Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wasn't it Dazzling??

I don't know about you, but I had a blast going from blog to blog drooling over desserts and wonderful projects! So a big THANK YOU to Holly for getting this rolling. And keep checking back with Holly so you can win a cool prize!

I can attest to the fact that these are super recipes--had a Fall Market meeting with Pam yesterday and decided to treat her to a bit of her own apple recipe. It was delicious! And of course I had to provide Cheez-its to keep Pam focused on the business at hand.
(Not everyone has a lake front terrace for meetings!)

Anyway, in the spirit of Fall and the spirit of copying everyone else who is giving things away...
If you want to win this Late Bloomer Quilts banner, you know the drill...someone (probably another guinea pig) will draw a name at the end of the week!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Quilting in the Garden

Alden Lane Nursery has been one of my very favorite places for many years. So it was such a treat to be able to teach a class there. Unlike today (I hope the rain has finally stopped!) yesterday at the nursery was just perfect.

I got to spend the day with 8 wonderful ladies in the "old building" at Alden Lane. How's this for a classroom? Bright, airy, full of quilts, plants, pots and the sound of fountains right outside.

Here's the view out one set of doors...

if you get tired of looking out that way, you can always peek into the attached greenhouse and meet these ladies.

New since the last time I'd been there, Alden Lane's carniverous plant section.

These oddball things, these bug-eating "pitcher" plants, absolutely fascinated me...I could not stay got to the point that one of my students suggested I was attracted by their pheromones. Does this mean she thinks I'm a bug???
But seriously--someday I'm gonna get one of those freaky plants. And probably immediately wonder what I was thinking...but pretty cool, huh?

And it was easy to keep an eye on my industrious ladies...

Here's what was great about this each quilter put her own individual spin on the project.
At the first table, Alicia was adding leaves to her letters, taken from her border fabric. Her upper letters were also made from (Fairy Frost??) so her banner has a very elegant and sparkly look.

Her sister Rose was auditioning different leaves and pumpkins for her banner.

Lupe was going for a similar look--she had a wonderful batik for her letters and was using variegated thread for her applique. She was so precise with everything she did--trust me--her banner will be perfect when she's finished.

Poor Liz! Every time I teach an applique class, someone has bad luck with the fusible web. And yesterday that someone was Liz. She had to do her letters 3 times before the day was through. She also forgot her matching thread and was not too pleased with her stitching. And to top it off, I go and manage to take her pic with her eyes shut...I do believe she'll be pleased with her banner once she's finished--she's chosen great fabrics and the high contrast of her stitching actually added a very interesting element to her project.

The second table is where the machines were running at top speed. That whole part of the room positively vibrated!

Barbara's project was completely different in every way. She'd never appliqued before but wanted to make a throw in honor of her niece who plays volleyball for Amador Valley High. She'll be adding those flannels to make a super lap quilt. Please don't tell my sons that I had anything at all to do with Barbara's project...LHS and Amador enjoy a not-too-friendly rivalry and I could end up living in my car if they get wind of this.

Peggy was mighty worn out by mid-afternoon...but man, was she ever determined. I'm so glad she finished her banner top--like several other ladies, she made her letters run vertically and I think she did a great job.

Sue was finished first--she's unbelievably fast--and even got started on a "Spring" banner! Her projects will be store samples for the shop she works at in Southern California. I'm sure she told me the name of the shop, but it escapes me.

Last, but certainly not least, was Lisa. Isn't her banner gorgeous?? She's got tons of talent and has several quilts in this year's show. Which I certainly hope are now hanging among the oaks (this rain is bizarre!).

Well, it's back to a dirty, dusty house and getting what appears to be several miles of binding sewn on. Hope everyone's having a great weekend.

Binding Update!

