Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Calico Cutters Baby Quilts Go On Sale

This past Saturday my guild set up shop at the West Chester Grower's Market to sell our baby challenge quilts - the first of 3 venues slated to sell our creations. It was a hot one - 94 degrees at noon - nothing says buy a blankie like 94 degrees! Here was our tent - that's Debbie - a representative from the Maternal Child Health Consortium of Chester County - the recipient of the proceeds from the sale. We had the most colorful tent in the market.We sold 15 quilts so far and have holds on 3 other quilts - I'll update the photo page above with photos of all of the remaining quilts as soon as I get a chance to snap the pictures.
I loved hearing the stories of the people who purchased the quilts - - - there was a beautiful quilt with a puppy on it that an uber cute little 4 year old French girl could not leave without, many grand children and great grand children will be receiving our creations, a newly adopted little girl will be swaddled by one of our member's quilts, and the "surprise" addition to the family of 5 will have a new blankie he can call his own. It was a great day! At $75 a quilt, our donation to the Consortium is significant thanks to the many generous members of my guild.

Here are a few other photos I snapped at the market to whet your appetite for all things fresh - as always - BUY PA Local - or where ever your "local" might be!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Cleaning Up from the Storm

Just a quick note today - yesterday was something here in Chester County, PA - we had one of the worst storms I've ever seen. I had full intentions of posting my framing process but the power company had different plans in mind. I'll get to that post this weekend - after all of the tree limbs get picked up from my yard - we were lucky - no significant damage, but many others did not fair so well!

Tomorrow is the Baby Quilt Sale at the West Chester Growers Market - I'm loading the car with tables, chairs, signs, and, of course, the quilts. We're asking $75 per quilt with 100% of our proceeds being donated to the Chester County Maternal Child Health Consortium - that's a very fair price for these beautiful handmade quilts and it's an excellent charity to support. It's gonna be a hot one at the market - 92 degrees - I'll just drink plenty of water. If you're in the area please stop by - pick up a quilt and some gorgeous Chester County produce --- the blueberries and raspberries are coming in.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sad News

One of my favorite quilt stores -The Quilter's Palette in Fleetwood, PA, owned and operated by a good friend from high school days, Jackie, is closing it's doors for good by August 31st! The close out sale starts today - 20% off most everything in the shop. Jackie's beautiful hand-dyed wools are not on sale - she plans on making the rounds at local quilt shows to continue to market her wool, and wool kits and patterns. So sad to see the Quilter's Palette close - Jackie's fabric selection is fantastic - and, honestly, for those of you who have visited the famous Quilter's Palette bathroom - where on earth will we find better reading material to put a smile on our face every time??? Jackie - we'll miss the Quilter's Palette - best of luck!

Ladies - it's our job to empty those shelves - get up there and get busy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Weekend: Food and Flick

What a great Father's Day weekend - both daughters home, fantastic food and an amazing movie. Last night we had dinner in Philadelphia at Kanella's on 10th and Spruce Streets - a Greek BYOB. Everything was delicious, but the smelts were irresistible - I know my good friend Diane is welling up at the site of these crispy golden fried morsels of smelty goodness.
After dinner we took in "Exit Through the Gift Shop" at the Ritz. The film was directed by the ever elusive street artist Banksy highlighting the work of numerous street artists including Shephard Fairey, Invader and Theirry, the shop owner, turned film addict, turned street artist. This film is an intriguing look at the evolution of street art, the vision of the artists and their creative process - thoroughly entertaining.

Today I wanted to cook a nice meal for the family to celebrate Father's Day. On the menu was homemade ravioli. I made my own fresh pasta - look at these beautiful egg yolks from my grower's market - they are orange - you can't get this from supermarket eggs - my pasta recipe uses 9 egg yolks.

