QuiltCon 2015

Today I want to share some of the inspiring things I saw/did while I attended QuiltCon last weekend!

I didn’t make it to any of the workshops (I was way too late to the registration game), but I did get to hear three amazing lectures.

First was Yoshiko Jinzenji, an internationally known artist and quilter. Yoshiko talked about her Grass House Studio in Bali, showed us some of the unique ways that her fabric lines are made and used, and showed some of her incredible quilts. I was not familiar with her work before this, and now I am totally hooked. After the lecture, I immediately went and purchased some of her fabric at the Bunny’s Designs booth, and Yoshiko even signed it! Next on my wish list is her book, Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts.

I also went to Carolyn Friedlander’s lecture – Architecture, Quilts + Us. I loved Carolyn’s presentation and hearing about how her background in architecture has influenced her and her design process. Carolyn is doing some really amazing things in quilting, so be sure to check out her work if you haven’t already!

Finally, I got to see Maura Ambrose of Folk Fibers talk about the natural fabric dyeing process. Maura is my quilting hero! I really enjoyed hearing her talk about growing, harvesting, and using natural dyes in her work. She puts her heart and soul into every piece of fabric she uses and quilt that she makes, and it’s just amazing. Very excited about her upcoming project – Folk Fibers Guidebooks. I would love to know more about her hand quilting techniques, so I can’t wait to get this when it comes out.

Now, onto the quilts! As usual, I wanted to share some photos of my favorites from the different categories with you.

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10 Inspiring Quilts from the 2014 Capital of Texas Quilt Fest

You guys know I love some quilt inspiration. So of course I had to share more inspiring quilts from last weekend’s Capital of Texas Quilt Fest here in Austin.

It was hard to pick only 10 quilts to share…but any more and I would have had WAY too many photos overloading this post. So 10 quilts it is.

These are in no particular order, other than the order I walked around the fest.

Over the Edge, by Joseph Stroman
First, we have the winner of Best in Show! Over the Edge, by Joseph Stroman. Isn’t it so amazing?! The photographs don’t do it justice (especially with those chairs blocking your view!). Just take my word for it, it was spectacular.

Over the Edge, detail of quilting
Check out how the quilting thread jumps out at you on the back. I loved the colors.

Delicious Mountains, by Rebecca Salinger
Delicious Mountains, by my friend Rebecca Salinger. She won Judge’s Choice, go Rebecca! Again, I didn’t do a great job with this photo, so it’s a little tricky to see, but the embellishments were really neat.

Balancing Act, by Art Bee Austin
I love art quilts, and this is such an inspiring example of one. Balancing Act, by Art Bee Austin.

Balancing Act detail
Isn’t the hand painting on these rocks amazing?

Feral Cats, by Kathy York
Feral Cats, by Kathy York. I’ve posted about some of Kathy’s work before in this post, but I continue to be inspired by her work every time I see it. Plus…I love cats!

Cancer Cats, for Heather Grant
See? More cats! This one is called Cancer Cats, and it was made for Heather Grant. Make sure to read the description in the photo below.

Cancer Cats quilt description
I love the friendship behind this quilt. Learn more about the Sarcoma foundation here.

Lonestar Brother, by Marilyn J. Roskey
For the beer lovers out there…this one is called Lonestar Brother, by Marilyn J. Roskey.

Sea Glass Herringbone, by Claire Jain
Sea Glass Herringbone is a quilt by my friend Claire Jain. This quilt was featured in a book I mentioned just the other day in my Recent Reads post – Lucky Spool’s Guide to Modern Quiltmaking. I haven’t made it all the way through the book yet, so I was super pumped to find out her quilt was in it. Congrats, Claire! Your quilt is beautiful.

Quilts by Corinne Sovey
I loved both of these quilts by Corinne Sovey. On the left is Waves (you can find her awesome tutorial for this quilt right here), and on the right is Garden Trellis (you can purchase her pattern here). I am finding that I am more and more drawn to modern quilts, and these by Corinne are super inspiring!

