September 30, 2011

Furry Friday

First off, i just want to say thank you to everyone who has very thoughtfully weighed-in (haha) on how i should bind my zig zag quilt! Wow, you've given me many ideas that i had not even considered. I'm glad i asked you! If you have not entered the giveaway for some Terrain goodies, you can still do so on this post. Tomorrow (Saturday October 1st — October??) will be the last day to enter.

Today we have a video installment for Furry Friday!
Have a beautiful weekend!

September 27, 2011

Moda Country Fair

Welcome to my stop on the Moda Country Fair Blog Hop! Did you happen to visit Julie and Eric over at Cosmo Cricket yesterday? What a laugh (and cute cute free project)!

So hello! I'm Kate and it's such a pleasure to have you stop by. If you're new here, feel free to poke around. You can browse some of the amazing projects people (maybe even you) have posted to my flickr groups, share photos of your own, visit my website or some of my favorite blogs, or if you'd like, sign up for my monthly newsletter to find out what's happening here in my studio. Plenty of ways to find out much more than you ever wanted to know!

I've had the privilege of designing fabric for Moda for almost three years now. Whew, time sure does fly when you're having fun, especially the Lissa Alexander kind of fun! Lissa is the infinitely imaginative marketing director at Moda...who continues to broaden the spectrum of the word "creative". A big thanks to Lissa for keeping things so colorful and entertaining!

So without further ado, come join me here in "Fair"field, Connecticut!

Believe it or not, Connecticut and New England have a tradition of country fairs – although on a smaller scale than the mega-state fairs in the heartland. The largest fair when I was a girl was the Danbury Fair. Here's an old post card from its heyday: 
We would pass the grounds whenever we'd visit my grandparents in New Milford, and from the backseat of the car, i'd press my nose against the window to catch glimpses of the larger-than-life sized statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. In this picture, you can kind of see Paul near the ferris wheel in the way back, the large farmer in the middle of the crowd, and the carousel horse in the foreground:
 When the fairgrounds had to make way for a shopping mall in 1981, the statues adorning the fairgrounds were sold off – including this one — a 38-ft., 4,500-lb. towering Uncle Sam! Today it can be found standing in an amusement park near Lake George, New York.
 Other area fairs that we went to were in Goshen, NY and Bridgewater, CT. Both continue to this day. The biggest fair in New England today is the “Big E” in Springfield, MA.

What's your favorite thing to see or do at a fair?
Even better than the rides (and almost better than the cotton candy) at the fairs, for me, were the hay bale-lined tents and booths where the most outstanding produce, animals, and kitchen confections from the region were on display for judging. Some years we’d even get to see the judges wandering around with their clipboards and keen eye in search of the blue-ribbon-winning pie, peppers, piglet, or to watch the official weigh-in of the giant whatever!

Speaking of which...

Our fellow townsman, Dr. David Garrel, enters his giant pumpkin in an annual contest here in Fairfield. It's called the "Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off" (i mean what else would you call it?!), and the other day Pete and i decided to have a peek at how this year's contestant was coming along. WOW! (and yes, it's surrounded by caution tape):

 Can you believe the size of that thing??  Impressive. Not only because it's a gardening achievement of the highest degree, but especially because it somehow survived Hurricane Irene. Just a quarter mile down the road from this pumpkin, the hurricane tore a house right off its foundation and swept it into Long Island Sound. Crazy.

Pete and i were trying to guess how much the pumpkin weighs — which gave me the brilliant idea to have Pete take a picture that looks like i'm holding it. But we were caught in the act by a passerby who shouted a little pumpkin humor our way...

...which of course cracked me up. Who doesn't love a little pumpkin humor?!

What's your favorite fair food?
That's easy. Hot dogs. It's also my guilty pleasure. Though i have never eaten more than two in one sitting, i am flattered (and flabbergasted!) that so many people entertained the idea that i could have won a hot dog eating contest when i was in high school (see 2 truths and a lie section--and i'll tell you more about the Smurf thing in another post)! But hot dogs are partially why we moved to "Fair"field in the first place. You see, on one side of town is this place:
that both Martha and i love for their deep fried hot dogs. It's extra dangerous because we can walk to here from our house. And on the other side of town, thankfully a car ride away, is this place:

My favorite is the New Yorker Dog and i can say so with certainty because oh yes, i've tried them all.

What's on your bucket list?
Well, i spotted this on the wall of Super Duper Weenie, so i guess i can cross that one off!

