Saturday, December 26, 2009


we all know that WIPs are "Works in Progress"--but what about quilts that one is just dreaming about?--i'm calling them WIMH--"Works in My Head" --i have definite ideas of what i want to do (which doesn't mean i won't change my mind)

this is from the Bari J. collection with a couple of Atelier Akiko fabs thrown in (they coordinate perfectly). i'd like to make her sample quilt (if you go to her site, scroll down and look on the right hand side-it's the Garden Tea Party Quilt. i wasn't crazy about the border but the always inspiring Mrs. Schenkman came up with a great border solution which i'll be using.

i've been gathering and collecting some cute japanese fabrics (some of these are lecien caramel town) --i'm thinking of making the Marble Champ Quilt by LizzyHouse --also using a green background (the top fabrics with some other lime greens) --this will be my to-go hand-applique project when i'm done with the Dotty Dresden Plates (i'm actually doing pretty well with that quilt--i'm on block #20!)

then my last WIMH (sorry, no pix) is this quilt with this fabric. it should be turn out really pretty--though anything made with Grand Revivial fabrics would be pretty. my Barefoot Diamonds quilt was also Grand Revival--hmmm....maybe i should do a series of these types of quilts--a log-cabin-ish quilt but with different shapes (diamond, octagon, etc) with the Grand Revivial fabs....more WIMHs :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


my friend MYB came down for a visit yesterday and despite my pleas to the contrary, she brought a lovely gift of chocolates! aren't these pretty?! i had to hurry up and blog about them so i can eat 'em!

so cute! chances are very strong that i'll keep the box (emptied of chocs) just because of the cuteness factor. (definitely crazy hoarder lady in training!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

though honestly, i'm already thinking Christmas!

finally some finished products to show.

i bought a layer cake of Merry & Bright (by Sandy Gervais) last year and even though i have a long list of WIPs, i felt the hankering for a quick Christmas quilt. i saw a similar block on someone's blog (shoot--i can't find where i saw the quilt) and it reminded me of packages. i didn't want to use extra fabric but stay with the 40-10" squares of the layer cake so this is what i got.

i selected 8 of the plainer blocks to be the "ribbon"--cut 2" strips to be the long ribbon part and a 2" contrasting square. each 10" square will provide four 2" strips and five 2" sqaures (one extra). then i trimmed the rest of the 32 blocks to 9"x10" and then cut into half (4.5" x 10") and sewed the "ribbon" down the middle. i'm no pattern writer obviously! but this is a quick & easy block. oh and because i'm a very inaccurate sewer, i'm also trimming the blocks down to 9.75" but if you have a perfect 1/4" seam, then you would finish at 10". i have half the blocks sewn together, and 1/4 of them trimmed. hopefully i'll get to finish this before christmas!

and because i can't bear to throw away fabric--and because there are lots of 1" strips leftover, i decided to make some christmas cards with them.

i think they turned out pretty cute (though some are a bit puckery--oh well, we'll call it "texture"). i re-used some old cards i had that weren't useful anymore. one card was to let people know you're moving--there were only 3 left of those. and the rest were free christmas cards from a charity we support--you know, the cards that aren't really attractive and i think i'll send them to people i don't really know, but then i won't do it because they really aren't attractive. (yeah, i know, i'm a crazy hoarder in the making).

a close-up :-)

oh, and very happy news. i won this magazine from the Happy Zombie! i'm a big fan of her blog and her work (she uses the most beautiful and cheerful colors!) so it was a thrill to win a prize from her blog, and a bigger thrill to see her block in the magazine--very cute!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

PIQF loot

i think i was pretty restrained this year!

this is from the Stitchin' Post of Sisters OR fame. they have a really great sales section :-) the top FQs were only $1 each! i got a nice group of Kaffe fabrics and some other miscellaneous ones. and because i felt guilty only shopping from the $1 pile, i bought a pack of KF FQs at full price (very unusual for me!) but these colors are so pretty i got over the full price part.

these KFs were reasonably priced at $2 each. they're from Cotton & Chocolate--a very cute booth that was featuring English paper piecing. i bought some 3/4" hexagons! not sure when that will happen but i can always hope and plan for the future.

