Thursday, March 29, 2007

Can Someone Explain?

I can't have ALL my projects quilted by Diana, much as I'd like to. I've got a few things I'm trying to get ready for Market that I really need to finish myself. So as I'm cutting the border for this project yesterday, I read the selvage. WHY did Michael Miller decide that "Dumb Dot" was the best name for this fabric? It'a a darling, cheerful polka dot! It does not deserve this.

The picture below is not of my Bernina. It's one of Pam's. My "good" Bernina decided to go on strike the other day and my "other" Bernina (I will never again refer to it as the Crappy Machine) does not have needle-down, and maybe I'm a wimp, but I really did not relish the thought of machine quilting without that feature. Hence the loan of this machine...yes, Pam saves the day AGAIN. Well, she's not here today to ask about the finer points of this machine, but gotta say, I'm quite intrigued by this "smart" button. The mind boggles. What does it DO? How many ways can it help me? Will it counteract any problems that may arise from my "dumb dot"?

So many things to worry about while sewing...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Another weekend?

Almost missed this one, too. Just way too many hours spent sewing. It used to be I'd go outside every day this time of year--just to check on the progress in my yard. Those darling little yellow blossoms are Lady Banks roses from over the fence. I'll be SO SAD if the neighbors ever remove those vines...they're so lovely and sweet smelling. And only last a little while...

Never did get out in time to do my fall clean-up, so things are overgrown already! My poor bunny hardly shows and it's still March...

Here's my overgrown has some cute name I cannot remember.
Glad I got outside to take these pics, the weather is supposed to get yucky tomorrow. But Spring is definitely here, so to celebrate, I temporarily put away my Christmas projects and started stitching pale pink roses.

This week let's be sure to take the time to keep up with all the changes going on's to Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A New Experience...

First of all, where did the weekend go? We DID have one, right? Maybe sewing for 12 hours on Sat. and another 12 hours on Sun. caused me to miss the whole thing. And I'm sorry for breaking my self-imposed rule of posting every couple of days. But believe me--all you'd have seen is a photo of a lunatic quilter hunched over her sewing machine spouting gibberish. And it's best to skip that.

Anyhoo, one really SUPER great thing happened. It all started because of desperation. MANY things are based on desperation this close to Quilt Market, but I digress...

I've always quilted my own stuff. ALWAYS. I've also really tried to encourage other quilters to do the same. It's a special feeling to have completed a project from start to finish.

But you know what? THAT'S CRAZY TALK. Because now I know Diana.
Diana is a local longarm quilter who has changed my life. Look at those gorgeous feathers!!! SHE did those! I just handed her my tops and back they came. All feathered up and lovely.

"Desperation" is still my theme this week, but wow. Now I know Diana...
Between Diana and PamKittyMorning, everything will be fine...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Seasonal Confusion

It's a strange life, being a quilt designer. Earlier this week I was standing at the ironing board, pressing that quilt bit pictured above. Technically it still IS winter, I know, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Briefly, I could not for the life of me figure out what the heck month we're in. I'm thinking "winter" and "Christmas" and outside I'm seeing flowers. And I'm sneezing. A LOT.

So I decided to take a few minutes to introduce some Spring into my work area (aka "the entire downstairs of the house"). Besides pigs, I also love birds and nests.

This nest is one of my best treasures ever. It's REAL. Someone years ago gave it to my mom who then gave it to me. Some resourceful little bird got ahold of some embroidery floss and wove it throughout her nest--I think it's incredibly beautiful. Then of course out come some more nests, rabbits, etc...

So much better! Now I can get back to my Christmas sewing. Have a GREAT weekend, everyone--whatever you're working on!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Porcine Perfection!

I vaguely remember hearing Pam discussing sending off 9 pounds of fabric to someone but when you quilt much of the time do you have any idea how EFFORTLESS it would be to box up 9 pounds of fabric? I could do it in my sleep.
And probably SHOULD.

Anyhoo, yes. A vague recollection. Well then she tells me that this fabric sending thing was actually a swap. And that I'll be the recipient of said swap. Huh??? Well yesterday I was presented with this pig. She is pure piggy perfection! I mean look at those ears! And I do believe she's a Hampshire...I LOVE pigs. Which baffles Pam, but don't worry, it's a story for another time.

Turns out this pig (which will have a name by the end of the day--and I do have a Suggestion Box now, so any help in this matter would be appreciated) came from an incredibly talented person named Laurie who can be found here. If you don't know about her, you must check out her amazing wool felt skills. Because she does more than make pigs--as if that wouldn't be enough.

It's always a super special gift to receive something someone MADE, isn't it?

