Tuesday, August 31, 2010

well, that took longer than I expected...

I am slowly getting back on track on the home front...

While I was away, Jon and I attended GenCon in Indianapolis with a few of our friends.
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I innocently thought we'd be attending a board game convention and had no idea the nerdiness that we were going to encounter that weekend! There were tons of people dressed up in Anime, video game, and RenFair costumes, lots of very single and very socially awkward guys, and random booths filled with leather paraphernalia. It was definitely a great weekend for people watching! We did end up leaving with a few Euro boardgames, but I'm not sure if I can handle attending this again!


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I was reunited with two of my very favorite friends, Catherine and Jodi, who were both visiting from Europe. Maybe one day we'll all live on the same continent again. Any idea how I can acquire a job in the E.U.? (kidding, Mom!)

And, thanks to ANOTHER kitchen fire last week, our entire first floor was scrubbed and cleaned from top to bottom to remove smoke and fire extinguisher residue. Jon is no longer allowed around oil and burners in our house! (all because he was innocently trying to season a cast iron pan with oil)
Jon's sweater in progress
Between all of our summer plans and work busyness, I have been holed up in front of Netflix InDemand watching old episodes of Law & Order and knitting like a madwoman. I've got two (steeked!) colorwork cardigans, 2 hats, and lots of dishcloths that I've added to my finished objects pile. I am officially ready for fall to begin! I'll share the finished sweaters once it is cold enough to wear the cardigans. Right now, we only have the tolerance to try them on for 5 seconds at a time while strategically positioned in from of our A/C unit.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Doll Quilt Swap 9

Here's my finished Doll Quilt for Round 9...

For those keeping track, I had started off with this palette and turned it into this quilt top until I realized that my partner doesn't like brown and turned attempt #1 into a pillow.

So, I slightly tweaked my palette and came up with this set of fabrics:
new quilt project
At this point, I gave myself a pat on the back for having cool fabrics in my stash and made a mental note to start sewing with what I have on hand more often!

Doll Quilt Swap 9 QIP
I've been really inspired by all of the fabulous half square triangle quilts I've been seeing lately, so I jumped on the bandwagon and made a mini version. "Accurate" piecing like this gives me a bit of a headache, so the mini size was perfect for me to try out this design and not too many corners were lost with my sewing skills (or lack thereof).

DQS9 Triangle Quilt
If only lap quilts and bed quilts were this easy and quick to quilt!

DQS9 Triangle Quilt

DQS9 Label
For the label (I'm not showing the name yet!), I used twill tape and iron on transfer paper to include all of the details and sewed it in with the binding. The finished quilt is 15" x 15" and it's got me wanting to make a throw sized quilt like this with my fabric scraps.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Brighton Modern Quilters - Paper Bag Challenge

I've been a member of the Brighton Modern Quilters group since it almost began. It's been fun meeting up with local quilters to talk about techniques, share ideas, and be surrounded by beautiful fabrics and quilts!

If you're local to the area (or semi-local, like me), be sure to check out one of our meetings! We meet at Monarch Quilts on the 4th Monday of the month. Our next meeting is August 23 at 7:00pm.

A handful of our members even have blogs...Rossie, Sarah, Debbie, Lynn, Angie, Bonnie, Lynn, and our fearless leader, Andrea!

At our latest meeting, we shared the results of our paper bag challenge. Back in May we each brough a paper bag filled with a fat quarter, some fabric scraps and some random notions. We swapped bags and then had a few months to turn our bag into a quilt or project of some sort. It seems everyone in the group put off this project until the last minute (myself included - I was up at six the morning of to finish sewing and stuffing my project).

Here's what I started with:
Paper Bag Challenge: the fabric
A great big pile of dark batiks! Batiks are so not my thing, but I was able to salvage one strip of green batik fabric to use in the challenge (we had to use at least one piece, so I stuck with the bare minimum :)

Paper Bag Challenge: my new palette
I combined my green strip of fabric along with some other greens and blues from my stash. (I should say right now that I was hoping to make a mini quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap and turn this project into a twofer).

I wanted to make a patchwork cutout strip (like in this project seen in my flickr favorites), so I cut the fabrics into strips and sewed them together.

Paper Bag Challenge: the fabric template
I cut out some junk mail to make my template in the general shape I wanted to use.

Paper Bag Challenge: testing out the layout
Then I laid everything out on my base fabric and added the brown for extra contrast.

