Thursday, November 26, 2009


While I may not be blogging about my quilting life, that doesn't mean it is non-existent. I am working nearly every spare minute I have on some very exciting things, including patterns for Patchplay and other places (soon to be revealed!). I am crossing things off a very long list and making great progress, and I know one of the things helping me is that I often listen to quilting podcasts while I quilt. Lately I have been catching up on the Sew, Stitch, Create podcasts by Brye Lynn. She always has a specific quilting topic to talk about, which I enjoy, and she does a lot of research to make sure she's conversant with said topic. I highly recommend her podcasts, so if you haven't listened yet, give them a try.

By the way, do you ever say to yourself, What did we do before we had the Internet? I love it for keeping in touch with people and for learning new things. It's one of the great things about living in the 21st Century. Thanks, all you podcasters, for all you do to keep us informed and entertained!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Come Join the Block Party!

For those of you still thinking (maybe erroneously) that you have more free time yet to spend, you might consider joining the Block Party.

Every quarter Alissa and Kristen, the hosts of the Block Party Quiltalong, will post a tutorial on how to make a specific style of quilt block. They will show you the options for the different ways to make the block. Then you make the block, put your own spin on it, and post pictures of your project on their Flickr site.

Alissa and Kristen are in the process of writing a book for C&T Publishing about the online modern quilting community, and how virtual quilting bees are promoting a sense of community online and enabling quilters worldwide to be part of a circle of quilters, much like early quilters experienced in their church groups or communities.

Check it out, and if you like what you see, then join the group. They are also hoping this group spawns its own spin-off quilting bees, which you can choose to join as well. I say anything that helps us connect with fellow quilters is a very good thing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas Quilts

I remember reading about a woman who made Christmas quilts for every bed in her house and put them on the beds for a few weeks during the Christmas season. Ever since then I have set that as a goal, but as of right now I don't have a single Christmas quilt for any bed. But all that is about to change. My next project is going to be a Christmas quilt I have designed called Christmas Ribbons. The pattern is designed, the fabrics are purchased, and all I'm waiting for is a tiny bit of freer time so that I can begin. I will give you a little teaser here and post a picture of the fabric. They are from the City Girl Holiday line by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex Fabrics, and it should surprise no one who knows me that every single one of the fabrics is etched with gold.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Zen of Embroidery

I've been doing some hand embroidery on my table runners this week, and I have rediscovered that doing embroidery with a needle and thread has a unique pleasure and rhythm to it. I haven't done any serious handwork for many years, and though I still do not want to start piecing an entire quilt together by hand, there's something very rewarding about making even stitches with your own hand rather than by machine. When they turn out good, you immediately feel the reward, and when they turn out bad, you can easily remove them and make them good. It's as though the bad never existed at all.

It's quiet, too, sewing with needle and thread, a good time to be alone with your thoughts and watch the pattern emerge slowly, slowly, like a leaf unfolding or a butterfly emerging or a baby growing. And holding something in your hand makes it possible to see details you never noticed before. There's an intimacy about fabric and needle and thread all within a foot of your eyes that reduces the world to a very tiny, very manageable space, even if only for a short time.

I think I may put aside some time every day for some embroidery, even after the table runners are completed. It's better than yoga for relaxation and cheaper than flying to a beach somewhere and, dare I say it, nearly as good as chocolate!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am a HUGE fan of the bling: sparkles, jewels, beads, buttons, glitter -- everything's better with glitter -- metallic thread, studs, eyelets, charms. Well, you get the idea. I am, like monkeys and raccoons and ravens, hypnotized by shiny stuff. I was at Michael's looking around for some things to embellish my table runners that I am designing, and then I saw it. It was big and sparkly and had every color of the rainbow. And I had to have it. The picture shows three, but, honest, I only bought one. Who's excited to bead some things!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Variety is the Spice of Life

I've listened to a few podcasts lately of interviews with famous quilters like Elly Sienkiewicz, Mimi Dietrich, Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran. While I admire greatly the work that Elly Sienkiewicz does and am in awe of her vast store of knowledge about Baltimore Album quilts, I feel more in sync with Gwen Marston and her eclectic style. I'm not really an art quilter, but I do get bored just doing one type of quilt all the time. That's why I'll never be an expert on any particular style or technique, but that's okay by me. I figure the day I stop having fun quilting is the day I stop quilting.

