Monday, September 22, 2014

A blogger is obliged to recap. So recap I must.


I can already look back at it reminiscently.  Fondly.  Wistfully even.  I scroll through the pictures that are physical proof of how the summer of 2014 was spent and think it was just as summer is supposed to be.  Outside.  With friends and family. On the water.  Doing things we love.


"I love the river Mom."  She said.  "Me too." I said.  "I'd swim in a lake over a swimming pool any day of the week." She said.  "Me too."  I said.


Good stuff happens on a bike trail. When you are hot and sweaty and breathing hard in the late June heat.  Kids talk.  And I really try to be present to listen.


 I made things this summer.  Most of them involved food.  Or jokes.







And I crawled through caves.  Not these caves, however, as this was a small trip Razor, our girls and their cousins took. Camping, rivers, water slides, caves and s'mores.  Those girls will remember that trip for the rest of their lives.



I started teaching my oldest how to drive.


And I spent a few days in Oklahoma City teaching and sewing with friends.  My favorite were the late night pow-wows with these two.



Snap. Flash. Boom.

Summer's over.

-dana

Monday, September 15, 2014

National Sewing & Quilting Month


September is National Sewing and Quilting Month and I'm joining Fat Quarter Shop in their celebration. They are challenging each of us to try something new.  I'm a quilter who this year tackled my fear of zippers.  Next on my list of fears is to attempt garment sewing.  I haven't done anything more than buy a few patterns and yardage with the plan in mind.  I even borrowed a serger.  But every time I pull it out with the intent to learn how to use it and get geared up to try my luck at garment sewing, I chicken out.


I have distinct memories of my mother sewing when I was a kid. But she always sewed clothes. And never a quilt.  But being a child of the 70s and 80s and the patchwork loving that speaks to the era along with a mother that sewed, I think I was predestined to be a quilter.

The first time I knew I was a quilter was when someone asked me a quilting question and I confidently answered it without skipping a beat.  I remember getting into my car after that conversation and saying to myself, "Well, I guess you ARE a quilter now aren't you!"

Are you new to quilting? My advice is to really understand the importance of precise cutting and piecing.  The best thing I ever did to really learn those skills was to piece an entire quilt top by hand. I drew the 1/4" seam line lightly with pencil and then slowly stitched all the blocks together and then added sashing and borders.  This slow hand stitching process showed me that if the size or angle of a piece was off even just a little it affected how the block went together.  Same was true for accuracy in the 1/4" seam allowance.  


Quilting is my creative outlet.  It's where I find my center in a busy day.  The making allows me to feel like I've accomplished something even on the most hectic of days.  It's not a stretch to say that I love quilting because it keeps me sane.
Fat Quarter Shop has put together this free pattern to celebrate the month.  I love the rainbow gradient!

Thanks for inviting me to join in the fun Fat Quarter Shop.

Happy Sewing!
dana

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On a jet plane


I'm headed out for a few days with friends.  We've been planning it for months and the day is finally here.  I'm bringing projects to work on but even if I never sew a stitch, just being with crafty friends and solving all of the world's problems together will be all the all the productivity my soul needs.

-dana

Monday, September 8, 2014

My heart skips of beat when I see Imagine Quilts projects pop up on the inter webs

Patchwork whale from my book Imagine Quilts by Shannon


A glimpse at Three Wheeling from my book Imagine Quilts by Deb Robertson

Posy Patrol quilt from my book Imagine Quilts by Melissa Bonier.

Posy Patrol quilt from my book Imagine Quilts by Diane Stanley.

Dance Floor quilt from my book Imagine Quilts by Dolores Goodson.

Amperand quilt from my book Imagine Quilts by Dolores Goodson.

Mini Dance Floor by Dolores Goodson.
My heart nearly bursts when I see that people are making things from the patterns in my book Imagine Quilts.

Bursts I tell you.

-dana

ETA:  I've gotten some emails asking where to purchase a signed copy.  More bursting.  Scroll to the bottom of this link and you can purchase one there.  :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The painted flag on the barn


The girls and I were out of town for a few weeks back in June.  We arrived home to this surprise from Razor.  Isn't he cool?  


And isn't this flag cool too?



The dogs?  Underfoot while I tried to take photos?  Not so cool.

-dana

Friday, August 29, 2014

American Made Brand Fabric Review

Back in July, my family traveled to Missouri to visit family.  From there I traveled solo to Oklahoma City for Sew-OK and in the process I just so happened to make my way to a quilt shop or two.  ::cough:: ::cough::  In route back home, we stopped in Paducha, Kentucky and we were near the infamous Hancock's fabric of Paducha so I went in just for a second.  While I was there, I stumbled across the new fabric from American Made Brand.  I had heard of this new company but had never seen the fabric in person before.  I liked what I saw.  In fact, I liked what I saw so much that once back home I looked up the company and read more about them and realized that it's an all American product.  The cotton is grown here in USA and the fabric is manufactured here too.  Their tag line, "Celebrating a Farm to Fabric Movement" had me hook, line and sinker.


I spent some time on their website and was just so impressed with the "farm to fabric" movement that I clicked on their contact button and sent an email telling them just that.  Then I went on with my day. But within a few hours I had heard back from them and they offered to send me some fabric to test out and see what I thought.  How cool is that?


After making this mini quilt with AMB solid fabric, here are my thoughts:

  • Intense and consistent saturation of color
  • Quality base cloth for sure - the weave is consistent and solid and maybe a little tighter than what I'm used to working with which made for crisp pressing and seams
  • No color bleeding or fading after washing (which I have done three times to adequately test)
  • Minimal shrinking - not noticeably more or less than other quilt shop quality fabric from other manufacturers

I read on their website that there are currently 50 different colors available which means that I should be able to find a color that matches whatever I'm working on often.  Since the company was established in 2013 I am hopeful that they will continue to add to their color range as time goes on and they carve their way into the fabric market.  I know that I will find satisfaction in choosing a fabric completely made and manufactured in America and look forward to seeing these fabrics show up in more online and brick-and-mortar shops every day.

-dana

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Craziest things happen

Over the years lots of exciting things have happened at or around our house.  We will never forget the time when the helicopter was filling a huge bucket in the river across the street to fight a small forest fire.  Or the time when it took three law enforcement officers to wrangle a stray cow.  I count the time when the Associated Press visited me and then invited me to Washington, DC pretty high on this list of exciting things too.  The other night something happened right behind our house that has now been added to that list as well. 


We heard some noise out on the train tracks behind our house.  That is pretty unusual because the tracks aren't used by trains and there are rarely hikers passing through.  We went outside to investigate.


As I peeked around the trees I clearly saw a man with a camera.  A video camera.


We walked up to the neighbors house because there were additional vehicles up that way.



That is our property there on the right of the tracks above.  Those guys are manually turning their little gas engine rail car around.



Once the motorized rail car was turned around, they hooked it up to tow a cart that looked like a homemade attempt to be an old fashioned hand pumped rail car.  




They towed it and even waved at us and said hello until it jumped the tracks and the crew had to lift it back into place.


It was killing Razor not to get down there and help them but it gave us an opportunity to talk with them and find out what in the world they were up to.



It turns out, this crew was from Discovery Channel and they were filming an episode of Hillbilly Blood (which I had never heard of and had to Google. But we totally acted like we knew all about. We didn't want to hurt any feelings after all.)



Anyway.  That was exciting.

-dana