30 October 2014

Woof woof

Recently, I did a trunk show in Detroit (at the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild -- love those ladies!)

One of the questions that I new they had for the chatting part of my presentation was how I got going in quilting/blogging/and generally being "out there" as a modern quilter.  To answer, I brought a picture of my first dog, Buzz.

first day home

Buzz was adopted from a shelter in Wisconsin in 2006.  His parents were working farm dogs and while he ended up being bigger than your average border collie, he showed every sign of being a pure-bred border collie in his behavior and herding ability (yes, I put him on sheep!)  The picture above, which was taken within 10 minutes of my bringing Buzz home from the shelter, sums him up pretty well--he was so pretty and so attentive and just a lot of fun to be around.

Before Buzz was very old, I started a dog blog.  I had to. Because Buzz was constantly being photogenic...
dog log

And he always looked deep into the camera lens...
nom nom nom

And so Buzz is the reason that I knew about Flickr and Flickr groups.  He was the reason I knew about blogger and had written a blog regularly prior to staring my quilting blog.  

I do find that blogs tend to have a lifespan, so I had stopped dog blogging by the time Buzz was four, and around then started to have things I wanted to say about quilts, so I started this quilting blog.  Just a funny little bit of my blogging history I thought I'd share.

quilt for em's baby

ALSO, I want to point any dog lovers out there towards my cousin Emily's Kickstarter campaign. Because one of the many special things about Buzz was that he was allergic to dog food.  As in, he was never not having diarrhea if he was fed any kind of commercial dog food.  It was really tricky to get under control and in the end, my poor non-mammal-eating soul had to buy and serve raw meat to him. Like almost two pounds or raw flesh a day and then some organ meat and bones as well.  It was truly an adventure.

Fedwell would have been another solution had it been around at the time. My cousin Emily founded Fedwell because her dog Fenway couldn't stomach the usual foods either. Emily adopted Fenway while she was in the Peace Corps (in Togo/West Africa). He almost died when she brought him to the USA and started feeding him commercial dog food. She fixed him with her own cooking and now she's in the dog food business! If you follow this link to her Kickstarter, you can watch the video to learn more about Emily and Fenway and how far this company has already come. Please consider backing her. I did; I know what a difference food can make for me and my dogs. Serving real food took Buzz from regular ear infections and a continually upset stomach to perfect health and happiness.

My current dogs (Hobbes and Vin) are thriving on the food we buy at the local store, but I know they'll love Fedwell kibble as treats!  For those who aren't dog owners or currently ready to switch their dog's food, but would like to back the project, you can have food donated to a Boston area shelter on your behalf.

Please consider going to Kickstarter and helping Emily reach her goal of $20,000.  She's almost there and there are just eight days to go! 


Dogs and quilts...its a thing!

22 October 2014

Autumn Columns (the Oakshott Blog Hop)

I love autumn and Michigan is having a truly beautiful one this year!

Fall in Michigan

I’ve also been excited about shot cottons since I first laid eyes on them over five years ago.  And I really enjoy mixing shot cottons with modern prints, which happens in my DoublePlusGood quilt   and in my megaXPlus quilt. They add a lovely complexity to the patchwork.  Oakshotts are among my favorite shot cottons--the colors are wonderful, the fabric doesn't curl when you press it, and the weight is very similar to standard quilting cottons.

Today’s post shows my first quilt top made entirely from shot cottons.  I made these simple improv columns so that the colors in the Autumn fabric bundle would really shine.  And I’m sharing this quilt with you today as part of the blog hop for Oakshott’s Autumn bundle. 

Autumn Columns

Autumn Columns

Fat eighth bundle of  Autumn Oakshott fabrics
½ yard if Nilgiri (the bluest fabric in the Autumn bundle)
½ yard of white Oakshott


My quilt is 48" x 64"; I could have made it even larger as I didn't use all of the fabrics.  

Autumn Columns

Be sure to catch all the stops on this blog tour--each has a tutorial!
21 October     Sonia Spence               www.fabricandflowersuk.blogspot.co.uk
22 October     Rossie Hutchinson        r0ssie.blogspot.com
24 October     Mary Menzer                 fairlymerry.blogspot.com
28 October     Alison Dutton                www.allison-sews.blogspot.com/
29 October     Nicholas Ball                 www.quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com
30 October     Kati Spencer                 www.fromthebluechair.com
31 October     Wynn Tan                      www.zakkaart.typepad.com

Full disclosure:  Oakshott sent me these fabrics at no cost.  All opinions are my own and are genuine. 

18 October 2014

Bits and Bobs - 2

This is the second of what I hope will become a regular series of posts calling attention to awesome things I have encountered on the Internet. My purpose is to practice gratitude by making a record of the good stuff that I see around me and perhaps bring something fun and new to my readers.

What’s better than Connect Four?  Eternas is.  It’s like Connect Four in a circle.  Also, this wood game is so pretty, we’ve taken to just leaving it out as decoration. 

I have no idea how this video reached 27 million views before I even watched it once! 'My First Hardcore Song' by 8 yr old Juliet OFFICIAL

Speaking of being late to the party, if you’re not already following Humans of New York on Facebook, please go be the 10 millionth +person to do so.   I swear that page is making me a better person. 

Less is more.  I’m attempting to declutter and found this blog post helpful.

Along the same vein, I’m experimenting with a capsule wardrobe (you can read about capsule wardrobes here) I threw out my damaged clothes and whittled down what is actually in my closet to a small subset of what I own (I didn’t do an exact count.) That’s what I’ll wear for the next 3 months.  Wish me luck.

Fall weather = jacket potatoes all the time.  Here’s a decent recipe for the potatoes I do these all the time and like to keep assorted toppings in the fridge, ready to go.  My favorite at the moment is slivers of turkey pepperoni, black olives, and fresh mozzarella. 

print from JodiLynnDoodles.com
This charming print from Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles is by my desk, making me smile….     I bought it at a local crafts fair.

A friend recently told me that she always buys something if she goes into a local independently-owned quilt shop, even if it’s just a spool of thread or a yard of solid white fabric.  The idea is to support the shop.  I’m going to try to do the same from now on; not all of the local shops cater to my taste, but I do really appreciate their being there and if they provide a decent customer experience, I’m happy to buy a little something!

I’ve also resolved to buy more of my books from local independently-owned shops, rather than online.  Yes, I pay 20% more, but I also help support business that I really value (I love Literati and Nicola's books in Ann Arbor)  Both host great events and have brought pretty rad books to my attention.  I figure I can make up the difference by using my library more often!

I just bought this new book by one of my favorite authors at Literati…can’t wait to dive in! The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Full disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links and I will profit if you click through and buy. Though of course I totally encourage you to simply use your library or buy at a local indie shop!  I also get a little bit of happiness kickback if you enjoy anything I’ve written here.  ;-)