17 November 2012

Is it just me?

Or do these look like two strips of delicious bacon??

That's where the mind goes when you're sewing too close to dinner time.

I got problemz. . .


21 October 2012

All that worry for nothing

I won't be auditioning for Project Runway any time soon but I finished my dress yesterday. There are some wonky bits involving the zipper but I'd give myself a B+. I think it's the PERFECT killer bee outfit with some leggings (it's pretty short - at least for me) and a black tshirt + lots of bee accessories.  I'll post pics when I've got the whole outfit on. Too bad I can't enter the costume contest at the party. . .

More sewing underway today. I'm working on bean bags for a carnival game, a block for my MQG and I need to make a quilt back, and get do some quilting today. YEEPS PEEPS.


20 October 2012


Why is this so terrifying? It's just a dress pattern. People make dresses all the time. Is it because I have to wear it out in public? I try to keep reminding myself that it is just a Halloween costume. I need never wear it after the party next Saturday. It'll be dark. No one will ever see it in the light of day. (Except for those guests that show up while it is still, in fact, daytime.)

I've made quilts. I've made bags. I made a duffel that I handed over to baggage people at the airport and all of my clothes arrived at my destination intact.

So why is making this silly Halloween costume so scary???

Back to quilting soon.

16 September 2012

Hello old pal

Hi quilting! I'm back. Have you missed me?

I know that making all those quilts for our African pals took most of my sewing mojo but I've been missing you lots. And yes, I am making another quilt for a deadline, but it is only one this time. And it is for Halloween so we have six weeks to make it.

Quilting, I know it seems like I've been spending more time with knitting lately, and you're right. But I'm almost done with that sweater and I'm (almost) all yours again.

And it isn't that I haven't been thinking about you. And buying lots of fabric for you. Oh, the stash has been growing. We need to do something about that. . .

Thanks for having me back.

04 September 2012

Have I told you?

Oh yes, friends. I will be there. It's only taken me this long to post because my heart has only just stopped pounding and I'm finally able to breathe without the need for a paper bag. AND I was fortunate enough to get into ALL THREE WORKSHOPS I wanted to take. Better watch out, Jay McCarroll. I'm coming for you!!!!  YIPPPPEEEEEEE!!!


23 August 2012

All together now

Now that is the reaction you want when you give someone a quilt! (Especially a man!!!)
Or maybe this? Wrapping it around superhero style??? (P.S. I love Melvin. He is a HAM, with or without a camera around. Like a leopard, always posing for a picture.)
Smiles like this one work too. Isn't he gorgeous?
Here are all my pals (plus little man James) wrapped up in so much of my hard work and love.
And from the back.
And with me. All of the time and work and fretting was totally worth it. The quilts were received exactly as you dreamed they would be. And it makes me happy to think that something that I made with my own two hands will be keeping my Londo family warm. Sigh.


16 August 2012

For Milton

The last one. Quilt 5 of 5. I have to apologize for the pictures of this one. It was finished just before we left and I didn't get a chance to take any pictures at home. The day that the quilt handover happened, it was grey and cloudy so my pictures all look sort of grey and cloudy too. Sadly, these two are the best ones I have to document this quilt which is unfortunate because it was lovely.

This one was for Milton, our tracker. Milton sits in a seat on the hood of the Land Rover and watches out for signs - like poop or tracks in the sand. When he spots a promising clue, he hops down and wanders off into the bush with nothing but a stick for protection. And you get the feeling he's never had to use the stick. The strong, silent type doesn't quite sum up this man. He's gorgeous and has a calmness to him that makes you feel protected. He wears a badge on his uniform everyday so that you know the position he holds in his church. He'll break your heart with his care and his sweetness.

Last year we asked Milton about his family. He told us that he'd been married for 12 years to a woman named Rose. I don't know if I've ever witnessed anyone light up the way he did when he said her name. (I like to think Scott does that when he's away from me. . .) It was so clearly obvious that after twelve years, he still loves her intensely. He explained that when they met, they didn't speak the same language but they learned for each other. They have four boys.

