Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Twilight Quilt: Bella & Edward's Cottage

I stared into the violet dark. There, nestled into a small clearing in the forest, was a tiny stone cottage, lavender gray in the light of the stars.

It belonged here so absolutely that it seemed as if it must have grown from the rock, a natural formation. Honeysuckle climbed up one wall like a lattice, winding all the way up and over the thick wooden shingles. Late summer roses bloomed in a handkerchief-sized garden under the dark, deep-set windows. There was a little path of flat stones, amethyst in the night, that led up to the quaint arched wooden door.
–Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, page 475

The idea for little houses representing the places where Bella spent time came from the Mystery Quilt. The first block was a nine-patch that had four little houses in it. I loved that idea and wanted to keep it as my quilt layout evolved. That block remained part of the layout until the very last change, when I decided that I wanted "fancy" houses. The pattern for this little stone cottage came from the EQ5 program. Well, that's where it started. I scanned the image in and then used Microsoft Paint to remove elements and change the pattern to fit into my quilt. I based the design on the cottage in the Stephenie Meyer quilt, Piece, Love, Twilight. In my quilt, Bella & Edward's Cottage is part of a larger section, but it is exciting for me to see my quilt come together piece by piece (especially when each block takes so long). The roof and stone path fabrics are from Iris (thanks!). And I couldn't do without Fairy Frost (Fog at the windows). It isn't quite finished. I'm going to embroider on some honeysuckle vine and perhaps a little rose bush.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Whale or Mermaid?

In a large city in France, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said, "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

A middle-aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,

Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.)
They have an active sex life, get pregnant and have adorable baby whales.
They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp.
They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia.
Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs.
They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist.
If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human?
They don't have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex? Just look at them ... where is IT?
Therefore, they don't have kids either.
Not to mention, who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me: I want to be a whale.

P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time, we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, "Good grief, look how smart I am!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Appliqué Sampler Table Runner

All my scattering moments are taken up with my needle. -Ellen Birdseye Wheaton, 1851

A long time ago, I started a block-of-the-month with my mom. It was an appliqué sampler and I got hung up on block five of six. The instructions were for the freezer paper method, but instructed you to leave the freezer paper in the appliqué pieces and then snip through the back of the fabric after the appliqué was finished to pull it out. I did not like that idea at all. And so I put the sampler away and did not finish it. Early last year I found Marcia Hohn's Applique Tutorial and was anxious and excited to finish my sampler without snipping through the back to remove the freezer paper and without leaving it in. I pulled out my blocks and completed the last two sections. I bought a backing for it and took it to Corn Wagon Quilt Co., where their quilter Ramona, did a lovely custom job.

Here is a close-up of some of the detail she did in the border and sashing, mirroring the vine appliqué in the infamous block #5. She did a beautiful job. Click on the pictures for a closer look.

I gave this as a Christmas gift to friend who uses table runners in a couple of places in her home, switching them out for different seasons. Her thanks made it all worth while.


Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. -Pablo Picasso

In the summer of 2008 I bought some Minky Dot fabric on sale, planning to make robes for my kids for Christmas. As is the case, I ended up with too many projects and not enough time and so I postponed this project until LadyBug's birthday, in February of 2009. It is a tradition that will not die in our family to give a gift to the child whose birthday it is not on the other child's birthday and so I figured that matching robes might be fun for both of them. When I pulled the Minky out, though, I realized that I needed to line it with something, so I went in search of some flannel that I thought might do the trick. I was pleasantly surprised to find a colorful striped flannel that went well with the Minky -- and it was on sale! Click on any of the pictures for a closer look.

I got the robes put together and had the idea to make matching pajamas. I love to make pajamas! I had just enough of the striped flannel to use it for the tops, so I got some solid flannel for the sleeves and bottoms and got them put together. I cut it close getting them done. I shooed the Little Bugs to play in another room and finished putting the buttons on about an hour after they got home from school on LadyBug's birthday.

It's been almost a year and the sleeves are almost too short on their robes and the pajama pants are now floods, but they still wear them all the time. They love their "Robes of Many Colors," and I love to squeeze them while they are wearing them because they are so soft!

