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"I Heart Oregon" Archive

Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day

Friday, January 18th, 2013

This coming Thursday (Jan 24, 2013) is Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day. Which means that every day is Visit Your LQS Day, but on Thursday we get to have cake (right?) (right!).  I am a huge supporter of LQS’s (as I am of independent online shops, too), and sometimes I get a little carried away when I step into my LQS.  But in my defense, the fabrics I’m in love with might be gone tomorrow.  When the FabShopNet asked me if I’d be interested in being on the VYLQSDAY blog tour I jumped at the chance.  Not only do I love to talk about my favorite LQS - I knew I had to go there so I can take some freshie pics.  Yes.  Fact finding.  Gathering up-to-date, current info.  Research.

Just a quick 35 minute drive south of my home in Astoria, and just off the scenic 101… lies my fabric nirvana (also known as Center Diamond) in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon
Because one pic is not enough
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Julie, the proprietress of Center Diamond, stocks her store just for me. And maybe a few other things for other people with other tastes.  It never fails that when I walk in I want pretty much everything I see. Center Diamond is almost two decades old, but is always fresh like it just opened last month. Much of that is due to Julie being so knowledgeable about the textile industry and what’s new, hot and fresh - and stocking her store with all that’s new, hot and fresh.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

It was in Center Diamond that I first discovered Echino, and Julie’s shop was the only one I knew of that had it. This was back in 2005 maybe? I remember discovering “Encino” (you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl) and thinking, “what is this magical Japanese, Swedish-ish looking fabric and can I please buy it all?!”. Center Diamond is always way ahead of the fabric crushes and trends.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Everyone is always warmly greeted by friendly staff, and then greeted with a hearty stock and assortment of sewing awesomeness.  Center Diamond’s warm and cozy space is filled will all thing must-have, like:
Samples and patterns.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

More samples and more patterns.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Books, books, and more books. Lots of yummie publications from Japan, too!
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Notions (especially my favorite things like Aurifil thread and Creative Grids rulers)
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Aneela sighting!
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

And of course fabric. Glorious, glorious fabric.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon
Aisles of colors
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

A yard please. Yes, I already have some of this Echino at home. But it might be gone tomorrow. It’s for the greater good.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Until next time, Center Diamond. I love you. (blowing kisses)
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Taking the long way home. Because The Goonies is my favorite movie in the whole, wide world.
Center Diamond - Cannon Beach, Oregon

Be sure to check out the VYLQSDAY blog tour and see all the tours.

Sublime Floss!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Never ever in the history of nevereverness has there been such a cool, new embroidery floss!  The super cool and brilliant genius (coolest girl in the whole damn school), Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching unveils her new Sublime Floss embroidery floss today. I was lucky (lucky is an understatement) to be able to take Sublime Floss out for a test spin before today’s big unveiling.
Sublime Floss!

After I parked from the test spin, I confess to wanting to make out with the floss.  That or eat it. Sublime Floss is like candy without the nasty repercussions. Sweet little 7-packs of crazy, sick yumminess.
Sublime Floss!

Organized in perfect little color group packs. I love picking out fabrics for a quilting or sewing project so much, that I think I actually get a buzz.  But with floss, I don’t have brain juju to put colors together.  In my hand a gathered bundle looks amazing and well put together - but once I’ve stitched with it and see it on my fabric… I wonder what the spork I was thinking. Blerg ferg, I suck at auditioning floss. With Sublime Floss I no longer have to think or audition floss, it’s all been done for me. GAH, love it so much. <Arnold Schwarzenegger> Stitchery super powers are now mine! </Arnold Schwarzenegger>
Sublime Floss!

It took everything I had to open the sweet little packages o joy and take out the floss, but thank goodness I did - there were even more sweet surprises inside! OHMYUNIVERSE, the color names are so fun and clever!
Sublime Floss!

And then I saw the little messages at the end of each skein - too cute, too clever, too funny and TOO COOL!!
Sublime Floss!