Well it certainly seems like bloggy quilters are way more up to speed on nifty binding tricks than other quilters...
But I got a comment from Heidi Kaisand--you remember seeing her smilin' face on countless issues of American Patchwork & Quilting, right? Well Heidi says that there is a video tutorial of this binding method and we can find it on under "videos".
Also, if you aren't yet aware, Heidi has a whole new life going on now and we can follow along via her blog, so if you haven't checked it out, please do...besides great quilty stuff there are photos of her absolutely adorable little ones!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I was sitting here today, stitching bindings onto new quilts, and pondering. That kind of task provides lots of time for thinking, doesn't it...

Anyway, I was thinking about what I'd need to do to get ready for the class I'm teaching tomorrow at the amazing Alden Lane Nursery as part of the Quilting in the Garden weekend. Which if you've never been, and are anyplace near the San Francisco bay area you really should go...anyhoo, I'm teaching the "Autumn" banner from my book and one of the things I like to do in any quilting class is to show people a cool way to finish off bindings.

So I figured I'd show any of you quilters out there in the blog-world who maybe haven't seen it. I wish I knew who came up with it (it sure wasn't me) so I could thank her. Because this method is so nifty that she deserves the dessert of her choice from over at Holly's blog.

OK, here we go.

Stitch the binding onto the top of the quilt as you normally would. Start and end with a fairly long tail. Leave at least 6" of the quilt top unstitched--and actually, the more you leave unstitched, the easier it is to manage later.

Line up the right hand binding strip along the edge of the quilt top. Fold back the end of the binding the same amount as the width you cut your binding. In my case, I make my binding 2 1/4" wide, so I fold back 2 1/4". Mark that measurement.

Take the left hand binding strip and line it up along the quilt top and cut it off so that it ends just a smidge away from the fold you made on the other strip--an 1/8" or so.

Unfold the right hand binding strip and cut on the line you marked previously.

Because you'll be stitching a seam with right sides together, take the left hand strip, open it up, and turn it so that the right side is facing up.

Open up the right side of the binding and lay it across the left side, keeping the right sides together, as shown. Using an erasable fabric marker, draw a line from corner to corner and pin in place. Stitch along the marked line and trim off the excess fabric leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.

Refold the binding and stitch the remaining portion in place along the quilt top. The binding should now fit perfectly! And no one will be able to tell where you started and stopped.

The next step, if you're insanely lucky like I am, is to give the quilt to Pam and she'll do the hand stitching!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The opposite of a sneak peek...

Quilt Market hysteria has definitely set in. Fabric has exploded everywhere...there's a huge mound of ready-to-be-trimmed quilts on the work table...and it's getting increasingly difficult to find anything. One thing I did find I will share with you--quilt pics! Each of these quilts was made by Wanda, who is a wonderful local quiltmaker.

I love to see how quilters interpret my patterns. Wanda's color choices are bright and fun. And look how she's incorporated photo transfers into her Sweet Hearts quilt.

Wanda has requested that the Fourth of July be represented with a pattern and I will have to oblige. But it will probably have to wait for the next Market...

Hasn't Wanda done a great job?

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's Dazzling...It's Delicious...

It's a...

It's Lemon Angel Pie.
And even I can make it. And have made it...many many times. And I highly recommend that you do the same.

Here's all you need:

A graham cracker crust, a can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, 6 oz. frozen lemonade (partially thawed), and an 8 oz. container of Cool Whip.

OK, are you ready? First step:

Dump the lemonade into a mixing bowl.

Next add the sweetened condensed milk.

Fold in the Cool Whip...

Doesn't look all that lemony, does it...
Well, since we've already gone to this much trouble, let's pull out the secret ingredient...

Oh, look! A bird! With a flowered wing!

Sorry. Where was I...
Oh yes. Yellow food coloring! That's the ticket!

Much better. Now just pour the filling into the pie shell. And go ahead and lick the spoon!

OK, now you'll need to put the pie in the fridge for several hours.

Taa Daa! Here we go! (Note: I did not wait as long as I should have. Had to make sure I got a nice slice before anyone in the house discovered it...) And unlike my previously mentioned chocolate sauce, this pie does thicken up beautifully.

Now what's all this?

