January 31, 2012

Amazing Tuesday top 10

  ~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

Nearing quilt completion (I know I said that last time, but I'm really close).
Feeling confident with machine straight stitch quilting and *pretty* confident with free motion quilting
A broken foot pedal that works okay if I bang it against the table leg, oy.
Learning that a little boy standing on his tippie toes means trouble.
Aquarius birthdays! A celebration last weekend and two birthday this weekend.
Kermit the frog, singing.
Michael Franti, singing.
Watching the clouds part and the seeing the sun come out.

January 29, 2012


I'm not sure if it was a dream...or if we were actually there...but I remember walking with Cutie through a wooded glen, climbing over a large wooden road block with peeling paint, and walking into the woods beyond. No, it was definitely a dream. After walking quite some ways into the woods and then down a small embankment, we came upon a wide stream. It was the kind of stream that no one knew about, undisturbed. The water was cool and shallow and flowing over solid rock. It looked like a huge boulder buried under the ground. The surface of the boulder was smoothed by the constant flow of water and a little slimy with algae.

I observed.

I watched the water flow over the boulder and swirl into eddies downstream. I remember the colors (see the picture above, those were the colors I saw). I put my feet in the water and felt the cool current. I felt the boulder with my hand and I noticed little pockets in the boulder where the water was deeper than other spots. I clearly remember the mud on the banks of the stream.

And so, this is how I am inspired. Sometimes it's a place, a person I love, or a significant moment. Sometimes inspiration is merely a feeling or an image from a dream. Wherever inspiration comes from, I have learned to trust it. I build on it and thesedays, I let it run my creative process. I have heard artists talk about their creativity flowing "through" them and at times linked to a higher power or divine association. I can't help but relate to this as I find inspiration coming to me from simple everyday sources, and all I have to do is listen. I figure these said artists have learned to trust their sources of inspiration too, and build on it, just like I do.

The fabric above was inspired by the colors of the stream from my dream. I'm planning a table runner with this stash since I only have 1/8 yard of each batik. It's a mix of landscape fabric (the pebbles) and 5 different batiks. I love batiks but I feel like their free flowing designs need something "grounding" and earthy, and what's more grounding than a pile of pebbles!

January 28, 2012

A celebration

I'm really excited about tonight. I'm meeting my Mom for dinner and margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant in her neighborhood. Did I mention the margaritas? Her birthday was on the 24th and this is a belated celebration just for her. Out of all the times she has honored us on our birthdays, this is a chance to honor her, which she deserves everyday, really, not just once a year.

My wish for her is to have love in her heart and peace all around, always. We love you Marm.

January 26, 2012

Oh So Close

I have finished the inner quilting on my Atari 80s quilt. I have worked the past few nights on the quilting that goes around the outer boarder using the walking foot attachment.

I read a quote recently by my favorite poet (probably yours too) Mary Oliver, which goes like this:

"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable."

I think about this quote applied to quilting because a quilt is such an unimaginable undertaking. It simply requires so much time, attention to detail, and drive to get it to completion. That must be why when I see a quilt (whether online or in person) my heart swells with wonder. I think about the quilter who had a space in their heart for the unimaginable possibility of creating a quilt to begin with. I can't help but imagine all of the energy and thought put into each stitch. And I love thinking about that last stitch and how incredible it feels to be done. Perhaps the most amazing thing about a quilter's heart is, once a quilt is complete, the quilter begins a new quilt. Room is created once again, in the quilter's heart, for the unimaginable. And the quilting cycle begins again. As I get close to completing this quilt, I get excited about my next unimaginable undertaking.

January 25, 2012

New foot

I have never used the walking foot attachment on my machine before. If I had a dime for every time I heard good things about it...I've heard a lot of good things, let's just say that. The point of the walking foot is to feed the multiple layers of fabric through the machine at the same time, thus eliminating that unsightly puckering. With the walking foot attached, the pace of my sewing slowed way down. I literally went from running to walking, so appropriately named. It had a pleasant clickity-clack sound too, making me feel more like a watchmaker than a quilter. All in all, it was a good experience. Most importantly though, it is another tool I can use to make bitchen quilts.

January 24, 2012

Amazing Tuesday top 10

~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

A beautiful sunny day following piles of snow.
My Mother's birthday is today 1/24, Happy Birthday Marm!!! We love you!!!
nearing quilt completion
Despite all of the free-flow parenting advice, I survive with schedules and routine...and so do my kids
Kate Spain's Good Fortune. Worth going into debt for!
This gadget (see last picture above) which makes binding Oh So Easy sent, I'm convinced, straight from God.
Watching my son create a "sewing" game with pine needles and little holes he found at the bottom of the slide.
Disappearing ink pen...great for quilting and writing spy letters
A day without pay traded for precious time together, worth so much more.
The words, "I want you to be happy." told to me gently in my ear. Oh, I am.

January 21, 2012


I'm sure there is a right way to do labels. I have seen entire classes devoted to the subject at  my local sewing shop, Labels 101. When I discovered quilting, I had been crafting for a long time. I have done it all and made my way around the craft store, visiting every section at least 10 times (beads, scrapbooks, kitting, candle making, making cards, stamping, Fimo, etc). When it comes to labeling my quilts, stamping with fabric paint and letter stamps just feels right.

Maybe it reconnects me to my crafting roots and reminds me of how many crafty mediums I have tried. Maybe I just like whipping out paint and stamps for an evening. Maybe, among all of the machine stitches, I like knowing that there is something organic and personal, on the back of my quilts. I just like my labels to be stamped by hand, similar to a hand written "thank you" note. I imagine, this lets the person snuggling under my quilt know that I appreciate them, appreciating my quilt, which I have made, with love.