For my test spin I thought it would be fitting to sample a pattern I had recently bought at Sublime Stitching - a pattern by Carson Ellis on Sublime Stitching’s artist series. I had no idea how much I loved Carson’s work until Sublime Stitching unwittingly feed me nuggets of enlightenment… HEY, that’s the same Carson Ellis who’s illustrations grace the Wildwood books (with her writer husband Colin Meloy of The Decemberists!)  - THE reason I bought the books was because of the cover artwork (and because I got great feedback when I Instagram’d Colin & Carson’s books while I was at Costco, and because the books take place right here in Oregon). AND OH HEY, Carson Ellis is the same artist who’s benefit poster I’ve loved so much for so long.  I was initially drawn to the mention of my little town of Astoria and the Liberty Theater on the poster, and then fell in love with the artwork.   Talk about sublime serendipity!
Sublime Floss + Carson Ellis

Besides loving the colors of Sublime Floss, I love the tightness of the floss (all while retaining it’s soft, buttery feel). I’m a 2-strand stitcher, but often find I have to go to one strand for detailed embroidery work. With this floss I can still use two strands and not loose my detailed stitches in a fat, blubber of floss.  I stitch with long threads because I’m lazy, and this floss really holds up to prolonged stitching time without getting separated, thin, or fuzzy. I love you, floss.
Sublime Floss + Carson Ellis

I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with this любовь (Love) stitchery once I’m done, but I’m just happy to be stitching with my new floss boyfriend.


It finally feels like Summer…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

… well, at least in the produce aisle.
Pacific Northwest summer - achieving through produce.
It has been a wet, dark, mucky and gloomy Winter Summer so far here in the Pacific Northwest.   The good side of that, is that little things like berries and the occasional sunny days are all the more magnificent. Reminding myself that our Summer is not ¾ empty, but it’s ¼ full.  And that ¾ is the perfect time to go quilt something.  Reminding myself.  Reminding myself.  Reminding my… SQUIRREL!!!

(squirrel = UPS truck with a fabric purchase)

The Anatomy of Lemonade

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I bought some great London fabric by The Henley Studio (from Makower UK/Andover) from both Pink Chalk Fabrics and the Fat Quarter Shop.  My big plan was to sew with it on the weekend of the Diamond Jubilee, as well as simultaneously with Fat Quarterly’s London retreat.  Transporting myself to London from my little spot at our Portland MQG All Day Sew.  I had it all planned out - I would make another Lunch bag from Ayumi’s pattern (I think this makes 9 bags, now).  I was so careful, too.  Making sure I had my directions running in all the right ways.

Easy, this is the 9th time I’ve made Ayumi’s pattern.
Focused and mindful.
No sweat.
Piece of cake.
I can make Bag9.0 with my eyes closed.
I can sew this bag in my sleep.
I don’t even need to use a machine… I can mind-sew it.
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

Of course… naturally… I am full of $#!+.  Oh yeah (Kool-aid Man voice).
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

Sigh. Not gonna toss it. I sewed the outer and inner units together and trimmed it with some top stitching. I guess I have a too-small iron cover.
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

Or a hat for Traci.  (Meg, Amber and Jen are the happy little sewing bees in the background)
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

With no purse to finish now, I’ll just watch Violet make her beautiful bee block for Sally.
Violet's bee block for Mo

After PMQG All Day Sew we go out for Mexican food (so very London-ish, eh)… I watch Traci and Violet drink something out of giant cereal bowl that tasted like Froot Loops with tequila to me.  One sip and I was glad I was sticking with a Coke.  This has nothing to do with my sewing fail - I’m just so amused by this drink that I’m making it a part of Bag9.0’s story.
Violet, Traci, and a bowl of tequila & Froot Loops

The following day I pick up where I left off, and redo Bag9.0’s main body. So cute is Ayumi’s pattern, and I love it in this London fabric (+ some of Darlene Zimmerman’s long ago Little Darling’s from my stash for the band and handles).
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

I’m so glad I Instagram’d/tweet’d/flickr’d my Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition fail - Sandie left me a comment on my flickr pic with a great tip: “Turn it inside out and then fold a couple inches to the outside.  It’ll still be upside down inside, but once you fill it, who’s gonna notice?“.   And that’s just what I did.
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

Lesson learned: When life gives you lemons… Instagram/tweet/flickr about it. Thank you for the lemonade, Sandie!
Bag9.0 Diamond Jubilee Edition