But the story doesn't end there. I had the scraps of Minky and striped flannel sitting in my cluttered office. I thought it might be fun to use them in a patchwork baby quilt, but who did I know that was worthy of receiving a handmade quilt? I found out that a dear friend was expecting her first baby in November of 2009. Better yet, I discovered that she was expecting a little boy. So I shopped the sales and went about collecting flannels that matched the Minky and striped fabrics left over from the robes. I had envisioned Minky on the back, but couldn't find any on sale (I LOVE to bargain shop) and so I bought a cute buggy flannel on sale that had the colors of the striped flannel in it. But when I laid out the blocks, the different patterns I had collected clashed horribly and so I had to pull out all of the prints and go with Minky, solid flannels, and the buggy flannel. All together, I spent less than $15 on the fabrics for the blocks for the top AND the quilt back. Did I mention I like to shop the sales? And the result was this fun patchwork "Buggy Quilt of Many Colors."

I had Ramona at Corn Wagon Quilt Co. quilt in an all-over stars and loops pattern and use a fluffier batting. I bound it with the last bits of the buggy flannel. It was SO soft and fluffy! I hated smashing it in the box to mail to my friend.

I still have the striped flannel blocks and a little bit of matching Minky -- enough to make a few blocks for another quilt. Who knows who might get a "Striped Quilt of Many Colors." I'd better start watching for Minky to go on sale.

My Twilight Quilt: Charlie's House

Eventually we made it to Charlie’s. He still lived in the small, two-bedroom house that he’d bought with my mother in the early days of their marriage. –Bella Swan, Twilight, page 8

I got the west bedroom that faced out over the front yard. –Bella Swan, Twilight, page 9

Here is Charlie's house with a little bit of the forest*. I started with two different paper piecing patterns for this section of the quilt. I used a house pattern from a book called 365 Foundation Quilt Blocks by Linda Causee as a beginning place for what I wanted my house to look like. The trees are based on a pattern by Patrice Trnka Adams. I used Microsoft Paint and Microsoft Word to digitally alter the patterns to fit in the spots I needed them. When one program wouldn't do what I needed, I'd switch to the other. I re-sized and re-drew, adding in and pulling out elements until I got the right size, shape and aesthetic that I wanted. My complete pattern is available for download in PDF format here.

Although I have two rows of forest* in my quilt already, I wanted more in this block because the house is surrounded by forest*. The forest is as much a character in the book as Bella and the Cullens. It plays a big role in the setting and so my feeling is that you can't have too many trees in this quilt. There will be more in other blocks. Just wait. Here are some fun details about this block . . . I opened Bella's window so that Edward could sneak in and out. And I'm thinking about adding two golden eyes to the taller of the two trees, if I can pull it off without it being too cheesy. And of course, I used Fairy Frost fabric; Fog for the windows.

I've been looking forward to doing this block for a long time. I've been collecting patterns and fabrics for months now and looking forward to having other projects finished so I can work on this quilt. My only problem now is deciding which block to do next. I think that the roof fabric worked out well as the roof. I'd originally planned to use it as the house, but it would have been too much. I think this light tan fabric is a great compromise between the white house in the movie and the unknown something that wasn't white that I wanted to do. I plan to stick to the book with the color for the Cullen's house (white) and didn't want to have two white houses in the quilt. I think this color has enough tan to it that the houses won't look too much the same. I'm going to ask the quilter stitch in horizontal lines across the house to look like siding and kind of camouflage the (necessary) seams (for creating the steps) at the bottom of the house.

Even though I'm now calling my quilt More Than A Little Obsessed, it is still a bit of a mystery quilt because I had no idea how this block was going to turn out when I started it . But I like the final result.

*Key: 1 Paper Pieced Tree = 500 Trees in the Forks Forest
1 Raw-Edge Appliqué Tree = 150 Trees in the Forks Forest

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Twilight Quilt: Charlie's House Preview

I've been working on the Charlie's House section of the quilt. It encompasses the area of one 6"x 6" block, one 6" x 4" block and the 1" of sashing that would go in between the blocks, so it is an 11" x 6" area. I still haven't decided what fabric to use for the house, although I pulled a few and have been pondering them. Even though the block isn't finished I couldn't resist giving a sneak preview of the forest* that goes next to the house and take up 5" of the 11" across. Iris used this pattern for one of the trees in her Flight Home block in the New Moon Quilt and Jerri Lynn used this tree in her own Twilight quilt. I loved it, so Iris shared her pattern. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing, ladies! LadyBug helped me pick out the green for the trees. She did a pretty good job, I think. There'll be a third green across the bottom as 'grass' but I'm going to do that after I attach the forest* to the house so it is one strip across the bottom & I don't have to worry about matching seams.