What else is on your bucket list?
Learning how to make hot dogs? Just kidding! I'm sad to say i've never been to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or Yosemite, so i would really love to travel more here in the U.S. to see the natural beauty of this country. Actually, if Pete and i could visit every National Park in the U.S. together that would be even better. We went to Olympic National Park in Washington this summer and it was wild and beautiful. Or wildly beautiful.
 I'd also love to venture to faraway places like Thailand, India and Japan. And to set up a small pottery studio so i can work with clay again. And to volunteer in an animal shelter. And to grow a lemon tree. And to learn how to actually use each of the nozzles on a cake decorating set. And so many more!

What inspires your work?
Our garden is always an immediate source of inspiration for me. When i was a student at RISD, there was a place called the "Nature Lab" where many of my drawing classes were held. In the lab, there were drawers and cabinets filled from floor to ceiling with specimens of butterflies, shells, seed pods, dried flowers, coral (and more), as well as a number of plants, live birds, turtles and even a bunny! The purpose of the place was to connect elements from our natural surroundings to the art and designs we created...and it worked, and the idea stuck with me. I learned that you never have to look or go too far to find creative inspiration. Just look around.

How many quilts have you made?
Four actually finished, and two quilt tops (yup, there's a UFO in the middle of the pile).
The other quilt top:
 is being finished by Teresa Coates of Fab Shop Network to whom i owe a triple-exclamation point thank you!!! She will be donating it to survivors of the Texas wildfires as part of the 100 Quilts for Kids sewing event. And thank you to everyone who emailed me and graciously offered your time and help to finish this project for such a worthwhile cause.

Tell us about your pet(s)...picture?
I'm not sure you really want to ask me that question! You can search my blog using the word "fur" and will quickly find out how crazy i am about these two:
Their names are Lou (left) and Franny (right) and we adopted them from a friend of mine in late June of this year, and fell in love instantly. I started a blog series called "Furry Friday" and post pictures of them each week. It's verging on embarrassing, but i just can't stop!

What movie do you watch again and again?
I'm a hopeless romantic and four of my favorites are: Sense and Sensibility, Notting Hill, Sleepless in Seattle and Before Sunrise. Oh, and recently added one more...Midnight in Paris.

If you could be any age again for one week, what age and why?
I would be whatever age i am in this picture (5? 6?) so i could wear a hat like that, mix plaids and a jean jacket, eat an apple and reconnect with the feeling of dancing like no one's watching..

If you've read this far, then you deserve a Blue Ribbon!!! So this blue ribbon key ring is a super simple and fun project i came up with just for you (because you're all winners to me...awww...) You can download the project sheet here! I used two of the blue prints from my latest fabric collection, Terrain.

Annnnd, i am thrilled to give away some Terrain to a bunch of you. I've got a fat eighth bundle, a jelly roll, 15 mini charms and a few other surprises...thank you Moda!
The giveaway portion of this extravaganza will be in two parts, but please only enter once in the comment section.

Part One
For this part, i need your help. You see, from the very first moment i saw these ziggy zaggy quilts popping up on blogs and all over the place, i knew i wanted to make one. Then one day, i came across this tutorial that showed how to make said zig zag quilt with strips instead of triangles! Woohoo! So i added a couple extra rows to make the quilt slightly larger and made this using some of the prints from Terrain...
I am so happy with how it turned out and was surprised at how quickly it went together (even for me)! Now here's where you come in...i need your help to pick the binding fabric! I just couldn't decide on which color/print to use. Here's a better look at the whole thing:

and the back:
So...which would you pick?
I'll go with whatever the majority decides and randomly pick one winner for the fat eighth bundle...and a few others for the surprisey things. Fun and easy, right?!

Part Two
This part is a little trickier. Scroll back up and take a good hard look at that giant pumpkin. I mean a really good look. Now take a wild guess about what you think that thing weighs. The "weigh off" contest for Dr. Garrel's pumpkin will be this coming Sunday Oct. 2nd at which time i'll get to find out the correct answer. The person who guesses closest to the actual weight of the pumpkin without going over (just like the "showcase showdown" on the Price Is Right) will win a Terrain jelly roll and the 15 people who are the next closest will each win a mini charm pack!

So just to review, please leave only one comment that addresses both Part One (binding selection) and Part Two (guess the pumpkin weight). Entries will be accepted until this Friday September 30th, and i'll announce winners for all prizes on Tuesday October 4th.
Good luck everyone!

**Comments are closed for this giveaway, and the pumpkin has been weighed!! Stay tuned tomorrow to find out who the winners are! Thanks to everyone for playing along.**

Thank you so much for spending some time with me, and i hope you'll come back again soon. The fair festivities continue tomorrow with Karla, Susan and Lisa from Sweetwater! Love those ladies and their free project is as sweet as they are.

Happy sewing!

September 23, 2011

Furry Friday and a Fortune


And now for some fur...have i shared this one with you yet?
Also, don't forget to visit the Jolly Jabber to enter to win a Designer Select Bundle of Terrain! The giveaway ends on Monday the 26th.