I'm pleased to give you a couple of sneak peeks at Late Bloomer Quilts very first block of the month pattern. It's called "Flight of Fancy" and is made entirely of gorgeous LakeHouse fabrics.
It's getting ready to go to Quilter Extraordinaire Diana and when it comes back I'll show you a bit more.
It will be available as a pattern this fall!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Get ready...

Presley knows what's coming...

Even Rosie and Willard know.

It's time to rest up so we'll be prepared for Friday...when a Dazzling Dozen Delicious Desserts begins! I don't know about you, but I'm quite sure I'll be wanting to make (and eat) them all!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Who are we to argue...

If Romantic Homes is gonna talk about "Fabulous Fall Shopping", then Pam and I have to oblige. Even though it technically isn't fall and it's still way too hot.

I really did need some more vintage lace--remember the pink and aqua Christmas quilt? Well, those ornaments need some trimming. I'd seen some lovely stuff in a shop fairly recently and who knows why I didn't buy it at the time. Crazy. So it seemed like a good reason to go back to Niles--and Pam is generally quite willing to go on trips like that.

First stop was one of our favorite shops--My Friends and I is always lots of fun...plenty of vintage stuff and their goodies are always arranged in color coordinated vignettes. I'm sorry I didn't take any pics of the inside of the shop, but I did find a darling embroidered pillow case, a cute little button card and a vintage birthday card--all of which you'll soon see.

Next came Mary Margaret's Antiques, which is a wonderful feminine paradise of stuff. And I made up for lost time with the pictures...
Everything in the place is pretty. Look at all the crocheted pillowcase lace! I love love love crochet--partly because I can't can't can't do it.

There's a section of kitchen stuff and even much of that is pretty as well.

Wish I had a reason for the "lettuce" and "radishes" adorable are those? But at our house salad comes in a plastic zip-lock and we don't buy radishes. I think the guys in my house would find vintage embroidered bags of produce too confusing and instead of eating healthy, they'd be back to grabbing for the poptarts.
Anyway. Where was I...
Yes. A shop chock-full of beautiful stuff.

Here's an area where the colors are more to Pam's liking...and I went back the following day to get her something she'd been admiring--it's impossible to sneak a purchase when you're with Pam.

Anyway, here are all my goodies from both shops. The pillowcase will be turned into a pillow for my family room sofa--and it's funny--you can see that the person who made it ran out of blue embroidery floss so she improvised with a totally unrelated shade of blue. Could you do that? I sure couldn't. Yet somehow, maybe because it's old, I find that it adds to the charm. Go figure.
I've got several options for decorating my aqua and pink ornaments now and can't wait to get back to that project.
You'll need to get ready to become thoroughly sick of hearing me moan about getting ready for Quilt Market...but I'll try to intersperse my complaining with some sneak previews of what will be in my booth.

Have a great week everyone!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quilt Labels (yes you really should!)

OK, tell the truth--how many of you always put labels on your quilts? We all know we should, but it's a step that is so easy to ignore--especially if the quilt wasn't made for some "special reason".
All quilts are special and all should have a label. And honestly? I used to be really bad about it myself.
But there are ways to have fun with label's how I do it.

First, I don't wait until the quilt is finished to make the label. Odds are, once that last stitch is put on the binding, a needle will never come near it again. So at some point during the making of the quilt I do the label.

I really recommend the HP Custom Quilt Label program. It's inexpensive and very easy to use. If you've got the computer skills necessary to read a blog, you can make gorgeous labels.
While the program does come with clip art, I'm not a big fan of their selections. So here's a really good reason to pick up a few of those nifty books-with-CDs that are out there.

I love finding just the right vintage image to go with my project. And border/background colors are practically unlimited. As are the fonts you can use.

You can get 4 small labels on one sheet of Printed Treasures, or one large label.

Yes, Printed Treasures is pricey, but the cost per label isn't bad. And there are always sales.

So have fun making some cool labels and impress the heck out of the recipients of your quilts!

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