*Key: 1 Paper Pieced Tree = 500 Trees in the Forks Forest
1 Raw-Edge Appliqué Tree = 150 Trees in the Forks Forest

My Twilight Quilt: Bella's Truck

"I found a good car for you, really cheap," [Charlie] announced when we were strapped in.

"What kind of car?" I was suspicious of the way he said 'good car for
you' as opposed to just 'good car.'"

"Well, it’s a truck actually, a Chevy. ... Really, Bella, the thing runs great. They don’t build them like that anymore."

The thing, I thought to myself . . . it had possibilities – as a nickname, at the very least.

There, parked on the street in front of the house that never changed, was my new – well, new to me – truck. It was a faded red color, with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. To my intense surprise, I loved it. I didn’t know if it would run, but I could see myself in it. Plus, it was one of those solid iron affairs that never gets damaged – the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint unscratched, surround by the pieces of the foreign car it had destroyed.
–Charlie and Bella Swan, Twilight, pages 6-8

Bella's truck is an essential element of the story, almost a character in it. From the Cullen Cars section on Stephenie Meyer's web-site, a 1953 Chevy truck:

And the truck that goes in my quilt:

The Red Truck pattern is another of Cat'samazing designs. I counted, and if I didn't miss anything, my quilt uses 13 of her designs, two of them specifically made for my quilt (THANKS CAT!). I'm ever grateful for her willingness to share.

Now a bit about the fabrics: Wanda sent me the darker red on the fenders and the grey and black stripe in the grill. The main red and the green are Moda Marbles and the grey sky is what I hope to use throughout my quilt for the sky in Forks, but I'm worried I might run out. I bought everything the store had and have looked for more on-line with no luck. When I started out with Bella's Truck, I was confident that I would have plenty to finish. But I opened my piece up and it is only about 20" x 30", plus a few scraps. I used it as the background for the rows of trees on top and bottom and the tall tree in the bottom left. I have a background for the Motorcycles block cut out and want to use it as the sky for Charlie's house, Jacob's house, The Cullen's house, Bella & Edward's cottage and the section between those last two houses. I would also like to use it for Cliff Diving and the Battle in the Woods scene, but I might have to make due with something else. I'm crossing my fingers and I'm going to have to look on-line again, I guess. The front bumper is ironing board cover fabric I bought off the bolt at JoAnn's. The instructions said not to wash it, but I put a Fat Quarter in the wash to see what would happen. Off the bolt, it is shiny silver. When washed, it gets little veins in it and has a hint of shimmer. I decided that I liked the texture of the washed best, so I washed my whole stash. And, I couldn't do a block without Fairy Frost, so I used Fog for the windows to give it a sort of reflective look.

Headlights: La Mode Hook 1524, Style 5102
Front Tire: La Mode Hook 27, Style 2046
Back Tire: La Mode Hook 26, Style 2045

I think I'm past the half-way mark on getting my blocks together. That is exciting. I've been turning over ideas for Charlie's house. That is going to be next. I altered my pattern for his house and got the pattern ready for a couple of great trees to go next to it, but can't find a great match for fabrics for the house. I'm hung up on the Cullen's house being white and Charlie's movie house also being white. The books don't say what color Charlie's house is, so I don't know which way to go.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fleece Baby Blanket

Babies are always more trouble than you thought – and more wonderful. –Charles Osgood

I put together this little fleece blanket edged with satin blanket binding as a quick and inexpensive baby gift. One package of the binding goes around a 36" x 45" rectangle, so I get a yard of fleece, square it up and then trim the width to 45". I pin the binding around the edge and then zig-zag it in place. It only takes about an hour, start to finish and makes a really nice gift. I really loved the colors in this blanket. I think the orange stripe really sets it off.

I love a quick and easy finish.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Twilight Quilt: Alice's Porsche

How strongly are you opposed to grand theft auto? –Alice Cullen, New Moon, page 439

Vampires love fast cars. From the Cullen Cars page on Stephenie Meyer's website, here is the car she envisioned Alice stealing at the airport in Italy.

And here is the Porsche that is going in my quilt.

Pattern design by Cat, this racy roadster's ready for action. I used Fog Fairy Frost for the windows on the car and the same rock fabric (thanks Iris!) for the road that I'll be using in the Clock Tower at Volterra block, which sits next to this one. I found some fun buttons that I layered to look like tires and rims. I thought the swirls in the silver buttons looked very similar to the rims on the car. And I love the silver rings around the headlight buttons, again because it looks like the actual car. I did a hand satin stitch for the emblem on the hood. I'm going to ask the quilter to put in lines of stitching to outline the doors and the small back window to complete the car.