these are from the Creation Station which is one of my favorite vendors 'cos they have great prices--they only sell pre-cuts --either 1 yd or 1/2 yd packages -- for either $6/yd or $3 for 1/2 yd. last year it was $5/yd--i guess they had to raise their prices. but they have a large booth in the middle of the vendor area and i always find cute stuff.

the vendors seem to be mostly brick & mortar stores from california. the problem is that internet stores (which i almost exclusively shop from now--i may bring twins to a once-a-year quilt show but i'm not going to bring them to a quilt store to go shopping!) have a faster moving inventory so i'm used to newer fabrics and also used to buying whole lines now in the form of FQ bundles or the other pre-cuts. there was one store that was selling a line of fabric at full price that Hancocks-Paducah has already discounted and presumably sold out of a few months ago (i know 'cos i bought several yards of it :-) so it was hard to find fabric that i was really excited about. i guess that's why i ended up getting a lot of KFs this time around--they're timeless and very collectible!

celebrity sightings: i got to meet Verna Mosquera who had a great pumpkin-headed figure in her booth. she was very sweet and gracious, and didn't mind me snagging a couple of pieces of chocolate for the twins even though i didn't buy anything. also said Hi to Joanna Figueroa who rushed back from Houston for this show--she's a local gal. she always has a beautiful booth! i've seen her at PIQF for the last couple of years but finally screwed up the courage to say hello. it's like seeing a celebrity! i'm such a quilt geek.

sigh...even though this year was a little less exciting--in terms of the exhibition and the shopping--it was still wonderful. 12 more months to go 'til next year's Quilt Fest!

PIQF, Pt 2

i made a much simpler quilt like this years ago--i think it was called yin yang--but it has half the curves inside the circle. i'm actually not a big fan of black/red/white palette but i like it here 'cos the white is more cream which softens the effect. (here's proof that i brought the kids)

i didn't take a picture of the whole quilt--i just like how she used curvy houses as sashing.

it's the borders that are outstanding (to me) in this quilt

the circles are wool fiber somehow twisted around into circles. ZM thought they were actually part of the fabric and i argued that it was superimposed on top--turns out there's a very fine tulle on top of the circles which probably protects the fiber and also flattens it out. it was a really pretty effect. i would like to say i'll attempt it one day but i doubt it :-)

maybe not politically correct but this gollywog quilt was cute.

and max had to take a picture of the train! (to keep the twins' interest, i would let them use my camera to take pix of the quilts. lots of animals, cars & trains!)

i like scissors! even if these were printed on the fabric :-)

paul liked the stain glass effect of this one.

this was a simple rail pattern with these 3 dimensional flowers--very pretty.

oh, and i forgot to take a picture, but this quilt was hanging in the exhibit right near the entrance. the name of the quilter caught my eye 'cos there is a mom in our preschool class with the same name. and when i saw the name of the baby...yup! it's our preschool friend. the twins were thrilled to see "baby Brian"! and i felt like i knew a celebrity :-)

pictures of PIQF loot tomorrow!

Pacific International Quilt Festival, Pt 1

I'm so lucky to have PIQF in my backyard (so to speak) every year--at the Santa Clara Convention Center, 10 minutes away. it's a Mancuso show and is held every October. just so happens that all my kids are born in October (granted there's a set of twins in there) so i haven't gone every year but i try to attend when i can.

i still remember bringing rolls of film with me and taking the pictures to costco to develop (i'm sure i have a couple of photo albums around for inspiration)! so much better now with digital cameras!

lots of safari themed quilts this year--which was great 'cos i took the twins on the first day and i could point the animals out when their interest started to flag (which was after 5 minutes :-) it was cute--i told them i was taking them to a "quilt show" which got them really excited until they got there and kept asking "where's the show"--i think they thought there would be singing & dancing quilts instead of quilts just boringly hanging on the walls. they did really well considering they're only 3 (almost 4 but it sounds more impressive this way) and max only touched one quilt and he was only trying to lift the curtain :-)

there were lots of "art quilts" this year which isn't my favorite--somehow i feel that painting on a quilt is "cheating" :-) i know i'm in the minority here. i prefer traditional piecing (with non-traditional fabrics) and there weren't a lot of those this year. but still--lots of eye-candy and inspiration.

