25 August 2011

A Simple Quote

God gave us each a talent to see it [the world] differently. It’s a beautiful gift and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. We each record memories differently, and that’s what makes us artists. We paint the world for everyone else through a lens.” 

- Cassie Jones, Photographer

This excerpt was taken from her most recent blog post.  Worth reading!

19 August 2011

Great Giveaway!

Katie Evans Photography is giving away hard copies of her new book, "The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer".  It's amazing!  Check it out HERE!

17 August 2011

Quilts, Quilts and More Quilts

A couple factors have led me into daily quilting:

1. We are down to one vehicle, which my husband takes to work every day (I'm not getting up at 4:30am to take him, no sir!), and

2. It's my grown-up time away from my toddlers.  Heaven bless them, I love them to pieces, but spending 24-7 with a kid who is 3-going-on-13 and a girl who is 17-months-going-on-11, well, let's just say that I need a daily mental vacation.

Quilting is my happy place.  The fabrics are pretty, the sewing machine does what I ask of it (most of the time), I get something out of it that stays done at the end of the day (thanks, Carie, for that mantra!).

Putting all this time into quilting means that I'm getting a high yield of finished projects.  So, I thought I would showcase them.  The work below shows my projects from the last month or so.  Enjoy!

Queen-Size family snuggle blanket in Prince Charming.

This is one of my favorite quilts I've ever made!

LOVE wall hanging for one of my good friend's wedding.

"Rain or Shine" quilt in Kate Spain's Terrain.

Aren't the fabrics gorgeous?

"Birthday Banner" for my son's 3rd.

The start of my next big quilt. Diamonds in Tula Pink's Parisville.

The color scheme amazes me!

Hello, Ladies!

16 August 2011

I'm A Guest Blogger Today!

Bounce on over to Craizee Corners (here), where I'm today's guest blogger!!  My projects using Tula Pink fabrics are in the spotlight!

(We'll do a follow-up here on those projects soon!  Stay tuned...)

10 August 2011


My blog was starting to bore me, which is never a good thing.  If I don't like it, I'm sure you don't.  So, I gave it a make-over.  Let me know what you think!  Is it too much?  Not enough?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


09 August 2011

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

While I'm working on the quilting phase of my Prince Charming, which just so happens to be my least favorite phase of finishing a project, I thought I would start cutting into my Parisville.  Having just watched Moulin Rouge for the umpteenth time, the song "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" is on a continuous loop in my head.  Thoughts about Parisville apparently collided with the song lyrics, and BAM!  The idea to cut my Parisville fabric into diamonds was born.

So let me ask, has anyone made a quilt top exclusively with diamonds before?  If so, did you border the diamonds, border the whole quilt, or both?  I can't decide if I want plain old diamonds, like ziss:

Framed in diamonds:

Or a border around the outside:

(All of the above are Kaffe Fasset patterns, BTW)

What do you, my quilting genius friends, think?  Opinions?  Thoughts?  Suggestions?

You could suggest scrapping the diamonds altogether, but sorry, I'll ignore you.  They're already sitting on my kitchen table waiting to be sewn. ;-)

08 August 2011

My Not-So-New Crush

Thanks to a good friend of mine, Dawn, I began 2011 with an introduction to the wonderful world of quilting - and more specifically, textiles.  Who knew there was a whole world out there of amazing people who devote their lives to designing fabrics which are meant to be cut up and sewn back together.

Back in April, the work of one textile designer/quilter extraordinaire caught my attention.  Her name is Tula Pink, and she is nothing short of genius.  Fun and funky, her textiles take traditional themes and turn them on their heads.  Her first collection I saw was called Prince Charming, and it was love at first sight.  Based around the image of a frog prince, the collection incorporates modern patterns with traditional fairy tale images that instantly bring a smile to my face.  The biggest problem I had with her collection was that it came in four different color combinations, called colorways, and I couldn't decide which one I wanted.  I've since ended up with all four!

Isn't he handsome?

"Turtle Bay".  Do you see the girls playing on their backs?

A sampling of the prints in the collection in the Coral colorway.

Since falling in love with Prince Charming (yes, I love how that sounds!), I have become an ardent follower of Tula Pink's blog, and I pour over her previous collections.  Her work is incredibly detail-oriented, always amazingly artistic, and simply wonderful.  You know the line on Seinfeld where George says he wants to swath himself in velvet?  Well, I want to swath myself in Tula Pink!  (Side note: there are hard-core Tula Pink fans who are getting themselves tattooed with images from her lines.  I may count myself one of them someday...)

I'm slowly procuring favorite fabrics from her previous collections.  Her new line is coming out this fall, and I am waiting with bated breath to see it.

From the "Nest" collection.

Butterflies!  From the "Hushabye" collection.

Ducks from the "Hushabye" collection.

Owl from the "Hushabye" collection.

I don't know if you can tell, but this is comprised completely of dots.  From "Parisville".

"Parisville" main print.  Look closely at the ladies' hair!

Again, from "Parisville". 

