Monday, March 29, 2010

daybook ::13::

for today :: March 29, 2010

outside my window. . .  lot's of sun! . . . the start of a warm (in the 80's!) day. 

I am thinking. . . of what to do first next on my to-do list. . . pack patterns (& orders)?. . . call printer?. . . run errands? . . . sew together my linen & wool project?. . . take Bailey for a walk? (trim his nails first) . . . 

from the kitchen. . .  just finished my oatmeal (sprinkled with cinnamon - of course!) - Salads later today.

I am wearing. . . one of my favorite t-shirts (J.Jill), & shorts (really - it's summer clothes weather today!)

I am creating. . . a wool appliqué - on linen - quilt/wall hanging - that I am having so much fun with. (peeks soon!)

I am remembering. . . what a blessed week this is. . . & how I too often take for granted amazing grace. 

I am reading. . .  The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (still!) I love this book so & have found that I don't want it to end. . . so I only allow myself to read a few pages every night - just before I go to sleep.

I am hoping . . .  that I stay in good health. . . (enough said.)

I am hearing. . . from outside - twittering birds, backyard waterfall, a plane off in the distance,  & the sounds of someone practicing piano.

around the house. . . busy day! (& spring cleaning is still in full force!. . . now I also want to paint furniture. . .!)

I am going. . . to run a few errands (or else Bailey will run out of food today!). . . & then it's a busy day in the studio.

one of my favorite things. . .  working from home.

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . finishing my wool appliqué & writing a couple of patterns (Starbucks here I come!)

from my picture journal. . .


Friday, March 26, 2010

… a question for you

Hi folks! 

It's me. . .  Bailey!

While Mom is busy in the studio. . . I just wanted to ask you somethin'. . . if you don't mind.

See, Mom gave me a bath the other day, & I have to admit. . . although I don't love the bath part. . . I sure love the way I look & feel after my bath . . . (& so does Mom!)

Then last evening, when Grandpa was having his dessert - some chocolate pudding (yum!) . . . I was a really good boy & I sat very quietly & so when Grandpa was done, he let me lick his pudding dish. . . It was supposed to be a secret. . .

. . . but Mom took one look at me & said that I needed my face washed. (Ick.)

What do you think?

Either way . . . I bet she will. . . (she's like that.)

The other thing I wanted to let you know is that Mom wants to say, "thank you!" for all of the kind comments you made about her new fabric line. I know that she is pretty excited & has been spending a lot more time in the studio ever since it arrived. I don't mind though. . . 'cause eventually it means more quilts for me!

Hope you have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

… a bit of spring. . . (cleaning that is)

We've been having such nice weather for the past week. . . that I new it would hit me. . .

Time to do some big time cleaning.

I'm not sure how the term 'spring cleaning' got started, but around here. . . just having the windows open for a couple of days made me want everything fresh & clean after months of colder temperatures & everything closed up. So once again I opened up all the windows & as the house took a fresh breath of air, & took a deep breath & started. It started in the morning when I was simply wiping down the kitchen counters & stovetop. . . that led to taking things apart on the stovetop &  cleaning under the heating elements & then the entire oven. Then I tackled my bathroom. Seriously, every nook & cranny of it. Cleaned. Spic-&-span'ed. I can actually say that every inch of my bathroom as also fresh & clean.


But then, as I was cleaning my the bathroom, I decided to clean off the silk hydrangeas that I have in there. . . & that led me to go & gather all the other silk hydrangeas that I have throughout the house. Which leads to a confession. . .

I have a lot of silk hydrangeas.

Seriously. LOTS of them.

(. . .& to those of you who poo-poo on not having anything but real flowers. . . I forgive you. . . & you obviously don't live in the high desert of the southwest where the ability to even get hydrangeas (& many other flowers) to grow is impossible, & so silk ones are the only reasonable way to be able to enjoy them at home.)

When I moved here to Arizona - I was only planning to stay a couple of years. . . but that wasn't to be & I've now been here for 19 years this summer! When I realized that I might be staying around for a bit longer - I found that hydrangeas (my favorite flower) were really hard to find here & when they could be found - they were outrageously expensive! (Supply & demand, I figure.) That's when I began to 'collect' silk hydrangeas. So now, even though I haven't bought/collected any for the last couple of years - I have, um. . . plenty. 