One last thing...isn't this Moda Country Fair Blog Hop fun!? I've been reading along each day and enjoying all the creative projects everyone has come up with. If you need to get caught up, you can always click back to this post and follow the popcorn trail of fun!
Enjoy your weekend.

September 22, 2011

Designer Select Bundle...giveaway!

Don't you just love the Fat Quarter Shop? I do — and not just because they happen to carry a lovely assortment of my fabric *wink* (though i love them for that too) but because they know how to make things fun! They've recently started a Q&A series on their blog, the Jolly Jabber, called Designer Tidbits. It's such a lively and personal way to introduce you to new and upcoming fabric lines...straight from the designer! If you want to find out about what inspired a collection, or get a sneak peek at upcoming lines, or learn some silly facts about favorite snack foods or what's in the fridge, then you definitely need to check it out. Plus, they do lots and lots of awesome and generous giveaways :)

They've also started another series called Designer Select, and i was thrilled when they asked me to participate. Basically, each designer is asked to select an assortment of 12 prints and 3 solids of their current fabric collection. For me, that would be Terrain. It was a challenge to narrow it down to just 12 skus! But i had so much fun playing around with grouping different color combinations, and finally settled on a cool palette with some of my favorite prints and colors in the collection:
When i saw the beautiful Bella solids that Moda made to match the deep iris-blue-purple and moss green in Terrain, i knew i wanted to coordinate with those since they would give me the chance to highlight the periwinkle, navy and teal range. For some reason, i'm naturally drawn to cool colors — with the exception of orange, that to me is in a whole category of its own. I hope you love this assortment as much as i do and that it gets your creative
wheels spinning!

Oh yeah, i mentioned a giveaway, didn't i? Another part of the Designer Select series is that the Fat Quarter Shop is giving away one of these bundles to a lucky winner! In addition to giving some background on inspiration, i was asked to give three facts about myself...two true facts and one fib. All you have to do is pick which one is the fib and you could win! So click on over to enter your guess while there's still time. The giveaway ends on Monday Sept. 26th.
Good luck and thank you Fat Quarter Shop! 

September 19, 2011

Delilah in...Red!

Just a quick post to share with you that the newest addition to my Delilah plate collection at Crate and Barrel has arrived! These porcelain plates have a beautiful red textured relief glaze and are here just in time for some festive autumn and holiday entertaining. They're available online and in stores now. Yippee!

September 16, 2011

Franny Friday

It's Franny's turn in the spotlight today!
This little kitty loves Terrain...
...and sewing...
...and works in progress...
...and climbing up the screen to the top of the front door!?

September 15, 2011

Hanging On to Summer

The day before Hurricane Irene was predicted to arrive here in CT, we were supposed to leave for vacation. This seems to be a recurring theme for us because the last vacation we took was postponed due to a blizzard! So the next time we plan to go away, we're going to pick the travel dates, and then leave the week before (or after).

But we finally did get away to Block Island, the birthplace of Franny and Lou! It's a small island just 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. It's a little slice of heaven with long stretches of beautiful beaches and picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, stone walls, bluffs, and the vast Atlantic Ocean.
I was so lucky to spend family vacations there each summer when i was a child and the place is filled with many wonderful memories. When i was sixteen, i started working on the Island every summer and continued to do so throughout high school and college. I worked here at the Spring House Hotel for several rooms!
Know what else i had to do? Laundry for the entire hotel! Must be why i'm so good at it now (yeah, right). This is how i feel about laundry:
On our recent trip, it was really fun to walk through town and to remember some of the many other jobs i had — renting bicycles to tourists, scooping ice cream, working at a retail shop, waitressing, and babysitting. In fact, when Pete and i went to the real estate office to pick up the keys for the cottage we rented, i looked from the name plate on the young woman's desk to her bright eyes and sure enough, it was one of the little girls i used to babysit for...all grown up.

We visited with my dear friend Molly who owns a cute little shop in town called The Scarlet Begonia. She was the person who gave us our beloved furballs, Franny and Lou!

Something i always like to do when we're on vacation is take pictures that will work as desktop images on my computer. I like to keep them simple and uncluttered so they don't camouflage all my folders and files. It sounds dorky, but when i get back to work, i don't have to look too far to be reminded of the peace, beauty and fun of our adventures away from home. If you'd like to, you can download this one (rocks in a row) or this one (weathered shingles) for your personal use. The rocks were untouched and positioned just as the tide had delivered them to shore (i have this on my desktop right now). The weathered shingles were on the cottage we rented.