Twilight Stars, by Linda Scheible
Here is Twilight Stars, by Linda Scheible. I really like the color gradations on this one. And you know my obsession with Cherrywood fabric, which made me drawn to it even more!

Swoon, by Stacey Napier
And finally, Swoon by Stacey Napier. These blocks are awesome, and I really like the fabrics she chose. She has a lovely post on her blog about this quilt if you want to read more.

Oh yeah, last but not least – I didn’t count my quilt in the 10 shared here. But I better show you guys the finished product, since I talked so much about it in my last post.

Liberty Geese Number 3, by Laura Ward
Liberty Geese Number 3 Honorable Mention
Liberty Geese Number 3 is my first quilt entered in a show, I’m so proud! I’ll take that Honorable Mention any day.

Here are a couple more shots of the front and back with better lighting out in my backyard.

Liberty Geese Number 3, front Liberty Geese Number 3, back

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the quilts from this year’s show!

Click here to see some of my favorites from 2012.

Capital of Texas Quilt Fest, September 12-14

In 2012, I attended the Capital of Texas Quilt Fest as a total quilting newbie. I was just getting into quilting, and finding the styles I loved. I stopped by and enjoyed walking around and taking in all the beautiful quilts, checking out the fancy sewing machines for sale, and of course browsing around all the fabric and quilting vendors. (p.s. some of the awesome quilts from the 2012 show are featured in my Quilt Inspiration post if you want to check it out.)

This year, not only am I attending, but one of my quilts will be on display in the show! I joined the Austin Area Quilt Guild, and entered my latest quilt in the novice category, as this is my 3rd quilt to make. I’m excited and looking forward to the show. I hope that some of you Austin folks will make it out to see all the lovely quilts on display – there will be over 350 quilts there!

2014 quilt fest banner

Here are a few sneak peaks of my quilt, which I’ve shown progress shots of earlier this year. I’ll reveal the finished quilt when I get the binding on, and after it’s all fancied up and hanging at the show!

flying geese quilt blocks
flying geese laura wardhamilton on the flying geese quilt  flying geese quilt topwk 18 insp 04
liberty geese hand quilting

If you’re in Austin next weekend and you enjoy quilting, or sewing, or fabric, come out to Quilt Fest! It’s held at the Palmer Event Center, September 12-14. Entrance to the show is $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and the hours are as follows:

Friday and Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

I can’t wait to see all the lovely quilts and check out a few of the demonstrations. Some of them that sound really interesting and informative: Art Quilts, Quilt Preservation and Restoration, Quick Basting Techniques, and Basic Free-Motion Quilting, plus a bunch more!

Hope to see you there.

My New Succulent Container Garden


Today my friend Charly and I spent our afternoon at East Austin Succulents, finding the perfect plants to make our own succulent container gardens! Not only did they have an amazing selection of succulents, air plants, and cacti there, but they also had some helpful tips for caring for my new little plants.

East Austin Succulents
Rows and rows of succulents and cacti.

Plants from East Austin Succulents
It was tough narrowing down which ones to get!

Tillery Street Plant Co

East Austin Succulents shares a space with Tillery Street Plant Co., which also has a great selection of beautiful plants.

Giraffe Planter
Isn’t this giraffe planter awesome? It can be yours for about 500 bucks.

Craft Takeover Succulent Container Garden
The container for the plants came from Target. At about 8 inches wide, and not too deep, it’s the perfect size for all 10 tiny plants. There is also a drainage hole at the bottom of the planter, which is important to prevent overwatering.

Succulent Planter
Fuzzy details. That one in the front is so soft!

Succulent Container Garden from Craft Takeover
I’m so in love with my new little succulent garden. I plan on keeping it indoors on the dining room table. When I water it, I’ll leave it outside for a couple of days to get a little extra sun and not get too moist. The soil is a special blend that East Austin Succulent Garden makes, instead of regular potting soil.

