Monday, August 31, 2009

… a little progress

Things have been moving along in the studio. . . (& gosh. . . when the deadlines are tight. . . I just have to say how much I love machine applique!)

Here are a few little peeks of a new design that I'm making from 'Celebration'. It will be in three different sizes. . . & it's called 'Around the Corner'. I still have one (the largest one) of the sizes to make. . . but it goes together so quickly, I'm sure the final one will be done in no time. . .

. . . but that time will have to wait a few days - as I'm in pattern writing mode. . . Actually - I'm making myself sit down & get the patterns written (!). I'm being very strict with myself & until I'm all caught up on the pattern writing. . . I don't get to start any new projects! (That will certainly get the patterns written - as I have more ideas than time - & I can't wait to get back into the studio!)

I've been working on my laptop. . . in my bedroom. . . on the bed (. . . because, if I'm going to have to write patterns. . . I'm going to be certain that I'm comfy all the while!) Then - over the weekend - on my way to the office to get something - this is what I came across. . . & after my last post - I thought it might make you smile - like it did me. . .

. . . there's Bailey - at his post!

. . . at least someone's getting to spend time in the studio!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

… it's that time. . .

Yep. . . it's that time. . . when I'm keeping really, really busy in the studio, & Bailey spends much of the day like this.

(Personally - I'm in awe. . . as I would not be able to move if I stayed in this position for any amount of time!)

But, Bailey is a good trooper. . . He hangs in there while the sewing machine buzzes & I spend hours upon end at the computer - writing directions down. . .

He's got his 'spot' (on a pillow covered with one of 'his' quilts on the arm of the slip-covered chair)

Even if the sliding door to the backyard is left open a bit for him. . . just in case he wants to go outside. . .

This is how he would rather spend the day. . . 'thinking' about going out. . .

But nope. . . this one is quite content. . . hanging out. . . no complaints. . .

Nope. . . no complaints.

After all it's so much better than what could be happening. . . .

. . . This!

Things are really busy here in the studio, so I apologize if my postings are a little slim. . . I'll do my best & will give you some peeks (whenever I have them!)!

Hope you have some relaxing moments of your own to enjoy!

xo, Bren

Saturday, August 22, 2009

… catching up

Whew! . . . what a busy, busy week!

But I know that I'm not alone - as there are barely over six weeks before Fall Quilt Market - most all of the designers & manufactures who are getting things ready for Market. . . are in the midst of what we "lovingly" refer to as 'crunch time'. For me what that means is that sewing, stitching, binding, writing, creating layouts, & more of the same - are what will fill each & every day for the next six weeks. . .

Then there's the last three days before leaving for Market. . . when there's no time to finish anything new. . . but then the reality of packing my suitcase & the panic of, "what am I going to wear?". . . This usually leads to at least one or two trips to my local J.Jill store (my favorite!!!) & then a sigh of relief. For me - there actually comes a time - about a week before Market - when I really look forward just to getting to Market. . . because it feels like that will be easier & much more relaxing than preparing for it!

But for today. . . after a week of deadlines & meetings. . . I need to spend at least a little time in my laundry room. I can get by with t-shirts & shorts around the house & the studio. . . but I'm about at the point that I will run out of those pretty soon!

So while I'm there. . . I figure today is a good day to get through all the towels, bath rugs . . . & anything else I can find that needs a good run through the wash cycle! The best part of doing laundry is that I can get some stitching done in-between cycles. . . (a win-win in my book!)

. . . & maybe. . . I may just go find that latest J.Jill catalog. . .

. . . just in case!

xo, Bren

Saturday, August 15, 2009

… peekin' time!

These photos have been sitting in a file on my computer for over a week now. . . so I suppose it's time I get them posted. . . & give you a little (well. . . a big one really) sneak peek of my new design called, "Cottage Sweet Home".

It's made of mostly fabrics from Bonnie & Camille's wonderful line for Moda - 'Simple Abundance', with a few fabrics from my stash thrown in. You'll notice. . . my use of 'Simple Abundance' will look quite a but different than most other's . . . once I saw those softer colors in the line - the warm peachy pink, the yellow, the beautiful blue & all of them in the great stripe in the line. . . I knew they were the fabrics for this quilt!

I've wanted to do this bicycle for the longest time! It's been spinning around in my little brain for a couple of years now! (I did some fussy-cutting with a little Lecien floral for the flowers in the basket.

. . . & of course, there had to be an acorn in there somewhere!

Here's the front door/stoop. (I'm a sucker for gingerbread detail on houses & cottages!)

I also have a love for adirondack chairs. . . this one has a little 'stuffed' pillow. . . for comfort of course! (I added some batting under the pillow appliqué, & my quilter will add some 'fold lines' with her quilting & then hopefully the chair pillow will look extra comfy!)

Of course there is some embroidery. . . just for fun! . . .

. . . But I also think that embroidery can add such wonderful details. . .

You've seen the window & window box before. . . & here's the little birdhouse too. . .

. . . & here's the whole "kit & caboodle" (as my Mom used to say!). . . with the little picket fence border. . . just before the quilt tops final pressing & then it was off to Nubin! (my wonderful quilter!)

I can't wait to see what she does with it!

Today I'm in the studio. . . playing with my own fabrics! I actually cut into them yesterday morning. . . (eeek!) . . . & had a little over 100 half square triangles before I went to bed. . .

