Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back to reality...

If Pearl the Squirrel has any readers left, I'll be amazed. And I just have time for a very quick post. After my trip to Lake Tahoe I returned to home and work for three days, then left again, this time for the opposite coast for my niece's high school graduation. I had a great time with my sister and her family and my niece Anna seemed to genuinely like the Birdie Sling I'd made for her. The day after graduation she transferred the items from the bag she usually carries into the Birdie Sling and took it with her to Busch Gardens. High praise, I thought!

Here's a picture of Anna and me at her graduation dinner. We ate crab cakes and she's holding her bag (and a very bright future). Here's to you, Anna!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Sunday night blahs...

Sunday nights are a challenge for a lot of people. One of my sister's used to call it "the Sunday dreads," as in dreading the return to work on Monday morning. I like my job and the people I work with, but sometimes I still have that moment when I wish the weekend could go on a little longer. A couple of years ago I decided to make Sunday nights a sewing night and that helped—I actually started to look forward to the end of the weekend, because I'd set aside time to stitch.

Although I really have no reason to complain tonight, I'm feeling all the more challenged about returning to work because I've been on vacation. I had the amazing good fortune to spend five days in Lake Tahoe with some quilting friends, new and newer.
Six of us gathered at the most gorgeous home on the shore of Lake Tahoe and learned to paint on fabric from Mary Lou Weideman, who recently took a class from Susan Shie. Mary Lou drew on her art background and gave Susan's painting and writing techniques a "Weideman twist." (That's Mary Lou wielding a paintbrush on the right and Molly on the left, learning from the master.)

I've said before that I'm not an artist and several of us felt intimidated about drawing and painting. But everyone was encouraging and had a great time. I didn't actually get the words on mine yet, but I did enjoy the painting a lot...once it was drawn on the cotton I had that wonderful feeling I used to get when I colored in a coloring book: the pleasure of choosing and combining colors and just zoning out as I filled in the blanks. Lots of good thinking time, along with great conversation and an opportunity to admire everyone's creative spirits (and eat M&M's).

Our hostess, Lynn, was an absolute delight and made us really feel at home. I sometimes felt wrong looking at my work and not at the views, but there was always time to take a break, walk down the beach, or just step outside and check out the mountains and the water.

We also enjoyed some time in town, including at the Red Hut Cafe, where we purchased what became our uniform (left to right: Molly, Cherise, me, Mel, Robyn, and Mary Lou on the dock of Lynn's home).

It was an inspiring week and on top of it I learned how to applique from Mary Lou and Mel got me all excited about making yo yos (that's her at the sewing machine, with a stack of her Liberty of London yo-yos in front of her). Here's what I came up with:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Third time's the charm...

I've made my third Birdie Sling and I'm very happy with this one. I used all Amy Butler's fabrics and I think the scale of the fabrics suits the size of the bag quite nicely. I hope the person for whom it's intended will enjoy it—it's destined to be a gift later this month. (A shout out to Anne K. of Pearvana for the bags-on-trees photo idea!)

I also made this little bag from Terry Atkinson's Tag Along Tote pattern. I've sewn a few quilts using Terry's patterns and always been pleased by how well-thought out they are and the clever ways she puts blocks together. In particular I made a star quilt that she designed so that it was impossible to sew over the star tips—perfect for someone who's not a perfectionist...like me!

I bought the fabric and pattern at River City Quilts, a great shop in Mankato, Minnesota. It's a little hard to find, tucked away in a strip mall, but the shop is a delight, as are the women who work there. I've stopped in when I visit a relative who lives in town and always been pleased by the number of patterns, the range of fabrics, and the different takes they have on kits. I was very tempted by a quilt that featured purple, orange, and yellow batiks. Sounds fairly wild, and it was, in the best possible way.

Also, congratulations to Anne R. She'll be receiving a copy of Diana Rupp's book. I admit to being a little disappointed in the number of comments I received, considering that the give-away prize was really quite exceptional. But thanks to those who entered. Wish I could send you each a copy!