I've been working on a series of table runners for Patchplay that have applique on them, and while I have enjoyed making them, I'm more than ready for some piecing, just piecing. If I had to do only applique for the rest of my life, I fear I would soon feel like poking a needle in my eye. Yet, having said that, if only piecing was available to me, I think the same eye-poking instinct would set in.

So here's to variety in quilting and in life. Thank goodness for experts who find their niche and stick with it, but I will continue to flit around until I have tried every technique or style intrigues me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A WIP is Finished!

I've been listening to Allison Rosen encourage us to finish old projects and make new ones from all those piles of magazines we have been collecting for years, so I decided yesterday to reach into my box of unfinished projects and clean up some of them. The first one I came to was this lovely wallhanging, which was nearly complete, only needed some finishing touches to the quilting and binding. I bought this as a kit in Whitefish, Montana, at a fun little quilting shop there, but I can't remember the name of it. It's a McKenna Ryan pattern, who, I found out, lives just down the road apiece from the quilt shop where I bought it. It reminds me of so many great visits to Waterton Lakes in southern Alberta and a few trips to Glacier National Park in Montana, and if you know me at all, you know that I am a mountain girl, so this wallhanging makes me smile every time I walk by it. And part of the reason I smile is simply because IT IS FINISHED!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back Again and Better Than Ever!

It's good to be back in the blogging world. I took a break thinking it would only be for a couple of months, but things are dragging on longer than I had hoped, so I decided I'd get back to my sort of weekly updates. As hinted in the last post, big things are coming for Patchplay. Lori and I are working hard and hope to have a big announcement by January 2010 at the latest. It's taking a long time to do all the work we have to do simply because we still have to work at regular, boring, non-quilty jobs in order to eat and pay the mortgage and the utility bills. So, like the famous duck, we may look calm and unruffled up top, but underneath the water we're paddling like mad!

While I can't show you pictures yet of what we are working on, I can tell you how excited we are to finally be developing our own designs into patterns. It's been a very rewarding process so far, and if we never make a penny, still the personal growth and satisfaction will have been worth it.

As far as my private quilting life, there hasn't been much of it, but I do have a new kit that I bought in Jasper to work on, some lovely wildflowers by McKenna Ryan, and so it will be added to the ever-growing pile of kits. I sometimes think I like the idea of having a kit more than making a kit. And I did recently help my daughter-in-law make her first quilt, a gift for a friend's new daughter, so that was fun, and hopefully we have made a new convert!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stay Tuned for Coming Attractions

I know many of you thought I had given up on the blogging world, but, no, that's not true at all. It's just that Lori and I have been very busy lately with some extremely exciting things involving us and the quilting world. You will have to be kept in suspense for a while longer yet, but I'll just say that we are working toward a fall launch of something new and fabulous. I think it will be worth the wait.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Clothes for Carmen

I've been wanting to post this for a while, but I was worried my daughter-in-law would see the pictures before the baby shower, so I waited. I have been busy sewing baby clothes and it has been so fun. I made a cute little romper and some baby booties, but by far my favortie is the sailor dress I made for Carmen, complete with a sailor hat (which is, unfortunately, still too big for her). For some odd reason, particularly since I have always lived in a land-locked part of the world, I have a great love for the sailor outfit. All of my kids had one, and so when I saw the pattern for this particular sailor dress, it very loudly called out to me and I was helpless to resist.

I wish I had a picture of Carmen wearing her sailor dress, but since I do not, I will also attach here, for your viewing pleasure, a picture of her in her blessing outfit, the same dress worn by her mother when she was a baby. It is hand-crocheted and gorgeous, and she looked like the angel she is in it.

