Monday, February 08, 2016

The Splendid Sampler -- Choosing Fabric

I am so excited to be a part of The Splendid Sampler where Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson have gathered 82 designers together to share 100 blocks over the next 12 months.  I am beyond thrilled to be providing machine quilting tutorials throughout the project.  Before I can start quilting, though, I have to pick fabric for the quilt!

I tore my entire studio apart selected fabric from my stash and decided to use Meadowbloom by April Rosenthal:

This fabric makes me absolutely giddy!  To make it even more perfect, though, April is one of the designers for The Splended Sampler.  This was truly meant to be!

Are you planning to play along with The Splendid Sampler?  What fabrics did you choose?  

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Scrappy Sunday

I've been working on my Square Dance quilt from the latest issue of Block Magazine from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

I used all of my scrap golden brown fabrics and purchased a yellow/brown print from Quilt Basket for the border:

I worried that since the quilt is mostly brown that the yellow would be out of place.  Pleasantly, the yellow is PERFECT!  This yellow brings out the "golden" in the golden browns!

I'm ready to quilt this quilt and had two threads picked out:  Mudpies and Midas Touch from my new line of FabuLux thread from WonderFil.  Mudpies is a warm variegated brown and would have been pretty on this quilt, but the Midas Touch is a golden brown variegated and, I think, will be a better choice for this quilt.

I am hurrying to get some UFOs finished so that I don't set them aside once the fun of The Splendid Sampler begins next Sunday.  Are you planning to play along?  I will be providing machine quilting tips for this project throughout the year and am so excited about it!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

January Book Shelf

January was a bizarre month for books.  I was out of town/out of the country for more than half the month.  When I was home, I spent most of my time making kits for my students at AQS Quiltweek in Phoenix.  These books helped me prepare hundreds of yards of fabric for our event next week:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
I only have two comments about this book:
1.  I listen to books while I quilt.
2.  It is difficult to quilt while crying.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
I finished this book the day that Alan Rickman died.  I have nothing else to say.

I flew to and from Tokyo for the Tokyo Quilt Festival and watched a bunch of movies on the plane and on Netflix Japan:

The Martian -- I loved the book more than I have words to say. It was my favorite read of all of 2015.  I really love the movie, too!

The Intern -- This isn't usually my type of movie but it was very, very sweet.  It was odd that I related more to DeNiro's character than Anne Hathaway's.  I am getting old.

Unbroken -- I will watch or read anything about WWII unless it involves concentration camps.  I can't go there.  I must admit that it was an odd feeling watching a movie about a Japanese internment camp while on a plane full of people going to Japan.

Minions -- Silly fun.

A Lego Brickumentary -- I now want to be a Lego master craftsman.  The documentary talked about shows and events where people gather to discuss and share their love of Lego bricks as if it was an unusual thing.  As a quilter, my reaction was "Yeah, so?  That sounds perfectly normal to me."

The entire Twilight Series -- don't judge me.

Once I returned from Japan, I decided that Jane Austen was the cure for my jetlag:

Pride and Prejudice -- I watched the Keira Knightley version of this movie over 20 times this month.  No exaggeration.  Could have been 50 times.  I don't really know.  The movie might be playing in the background whilst I write this post, but that's only a rumor.

Pride and Prejudice  -- I watched the Colin Firth mini-series for the very first time.  It was lovely!

I could happily live inside of Jane Austen's books!

I'm going to listen to all of Jane Austen's books while I'm working on my blocks and tutorials for The Splendid Sampler this year!  Do you read through Jane Austen's works every year?  Or is it just me?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without...

I'm a frugal person.  I believe in the old saying and I apply it to quilting.

1.  Use it up -- I believe in using every last scrap of fabric
2.  Wear it out -- I want people to use my quilts and I promise to replace them if it becomes necessary
3.  Make It Do -- I'll use fabric on hand rather than buying new when I can
4.  Do Without -- ARE YOU CRAZY?  I'd never do without quilting or quilting fabrics.  That's just plain wrong.

Last fall I made a quilt (my Bull's Eye Cutie pattern using BG Modern Ink fabrics)

And then I made a quilt from the leftovers:

And then I made some placemats with the leftovers:

And then I sewed the very small bits of fabric that were left together:

And used it to make these cute little zipper pouches:

And then there was no more fabric left.

The end.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Bonnie Hunter UFOs -- Lazy Sunday (1)

I'm serious about finishing my 6 Bonnie Hunter UFOs in 2016.  That's one quilt every two months.  It sounds do-able now, but ...

I made some progress with my Lazy Sunday quilt.  I chose to use yardage for this quilt instead of going scrappy, so I wonder how it will turn out?  I recently assembled 24 blocks:

 I have completed some of part 2 of this 4-part mystery.  So basically, I am not even close to done.  At least I'm making progress, right?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Placemats of the Month Club -- January

For Christmas, I enrolled my mother in the "Placemats of the Month" club.  Here was her January set.

I played with the quilting:

I used Mellow Yellows and Cloudy Skies FabuLus threads and quilted overlapping wiggles.  It was quick and easy and I love it!

