Aaaaand… we’re back!

So, wow.

That was a completely unintended hiatus. I mean, I definitely had gotten a bit behind, and I knew I had a lot of big, time-consuming events coming up, but I did have some posts up my sleeve for that time. But then…

Ya’ll, we bought a farm. And moved. And it is glorious, just awesome beyond belief. However… there was a month-and-a-half period wherein we had no Internets. And not really any phone service, either, as we’re in a mountain valley and cell reception is rotten–I have to trek up to my “special spot” above the barn to get a call out. And eventually we were able to squeeze a landline out of the horror that is AT&T, and, after over 30 hours spent on the phone by my poor Tristan, we have internet again. We live pretty far out, and AT&T has a monopoly here–no cable, no competing services. So we were in the palm of their absolutely unconcerned hand.

But enough about that.

The farm is around 11 acres–roughly 3 of woods, the rest in rolling pasture. We have a big red barn, a good-sized little farmhouse, and more water than you can shake your booty at–one creek that comes down the mountain to meet up with Hooper’s Creek (our main creek down the valley that runs RIGHT beside the house), plus at least 3 springs. I say “at least” because we just found another one a few weeks ago. We back up to thousands of untouched acres which are pretty much undevelop-able due to its steepness, rockiness, and the ubiquitous water. It’s just amazing, and Ellery is beside herself with joy and wonderment. Swings hanging from the big old trees, chickens slowly adapting to a new free-range lifestyle, hours spent in the creek, days spent wild-turkey-watching. It’s that good.

And there will be pictures to come, I promise. It’s one of the 3843945 internet-involving things we’re behind on, you know?

Oh, and there’s obviously been some new-house-sewing done–re-jiggered curtains for Ellery’s room (she has the most wonderful view of the creek and pasture), a shower curtain, etc. And I was gifted with the most lovely spiderweb selvedge mini-quilt by the talented Ms. Kelly Marks–what a housewarming gift, right?! So, yes, pics of all to come. Promise.

Minky baby blankets (or, I curse the gods of cuddliness)

A sweet little baby blanket for a sweet (and yet-to-be-born) baby.

Minky makes me want to take a nap...

The obscenely adorable owls are Michael Miller’s “Who’s Hoot?” in cream.  I got it here at my local fabric shop–they very occasionally carry some fantastic stuff!  And the Minky is a chocolate brown dot.  Mmmmm…

This is a standard baby blanket for me; one yard of quilting cotton, one yard of Minky.  Sew it, turn it, topstitch, and wham!  You’ve got a fantastically cuddly blanket that’s a nice, generous size (about 35″x42″).   If the baby’s a warm-climate resident, he/she gets a double layer of flannel instead of Minky so baby doesn’t catch afire.  My big complaint about many of the receiving and baby blankets we had with Ellery was their skimpy size.  It was dang-near impossible to swaddle an almost-9-lb newborn in them.  Much less keep her on it once she started creeping and all that.  This blanket is nice and substantial.  This blanket don’t back down.

There's that turquoise chair again, always looking so good with my stuff.

Sewing with Minky, though, continues to be a erratic beast.  Sometimes it goes beautifully and speedily.  Sometimes…  I seam rip and start again.  And again.  I don’t know why.  I do think, though, the dot and other textured Minky is a bit more temperamental than the smoother Minky.  But maybe that’s psychological on my part?  Anyone have any thoughts on working with Minky?

But the desire for the cuddliness always wins me back, even when I swear it off.  Damn you, Minky.  Damn yoooooooooooooou!

My first rendezvous with wonkiness…

I think I am a deeply wonky person.  Wonkiness appeals to me on so many levels.  It’s who I am–it’s how I design, it’s how I think and create.  I love a little intentional (and sometimes unintentional) wonkiness and what it brings to a piece.

So here’s my very first wonky log cabin block.  I think I made it a year or so ago?  And I’m just NOW taking the pics.  Sad, sad, I tell you.

It became a pillow.

I love it dearly, because it has two fabrics that I pretty much worship.  The glorious goldenrod “Flea Market Fancy” print–oh, the perfection of the design!  Oh, the perfect colors!  I combined it with some tonal turquoise and orange prints (drawing a blank on these collections–anyone?) and plenty of white Essex linen/cotton blend for texture and negative space.  It’s all quilted in turquoise, except on the white strips–it was too-too, if you know what I mean.

The outermost ring of turquoise-y print is part of a vintage twin bedskirt. LOVE.