Oh, by the way, the sign that says "Carmen" was made by my daughter, Denise. Isn't it fabulous! It was the hit of the shower.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Plethora of Podcasts

It all started with Annie Smith's Quilting Stash, the first podcast for quilters. I remember when I first discovered the podcast in 2007, I went back and listened to every single show, clear back to 2005. I was listening to a recent Quilting Stash podcast the other day and found it unbelievable when Annie mentioned that there were still some quilters who had not heard of her or her podcast. She's practically an icon, people! She has interviewed virtually every well-known personality in the quilting industry, written articles for Quilter's Home magazine , has her own line of patterns, and hosts a twice-yearly quilting retreat in Cambria, California.

Alex Anderson started her podcast, Quilt Connection, in 2006. While the frequency of new podcasts has slowed down considerably since The Quilt Show started, she does still post new episodes every couple months or so. Alex knows practically everyone worth knowing in the quilting industry, so her podcast is full of name-dropping and news of the upper eschelons of the quilting world.

Within a Quarter Inch, Allison Rosen's podcast, was the next podcast I discovered. She started broadcasting in 2008, I think. Sorry if I got that wrong, Allison. Listening to Within a Quarter Inch is like listening to a good friend talk about her day. It's highly entertaining and full of anecdotes from her home and work life, as well as a lot of really excellent quilting information.

Since around the end of 2008 and into 2009, there have been several new quilting podcats started. Patchwork and Pacifiers, by Jennifer Ruvalcaba, The Pioneer Quilter, by Kelley, Sew-Stitch-Create, by Brye Lynn, and The Quilted Cupcake, by Jean. It's great to see so many new people willing to share their quilting knowledge and personal quilting journeys with all of us. At the end a long, hard, very non-quilty day, I love to listen to them and be inspired and reminded of why I love quilting so much.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Looky What I Found

You have to admire the crocus, especially the Canadian crocus. They come bursting out into a world of brown and white, reminding us that spring really will come again. I love this little guy, because even though he is white, he is an alive and growing white. Oh, you have given me hope, Mr. Crocus. So good to see you again!

My Granddaughter

She's here! She's finally here! Carmen Reese Garner arrived at 11:29 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8, weighing in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces and 20 inches long. It had been a long time since I held an hours-old baby in my arms, and it was so special. She is, of course, the most beautiful baby in the world, but what amazed us most was that the entire two hours we were there visiting in the hospital she was awake and happy. I tried to have a little soul-to-soul conversation with her as I held her. Carmen would look at my face with that unfocussed newborn look, and when I would talk to her, she would turn towards my voice. I know she has things she could tell us if only she could talk.

Carmen, we love you already. Welcome to earth, and welcome to our family. You have wrapped yourself around our hearts already, and we are yours to command.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

And Now for Something Really Important ...

Much as I love quilting (and I do so love it!) this weekend has, once again, reminded me that while there are many pasttimes in my life that are fun, creative, even uplifting, there are even more important parts of my life that are eternal and worth spending so much more of my time, talents, and energy on, and those things are all relationships -- relationships with our Heavenly Father, with his son, Jesus Christ, with our families, friends, and other people, and with ourselves.

Looking forward to more eternal perspective today from General Conference, and really looking forward to seeing the grandbaby soon, soon, soon! To all my friends and family who read this blog, I love you all. You are the most important things in my life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fancy Spring

So as mentioned in the last post, my dilemma about whether to finish an old project or start a new one was easily solved by, of course, starting a new one. I have been longing for spring since December really, and now that it's April (tomorrow) my longing has become almost painful. Spring is taking her sweet time, and while it is marginally warmer, it is not sunny most days and there certainly is no green around.

Therefore, in my quest for spring I decided to make a wallhanging for the kitchen that is totally, 100-percent, unabashedly spring-like, so may I present for your quilting pleasure Fancy Spring, so named because the flowers on this wallhanging are decidedly fancy and because, well, I do fancy spring.

It's already brightening my home. Here's hoping it brightens your day as well. Spring, please come back. We miss you!

