November 16, 2011

Sneak Peak

I'm participating in a Christmas fabric swap right now with a great group of ladies and part of the swap is that we have to make something with the fabric.  We each sent 5 inch squares of modern Christmas fabrics to all the participants and I'm in the midst of using all these cool squares to make a fun lap quilt.  It is such a diverse selection of fabrics, I decided to add a lot of white to my quilt and I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out so far. Here's a little instagram shot of my progress thus far:

November 5, 2011

Book Giveaway Winner

Thanks so much to everybody who entered my book giveaway.  I chose the winner via random number generator this morning and the winner is Conny from Conny's Quilts!  I had a lot of fun finding out who your favorite authors were as I'm always looking for a good series to read. Congrats to Conny and I hope you all are having a nice weekend!

November 1, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway

When I was asked to review a mystery novel centered around quilting, I was excited because I love to read, I love quilting, and I love mysteries. It was also great timing because I had been on the hunt for some fun, new fiction. (The kind where your mind gets a little break from the stresses and details of your day and you get to take a little vacation for a few minutes.)  Since I hadn't read any of Clare O'Donohue's other books, I wasn't sure what to expect. I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed reading the entire series.  "The Devil's Puzzle" is the fourth book in the "Someday Quilts" series which consists of  "The Lovers Knot", "A Drunkards Path", and "The Double Cross."
O'Donohue's writing style is suspenseful, fun and easy to read and really got me hooked.  The main characters are well developed and likable and I found myself quickly getting attached to them. Add in the suspense factor, and the love of all things quilting, and you have a recipe for hours of reading enjoyment.

Witchcraft in a small New England town typically harkens Salem, Massachusetts. However, amateur sleuth Nell Fitzgerald finds the upcoming anniversary of Archers Rest, New York drawing out the town’s own dark history of witchcraft, as well as that of its residents in "The Devil's Puzzle". Nell is thrilled when her grandmother Eleanor’s boyfriend plans a double surprise—restoring the rose garden of her old Victorian house, and a marriage proposal. However, Oliver’s plans are put on hold when a skeleton is unearthed in Eleanor’s backyard. Police Chief Jesse Dewalt launches an investigation, and for once, Nell vows to stay out of his way, instead focusing on organizing a historic quilt show as part of the town’s upcoming anniversary festivities. When clues lead to questions about Eleanor’s past, Nell is forced to uncover the truth. As the anniversary approaches, a chilling wave of vandalism strikes town hot spots, raising fears that witchcraft has returned, and revealing secrets that could change life in Archer’s Rest forever.
Have I piqued your curiosity? If you would like to win a free copy of "The Devil's Puzzle", simply leave a comment telling me who your favorite author is.  Comments will be open until Friday November 4th at 9pm PST and the winner will be chosen via random number generator.  Please make sure to leave a way for me to contact you in your comment.  Good luck and happy reading!

Note: I was given the book series to review for free but was not compensated for this review

October 4, 2011

Projects in Progress

One of the benefits that comes with not having our etsy shop anymore is that I have a lot more time to just have fun with quilting and crafting without feeling guilty for not working on something for the shop.  Can any of you relate? Anyway,  I'm really excited to be entering the Fall season with time to work on Christmas projects and gifts.  I joined a swap last week in which we are supposed to send five 5" squares of modern Christmas fabric to 9 different people.  I had a lot of fun picking out the fabric so I wanted to share my find with you. :)

Aren't these fabrics wonderful? They are part of Kate Spain's "12 Days of Christmas" fabric line.  I couldn't resist and purchased more than I needed so that I will have some left over after the swap.

Another project that I'm working on right now is my first ever embroidery project.  I'm working on a series of tea towels that I hope to have done by Christmas so I can give them as gifts.  Here's a look at how far I've gotten so far:

This one is called "Apple Basket" and I bought the pattern from Bird Brain Designs. 

I also wanted to give you guys a heads up that I'm selling my Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118 on eBay. I've decided to upgrade and go for a Juki so that I can work on bigger quilts.  Here's the link if anyone is in the market for a used machine:

I hope all you northern hemisphere types are enjoying Fall so far.  We are having some cooler weather today which inspired me to do some baking, and I'm loving that the house smells like pumpkin muffins and brownies right now.  I'm counting calories so I won't be eating them, but my husband's men's Bible study group is sure to enjoy them tonight. :) Happy Fall! 