Succulent Container Garden
I hope I can keep it healthy and beautiful for a long time to come!

Week 11 Inspiration

This week in Austin, SXSW is in full-swing! I probably won’t make it for most of the festivities, but there are always a few that sound too good to pass up. Last weekend, for example, John and I made our way to the Gaming Expo at the Palmer Events Center. Check out photos from that day and lots more of my weekly inspirations below!

kami game design
I liked the design this game had at their booth. It’s a puzzle app that actually seems kinda neat.

giant settler's of catan board
I got really nerdy and excited when I saw people playing on this Giant Settler’s of Catan board. Remember the photo I shared of my friends and I playing last week? Apparently a fan of the game made it, and let the makers use it for the Expo. Now THAT is some dedication to Catan.

John Oculus Rift
Here’s John trying out the Oculus Rift. (It’s a virtual reality headset for gaming)

3D Printer
A 3-D printer making something cool!

This weekend, the Renegade Craft Fair will be taking over the Palmer Events Center. If you are in Austin and you love crafts as much as I do, you have to check it out! I can’t wait to see what kind of creative and beautiful stuff will be there.

rusty shed pattern
Rusty shed patterns.

elm creek quilt series
Guys, did you know there is a whole series of novels about quilts? I saw this at the bookstore and the cover caught my eye. Seems kinda cheesy, no? But I love quilts and I love books, so maybe I’ll have to give it a chance.

Gravity's Rainbow
Speaking of books – this month my book club is reading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Not gonna lie, it’s been tough. I’m struggling to keep up with what’s going on, so I’m anxious to talk to my book club ladies about this one.

Celebratory margarita….I saved the exciting news for last. Today we closed on a HOUSE! I’m hoping to have some photos of our new place and share more about our home buying process very soon.


Getting my Recipes Organized

Last month I mentioned we were in the midst of Frugal February at our house. Frugal February is 28 days dedicated to eating in as much as possible to save money and work on my home-cooked meals.

Sometimes when I’m deciding what to cook for the week, I feel a little overwhelmed with choices. I tend to bookmark lots of recipes on Pinterest, and I read a lot of food blogs. I have a TON of recipes saved on my computer to try out. All these recipes everywhere started to stress me out, so I decided to get them organized!

easy menu planning

My goal is to have my tried-and-true recipes printed out and neatly sorted in a binder so they’ll be easier to reference, thus making it easier to menu plan for the week. More order = less stress.

old recipe notebook

Before the binder, there was lots of quick scribbling into my cooking notebook right before I was going to make something. It’s hard to read, and just plain messy! I knew it was time for the notebook to go when I couldn’t understand my hasty recipes the second time I tried to make something.

new fancy recipe binder

Enter this purple beauty. Page protectors – check. Colorful Post-it tabs – check. Neatly typed recipes – check.  When I’m ready to cook something from the binder, I’ll take that page out and have it handy next to my prep area. The page protector keeps things from getting messy and stained, and can easily be wiped down.

recipe with page protector

The only rule – recipes only make it into the binder if they pass the “delicious test.” Either John or I  (but preferably both of us!) have to declare said food “delicious” while we’re eating in order for it to make it into the permanent rotation. If we don’t like it, I delete the recipe from my computer.

cookbooks and recipes

Of course I’ll still reference my favorite cookbooks too, but it’s good to have some of my recipes from online and printed and handy. So far my system is working nicely, and I’m enjoying flipping through the binder when it’s time to make my weekly grocery list!

Week 4 Inspiration

We’ve been busy this week! John’s birthday was on Sunday, so the weekend was full of all sorts of fun stuff. Most notably, on Saturday we went to Pinballz Arcade (this place is SO awesome and it’s BYOB on Friday and Saturday nights!), followed by a show at Cap City Comedy Club – we saw the hilarious Kyle Kinane. If you’re ever in Austin – Pinballz and Cap City is where it’s at.

