Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

Category — Life

Five Years and Counting

Fresh Lemons Quilts

It’s a funny thing, how quickly five years can fly by. Today is my blog’s 5th anniversary. I went back a couple days ago, to revisit that first post. (The image from the post lost in the shuffle during a blog transfer a few years ago.) I’m not sure how long I thought I’d be blogging back in 2009. But I’m happy to still be around and have all of you join me each week, reading and commenting and sharing tidbits and your projects with me. Thank you so much for spending a bit of your time here with me.

Much of the last two weeks has been devoted to designing and pattern writing. I can say there are some new, fun quilts and patterns coming down the pipeline. And while I can’t share those just yet, I thought I’d share some fabric and blocks and food.

Kona Cotton Solids : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’m planning to use some Kona Cottons in an upcoming project. I totally copied everyone else who was cutting up their Kona Color Cards and placing them on book rings. So much easier to pull out colors and plan quilts!

Liberty of London from DuckaDilly : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I also ordered an absolutely beautiful collection of Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric, cut into a roll, from DuckaDilly.

And – total accident but they were sitting next to each other on my table – doesn’t the Kona look awesome with the Liberty?

Kona Cotton Solids and Liberty of London : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I love it when that happens!

Another project in the works is a pattern based on my Radiant Splendor block tutorial. Although this test block below looks the same, I did some unpicking after I took the photo as the pattern changes up the block a bit. I’m working on writing and testing and hopefully will get the new pattern finished sometime this Fall. For those that like bigger quilts, this one will be Queen sized (ok, well that’s big for me!)

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I’ve also spent a bit of time in the kitchen lately. I’ve recently discovered America’s Test Kitchen and have fallen hard. (I know, I’m the last on the planet, right?) I have had success with pretty much everything I’ve made from both Cooking for Two and The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2014.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This Cinnamon Swirl Bread is in the latter, as well as online (and I saw them make it in an episode I recorded on PBS).

Cinnamon Swirl Bread : Fresh Lemons Quilts

It was *delicious*.

I hope those of you in the United States and Canada have a great holiday week. Yesterday was Canada Day and Friday is Independence Day here (and my husband’s birthday!) I plan on doing some relaxing and enjoying time with family. And hopefully fit at least some sewing (or more pattern writing in) too.

July 2, 2014   47 Comments

A Trip out West

Grand Teton National ParkGrand Teton National Park

A bit of a warning, this post has absolutely nothing to do with quilting. I just returned from an amazing, nearly 2 week vacation out west and I cannot help myself. I must share photos and stories. :) Last summer after coming home from a trip to Disney World, my husband and I decided we wanted to plan a trip for our family that was a bit more authentic. Nothing against Disney, our kids love it there and we’ve always had a good time, but we were searching for something a bit more “real” this time, if that makes sense. So I went online and started researching Yellowstone National Park. It didn’t take me long to realize people plan their trips to Yellowstone WAY in advance. Like two years in advance! Some of the lodging was already booked, even 12 months ahead of time. So I started booking various hotels and getting a plan in place. Well 2 weeks ago, the time was finally here!

Old Faithful at sunset
Old Faithful at sunset

Our plan was to drive out (20+ hours!) from Chicago to Jackson, Wyoming, taking 2 days for the drive. (We used Jackson as our base camp for the start of our trip at Grand Teton National Park.) With about 3-1/2 hours left on the first day of driving, we hit a big storm in western Nebraska. There was a heavy rain…then suddenly some little hail…then lightening. A lot of lightening. Which struck our car. While we were driving on I-80. There was a flash of light and a big noise, and then I think every light on our dash lit up. Every gauge except the speedometer died. The air conditioning died. The power steering failed. The car could still drive, but was definitely messed up. But fortunately, we were all ok.

