Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mischievous Magicians

Is this cute, or what! A customer/friend of mine, Debbie Lamb, sent me this photo. It's made with fabric from the "Treats" and "Spellbound" Halloween collections. If you like it, the fabric is on my website and you can get a free pattern. There's a Boy Scout quilt on my website- same pattern. It's called "Scout's Honor". Just substitute the Halloween fabrics- or any fabric you like. The solid blocks are great for large prints or focus fabrics. Re-size it to suit your needs. It's really quick and easy. This is a great example of how a quilter can take a simple pattern and make it look amazing by selecting great fabrics in great combinations. This is just squares and 9-patches and some borders. Debbie has a great eye for combining fabric. And she loves Halloween fabric and confesses that she has a huge stash of it. I love, love, love this, Debbie!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Giveaway for opinions!

We're looking at modifications to the Alderwood Quilts website. Many customers comment on the look and ease of use of the site, but we're always looking at ways to improve to serve YOU better!

I placed a poll to the right- could you please do me a favor and add your opinion? Currently, we don't ask customers to "scroll down" to view products. But we are adding to inventory, and that will mean that you will sometimes have several pages to work through to see all of the products in that category. Would you rather scroll down a long page, or page through several pages without having to scroll down? I don't want people to miss things lower down on a page, but I don't want people to miss things on other pages, either. Which is easier for you?

We will also be tweaking the home page sometime after the holidays. No big changes are planned, but we'll just make a few little changes to make it more fun for you to visit the website. If you have any comments or suggestions- either praise or "constructive"- I really would like to hear it. I'd also like to hear what fabric lines you would like to see us carry. Have some opinions? Bring em' on!

Call me during the day (Pacific Time) at 503-324-9400 or send me an email.

To give you a little incentive, I'm doing a giveaway. If you reply to this post, call, or send me an email with feedback about our website, you'll be entered in the giveaway. The lucky winner will receive a "Fresh Sunflower Wreaths" pattern and a pack of 8 fat quarters from the Serendipity Sunflower collection. I'll do a random drawing on September 14th. Even though the drawing ends on September 14th, I always appreciate feedback.

And- speaking of entering my giveaways- I was asked if you could win more than once. SURE! If you've already won one of my giveaways, your chances are as good as anyone's to win again.

Can't wait to hear from YOU!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More summer wanderings

I took a short trip to Crater Lake with my niece, Meredith. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in Oregon.
We hiked along the rim at sunrise. Look closely- a bear cub was there before us.
Standing on the west side of the rim trail watching the sun rise. Aside from getting up at 5am to drive up there, this was awesome!
And standing on the east side of the lake watching the sun set.
Lava beds in central Oregon.

Summer Wanderings

Isn't this the cutest birdhouse you ever saw? It's kind if a bird condo for all sorts of birds. Way cool! There are bunches of these around the rest area near the beach at Cape May, New Jersey.
I was in Cape May for a day in June while visiting relatives in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Several people were fishing from the shore line and I was just relaxing in a chair with a sudoku book. zzzzzzzz........
Last weekend, my DH and I took a drive to Fort Clatsop, Oregon, where they have a re-creation of the camp where Lewis and Clark wintered. I love history.
And I found a surprise in the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center. There was a quilt made by school children to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Oregon. I couldn't stand far enough back to get a good photo, but you get the idea.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sad News about Kathy Sandbach

I just learned some sad news about one of the quilting world's bright stars, Kathy Sandbach. Kathy is suffering from Frontal Temporal Dementia and her children are selling some of her work to fund her care. She must have been a wonderful mother, because her children are standing by her in her time of need. I was touched to read that they are selling her quilts, not only to raise money, but also to put them in the hands of people who will cherish them. It's a way of spreading their mother's legacy. Learn more about Kathy's condition and how to help at C&T Publishing.

I have a friend who is suffering from frontal lobe atrophy and I know first hand how difficult it is to watch someone suffer from a disorder that manifests itself in gradual personality changes over several years. It's so hard to know if the behaviors are those of the person, or of the disease. By the time you realize that there is a problem, you've spend a lot of time being irritated with them for bizarre and sometimes hurtful behavior. They do things that are inappropriate or out of character and you don't understand why at first. When you realize it was not their fault, you feel guilty for having been angry... which of course was not your fault, either. It's really tough. My heart goes out to Kathy Sandbach's family, and to other families who are caring for loved ones who are suffering from similar disorders.

If you ever took a class from Kathy, or read one of her wonderful books on machine quilting, it would mean a lot to her family if you posted your thoughts by signing the guest book on C&T or on Kathy's old website.

This is a wonderful opportunity to thank our Maker that we have the ability to sit here and read and comprehend our favorite blogs.

Cold Compress Pillow with Lavender and Flax

Isn't this pretty? Well- it's as useful as it is attractive! This is from Lorraine's post on the Rabbit Factory. (It's her picture, too) Lorraine's DH has low back pain and she made this pillow filled with flax seed and lavender. She freezes it to use it as a cold compress pillow. I think I just found a new use for my dried lavender buds!