I was well reminded of this fact as I washed each & every one of the silk  stems & bushes of my hydrangea 'collection'. I washed them all in my bathtub , & the ones that I keep in a tall whitewashed bucket in the bathroom, I hung them to dry in the shower curtain rod (. . . & I kinda like the look!). The rest I took out to the backyard & laid them out on the grass (covering over a third of the lawn!) to dry. After they air dried, I bunched them up - mixing how I had  arranged the colors from what I had before. . . just to switch it up a bit

After I had taken about a third of them back into the house - I caught a glance of the rest of them out on the back porch & it reminded me of the corner flower cart where I used to buy flowers from when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, & in Santa Barbara. They all looked so pretty bunched together - that I actually left them there for the rest of the afternoon. . .

. . . just because!

Today, they are all back in the house - helping making it so much cheerier & definitely adding a touch of spring all over the house!


Monday, March 22, 2010

… daybook ::12::

for today :: March 22, 2010

outside my window. . .  the sunshine is just hitting the top of the little oak tree. (Good morning sunshine!)

I am thinking. . . of how to package my quilt patterns this season. . . separate patterns - or in a booklet?

from the kitchen. . .  right now coffee. . . but with the warmer temps we're having - I'm thinking of pulling out all of the salad ingredients. . .  it's definitely salad weather!

I am wearing. . . I'm still in my jammies . . . (anytime I get to the computer before getting dressed. . . I stay in my jammies a little longer than usual. . .)

I am creating. . . a mess in my studio today. . . (& moving some things around as well!)

I am remembering. . . My Aunt Jo. 

I am reading. . .  The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society,  & a wonderful magazine I found this week called 'Cottage Style' (. . . another one!). I am going very slowly through this one - as there are so many ideas!

I am hoping . . .  that I make real progress in the studio this week.

I am hearing. . . lots of birdies greeting the day, & the beginnings of people leaving for work & school.

around the house. . . my 'spring cleaning' itch is about to hit every room!

I am going. . . to stay home today. (at least that's the plan!)

one of my favorite things. . .  getting to leave the windows open - all day.

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . drinking a lot more water. I've gotten a bit lazy with that this winter, & I know it will make a big difference.

from my picture journal. . .

Hope you have a wonderful week!


Friday, March 19, 2010

… a pre-Market peek

I got the go-ahead from Lecien - so I wanted to give you a peek at my upcoming line that will be introduced at Spring Quilt Market. . .

My bolts arrived about a week ago. . .

And, even though I had a couple of other projects already started - that I was making myself finish before starting 'playing' with my new fabrics - I couldn't help opening every bolt & cut some sample pieces - so that I could really 'see' the designs in something bigger than the strike offs(!) . .  & get scans of each one into my computer. . .

I had such fun.. . . (& squealed a few times too!)

One of the reasons for that is the history behind this line.  You see, this is actually a line that has a history with Lecien. They have produced 'The Durham Collection' for several years. . . & it was this particular line - with it's sun-washed, vintage look that grabbed my attention several years ago - & introduced me to Lecien & their wonderful fabrics. . .

Then, last spring, just as the approval for the final strike-offs for my first line (Celebration) was given, & as they were just going to the mill for production. . . I got a call from Lecien & they asked if I would be interested in taking over the Durham Collection line. . .

Would I be interested?

Um,  yes. . . Oh Yes!!!!. . . (I finally said after peeling myself off the ceiling. . . !)

. . . Then - I have to admit  - I got really nervous. I had loved this line for years & I wanted to be sure to do it justice to the direction of the original lines. Their classic soft, vintage look. . . The look of fabrics that you would find on a treasured antique quilt. . . that had been wash & set out on the line outdoors to dry & have the colors to fade ever so softly. . . I wanted to be sure that the tradition of the Durham line be honored as well as be added to in subtle ways.

But, after hours & hours on the computer, playing with florals & images from vintage pieces I had collected. . . the newest Durham Collection came to be. This Durham line is also getting it's own special name as well. . . it is called,
'The Durham Collection - Anew'.

Sigh. Somebody pinch me.

Now, I know that this soft, sun-washed palette will not appeal to everyone - but I love it. . . & can't wait to make lot's of designs with it. . .! 

So here it is. . . your special little peek!

(If you would like to see a little bigger version of this flyer - click here & you can see it on the website as well. . . (I'm not sure how big it will get by clicking on the flyer. . . but you can try that too.)

Lecien will be 'officially' be introducing the fabrics to quilt shops in Minneapolis, at Spring Quilt Market - so if you are a shop & are interested - please be sure to stop by the Lecien booth to see the line (& any of my new designs with it) &/or you can contact Lecien to see the line after Market!

So, there's what I've been working on. . . ! Hopefully soon there will be more peeks. . . of new projects using all these wonderful prints! (Just in time for spring & summer!)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

… who knew. . .