Button information:
Headlights: La Mode Hook 1670, Style 46785
Front Tire: La Mode Hook 33, Style 2054
Front Rim: La Mode Hook 356, Style 24787
Back Tire: La Mode Hook 32, Style 2053
Back Rim: La Mode Hook 355, Style 24786

Floss for Emblem embroidery:
Red: DMC 349
Black: DMC 310
Gold: DMC 437

And here is the layout, with another block filled in. Click on the image for a closer look.

Up next, Bella's Truck.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Moon Charity Quilt: My Contribution

On August 4, 2009 the Twilight Quilters Coven announced that we would be making a New Moon Themed quilt which would be auctioned off in conjunction with the Utah New Moon Movie Premiere Event put on by the TwilightMOMS committee, Events by Alice. All of the money received for this quilt would be donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, the official TwilightMOMS charity. And so we began to make plans and divide up blocks between ourselves.

The first block I worked on was Jacob's Sun. I wanted it to be a representation of the healing Bella was able to do with Jacob. I drew out a fun, scrappy sun and added in the soda cans. I don't think there was a specific reference to what kind of warm soda Jacob brought to the garage, but I pictured root beer or a Coke. I went with a generic label on the red can (red coordinated really well with the yellow and blue). This block is all needle turn appliqué with embroidery. I patched together some different yellows for the sun, which was really fun (I think I'm going to make a crazy quilt with scraps some time). I embroidered like an earthbound sun in Bella's font (as close as I could get to it with a needle and thread) on the edge of the sun. I wanted it to be very subtle, so I used yellow floss. I used a bright blue sky with just a few puffy white clouds in the background because everything except Jacob is so 'grey' in New Moon.

The next block I worked on was The Proposal. It is a difficult proposition to represent an abstract idea in fabric especially since they didn't actually get engaged and no rings were exchanged. I decided to use this pattern that Angie shared with me. This block is meant to represent Edward offering his (anatomical) sparkly diamond heart to Bella (not to be confused with the actual sparkly diamond heart he gives her for her charm bracelet in Eclipse). The red rose is a symbol of love. I also went with red, white and black because a lot of this quilt is earthy and Jacoby, but Edward is still there.

I used the black swirl fabric that I used in Piece, Love, Twilight: A Quilt for Stephenie Meyer for the background (sorry you can't see it in the block, it is hard to get a good photograph of it), our favorite iridescent sparkle fabric for the heart, Red Fairy Frost for the rose and a really ugly green marble print that worked out perfectly for the stem and leaves of the flower. I think that is my favorite part.

The next part of the quilt I worked on was a representation of the Quileute Wolf Pack. I used Cat's Paw Print pattern reduced to about 60%, so that the paws were about 2¼" wide. I used a fabric in the color each wolf was described as, either in the book or on the Character Bio page at the Twilight Lexicon site. Here we have Jacob (russet), Paul (dark silver), Sam (black), Embry (gray w/spots), Jared (medium brown):

Sam was to go in the middle of the 'Dangerous Meadow,' which was to be completed by another member of the group, Joyce. She sent me pieces of her fabric selection to use as a background so that Sam would fit into her block once I finished it and sent it on to her. Paul and Embry were to go in the sashing around the Dangerous Meadow block and Jacob and Jared were to go in the cornerstones at the bottom of the block and I used the fabrics we planned to use for the sashing and cornerstones as backgrounds for those paws. However, we had a member drop out at the very last minute and we needed to adjust our layout, so this set of blocks went back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I filled in for two of the blocks which the person who had dropped out was going to do. The first was a representation of the night that Bella, Jacob and Mike Newton went to the movies.

The little movie theater was such fun to put together. The black swirl and star fabric I used as the sky came from Joyce. She sent it to me when we were trying to find a match to the black fabric we used in the Stephenie Meyer quilt for the quilt back. I love the marquee on top of the building and wanted it to look like a neon sign. I used Fairy Frost fabric (a favorite of mine ;). The colors are (from outside to center) Lipstick, Lily Pad, Violet and the center post is glow-in-the-dark Fairy Frost. I looks so cool; I wish I could show a picture of it. I also used Banana Fairy Frost for the doors and ticket window. I did hand embroidery for the "CINEMA," "TICKETS," the door handles and the little ticket window 'talk' and 'pay' places.