September 13, 2011

Store Closing Sale!

Our etsy shop closes tomorrow! Use the coupon code FREESHIP to get free shipping to the US for our last few items! Click on the logo below if you want to check it out. Thanks to everyone for your support over the past year.  I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging more and making quilts, too. :)

August 30, 2011

It was a fun experiment

After a lot of fun, a lot of fabric, and a huge amount of learning, my mom and I have decided to close our Etsy Shop.  We have had a great time being business partners and especially going to the wholesale shops and buying fabric. Buying fabric is one of the most fun parts of quilting, right?  As shop owners, we have gotten to "meet"  quilters from all over the world.  Shipping fabric to places as far away as Australia and South Africa made us realize that the quilting community is very far-reaching. I have learned more about our postal system in the past year than I thought I ever would, and I have also learned a lot about business taxes and the amount of paperwork required to maintain a small business.  When your hobby becomes your business, it takes on a slightly different form. After a year of experimenting with our business, we have decided that we want to transform it back into our hobby, with no strings attached. :)  I will miss the customers so much, and of course getting to purchase all the fabric, but I am really excited about being able to work on sewing  and crafting projects without feeling like I should be working on our business.  I'm also excited to get back to blogging more about the fun projects that I will now have time to work on.
         Since we are closing the shop, we are also liquidating our inventory.  We have lowered our prices on all of our fabric, patterns and pincushions in the shop, so if you are looking for a great deal, click the logo below and head on over!

August 27, 2011

Giveaway at p.s. i quilt

I'm sponsoring a giveaway this weekend over at p.s. i quilt!  Head on over there and check it out and give Rachel Griffith some blog love. :)   Have a great weekend!


August 11, 2011

Quilt Festival Recap

 As I mentioned in my last post, my mom and I attended the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach a couple weekends ago.  As always, it was a wonderful show and we had a great time. Even though we live in Southern California, we decided to make the most of the weekend and stayed in Long Beach overnight. Our tradition when attending a quilt show is to shop first, look at quilts second.  Can anyone else identify with this strategy?  There are so many shopping opportunities in one condensed space at a quilt show we feel compelled to take advantage of it.  So we spent a majority of the first day meandering up and down the aisles, picking out fun treasures and oohing and aahing over everything.  I came very close to buying a new sewing machine (those salesman sure are convincing) but I used self control and averted my eyes from that booth for the rest of the show. The one I want starts with a J, ends with an I and rhymes with... kooky. Is kooky a word?
       That evening we went to the Saturday sampler class which happens to be the first class we have ever taken at a quilt show.  There were a lot of great demos and it was fun to watch Eleanor Burns do her thing. We didn't stay for the whole two hours because a lot of the demos had to do with fabric painting and dyeing and weren't really up our quilting alley.
       The next day we had breakfast and went back to the convention center so we could look at all the quilt exhibits.  It was pretty empty at that point and we had no trouble getting close to the quilts and taking photos.  As usual we fell in love with several and I wanted to share some of those with you.

Aren't these the cutest cows ever? This quilt is called "The Girls of Tyrone Farm" and was created by Beth Miller in Australia.  I just love the sweetness of the cows faces and the amazing colors.

This beauty is called "Morning Glories" by Juanita Yeager.  
She used watercolor pigment and painted the fabric to create the vibrant colors.

 This one is called "Jill's Creation" by Jean K Smith from Florida. 
I really love the texture, bright colors, and the way the flowers pop against the grey and white background.

 This is "Multiple Choice" by Merry May and quilted by the "Wednesday Quilters". 
Isn't the collection of quilt blocks and techniques amazing? What a way to showcase the variety of work that can be done within the realm of traditional quilting. We were very impressed!

My absolute favorite of this show is this quilt called "Sakura Sakura" by Hiroko Miyama from Tokyo, Japan. The effect of the cherry blossoms raining down on the girl and her puppy is remarkable.  Doesn't it make you want to be there? (armed with Claritin and Kleenex, of course)

July 31, 2011

Quilt festival

My mom and I are back from the International Quilt Show in Long Beach and had a great time! So great was our time, we can hardly move today. But here is a picture of one amazing quilt to give you a little taste of what I will be sharing with you soon!

"Butterfly Dance" by Anna Faustino. Isn't it gorgeous?

July 27, 2011

Where did June... and July go?