For some who have been reading my blog for a while (& I you for that !) - you've seen these little wool pennies before. . .

I actually started making them a few years ago - from wool that I dyed. . . while visiting my friend Anne - not knowing exactly what I would use them for. . . 

. . . Who knew that eventually they they would go from being cute single little pennies to be used like this . . .

. . . for this little spring linen & wool project . . .

. . . & eventually end up on the cover of this wonderful magazine . . .?

Last spring, the very sweet Catherine of Australian Homespun - (my favorite Australian magazine!) contacted me about being their American guest designer for their 'Easter' issue. . . & I was thrilled. I follow in the footsteps of  several other American friends (Verna, Joanna, Anne, Carrie, Camille, . . .) who have been featured before. . . &, honestly, I was a bit nervous. I mean. . . I know that I think of soft colors for Easter - but what about in Australia? . . . In the US - Easter happens in our spring season, but In Australia - it falls in their autumn season. . .  ! I was filled with questions & second guessing myself. But then - with wonderful advice from Lynette (thank you Lynette!) I followed my heart & went for what was truly my look & feel. (Big sigh here. . .!)

The folks at Australian Homespun did a great layout & were so wonderful to work with!


I know that it takes a few extra weeks to get the latest issues in the US - but it should be arriving any day! If you don't have a local resource for Homespun - I know that you can order them (& subscribed too! - I do!) here, and I know that Colonial Crafts also carries Homespun (although this issue may not be in yet). (The issue is N0. 82)

So. . . now that this is out. . . & now that we are having glorious sunny (& warm) days. . . (with windows wide open!) . . . I think I can officially consider it 'spring' here at the studio!


Monday, March 15, 2010

daybook ::11::

for today :: March 15, 2010

outside my window. . .  it's still dark. . . can't tell yet, but today is supposed to be warm & sunny (!)

I am thinking. . . of too many things. . . that's why I'm up at 4 a.m.. . .

from the kitchen. . .  I'm holding off starting the coffee, but I'm thinking that will be happening really soon. . . I also think there will be a mocha at least once today come from the kitchen. . . (big surprise, huh?!)

I am wearing. . . jammies & a sweater (I'm also under the blankets on my bed & have a personal little body warmer named 'Bailey' next to me.)

I am creating. . . new designs for my new fabrics . . . & I'm also working on my wool-on-linen applique

I am remembering. . . how fast the time will go between now & Spring Market. . .

I am reading. . .  Country Living, & British Country Living (I love both of them!)

I am hoping . . . that we see a little baby hummingbird in the nest today (see below).

I am hearing. . . the antique clock in my studio, & an owl that I have been hearing outside my window for the past few weeks. (I wish I could catch sight of it!)

around the house. . . spring is appearing in the quilts, flowers & accessories. . . I just love bringing out the 'spring-y' stuff!

I am going. . . to deliver some patterns today, & then to pick up some patterns from the printer, & a few other errands - otherwise, it's a studio day.

one of my favorite things. . .  embroidery, needlework. Seriously, I could do it all day & not tire of it.

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . hopefully make some real progress with the new designs, & getting outside to enjoy (it's supposed to reach 80 this week!)  :o)

from my picture journal. . .

. . . this is what I did yesterday. . . Susan Branch twittered & let us all know about this amazing webcam of a little hummingbird, Phoebe, & her little nest - where there are two tiny little eggs. By nightfall yesterday (Sunday) - one of them was beginning to hatch. . . ! It was mesmerizing to watch & it was the perfect company while I worked on my wool stitchery. If you want to watch today (warning. . . it's addictive!) - you can find little Phoebe - here.

♥ Bren

Saturday, March 13, 2010

… welcome to my 'office/studio'

Whoa!. . . it's been almost a whole week since I posted. . .! Oops. It's been pretty busy here this past week. There was the delivery of the new line - & then strike-offs of the next one that I needed to get shipped off to Japan, & then there was shipping, creating the free quilt for the new line. . . & in between - stitching & stitching. No complaints though. . . just a lot of busy-ness. (& I've actually been taking some photos here & there. . . it's just finding the time to put them all together for a post or two. . . so. that will be my goal for this next week.)
Here's what's on ('playing') in my 'office' today. . . (& for the next few hours, my 'office/studio' will actually be me & my laptop & stitchery - nestled with a bunch of pillows on my bed!). . .

I'm actually halfway through 'Notting Hill' - as I started it this morning while sewing on the borders of a quilt that I've made from Joanna's (Fig Tree & Co.) pretty, pretty upcoming line 'Fresh Cottons'. But now that the quilt top is done (cue cheering in the background!). . . I'll be snuggling in for a bit . . . all the while being tempted to go outside. . . (it's a near perfect sunny spring day!). 

