Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Edible Scraps Basket

Like probably everyone that sews, I am blessed (cursed?) with an abundance of scraps. Except, I have two categories of scraps, one of which I can't seem to part with. I have leftovers of beautiful fabrics purchased at stores or gifted to me by friends. Those are much loved, but, if I feel those bits are too small to be of any use, I can be pretty unsentimental about discarding them. Then there are my hand dyed scraps.

These are left over from projects I've made for personal use or gifting as well as remnant pieces from items I've made for my store. Some of these strips and squares are really quite teeny. But I can't quite bring myself to get rid of them.

I don't want though to just collect them. I make variety packs of these fabrics for my shop, but the scraps in this basket are too small for that. It has been a real quandary and I didn't have any great ideas for using these scraps.
And then I bought this cookbook and took a nap. But before I fell asleep I was browsing this recipe.

As if by magic, when I woke up I knew what I wanted to do with at least some of the scraps. I hadn't made the recipe yet, so I don't think it was the flavor that inspired me, but rather the colors on the page. I cut and sewed some of the bits together with the cookbook open to this recipe.

Maybe it wasn't the colors on the page, but the nap that clarified for me what I should piece the scraps into. It could have even been the oreo cookies I ate after my nap. I don't know, but I feel like I've made a dent into that basket of scraps. Just a little dent, though, more like a ding.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mini Quilt Monday

Whew! Made it by the skin of my teeth. It's been a busy morning, but I'm ready with my mini quilt and links to some other folks who've made minis as well.
But, before I get to that I thought I'd mention that my my work is being featured today on Scoutie Girl, a terrific design blog. Not only that but there's a link to my store on the site and that will be up all week. How cool is that? So, if you have a second, hop on over there and check that out.
OK, on to this week's mini quilt.

I had to take these pictures pretty quickly as it was starting to rain just as I got outside. This week's mini is a wee bit bigger than last week's, but still well within the parameters of a mini, I think. All the interior squares are dyed to mimic piecing with the technique that I described in my Quilting Arts article last December.

A fellow flickrite and I are admining (real word or product of the internet?) a group on flickr to feature over dyed and discharged fabric. If you've been experimenting with these processes or think you might in the future, or just want to see what folks are coming out with, Here's a link to that.
Also, check out the mini beauties made by Marty , Jacquie , and Melissa . I'm quite taken with them.
I'm not done with my Monday mini quilt madness ( now that's alliteration my high school English teacher would have been proud of). I'm sure you're all aware that the upcoming month of May conveniently begins with the letter M. It's practically kismet then that Mini Quilt Mondays continue through May. So, look for more of those here at the start of the work week and, by all means, let me know if you'd like to participate. You can make a mini for one Monday, or the even numbered Mondays or all of them. Just drop me an email ( anytime before 10:00 am CST on a given Monday and I'll link to your image or post.

Friday, April 24, 2009

We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. It was so much fun to read your comments, especially your varying descriptions of disgust with the discarded gum.
According to the random number generator, comment #75 is the winner.
Blogger JWhit said...

Love the bag - count me in for your giveaway please. Happy E/day!

If you could email me your address, I'll have your bag to you faster than you can say, "paper or plastic?"
My email is .

Also, for those who plan on posting a Monday mini quilt, whether here or on flickr, feel free to email me a link and I'll include it in Monday's post.
I'll be back in this space on Monday with my Mini Quilt Monday contribution.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Earth Day Don't and Do


Litter by sticking your chewing gum in a nearby potted palm.
I started to take the picture because I was struck by the pink/green color combination. But then as I focused through my view finder, I realized that the "pretty pink thing" was actually gum. Yuck!

Use recyclable cloth totes to carry your groceries, sundries, science experiments, etc.
This one is crafted out of my hand dyed and patterned fabric with interfaced and stitched handles.

And it's reversible.
Also it could be yours because, in honor of Earth Day, I'm giving this tote away. Just leave me a comment and I'll enter you into the drawing for the bag.
I'll select a random winner and announce the name on my blog this Friday.
OK, now have a Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mini Quilt Monday

Why is it Mini Quilt Monday? Is my adoration for adroit alliteration not a good enough reason to declare it Mini Quilt Monday?
Will Mini Quilt Monday be a regular feature? I can't commit because nothing spells disaster for an idea better than commitment, but I will say that I do have the makings for another mini quilt on my design wall.
Can anyone else play along? Hey, who am I to stand in the way of the creation of more mini quilts?
Nuff said.

p.s. I'll be adding the mini quilt along with a few other goodies to my shop if you're interested.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


In my garden...

and on my bed.

I worked on this pillow sham off and on for a while. The stars were pieced using a paper piecing technique and then appliqued onto some white linen. I decided to stipple quilt the bulk of the background because I wanted texture but without an organized pattern. I think that the second sham, in keeping with the celestial theme need to be something like planets or moons.
I'm so enjoying having this bit of handmade goodness on my bed. So often I make things like this to give or sell. It's nice to have some of it close by to enjoy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's All the Little Things

...that make me smile.
I shot a bunch of pictures today and I was initially really stumped as to how they worked together. They didn't seem overtly related to each other as a whole. As I processed them though I realized that each of these images brought out a unique kind of smile.