Frankly, many of my favorites seem like they should be hanging in a museum; a little something inside me dies when I make that first cut.  But cut I do, and I will share pictures of my Tula Pink creations just as soon as I have any.

Off I go to look at the real deal instead of just pictures online.  Ah, bliss...

04 August 2011

Schmancy Nails

July brought the weddings of two of my best friends.  I was Matron-of-Honor in one and a lucky witness in the other.  Unfortunately, between MOH duties and chasing 2 toddlers around, I don't have any pictures from either event.

I do, however, have pictures of my fingernails.  As a generally low-maintenance kind of girl, it was downright thrilling to have my fingernails fancied up for these weddings.  I felt like a giddy little girl.

At my friend's wedding where I was MOH, her aunt--a nail tech--gave all the female wedding party members pink-and-whites.  She even did nail art, if we wanted it!  I chose a mod design for my ring fingers.

For those of you who have ever had pink-and-whites, you know that after they come off, your nail beds are torn to shreds.  I tried to keep clear polish on mine for about a week to protect them, but then I found...

...wait for it...

...FABULOUS yellow polish!  Just in time for the second wedding.  And since I didn't have to stand in front of anyone, it was the perfect shade to celebrate!

It's totally '80's.
Totally happy.
Totally RAD!

Isn't it RAD?

HAD to do my toes too!

Color me yellow for a while yet!

29 June 2011

Someone Get Me Off This Crazy Train...

Hello again, everyone.  June has been an insane month; good, but insane, and we're heading into an equally insanely good July.  This month we had 4 family birthdays, Father's Day, an annual formal event for my husbands' company, a graduation ceremony and a huge company picnic.  Next month brings my son's 3rd birthday, my mom's birthday and two very special weddings.

Two of my best friends in the whole world are getting married in July, and I'm Matron-of-Honor for one of them. Both are out-of-town from where I live, which means travel, arrangements for the kids, coordinating a kick-ass Bachelorette Party in a town I don't know.  But let me tell you, I'm so excited to see my friends so happy and marrying men who are perfect for them.  It's worth the temporary insanity to be a part of this special moment.  So in honor of these two friends, here are some pictures of us from college.

Ladies - you know who you are - I am so lucky to have friends like you.  Thank you for being there for me through thick and thin (and embarrassing), and for weathering long-distance friendships for 7 years.  I wish you both the best!  Love you!

Me, RJL, ADS & a few other random people.  Not sure what this party was...

Me and RJL.  Wow, this feels like a loooong time ago.

Me, ADS and our hairy friend at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

ADS' and my feet in the Pacific Ocean.
I remember this party...

That wasn't our last drink of the night...

29 May 2011

Alaska and Fabric

I've been MIA from Blogland for a couple weeks now, so Hello again!  I'm currently writing from wild Alaska, where I'm spending quality time with my family and getting my mountain fix for the next six months.  It's wonderful to be home again; something in me relaxes when I get off the plane and smell the clean Alaskan air, see the mountains, the ocean, and of course, getting to hug my parents and siblings in person.  Skype--as great as it is--just isn't enough.

Looking out at the Chugach range behind the Anchorage skyline across Cook Inlet.

Me, my hubby and my siblings.  I love this clan!

While visiting here, I found out that my absolute all-time-favorite line of fabric was released to the public.  After much mental tossing-and-turning about whether to purchase a line or two or three (or all four), I have in my hot little hands 3 colorways: Honey, Olive and Indigo, the latter being my favorite!

Smokey blues, greys and yellow.  Sunny and gorgeous.

The light greens are more lime than sage, but totally bright and happy!

Luckily I am staying with a master quilter, so finding the perfect patterns for my new fabric gold is going to be fun, fun, fun!!

Well, just wanted to pop up and make everyone jealous that they aren't in the most beautiful place on earth, nor have the most beautiful fabric on earth.  I'll write more soon and let you know more about vacation and my fabric projects.

Until then, Tschuss!

07 May 2011

These are a few of my favorite frustrating things...

I spend my days with toddlers.  My toddlers.  Adorable?  Yes.  Inspiring?  Yes.  Terribly, terribly frustrating?  Yes.

My husband is a resident physician, so he is required to work 80-ish hour weeks.  That has its perks and its drawbacks.  Drawbacks: As far as I'm concerned, there's mainly one.  I see him far less than I would like.  After being friends/dating/married for 10 years, I still like him. A lot.  Perks: I don't have to work, enabling me to spend every waking moment with our 2 children.

We have a 14-month old darling, mischievous girl, "E", and an impish, precocious almost 3-year-old boy, Finn.  I love them both more than life itself.  But, I have to admit, there are days that I really don't like being the mom of 2 toddlers.  Today was one of those days.

Finn decided that Momma needed to validate his every move, follow her around the house, asking a barrage of questions about absolutely nothing.  E decided that to soothe her teething she needed to put everything in her mouth.  Dust bunnies, shoes, an empty butter box she pulled out of who-knows-where, Mr. Potato Head's accoutrements.  Needless to say, I was happy when bed time came and I could tuck the kids safely in bed, away from inappropriate teethers and out of earshot.