These placemats were made with the leftovers from my Bull's Eye Cutie pattern sample:

And leftovers from a quilt I made for my uncle:

I still have a few leftovers.  What shall I make from them?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Touring Tokyo

I planned Monday as a tour day in Tokyo.  Touring a new city is always a wonderful thing, but it's even more wonderful because if I tried to fly home Monday I would fly right into the messy cleanup after the blizzard that hit the east coast of the United States.  Better to stay here and play than get stuck in an airport somewhere!

I visited the Senso-ji Temple:

We found a noodle place for lunch and had front-row seats:


Yes it's western food, but Max Brenner's Hot Dark Chocolate:

No words needed.

This is the place where Masumi (?) kept me from cutting off my feet this afternoon:

After that lovely rest, it was time to eat again -- Tonkotsu!

First I was served a bowl of toasted sesame seeds and given instructions to crush them:

Then I mixed a sauce into my crushed seeds:

This dipping sauce was for the breaded fried pork:

This was so delicious!  I don't eat cabbage and yet I ate their cabbage and was happy about it!

After dinner we explored some more:

We found a store called Don Quijote.  It has EVERYTHING and it is all smooshed together inside.  If you are claustrophobic at all, avoid Don Quijote.  If you are not, enter and have fun looking at everything piled high and sold cheap.

After walking our feet off all day, an escalator up from the subway instead of stairs was a welcome sight!

If you don't believe that I walked my feet off today, my watch tracks my daily activity:

What an amazingly fun day!  I will roam around a bit tomorrow before I head to the airport for my long trip home.   I'm so sad to leave Tokyo!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Goodbye, Tokyo Quilters

Today was my last day at the Tokyo quilt show.  It has been AMAZING!

I did some quilting demonstrations:

I shared the Handi Quilter love with this man from Okinawa:

I also had a few minutes to see the quilts.  There was a special exhibit of Peter Rabbit quilts:

I was surprised to see how these were attached to the wall:

These quilts were all over-the-top amazing:

But I think this was my favorite:

 The traditional Japanese quilts always give me goose-bumps:

I had a few minutes to shop.  I found some interesting stands:

So very pink!

I also found this book stand:

Going to the Tokyo Quilt Festival was a dream come true.  I'm going to be selfish here and hope I get to return some day!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

There's No Place Like ... Tokyo?

Today was my third day at the Tokyo Quilt Festival.  I've received many notes asking about how different Tokyo is from being back home.

Well, I walked by this on my way to breakfast:

And I walked by these on my way to the Tokyo Dome this morning:

When I travel abroad, I normally don't eat at American-type restaurants; instead, I try to eat food from the region I'm visiting.  While I do go to Starbucks at home occasionally, I haven't eaten at a Sizzler since 1985 or so and I only eat at TGI Friday's if I'm traveling for work and it is the only restaurant around.

Today's local food included amazing pastries for breakfast:

This bakery is way too close to my hotel and the reason while I will absolutely gain weight on this trip.

For lunch, I bought a bento box from the baseball food vendors:

This was mostly yummy.  Mostly.

The view from the baseball stands during lunch, however, was fascinating:


For dinner, we traveled to a gyoza restaurant and... Oh.  My.  Heck.

I watched this fella make dozens and dozens and dozens of gyoza while I ate some of his yummy food.  Mmmmmmm.

Walking back to the subway tonight, though, I failed as a tourist and ate some western food:

Chocolate Fudge Brownie.  Yeah, that happened.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Take Me Out to the... Quilt Show?

The Tokyo Quilt Festival is held inside the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium. The baseball game food vendors are hard at work here feeding the quilters:

I was tickled to meet Silke from Australia here at the show.  She and I have a common friend who told her she had to look for me here:

Silke has a quilt in the quilt show and it won a third place ribbon!  I am so excited for her!  She quilted her quilt on her Handi Quilter Avante!

I haven't seen her quilt yet because there were over 40,000 quilters here today and it was very difficult to walk anywhere in the aisles of the show:

After the quilt show, my friend and I headed to Shibuya (think Times Square) and walked around until we found a tempura restaurant.  One of us is better at ordering food; I'll let you decide which one.

His food had eyeballs:

My meal included tempura ice cream:

After walking our feet off tonight, we found this notice in our hotel:

I'm not sure I've ever been somewhere that had earthquake drills before.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Squared Away

My schoolteacher niece asked me for a quilt, but it had to be queen sized and it had to match her bedroom.  I only have two nieces so she's totally allowed to make demands like this on me.  Here's her quilt:

I used my Squared Away pattern (my fave!), used Dear Stella fabric, and quilted it using a ribbon candy pattern (my fave!).  I hope this quilt is her fave, too!

For symmetry, my other niece also received a Squared Away quilt from me.  Remember?

So, what pattern shall I make for the nephews?  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tokyo + Quilters = A Dream FulfilledI

I have always, ALWAYS wanted to attend the Tokyo Quilt Show.  My dream has come true!

This sign, I'm told, says that I am teaching quilting workshops:

I'm here at the show telling people about the Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen.  This is the first of these machines in Japan:

 I didn't get to see much of the show today, but I did notice that there was wine tasting at the booth across the hall from me:

I don't drink wine, but I think I might know a few quilters who would like a glass of wine (or two!) at a quilt show.