Monday, October 31, 2011


I know that it's real Halloween today, but a lot of Halloween action went down over Saturday night.

My friend Leslie's birthday is on Halloween, so she usually throws a really nice Halloween party.

This year, she and her boyfriend were both adorable David Bowies.

I decided to go as one of the pageant girls from Toddlers and Tiaras. I think it was almost more fun trying to figure out how to make the costume.

My friend Jennifer came as Mr. Rogers and took the whole get up a lot better than the real Mr. Rogers might have.

My friend Jeremiah had one of the more conversation worthy costumes of the night. I spent some time wishing the ostrich part of the costume wasn't made up a color so close to one on the flesh color spectrum.

My friend Amelia was a stellar 40's sailor, but unfortunately I didn't get a photo. I did get a photo of my friends Nathan and Patrick though, and they had great classic Halloween costumes.

It was a great Halloween. There were some really nice costumes, and if I'm extra lucky I'll get a trick or treater or two tonight.

The Halloween parties were fun. The next day we hit up a few vintage shops on Hawthorne, and I snapped some pictures of things that I thought might make nice applique someday.

Both items were a little out of my price range, but the photos will work just as well for my purposes.

And in Fritz news, I had some money left over in my bank account this month, so I took him in to get a rabies vaccine, which you need in Multnomah county to get your cat licensed.

I took my camera, because he, in the past, had a tendency of trying to jump places in the exam room and missing entirely, but he was on his game so all I got were a bunch of boring videos of him walking around.

He did like to explore the space though.

The vet assured me that he's not the first cat to get back there. I didn't tell her that I'd been taking pictures though, because while I am a weirdo that takes a lot of cat pictures, I didn't really want the vet to know it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baltimore Inspiration: Block 1

I haven't really done a lot of applique before, but I'm not letting that stop me from throwing myself into a Baltimore Album style quilt.

The initial inspiration for this particular quilt is a dress that used to live in my dress up box as a kid.

I started looking at this dress through new eyes when I started quilting. I love the color palette. I also thought that it the floral elements would translate very well into applique.

Now, I can't be certain, but I think that this dress came from Mexico. It's been a long time since I talked to my mom about where this dress came from (I think the last time was when I was six and opening my dress up trunk at christmas time), so I can't be sure. The idea that it came from Mexico though, lead me to think that it might be nice to include some day of the dead imagery into a more traditional Baltimore Album quilt.

Here are some sketches for the corner and central block that haven't been translated to the computer yet.

I have finished one of the floral blocks though. Sort of. I'm going to use the raw edge applique technique, as I am a beginner to applique, and this method seems the easiest.

Here is the refined sketch:

And here is the "finished" block. I can't wait to start the next one!

My friend Suz asked me if I would be doing this as a sort of quilt along. I'm not sure if I have the type of blog that would support a formal quilt along, but I am happy to share this pattern if anyone is interested.

I created a pdf that has templates for all the pieces, as well as an alternate shape for the leaves. This is my first time creating something like this, so if you do happen to use it and have any comments or questions, please don't hesitate to contact me! I should add that the block itself is 20.5 x 20.5 unfinished, so it should end up at 20 x 20 finished.

Download the PDF here.

p.s. I took Fritz to get a rabies shot yesterday (to prevent, not treat!) and the poor guy put on a really brave face.

I love that you can see his teeth when he sits like this.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I never knew exactly what day my mom's birthday was. I knew it was around this time of year, but I could never remember if it was on the 22nd, or the 23rd. I would usually call my mom on the 22nd and just sort of feel her out. I'd ask her what she was doing that day, and if she mentioned birthday plans I knew I had the right day.

Now that she's gone, I don't always notice that her birthday has come and gone (it was the 22nd by the way). Some years, I wouldn't even remember that it was her birthday until I started thinking about what do do for my own birthday, which is in a few weeks.

This year though, I was thinking about her a lot. I go through phases with it.

It's been a little over eight years, and lately I've been thinking about the things that are going on in my life that I'd like to tell her about, but also realizing that if she were here none of them would be happening. Her passing was one of those moments that fundamentally changed the course of my life, and so many of the things that I have now are only because she's gone. She would have been 61 this year.

I did find this great picture of us though, when I was cleaning out my house. I thought I lost it, and it is my favorite photo of us. It was taken about six months before she died.

We were at the Trevi Fountain. I love that you can see a little glint of the coin my mom was throwing.

The whole reason I mention it it is that I was feeling a little sad on the 22nd, and luckily enough, there was an all day sewing event for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. It was the perfect distraction for the day. The frustration I refer to in my post title is that my computer ate the photos I took that day which I intended to use to illustrate this particular post.

And there were some pictures I really wanted to post! Oh well. Such is life. I previewed some data recovery software to see if I could recover the photos directly from the SD card, but no luck. You'll just have to take my word for it that the event was exactly what I needed that day.

I did get a few photos of an experiment I did to see if I could create some sort of border for my upcoming Baltimore Album quilt that was based on papel picado. These are really rough cut outs, but I think the technique will work. I used paper backed heat and bond to create enough stiffness to fold and cut the fabric.

I think with some work, this could be viable.

It also helped keep my spirits up that my friends Amelia and Jeremiah came over that night. They were running the Zombie 10k the next day, and stayed over so they didn't have to drive up from Salem for it.

It was great watching them put together their costumes. They decided to go as zombie hipsters, and the preparation of the costumes involved a lot of terrifying use of scissors.

It also involved a lot of fake blood.

I missed the race itself, but I gather that they were pretty awesome looking zombies.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's Fall! (Well, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway...)

Oregon isn't generally known for it's spectacular fall seasons. It's better known for having the same dreary sort of weather for roughly nine months out of the year, with varying degrees of coldness.

So fortune must have been smiling on me when it was gorgeous on Saturday. My friends and I had bought some coupons on Living Social to go to a pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island. I'd never been to Sauvie Island before, and didn't expect it to be so pretty. I feel like I could happily retire out there.

We got a pretty good deal. It involved an ear of roasted corn.

A trip through a corn maze.

We may have been scared that we were lost forever.

Luckily, we found the tall tower in the middle of the maze before we had to call 911 to come get us out.

The deal also got us each a caramel apple.

They were hard to eat, but were very good.

While we were eating the apples, we saw a very brave chicken. That chicken did not care that it was driving the dog crazy. It went on for at least 10 minutes. Zero survival instincts.

And lastly, everyone could get a pumpkin under 25 lbs.

Jeff got a classic orange one.

I got a small red one.

And Amelia got a white pumpkin. I didn't know that you could get pumpkins in so many varieties. All the other patches I've been to have only had the classic orange kind.

We got all that for 10 bucks each, and it was a great afternoon. The farm also had what amounted to a classy food court, and I could help but get a wood fired pizza, even though it wasn't part of the deal.

Totally worth it!

Friday, October 14, 2011