i went with quilting friend ZM--it's so much fun to talk shop with someone who has quilting knowledge. (2 years ago when we went, some people thought we were docents 'cos we were talking so technically :-) now when i make a quilt for a friend, s/he always say, "how long did it take you to make this? i don't have the patience to do that." so it's funny how when we see these outstanding quilts, we say the same things, "how long did it take that quilter to make this? i wouldn't have the patience!" it's all relative.

here are some favorites (with more pix tomorrow).

i like this quilt of squares and circles--i can see myself doing something like this but with a different (brighter) palette.

this was such a great idea! if you can't read the description--the quilter cut out a piece of every single fabric she bought in 2008 and made the following quilt! i liked what she said, that "the exercise showed me that using fabric right away means that i get to enjoy it longer."

you can tell this is a Piece of Cake design right away! the applique fabrics are actually not that bright when you look closer but the red background really makes them pop.

this quilt has everything i like--lots of bright saturated colors and lots of white--and also circles!

more circles.

S for Sophie.

not crazy about the palette but would like to make something similar one day. maybe with Kaffe Fassett fabrics?

this diamond quilt is really cool. from faraway (2nd picture below) it's just a simple diamond quilt but close up, the lines are all wavy. can't quite figure out the construction technique. i know you can stack squares on top of each other and cut out wavy lines to piece together, but diamonds blow my mind.

love the fabrics too!more tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Shower!

so here's the baby quilt i made for my BFF CKB (does that make sense?) hmmm...i should've taken a close-up of the border fabric--it's totally cute--bunnies in traditional Japanese kimonos--dressed up for Girls Day.

the sad part about this quilt is that i have no color sense. i actually picked out the pinwheel colors using another fabric that i had planned to use for the border. It was another Japanese theme fabric--with little boys and girls on green background--that i had purchased when CKB announced she was engaged--i'm very optimistic :-) but after i finished piecing the inside and placed the original border fabric with it--it was completely wrong. i realize now that the white was too stark and the original green fabric didn't have any whites in it--a soft pink as the background fabric would've been better. oh well. CKB will just have to have another child (preferably a girl)!

CKB chose a safari theme for the nursery so we decided to go with that for the shower theme. my girlfriend VLJ, who hosted the event, has tons of toys at her house (3 kids) so went whole hog on the safari animals. here's the runner for the table:

and instead of fancy schmancy china plates; she used her school lunch trays:

you may have guessed that we are Asian Americans :-) every month or so, my high school girlfriends & i have a potluck lunch that lasts all day. we all went to the same high school (except one girlfriend who "married into" our group :-) which means i've known these women for more than half my life! (yeah, we're old) i'm so blessed to have these women in my life!

more animals in the jungle:

the cake is from Schubert's in San Francisco. absolutely delicious.

the baby is due Thanksgiving weekend. we're all praying for a safe & speedy delivery!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Projects

so i'm in that limbo time where i've finished 3 tops and now i need to piece the backing and prepare the batting and then baste it--all jobs that i hate. i do have a deadline (baby shower) for one of the quilts so gotta get going on it soon. but of course i can find more new projects to start!

doesn't that look like professional BOM? it's actually my own BOM--but when i package it up like that, it just looks so nice and expensive :-) i'm using a freebie BOM (but not making the center medallion--just the surrounding 12 blocks) and finally getting around to a fat quarter stack of Dena's Rambling Rose fabrics that i've had for a couple of years.

here's the first block all done. they're large blocks--16-1/2" unfinished. when you break down the cutting into an individual block, it's not so overwhelming. and in 12 months (or so), i should have a nice big quilt finished. i have the 2nd block prepped but haven't started sewing yet (i really should start on my other projects!)