Now! Here’s a bit of my week in photos.

hamilton blue eyes
Ham showing off his blue eyes.

butter and sugar for brownies
Butter and sugar were the start of something great.

changing leaves
Pretty leaves changing colors.

birthday legos
Birthday present Legos! We put together the entire thing in one sitting.

hobbit lego man
More lego-ing.

sweet mushroom
Sweet girl.

corned beef hash at Fado
Corned beef hash brunch at Fado Irish Pub. This was SO GOOD.

Irish breakfast at Fado
John’s Irish Breakfast. Also SO GOOD. Irish pub food is the best.

Here’s to another great week ahead of us! For more of my weekly photo series check out:

>> week 1
>> week 2
>> week 3

Inspirations in Fiber Art

Yesterday I visited the Jewish Community Center here in Austin, to see an exhibit called “Inspirations in Fiber Art”.

Just Around the Corner, by Kathy York

Just Around the Corner, by Kathy York

The fiber art pieces on display were created by Kathy York and Barb Forrister. I’ve posted previous photos of some of Barb’s quilts (here) when I first saw her work at the Capital of Texas Quilt Show in 2012. According to the exhibit,

Following WWII, Fiber art was coined to describe artists’ more unconventional two and three-dimensional works with unique fibers and dyeing techniques. Now, the textured and structural qualities of fiber/quilted art reflect the aesthetic concerns of contemporary art.

I really enjoyed seeing this exhibit. There are SO many things you can do with fabric, it’s unbelievable. Here are some of my favorite pieces made by these talented ladies.

Elemental Dance by Barb Forrister, detail shot

Elemental Dance, by Barb Forrister (detail shot)

Primavera by Barb Forrister

Primavera, by Barb Forrister

Treasured Waters by Barb Forrister, detail shot

Treasured Waters, by Barb Forrister (detail shot)

Planned Obsolescence by Kathy York, detail shot

Planned Obsolescence, by Kathy York (detail shot)

Shadow Dancer by Barb Forrister

Shadow Dancer, by Barb Forrister

Fleur de Lis by Barb Forrister

Fleur de Lis, by Barb Forrister

Bridge by Kathy York, detail shot

Bridge, by Kathy York (detail shot)

Aren’t they amazing? Which one is your favorite?

A peek inside Austin Antique Mall

I love looking through old stuff – garage sales, thrift stores, antique malls, you name it.  If I could go snoop around your grandma’s house, I would. I think it’s the idea of finding a treasure, something no one else has, that makes it worth the time and effort! I recently got a recommendation for an antique store here in Austin, and I couldn’t resist checking it out.  Here’s some of the neat stuff I found hiding out in there.

Antique scoreboard

Found the stash of old quilts

Awesome poster. Anatomy of a snail – in French!

This sofa. The golden bottom! The oh-so-comfy cushions! The ridiculous price tag! Wishlisted for life.

Cool graphic dinner plates

I came home with this wooden tray. Coffee nook anyone?

If you get a chance to visit Austin Antique Mall, jump on it.  You could spend half a day in there and still not see everything. Note – the website does not do this place justice. Just take my word on it, it’s awesome.

What is your greatest thrift store find?  And does anyone have any other Austin antique store recommendations? I need more!

New pattern + A visit to The Quilt Store

Now that I’ve got my quilt inspiration,  it’s pattern time!  I’ve decided my next quilt will be similar to the broken dishes quilt on The Purl Bee.  It’s a simple design, which should be relatively easy for a beginner like myself.  Triangles aren’t so scary, right?

broken dishes pattern
I drew out my pattern.

Now, time to think about fabric!  I headed to The Quilt Store here in Austin.  It’s tucked away in a little shopping center on Anderson Lane.

UPDATE: The Quilt Store has sadly closed up shop after 30 years in business.

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