And this… turquoise-y vintage wonder…  I have yards of it–it was two matching twin-size bedskirts, found at Goodwill years ago,  so quite a bit of fabric!–and yet I hoard and hoard it.  See the tiny strips I allowed in?  I ration it like it’s spun from unicorn manes or something.  It’s my favorite vintage fabric ever, though, so that’s how I justify my stingy mania.  It has limes and blues and browns and so many different patterns and it’s just glorious.  I’ll have to document its full wonder sometime.  It deserves its own post!

This pillow back makes me happy.

The back is done up envelope-style, with a strip of piecing inserted to the white linen-cotton.

My... what nice buttons you have.

And aren’t these buttons divine?  They came from Waechter’s, a venerable old fabric shop here in Asheville.  They have a pretty fantastic selection of buttons.   I’m starting to see how folks become obsessive about buttons and button collecting.  I used to limit my passion to fabric, but I can see that I’m starting to find a little space in my heart for an excellent button.  Or eight.

Yes, it’s a good pillow, and it is mine.  And it migrates pretty well from room to room.  But it does look best on the turquoise metal lawn chair, no?

Pretty bird… quilt.

Or bird on a wire?  (The quilting is rather wire-like in effect, at least from the front.)

I had purchased this fabric a while back out of sheer affection for its graphic qualities and color scheme; so what if I didn’t have a purpose in mind?  But it screamed to be a baby quilt, and so it came to pass…

Another wonky log cabin–this time with great simplicity but with boldness of color.  The wonderfully graphic bird print is from Erin McMorris’ collection “Park Slope”–a beautiful deep marine blue with chartreuse, navy, white, and hot pink birds all in a row.  I paired it with a bright pink Kona solid and a lovely, textured-looking chartreuse cotton.  It measures 31″x42″.

The binding is an almost-solid, blue-on-blue tonal print from “Park Slope” as well; I attached it by machine and by hand.  I kept the machine quilting spare as the back is rather busy with all the birds.  And I like the subtlety against the log cabins as well.

A little pair of birds grace the back.  My husband sketched out the silhouette is about 1/8th of the time it would have taken me.  I think not caring is sometimes the key in free-handing an image, you know?   I get waaaayyy too invested and freak out about its lack of perfection.  He just DOES.  And it works.

Wonky log cabin, I love you so.  You look so good in any sort of color palette, in any scale of print.  All solids, just as divine.  Will my love affair with the wonky log cabin ever cease?

We shall see…  I have some more sorts of wonk up my sleeve.  And I might just be won over.

Might.

(If this quilt needs to be yours, head here.)

And behind curtain #2 is… daylight savings time!

So, with Daylight Savings Time wreaking its maniacal havoc on my two-year-old’s sleeping habits, heavier curtains were in order.  STAT.

She gets the beautiful evening light in her bedroom, which is only beautiful until you’re trying to get her to sleep.  After which point it becomes HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE LIGHT that should GO AWAY NOW.  It’s so hard to fall asleep with your room ablaze.

Problem is  (and yes, what a lovely problem to have), we have gigantic windows.   93 inches from window to floor, and that’s not including the transom above.  I needed lots of yardage, and cheaply, because I didn’t want to spend my precious fabric money on something as dull as light-blocking curtains.  Not when there’s Anna Maria Horner voile in the world!

Here’s my solution:

It's hard to take good pics of curtains during the day. Also at night. Please note the little rocking chair handmade by my 85-year-old great uncle for Ellery!

I don’t know how I came to the conclusion that a canvas painter’s dropcloth would be the answer, but IT WAS.  I got three 45″x93″ panels from a single large dropcloth (can’t remember the exact dimensions of the thing, but it was maybe $26?), and it was lovely to tear and sew.  But tear it fast and hard, if you go that route.  Tear it with GUSTO.

I spy scraps from a lap quilt, pajama pants, two skirts, a diaper bag, a baby dress...

Then I gussied it up with some scraps, sewn down with 5 curving rows of  stitches, which the little one loves.  She spends literally hours in my various scrap bags and bins. So the curtains have become a giant game of “I-Spy”– “Look, that’s Daddy’s pajama pants!  And my dress!  And Mama’s shirt!  And…”  Which makes them a touch more attractive to her–because she definitely knows what it means when we go to draw the curtains, and she does NOT like that one little bit.

It's embarrassing and unplanned that this matches so well.