i also started a selvage block. i've wanted to do this for a long time, inspired by this blog, and i finally had the wherewithal to start it. i'm sewing the selvages from the Dena fabrics onto this red polka dot. that way, if i end up with enough for a quilt, i won't back it, but just consider the red polka dot as the backing. (hope that makes sense.)
oh, the joy of quilting--that you can have so many things going on!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dresdens Galore

Finally--something finished! this is the American Jane Dresden block that didn't make the cut so it's been laying around. i finished two tops recently so had finally got around to making it into a cushion cover. i don't know why it takes so long to get things accomplished--it feels so good when it's finally done!

this is my incredibly messy working area. too embarassed to show pictures!

and just 'cos i don't have a lot of photos usually--here's the back. it's funny how the fabric (also AJ) looks so bland from far away but it's really cute up close. oh, here's a close-up:

these are two blocks (i think will also be destined to be cushion covers) that i recently prepped for a friend, using the Little Romance line. i've gotten good mileage out of those fabrics! i actually don't know this friend very well, she's the mother of one of alex's classmates. she's been battling leukemia for the last year or so and still needs to make multiple trips to the hospital weekly. i was working on my own Dotty Dresdens while waiting to pick up Alex, and she seemed really interested so i was showing her how i work the stitches. it was definitely a God-nudge that made me ask if she would like to work on something similar while she's on her hospital visits. it was so gratifying to see how excited she got over the project :-) so over the weekend, i prepped these two blocks, made a simple felt needle book, bought a cheap thread-snipper and kitted it up with a spool of quilting thread in a little bag i had made awhile ago, serendipitously also of the Little Romance fabs. (hmmm....i guess i should've taken a picture of the kit--it was pretty cute.)

isn't it nice to do a good deed and indulge in your own quilting passions too?!

i've been making good progress on my Dotty Dresden Plates. i carry a block with me at all times and i whip it out whenever i have time. now that Alex gets out of school at 2:30--the twins and i usually get there 20-30 mins beforehand--that way the twins get to snooze in the car while we wait. they're at the age (almost 4) when they're just about to grow out of the afternoon nap--but if we're in a car around that time, they'll fall asleep almost right away. it works out well 'cos it mean i get to do a little hand-sewing almost every day. i think i'm on my 7th one right now. no pictures to show 'cos they all basically look the same :-)

Grandma's Pop Garden is going a little slower. this is my at-home hand project but i don't find as much time for it. still i have 5 rows stitched together so far.

it's pretty wrinkly 'cos i bung it around the house.
so lots of sewing going around the house, but not much to show yet. i have 3 quilt tops that need to be quilted so will show pix of those when they're done. this is the part that takes me the longest--i dread it so!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Made by Rae Jackpack Backpack GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Made by Rae Jackpack Backpack GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

that's a cute backpack! paul's mom made him one when he was little, out of a rice sack. not quite as cute but probably more authentic!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Double Gauze

so this is what all the fuss is about! lots of blogs are talking about Heather Ross' line that is made of "double gauze" and i wondered what it was. the other day i was browsing around FQS (very dangerous!) and Lecien's Atelier and Akiko line was on sale--it was so sweet that i thought i'd buy a couple of remnants. well, when i got it, it felt different from quilting fabric--it was extra soft--almost like a knit but not stretchy. when i looked around, Superbuzzy listed their A&A line as "double gauze"--ah ha!

i can see it as an apparel fabric but would work quite nicely as a quilt too. i had originally thought i might make a purse or a zip-up bag with this fabric but i'm not sure now-it might be too soft and nice-to-touch to "waste" on a bag.