Paper Bag Challenge: the Doll Quilt Swap Reject
I pieced the brown to the fabric strip and then appliqued the other side of the brown down to the background fabric. At this point I went back to read my Doll Quilt Swap partner's preferences (just in case) and realized that I missed the fact that she hates brown. Oops!

Paper Bag Challenge: the final pillow
So, instead of turning this into a quilt, I turned it into a decorative pillow for our living room. And now I have officially made a new throw pillow to replace the other pillows on the couch. This one is fluffier than the old pillows and much more suitable for Sunday afternoon naps!

2010 Garden: Week 10

2010 Garden: Week 10
It's come to the point in the summer where I start my neglecting the garden. It happens every year around this time. I've finally realized that it's not because I'm sick of gardening. It's actually because my job is sucking up all of my energy. My big catalog deadline is looming (next week, Thursday!) and I'm working myself to the bone every day. By the time I get home at night it's all I can do to find something to eat and crash in front of the tv before falling asleep for the night. You'll notice that there was no update for Week 9. That's actually because I didn't go in our back yard at all last week (lame, I know!). Thank goodness Jon keeps it watered for me!

2010 Garden: Week 10
Needless to say, next Friday I will be reclaiming the garden (or what's left of it that the weeds haven't taken over!)

For now, I'm dreaming of fresh pesto made from my 6 thriving basil plants and lots of butternut and spaghetti squash this fall and winter (can you spot the tiny squash growing at the top of the trellis in the first photo?).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ann Arbor Area Quilt Show

On Sunday afternoon, I visited the Ann Arbor Area Quilt Show. As always, getting to see a wide variety of gorgeous quilt is is always such an inspiring way to spend the day!

Here are some of my favorite quilts from the show:
Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
I've been drawn to traditional quilts in modern colors lately and I love the look of this Irish Chain.

Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
Debbie's Traffic Pattern quilt is one of my most favorite quilts in a very long time! The pattern is for sale here. She's in the Brighton Modern Quilters Guild with me, so I always get to see what she's been up to.

Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
This Bargello patterned quilt photo is for Christine. I read on the description that this quilt design came in a kit from a Quilt Shop in Illinois (probably why it's identical to this quilt seen at the Oakland County Quilt Guild show I visited earlier this year). The quilter actually enlarged the pattern by 1.5 times, which is why it's slightly different than the other quilt in the link.

Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
Me really liking this quilt is just another sign that I am turning into my mom as I age! She had a thing for patriotic quilts back in the 80's.  Maybe it's the antique background that I really like set off against the bright red?


Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
I am really liking bright bright quilts lately (high volume, if you will)

Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
I love this color combination. I will try an orange peel block someday!

Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
I have a feeling that an amish style quilt is in my future! Black mixed with bright jewel tones? Yes, please!

Ann Arbor 2010 Quilt Show
And, finally, can anyone tell me the manufacturer of this bright floral or point me in the direction of a similar looking fabric? I feel like I've seen this before in oilcloth, too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ahh...the memories

Good news: I have friends living all around the world that I've been fortunate enough to visit.

Bad news: My friends live all around the world, so I don't get to see them too often.
Kate & Rebekah
Lucky for me, I was able to meet up with Kate in Grand Rapids last weekend. She was back from Nicaragua for her yearly visit home for the summer. Kate and I met in Calvin Band (surprise, surprise - I really am a band geek!) in college and we lived in a house together (and shared a room) our junior year. We are actually a Myers-Briggs type indicator compatible personality match and she is the perfect zany to my seriousness  After all, only Kate would give me a large piece of smoked salmon wrapped up in a Victoria's Secret bag for my birthday! (for MBTI geeks out there, she's an ISFP and I'm an ESTJ)

For nostalgia's sake, I dug through my archives to find other trips and things I've done with Kate since starting the blog...exploring Jackson Hole, WY, learning how to play Guitar Hero, a Detroit-a-thon museum tour, visiting Ohio with a rainy trip to Cedar point with 4/5 house roommates, and, of course, traveling to  visit her in Nicaragua with Jon two years ago.
Kate & Rebekah
My camera caught a picture of a car driving through our heads back in our old stomping grounds on 60th St. - perfect!

We caught up with each other over a visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Fields Fabrics and a leisurely dinner together. I really miss having close friends living nearby, so it was the perfect pick me up after my long week!

Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures were on display at the Gardens and I loved seeing how he incorporated these in with the garden landscapes. I wish they had shared details about how each piece of glass was physically added to the space (chains, buoys, long poles, etc.?), but it was fun to guess on our own.
Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens

Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens

Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens

Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens

Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens

Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens

Dale Chihuly @ Frederik Meijer Gardens