Here is a close-up of the movie posters, custom-made, printed on ink-jet fabric sheets and treated so they are washable:

I Googled for images to use in the posters. I know that Tomorrow & Forever is a romantic comedy, but I have this image of a windswept embrace in my head and this picture fit so well. I suppose that is one reason why books are better than movies -- we all have our own perceptions. I used Microsoft Paint and PictureProject programs to combine the frame with lights with the pictures and add in the movie titles and "Now Showing."

I enjoyed putting this block together. It is paper piecing, so it took me about 4 hours (you're probably thinking, boy she's slow! I'm thinking the same thing!). I made a few changes to it after I had it assembled. I had a second piece of glow-in-the-dark Fairy Frost across the top of the building but it made it look like the top didn't belong to the bottom. I took it apart and put in a new section with bricks and brown trim to bring the top and bottom two pieces together. Embroidery took me about 4 hours (yes, I'm really slow!).

The next block I filled in for was the Bella and Jacob's Motorcycles block because you can't have New Moon without them. I used the bikes Stephenie Meyer posted in the Cullen Cars section of her website; a Harley Sprint for Jacob and a Honda for Bella.

I printed the motorcycles out and then used a light table to trace them directly onto my block layout pattern. I used that pattern to create the individual pieces used in each motorcycle. I think I spent about 35 hours on this one little block. Each of the pieces was traced, cut out, fused into place and then hand stitched to keep them secure. It was a huge amount of work, but I like the end result. I'm going to be duplicating this block for my own Twilight Quilt; something to keep me busy during the long winter months.

The red fabric in Bella's Motorcycle is the same fabric I used for the borders in the Stephenie Meyer quilt. The pine needles, meant to be bracken on the forest floor, came from Wanda when I asked if she'd send me a bit of fabric she used in her Vampire Baseball block for Stephenie's quilt. She was sweet and sent along a few other nice green foresty fabrics. I added a hand-embroidered quote to this block. I used Bella's font for the quote, Only a teenage boy would agree to this. I don't think that it worked out as well as it did on Jacob's Sun. I went with a floss that is just a bit lighter than the fabric on the road, which doesn't show as much as the slightly-darker-than-the-sun yellow floss I used on Jacob's block. The stitches are so small it would have been almost impossible to take them out and had I even had the desire to try it, I was crunched for time, finishing this at the last second.

In order to better accomodate the wolf-paws into the redesigned layout I did them again. OCD much?

The original layout called for all but Sam to be put in the sashing around the meadow, so I made them larger, thinking they'd have plenty of room. When we went back and revised the layout we decided to keep all the elements inside the blocks. And so I put together a set of paws designed specifically to be set all inside the meadow. This time I reduced Cat's Paw Print pattern to 43%. Each paw is roughly 1⅝" x 1¾". I spent about 16 or 17 hours putting them together. I love the way the subtle, end-of-winter yellow-green background sets off the colors of the wolf paws. I put the wolves in an off-set V formation, as described in the book. Jacob is kind of hanging back, looking at Bella. I also did left and right pawed wolves, depending on which side of the formation they were in. This portion of the meadow was combined with Joyce's part to create a fabulous 'Dangerous Meadow.' Both Joyce and I thought that the two parts went together really well and joked that it looked like we'd been shopping for fabric together.

Despite the extremely tight schedule of three weeks to make extra blocks and ship them to Angie, who then had to assemble and quilt them and then ship the finished quilt back to me for the New Moon Event in Salt Lake, we made it! There was a lot of overnight shipping involved. Here is the finished quilt. It was sold at a silent auction on November 20, 2009 for $850, all of which was donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. You can read about that and the other fabulous blocks at the Twilight Quilters Coven Blog. Click on the image for a closer look.

