Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Big Secret Project(s)

my project basketWell I can finally share more ... it's taken me awhile to get this far. First an unexpected surgery then weeks and weeks of bed rest. But I put all that time in hospital and at home to good use.

Remember those 1200 hexagons I planned to take to Seattle with me? Well, since we had to cancel our trip I never bothered with the bag I planned to make. Just as well because it would have been waaaay to small. Instead I tossed them in one of my Longaberger baskets, gave them a good shake to mix them up and propped it up on the back of the sofa.

BordersBefore you know it one was sewn to the other and another and another. Until I had "blocks" of 25 ... in fact I've made 20 blocks of 25 already!  So 500 of 1200 are sewn together and I'm not losing steam. I'm telling you these things are addictive.

It helps that I couldn't do anything else ... at least not flat on my back. Knitting and crochet were impossible. Applique and traditional piecing were pretty difficult too.

But hexagons? Oh yeh, bring them on!

A few weeks ago the doctor said I could get up and about more but that only lasted a week before he sent me back to the sofa again.

But ... Tuesday ... he gave me the all clear. So I really feel like I can share the progress on the biggest project of my life!

We're pregnant ... with twins ... due in June 
and we couldn't be any happier. 

We've spent a lot of time wandering and tiptoeing and cartwheeling through the clouds lately. Can it be? Is it true? Well yes! Those ultrasounds don't lie. Instead of blobs with heartbeats (which is as far as we've gotten in the past) we have two little beings bouncing around inside me! Each with a heart beating strongly, two waving arms and two kicking legs and more! It all seems so unreal.

So as you can imagine we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas with big smiles this year! I've managed to do a little bit of baking and tomorrow we'll go have tea and cookies with my old quilting gang from Mülheim. Then we're spending Christmas Eve with Axel's parents, his aunt, cousins (two) and their children (four). The traditional meal is fondue - one pot of cheese and two pots of broth for meats with lots of condiments and great crusty bread. Everyone brings a salad ... this year we're contributing Carrot & Raisin salad .. my lastest love (or is it a craving?).

So I wish you all a wonderful wonderful Christmas and the very happiest of New Years! May the sewing, quilting and crafting elves visit you in their sleep and sprinkle you with magic dust.

xox Jovita

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Absent but Not Idle

You might not have heard from me for awhile but I assure you there are good reasons - which I'm hoping to share soon.

In addition to preparing for the holidays I've kept my hands busy assembling hexies.

Of the 1200 that I basted I've sewn nearly 500 into "blocks" of 25 each. Can't wait to show more .. stay tuned.

And if I don't make it back before Christmas, I wish you and yours the very best.

Tons of love and happy stitching, Jovita

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crazy Christmas - FREE PATTERN

I can't tell you how excited I am about Christmas this year! I promise I'll share more soon but it's been busy and hectic and all for the very right reasons.

Yesterday I was teaching an ongoing Crazy Class .. Antoinette's theme is Christmas and she had a rectangular space she needed to fill. Yeh, dumb .. I didn't take pictures but I promise to next time I see her.

Well we looked at her quilt for awhile and then decided she needed a sleigh. So I sat down and drew one.

She was tickled, I loved the 5 minutes it took to draw and we both thought you might enjoy it too.

santa's sleigh

Antoinette plans to applique the body of the sleigh and the presents, the runners and decoration will be embroidered with 6-strand floss and the bows on the packages might be silk ribbon embroidery.  But you could do anything you want. If I had the time I was thinking simple redwork .. how about you? If you stitch it, I'd love to see it. Please email me a picture, link to your blog or post it in our Flickr group.

So this will print out at ... I don't know ... whatever size.  But you are welcome to enlarge or reduce it to fit your needs.

~ here's a very quick tip to enlarge or reduce any design ~

Measure the design you have.  Then determine the size you want.  Use the length or height ... it doesn't matter. Then take what you WANT and divide by what you HAVE. So if this sleigh currently measures 10" long and you want it to be 6" you'd divide 6 by 10 and get .60 which converts to 60%. Yep, that's the number you plug into your copy machine.  It works the same for enlarging .. you want it bigger, let's say 12". Well then 12 divided by 10 is 1.2 which converts to 120%. Voila!