When I started thinking about a quilt for Milton and Rose, I knew I wanted it to be special and have meaning. I think I picked the right one. Milton is the star in the bottom right corner - the rock and foundation of the family. The four smaller stars are for their sons, of course. And the star in the middle is for Rose. It's vibrant and beautiful. All of her men are orbiting around her and she's shining. This one is large enough so that they could put it on top of their bed. I hope it keeps them warm and comforted for years.

All the boys' stars are Curious Nature by Parson Gray. Her star is Loulouthi by Anna Maria Horner. The background is Kona Windsor. Pattern was from Fat Quarterly issue #5. It's by Katy Jones and the pattern is Constellation.

I'll post group pictures soon.

12 August 2012

For Caven

Number 4 of 5 - the quilt for Caven. Caven (pronounced with a short a, as in apple) is the butler for our lodge, although calling him a butler seems silly to me (possibly because the idea of me having a butler seems ridiculous). He has a billion watt smile which you'll see later when I finally get around to posting pictures of the quilts being handed over. He makes BY FAR the best gin and tonics I've ever had and never lets you run dry. He teaches us words in Shangaan, some of which are not so nice and get me shocked looks from the chefs. And when that happens, he scoots away giggling. He has a way of saying "pleasure" as in "my pleasure" which we've imitated for the last year because it's so endearing. You fall in love with him in seconds flat. AND he has a gorgeous wife named Mercyful. (Could you just die from how awesome that name is???) He's promised us twin babies by next year so that sounds like more quilts to me. . .

The pattern for this came from the Modern Quilts Illustrated #2 magazine from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. All prints on the front are Curious Nature by David Butler of Parson Gray. The solid is Kona Pepper. It's almost black with just a touch of blue. (Hint - wash it first or use a Shout Color Catcher. I used two and I was glad because man, does that stuff bleed.)

Backing fabric was a sheet from Target.  Hoorah for that. Once I got down to the wire, I ran out of time to piece backs but this fabric was perfect. Quilting was easy organic wavy lines.
And the label. I've blurred out everyone's names except ours because I don't want to post them all over the interwebs. But I wanted to show you the labels I used for these which may become my staple as soon as I can find printable fabric that I like. Seems to be a task. And you can see the super fun fabric on the back.
Also wanted to introduce you to a new friend, Francine. She was a gift for James when we arrived and she insisted on coming out on game drives with us. Cheeky girl.

And yes, it was that cold. And doesn't the wind do nice things for my hair??

09 August 2012

For Cinzia

I've been back from Africa for a few days now and it has been a hard transition home. Partly because I can't get my body back on a US schedule, partly because a big chunk of my heart was left in the bush. If I didn't have puppies and family and friends, I would have shimmied up a marula tree and refused to leave. And one of the few things that is getting me through (apart from puppies and family and friends) is that we are already counting the days until we go back. 354, in case you're interested. . .

This is the third of the quilts I made for our southern hemisphere family. This one is for Cinzia. She's the teacher at Londolozi. She's lovely. I didn't get a chance to get to know her last year so was happy that this year we were fast friends. She's great at planning surprise scavenger hunts and making play-doh and capturing animal tracks in cement. She's even more fun hanging out around a fire with cocktails late into the night. I adore her. I can see her sweet face and hear her laugh now. And I hope she keeps her promise to come see us soon in the States.
The pattern is Tula Pink's Kiss Kiss. All fabric except the large chunk of persimmon colored linen is from Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi line. This one was tons of fun and came together fairly quickly. I know that while we were there that it was already used for afternoon movie snuggle time. That makes my heart happy.

Love you Cinzia. We're all counting the days. . .

31 July 2012

Hello from Africa!!

I've been a bit slack posting on the blog. I really expected to do a bit more vacation writing but it just hasn't happened. There is too much to see to be at my computer writing. Too many new memories to make. For the moment this will have to suffice.

Quilt distribution to my Londolozi family went perfectly. I love these people. I love this place.

I love those "ellies" (elephants). More to follow.