Even so, I wouldn't change a thing.  I learned from my own mom to laugh at things that the kids do--and take a picture--because these are the things I'll remember fondly and shed a nostalgic tear over in the years to come.

So in honor of Mother's Day, here are a few of my favorite - and most frustrating - moments.

I love you, Finn and E.  Thanks for making my life full and wonderful.

E, on the day before her 1st birthday, decided to eat a black marker.

Finn's "naptime" - tearing up his room and getting stuck in diaper boxes.

Finn's first masterpiece: blue crayon all over the bathroom floor.

A true amazing moment: playing in snow for the first time.

Happy, happy girl.

26 April 2011

Spring Cleaning

Sorry I've been inattentive to blogging lately.  We hosted a huge Egg Hunt for my husband's co-workers and their families, and preparations took a lot of my time.  The Hunt was a huge success, thankfully, and we had so much fun hunting with our little ones and visiting with other families.

One of the side perks to hosting a big gathering is it inspired me to thoroughly clean my house and redecorate a couple rooms.  When we moved into our house, I misguidedly painted the master bedroom a pair of greens that set my teeth on edge.  It always felt wrong and I felt like I was sleeping in a little boy's room.  So, thanks to a couple unused gallons of blue paint in the garage and some extra marine-blue-satin-turned-curtains, our bedroom feels light and happy and serene.  I spend my mornings sitting with my coffee looking out the window, enjoying the solitude in my new room.  I can tell you that has never happened before.

(Pictures to come)

The other room to get some attention was our dining room.  Formerly an ugly brown rag-rolled catastrophe (from the previous owners, mind you), now a neutral beige-yellow.  The nasty cheesecloth window treatments were replaced with red striped curtains.

(Pictures, again, to come)

There's really no comparison, I feel like I'm in a new house!

Spring...new beginnings. :)

20 April 2011

Little Surprises are Wonderful

I've had kind of a hard week.  I don't really know why - blame it on the nasty, cloudy weather, on not seeing my hubby as much as I would like, on having to take care of two cranky toddlers by myself, on hormones - whatever.  It's just one of those times that life seems harder than usual for no apparent reason.  Then three little things happened this morning to turn it all around.

First, one of my best friends, Dawn, invited us over for a playdate/fabric party.  It was nice to get out of the house and enjoy some good company.

Second, I reached my first small weight-loss goal this morning.  That always boosts the mood.

Third, I got a little package in the mail today that really brightened things up.  It was a simple Thank You note with a 2-1/2" charm pack for a quilting cause that I helped with.  For those of you who don't know, in the quilting world a charm pack is a collection of fabric cut in either 5" or 2-1/2" squares.  I had never actually held a 2-1/2" charm pack before, and it made me smile; there's something about miniatures that makes me happy.

None of these were earth-shattering, but it was a sequence of little nudges to help me out of my funk.

Cute Christmas fabrics!

Isn't it adorable?

A sampling of all the fabrics in this collection.

08 April 2011

Tiramisu Ice Cream

Last week, I had a bit of a health scare.  Not a huge one, but one that shook me up enough to want to get healthier.  So, for the past 10 days I have been eating healthy and exercising.  Go me, right?

Enter the documentary "Kings of Pastry".  It's about French pastry chefs competing for the MOF honor.  Don't ask me what MOF stands for - I don't speak an iota of French.  Anyway, this competition awards a blue, red and white collar to the top chefs in France every 4 years, and this documentary follows 5 or 6 chefs as they prepare for competition.  Aside from all the outrageously gorgeous sugar sculptures, delicious-looking cream puffs and chocolate lollipops, something one of the chefs said stuck with me.  It was:

"The idea in France is to eat the best possible on a daily basis, but just in small quantities so your brain is happy every day."

I think this is going to be my mantra.  Eat well and keep my brain happy.  

I started last night.  I indulged in 1/2-cup of premium Italian Cafe Tiramisu ice cream.  I dished it up in a fun glass bowl and ate it with a tiny spoon.  Every bite was heaven.  

06 April 2011

A Peek Into My Brain...

I've known for a long, long time that I don't think like other people.  My mind works in vivid images, each encapsulating my emotions at that second, like a snapshot that makes you feel more than see.  Even now, I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words because my thoughts are more vacillating feelings than solid English words.

In that same vein, I am also a very vivid dreamer.  My dreams are full of symbolism and odd depths, light and dark and again, emotion.  I wake up many times in the mood set by my dreams.  I find trying to explain my dreams is impossible because my explanations are lacking the emotional component, so it's like watching a movie on mute for anyone but me.

But (da, da, DA!), I found an Artist who thinks very much like I do, Swedish Photographer and Retouch Artist Erik Johansson.  In fact, many of his pieces reflect dreams I've had.  I'm sure there's some sort of conclusion of archetype I could draw from that, but I'm only on my first cup of coffee this morning.

If you've found these pictures intriguing at all, do yourself a favor and visit his website here.  It's truly mesmerizing.  And if you think like me, all too familiar.

Also, if you like these pictures and you haven't yet had the pleasure of watching Big Fish, do so.  Simply incredible.