I have been having a very enjoyable and eventful summer. And I'm getting very excited about attending the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach this weekend. If you are a quilter or lover of quilts, or even just enjoy participating in local crafty events with 18,000 of your closest friends, I highly recommend this festival.
I haven't been blogging a lot recently, so to catch you up, I decided to share some pictures of the fun I've been having. 

On Father's Day we went to the Dodger game with my parents and we had a blast. It was free apron day and my handsome hubby is modeling it for you here:

We also spent the 4th of July with my parents and enjoyed our annual eating of the Schaum Torte. Yes, it is odd that we choose to eat a German Dessert on such an American holiday, but that's what we do. 
And they are delicious.  See?

The show I work on was on hiatus for the first two weeks of July, so after 4th of July weekend, my friend Shelly came into town for a 4 days. We've known each other since kindergarten and even though she lives in another state we have remained super close and relish the times we get to spend together.  After I picked her up from the airport, we went straight to Dukes and had fruity drinks by the ocean.

This set the tone for our whole week of relaxation and vacationing.  We had a spa day, ate out at a bunch of fun places, spent a day at the beach, went to the movies, and also went on a beautiful hike.  We also talked for probably what added up to about 50 or 60 hours and caught up on everything we needed to talk about from the year we hadn't seen each other.  It was a perfect visit.
I'm back at work now but I'm still hanging on to the summer fun by hiking on the weekends and being outside as much as possible.  So now it's your turn. What kind of fun have my wonderful blog readers been up to this summer?  (or winter if you are in the southern hemisphere :) )

June 5, 2011

What I did this weekend

This weekend was full of fun, spending time with my hubby and also sewing with my mom.  My husband worked for 10 days in a row and it was really nice to be able to spend time with him on his days off and to treat ourselves to a date night.  It had also been a long time since I had worked on sewing projects with my mom so today we had a lot of fun finishing up some things she had started a few months ago.  She made three doll quilts and today we made matching pillows to go with each one.

I am slightly in love with these little pillows. Aren't they fun?  
We made the pillows with vintage-looking fabric which I think adds a cute touch to the overall look. 

Here's a close up look at one of the pillows

I also was inspired by a quilt I found online this week and decided that I am going to make a similar one for myself. Believe it or not, I actually have never made a quilt for myself.  I'm not exactly sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm kind of a task oriented person.  I've made several quilts as gifts and others were special orders from friends and in each instance I had a deadline.  I guess I never really had the inspiration to make one for myself.  So I'm really excited to show you the little pile of fabrics I selected from my stash which will eventually turn into my own patchwork-type quilt with a vintage 1930s look.   I can already picture myself curling up in it. :)

May 13, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side | Bloggers' Quilt Festival
The Blogger's Quilt Festival is back! It's a great event put on by Amy of AmysCreativeSide which allows all the quilting bloggers out there to share a favorite quilt and also view hundreds of others just like you would if you were at a quilt festival.   It's so fun to see everyone's creations and to read about why that quilt is special to them and what they learned through making it. 

The quilt I'm going to share this time is one that I made for a friend of mine for Christmas last year. I already have written about it on my blog but it's one of my favorites and I learned a ton while I was making it so I thought it would be a good choice for the festival. 

My friend Courtney actually went with me to pick out the fabrics for her quilt and it was great to have her there to be part of that process. Choosing fabric for a quilt is one of my favorite things to do and I always consider it to be a fun challenge.  The fabrics used in this quilt are from many different fabric lines and consist of a variety of styles.   She knew what colors she wanted and we used that as a jumping off point and scoured the shop for fabrics that were pleasing to her.  

I really think they all came together nicely to form a very rich, cozy color scheme.  When I saw how it turned out, it really reinforced my philosophy of fabric picking (I'm using very technical terms here :) ).  I recognize that it is always fun and somewhat easy to stick within one fabric line when you are making a quilt because you are assured that it will all go together.  Do I dare say that sometimes that just feels too safe for me?  I really have the most fun starting with a color scheme and one or two different fabrics as an inspiration for the quilt and building off of it by wandering through a quilt shop and noticing which fabrics seems to jump off the shelves at me.

I would like to challenge you to be bold the next time you are choosing fabric for a quilt. When you pick a bunch of things that are pleasing to your eye but not necessarily matchy-matchy, chances are they will make an absolutely wonderful, intriguing quilt.  
Make sure you visit AmysCreativeSide and take part in this fun event. It's exciting to see all the creativity going on in the quilting world. 

