggers whom are very prolific or have skills above and beyond our own and that we should give ourselves a pat on the back for what we ourselves, accomplish.   Her pep talk was just what I needed to move forward.  This morning I sewed the four blocks of the Summer Sampler Series together to make myself the perfect table topper.
Yet to be named table topper with backing fabric on the side.
After my WIP Wednesday post last week where I had taken a photographic inventory of my quilts in progress, I went fabric shopping to find quilt backs.  I found fabric for the back of Italian Sorbetto and Sliced Coins and I also picked out a darling dot fabric for the Dots Swap hosted by Debbie of A Quilter's Table and Rachel of Snippets of Sweetness.  

I just this minute ran to the front of my house to get the mail and I had another envelope with a dot fat quarter!   So much fun reading the return address (the traveler in me craves far away places), carefully opening up the envelope and gently pulling out the contents inside.  This is my first swap and I'm already hooked.   My envelopes are ready and will be mailed out tomorrow.

~Posts coming soon:  A wonderful gift sent to me by Debbie of A Quilter's Table and my visit to the Long Beach International Quilt Festival.~

Enjoy the remainder of your Monday,