18 July 2012

For Trisha

This quilt started out to be something altogether different. I wanted to do the Retro Flowers quilt but realized that making that one in two weeks -  in addition to finishing three other quilts - was never going to happen. In a frenzy, I searched my brain for what else I could make and settled on a good friend, Tula Pink's Field Study.
Instead of solids, this time I made it all in Amy Butler's Lark. I was kind of worried that it might look like a technicolor nightmare but oddly, I think it works. I think it also might be my favorite of the bunch. In fact, there are lots of half square triangles left over from making this that might be made into a quilt for ME!!! I'm really excited to see how that turns out.

The back is mostly a Moda Bella solid. I don't know which one since on the bolt they're only identified by number. The print is also from Amy's Lark line. Love Love Love this quilt. It's another one that I'm sad to see go.

This one was made for Trisha, our camp manager. She's a lovely girl who came to Londolozi from Chicago via Oxford, England and never left. I can't blame her one bit. She's young and gorgeous, the sweetest thing you've ever met, the kids love her and she takes care of every little thing you could possibly need. We adore her.

Ok. Off to bed for me. We're at the hotel in Johannesburg. The hubs is asleep next to me and that's probably what I should be doing as well because we have two more flights ahead of us tomorrow before we get to Bazaruto Island. Happiness.


17 July 2012

For Melvin

  Phew.  I made it.  I'm sitting in the Atlanta airport now waiting to board the plane to South Africa and I'm happy.  I finished the last of the quilts for our trip last night and they're all packed in a bag and ready to be delivered in about 10 days when we head to Londolozi.  
This is the first one I made.  It's for Melvin - our ranger on safari.  He's the wonderful man who is behind the steering wheel of the Land Rover when we go out on our game drives.  He knows the names and histories of all the animals.  He has a way of making you feel completely natural and comfortable with the fact that there are animals that could kill you without trying within arm's reach.  He's fantastic with kids.  He has an easy laugh and a great way of saying "baby".  He makes a killer sunset gin & tonic.  I'm so excited to see him again.  
The pattern was taken directly from the Free Spirit Fabrics website on the David Butler fabric page.  The quilt seemed so perfect - and so perfect for Melvin - that the only thing I changed was the fabric they suggested for binding.  Back is scraps left over from the front, Kona Pepper and Robert Kaufman's Quilter's Linen in Taupe.  
I'll have more to show soon.  How soon all depends on what my internet access is like when I get there. Until South Africa,

08 July 2012

For James

Finally. I've been working on this quilt - either with fabric and thread or in my head - for 18 months. I fell in love with this quilt and fell hard. I printed out pictures. I showed it to my friends. I stared at it and thought. I pulled out my graph paper. I collected fabric. I cut it all out. I made one star. And then baby-palooza happened and it seemed everyone I knew was having a baby. So this got boxed up and put away for when I had time.

Finally, I found time. I made time. I decided that this needed to be done. And I put aside other things that I needed to be doing (quilts for Africa, I'm looking at you) and plowed through and finished. And I'm in love. I love this color palette, which I totally stole borrowed from the other quilt. They were almost all fabrics in my stash but I think I may have bought a few. Background is Kona Dusty Blue.
Love. And I finished it just in time for my nephew's 5th birthday. Almost literally. I tied off the last knot as we were pulling into the neighborhood. I think it was well received by his grandmother, with whom he lives. (In fairness, I knew she'd love it.) As any 5 year old would be, he was more interested in the toys that were also in the bag. My feelings are not hurt.

Bonus! They have a nice big house where I can hold twin sized quilts over upstairs railings for full length shots. Solid here is Kona Medium Grey - my default. And there is some navy shot cotton as the tiny borders around that awesome bunting print from Sweetwater. It's impossible to see in this shot but trust me, it's ADORABLE.

And that binding? Super love. From Lizzy House's Hello Pilgrim collection. Just the tiniest hint of blue in it that really sets it off against the white border on the front.

Plus, I've finally started using real quilt labels. The quilts for Africa started that.

And the status of those other quilts I'm working on? One is finished. I just need to take pictures. One is quilted now. One is being basted tonight. The last two tops are all done so those *just* need backs and quilting. And terrifyingly only 8 days to go to get them all done. Deep breaths. . .


25 June 2012


How is it that I come up with a plan for the day and by nearly 4pm, I haven't done what I set out to do??? Yeesh.

