Thursday, January 26, 2012

Key to My Heart

Okay, without further it is. Just in time for Valentine's Day, a new pillow design. I seemed to take me forever to get it done but I was out of town and then skiing (twice) and blah blah blah. But it's a pretty quick project and was fun to make.

Pam has been at me for ages to do a pillow pattern. She makes pillows using my method because it's quick and easy and has a finished look. So here it is...the first of hopefully several pillow patterns. This one is available only via my website--not in quilt shops.

I about lost my mind when I saw her version of "Key to My Heart" even tho hers doesn't have a key. It's absolutely adorable--and her leaves are the cutest ever.

I'm pleased that I didn't have to spend any money at all to make mine...used up some favorite fabric bits. Didn't have "the right" color thread but made do because let me tell you it's a DRIVE
to get to the nearest shop that carries thread. The only thing I needed to shop for was the key. I'm lucky because even tho I'm in a town that only has one traffic light, it happens to have a shop that carries a huge assortment of old rusty keys. The day I was there, the owner was very busy and I had to wait a long time to purchase my key. I stood there happily gazing at all the bins full of rusty treasures but he felt badly to have kept me waiting so insisted that I just take the key. How cool was that?

So how do you get the pattern? Go to my website and you'll find the pattern in two forms. If you want a printed pattern the price is $7.95 plus shipping. If, however, you'd like to have a PDF to download and print yourself, that option is $6.95. My website isn't set up to handle this automatically, so once payment is received I'll be emailing the PDF pattern to you. As quickly as I possibly can--hopefully within minutes, but absolutely the same day.

Another detail...this is a limited edition pattern. On Valentine's Day poof! it's gone. Hopefully to be followed by another pillow but who knows. Spring is coming and it would be nice to have a pillow to celebrate but these days I'm a bit distracted because there are still snow covered hills I haven't fallen down on yet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

more that's new...including some sort of lesson (I think)

First of all, thanks for such a great welcome back! As anyone with a blog will agree, sometimes you just don't know if anyone is really out there reading. You've inspired me to make posting more of a priority like it used to be.

I also want to thank those of you who sent me sweet messages on my birthday which was a couple weeks back. It was a very special day for me (well, a couple of days actually) and made turning 50 about as good as it could be. Went to the Carmel/Pacific Grove area for a couple of days where the weather was beautiful and the sunsets were anything but dull.

Periodically sent Pam texts asking for restaurant suggestions, etc...and at Rosine's in Monterey I got my slice of birthday cake. Yes, that's one serving of cake sitting there. Delicious cake, I might add.

Before I get onto my next subject I just want to reassure all you quilters that yes, there soon will be pics of my latest project--but right now it's just weird chunks of fabric. And a rusty key. Hard to photograph. But it's a Valentine's project that Pam and I will both make but in different colors. For what I'm thinking will be a limited edition pattern. So stay tuned. Especially if you like pillows.


I've always wanted to learn how to ski but never had the opportunity. My parents were the ultimate stay-indoors kind of people. We'd go to Yosemite every winter, but it was to look at the snow. Maybe walk in it a little. In fact, my mother didn't learn how to ride a bicycle until she was 50. I do not have an athletic bone in my unusually tall body.

Just before Christmas, I took my first skiing lesson. It was scary but I did it. I didn't have fun, not exactly, but came away with the sense that I could have fun if I knew what I was doing. First week in January brought my second trip to the slopes. And by "slopes" I mean that area where the little kids who are barely out of diapers go effortlessly careening down the incline. There was nothing effortless about anything I did that day. Unless you count falling down. Which it turns out is something I have no trouble doing.

Here's the thing. I'm pretty good at quilting. It was never difficult for me. I learned by reading books--meticulously following the instructions and studying the techniques. Slowly, and at my own pace.

Well, you know what? Skiing isn't like that.

Last Friday was my 3rd day skiing. I'm 3 for 3 falling when I get off the chair lift at the beginner hill. My first time at that "real" hill? I froze. Metaphorically speaking. I ended up walking down the entire hill. Me, my new fancy boots and my new fancy poles. The ones with the flowers on them. I was told "you can't possibly walk down this hill". Oh, just watch me.

It was everything I could do not to cry like a little girl. Like a very big little girl. Got another lesson that day. From a fantastic teacher whose only goal was getting my confidence back. He convinced me to get back onto the chair lift (where I fell again). It took me 20 minutes to get down a hill that anyone else could have skied down in under 2. My hour long lesson had ended when I was probably still 3/4 of the way up the hill. But the instructor, on his own time, insisted that we try it again. And yes, I fell getting off the chair that time as well. And slid rather impressively I might add. But you know what? I did it again. I skied down that hill. I was terrified every single minute, but I did it. Once I reached the flatter part? I was having fun. I'm told I was smiling. I was a little too busy trying to keep my now jello-like body upright to tell.

Why am I sharing this story? I've had students who were afraid of the whole quilting process. From picking the "wrong" fabrics to the worries of less than perfect stitches, learning to make a quilt can be stressful. Accepting the fact that you simply can't control everything that happens. You learn by doing.

Tomorrow I think I'm gonna try it again. It's not defeatist to say that I'm gonna fall some more. It's just reality. I'm gonna fall some more. But I have waterproof pants and a waterproof parka and fancy gloves and a scarf to match. Gotta be stylin' when you're lying in the snow, you know.
And I may be the worst skier in the entire county, but I've got the coolest looking skis. Because I'm a quilter and my gear must color coordinate.

When I get back? I'll be curled up by the wood stove working on that pillow. Because making quilts is easy. You can't fall down.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

starting over

According to Blogger, it's been almost 7 months since I've last been here. Seems impossible, but I'm sure Blogger is telling the truth.

And after all, a whole lot has happened in that time. Of course that's what a blog is for...sharing all those bits and pieces of life as it happens. Unfortunately, for various reasons I just wasn't really able to do that.

My life has changed in many BIG ways during this time and quilting has had to take a back seat to lots of other goings on. The changes were absolutely necessary, but sadly my creativity disappeared during those months. I'm relieved it's coming back. My head is once again filling up with applique designs that should soon be in process. Roses, always roses...but other motifs as well. I can't wait to get the designs on paper and then of course cloth.

There are other changes in my life as well. I'd spent all my years in the San Francisco bay area and while I always had a rose and perennial garden, there was the steady sound of a freeway in the background and all the other noises that go along with living in crowded suburbia. These days a fair amount of my time is spent in a place where all I hear is birds. And breezes. No rose garden, but lots of oaks, pine trees and canyon views. Deer and bobcats wander around. What I spend time looking at has affected the colors I'm now drawn to...I still love bright happy fabrics but these days I'm wanting to experiment with a more subdued palette.

I've brought Bittersweet back out and had a great time making a Delectable Mountains quilt--out of Civil War fabrics! Not one piece came from my stash--and that quilt may be the only one I've ever made that doesn't use any fabrics with roses on them.

I've made quilts with bluebirds on them but have never before been able to look out the window and actually see bluebirds. These are Mountain Bluebirds so aren't quite as bright as their eastern cousins, but they're a thrill for me every time I see them.

Even the eggs are different up here. Fresh from hens belonging to a new friend and instead of plain white, they're brown, pink and an aqua that's so pretty I have a hard time using them.

I now have a sewing machine in each of 2 counties. Life is good.

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