Friday, December 28, 2007

Need a Project Runway Fix?

Check out Project Runway Canada. The entire first season is sliced up into approximately 10 minute chunks and available on YouTube. Episode 1 begins here:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men

Such simple words . . . such an incredible possibility.

Merry Christmas.

(How Johnny B and his sister Grace Hopper will not be celebrating ;-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh Joy . . .

. . . I finally finished my response to one of Amy's Project Runway challenges.

Joy Fiber Postcard

In week four, the designers each chose an out-dated fashion trend, then in teams of three, created a three-piece collection.

Amy asked that we choose at least two of the outdated trends to use in our piece. I really (really) wanted to finish something, so I went for easy and chose:
  • Neon
  • Cutouts
  • Fringe
I have a feeling that Michael Kors would call it safe, Nina would declare it boring and Heidi Klum would make a face, but I don't care. I'm happy to be done ;-)

Here's how the Project Runway designers interpreted these outdated trends (image from BPR), as well as Pleather, Poodle Skirts, 70's Flare, Overalls, Dancewear, Baggy Sweater, Underwear as Outerwear, Zoot Suit and Shoulder Pads.

I was sorry to see Chris go :-(

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Stash-Busting Strategies

Between work, medical appointments and tests and my health challenges at the moment, I don't have a lot of time for agressive stash busting. But I'm going to focus on a few things and make some baby steps anyway.

I know that I tend to collect fabrics for quilt design ideas that frequently never get made. My first stash-busting strategy is to make a couple of those quilts . . . or at least piece the tops and use up the stash that has accumulated.

A year ago, when I was choosing blocks for the Beginner Block Lotto on, I also designed a beginner-friendly quilt made from the same blocks or elements of the blocks or techniques. I've been collecting 30s reproduction fabrics for it for a while.

I finally began real work on it this weekend–here are the blocks I've made so far.

In January we made blue and white double four-patch blocks. For my quilt, I made 26 scrappy four-patch blocks.

52 four-patches

In February, we made mono-chromatic pinwheel blocks. There will be four in my quilt.

4 pinwheels

In March, we made many (many!) I-spy snowball blocks. There are also 4 of those in my quilt.

4 snowball blocks

In April, we made 9-inch maple leaf blocks in fall colors on a blue sky background. For my quilt, I made eight smaller, 6-inch blocks.

8 maple leaf blocks

In May we made big scrappy basket blocks. I made one for my quilt, too.

1 scrap basket

Stay tuned to see how the rest of the 2007 lotto blocks are represented and how they all fit together . . . and the smaller version Amy made last summer whens she tested the pattern in a very different colorway.

Friday, December 07, 2007

What Holiday are YOU?

You know I can't resist these blogthings . . . here's my result and the link so you can take the test, too ;-)
You Are Christmas

More than most people, you are able to find magic in life's small moments.

Traditions mean a lot to you, and you tend to be quite nostalgic.

You are a giving, kind person who really understands the true meaning of holidays.

You inspire others to be as altruistic and caring as you are.

What makes you celebrate: Tradition and a generous spirit

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The storyteller. You like to recount memories with everyone.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Give a gift to everyone you know

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


When I read the recipe for acorn squash stuffed with wild rice on Amy's blog, The Calico Cat, this morning, I thought it looked like it would be good. After work today, I made a quick stop at my local produce market to pick up a few groceries, then came home and made some of Amy's vegan-friendly main course . . . and it was yummy! I won't repeat the recipe here–you can follow the link and check it out.

The store was sold out of pecans, so picked up something they call Cranzi-Cherry Berry mix. It contains almonds (I picked those out and put them aside), roasted pecans and dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries. I used it for both the pecans and cherries in the recipe.

I made a half recipe, enough for dinner (with a glass of an interesting Merlot) and a great lunch (sans wine) tomorrow, too.

Thanks, Amy, for the great recipe.

What's Your Go-To Block?

When we were making batik sawtooth star blocks for the October block lotto on the quilting forum, Amy shared that someone told her that sawtooth star was her go-to block. I know it's one of mine, too.

Over the weekend, I smiled when I realized that I was making a couple of another one of my go-to blocks . . .

Oriental Lone Star 30's Lone Star

Both of these are for Kate's Birthday Block swap. The block on the left is for Christine, who asked for 12 inch blocks made from oriental fabrics on black background. I had originally planned to make a kimono block, but when, first, I couldn't find my pattern, and then, someone else make a kimono block for Christine, I went to one of my go-to blocks. It came out so nice (and flat), that I decided to make a second block, in 30's repros on a white-on-white background, for Faye. It's the one on the right. If I'd had some cream batik, Diane would likely received a purple batiks version, too . . . I was on a lone star roll.