And what could express the beauty of these sunny, soon-to-be-Spring days better than a pig?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

What is...

Well, Saturday came pretty darn close. PamKittyMorning and I decided that we needed a reward for all our hard work last week--good grief, did we ever SEW. For us, "reward" generally means ROAD TRIP!!

It was so gorgeous this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area--blue skies and nice warm temperatures. So off we went across the bay headed north. I tried to get some shots of how clearly you could see San Francisco as well as Oakland, but I wasn't too successful. We were moving pretty fast and then there was that wonderful digital camera delay issue, so I ended up with several pics of a silver Toyota pickup truck--but I bet you've all seen one of those before. Take my word for it--incredible views.

Our first stop was Mill Valley. We'd read about a shop called Maison Reve and wanted to check it out.

Lovely shop, but didn't see anything in my umm, "price range". But Pam and I decided that the darling French cafe just a few yards away was a place we needed to explore...

That strawberry tart was amazing. Seriously.

What else is paradise? Curling up with a good decorating magazine is pretty high up there on my list. Anything with the word "Cottage" on it gets tossed right into the shopping cart. "Cottage Style" is always fun. Awhile back I saw a feature on a wonderful vacation home...with peely-paint furniture and one of my favorite ModaHome fabrics used on curtains...and you can see the homeowner, Michelle, relaxing on her cozy couch looking very happy.
I recently grabbed the March issue of Cottage Style and to my delight, it turns out Michelle's other house is featured, and it's just as wonderful. It also turns out that Michelle owns an antique shop in Petaluma called Summer Cottage Antiques and it just so happens that I was in charge of mapquesting this road off to Petaluma we went!

Wow. All I can say is WOW. I went nuts. Could have gone ever-so-much MORE nuts if we'd had a truck. I HAD to have that suggestion box. I still don't know why, but knew it would haunt me forever if it didn't come home with me. I'm hoping my kids don't notice it because I'm a little worried about just what sort of things they'd feel compelled to "suggest". I also got a nifty clothes hanger from Oakland, my "paradise" sign, an incredible vintage jar with a pink painted lid that's full of PINK vintage sewing items, a little glass jar with a clock face decoupaged on the lid and finally, an old rose plate from a store in Kansas. I spent many a summer visiting my grandparents in Topeka, and while I have no idea where Fowler, Kansas is, it was a necessary purchase.

The shop was quite busy--they were celebrating their 10th anniversary and when we walked in, there was Michelle! It was so much fun to get to talk to her--she's just the sweetest person ever. I can't wait to go back there--and next time we're taking a truck.

It was just a super day--I don't feel the least bit guilty about taking time off from quilting--it was a great experience and I'm totally recharged for the non-stop sewing week to come!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Pam Part 2

OK, remember the Work Day Report from the other day? Of course you do! I was so glad to tell everyone how awesome PamKittyMorning is--that there is just no better friend anywhere.
And I was even happier that Pam got to see all the comments where you guys agreed!

Pam was positively INUNDATED with glowing comments--both on my blog and on hers. She's totally deserving of all of it.

OK, so fast forward to today. Pam knew what a big deal it was for me to meet Maurice...and so, as usual, she left a comment. If you go look, you'll see that she states that Maurice is "a sweetheart" as is Addie, Leslie, and Duke.

Dummy that I am, I pointed out to her that there's only ONE person who was there that day who she did NOT label as a "sweetheart".

And that would be me.

But that's OK!! It's fine.
Everyone else can have all the nice words. I don't need 'em.

Just to make sure you know...I'M KIDDING.
And Pam knows this too.
So she tells me she's bringing 2 completed applique pieces to me...see? Isn't she great? She's STILL SEWING.

So I'm wondering why she's carrying a box...and why there's a devilish twinkle in her eye...

So just in case there's any doubt--


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Off Season Inspiration!

Who's that intensely-scary looking quilter? Well, that's me. And you'd look like that too if you'd just had the chance to hang out with your very favorite NFL player ever! Yup, that's Maurice Jones-Drew standing FREAKING NEXT TO ME!!!

I finally got to meet him the other day when I was at Leslie's house to get my hair done by her hair stylist extraordinaire daughter, Addie. Maurice and Addie are childhood sweethearts and of course he's a great guy--Addie deserves nothing less!

I'd first heard of Maurice back in 2002 when my eldest son was a sprinter on the high school track team. Eric participated in the Bay Area Top 8 Invitational meet with his junior varsity team and when he came home it was with tales of an amazing sprinter he'd seen run--and that was Maurice. He made a huge impression.

We watched him play for the UCLA Bruins and believe me--NOTHING annoys the guys in my family more than having Mom cheer during a football game--whether it's one of their own high school games or a televised event.