I completed this quilt a few weeks ago as a grandmother's quilt. It's baby size. I want to love it so much. But I don't. Not the pattern's fault. I just don't love it.

Pattern was a free one from here.  Background is Kona Orchid.  I used a Cape Ann charm pack for the blocks.  The top came together quickly so it was definitely an instant gratification type of project.
The back is from Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut collection with binding in Kona Cerise.

And with this one, I've finished twelve quilts so far this year. That's as many as I finished in the first three years I was quilting. And it's twice as many as I need to finish in the next three weeks.  YIKES.

Happy Monday!

Linking up -

23 June 2012

I have problems

I'm too easily distracted. What I SHOULD be doing today is quilting. What I am doing? Piecing another quilt top and making binding.

I basted this quilt yesterday and my goal is to have it finished by the weekend. But this morning when I woke up, I started looking at all of that other fabric that I already had cut. The twitch started. I wanted to see what it would be like to make *just one star*. Maybe I can stop at one but that's not likely.

And further evidence that I'm easily distracted? I stopped sewing to come in and blog about how I'm easily distracted. Back to it.

(For the record though, the stars are for another quilt for Africa, so I need to be working on it anyway. It's not like this is a totally new quilt. . . Three tops down. And I'm seeing another finished before the weekend is out.)
Linking up-
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

18 June 2012

Check one off the list

I've actually had this one done for a little over a week now and I LOVE IT. I love the Backyard Baby fabric. I love love love Essex linen. And that striped binding (Lizzy House's Hello Pilgrim)? Fantastic. This is for my hairdresser and friend who is having a baby boy any minute now. And I know she's ready. . .

I probably should've done something to get the wrinkles out before I dragged Scott out to the backyard to get these shots. Oh well. It's so cute it (maybe?) doesn't matter.

Roll call of outstandings -
1.  Other baby quilt finished. I'll post shots in a few days.
2.  Top of twin sized star quilt done. Need to get that quilted this week.
3.  Still in holding for quilts for Africa. One top and back ready for sandwiching and quilting. One top done. One top cut. One top on cutting mat now and will get that one cut this week. I need to have these two tops done this week. One quilt still floating in my head. But we're getting there. Volunteers? Wish I could offer you all a trip to Africa at the end of it. Hopefully pictures will suffice.

Linking -


13 June 2012

WIP Wednesday

This one has been on my mental design wall for a long time and I'm so ready to check it off. I'm about 80% done with the top and should finish it up in the next few days. So I can get back to the quilts for Africa, which is what I should be doing right now.  34 days.  YEEPS PEEPS!

Linking up -
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

08 June 2012

Fret not, friends

I've taken an unnaturally long break away from the blog. The last post was pretty dismal, I know. And even though I know I have all my interwebs friends hoping and praying for the safe return of my quilt, I'm sad to report that I've had no word of its whereabouts. I've moved on. No point dwelling on it.

I hope you don't all think that I've been crying and drowning my sorrows in some delicious gin & tonics. Quite the contrary dear friends. Here is my somewhat frightening list of works in progress -
1. Baby quilt for my hairdresser's first baby. This one still needs quilting.
2. Baby quilt for another friend. I'm sewing the binding on now.
3. Twin sized quilt that I've been working on for over a year. Sigh. All 35 star blocks are done. This just needs sashing and border. Oh. And a back and quilting.
4. Three quilts for Africa in various stages of progress.
5. And two more quilts for Africa for which I have vague plans.
Did I mention these all have to be done by the middle of July?  July 2012???

I finished the wall hanging above for Mother's Day which happened to fall on the same week the other quilt went missing, which signaled the loss of my blogging mojo. Super easy pattern was from Teaginny Designs. I think the lovely Tammy at Marmalade Fabrics has a bundle all put together for you. Happily, I already had most of these fabrics in my stash. I think I only had to order two. I had enough Kona Snow to do the back but I opted for a sort of aqua blue crossweave instead. It was lovely even though I forgot to take pictures of it. My finished product varies slightly from the pattern. I was cutting fabric and chatting with friends and must have made errors in my calculations because I had to add a few bits on ends to get it to all square up properly, but this isn't really a pattern that needs to be followed to a T. I love it and I think my mom did too.