I'm discovering the beauty of making my quilts digitally for planning & for pattern use. . . they are so much clearer for people to see the design! I know that's an issue with some folks - so I'm playing around with the idea of using both when it comes to my new designs. But, it's a time eater, & these movies are so nice to have on in the background . . . You know - the movies you love & don't really even need to watch really. . . they are just like having a visit from a friend - all the while your working. Not bad working conditions - if you ask me!

. . . Now, please excuse me. . . but I'm off to open up all the windows in the house. . . ahh, Spring!


Monday, March 8, 2010

daybook ::10::

for today :: March 8, 2010

outside my window. . .  cloudy, colder (relatively - for AZ that is!. . . it's 49° at noon.)

I am thinking. . . of making a new to-do list. . . my  list kind of went out the window this weekend. . .

from the kitchen. . .  Just had a mocha for lunch, so it still has the rich smell of espresso beans. Tonight it's gonna be steamed broccoli with melted cheddar cheese. . . (one of my favorites!)

I am wearing. . . gray t-shirt,  J.Jill knit pants (so comfy!), & my slipper socks. (I've been going bare-foot for that past week or so. . . but this is definitely a slipper-socks kind of day

I am creating. . . a mess in my studio! I have a quilt top almost done - (just needs the border!), linen & wool for another project, & a few other stacks of yummy fabric for 2-3 other quilts that are just waiting to be made!

I am remembering. . . What a precious journey life is. . .

I am going. . . to consider going up to Phoenix one day this weekend for the AZ Quilt Guild Show.

I am reading. . .  My notes for new strike offs. . .

I am hoping . . . for comfort & peace for Layla Grace & her family.

I am hearing. . . The Travel Channel in the background - I love watching Samantha Brown & her "Passport to. . ." travel shows. . . even if it's just in the background. . . Like traveling vicariously! (Today she's in France . . . sigh.)

around the house. . . we have an open spot in the backyard where the jacuzzi used to be. It hadn't been used for over 2 years - so we gave it to my quilter, Nubin, & her husband. How perfect! Now she can relax her sore shoulders in the jacuzzi after a day of quilting. . .!

I am going. . . back into the studio. There's some fabrics that need cutting. . .

one of my favorite things. . .  the smell of the air - just before it rains. . . It's as if the earth knows is coming. . .

a few plans for the rest of the week. . . tonight - quilt group at my house!, then, working in the studio, meeting some deadlines, & maybe a trip to Phoenix.

from my picture journal. . .

(a little peek for you. . .)


Saturday, March 6, 2010

… a bit of waiting. . .

How good is this little guy?! Here's Bailey in all his 'good boy-ness' as he demonstrates his "wait" - when what he really wants to do is devour the dab of whipped cream from my mocha. He just loves the whipped cream part & is always by my side whenever I make a mocha at home.

So here he is. . . 'waiting'. . .  (Good boy, Bailey!!!)

. . . & here he is when he hears, "okay, good boy!"

(the length of that tongue - always amazes me! Seriously I think it comes all the way out from the bottom of his neck!) That's one little guy - who loves his whipped cream!

I have to admit, Bailey does the "wait" command really well. . . (& it has come in handy!). I'm also realizing that I need to learn to put the 'wait' command into practice  as well. . . . & although there are a few areas where is could come in handy, I'll just focus on one of them today.

You see, I received notice that a bolt of each of the fabrics in my next line are on their way! The last time I saw them - they were these smaller strike-off pieces. . .

. . . & soon it will be 36 bolts. . . filling up the studio. . . waiting to be made into wonderful things.

I've been tracking the bolts shipment for the past few days. . . & so now -  here's why I must really be good about the "wait" factor. . . 

When I last checked the tracking. . . I could see that it's here!!! All 36 bolts of my new line are here in Tucson. . . (I live just north of Tucson). . . but I can't get to them! Because UPS doesn't do regular deliveries on Saturday - I will have to wait until Monday. . .


I have a new appreciation for Bailey being so good with "wait".


::  Update - (about 3 hours after original posting. . . ) - Guess what?!?!   I love UPS!!!!  They  just delivered the boxes! . . today!. . . on a Saturday! Whoo-hoo! . . . & not only am I surrounded by 36 bolts of wonderful-ness. . . the boxes also contained the strike-offs for my fall line. . . Whew! - I'm gonna be one busy (but very happy!) girl this weekend!. I think this is what a 'fabric overload' feels like. . .!