Take a look at this ball of pasta - it has a more intense yellow color than the lily.
I used this beautiful goat cheese from Cherry Glen to make my stuffing. There's a story behind this cheese. This past week my husband and I attended a lovely wine tasting at Restaurant Alba in Malvern, PA - our good friend and amateur sommellier, Craig Badyna, was our wine steward for the evening - everything was, as always, excellent. Sean Weinberg, the chef owner of Alba made a delicious goat cheese ravioli for our second course in the five course dinner - and as usual, I was picking his brain to get the recipe - he was kind enough to give me some of the goat cheese in his ravioli - told me to put it in my purse and not to forget it when I got home.
Here are my delicate ravioli squares filled with goat cheese, lemon and mint. I finished them with peas and a light cream sauce that I infused with garlic and lemon zest, and then topped with fresh mint and a fresh grating of Parmesan cheese - the family gave it rave reviews!

To serve with my pasta I made a simple salad of red lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and golden roasted beets dressed with a light vinaigrette. I topped the salad with fried green tomatoes coated with panko. Happy Father's Day Honey!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Longing for Paris

A few years ago my family took a trip to Paris - a city that I had very little interest in visiting. Well, I WAS WRONG. We had a fabulous vacation that lives on in fond memories for me - the people, the food, the sites - everything was perfect. Every now and again those memories surface in my quilting, specifically the Eiffel Tower.

This is a post card I threw together a few years ago after our vacation.

Last year I created this tonal appliqued version of the tower from a upward gazing angle.

I've been working on yet another Eiffel Tower - I'm going to wait to share it with you until I'm further along - let's just say it's bigger than a postcard, bigger than a bread box as well.

Like the applique block - I'll be up loading it as a free pattern this week - should give you adequate time to get your quilt ready for Bastille Day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Baby Quilts are Posted

I posted a new page today - Calico Cutters Baby Quilts - featuring some of the absolutely beautiful quilts members of my guild created for our latest challenge. We are selling these quilts for $75 each and donating 100% of the proceeds to the Chester County Maternal Child Health Consortium. I did not list the name of the maker as many of the quilts are not labeled with names. Aren't they just beautiful?

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm So Excited

I'm belting out my best version of the Pointer Sister's I'm So Excited - why - why??? I just found out my quilt, Wilde Ideas - Stings Attached was selected for the Text on Textiles special exhibit at the Houston International Quilt Festival and will travel with the exhibit for a year!!!

I'm about to lose control and I think I like it - - - I'm so excited - I just can't hide it!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

It's that time of year - the time just before summer, the time for sour cherries. I just love those beautiful little orbs of tangy sweetness - they make the best pies, hands down - a favorite of my entire family - aren't they beauties!

Here is one of my cherry trees - all of 4 years old - and chockful of cherries this year.

When we were kids my Dad would take us to Ontelaunee Orchards to pick cherries by the bucket full. That was the easy part. Once you pick the cherries, you need to pit them. I remember sitting out on our back porch pitting those cherries for hours, by hand, my fingers all wrinkled from the moisture and my tee shirt irretrievably stained from the cherry juice.

I've become somewhat more sophisticated in my cherry pitting over the years. I use this little gadget - certainly simplifies the process somewhat. Cherry pitting is a serious task - miss a pit and you could cost someone a corner of their tooth - a sacrifice all true cherry pie lovers are willing to take.
Tomorrow I'm going to whip up some small cherry pies to deliver to family and friends - yum!

Keeping with the cherry theme I decided to use this beautiful red dot fabric to show you how I made my outside border on my baby quilt that I posted yesterday. I am making 4 1/2 inch blocks but because I am making a diagonal cut I start with a 5 inch square.

Here are my fabrics - I'm pairing up my 2 dots with solid blue.

Stack your fabrics in pairs - I'm working with 4 squares of fabric per stack - 2 dot squares, and 2 solid squares.

I iron a 5 inch piece of freezer paper onto the top piece of fabric onto which I drew a line at about a 30 degree angle - give or take a degree or three.

Cut the fabric on the line. From here on out I just use the one side of the freezer paper when cutting the remaining stacks of fabric.

From one stack of 4 squares of fabric you now have 8 pieces of fabric with two each of mirror image shapes. When you use a solid fabric you can use either side - this adds a lot of possibilities to this technique as you will see.