Friday, March 20, 2009


I have finished quilting the grandbaby quilt, just in time. I think it turned out fine. I chose hearts for the main quilting motif, hence the name of the quilt, Heartwarming. The blocks with the 50's kids in them are quilted with hearts in the corners, framing the kids in the center of each block. The small striped blocks, of which there are five, are quilted with large block letters, H-E-A-R-T. Too, too clever, right? The large striped blocks are quilted with a large heart with cross-hatching. The quilting shows up really well on the back, not as much on the front, which is fine. I think the fabrics need to be the star of this quilt.

Along with the quilt I made three coordinating crib sheets, which I really, really hope fit. I got the pattern off the Internet, after checking out many patterns that all had about the same measurements. If they don't fit, the fabric is still mostly intact and could be used for something else, I suppose, but I hope the Internet doesn't let me down and that the sheets fit perfectly.

Now that the grandbaby quilt is finished, what to do next? My options are finish the pile of WIP's waiting completion or start something entirely new and fun. Of course, you all know which way I am leaning. Bring on the new!

Monday, March 9, 2009

To Snob or Not to Snob

When Connecting Threads first came out with their $5.96 a yard quilting fabric, I was quite excited about it, but since then I have sort of changed my mind. It may be inexpensive, but it's not very inspired or inspiring, at least to me. I realize for that price they may be limited in what they can do. Maybe it's not possible pay fabric designers, so maybe they are just using more "stock" designs. Perhaps they have fewer color selections available to them, and maybe even the size of motifs they can print on their fabric must be scaled back. At least, it seems to me that most of their fabrics have very small prints on them. Kudos to Connecting Threads for at least attempting to make quilting more affordable. For right now I'll just use the stash I have until I see something from them that wows me more.

I will give Connecting Threads full marks, however, for their quilting thread. I have a Voyager 17 mid-arm quilter, which is all I will ever need. It's a great machine, pretty basic, but I love it. You can get a stitch regulator for it, which I have not done yet, maybe won't ever do. Anyway, I digress. My point is the Connecting Threads quilting thread is very inexpensive and runs on my machine with very few, if any, breaks. It's sort of linty, but who cares? I clean out the bobbin area every time I change a bobbin anyway. I use a size 18 needle and have very few issues with breakage or tension. A spool with 1,200 yards costs only $1.99, less if you buy it in a set. I bought every color they have. It's a really nice selection of colors, plus they also have some variegated thread. (I am a variegated girl.) You can also buy a cone of 5,000 yards for $7.99. I have a grey cone that I use on my sewing machine for piecing. Fabulous!

So is someone who loves expensive fabric or expensive thread a quilting snob? I think if you're buying the name-brand fabric or thread simply to have the name brand, then you are guilty as charged. If, however, you honestly believe that the quality offered by those more expensive companies is justified, then I say not a snob. I believe I'm a mixed bag. I do love to find a bargain, and I am happy a lot of the time with "lesser babka". (Obscure Seinfeld reference alert!) I'm perfectly content to quilt all my quilts with Connecting Threads thread. But, oh, there is a such a sensual pleasure in running your hands over really high quality cotton quilting fabric. When the quilt is important, I spend the money on the fabric.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Yet Another Baby Quilt

Look at me, being all quilty. This is honestly the most I have quilted in months, maybe in more than a year. I love making baby quilts. First of all, a baby coming into the world is a wonderful event. Second, baby quilts are quick to make because they are small and usually not too complicated. Third, even if you don't do such a great job on a baby quilt, people are usually too happy to notice. Fourth, baby quilts get washed a lot, so imperfections will soon be lost in the general malaise of a well-loved quilt.

This particular baby quilt, called Puppy Love because of the fabulous doggy fabric it showcases, is for a friend in our ward who just had her fifth child. She's a wonderful mother, but so quiet and self-deprecating that I fear she often gets overlooked. I figure if you've gone through pregnancy and childbirth five times, you and your fifth baby deserve a quilt.

The quilt is made from a block on EQ6 called Left and Right. I don't know why it's called that. I liked the fact that it made secondary blocks when put in columns and rows. I quilted it with a simple all-over meandering (Remember, Lori, when we talked about how we were going to make more gift quilts and simply meander them? Done.)