turns out the A&A fabrics perfectly matched the Bari J. Full Bloom tea pot fabric i also bought. i buy almost every tea cup & tea pot fabric i see and of course i haven't actually used any of them--i have a little problem like that :-)

here's the latest selections for the Dresden Plates. it's not very obvious in the pix but it's 4 stacks of 16 prints each for 4 more blocks. i can't believe it but i'm on my 4th block already (24 altogether so i'm still a long ways away). i do a tiny bit almost everyday 'cos i take it with me everywhere.
alex started 1st grade last week (woo-hoo!) and he gets out of school at 2:30 (woo-hoo!) we're trying to wean the twins off their naps but if they're in the car around that time, they will almost always fall asleep. so i try to get to school 20-30 min early and let the twins have a quick shut-eye in the car--which gives them just enuf energy for the rest of the day (before, they would sometimes fall asleep at the dinner table :-) but allow for a reasonable bedtime hour (if they took a nap, they wouldn't fall asleep until 11:00 p.m.!!!) which ultimately means, i've been getting a little bit of hand-sewing time while the twins nap. win-win situation :-)

here they are, cut into wedges. so pretty!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pinwheel faux Tutorial

work in progress.

i'm working on a pinwheel quilt for a friend's upcoming baby and so just finished piecing 256 half-square triangles (HST) using the triangle papers. coincidentally, right before starting my HSTs, i had just read this post from Minick & Simpson where she had also worked on HSTs, and it helped me be more thoughtful while working on mine. so this isn't a tutorial per se, just some thoughts while cutting and snipping and ironing and sewing my HSTs :-)

trimming dog ears are such a pain--literally and figuratively! my wrist is still sore from snipping fabric 512 times (years ago i had tendonitis because of cutting fabric and i'm still prone to it--eep!). but if you're using the triangle paper, it's a tad easier to fold the paper over and then trim according to the paper (hopefully the photos are a little clearer). this has the added benefit of weakening the paper before tearing it off. of course, i didn't figure this out until i was 2/3 of the way through!!! (btw, in my Miss Read books, i'm always reading about how they "top and tail" gooseberries--i've never seen anyone do it, but i see myself "topping and tailing" my HSTs :-)

the white is the paper, not the background fabric. when you fold up the paper, you have a nice sharp edge as your guide to cut off the dog-ear.

i've been reading alot on the blogs about pressing open the seams (vs. pressing to one side) Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie does it and i'm a huge fan of hers so i thought i'd give it a try. but i gotta say, i don't like it. it's just too time-consuming to have to press open the seam from the back, and then from the front to smooth it out--way faster to just press to the side. (this probably speaks more about my lack of perfectionism than anything else :-)

i thought i would at least try pressing open the seams with the pinwheel block 'cos that middle section, where it all comes together, gets awfully bulky. i did one, and while yes, it does lie nice and flat, it takes longer and i would need to pin the blocks together while sewing.

i found that being consistent is the key with these pinwheel blocks. if you always press to the dark (just for example's sake, i guess you could also always press to the light if preferred), then all the seams will nestle together (so you don't have to pin) and you would still get a flat block. it also makes it a no-brainer while sewing--just make sure your blocks line up exactly the same as the previous one, and you're on the right track.

1) press to the dark always.

2) you can sorta see how the two seams will nestle together.

3) when chain-sewing the HSTs together, note that the white fab is always on the top left. it becomes a no-brainer to sew--otherwise you may sew the wrong sides together (been there, done that :-)

4) it also helps to lay out the fabrics exactly the same while pressing--again press to the dark. i learned from Simply Quilts, to press blocks on top of each other, that way the bottom blocks get the extra benefit of additional heat as the newer blocks are being pressed.

5) when sewing together the sides of the pinwheel, the opposing seams nestle together quite nicely so you don't have to pin....

6) though it really helps to have a stiletto to push the seams through the sewing machine. i only recently got this stiletto (from Daiso) and it's helped tremendously in matching seams.

finally, when pressing open the 4-patch, which makes the Pinwheel block, you do that little twist on the back which pops open a couple of threads (i love it when i can hear the little "snap") --sorry, i can't explain it in words more than that--and then the other seams will also magically lie towards the dark, and you get the little pinwheel in the back. this will make it way easier when piecing all the blocks together because you'll get the opposing seams that nestle nicely together.

i like the pinwheel block for a baby quilt 'cos it's so colorful, it looks like a lot of work (though it's mostly just tedious), and you don't have to sew thousands of HSTs (for a bed-size quilt), just a couple of hundred :-)
this is probably really basic info for most of you guys, but hopefully it'll be helpful!