These images of my silly and adorable nieces brought the kind of grin that only comes from watching kids ham it up.

Capturing these pictures tickled me too. The smile was probably just as wide, but it came from another place. A place of awe and appreciation for the bounty that I pass by everyday in my own backyard and don't take enough time to notice.

This smile was followed by a question, " Has there always been so much orange in my world or am I just seeing it today?"

And this smile is definitely the product of loving the beautiful design possibilities inherent in the simplest of tools.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sew Good

Sorry, I was powerless to resist that pun.
I've been sewing a lot lately...for myself. There's something about Spring that makes me want to plant a garden and sew new clothes. The garden urge was pretty much fulfilled by planting a few tomatoes and cucumbers, but the sewing clothes thing continues seemingly unabated.
A few weeks ago I mentioned a Simplicity pattern that I had adapted to make a sleeveless top. I posted a picture of that top on flickr and someone suggested that it would make a cute dress. I loved that idea, so that's exactly what I did.

I kept the original modifications I'd done including removing the ruffle that separates the bodice from the skirt and replacing the stand-up collar with ties. I added about 8 inches in length and a tie along the back.

I wanted to give the dress a slightly more fitted look and I debated the use of darts or gathering with or without elastic. Of course this debate was strictly with myself because no one in my family is nearly as interested in having this kind of conversation as I am. Anyway, I went with the ties and I'm very happy with the final result.
Spurred on by my success I also made two more new tops.

The one on the right is from the same pattern as the dress and the one on the left is Simplicity 4589. I actually wrote the pattern number without having to look it up. That would be a pretty clear indication of how many times I've made this pattern.

Both of these tops were made out of fabric purchased from Pink Chalk Fabrics . Kathy has a terrific selection of fabrics and patterns and always lots of great sales.

It's with a tiny bit of embarrassment that I admit I don't think I'm done with my Spring clothes sewing.

Friday, April 10, 2009


...really is the color of spring.

...both outside and inside.

New blooms to enjoy, new Passover tablecloth to lay out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

And it's only in this exact spot every 28 years. This, according to certain astronomical calculations, is the day when the sun is in its original position in creation. Frankly, I knew nothing about this until I read an article about it in last Saturday's New York Times. Basically, the calculations, made by a long ago Talmudic sage, marks the point when the sun moves into the, "same place in the sky at the same time, and on the same day of the week," as it did when it was created. And, like I said before, that apparently only happens every 28 years. This event, like so many in Judaism, necessitates a special blessing and, of course, much discourse on the exact "right" way to acknowledge this milestone.
In all honesty, my first reaction to this was, Oy! Judaism has so many blessings for so many things both great and small. And I do genuinely appreciate the concept of being grateful for the miraculous and the mundane, but...another blessing? Well, then I went to Shabbat morning services and this was the topic of the sermon. It changed my mind. I came to realize that this was a wonderful opportunity to take a few minutes to marvel at something I take for granted and have taken for granted my entire life.
So, this morning, on the way home from swim team, which was at daybreak ( another reason to exclaim Oy!), my middle daughter, Rachel, and I talked about this amazing moment in the history of our Earth and I (not her, because she's 14 and she doesn't do sappy things like recite blessings) said the blessings. I also decided that when I got home I'd take some time to "document" some of the many ways my little corner of the world is touched by the Sun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Quiet Nod

I've been a little remiss in mentioning a recent bit of good news. It's not been out of some desire or need to keep the news to myself. It's all because my local Bookstop went out of business. Last December when my article and quilt were featured on the pages of Quilting Arts magazine I gauged the timing of my blog announcement about this by whether or not the magazine had made an appearance at my local Bookstop bookstore. A few weeks ago, Bookstop, really a mini Barnes and Noble, was permanently closed and so was my nearest, a mere two minutes away, bookstore. Now, it's not as if there are no other bookstores in the Austin area. There are plenty. But, each one is at least 10-15 minutes away and requires a bit more effort to get to. None of these other stores are so convenient that I can just pop into them on a whim. So, it's been a boon for Amazon and pretty much a bust for me in terms of keeping up with when the next issue of Quilting Arts hits the newsstands. All this is my convoluded way of saying: 1. I've got a new article in the latest issue of Quilting Arts and 2. Thank you to those of you who have so sweetly emailed your congratulations and therefore informed me that the issue is available.

The focus of this article is crafting with what I call "low volume" fabrics, that is graphic prints combined with whites and neutrals. I think I've mentioned before that I periodically need to take a break from the intense colors of hand dyes and work with fabrics that help me focus on different design elements.

This may sound silly, but it's almost cleansing to focus my attention in such a distinctly different way.