January 18, 2012

We awoke to a winter wonderland. The neighborhood was so quiet. No cars on the road. It was like night-time, during the day. Let the festive snow play begin!

January 17, 2012

Amazing Tuesday Top 10

 ~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

Soft, light, fluffy, gentle snow.
Snow coming just in time for my daughter's 4th birthday
A festive party with pink balloons and pink cake because her favorite color is...pink, she told me so.
Remembering where I was 4 years ago and thinking about how much she has grown since that chilly Wednesday evening.
A snow day for Cuite
A shower, with really hot water and soap, for Mama
An email sent to France with many words of Thanks
Looking forward to bedtime. Tonight and every night.
Finishing the quilting of my 80's Atari quilt
Onto the binding...

January 16, 2012


My little daughter is growing up so fast. She turns 4 today. Everything about her becomes more "grown up" with each day that passes. I think about this as I watch her trace letters with her finger or when I hear her singing Opera style, like she does, in her room. I try each day to hold her on my lap and cuddle her because each time I do, I know, next time she might not want a cuddle from Mama. I know too that she will remember these days, just like I have memories of 4, 5, 6 and so on. So, I make an effort to get her outside everyday to experience the natural world, I plan big gardens during summer, I create traditions during Winter, and I tell her I love her many times each day. Those are the things I want her to remember.

She walked up to me about two weeks ago, and said, "Mama, for my birthday, I want some pink balloons and a pink cake." I though for a moment and replied, "Okay." I also want her to remember (now and always) how special she is to us. How blessed we are to have her here.

January 15, 2012


It's been 2 years since we saw snow, here in Seattle. There is something about snow, for me, that completes Winter. It makes the season come alive and allows for winter activities, like sledding, throwing snowballs, and precariously slipping and sliding, which we can't experience otherwise. When it doesn't snow...well, we just suck it up and wait for next year.

Maybe it's because we haven't seen snow for a couple of years that I noticed something about it. Snow has a gentle magic that other forms of weather just don't have. Rain isn't gentle. Wind isn't gentle, no sir. But snow softly blankets everything and has a sweet frailty that I can't help but fall in love with. One jiggle of a snowy branch sends all of the snow falling to the ground. I must have noticed this because this has been my year to explore the gentler sides of myself. My inner snowfall.

It also brings people (neighbors) out of the woodwork. I paused a moment to look around at all of the families having fun at the top of the sledding hill. Do all of these families live around here? No one looked familiar. Snow was the common factor bringing everyone out, allowing the kids to have extreme Winter fun and giving the adults a chance to let loose, sled fast, and be reminded what it feels like to be a kid again.

January 13, 2012

January Day

I feel like I have been yelling all week.

I try so hard everyday to be a gentle Mama. Most of the time I am...but then after a long day, I can't help but raise my voice, just to get them to listen.

So after, what feels like a week of being an exasperated Mama, I packed them up and we spent the day at the park. Three things led up to this point, a) having a day with nothing to do, b) the sun came out (a rarity), and c) I just couldn't spend another day inside...and neither could they. Mind you, the sun was out, but it was only 40 degrees today. I packed a picnic and some hot chocolate (!)...and, of course, the Utili-quilt.

When we headed for home as the sun was getting low, their cheeks were pink, hands frigged, and noses were running. They experienced much flora - playing in tall dry grass, throwing rocks, collecting clam shells, scooping sand. And much fauna - feeding the ducks, chasing crows, feeding squirrels, and watching seagulls. And I got to sit on the Utili-quilt and watch them play and run and climb and laugh and I was reminded that they are little and learning. I got to take a deep breath, and just watch. For a moment this afternoon, the Earth was their mother, and I was merely an observer.

January 11, 2012

Healing quilt

This pirate quilt was made for a little boy who lost his Mama in 2009. It was an early October morning when we learned the terrible news. News you just can't accept and times stops. After months of tears I decided to make a quilt for his first birthday, just to honor his loss.

The pirate theme was intended for a rough and tumble little guy, one who I could see running around his backyard with a wooden sword and cape. The quilt quickly took on a dark theme when I chose a deep blue ocean wave batik to fill in the spaces between the squares. I wondered if the dark colors were too dark. But the events leading up to the creation of this quilt were dark (loss can be dark), so naturally the quilt would reflect those feelings, even if I tried to make a bright, cheery quilt initially.

As I stitched, I reflected on our loss. I thought about the sweet Mama who was gone, and how her laugh could fill a room. I thought about the things she loved, worked for, and felt passionate about. I thought about all of the people she left behind and the other little boy that she was with, her other son, who also died. I thought about how much fun it would be to know him and watch him grow. I cried a lot and cursed a lot. And when the quilt was done, all of those feeling of loss and sadness and anger were eased, a little. Making the quilt gave me the time (while sewing) to think about her (and him) and grieve. I got to say goodbye, and thank you, to her in that time and it felt good to tell her that I was making a quilt for her baby. I think she would have loved to know that.

Over 2 years have passed since that October morning.  I like to think about the little boy wrapped up and warm under this quilt, just like his Mama would hold him. I would be in a different place with my grief if I hadn't made the pirate quilt. There is a lot to learn from the arts and a lot of healing too.

January 10, 2012

Amazing Tuesday top 10

 ~Ten things that remind me of all of the amazingness that surrounds me ~

A visit from good friends, which brightened our evening.
Smoked meatloaf.
Working towards completing the 80's quilt
Realizing I fall into the category of someone who makes "modern" quilts
a long walk to the park before it starts to rain, hard.
feeding hungry ducks who fly in from clear across the lake
Watching my cooped-up kids run, jump, climb, slide, swing, run, run, and run.
Opening a package from France! Merci Beaucoup!!!
My morning meditation on being gentle, respectful, and compassionate towards everyone
Inviting the dream of hot springs to materialize.