Thursday, April 26, 2012

Screaming Green and Other Thoughts

As many of you know, I have a wonderful giveaway of Jacquie and Katie's book "Quilting Modern" (see earlier post) that will end on Monday - and there is plenty of time to put your name in now, but I had to share with you a few other things that I have been working on. 

As background, the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am VP, is a very active little modern guild.  We have a meeting and sewcial on the first Saturday of each month at the Redwood City Library and often have a sew day on another day once a month from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m (or later) when we can snag the Los Altos library room.  When we get the Los Altos room, anywhere from 20-25 women opt in to the no cost sew day and we sew, talk, create, share stories of children and grandchildren, help each other with work and join in helping each other with completion of projects.  It is truly a sharing of work, ideas and is beginning to be a place and time of something where the whole is greater than the parts, or pieces...if you get my idea.  You should join us some time soon, if you live nearby or can make the trip (see the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild site www.bamodernquiltguild.ning.com) or look at our blog or flickr site, all of which are links once you go to the ning site. 

I completed this top at our last sew day with the help of a few friends to add the corners and square it up (Capitolaquilter you know who you are and I am so grateful...):


These blocks were from the Scrapbuster Swap Round 7 Wonky Bento Box that I participated in.  I set them on point with some very loud chartreuse fabric and I have named this quilt the "Screaming Green" quilt.  Am I the only one who names their quilts?  It seems to me that each quilt top/quilt that I make has a personality and a story and deserves a name.  Some names come to me very early on........like, Screaming Green.  Others take a very long time, but we can't wait for that right now.

This photo is taken in the courtyard of my home.  The light was uncooperative as the Gods could not decide whether it was going to rain or let the sun come out.  I waited for a shot that would give a little backlight to the top and voila, it happened, kinda, sorta.  Do you spend time trying to get the right shot of your quilts or quit tops? 

Then I started work on these Spidey and Avenger quilt tops for my two grandsons: 




I found the Avengers fabric and the Spidey panels at www.equilter.com.  I found the combination of the panels and the fabric to be an easy solution to two small quilts for the boys.  My older grandson is besotted with Spiderman and the Avengers.  I thought I better make 2 quilts so the little one could also have his Avengers quilt, even if he only wants it because the big guy does.   

What are you creating and why?  Do tell your stories and experiences about your quilts or your creative work when you have the time, please.  I believe that we as women are the storytellers and have much to share.  

Aaaanway, that's it from the Robertson household.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Fabulous GiveAway - If I Do Say So Myself!

I have been waiting with much anticipation for the release of Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen's book, Quilting Modern.  I purchase alot of quilting books and read them cover to cover.  As of late, I have been rather disappointed with the quality of some of the books I have purchased (I won't be specific). 

Not the case for this book:


It is everything a quilting book should be.  Inspirational.  Informative.  Creative.  Approachable.  The quilts are interesting to look at.  The quilting is amazing.  The photography is top notch.  

With Jacquie's permission, here are a few photos from the book:






Now, why am I giving away this book you might be asking yourself?  Because in my enthusiasm for getting this book, I inadvertently pre-ordered 2 on Amazon.  Some how, I didn't notice that I had placed the order twice and, boom, in the mail comes 2 copies of the book.  That's when I said to myself that I needed to have a give away and give my extra book to some lucky person who follows my blog or is willing to become a follower (come on, help me get into the double digits of followers!).

                GiveAway is closed - winner to be       announced shortly!
So here's the plan:

Between now and 6:00 p.m. PT on Monday, April 30, 2012, do this:

1.  Become a follower on my blog AND
2.  Leave a comment on my blog about why you would like to receive this book. 

If you are already a follower, you only have to leave a comment.  It's as simple as that.  International followers/comments are welcome. 

I'll pick a winner later on Monday and a winner will be annointed or chosen or selected...well, you get the idea.  If you are a private follower, please provide your email address so I can contact you. 