Fairy Falls hike, Yellowstone National Park
Fairy Falls hike, Yellowstone National Park

We made it to a gas station to check things out and once we turned the car off, we couldn’t turn it back on. We couldn’t even get it out of Drive or Neutral and into Park! (Fixed that after some looking on the internet). It was a bit overwhelming and scary and stressful. We started making tons of phone calls to try to coordinate help, and I have to give a huge thanks to the Subaru dealer in Cheyenne for coordinating a flat bed tow truck to drive 2-1/2 hours to come get us and our car, and bring us all to Cheyenne (yes, I rode 2-1/2 hours in a tow truck with my family) to get the car repaired. So…a bit unexpected beginning to our trip. We left our car there to be repaired and picked up a rental for the rest of the trip. I’m not exactly a go-with-the-flow type person so this really tested my limits. :)

Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming

So we did eventually make it to Jackson, Wyoming, which is such a great city. My kids are 5 and 7, so one of the goals when planning this trip was to make it fun for them too. In Jackson we went to our first rodeo, a “shootout“, and did a float trip in the Snake River. They had a blast!

Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson, Wyoming

We also spent a few days exploring Grand Teton National Park. SO beautiful. Coming from Illinois, the scenery with the rivers and mountains and wildflowers and animals…it leaves you speechless.

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

I tried to keep our hikes with the kids around 1-3 miles roundtrip, keeping in mind a lot of the trails involving elevation gains/stairs/rocks/etc. We took a ferry across Jenny Lake and did a hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. A bit scary at the end, but the kids did great. We saw a marmot and two moose while we were there.

Inspiration Point, Grand Teton National Park
Inspiration Point, Grand Teton National Park

We had some great wildlife viewing in Grand Teton as well, seeing a lot of bison up close (from our car).

Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Bison, Grand Teton National Park

Spring means lots of babies!

Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Bison, Grand Teton National Park

Bison, Grand Teton National Park
Bison, Grand Teton National Park

After a few days in Jackson, we drove north to Yellowstone.

North Entrance, Yellowstone National Park
North Entrance, Yellowstone National Park

There was stayed in the park, a few nights at the Old Faithful Inn (West Wing Frontside room) and a few nights at the Mammoth Hot Springs Frontier Cabins. I mention the room types because if you ever plan a trip to Yellowstone, I highly recommend both. It’s hard to book online in a national park lodge, not quite sure what to expect. With young kids, we wanted a toilet and shower in our room, not a shared situation. So these were perfect! And the cabins we selected in Mammoth was recently renovated and very nice.

Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

We spent the first part of our time in Yellowstone exploring the southern half of the park (geyser country). I guess I didn’t realize JUST how many geyers and other geothermal features there were in the park! More than I could count!

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Probably our most challenging hike was down Uncle Tom’s Trail in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Not because of length, but due to the amount of stairs and elevation. Our lungs just are not used to that thin air!

Uncle Tom's Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Uncle Tom’s Trail, Yellowstone National Park

View of the stairs from the other side of the canyon.

Uncle Tom's Trail, Yellowstone National Park
Uncle Tom’s Trail, Yellowstone National Park

The falls – amazing!

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

We saw tons of animals. My daughter kept a list, which included bald eagles, bison, elk, moose, 7 black bears (including 3 cubs!), coyote, hawks, marmots, osprey, pronghorn…lots more I’m forgetting I’m sure!

Black Bear, Yellowstone National Park
Black Bear, Yellowstone National Park

Moose, Yellowstone National Park
Moose, Yellowstone National Park

Hilarious Bison, Yellowstone National Park
Hilarious Bison, Yellowstone National Park

Elk, Yellowstone National Park
Elk, Yellowstone National Park

Coyote, Grand Teton National Park
Coyote, Grand Teton National Park

Keeping with the “make-it-fun-for-the-kids” theme, we did a wagon cookout dinner.

Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park
Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park

They loved riding out in the park on the wagons and eating some great grilled food.

Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park
Roosevelt Old West Dinner Cookout, Yellowstone National Park

Leaving was really hard. It was so great to be surrounded my such natural beauty and also be away from the distractions and technology of the world at home.

Hiking at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
Hiking at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

We drove by Mount Rushmore on the way home, before heading back to Cheyenne to pick up my fixed car.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

I added several new places to my list of states I’ve visited: Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. All beautiful in their own unique ways! If you are looking for an amazing vacation and love the outdoors, I hope I’ve given you an idea of somewhere new to see. It wasn’t too horribly crowded yet (early June), but I hear July and August are quite packed as that is the busiest season in the parks.

So, as I mentioned, I’ve been away from technology for about 2 weeks. I’m working on catching up, but I have a lot of emails to get through. Please be patient if you need information from me – I will get to you! :) And hopefully back to the sewing machine this week as well!