Gran Flakes

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Last February the Portland Modern Quilt Guild had a very special visitor - Kathy Miller of Michael Miller Fabrics.  It was a fun and so very interesting evening, but nothing could top the excitement when Kathy handed out color cards of Michael Miller’s dreamy new Cotton Couture solids to everyone.  It was definitely an Oprah handing-out-keys-to-new-cars moment.  A color card for you, and a color card for you

We also learned that Michale Miller Fabrics chose our guild to participate in a block challenge, and the winning blocks would be made into a quilt and displayed in the Michael Miller booth at Quilt Market (next week!).  Oh boy, I don’t think Kathy knew what she got herself into. I don’t know how she is going to pick winning blocks - when they are ALL winning blocks.  HOLY SQUIRREL NUTS, they’re all so amazing!  Edited in: the selected blocks and quilt.

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

I love how the blocks look against the white brick wall.
Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Each block could easily be a full size quilt version of itself.
Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

This is my block. I had no idea what to do or what direction to go in… so I went in all directions. I don’t know how I feel about it, kinda meh, but it was fun to drive to the fork in the road and take all the roads at once.
Portland Modern Quilt Guild - Michael Miller Cotton Couture Modern Block Challenge

I fell in instant love with the new Cotton Couture.  The colors are super saturated eye candy, and the fabric feels like little heavenly clouds of cotton that angels farted out. Poof.  So much for any hope of me becoming a Michael Miller copywriter. But seriously, Cotton Couture is so dreamy, and now that I’ve sewn with it - it feels like I’ve flown first class, and I can never go back to coach.

I harvested all my leftover scraps, tiny little flakes of cotton happiness just begging me (in a Kool-aid pitcher man voice) to be used.  In a granny kind of way.  Fiber filled Gran Flakes.  Oh yeah.
Gran Flakes

I’m seeing the grannies all over, and just loving seeing them. I know there are different methods being used, but I have a thing about bias edges - so I made my sides with 3″ quarter-squares and 2″ half-squares for the corners.  The center squares were cut at 1½”.  It’s a little over-kill on the sides and corners, but I like having room to square-up and trim.  Kinda like wearing an elastic waist-band skirt when going to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.
Gran Flakes

Simple sashing and auditioning floss. Mmmm, any excuse to use Cosmo.
Gran Flakes

Some hand quilting.
Gran Flakes

Two things I love doing - hand quilting and big stitch embroidery quilting.  Edited in:  I use two stands of Cosmo floss and a Piecemaker embroidery needle. Even though an embroidery needle feels like a quilting needle from Land of The Giants, I do use the same rocking method to quilt as if it’s thread. It just somehow works.
Gran Flakes

Gran Flakes

I love quilting so much, that I get a little sad when I’m just about to finish a quilt.
Gran Flakes

Bam. Snuck in some Happy Mochi Yum Yum, and I love that it does not even come close to matching or go together.
Gran Flakes

100 Days of OhMyGoshing!

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Oh. My. Gosh. I love the Modern Quilt Guild’s out of this world 100 Days of Modern Quilting epic event!  I’ve never been so excited about a blog series as I have the 100DoMG.  It’s so good I almost want to print out each day and make a little book out of it.  My life has been full of life recently - but there’s been one constant… I check the MQG’s blog every day for the day’s posting of the 100DoMG.

And if that’s not enough - they asked ME if they could feature MY quilt on one of days during the 100 Days - Week of Blocks!  ME… Featured Quilt 6!  Did I mention ME?!  Did I mention MY “Make Me Happy” Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-long quilt?
my Make Me Happy quilt

The money shot: I love how skinny my quilt makes me look.
Make Me Happy quilt

I’m also thrilled the MQG asked me - because I chop-chopped and got off the pot and quilted my quilt.  I still can’t get over that I’m machine quilting.  Not the best quilting, and I never thought I’d be able to do machine quilting.   Ever.
Make Me Happy quilt