I enjoy reading Lorraine's posts regularly. I just love The Rabbit Factory patterns. I have one on my website (Licorice Allsorts) but I think I need to add more. What do you think? Check out the Rabbit Factory and help me decide which patterns I need to add to my website. The Rabbit Factory blog also has a really pretty applique BOM going. Be sure to check it out! I guess I never mentioned how much I love bunnies, too. A blogger who loves quilts, lavender and bunnies- how much better can it get?

In the meantime, I think I need to try mixing some of my dried lavender buds with flax seed and making a cold compress like Lorraine did. After several hours of harvesting, my lower back is often in need of a little relief, too! Thanks for your inspiring posts, Lorraine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Circle of Geese

I just found a new blog and had to share it with you. I was reading Rachel's blog at 2nd Avenue Studio this morning and she posted this really cool block by Christina at Sometimes Crafter. I've always enjoyed reading Rachel's posts and now I look forward to adding Christina's to my reading list.

This photo is the July block from Christina's BOM. (It's her picture, too) Her work is very creative- fresh and contemporary with good traditional bones. And the best part is that it comes with a very well done tutorial on paper piecing. I think I'll do her BOM series- looks like it will be a great group of blocks! Christina also has some yummy-looking recipes on her blog. Take a look!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sock Summit

For those of you who are new to my blog, I should explain that my passion is quilting, and my "take along hobby" is knitting. I take knitting on vacation and in the car. When I'm at home or work, I quilt whenever I can. My niece is visiting and she is a knitter. Meredith (niece), Karen (friend) and I spent a wonderful day filled with all things knitting last Saturday at the Sock Summit.

Last weekend, for 3 days, the first Sock Summit was held in Portland, OR. Knitters from all over the country were in hog heaven... or maybe "sheep" heaven. The world must be full of naked sheep, because there was a TON of wool there! The focus was socks, but there was much, much more. They had sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves and the world's largest sock (in progress). Vendors from all over the world had absolutely scrumptious yarns to drool over. The patterns were unique and creative. My head was spinning faster than the spinning wheels! The photo above was one of my favorite pieces. It was made from scraps of sock yarn. This is my new goal- to collect scraps of sock yarn to make one of these. I have 2 nieces who knit and they have both given me their sock yarn scraps to get started. It might take years- but I'll show you when I have something to show. I don't knit as much as I quilt, so it will take me a long time to collect this many scraps of sock weight yarn. Anyone out there have any sock yarn scraps that need a good home?

This just tickled me. It's a fish. It was hanging from the ceiling and I just had to share it with you.

And for those of you who have little dogs and dress them up, I just wanted to show you how people dress BIG dogs. We have a golden retriever, but he'd never sit still for this. He'd chew up the hat in 30 seconds flat.

If you want more information on the Sock Summit, they have a website. I have no idea where they are going to have the Sock Summit next year. This was the first one, and I don't know if it will stay in Portland or travel around. Selfishly, I'm hoping it stays here, but it would probably be best for the show if it traveled. I heard someone mention Toronto, but I have no idea if she knew what she was talking about. They had classes and panels of well known knitters and designers. I hope the show evolves and expands to include more classes (short ones as well as longer classes), more classes on things OTHER than socks, and more demos and displays (I didn't see much of that). They had great vendors and I loved talking to shop owners on the show floor. My experience is mostly with quilt shows. What I enjoy mostly about shows in seeing what's new and networking, although I know that the vendors need to sell product. The most successful shows are the ones that do a good job of blending both of these needs. The Sock Summit is off to a good start. I bought a lot of yarn and several patterns, and learned a lot from others who were there.

Can't wait for next year!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Big News!

Our younger son, Steve, and his girlfriend, Emily just stopped by with some news! Steve took Emily skydiving yesterday and when they got back on the ground, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. We're thrilled! Steve and Emily are very happy and we love them both. We're so fortunate! We have 2 sons. Paul married his sweetheart, Cady, last summer. Cady and Emily are two of the best daughters-in-law that a mom could ever hope for. They make my sons happy and for that, I am very grateful.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Almost done!

Just a few more rows to harvest! I really should have the lavender all out of the field by now. but it's been a super busy week. The lavender that is still on the plants is looking a little unhappy. The rest will be dried and I'll take the buds off to sell in bulk.

My lavender farm is pretty small compared to most. I have 300 plants- mostly grosso and gros bleu. But it's about all we can handle. I planted tiny little lavender plants in the fall of 2007. My first harvest (Summer, 2008) yielded about 75 bundles. My second harvest (Summer, 2009) yielded 450 bundles!!! I wonder what next summer will bring.

Cat flea spray

This photo was taken from a craft by Jessica Wilson posted on Click here to be directed to her craft project. She tells how she makes this potion for lavender and lemon to spray on her cats to control fleas. She has great pictures, too. It's a good site. Thanks to blog reader Judy LeVang to alerting me to Jessica's project!