Last year was Maurice's rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars and he was AWESOME. Leslie and I had to celebrate his success at the quilt shop, of course.

What does this have to do with quilting? Oh, you'd be surprised. See, Addie and Maurice have a dog. I know Duke very well. He is my favorite dog in the whole world (that I do not live with--Willard and Rosie, you know I love you guys best). I decided awhile back that he needed a quilt. And as you can see, Duke agrees. Just TRY to take that quilt off their couch. I dare you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Work Day Report!

Well that was fun AND productive! PamKittyMorning arrived coffee in hand and ready to work. And being Pam, she had goodies for me. I ask you--what kind of super friend brings you GIFTS when she's come to do WORK for you?

First of all, she did a fantastic job on the Simple Spring Rosebuds quilt top she pieced for me (that's it there on the table) and she brought treasures from her outing to this super incredible Japanese dollar store she and Frankie went to the other day. That little pink box is a tiny kit for packaging what would have to be adorable little food. You put the food (we're thinking jelly beans) in the little scalloped cups, put the fluffy pink grass around it, tie it with the included plastic wrap and little pink ribbon! There's even a tag to attach which says "present for you". Then there's "smiley clover" envelopes, "sweet happy" message cards, and my personal favorite, little bags with fruit people on them bearing the following message: "Here's happy news! Learning develops your intelligence and learning makes you more sensitive." Those are words to live by, you know?

After swooning over the goodies it was time to WORK. Pam took the crappy old machine even though I TRIED MULTIPLE TIMES to get her to switch machines with me. Apparently Pam feels she hasn't suffered enough this week so I guess Bernina-frustration helped with that. Hey, whatever I can do to help.

As for me, I went from THIS

To THIS...

That's just a small sample of the half-square triangles I made. I was knee-deep in those suckers.
I like to make mine big and then trim them down to size. Really helps with accuracy issues later, but wow, does it ever seem like a lot of work when you're looking at a wastebasket full of fabric confetti.

I tried to treat Pam to a nice lunch out, but she'd have no part of that. And to top it off she took projects HOME WITH HER TO FINISH.

All she would accept from me was a cookie. Granted it was a pretty GOOD cookie, with pink frosting and sprinkles, but still.

Pam is one in a million!!

Hope she took her vitamins this morning!

Who? Why, PamKittyMorning, of course!
Being the great pal that she is, she's offered to come to my dining room/studio/sweatshop today and sew her little heart out.

And there's PLENTY for her to do. She will have her pick of projects to work on. Space is a little tricky, but we'll manage.

If you're wondering about the significance of that yellow chair--it's PAM'S CHAIR--her preferred seating whenever she's over here on Official Late Bloomer Quilts business. I know she's bringing coffee, but in case she needs snacks, I've got that covered too. She can use my special snack bowl--no kitty on it, mine has (too appropriately) guinea pigs. And yes, we now have a FOURTH guinea pig, but more on him later. Sorry, but if I have to deal with them, you should at least have to hear about them.

I'm sure next time I'll be able to give you all some sneak previews of the stuff we worked on today!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Pardon this commercial break...

I get quite a few emails from quilters wondering where they can get the fabrics used in my patterns. Unfortunately, by the time a quilt becomes a pattern, the fabric is often hard to find. Sometimes I've got leftover fabric when I'm done with a project. So...whenever possible, I'm putting together kits or mini-kits for my designs.

If anyone out there is planning to make Charming Tulips and would like to use the exact fabric I did for the original, I do have a couple of starter kits (50 charm squares, fabric for leaves, petals, ribbons and butterflies) and several mini kits (50 charm squares and fabric for the tulip petals).

If you are interested, you can email me at

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Muse is Tired

Like most things in my life, it started with a quilt. A couple of quilts, actually. That I'd hoped to make in time for Spring Market. Unfortunately, the fabric I needed isn't available yet, so those quilts are on hold. What to do? Well, start figuring out some more quilts, of course. Which I did. Then came a few more. It seemed silly to keep designing, since I needed to start producing actual quilts. But it also seemed risky to put my sketch pad away. So I kept drawing.

And drawing.

And waking up in the night and drawing some more.

And not spending much time sleeping.

But discovering that Cherry Coke Zero is quite good. And that the combination of the soda's caffeine and certain allergy meds create the artificial alertness I need to cut lots of squares and triangles.

What you see represents over a dozen potential quilts. That I've figured out in the last 2 weeks. Those piles include birds, flowers, baskets, hearts, even a Christmas tree and some holly berries.

I don't know if they'll all work out. I don't know how many will get finished. But my family had best get used to the sound of my Bernina running at warp speed!

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