Let me know how you like it. Thanks for the suggestions on how to quilt the grandbaby quilt. That's this week's project.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Piecing Complete

I have finished piecing the grandbaby quilt top. Jen and I did a little bit of tweaking to the pattern, deciding that we wanted to showcase the cute kids on the fabric, as well as the fabulous stripe that Jen loves so much. It's a simple pattern, but so effective with these fabrics. Right now I'm trying to decide how to quilt it. Arggh! That is my least talented area of quilting. Honestly, I'm a little afraid to even start. Any suggestions?

Friday, February 20, 2009

We Have Lift-Off!

I have all the pieces cut out for the grandbaby quilt, but I have hit a bit of a snag. I have decided that the background off-white I have is too much white and not enough off, so I think I'll have to go to the quilt shop (boo hoo!) and buy something a little more on the beige, ecru, tan, latte whatever you want to call it side. I also still have to decide on appliques, but the rest of it looks pretty cute. It's not too girl and not too boy. I think we have struck the perfect balance. Any ideas for some simple generic appliques? The pattern uses hearts, stars, and flowers, which are too girly. Stars would be okay, but any other suggestions for shapes that would be good for a boy or a girl are welcome. Pictures coming soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today I finished the baby quilt for Emily Dawn. I think it turned out pretty darn good. I had a few issues with the quilting machine tension, but once I got that sorted out, the quilting went smoothly. I quilted it with, you guessed it, my signature loops and hearts and flowers, but it's a fast and easy pattern for a baby quilt, and I still like how it looks. In the borders I quilted the baby's name, Emily Dawn, over and over. I know! So cute! I tried to take a picture of it, but it doesn't show up. I hope the parents notice it.

So here is a picture of the completed quilt top and a closeup of the quilting. Tomorrow's project is to start on the grandbaby quilt. Hooray!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Favorite Quilt Shop Is ....

Today I thought I'd tell you about my favorite quilt shop. This shop is not in Lethbridge, so I don't get to go there often, but when I do it's like going to Disneyland for Quilters. Everywhere you look there is something fun to see and do and, well, buy. My favorite quilt shop is in Canmore, Alberta, in the heart of the amazing Canadian Rockies. It's called The Sugar Pine Company. It's been featured in Quilt Sampler Magazine and won local awards for business of the year. Here are a few of the many reasons why I love this quilt shop.

1. The setting. You can't imagine if you have not been there the beauty of Canmore and the Canadian Rockies. Truly breathtaking. I know that's not really something a quilt shop has control over, but if you can place your shop in a town where you have fabulous 360-degree views, I highly recommend it.

2. Kits, kits, kits. I adore a good kit. I love having the fabrics chosen and cut and placed in a bundle or packet. It's like candy for quilters. Sometimes the bundles are so pretty I don't even want to open them up to actually make the quilt. The Sugar Pine Company has over 100 kits ready and waiting with samples sewn of every single one. It's spectacular!

3. Huge selection of fabric. For a small store they pack in an astonishing amount of fabric, about 8,000 bolts. I honestly don't know how they do it, but kudos!

4. Cute patterns. The Sugar Pine Company has a lot of patterns designed by Alberta designers, many featuring the beautiful Rockies or prairie scenes. One of my favorite designers is Joan Statz of Joan's Own Designs. Make sure you check out her beautiful landscape quilts.

5. Friendly staff. The last time I was there was with my sisters. The sales lady could not have been more helpful in assisting my sister to find a particular quilt kit she wanted. She was patient and went the extra mile to make sure we were satisfied customers.

6. Downstairs gift shop. The fabrics and kits are upstairs, but downstairs is an amazing gift shop, complete with many quilty notions, including a great selection of unique buttons.

Oh, I wish I was in Canmore right now!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Own Private Quilt Retreat

So My Week has finally come. I am off work this week, free of other obligations, and I am quilting. It's my own personal quilting retreat because I'm home alone most of the day and nobody interrupts me. For company I have been catching up on past podcasts from Annie Smith's Quilting Stash. It's like having a quilting friend in the room. She's been driving cross-country and visiting quilt shops. Who among us hasn't had that fantasy?