And not that I’ll give up hand quilting - but it sure is liberating to do it by machine, and to know I did it, and to have it done in only a few days.  In a weird way, I’m kinda proud of my crappy quilting… it gives it that home made love look to me.  I feel like when I was a kid, and I’d help my mom stir something on the stove and I got to say “I helped make…”.   My machine quilting feels the same way, but now I actually get to say, “I made that!”.   Of course if my quilting was like a meal… I’d be offering Tums and extra napkins to go with it.
Make Me Happy quilt

Side note - my husband is always, always, always very supportive of my quilting, my friends time, blogging/tweeting/pinteresting, and he even stands in and plays quilt model for me. Though sometimes he just doesn’t get photographing quilts and my whole The Walking Quilted obsession and taking photos in places where photos SHOULD be taken. In this case, dear Hub’s was not thrilled about this farm shot. His words, “we can’t do that… it’s someone’s driveway!”. Poor guy, he’s learning.
Make Me Happy quilt

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Driving Miss Daisy

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

This post has nothing to do with Miss Daisy, or even driving - it just sounded like a good title. And I like saying it. I also like saying Jalalabad (Afghanistan) - but that’s really hard to work into a title. My other title option was Friends with Benefits - but that would give an impression of… hey, not so bad of an impression of me if anyone wants to think that. Truth is, I’m surrounded by kind, fun, amazing and talented friends. Seriously talented.  <name dropping alert>So when Elizabeth asked a bunch of us in our circle-o-friends (aka Sweet Hot Yams) to pattern-test a new pattern of hers (Perfect Zip Bags) - we jumped on it! </name dropping alert>

Elizabeth made us all little kits with fabrics, and zippers, and hardware - all with us in mind.  Elizabeth made my kit with mostly Echino because she knows I love it so.  <name dropping again>I even had some of Mo’s fabric from her Party Dress line (pink and green “pearls”) to add to it!  </name dropping again>
Perfect Zip Bags

I’m not a pattern reader, so this was a new challenge for me. Because I was a Tester - I now HAD to read the instructions.  I was committed. So a funny thing happened on the way to the bar… a priest, a rabbi and a cowboy… all told me to read and I shall learn new things.  And my imagination was right… I learned new things.  An S-load of new things!  Elizabeth’s pattern is so thoughtfully written and her ways of describing techniques are so clear and easy to understand.  I feel so empowered with all that I’ve learned.  And cute bags afterwards - that’s gravy. Now all I can think about doing is adding zippers to everything.
Perfect Zip Bags

Elizabeth has posted photos of all of our bags on her blog.  Not only that - Elizabeth is having a give-away of <more name dropping>Violet’s </more name dropping> Peacock Lane and my Happy Mochi Yum Yum!  Hip, hip, Jalalabad!

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Put a quilt on it…

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

When the Portland Modern Quilt Guild held our meeting slash picnic in Laurelhurst Park (that’s us, in the grove - behind the hula-hoopers), my friend Elizabeth asked me if I’d like to come along while she took photos of her quilt in the park.  Heck, yes!
Adventures in Laurelhurst Park

Fun watching Elizabeth try to keep the falling pine needles off her quilt. Trees vs Elizabeth - final score: 154 to 3.
Adventures in Laurelhurst Park

The fruits of Elizabeth labors can be found here.  And what Elizabeth indulged me in during her shoot and the rest of this story - can be found on my guest post on WhipUp.net today!
Adventures in Laurelhurst Park

(This post is best viewed with Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” playing in the background)

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Bee Genius. Bee Cute.

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Melody said she’d be honored if anyone shared her video.  Seriously, how can anyone bee so clever, and bee so creative and bee so damn cute all at the same time?!

One recent sunny Saturday morning in Portland… we got to have some Yammie-time with sweet, kind, bubbly, adorable Melody and Mr. Ruby Star (who is also pretty dang adorable).  Today’s secret phrase was “Bloddy Mary, please”.
Melody and Jen
Posted using Mobypicture.com

Violet and Jona
Posted using Mobypicture.com

Violet and Traci
Violet & Traci
If one were to count my wealth by the greatness, awesomeness and kindness of my friends… I’d be in the top spot at #1 in Forbes Magazine’s richest people. Surround yourself with amazing and remarkable people - and you will live an amazing and remarkable life.