Here are a bunch of pictures from our lovely little escape, as we try to savor summer for as long as we can... 
There is something magical about visiting the same place over the span of many years. Time becomes like an accordion and compresses the past and present into a vivid, harmonious snapshot of what remains constant in your life and what is ever-changing. As i stood at the top of the stairs —in the bottom right photo above — and looked down to the beach, i could see my 8 year old self running to the water's edge and filling bucket after bucket of sea water to replenish the moat around her sandcastle. Part of me knew that she would then dash up the stairs counting each one as she went, to meet me at the top and look out together at the waves and memories as they rolled in one after the next.

September 14, 2011

Sewing for a Cause

Recently, i was approached by Kate of Swim, Bike, Quilt who asked if i would help to sponsor the DC Modern Quilt Guild's second annual charity sewing event called

Count me in! Their mission is to encourage quilters to donate baby or toddler sized quilts to children at organizations in your own communities — so you get to decide where your quilts will go. You could donate to a local children's hospital, foster care program, domestic violence center, homeless shelter, or military family support organization. Though i am not affiliated with any of these, there are also organizations such as Project Linus , AmeriCares , Save the Children or Ronald McDonald House that you might consider.

There was a great turnout for this event last year when 130 quilts were donated— wow! This year Kate and her guild hope to continue to expand their efforts by inviting quilt bloggers and guilds from all over the globe to participate. Please click here to read more about the details and dates. If you need some arm-twisting then let me also mention that there are some awesome prizes from Fat Quarter Shop, Denyse Schmidt Quilts, Fresh Squeezed Fabrics, Elizabeth Hartman, Oliver + S, Vand Co., Fabric Shoppe, Cluck Cluck Sew, me and many others! Also, if you are interested in sponsoring the event/donating a fabric or quilting related prize, please email Kate: swimbikequilt at gmail dot com (before October 10th).

If you don't have time to start a quilt from scratch, one suggestion was to finish a WIP if you had one lying around. That got me thinking. I have this quilt top that i made for the GoBaby giveaway last month:
Would anyone want to finish it and donate it to an organization in your community?? I would be happy to send it off to someone, but please DO NOT LOOK TOO CAREFULLY (or at all) at the sloppy seams on the back, ok?!

I hope you'll join this wonderful cause, and if you know of other charities you'd like to suggest, please note them in the comments for everyone to see. The more children whose lives can be brightened in some small way, the better.


Hop on over to the Oliver + S blog to see what Liesl has dreamed up for your visit to the Moda Country Fair!
(sorry for the lame-o, cheesy segue)

September 11, 2011


The Names

Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

--Billy Collins (Copyright 2002, All Rights Reserved)

Billy Collins was appointed the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003 and was asked by the Librarian of Congress to write a poem to remember the victims of September 11th. This poignant poem is what he wrote, and if you'd like to hear him read it aloud and listen to an interesting interview with Collins conducted by Jeffrey Brown of PBS, please click here.

Today, we will solemnly observe the 10th anniversary of September 11th and reflect on that sad day — especially on the people who lost their lives that morning, who had gotten up and gone to work or to travel — with a spouse, child, parent, friend, colleague, or alone — to somewhere ... to connect with others and to propel the goodness in life. We will also remember the brave rescue workers, police, firemen and citizens whose actions and efforts to help others that day revealed the tireless strength of the human spirit. 

September 10, 2011

Put Your Walking Shoes On!

It should be landing on the shelves soon...maybe even at your LQS! You can also find it here (available now) along with some great patterns by Jaybird Quilts, Sweet Jane's Quilting and Design, and the Schnibble Queen...Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.. If you'd like, you can download the free pattern i designed as the project sheet to go with the collection. It's a quilt called "Stepping Stones" and i was floored when it popped up in the Terrain flickr group! Suzanne made it even better by making it bigger and adding that cute border.
Have fun exploring the bright saturated colors of Terrain, and please don't forget to share here so we can all see what you've created!

September 9, 2011

Fortune, Fair, and Some Fur i was planning on posting clever clues and curious hints about a certain something that is going to be shown at a certain market in a certain upcoming month. But then yesterday, i started to get email after email letting me know that the person/people had already seen that certain something on a certain website (or two)! If you don't know what i'm talking about and haven't seen or heard anything yet, just pretend you didn't read this.

are you pretending hard enough?

ok, keep trying...

maybe this will distract you...

It's Camille's day of the Moda Country Fair blog hop and her free project is adorable! If you haven't already joined in the fun, you can catch up by following the links in this post. If you have been reading along (like me), did you laugh yourself silly at Barb and Mary's post y'day? I did. It should have come with a warning! In addition to learning more about your favorite Moda designers, there are also many chances to win some awesome fabric from these talented designers.

By now you should have forgotten about that thing i mentioned before. What thing, right?

In case there are still remnants of recollection, here is some furry distraction. Lou will take the spotlight today and Franny's turn will come next week.

Have a great weekend!