Today I have been piecing a quilt top for my son's best friend and his wife who had a baby on February 4th, a little girl named Emily Dawn. It's a pattern I have made before called Hugs and Kisses done in 30's fabrics in shades of yellow and pink. I couldn't decide whether to put up a picture of just the quilt top or wait until I have done the quilting. I guess I could do both. Okay, done. Sorry the colors are a little dark. I have a dark house. Maybe I'll take a picture of it outside when I'm finished quilting it if I can find somewhere without snow.

I plan on writing every day this week, just letting you know what I'm up to, sharing my week of fun with all my quilting friends and family, and just generally adding to the quilty theme that is this week. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grandbaby Quilt!

I finally have all the fabrics I need to make the quilt for my son and daughter-in-law's first child and our first grandchild. They have decided not to know the sex of the baby beforehand, so it's been quite a challenge to come up with fabrics and a design that would work for either a boy or a girl, but I think we've done it.

Jen selected a pattern combining piecing and applique from the September/October 2008 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine called Hopscotch. The focus fabric is from American Jane by Moda, from their Recess line. It's a fabulous print of 1950's children playing. To go along with it we have a selection of fabrics with various sizes of polka dots, a sassy coral, Polka Dot by April Cornell for Moda, a fabulous green, Dorothy by P&B Textiles, and a golden yellow, Windsong by Avlyn. Tieing them all together is a really amazing stripe from the Jitterbug line by Andover fabrics. There's also a basic off-white blender to show off the appliques.

Here is a picture of the fabrics. Cutting begins soon. Watch for the completed quilt top in the next few days. I plan on pouring every ounce of love I have for my first grandchild into this special quilt and hope it will be cherised by him or her for a lifetime.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Listen, Learn, Create!

"Well, it's Craftcast, we'll have a blast, new ideas so easy and fast!" How much do I love listening to Alison Lee's podcast? I love the discussions on creativity and how the creative mind works. I love listening to so many diverse people discuss their particular crafty passion. I so love Alison's voice. If I could change my voice, I would pick hers. It's mellow and smooth and her laugh is, well, fabulous. And, on a somewhat lowbrow note, I adore her theme song! When that song starts, my toes just start a-tapping, and those background "do-do-do's" always, always, always lift my spirits. In fact, sometimes as I'm singing along with the background guys, I miss what Alison has been saying, and I have to go back again and listen, being careful this time not to get sucked into the bass line.

I recently downloaded every past epidsode. It's been fun to go back in time, as it were, and listen to the beginnings of Craftcast. Today I listened to the interview with Carol Duvall. So much fun! But so far my favorite of the oldies has been the interview with Kaffe Fassett. I doubt that our quilting styles could be more miles apart, but he is a quilting legend, an icon, if you will, and listening to him talk about what inspires him to create his quilts gave me some inspiration of my own.

So if you're looking for a podcast that will inspire you, entertain you, and motivate you, I suggest you start with Craftcast. Then call me up, and we'll sing the theme song together!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a Catalog?

Today the Spring 2009 edition of the Keepsake Quilting catalog arrived in the mail, 128 pages of quilty fun and inspiration. I have been working all day, but about every 20 minutes I take a break and look through a few pages. I have to force myself not to look ahead or go too fast, because while I want to savor each page, I'm also very anxious to see what's beyond the next page turn.

I enjoy all kinds of catalogs, Sears, Ikea, seeds, even hardware, but, of course, the pinacle of the catalog world for me is a good quilting catalog. I like the Connecting Threads catalogs, but they are pretty small. It only takes me a few minutes to get through one, and then I'm wishing for more, but the Keepsake Quilting catalog, now that's a catalog feast. They have breathtaking kits, scrumptious fabric medleys, and unique patterns, every page jam-packed with beautful colored photography and oh-that's-cute goodness.