I found this little quilt on the Teaginny blog last year and knew I needed to make it for her and these colors were perfect. When I lived in California, we used to hunt for seaglass on the beach near our houses. Finding blue glass was a treasure! Happiest of happy days. (Love you soooo much, Mom. I miss those days.)

Back so soon with more finishes.
Linking up-

12 May 2012

The worst

Crushed. Gutted. Sick. I know that there are worse things in the world than what I'm about to type but for a quilter, this is fairly catastrophic.

See that lovely quilt two posts down? The one that took so many hours of cutting and piecing and soul searching about sending it off to a quilter? It's gone. I gave it to Kelly when we were at the beach last week because I wanted to hand it to her and not just send it through the mail. But my intention all along was to ship it back to California because it was crazy for her to try to juggle luggage, her dog and a massive quilt through the airport. We returned home on Sunday and I shipped it on Monday. It was set to arrive on Thursday and I'd even set up an email notification with FedEx so that I'd know when it was delivered. On Thursday, I got my email so I thought all was well. When Kelly got home from work, nothing. Gone. No quilt on her doorstep.

FedEx claims that they're investigating. The driver says he came back out to her house yesterday to make sure he'd left it at the right house. If he left it at the wrong house, Kelly's name, address and phone number are all on the box. Surely by now the recipient would have noticed that the package was in the wrong place and contacted her. If the driver did leave it at the right place, the only possibility is that someone saw a package on her doorstep and took it. What upsets me the most is that a package thief isn't going to care about a quilt. You can't sell it or pawn it. It's not really worth anything to anyone monetarily. Which means that she's probably going to end up in the trash somewhere.

It almost makes me not want to sew today. I feel helpless. And the worst part is that I want to make another quilt for Kelly but I just don't have it in me to cut 1500+ pieces of scrap again. That took weeks of cutting.


09 May 2012

WIP Wednesday

On my sewing plate this week is this little dandy. I made good progress on it before we went to the Outer Banks and should be able to finish the top by the weekend. Then it's on to the quilts for our South African pals.

I waited too long to join the quilt along for this pattern. I always seem to jump on the bandwagon of these things after they're over and done (usually because I already have too much on my crafty plate while they're happening) but it's a nice, fun, easy quilt that I'm making for my hairdresser who is expecting her first baby in June. Still SUPER loving that Backyard Baby fabric. It's awesome. And of course I've paired it up again with Essex linen in natural.  Still loving that too.

Linking up -
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

05 May 2012

A quilt long overdue

Here it is - finally. Kelly's Christmas/birthday present done. Pieced. Quilted. Bound. I love the finished product but it is a beast. I added on to the original quilt pattern (found here) to make it large enough to fit a queen size bed. Unfortunately, to get the right number of repeats and balance the pattern, it's almost large enough to fit my king size bed. It's 100"x101". I wanted to do it all myself but Tamie and Sue convinced me to send it off to be quilted and Alice held my hand when I dropped it off. It's good to have quilting pals who care about your sanity.

Obviously I could never list all the fabrics used because I pulled a piece out of my stash, cut one each of the three sizes I needed and grabbed another fabric. There are 1034 pieces of printed scraps in the quilt and 543 pieces of Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in Sand. Because of the linen, this thing weighs a ton.

Isn't that quilting fab? The pattern was called Fairy Wings. I thought I wanted something geometric but Alice steered me in the direction of curves to soften all those angles. She was right again.

I had chosen a completely different back for the quilt but it was home dec weight and with the linen already weighing so much, I didn't want to crush my poor sister-in-law under this thing. Target had a great sheet set by Thomas O'Brien. It felt visually heavy when I got it home, so I sliced it up and patched it back together. (Plus now I have a whole other sheet to use for something else. Rock on.)

A truer statement was never spoken. ("Forever" labels found here.)

On a sad final note, a small part of my teen years moved on to the next realm yesterday. Adam Yauch, you'll be missed.  I have to thank my brother for playing Licensed to Ill incessantly over the summer of 1987. It took me a while to fall but when I did, I fell hard and I've loved you ever since. My heart is breaking for MCA and his family, both musical and otherwise.  Love you Beasties. . .

linking up - xoxoxoxox