A little news....

OK the picture isn't very clear (for some reason my camera would NOT cooperate and focus!) but it reads "Pregnant." Which I am. Hooray! We're due 2/28/2011, and while we're very happy and it's a "planned" event, my current motto to everyone who asks is 'Two and I'm Through!" LOL


Books I've Got My Nose Buried In...

I am an avid reader, but life doesn't allow me the leisure time to indulge in a quiet sit-down with a good book and latte as often as I'd like. However, every few months I'll come across several books I just have to dive into, and find snippets of time to bury my nose in their pages while ignoring the pile of laundry and many other things demanding my attention.

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen is a book I've had on my "to read" list ever since it came out earlier this summer, but as mentioned before, had little time to read it. It's currently the September pick for my book club, so what a perfect opportunity to finally read this book by an author I have long admired. I don't want to spoil it for you, and I am about 2/3 finished with it, but wow, what a powerful story of family, love, and heartbreaking tragedy. This is a book that could almost be called "ripped from the headlines" fiction, because when you get to the "clincher" that is the tragedy, you feel as though you've definitely seen or heard about a story like this happening to a family, maybe even seen it on Oprah, but it's something so terrible you don't really want to dwell on it long. While it's definitely erring on the side of being a bit too depressing for what I usually like to keep as light summer reading, it's written so well, and you get so deeply inside the mind of the protagonist, that you can't put it down or let the story go from your mind. You have to dwell on it. As morbid as the thoughts may be, it's usually the best type of story you read.

OK I must admit I was hooked on this fascinating series by Suzanne Collins from just about page one of The Hunger Games. And if you haven't read that book, or the second, Catching  Fire, run don't walk to your nearest bookstore or library and correct that shameful situation immediately! In all seriousness, this is possibly the best series of books I've read in years, right up there with Harry Potter, superior to Twilight, in my humble opinion. I downloaded the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, to my Kindle, and then surprised myself by...NOT reading it yet! Maybe it's the fact that I am trying to finish my book club book, maybe it's the million other things I have going on right now including 6 unfinished quilting projects (aaack!), but really it's more likely I know that as soon as I start this book it will have to end. And I don't want it to end, it's that good a series.  Sigh. OK enough with the delayed gratification, I'm starting this today!


Using Tutorials for Christmas Gift Ideas....

I'm gearing up for Christmas gift-making time (Sept-Nov for me). Here are some of the tutorials I have been bookmarking the past few months, now being pulled out so I can make my list and check it twice when I go supply shopping this weekend.

Journal Covers at Moda Bake Shop. These will be great for my book club ladies!

Felted Tape Measure covers by Poppy Lane....A-DOR-ABLE!!

Everyday Textured (Knit) Tote from LionBrand Yarns..time to get out my knitting kneedles. I can see several women in my family who will want this bag for Christmas..especially if I walk in with one at Thanksgiving, LOL.

So what about you? Have you started your Christmas gift list of handmade items yet?
If not, don't delay there's only 123 days left! Happy Crafting!


Art Quilts I am in awe of...

I consider myself an "advanced beginner" art quilter. I've made about 10-12 art quilts, mainly landscape scenes, but I strive to improve and expand my techniques. My favorite magazine, Quilting Arts, always inspires me to try new things, which unfortunately I never seem to have the time for. Things like using Shiva paint sticks, embellishing and dying fabrics to within an inch of their life, and even drooling over the challenges they throw out like "Quilt Around the Clock" and "Let Out Your Inner Animal"

Before I had my daughter, I went to the Houston Quilt Festival almost every year, for about 5-6 years straight. I would spend hundreds of dollars on the latest fabrics, notions, kits, and other miscellaneous quilting/fiber art doodads. But my favorite part of the show was the quilt exhibit, really an art exhibit, for this is where the best of the best come to display their hard work, sweat, tears, and pride of accomplishment. The quilts at Festival are truly individual works of art, and the openness of the show floor, allows you to take your time and study each quilt at your leisure.

Here are a few examples of my favorites over the years. I apologize for not being able to give credit to the actual quilt maker for each quilt, because while I took time to photograph the quilts, I didn't always take a separate photograph of the card plate next to the quilt. Suffice it to say, I am certainly not trying to take credit for any of these gorgeous quilts, just display a few examples of the incredible work of those I admire and who have mastered this craft.

This one I do know the creator: Christine Fries. Amazing work and attention to detail. I was fortunate to take a class from her years ago, and still use the techniques she taught me.

Look at how gorgeous this octopus is! And that clam in the bottom right..

Hollis Chatelain quilt: I bow down to her truly amazing skills.

I love the ruffles used to make the jellyfish "tails"....I even took a closer pic of them

The fabric used to make the water in the waterfall was an iridescent/filmy type of material. And I love how she did the trees in closeup, almost as if they're popping off the canvas.

Hubba, hubba! Who knew quilts could have such sex appeal?
Love the fact this is a "nude" art, done all in fabric!

Well, there you have it, some of my favorites from years past in quilt shows. Again, I apologize for not being able to give appropriate credit to all of the quilts above. I just hope it inspires you to attend your next quilt..no FABRIC ART show, wherever one is in your area. Or even make plans to attend Houston Quilt Festival 2010. Not only will it happily lighten your pocketbook from the hundreds of vendors, you'll be dizzy from all of the gorgeous displays of fabric art. As well as inspired to get back home and create some of your own!


So many quilt projects...so little time

I have started the "Great Quilt Studio Cleanout" because frankly it's got so bad in there, I can't think much less sit down and create or sew a quilt. Along with sorting fabric, holding things up and asking myself what the heck was I thinking when I bought it, I have been unfolding several unfinished quilts (or UFO's as they're commonly called).

These are quilts I started with the best of intentions, excited by the prospect of something new, or having seen the creator's finished work and wanting one for myself. I am embarrassed to say one of these quilts includes my daughter's baby quilt...and she's 3 1/2 years old!

Here are some others from the UFO pile:

Mystery Quilt Monkey Wrench Pattern..this was from  a class I took almost 10 years ago. I think I'm going to slap on the borders (I found the fabric in my piles) and send it out to be professionally longarm quilted.

Peaches batik fabric quilt. This top is also about 10 years old. I recall I bought a lot of hand-dyed peach fabric at a show, and started playing around with strips. I think I saw this pieced border on another quilt somewhere, and stitched strips onto muslin. It's one I definitely want to finish, and will quilt myself, using free-motion all over the top.

This one I am truly ashamed I haven't completed. It is absolutely gorgeous (if I do say so myself). The pattern is Bits and Blooms from the book Traditions With a Twist. I am making it my mission to complete the top this year, and then send it out to be professionally longarm quilted.

This is a beautiful landscape quilt quilt from Nancy Zieman's shop, Nancy's Notions. Very easy to do, I started it over a year ago, but as usual got sidetracked by other things. The top is completed, I am working on quilting it now!
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