I have to get back to typing now, but in about 15 minutes I'm going to look through another ten pages as my reward. It's the only thing keeping me going through this beast of a trial I'm currently working on. Keepsake Quilting, you're the best!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Sewing for Africa

I went to the church last night with my serger and helped sew more dresses for Africa. We had a lot of sisters who donated fabric and t-shirts but did not want to sew, and we had some dresses that were made incorrectly that we had to redo. Our ward has already sent in about 150 dresses, and I'm sure last night there were at least 50 more there, if not more. It was so fun to sew with a group and chat as we worked. Plus, it's very rewarding to know that when you make these cute little dresses, you are literally changing someone's life. These dresses make it possible for little girls in Africa who don't have money for clothes to go to school. It's hard to imagine, living in our prosperous world, that children in some countries are kept from obtaining an education because of something so simple.

Whenever we completed an entire dress, someone would hold it up, and everyone would say, Oh, isn't that cute? We never, ever thought any of them were ugly, and, honestly, none of them are. People have tried hard to get the cutest t-shirts and match them with the perfect fabric. I think they have been as careful with these dresses as they would with something they were making for their own children or grandchildren.

I like to think maybe one day Scott and Gayle will be somewhere in Africa on their mission, and they will see a little girl in a darling t-shirt dress, and maybe it will be one of ours. They'll never know, and neither will we, but I have so thoroughly enjoyed giving this service. It has made me feel a part of the church's huge global humanitarian efforts, and made me realize, once again, that the scriptures are true, for I have felt the Savior near as we sewed and known that "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

So Many Quilting Blogs!

While downloading court audio this morning I have been spending some time looking at quilting blogs. Oh, my goodness, there are so many amazingly talented people out there who are so prolific in their quilting and so creative in their use of fabric and applique and piecing that it just makes me blush to think that I call what I do "good". Here are a few I especially enjoyed today.

Will Work for Fabric has a fabulous scrappy red and white quilt that would look amazing done in any color, depending on the scraps in your stash.

Beth Ferrier is starting a block of the month pattern on February 14th. She will have the supply list posted sooner. For those of you looking for a continuing project in 2009, this could be a great choice.

Or, if you don't like Beth's project, how about checking out the BOM from BunnyHill Designs, which, appropriately enough, involves bunnies, at least in the first month's block. The common theme for all twelve blocks is actually baskets. It's very cute, and her blog already has pictures of versions of block number one done by other quilters.

If you want something adorable to knit, check out the blog from Quilting with the Past where she shows off her teeny tiny teddy bear. Who wouldn't want to make a bear that loveable?

And, finally, feast your eyes on this beautiful quilt created by Bonnie K. Hunter and pictured on her Quiltville blog. I love, love, love the colors in this quilt!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Staying Organized

Why is it so hard to stay organized? Why do things tend to fall into chaos so quickly? I like things organized and put away and filed and neat and tidy, yet it only takes about two days for my quilting supplies to become a raggedy mess. Right now I'm looking around and I have a stack of fabric here and another stack of fabric there. I have rulers strewn about with abandon and thread on nearly every flat surface.

Since the problem certainly can't be me, here are a few reasons I've come up with to explain my disorder.

1. New fabric is hard to put away. I must hold it and look at it and put it where I can see it and stroke it for quite some time until I'm ready to stash it in a drawer. I have bought quite a bit of new fabric lately for the grandbaby quilt and because I got a gift certificate for Christmas, and I can't bring myself yet to put it away. It's way too pretty.

2. Old projects must be left out. If I put away the curtains I'm still trying to finish, they will disappear into the black hole of UFO's and might never get done. If I leave them out on the sewing table, I may be inspired to work on them. May. Might. Possibly. If the stars align.

3. A creative mind is a cluttered mind. I heard this from someone once, that creative people are not very organized. In fact, if they become tidy they are in danger of losing their creativity, because it is the plethora of things around them that inspires them. Yes, that's it. I must not lose my creativity. I clutter, therefore I create, or is it the other way around?

4. If I put things away I won't know where anything is. There is some truth to this. I know the mess looks disorganized, but I know right where everything is. Sometimes when things get put away I forget I even have them. Case in point, yesterday I found a whole package of donuts I had hidden away in a cupboard approximately mid-November so nobody would eat them. Well, nobody ate them. Mission accomplished.

5. I will put things away when I come up with the perfect system. Has the perfect system been invented yet? I do not think so, but until it has been I must not put things in any lesser kind of a system. If perfection is the goal, then perfection it will be, even if that means living in semi-chaos or possibly total chaos for the next 30 years. A goal is a goal.