May 11, 2011

Hi, Ho SIlver!

Howdy pardners. :)  Our show is on hiatus this week which means I have a whole week off to do anything my heart desires.  I have been absolutely head over heels craving sunshine lately so I've been making an effort to spend a lot of time outside enjoying nature.  Even though I live in a big city, I really am a nature girl at heart. (Except for the bugs, of course).
      My hubby had Monday off so we were able to spend the day together and decided to go on a little hike in Corriganville Park.   It was really pretty and so historical!  Hundreds of old western films were shot in this area in the 40s through the 70s as well as the Lone Ranger and Robin Hood TV series.  As you take the hike there are signs posted all over with interesting facts about what was shot there and some even have photos to show you how it looked back then.

The view as you start the hike

A photo of Gene Autry taken while he was filming

This is what that area looks like now. 
We could easily see how this would make a great movie backdrop.

Chad, standing where Gene Autry's horse was standing in the photo.

We didn't expect to find Sherwood forest so close to to where the Westerns were filmed

 I can definitely picture Robin Hood hanging out here. 

It was a lot of fun to go hiking and stumble upon so much film and TV history.   Getting outside and exploring the area in which we live is something we should all probably do more often, right?  Do you have any favorite hidden away places that you've found near where you live?

April 30, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Congrats to Rhonda and JayTee! You are the two winners of my DS Quilts fat quarter bundle giveaway! I will be contacting you via email for shipping specifics.  Thanks so much to all of you who participated. It was a lot of fun to read all of your comments about Spring. : ) Happy Quilting!

April 23, 2011

DS Quilts Collection Giveaway

It's Easter weekend, Spring has sprung, and I feel like celebrating!  To thank all of you trusty blog followers for all the love you show me throughout the year, I am giving away two sets of 6 fat quarters from the popular DS Quilts Collection by the very talented Denyse Schmidt! It's a fun, colorful collection with a vintage feel and I love it.  I think you might love it, too. :)

(entries are now closed)
There are four ways to enter and since there are two bundles, there will be two lucky winners!

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite Spring event or activity.
2. Follow my blog and leave a comment to let me know that you do. 
3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment to let me know that you do. 
4. Blog about my giveaway and leave a comment to let me know you did. 
(Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry)

Rules: Deadline to enter is 6pm Pacific Time on Saturday, April 30th 2011. Winners will be chosen by random number generator. The giveaway is open to international entries. Make sure your email address is in your profile, or please leave your email address in your comment.  The giveaway winners will be announced the evening of April 30th. Thanks for entering!

April 15, 2011

I wish my name was Stella

Last weekend, I finished the baby quilt that my mom and I have been working on for the past couple weeks. It is for a brand new baby named Stella, but she doesn't know about it yet. :) It will be presented to her mom at a baby shower this weekend and we are hoping that she adores it as much as we do.  My mom cut the fabric, designed the layout and pieced the quilt. I  basted, quilted and added the binding and embroidery. It was truly a joint effort!  I've gotten rather attached to this quilt so I took 49 pictures of it today before sending it off to it's new owner. While I won't make you look at all 49, here are 9 of my favorites. :)

April 7, 2011

Two perspectives

I am slightly obsessed with my iPhone.  I also am slightly obsessed with finding iPhone apps that do really fun things. One of these said apps is called "Instagram."  It it a neat photography application which allows you to take pictures and then apply one of many filters to create a specific look.  When you post your photos, your friends can view them in their feed.  I recently took some pictures of the baby quilt that my mom and I are working on and decided to use that to illustrate the different look and feel you can get by using "Instagram".

 Here is the first photo of the quilt. This one hasn't been treated with any filters.

This is a photo of the same quilt but with an Instagram filter added. Fun, no?

Do you Instagram? If you do, let me know what your username is so I can follow you. Mine is dawnnichols. Happy picture-taking!

March 25, 2011

A Day in the Blue Mountains

One of our favorite days we spent while in Australia was a wonderful tour through the Blue Mountains. Since I was there primarily for work, my husband and I wanted to plan our free days very carefully as to not miss out on anything. Many people had told us that a visit to the Blue Mountains was a definite must when visiting Sydney and it turns out they were right!
We chose the "Blue Diamond Tours" tour company because of its high rating on tripadvisor and we were so glad we did. We could tell that our guides and the owners of the company, Alena and Roberto, have worked very hard to create a truly unique and fun experience for everybody who takes their tour. And since it's so fun to relive trips like this, I am going to take you with me on a little photo tour and give you a taste of our fantastic day.