So I was here and now I'm gone .. more soon. xox Jovita Pin It Now!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sneak Peaks

I have been shamefully AWOL. There's been a lot going on and honestly you'd be bored with all the details.

Let's just say IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PARIS!!! You see, I turned 40 and next to flying to the East Coast for the changing of the seasons I wanted to go spend just one night in Paris and hit a really good flea market on the morning of my birthday. But I postponed .. for practical reasons .. fall is always busy getting a new class schedule ready, tidying the garden and this year planning two harvest parties - one is definitely worth a post of its own. I'll at least try to share some photos later.

Plus we were scheduled to fly to Seattle on November 2nd for two weeks. It's been 2-1/2 years since I left and the pull of some wonderful friendships had me. We bought tickets and then cancelled. It just wasn't meant to be - not yet.

But a friend from here is there now and she's agreed to bring back a pile of quilts for me. Pretty cool, huh? I left three of them with long-arm machine quilters when I moved to Belgium 2-1/2 years ago and my mom has a queen size one for me. Right now we just don't know when our next trip will be and I don't trust most shipping options for quilts so it's so nice to have the option of someone I trust - thank you so much Leah.

And Liz for whipping around yesterday and picking them all up for me - you're a star. She even took pictures for me. She knows I'm dying to seeing and this gives me record if they do for any reason ... No!, it doesn't even bear thinking about.

Here are a few peeks ... they all need binding so I know what I'll be up to over the holiday break.

Small disclaimer: this is the first time I've blogged from my iPad so I hope the pic qualities are ok and that I caught all the crazy typos.

Sunflower Sunrise Periwinkles Bargello Stream Pin It Now!

Monday, October 3, 2011


My friend Liz is jumping on the wagon and posting on her blog more often. She started it off sort of as a personal account but .. well, you know how it goes .. who doesn't like a little more feedback, inspiration and prodding?

Lucky for me, I met Liz a few years ago when I had my shop in Mukilteo but unluckily we were only able to spend a short time together before I moved to Belgium. The wonderful thing is that the thousands miles and time zone difference has done nothing to diminish our friendship. We keep in touch primarily by texting via skype .. several times a week .. she's always there for a quick question, a pick me up, a very good laugh and tons of inspiration.


Liz is an amazing seamstress and just finished her daughter's absolutely drop dead gorgeous wedding dress - I almost posted a pic .. but then .. hey what would she blog about (insert Very Big Cheeky Grin here).

Liz and I did a swap last winter that I loved .. so much fun. We've got another in the works but the deadline isn't important anymore - two weddings in one summer is a good enough excuse for me ;)

She's also one of the girls Under the Willow Tree so I'm hoping I can get her to post there a time or two too. The summer meant we were all very busy but now that prime quilting season is upon us I am sure you'll see a lot more activity from everyone. Which leads me to another thought ... I've noticed that quite a few of my customers from Mukilteo have blogs of their own. Are you one of them? Would you like to link up somehow? I thought it might be fun. Many of you met each other in the shop but don't or haven't had contact since our sweet little shop closed. Hmmm, maybe an idea for my birthday post .. a big huge party! Stay tuned! Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oh October

You're here already ...
October is my favorite month! More life-changing events have taken place in October than any other month. Fitting, really, since my birthday is in October.

And this one is especially momentous .. I am turning 40!!! Not a big deal really, just always fun to celebrate those big even ones. Forty doesn't bug or scare me but I had hoped to celebrate in some special way. Maybe not after all .. it's a long story.

But it's going to be a busy month ... hang on and get ready for a great ride!

I managed to ring in the new month with a half hour of sewing tonight.

Konda's Star by Jovita's Patchwork Atelier
Konda's Star, a photo by Jovita's Patchwork Atelier on Flickr.

The pattern is Block 1 from the Fat Quarter Star Quilt Along by Moose on the Porch Quilts.

I reversed the light and dark, left the medium in the same place. Love the red background and alternating (ooops) B&W points. Not so excited about the kind of smudgy looking star in the middle.

