Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sisters and Shoes

This last week I spent sometime with my family back in Illinois. I have two sisters, one older, Kim, and one younger, Crystal. Kim is turning 40 this year, so Crystal and I decided to take her to Chicago for the weekend for her birthday.

From left to right: Crystal, Heidi, and Kim

I arrived in Chicago last Wednesday and spent most of the day wondering around to different fabric shops in the downtown area:
The Needle Shop
A cute shop that teaches sewing and sells some designer fabrics at the corner of Hoyne and Charleston in Bucktown, Chicago. The staff was very friendly :) They have a nice selection of home dec, linen and cotton fabrics as well as notions, patterns and books.I had a lovely walk, about 6 blocks, from the CTA Blue Line's Western stop to the shop. If you are in the neighborhood, Arturo's is a wonderful place to stop for lunch.
Fishman's Fabrics
Found near the loop in downtown Chicago, Fishman's is close to Vogue and Rainbow fabric near the corner of South Desplaines Street and Roosevelt Road. They are currently under renovations (July 2009), but are still open for business. Not much quilting cottons but lots of other great fabrics to offer: velvets, gingham, vinyl, leather, lace, satins, wools, tweeds, ribbons, zippers, etc.
New Rainbow Fabrics
Across the street from Vogue on Roosevelt Road, this shop had a good selection of apparel fabrics. They had some beautiful silk baroque at the front of the store. They have a large selection of linen too.
Vogue Fabrics
Close to Rainbow and Fishman's, this store was the mother load for different fabrics. Everything from cottons to silk to batik to apparel and home dec. They have a whole section for notions and a wall-o-buttons. Definitely worth the stop to peruse the store. I walked off with some batiks :)
At about 6:00pm on Wednesday, I took the Amtrak train down to Kewanee so my sister and mom could pick me up. Only $16.00 for my ticket. Not bad compared to $250.00 to rent a car one way for the same trip. The train was not crowded and it was relaxing not to have to drive out of Chicago and be on the road for three hours by myself. Definitely and option for future travel...

Thursday was spent in and around Peoria, IL. A trip to the zoo with my niece and nephews was excellent. Lunch was at Avanti's, mmm Italian... and the best bread ever. Friday morning was spent with my mom in Toulon, IL having a good lunch at a local diner, Connie's Country Kitchen. As a matter of fact, Connie's was the place I worked at during high school as a waitress. The burgers are still just as good as ever!

We spent Friday night driving to Chicago. We had a lovely breakfast at a restaurant close to our hotel then headed to the CTA train station at O'hare. After a lovely train ride, we walked around downtown Chicago visiting the Art Institute, some shops on Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier. Lunch was at a burger joint at Navy Pier called Billy Goat Tavern. You may have heard of this place, but the funnest part about it is that Saturday Night Live did a skit based on this restaurant. The famous "Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger... Pepsi, no Coke... Chips, no fries" skit :) There is actually a guy "taking the orders" by yelling out Cheezborger. I couldn't help but smile every time he did.

We then took the blue train out of downtown and stopped off at Damen to visit the shopping district there. They have vintage clothing, music and book stores in this shopping district. We didn't stay long since we were tired and there was a music festival going on in the area. LOTS of people...

It all about the shoes

My nephew was wearing these adorable Lightning McQueen shoes during my visit. I couldn't resist getting a picture of them.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pay It Forward: Gift Received

Kristie over at Artisan Clay had a Pay It Forward post.  The rules of her giveaway were that you had to also participate by "paying it forward" to five other people, i.e., send a handmade gift their way sometime in 2009.

Well, I signed up. Yesterday I received these lovelies in the mail from Kristie.

Image from Kristie's post on July 16, 2009, because my photos of these wonderful cups and beads/buttons were awful.

Aren't these the coolest. I cannot wait to incorporate her beads into a sewing project of mine.

By the way, I still have four slots left to fullfill my portion of the "Creative People Pay It Forward". I have only had one taker on my offer. Maybe I can convince some of my quilting pals over on the Doll Quilt Swap Filckr pool to hop in on the Pay It Forward Fun!