Block Credits
Quilt Layout: Angie, Elizabeth &; Iris
Assembly & Machine Quilting: Angie
Binding: Angie & Elizabeth
Embroidered Quotes: Jerri Lynn

Bella's Birthday Cake: design, layout and piecing by Iris
Japanese Lanterns: design, layout and piecing by Wanda
Bella's Birthday Gifts: design, layout and piecing by Wanda
Bella's Paper Cut: modified pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein, piecing by Cat
As If I'd Never Existed: Walk In the Woods pattern by Linda Hibbert, house, truck and layout by Iris, piecing by Iris
Months Passing Without Notice: design, layout and piecing by Joyce (this block is 3-D -- you can flip the pages of the calendar)
Jacob's Sun: pattern, layout and piecing by Elizabeth
Bella's Broken & Mended Heart: design, layout and piecing by Joyce
Bella & Jacob's Motorcycles: design, layout and piecing by Elizabeth
Conversation Hearts: design, layout and piecing by Jerri Lynn
Bella, Jacob & Mike Newton Go to the Movies: pattern by Mary Ann Nelson, piecing by Elizabeth
The Dangerous Meadow: design, layout and piecing by Joyce
The Wolf Pack: pattern by Cat, layout and piecing by Elizabeth
Cliff Diving: design, layout and piecing by Angie
The Phone Call: pattern by Linda Causee, piecing by Angie
Grand Theft Auto: pattern and piecing by Cat
The Volturi: design, layout and piecing by Mel
La Tua Cantante: design, layout and piecing by Mel
The Flight Home: La Push: First Beach pattern by Cat, Airplane pattern by Penny Pennington, Carlson Pine by Patrice Trnka Adams, medium trees pattern by Liz Schwartz, small tree pattern by Linda Causee, Forks & La Push signs by Iris, layout and piecing by Iris
The Meteor: pattern by Cat, piecing by Angie
The Vote: design, layout and piecing by Jerri Lynn
The Proposal: pattern by Bobbie Osborne, piecing by Elizabeth

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Twilight Quilt: Meteor

Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars – points of light and reason. . . .And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything. –Edward Cullen, New Moon, page 514

One of the elements I included in all of my drafts of the quilt layout was a meteor. When I was showing Mr. Bug one of my revisions, he asked what the meteor was for. I told him that it was to represent the romantic lines Edward speaks to Bella at the end of New Moon and then I quoted him a bit of it. He commented that it was interesting that I would be quoting one of the Twilight books as if it were Shakespeare.

For my meteor block, I used this spectacular original pattern by Marcia Hohn, called The Night Sky. It is an 8" paper piecing pattern, which I reduced to 80% to make a 6" block. I used Fairy Frost fabric in three shades: Banana, Yellow and Gold, and my trusty black Civil War Reproduction fabric.

And just to show how it fits into the quilt, here it is added in:

Where to go from here? Charlie? Alice's Porsche? The Motorcycles?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Apron № 89: Mint Chocolate Chip

Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship. -Dorothy Parker

As I mentioned, I've been working on a little apron project. It has gotten a bit out of hand, but still, I keep on. This is the latest birthday apron. It is a little late, but it still made its way to the birthday girl. I'm excited for a January finish!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -Pablo Picasso

For Christmas this year Mr. Bug's mother gave us the most thoughtful and priceless gift imaginable. She took these:

and turned them into this:

It is quite a large drawing, about 12" x 16", so I had to scan it in two sections. As a result, there is a seam down the middle of the image here.

She absolutely captured the essence of my kids; there is a little bit of them looking out from the picture. It is an amazing treasure.

Friends Who Know Me Well

All the world is a birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.
-George Harrison

I have wonderful friends who know me well. I'm making a little list here of all the special birthday gifts I received because I want to mark the occasion with a bit of gratitude. From Iris, I got this lovely virtual birthday cake. She knows my tastes well. She also got me some lovely hand-dyed fabrics. I'm dreaming of all the ways I can use them. From Wanda, an adorable package of dotted fabric and a Harry Potter hologram musical birthday card. From a sweet neighbor and friend, a most delicious homemade dinner and 12 quarts of her home canned beans. What an amazing treat! From my most adorably Sparkling non-quilting TwilightMOM friend, a Chocolate Spa in a box, complete with hot chocolate mix and mini marshmallows, a decadent caramel filled chocolate bar, a chocolate mask, some sparkly pink nail polish and a little bling to wear after my 'spa appointment.' From a most thoughtful sister-in-law, a year-round Utah gardening book. From my best girlfriend in the world, two of the most beautiful and fragrant red roses and a soft and fuzzy teddy bear we named Clark. From a fellow Primary worker, a plate of homemade goodies. From one of my dearest friends and neighbors, some deliciously smooth hand dipped chocolates (YUM!) and a very beautiful designed-by-her indoor plant arrangement. I have the perfect spot for it -- if only the kids don't knock it over. And from my best friend and spouse, the man who knows me best, an electric blanket with all the whistles and bells. It was so lovely to be remembered and in so many thoughtful ways. I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Year of 100 Aprons

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Today is my birthday. And I have issues with birthdays. It's not about getting older, because I don't feel old. I feel like a teenager still. It has to do with the time of year. My birthday is three weeks after Christmas. It is bleak and cold outside, the dead of winter. Although I have to give the weatherman credit today -- the sun is out. Generally, people are all partied out, not to mention broke from the holidays and more often than not my birthday gets over-looked.