Sadly, I fear, dear Brutus, the fault lies not in any of the above reasons, but in myself. Sometimes I just get lazy and I don't put things away. Our moms have been trying to teach us this skill since we could walk. Some of us are still working on it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Heart Fat Quarters

Have I written about my love of fat quarters here before? If not, how could I have been so remiss? There is no fabric size and shape that I love as much as a fat quarter, particularly if said fat quarter comes tied in a bundle with other fat quarter friends. So, of course, when Gary gave me a gift certificate to The Fabric Addict for Christmas, I bought, you guessed it, fat quarters.

The bundle I bought is 20 fat quarters from the fabric collection called Paisley Party by Terry Atkinson and Liz Lois for Red Rooster Fabrics. It's got such delicious colours of orange, yellow, turquoise, and green, very tropical and fresh and perfect for these blah January days. I am posting a picture of the collection. I know I should untie the bundle and spread it out for you to see it better, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Part of the fun of the fat quarter bundle is seeing it all tied up so pretty.

Now I need to decide what I'm making with it. I'm thinking of a wall-hanging for the kitchen because the colors would brighten up my fairly dark house and make the winter seem a little bit more fun, at least in my kitchen. I want something that really shows off the fabric, so probably something with large blocks. Hopefully a picture will be posted here soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Year of Kaye

Taking a page from the book of George Costanza, I am calling 2009 The Year of Kaye. Last year was the Year of Eric, doing all the million little things required to get him on a mission. 2006 was the Year of Brent. He was getting married that year, which also involved a million little things. I would be willing to share 2009 with Denise should things take a turn in that direction, but so far, at least, I'm dedicating it to me.

Lest I come across as a selfish whiner, let me say that a year devoted to me is not a year devoted to buying expensive gifts for myself (although others may wish to celebrate The Year of Kaye that way). Nor is it a year dedicated to simply doing what I want when I want and letting chips fall willy-nilly. It is not a year of even finding myself. I know exactly who I am and what I should be and want to be and need to be doing.

The Year of Kaye means that this year I will be more focussed. I will make goals and keep them. I will do things I have been wanting to do for years and just kept procrastinating out of fear or inertia or lack of planning. The first step for me will be forcing myself to write things down, a huge step in my life. I'm not a person who likes lists, daily planners, taking notes, highlighting textbooks, writing on calendars. I have relied in the past on my pretty decent memory and serendipity. I'm sure I've missed out on some things in the past by being somewhat cavalier about my time, but for the most part I've gotten things done and felt like the journey was as fun as the destination.

As I age -- oh, how I hate that word -- I am finding the memory is not what it once was. My level of concentration is also somewhat diminished. While I have more free time, ostensibly, because I am an empty-nester, I get less and less done with that time. I am somewhat perplexed as to why that is, but I believe the solution lies in planning and organization, hence the goal of writing things down.

Since I spend my working hours on a computer, I have decided the best way to begin my life as a list-maker is to do it on the computer, so I am using a new program that came with Microsoft Office 2007 called One Note. It's a good tool for organizing notes, schedules, snippets of information. I think it's designed primarily for students, but it will work for me. My first goal is to learn how to effectively use the program and to actually use it. I am going to set aside time to make my lists every day, probably in the mornings, as that seems to be my best thinking time. I am not a late-night person in anybody's book.

And speaking of late nights, I stayed up last night, New Year's Eve, until approximately 12:02, at which time I gratefully went to bed. I feel obligated to stay up to see in the New Year, but it's not fun or exciting or magical or pleasurable or important. I do it out of a sense of duty, out of a sense that if I go to bed before midnight, I am turning into a lame old woman, and I refuse to do that, so I stay up just long enough to say Happy New Year, and then happily say Good Night.

One of my goals that I am writing down and even setting an alarm for on my Outlook Calendar is to write in this blog at least once a week. I hope to be able to share some of my creativity, primarily in quilting but other ways as well. So, with that said, here is the first post of 2009, and now let the Year of Kaye begin!