Here are my blocks sewn together - they are not square yet - you need to square them up before proceeding!

I'm aiming for a 4 1/2 inch square - my sewn blocks measure 5 x 4 1/2 inches.

I use a 4 1/2 inch piece of freezer paper to template my cut. THIS IS IMPORTANT - you need to remain consistent in how you trim your fabric. For this project I am making certain that the wide side of the dotted fabric is always to the left side. Sorry - it is difficult to see that in the photo below. If you alternate which side you trim you will not get matching seams.

Now - let's play around with our sample blocks - here is the arrangement I used in my baby quilt resulting in a nice wavy effect.

Let's mix up the fabric and the setting - here I've set them wide end to narrow end of the dotted fabrics. When you choose to set them in this fashion you can mix up the angle of the cut to add interest to the setting.

Here is a look at mixing up the fabric using the setting I used in my baby quilt.

Hey baby - love the lava lamp!

Yet another version achieved by alternating the solid / dot fabrics.

I'm playing around with this setting for another baby quilt.
Yes, I know there are many more possibilities but my cherry pies aren't going to make themselves. Give it a try and let me know what you come up with. You can make an entire quilt using this simple technique. I am dying to try a scrappy quilt paired with solids using this setting - I think it would look so contemporary.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baby Quilt Challenge Revealed!

Today was guild meeting and the reveal of the Baby Quilt Challenge. The only guideline for the challenge was size - all entries were to measure 40 x 40 inches, give or take an inch here or there. This challenge was a charity challenge as all of the entries are going to be sold with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Chester County Maternal Child Consortium. A total of 36 women participated in the challenge - the results are amazing - my fellow guild members are just fantastic.

We had a lovely selection of quilts for girls - all pretty in pink!

The blues and elephants for the boys - I just love this elephant!

The unisex baby quilts were adorable - I love the pattern and color of one in the foreground.

Here was my entry featuring the Giraffe Garden fabric from Michael Miller. The top center features the off set square in squares with a giraffe in the middle. I then surrounded the center blocks with a series of borders - 1. the first border is the striped coordinating fabric from Giraffe Garden - I let the fabric do the work for me creating the illusion of a 2 inch square pieced border, 2. the second border is a thick red border to make the center pop, 3. and the third border, the gray dot and solid blue, gives such a beautiful wavy effect and was so easy - tune in tomorrow and I'll show you how I did it!

Here's a closer look at the quilting - simple meandering, and a lot of it.

Take a look at the back - it's pieced. See the vertical strip of the striped fabric - again I made that striped fabric work for me - the 2 inch width was perfect to communicate what everyone thinks of when they think of giraffe - height!

I embroidered the 2 inch height increments on the stripe using my sewing machine.

Then I attached these little tabs into my binding on the back of the quilt to record the baby's length / height from birth through 5 years. I remembered my daughters' passion for any labels attached to their stuffed animals - they loved to fiddle with them as they cuddled up for the night.

Fun ... different - I like them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Working on the Baby Quilt Challnege

I'm the challenge host for my guild - this time, a baby quilt challenge. No real rules - create a 40 x 40 inch baby quilt. I have over 50 women who have signed up for the challenge - fantastic - the women in my guild are just fantastic! All of the quilts will be sold with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Chester County Maternal Child Consortium - a wonderful non-profit providing support to low income women and children. The quilts are due at this Wednesday's guild meeting - nothing like waiting until the last minute - I work best under pressure.

I'm making a quilt for a baby boy. My daughter helped me pick the fabric - it's Giraffe Garden by Michael Miller - adorable in contemporary funky colors. I started with these fabrics, mostly solids and dots, and added a few more from my stash.

Here's the center of the top - nothing fancy - an offset square in a square setting. I'm using the companion striped fabric as the first border (on the left) - I'm cheating really - it will look like a 2 inch square pieced border - I love when the fabric does the work!
There's a second border as well - I'll hopefully get that done tomorrow. I have a great plan for the back - it involves this cute little giraffe below - you're going to have to wait until I get it finished to see the surprise.