I’d actually made the tie-backs ages ago to go with the marigold-colored sheers we’ve used up until now–I’m astonished at how put-together it all looks.  As if I planned it this way or something!  (This is how all my decorating works.  A whole host of random things just come together in the weirdest, most excellent way.)  So, I’m pretty pleased, and Ellery is as well.  What more can one ask?

Well, I suppose I should at least trim the loose threads.  Perhaps.  In a year or so.  Does anyone else get this way?  You get to the very end and can’t even be bothered to trim threads before using/wearing/hanging up?  I’m ridiculous at doing this–it happens every time.  Tell me I’m not alone?

There’s a party in my pillow…

Or on my pillow?  A party quilted onto my pillow?

Party pillow does a little resting after a long night of sassing up this chair.

This is a super-fun piece of quilted pillow goodness.  I had a great time making it, and I feel like it’s an instant room brightener at a dramatic 18 inches square.  For when your sofa or bed needs a pick-me-up, you know?  Maybe your sofa knocked back a whiskey sour too many last night (that’s what my sofa favors, anyway), and it’s looking a little worse for the wear this morning–this will totally detract from the bags under its eyes and the burgeoning spot on its cushion.

Oooo, look at all that scrappy goodness.

It’s quite the grab-bag of bits of new and vintage fabric, all linen or cotton.  It’s quilted raw-edge-style onto an Essex linen/cotton blend, which has a wonderful texture, and the envelope closure back is pieced with a fun strip of cotton color.

Just look at this pillow back.

Did I mention mismatched buttons?  Oh yes.  We have those in spades here!

"No, don't touch those, Mama. Those are very magical."

In fact, this is my little button-jar impresario.  She rules the button jar with an iron fist.  She will tell you which buttons are for you and which are for Jenny the (Imaginary) Cat.  To eat for dinner!!!

If this pillow needs to grace your hungover sofa or under-the-weather bed, you can find it here.

Wherein I finally share something I made…

Terrible way to start a blog about things I’ve made, no?  Two posts in and not a stitch of my own (well, aside from the banner up top) to show for it.

Shall we rectify that situation?  We shall.

And yet.

It’s funny that the first handmade-by-me things I’m posting are ones that aren’t staying with me.

Baby, please come soon. I finished your quilt, like, a month ago.

This one is a quilt for Baby E, set to arrive any day now.  This baby’s mama and papa are some of my dearests, and it was SO much fun making this.  The color scheme is slightly more subdued than my usual palette, but so perfect for them and their lovely home and aesthetic.   The four main prints are from the “Arcadia” collection by Sanae/Moda–aren’t they divine?  This collection came out a year or so ago, and I snatched up some half yards because I NEEDED it, though I didn’t know why.  Turns out this was the “why”–who knew?  The soft blue is from “Sweet Dreams” by Robyn Pandolph, and the funky orange faux-bois is Joel Dewberry.  Oh–the lovely, slightly flecked off-white is the Kona solid  “Natural”–these photos don’t do it justice.  It’s so soft and vintage-y in its whiteness.  (Does that even make sense? Oh,  well–such are the musings of a fabric fiend.  What did you expect?)

A zig-zag back, you say? No!

A wonky log cabin front…  with a zig-zag back?  It’s madness, I know, and the only quilting scheme I could really envision was one that ignored the geometrics of both sides–hence the wobbly concentric circles.  Which I ended up COMPLETELY loving, though the execution of said wobbly circles made me want to throttle small animals.  Which I refrained from, I assure you.  But just reliving it is making me shoot lightning out of my eyes at the squirrel that’s invading my bird feeder as I type.   Zap!

ziggy-zaggy fun (and not-so-fun-yet-very-attractive concentric circle quilting)

I bound it in the blue solid with a few little bits of the orange faux-bois for zest (though it didn’t make it into this pic).  I think it works, no?

blue binding and quilting detail

And since I had scraps…  this pillow!

a wonky log cabin Arcadia pillow

It measures 18″x18″–wonky log cabin (it’s my true love right now), machine quilted, and all that.  Same fabrics as above, with some nice natural-toned buttons on the envelope closure on back.  And this, my friends…  is an inaugural item in my Etsy shop!  Indeed!  She’s finally doing it!  After all this time…  finally making an honest woman/entrepreneur of myself and getting it together.   So…  if you like…  you can buy.  It’s crazy like that!

But I assure you… this not merely a forum for me to shill my goods.  Oh, no.  It will be more, much more.  I’m just slow gettin’ started, ya’ll.  It’ll come.  As they say around here (and as I say myself), “I swar.”