Year after year of unmet expectations has made me a little bit crazy. I started to overcompensate. 10 or so years ago, I was sending out birthday cards to our immediate families. As the years passed, my list grew and my MO changed. I wanted to add a little bit of 'special' to the birthdays of everyone I knew because I knew how nice it made me feel to be remembered on my birthday. I started making birthday cards for everyone on my ever-increasing list of people. My list grew from just family to include everyone I was currently visiting teaching or serving with at church and everyone I had ever visit taught to or with or had ever worked with at church. Then I started adding in little gifts to certain categories on my list. One year I gave little homemade thought books to my sisters, sisters-in-law, mother and mother-in-law, 12 in all. Another year I made hand stamped names in 'floating' frames for all my nieces and nephews, 33 in all. That was a completely odious task and I was sick of it by February. But I had started and couldn't do some kids and not others. So I stuck with it, but the kids with birthdays in November and December got their frames in January and February.

And then we come to the year of 100 aprons. Truthfully, I haven't made 100 aprons yet and it has taken place over more than a year. From July of 2008 to date, I have made 89 aprons, with the bulk of them (76 to be precise) being made during 2009. Of those aprons, my daughter has one, I own two, three were teacher gifts and 14 were Christmas gifts (split between the two Christmases). That leaves 69 aprons which I gave as birthday gifts. Each apron takes roughly 45 minutes to cut out and 3 hours to assemble. Add that up and that makes me more than a little crazy.

Yet, the project continues. I have four more birthday aprons and two more teacher gift aprons to make. I have fabric and rick rack for at least five more aprons with thoughts of who to give them to, birthdays I missed last year, new people on the visiting teaching list, new friends I've made, etc., etc.

Below is a sampling, a representation of a little over half of the aprons I've made. I usually make them in twins for the sake of economy in fabric usage. The first picture is my adorable little LadyBug of a daughter with her apron. She picked the fabrics and rick-rack for it. The next two aprons are mine. The garden-themed apron is a one-of-a-kind and the coral and brown striped apron is a set of triplets. The others are all aprons I've given away. Click on any of the images for a closer look.

As you can see, each of the aprons is fun in its own way. I love every single one of them. I only chose fabrics that I loved for them. It has been a wonderful project, one that I'm still not sick of, although I'm glad I'm not going to be on such a tight sewing schedule this year. And I learned something from this project. Not everybody is as hung up on birthdays as I am.

A few years ago, I started to expect nothing on my birthday. And it worked out wonderfully well. By expecting nothing, I was always pleasantly surprised. And so each year after that, my birthday was less of an issue. Am I sitting here expecting a gift from each of the 69 people who I gave aprons to for their birthdays? Absolutely not! I'm sure most of them don't even know when my birthday is. And that is OK! Today is my special day, and if not one person remembers (which isn't the case, I've already been given loads of birthday wishes!) I'm OK with that because I can celebrate myself.

I'd planned to make quilted postcards for my 125+ birthday card recipients this year. I have the fabric and supplies and everything. But I've decided to take a year off from birthdays. I'm not going to send one birthday card this year. OK, that's a fib. I'll probably send one to my mom with a gift, of course. But I'm not going to stress myself out about getting cards in the mail on time. And it will be OK, because I am not responsible for single-handedly making birthdays special for everyone I know.

Just in case you're wondering about the patterns I used, they are Retro Aprons and Little Retro Aprons by Cindy Taylor Oates. I took the pocket from the Little Retro Aprons pattern and enlarged it for use on the adult aprons. It was a much cuter pocket. Oh, and the pattern has issues, like how much rick-rack it tells you to get for each apron and a construction 'goof.' Well, it's not so much of a goof as there is a better way to do it than the instructions tell. So, if you are interested in tips and tricks, leave a comment or send an e-mail (link in my profile) and I'm happy to tell you everything the experience of 89 aprons has given me.