I don't think I've ever enjoyed making half square triangles (trimming & everything) - as I did yesterday!


xo, Bren

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

. . . a date with Dad

When your Dad reaches 81 years . . . it can get harder & harder to find. . . just the right gift. Especially for Father's Day. There have been countless ties, books, crafted projects, (& for me quilts too). . . So what's a daughter to do? It's can get a little difficult!

So last spring, after he had seen something on TV, my Dad mentioned to me about the 'Freedom Concerts' & how all proceeds were going to the 'Freedom Alliance' - for scholarships for the sons & daughters of service members killed in action . . . & then when he said, "I'd like to go to that sometime", - I got online & found that they were going to coming to Phoenix, AZ in early August.

That was it. . . ! It was perfect! So it became my 'Father's Day' present for my Dad, & a "date" for us. It's about a 2 hour drive to Phoenix from were we live - but it was worth it. There were some precious memories made that I will never, ever forget.

It was a wonderful concert - focusing on what is so precious to us. . . not only celebrating the precious gift of freedom that we have - but more so the men & women & their families that sacrifice & make it all possible. There were a lot of performers - who were all great - Lee Greenwoood, Charlie Daniels, Rich Little (who has only gotten better & better - & was so very funny with his impressions), & Billy Ray Cyrus. . . but . . . by far my favorite (& the crowds too) performer was Michael W. Smith.

Michael - just seemed to really bring it all home. He sang songs that touched everyone's hearts, & he moved the audience to tears. He talked about how just before the concert, he had met the family (The Daggetts) of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan a little over a year ago & he found them in the audience & dedicated his song 'How to Say Goodbye' to them.

Hardly a dry eye in the arena. . . & after he finished - something amazing happened. The entire audience - almost quietly clapping - slowly stood & faced the Daggett family - as if to express love & say, "thank you". It was something I've never experienced at a concert. It was humbling, & made us all so very aware of the price of what we take for granted.

For his final song, Michael W. Smith performed a song that he wrote soon after Sept. 11, 2001. It is called 'She Stands', & I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch & listen to this wonderful song here.

The audience was so moved that when Michael W. Smith left the stage. . . the audience called for him to come back for an encore. Seriously. . . he could have performed for the rest of the evening & I think everyone would have been just as happy.

For the encore (which he clearly wasn't prepared for. . .) he sang a little medley of some of his songs, & then had the audience sing with him - first his song 'Friends', then 'America the Beautiful', & then "Amazing Grace". The crowd got out their cell phones (because lighters are no longer allowed in arenas!) & lit up the arena.

It felt a bit magical. . . & very moving. . .

. . . but most special for me was getting to spend this time, sing the songs, shed the tears, & gather these memories with my Dad.

So go. . . have a wonderful day . . . but remember all that is precious to you. . . & give someone you love a hug & let them know how much they mean to you. . . It's so very much worth it.

xo, Bren

Saturday, August 8, 2009

… little penny woolies

Remember these?

If you were one of the (few) folks who could get my older blog to open (I did it through iWeb. . . & the majority of PC's seemed to refused to open it . . .) - then you might just remember seeing these little penny woolies. . .

To be honest. . . it has been one of those projects that I started. . . um. . . about . . . two years (!) ago. . . & although I knew I would use them, I honestly had no idea what I would be using them for. . .

. . . until now.

Finally these little cuties are finding their home in a very special project. . . one that will be published next spring. And, since it's a bit of a secret for now. . . this is about all I can show. But, it's one of the things that I'm spending my weekend finishing up. . .

Hope you have a weekend filled with sweet things!

xo, Bren

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

… the gang's all here!

Lookie. . . !

. . . come into the studio . . & see what's here!

. . . that's right! The rest of my 'Celebration' fabrics arrived! (. . . que the sound of pitter-pattering of my feet doing a happy dance!)

Lecien was having the mill do a reprint of the stripes & gingham print that I have in the line. . . They wanted to be sure it was just right, & I have to say. . . the wait was worth it! They (Lecien) are so wonderful. . . as I love all they have done to make this line (my first one!) all I dreamed it would be.

It has six colorways. . . a creamy white, yellow, pink, lt. green, a soft aqua blue, & a soft red.

Here's the creamy white, pink, & greens. . .

. . . & here's the yellow, soft aqua, & reds. . .

. . . & this one. . . I know it may sound a little, well. . . weird, . . . although I love them all, this is the piece that made my heart skip a beat. It's a simple cream & white gingham - but I've wanted to have such a fabric for such a long time - & now it's in my line! It's perfect for backgrounds & for applique & for stitchery. . . I'm planning to get bolts & bolts of it!

Here's a little better peek at the prints . . .

I have to admit - that once they were all together on my cutting table . . . once I had the actual yardage of what had been only in bit's & pieces & in my heart & head. . . I got pretty teary-eyed. I think it's really true. . . that the best things are worth waiting for.

So you know where I'll be! I have a little project to finish for a magazine. . . & then. . .

. . . I'm diving in!

(p.s. Thanks to everyone in my first 'peek post' - for all the 'fabric love.' . . & to all - I promise that this will be the last 'Celebration' gushing post. . . (but I just couldn't help myself. . . now that they're all here!))

xo, Bren