Which leads me to... Doll Quilt Swap #7 is looking for participants. So head on over to the Flickr Group for more information on how to join. In the meantime, here are the quilt I sent out:

#5 Sent to Quilting in the Valleys (Gina)

Circuits Back After Washing

#6 Sent to Fissiett (http://whatidobesidework.blogspot.com/)
Finished Mission Quilt
Double Pinwheel Back Finshed

Here are the ones I received:

#5 from Needles-n-Notions
Front Side of DQS5 Quilt

Reverse Side of DQS5 Quilt

#6 from imagingermonkey
Doll Quilt Swap 6 Received

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Giveaway over at Fabric Shopper

Pretty Ditty Apron Pattern and 3 Yards of Fabric

The Fabric Shopper is giving away a pretty apron pattern and three yards of fabric. Take a look-see on their blog to see how to enter.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Simon and Me

Just a couple of quick side notes
 1) There are still 4 slots available for the Pay It Forward post. See my post for more details.
 2) In the spirit of Old Red Barn's Quilt-a-Long, I think I am brewing up some ideas for a sew-a-long/give-away for my 100th post. More to come soon.
3) Give away over at the Fabric Shopper: Amy Butler bag.

Now on to Simon and me...

Simon and Me

My husband snapped this photo of me and my new friend, Simon, just outside of Daine Koss's booth (Cutesy but not Cutesy) at the Art Star Craft Bazaar in Philadelphia, PA. I just love Diane's work. I had been watching her Etsy shop for a while now. I just couldn't decide which creature to have her ship to me. Then I noticed that she would be at the show in Philadelphia. My husband and I packed up the Honda Fit and made the three plus hour drive to Philly for the show. It was wonderful. (More Photos)

Simon is now living in my craft studio. He likes looking out the window at all the birds in our neighbor's trees as well as all the bunnies that hop across our yards. Sometimes you can hear him chitter like a cat :)

I also saw My Ugly Kitty's, Renee at the show. It was really cool because she did a double take and said, "Hey, I know you..." She later told me that she recognized me by my hat. My profile picture over on Flickr has me in this hat too. I think that is where she saw me. You can always find me in a crowd :)

I sent some pictures into her friends of Quasi page about a year ago and have been following her blog ever since. All three of my kitties joined Quasi's "adorkable" friends page. Renee is a really talented print artist. She makes custom silkscreened invitations and other stationary. I just love her work.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Works in Progress

Old Red Barn Quilt Along: Back Started

Okay so I am working kinda backwards, but I had a bit of time waiting from some fabric to wash and dry. So I filled the time with sewing together the leftover blocks from the 14 strip sets. These blocks ended up 12" x 6". All together they are about 77.5" in width. Just the right size to make it across the width of the back of the quilt. Now I just need to find the right fabric to finish out the back, hmmmm. Solid or patterned, solid or patterned. I will keep you posted.

Back Strip

Brown and Green Quilt Progress

This is the one that I want to be finished before I leave to visit my family near the end of this month. I finished the front and started working on the back this weekend. I can never just have a plain back, darn it! So I started sewing together some left-over pieces from the Marque quilt I finished in May.

Hodge-podge Blocks

Here is what the strips looked like before I sewed them together.

More Piles of Blocks

They make an excellent hodge-podge of colors. I plan to alternate the starting height of the patchwork blocks so that it is not a straight line across the back of the quilt. I am using a dark brown solid fabric to finish up the vertical strips. It would look something like this.

Drawing for Back of Brown and Green Quilt

You can also see all my doodles for figuring out how much yardage I needed as well as the cutting plan.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Swaps and Such

Spring Blooms Mini-Quilt Swap

Spring Blooms Mini-Quilt Swap by  The Quilting Gallery

This is the quilt I received from Kari over at Fresh Cut Quilts Pattern Co.. She did such a wonderful job on this using vintage prints and a beautiful glass button circa early 1900's. You can see the button in the middle of that cute red flower in the center of the quilt. Kari used a stray, mismatched in size, quilt block for this. She even told me she had a hard time parting with all the lovely vintage prints as she loves them just as much as I do. Well, Kari, I will take good care of them. As you can see from my other pictures, your quilt is already hanging in my studio next to all my lovely swap quilts. Thank you so much!

I, on the other hand, have been a little delinquent on getting mine finished for my partner. To my defense, I ran into some snags getting it completed. Though I should have planned a little better. I should be able to ship it off tomorrow. I just need to add some beads at the center of the flowers to finish off the design (see below).

The flowers are a three dimensional block pattern from the book Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat called "Inside Out Flowers". The butterfly is applique as well as all the leaves. I traced a picture of a butterfly to get the dimensions. The antenna on the butterfly is my first attempt at embroidery. I like how it turned out :) I will post a close up of the bead work after I finish it tonight.

(Semi) Finished Spring Blooms Quilt