We were picked up from the front of our hotel (a wonderful perk) in a nice, 
comfortable and very clean Mercedes 12 passenger van.

We then picked up a couple remaining tour customers and headed out of the city. Along the way different points of interest were pointed out and we sat back, relaxed and watch the scenery go by on our way up to the Blue Mountains.
    Our first stop was at a cute little cafe for Morning Tea. To the delight of our stomachs, the tea, scones and pretzels were on the tables waiting for us when we arrived.  I wish I could hand samples out to all of you so you could really understand the amazing tastes we got to experience. But since taste-o-vision hasn't been invented yet, you will have to settle for this picture.
 Yes, it was as good as it looks. In fact, we can't stop thinking about this place.  I wonder if they could Fedex some of their tasty treats to Los Angeles. 

       After our great meal, we headed to Scenic world, which I would describe as nature's amusement park.

As part of the tour day, we were given the chance to ride a few fun rides.  It was only 25 dollars extra to take the rides and it was well worth the price. Most people on the tour took the rides if they weren't afraid of heights. Our first ride was on the scenic skyway.

The views from the skyway were amazing.
 My handsome hubby taking in the views from the skyway

 Our next ride was on the world's steepest railway called the "Mountain Devil." 
It has an incline of 52 degrees and it's quite a thrill!

This is us before the train started

 Our view as we went down the hill

Next, we had an opportunity to hike through a temperate rain forest. 
We had the choice of three different hikes of differing lengths and it was very peaceful and beautiful.

At the end of the trail we reached the scenic cableway which brought us back out of the valley.
When we reached the top, we walked through the gift shop and headed out to the van. Next, we headed to the Katoomba Falls reserve, and after a little hike down some stairs, we got to see this gorgeous view. 

 After that we drove to the Three Sisters Rock formation viewing point called Echo Point. This was really the only place where we ran into some small crowds.  The Blue Mountain Tours day starts early in the morning and is planned in such a way that we arrived at scenic world and all the other stops before all the huge buses did. It was such a treat to be able to enjoy everything throughout the day with our little group of 12 instead of 12 thousand.

The Three Sisters

Alena used our cameras to take pictures of us at every stop. 
This is another great perk of traveling in such a small group

Can you believe all we've gotten to do so far and it's only lunchtime?  The tour took us next to the town of Leura where we had a delicious lunch.  We ordered what we wanted in the morning so we didn't have to waste any time waiting for it when we arrived.  After lunch we got to do some shopping in town. Our favorite shop was Leura Fine Woodwork Gallery. We purchased some wooden spoons and some beautiful coasters.

After our shopping we boarded the van and drove to the Featherdale Wildlife Park
I was so excited about this stop because I knew we were going to have a chance to feed some wallabies and pet some koalas. In my opinion I really couldn't leave Australia without getting the chance to meet some  adorable marsupials.

My husband made fast friends with this little guy

 We got to see a great variety of interesting birds too. This is Alena showing us one of her bird friends, who just happened to look at the camera at the perfect time. :)

Since Koalas are endangered it is a rare occasion to see them in the wild. 
The Koalas have a great and safe life at this cute Koala Sanctuary.

 I think Koalas are my new favorite animal.

It was very warm at the Wildlife park so our group left a little bit earlier than we were supposed to. We opted to go get some nice cold gelato before heading to the ferry which would take us back to Circular Quay.  We also got to take a quick drive through the area where Sydney held the Olympics in 2000.

Alena and Roberto then took us to our last stop, the Cabarita ferry stop, and waited there with us until the ferry arrived.  Everybody expressed their gratitude to them for a wonderful day and they were very glad to hear that we had so much fun.

I held the ferry ticket for the whole group very tightly in my hand 
as we took in the scenery during our ferry ride.

 We reached Circular Quay and said our goodbyes to our tour-mates.  
We decided to finish our perfect day with a drink and a snack at the Opera Bar next to The Opera House.  

Do you feel like you've gotten a taste of the fun we had?
If you haven't already noticed, I would highly recommend this tour to anybody who visits Sydney.