June 18, 2014   89 Comments

Back and Busy!

Quilting Bloggers photo from Amy Smart
Photo from Amy Smart, Diary of a Quilter

Phew! What a busy past week! I was lucky enough to spend 3 days in Pittsburgh for Quilt Market and there was just so much to see. Besides the amazing new lines – which hopefully I will blog about soon! – it was great to just see friends in the industry. At one moment on Friday, several of us just happened to run into each other right outside Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew’s booth. If you read a lot of quilting blogs, you probably recognize many of these ladies. From left to right: Melissa (The Polka Dot Chair), Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter), Angela Pingel (Cut to Pieces), Kaye Prince (Miss Print), Anna Graham (Noodlehead), Allison Harris (Cluck Cluck Sew) Ashley (Film in the Fridge, there with her ADORABLE daughter!), me :), Amanda Jean (Crazy Mom Quilts), and Lee Heinrich (Freshly Pieced). Such a great moment!


Image from Fat Quarter Shop Twitter Feed

Friday morning was the Vintage Quilt Revival book signing. It was so great to meet fellow quilters and shop owners who were excited about the book. The only think missing – and she was SO missed! – was our coauthor Katie who couldn’t be there due to her big news. She is expecting a baby in the fall, but quite sick and unable to travel.

It was so cold in Pittsburgh, but I arrived home Sunday to absolutely perfect weather. My daughter and her friend sat outside on the string quilt, and rainbow loomed. I love seeing that quilt being loved.

Faith Jones Fresh Lemons Quilts fabric bundle from Fat Quarter Shop

I also arrived home to this awesome bundle of fabrics! These are a custom collection of prints and solids I put together for Fat Quarter Shop. You can buy your own bundle in their shop!

And finally, over the last several days I’ve been sewing like a mad woman to get ready for a quilt along I’ll be hosting beginning June 2nd on Bernina’s We All Sew blog.

Summer Sparkle Quilt Along

I’ll be posting reminders along the way here too, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, be sure to sign up to my email notifications on the right column of my blog by clicking on Email Subscribe.

Summer Sparkle Quilt Along

Ok, gotta run to Preschool Graduation!! Happy sewing everyone!

May 21, 2014   9 Comments

Milwaukee Saturday

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Another busy, busy weekend here – but I have a lot of photos to share! Saturday I woke up bright and early and headed north to Milwaukee. Lee and I had our third (and final) Pottery Barn Trunk Show scheduled, but before that began we visited the Milwaukee Art Museum. Lee and I were lucky enough to be invited to see their Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art special exhibit, featuring a few quilts from from Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Because I always leave for events ridiculously early, I was actually the first person inside the museum for the day! How cool is that? The space was so beautiful and full of light, right on Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The Uncommon Folk exhibit had whimsical sculptures, paintings, quilts, photographs…all sorts of fun and funky things really.

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Of course, the five or six quilts especially caught our eye.

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Above, from left to right: “Lazy Gal” Quilt (1993) by Revil Mosley; Four Block Housetop Quilt (2000) by Rita Mae (“Rabbit”) Pettway; Work Clothes Quilt (1935) by Rachel Carey George.

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Four Block Housetop Quilt (2000) by Rita Mae (“Rabbit”) Pettway

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Crazy Quilt (1883) by Margaret A. Beattie

I captured Lee taking a detail shot of this beautiful quilt.

Milwaukee Art Museum : Fresh Lemons Quilts
“Star of Bethlehem” Quilt (1875), American

It was a really fun morning! After we finished up at the museum, we headed over to the mall to grab lunch and set up inside Pottery Barn.

Vintage Quilt Revival Pottery Barn Trunk Show : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This time we got to set up right up front. What an experience!

Vintage Quilt Revival Pottery Barn Trunk Show : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Vintage Quilt Revival Pottery Barn Trunk Show : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Vintage Quilt Revival Pottery Barn Trunk Show : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Lots of people stopped by and it was so fun to meet everyone. Many told us that seeing quilts in person is such a different experience than seeing them in a book – and I cannot agree more!

I also finished my big deadline quilt yesterday (woo hoo!) so now I’m hard at work cutting into my Shimmer fabric in preparation for a blog hop after Spring Break. I’ll be posting some updates as I go along ~ paper piecing, yay!

March 24, 2014   24 Comments