Good luck!

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Liebster Love and a little WIP for Wednesday

Thanks to my guild buddy, Deborah  http://sew-unsew.blogspot.com/  I have received:


An award - how cool is that?  As Deborah advised, along with the award comes responsibilities.  I will do them all gladly and pass the award on to deserving recipients.  The award itself is to recognize bloggers (and blogs) with fewer than 100 followers.  Well, I certainly fit in that category!

My responsibilities are:

1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her.  Done!
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog.  Done!
3. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that you think deserve to be recognized.  Working on it.
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.  Ditto.
5. Have faith that your followers will spread the love too!  Ditto.   
 My work in progress seems to be primarily focused on buying fabric.  Yep, I've been at it again.  The Oakshott cottons arrived from England.  Are these fabrics beautiful or what!  The fabrics are much better than the photos.  A few of us from the guild went in on a purchase to make the shipping more affordable.  We'll divide up the goods this weekend.
I made progress on my Liberated Round Robin 2.  We are at Step 2 now - so I stepped!  We were to make fabric out of crumbs.  I don't have much in the way of fabric crumbs, so I worked with strips, which I have alot of. 
I started with this:



And then I did this:



And then I did this:



If you notice, I retro-fit a grey "pick-up stick" in the bottom left corner, to try to offset the amazing visual effect of the red pick-up sticks that shift the center block visually so far to the right.

Retro-fitting is not alot of fun.  I wish I had the vision of weaving the sticks under the black border before I set the entire border.  Going back and cutting in these sticks has not been easy.

Here's my current version:

I'm not thrilled with the precision of my additions, but I have decided to let it be for awhile and then decide what I can do to improve it.  Clearly I am having a little problem with the liberated part of this!  Plus there is Step 3 coming up and I have no idea what that round will be. 

On that note, it's time to sign off.  Thank you again Deborah for including me in the Liebster award.   It is much appreciated.

Aaaanway, that's it from the Robertson household.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun Friday and a Reveal

I'm expecting it to be a fun Friday, although the day is just getting started with lots more rain.  Yep - rain, rain, rain.  Except right now, the sun is out and blue skies are trying to peek through the grey.  We had thunder and lightening last
night - very unusual for the Bay Area.  But enough of the weather, let's get to the fun:


 Sewing Summit

I was one of the lucky who got a ticket for Sewing Summit before it sold out.  Actually, I bought my ticket at 9:30 a.m. MT, 30 minutes after registration opened.  I had already missed the $50 discount offered for the first 50 purchasers!  Wow - this is one popular conference!  I did not attend the first conference, but heard very good things about it from several people who did attend.

And now for the reveal!  If you remember, I made a pillow for a Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild swap.  We received a bag of scraps from another guild member.  We weren't told who that person was.  We were asked to make a pillow from the scraps and bring said finished pillow to the April meeting. 

After sorting and resorting her scraps, I started like this:



And ended up with Amanda's finished pillow (I didn't know it was Amanda's pillow until the meeting):


 I added a strip of her fabric to the back, made buttonholes (when was the last time I did that?) and covered buttons.  I am becoming so fond of covered buttons on pillows...

The pattern is X and + from Amy Badskirt's blog (www.badskirt.blogspot.com).  You can get the tutorial from her blog.  I think I am going to make an entire quilt from this pattern.  It's an easy block and is quite striking.

Well, the sun disappeared again, so I suppose I should get ready for another round of rain.  On that note, I'll wish you a Fun Friday!

Aaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.

P.S.  It's pouring again!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gardening and WIP Wednesday

Rainy, rainy Wednesday.  And more rain to come.  Not really complaining, just commenting.  We do need rain (or snow in the high country).  For some reason, I keep thinking that I should be doing something in the garden, but I can't because it's still too cold and too wet...but I have this feeling every day that I should be out there.  Some years, I would already have tomato plants in the ground and growing like weeds (I guess that's the dry years).  I've been thinking that, at least, I should get some herbs in the ground.  Parsley and sage, oregano and thyme overwinter well here, but basil drops over as soon as it gets a little too cold.  I'm afraid to put it out yet, as we're still a little chilly at night. I did put a few bib lettuce and arugula plants in a big pot on the deck and they both seem happy.  I'll get a small harvest by the weekend. 