It takes a village. And some fabric. And thread. And batting…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Shortly after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, Daniela and Susan sprung into action and established Quilts for Quake Survivors. Not only was QFQ to be providing love, warmth and comfort - it in turn gave many an opportunity to do something.  I know this to be the norm amongst all quilters - in times of tragedy our immediate instinct is to MAKE A QUILT.  Now.  Pronto.  To comfort someone else - and the by-product of that is it comforts ourselves.  Thank you to Daniela and Susan for the do-something-good double whammy.

The third by-product of QFQ is the community esprit de corps it fostered.  The feeling of an old fashioned quilting bee - or a barn raising. On one QFQ occasion, Cherri opened her doors to her beautiful Sew On Studio for a night of QFQ sewing. Most of us there that night were from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild along with some new friends we got to meet and sew with!
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

Quilts for Quake Survivors night

Quilts for Quake Survivors night

Clockwise:  Finished quilts and works in progress.  Jen holds up a quilt made by Alicia (no one could stop ooohing and ahhing).  Alicia has two posts about her quilt here and here.  Marsha points to a Kaufman solid we’re all in love with on Paula’s quilt top.  Awesome spiral quilt!  Paula showing her gorgeous quilt - her FIRST QUILT SHE EVER MADE, and not only that… but PAULA DONATED HER FIRST QUILT SHE EVER MADE!
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

Cherri’s design wall saw a lot of action that night.
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

Sweet, sweet, sweet Susan gave me two of her books that had just been released.  TWO.  Yes, TWO.  Susan has TWO books out at the same time.  The same time!  Sorry, am I shouting?  Just that Susan gets me all excited and happy.  I just L-O-V-E Lhhhhhhove Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft (and BTW… best book title ever).  Susan’s such a crafty goddess, I think this makes 5 books for her?  But these two are my fave and kick serious book ass.
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

Daniela, Suzanne and Michelle admiring a beautiful quilt (and Patty’s beautiful fabric used).
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

At a prior QFQ/Susan’s Modern Log Cabin book signing event at Modern Domestic, I started  some log cabin-ishy blocks out of Bari’s County Lane fabrics - I then finished the blocks this night at Sew On.  Jen plays with setting them on the design wall.  The blocks then went in the pile and on to some other loving hands to finish the next stage.
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

The wonderful thing about QFQ, it wasn’t about making a quilt, it was about participating in the making of a quilt. To do what we could. Some of us pieced blocks. Some of us pieced quilt tops. Some of us quilted. Some of us bound. Some of us made an entire quilt start to finish. We all did something different, and we all contributed with our hands together in a common goal. I had made the blocks above and off they went to another person.  As well, I had donated a top - and Kimberly beautifuly sandwiched, quilted and bound it (her photos here and here).  At our July guild night-park picnic, Susan had a huge IKEA bag full of QFQ quilts and tops that needed finishing.  There was this one super pretty quilt that was calling me - not only made in Lecien’s Flower Sugar line… but it kind looked like my blog.  Hello Monica, this is Destiny calling - please pick up line two.

The Flower-Sugar-looked-like-my-blog quilt was pretty much done, only a little bit of quilting I had to do plus I bound it.  I didn’t know who made the quilt… that is until I posted it on flickr and Amy kindly left me the answer.  I had a triple OMG moment when I discovered it was my friend Kristyne who had made it!  I had the best It-Takes-a-Village-moment ever!  And so global too, as Kristyne is in Canada.  Remembering Hands Across America - this was kind of a Hands Across North America to Japan.  I feel so blessed to have had this quilt+love+barn+raising+goodness moment with Kristyne even though we didn’t know it.  Is there a saying when you give one thing, you get a hundred things back?  Yeah, I feel like that.  Awesomeness bathing in a pool of awesomesauce while sipping an awesomegarita.
Quilts for Quake Survivors night

THANK YOU Daniela and Susan for giving us all the opportunity to participate in the awesomeness that is Quilt for Quake Survivors, my husband for indulging me in a The Walking Quilted with Kristyne’s quilt, and to Kaci for nourishing us with rosemary fries from Burgerville!

Farting around with needle & thread and then blogging about it.

Monica Solorio-Snow
Happy Zombie

Pacific Wonderland
Astoria, Oregon

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