My go-to blocks don't always serve me well, though. Here's the smaller 9 inch version I made (and rejected) a couple months ago for Amy. You can't tell in this photo, but the block is not even close to being flat. So I made a different star for Amy–the Wyoming Valley block on the right. I think it turned out to be a better choice and plays nicely with the other blocks she received.

Lone Star for Amy For Amy

Monday, December 03, 2007

So Many Art Quilts, So Many Categories

These were some of my favorite quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, but I admit, I found these categories confusing because there seemed to be so much room for overlap:

Art-Abstract (Large and Small)
Art-People: Portraits and Figures

. . . In spite of my confustion, all these quilts were beautiful. The links will take you to my photos of quilts in each category. Here are some of my favorites. Take a look and then guess in which category they were judged–the category information is in the photo description on Flickr.

Whispering Pines, made by Freida Anderson of Elgin, Illinois was a Judge's Choice winner.

Whispering Pines

Made in the Shade was made by Patrice Creswell, Austin, Texas.

Made in the Shade

A Bright Summer's Day, made by Ulla Andreasson of Maerne di Martellago Ve, Italy

A Bright Summer Day

Pat Reaches Quilter's Nirvana was made by Linda Cantell of Fletcher, North Carolina. Check out the detail photos of this quilt here, here and here.

Pat Reaches Quilters Nirvana

Joe: Solitude was made by Elizabeth Schamber of Heathsville, Virginia. This quilt won third place in Art-People and was a crowd favorite–with lots of quilters strainging against the "ropes" to get an up close look. (I have a detail photo of Joe's face here.)

Joe: Solitude

Be sure to notice how leaf print fabric was used to construct the bird's wing feathers in Blackbird Garden II, made by Jean Shute of Otis Orchards, Washington. Detail of the Blackbird is here.

Blackbird Garden II

Food Q & A

Some say that you are what you eat. This meme, found on one of the foodie blogs I enjoy, Potlikker, caught my eye. Let's see what it says about me. If you want to play along, copy-and-paste the questions and add your own answers.

How do you like your eggs? Poached and served on top of toast or something interesting (and usually left over).

How do you take your coffee/tea? steamed milk with my coffee/honey in my tea.

Favorite breakfast food: French toast topped with fresh fruit and powdered sugar

Peanut butter: I can't remember the last time I had any.

What kind of dressing on your salad? Bleu cheese

Coke or Pepsi? No soda for me, thanks.

You’re feeling lazy. What do you make? An omelet.

You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? Veggie with extra cheese.

You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Something that involves a lot of preparation so I can enjoy the process.

Is there a food you refuse to eat? Veal.

What was your favorite food as a child? Grilled cheese sandwich (with a cup of cream of tomato soup, please).

Is there a food that you hated as a child but now love? Black-eyed peas.

Is there a food that you loved as a child but now hate? Peanut butter (I don't hate it, but I just realized a few questions back that I don't choose it anymore).

Favorite fruit & vegetable: Peach & swiss chard.

Favorite junk food: Blue corn tortilla chips with salsa.

Favorite between meal snack: Coffee.

Do you have any weird food habits?
Probably; some of my friends think fish tacos are weird, but I love them.

You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?

You’re off your diet. Now what would you like? Ice cream.

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai? Medium-to-hot.

Can I get you a drink? Maybe a margarita (on ice with salt).

Red wine or white? Lately, usually red.

Favorite dessert? Key lime pie. Or maybe a fruit tart.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Weather Outside is Frightful . . .

. . . and another Winter storm is on the way, so let's look at beautiful flower quilts from the exhibit In Full Bloom IV, Floral Quilts in Memory of Helen Pearce O'Bryant, from the International Quilt Festival in Houston . . . and dream of Summer.

Window Dressing

This is Window Dressing, made by Deborah Schwartzman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Each of the blooms in the windowbox are pieced, log cabin fashion–I loved the effect of shading the blooms this way.

Here is the front and back of Fresh as a Daisy, made by Melina Bula, El Dorado Hills, Californa.

Fresh as a Daisy Fresh as a Daisy (Back)

I overheard someone compare this whimsical quilt, Blacked Eyed Susans With Fruit, by Pam Allen of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, to the work of Henri Matisse. I thought it was an apt comparison.

Black Eyed Susans with Fruit

These were three of my favorites from the exhibit. Click over to my photos from In Full Bloom IV on Flickr to see detail photos of these quilts and the rest of quilts and find your own.

Is it too soon to add, "Think Spring?"
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