I've been a little distracted and not getting much sewing done this last week.  I went  up to my home in Gold Country for the weekend and came away rather overwhelmed with all the outside work that needs to be done.  This time of year, I need to spend a fair number of weekends up there, getting the pasture grass mowed and picking up all the latest downed limbs and checking the fences that need to be replaced.  And a new water heater - not a replacement, but a second one?  I get all these great ideas and they all cost money! 

A friend and her family are at the house now, spending a little time in the foothills.  They spent some time camping before coming over to Soulsbyville to my little place.  Makes me happy to know that others are enjoying what I know and love.  I do believe it's just about time for another mini-retreat at my house.  Perhaps May? 

Now on to the work in progress: 

I completed my 4x5 Q1 Hive 11 blocks today.  This is a very popular Bee where Hives are created with 6 members each quarter.  You decide what block you want to make and you then make your block in each of the hive members colors.  Ultimately, you will end up with a sampler of blocks made by you and your various hive members, in your colors. 

This is my test block, made in my colors.  The block is Whirling Star by Faith at Fresh Lemons (part of her Solistice Star Series).  Faith has made paper piecing very easy with this block and I am glad that I chose it.

 Next came Anna's block:

This is Christine's block:

Leona's block (for her son to take with him to college):

Tina's block:

And Amy's block for her first child, a boy:

These blocks will go out in the mail tomorrow to destinations in the US and UK.  So amazing to virtually meet and share with other sewists all over the globe.


I am also working on my Liberated Round Robin project.  It is time for round 2 and I'm gathering up my strips and crumbs to make my own fabric which will ultimately become my round 2.  By next week I'll have something to show.  Right now it's the same round 1 block I had last week:




The one thing that I seem to be very good at - can find time for almost every day, is looking at fabric and then...buying fabric.  I have developed a serious fabric hoarding mentality.  It doesn't seem to matter how much fabric piles up in my sewing room, I order more.  Do you do this?  Purchasing fabric that I just love (I don't need it but I love it).  And then I put it in a cabinet and hope to "get to it"  or worse, don't want to cut into it because it's so special.   Do you do this?  Please, tell all.  I don't want to be the only one who is hoarding fabric.  I'm going to have to live to a very old age just to get through the fabric I have today - and another order is coming later this week. 

O.K.  I can stop buying fabric.  I'll just take a deep breath and close my eyes when I see new fabric lines that I just have to have.  Or I can sew faster and faster so that I can justify purchasing more fabric.  Maybe that's the solution...

Well, you see the delusional state that I am in.  Hope you are enjoying your Wednesday and look forward to hearing from you.

Aaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household. 




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

I wish each and every one of you a Happy Easter.  The weather is gorgeous.  My grandchildren were able to go on their backyard Easter Egg hunt without any problems from the weather.  All eggs were eventually found, as well as some chocolate bunnnies and some "prizes" that were left for them by the Easter bunny.

This weekend was also the BA Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  We did not meet in March, so we had 2 challenges that were due for this meeting.  The first challenge was to make something for yourself from Echo fabric (you can see the results of this challenge on the BA Modern Quilt Guild web site).

The second challenge was to make a pillow for an unknown person who provided you with a bag of scraps.  It was a challenge to decide on what I should make with the scraps that I was provided, especially considering that I did not know who I was making the pillow for. 

Here is my finished pillow.  I used Amy Badskirt's X and + pattern for the blocks:

 For the back, I added some trim and covered buttons.  The pillow is 20 inches, so it's generous.
 We all brought our pillows to the meeting and during Show and Tell, each person who participated showed the pillow she made.  Then the recipient had to recognize their fabric (or Amanda, who organized the swap used her "cheat sheet").  It was amazing to see what the guild members made (You can see the photos on the guild web site:  www.bamodernquiltquild.ning.com)

Next, I wanted to tell you about a project for my grandson Connor that's in the works.  I have been gathering fabric to make him a comforter for his toddler bed with his favorite heros - the Avengers!  He is absolutely besotted over the Avengers.  He has a Captain America costume and an Iron Man costume.  Every day when he comes home from preschool, he puts on one of his costumes for the rest of the day and evening.  So, it seemed only natural that I make him a comforter for his bed.  Then, I'll make one for Mason, who is only 2-1/2.  He loves Avengers because he loves his big brother Connor and wants to do everything that Connor does.

Here are some of the fabrics I have pulled.  The yellow is actually bright yellow, very much like IronMan's face...


And I bought myself a couple of presents.  Don't you like this "art shot" of Denyse's book?  I put it on a credenza in my living room where I have my orchids and a ponytail plant.  Seemed like a perfect place for the shot. 

 I love that Denyse focused this book on traditional quilt patterns made with modern fabrics and placed with a modern asthetic, a view I share. She went into detail about the history of the blocks and then placed them in a very modern quilt.  Over the last year and half, I have been making samplers with traditional blocks utilizing modern fabrics and feel validated by someone like Denyse Schmidt writing a book with a similar focus.  Traditional blocks can look very modern when placed with a modern asthetic and using modern fabrics.   Next, I'll think about making a non-sampler quilt with a traditional block in modern fabrics ala Denyse Schmidt...as soon as I finish the samplers! I really like the wagonwheel block - very striking.

My second present is Suzuko Koseki's book "Natural Patchwork".  It is chock full of little projects to work on.  Plus the book is very artful in the way she tells her story.

It's time to get dinner ready.  I promised my brother and sister-in-law that I would make them a berry pie, so I better get cracking.

Aaaanyway, that's everything from the Robertson household on this Easter Sunday. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Of Farmers Markets and Sunshine

Warning - long post, but mostly photos, so please dive in!!

Do you love to go to Farmers Markets to buy your goodies?  I do too and especially this time of year, when winter is losing its hold and there are so many more wonderful fruits and veggies at the stands. 

Sunday morning I met a friend and we took off for the Palo Alto all organic farmers market .  There are so many farmers markets in this area, but I especially like this one because of its location and day of the week.  This farmers market is on California Avenue, where the street is closed off for the morning and you can walk up and down the street perusing the amazing offerings.  In addition to the fruit and vegetable stalls, there are bakers and cheese makers and grass fed beef for sale and sustainably harvested fish mongers, cut flowers, orchids, musicians, plus many booths with food prepared for the munching.  I took a few photos of the beautiful wares:

 Rainbow chard
Beautiful beets
Carrots everywhere
 Piles of avocados
Gerber Daisies
 One of the vendors signs
Little plants for the planting.

Happy Girl Kitchen Co. jams and marmalades.

I bought carrots, beets, bib lettuce, fingerling potatoes, orange marmalade, lemon semolina mini-cakes for dessert, organic pasteurized eggs, and some strawberries for a berry pie.  

We put the eggs and the cakes in the refrigerator for later use, make a salad, roasted a chicken with the carrots and potatoes, make a strawberry and blueberry pie and - dinner was served!

As for quilting, well I did get quite a bit done on Saturday (when it was storming, blowing, rain going sideways in the wind, etc).  I finished the Blockwork Orange quilt top:

 And I arranged the blocks I received from the Scrapbuster Bee Round 7 swap - Wonky Bento Box
 And I made a center block for the Liberated Round Robbin 2 challenge.


What a nice way to spend a weekend!

Aaaaanyway, that's it from the Robertson household.