The ooops is because I realized *just* in time that I only had 7 of the black and white floral pieces so quickly grabbed the polka dot to use for 4 of them. It's quirky but I think gives it great personality.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Quilt Along Starts Today

Oh my, is it really the end of September? ... I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Moose on the Porch Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along started today!

Isn't Konda's block lovely?

Click here to jump on over and get her directions.  I hope you'll join us .. I can hardly wait to whip out my block tomorrow - they're 12" so should piece up fast. Now if only I could choose colors quickly! That's a hard one for me.  I noticed today that nearly all my quilts can be divided into two stacks. Either PURPLE / BLUE or BRIGHT MELONY colors.  Yikes, huh? Time I changed that!

Stay tuned .. we already have the schedule and my block in this quilt along is schedule to debut January 17, 2012 .. wow, that sounds far away. But I promise it will come sooner that you and I expect. 

By the way, I would love your ideas for the "door" prize I should give away ... leave me a comment and let me know what you would most like to win from me please.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jane in Rainbow effect ..

Sorry about the tease ... to appease, here's a peak at all my finished blocks .. another six are at various stages of incompletion. Pin It Now!

Carnival (Kermis) Brights!

ooops .. you'll find this post over Under the Willow Tree.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Don't Miss Out

Some of you might not know that I blog Under the Willow Tree with a bunch of friends around the world.

It's been quiet over the summer but I just shared some fun and new things. You'll definitely want to stop by if you're looking for just the right take-along project as kids return to school and sports schedules resume .. or for your own lunchbreaks and waits and doctor's appointments. Or even, for just those few minutes you snatch for yourself each evening. Just be sure to stop by and check it out!

have Hexagons - will Travel
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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Tense and Waiting Game

tense momentsI saw this and knew I needed one too. It was harder than I thought but I'm glad I persevered.

It would have helped if the pattern correction had been included with the kit .. instead of me fighting with at 3am during a sleepless night.

I'm hoping it will dry by tomorrow so I can take it along to a friend's 50th birthday bash (outside) ... the evening will likely be cold because ...

it's autumn here ... although you won't find me complaining. It means I can dip into my shawls and sweaters and starting making random piles of pumpkins. Bought some today! Everything feels early. I snapped this picture after my purchase today.

early pumpkins Pin It Now!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along

I've been asked to be one of the designers for the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt Along hosted by Konda of Moose on the Porch Quilts.

Starting September 27th, every other TUESDAY, instructions for a new 12" block will be posted at Moose on the Porch Quilts. All of the blocks will be star blocks made from fat quarters and some background yardage. Every two weeks there will be a guest blogger at Moose on the Porch Quilts introducing himself or herself and his/her block. At the end you will have made a fun quilt 65" x 84" (or 74" x 93").

I was also a designer for Konda's Layer Cake Quilt Along. You can see the block I designed here.

I hope you join us! It's sure to be a dazzling show of wonderful star themed blocks. Pin It Now!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I {heart} Gent

Axel and I spent the afternoon in Gent on Saturday. It's terrible, really, to admit that in all the years we've been together we haven't taken much time out to just explore and relax. Our staycation this summer really reminded us to do this more often. So we made dinner plans in Gent to celebrate our anniversary and went into town hours early to "browse."

Click on the photo to see more pictures of our day out in Gent.
It was busy and very hot so headed to the underground carpark at KOUTER, when we popped up out of the parking lot onto the market we found a wonderful international market going on. Stalls from all over Europe .. I bought this lovely coinpurse from a man who was selling all kinds of leather goods made by his family in Hungary.

Then we headed toward the GRASLEI, we didn't really have anything in particular in mind .. except ending at the restaurant for our reservation at 6:30. But then we remembered that I wanted to hold an iPad 2, we've been talking about getting one but didn't want to take the plunge until I had at least had one in my hands. SOLD! I can hardly wait, even though I know it will disappear with Axel when he goes on tour for two weeks the end of September.

Still heading into the center of town, we stopped in at one of my favorite shops: Dille & Kamille. Even Axel doesn't get bored in here .. it's full of all kinds of great kitchenwares, garden items, children's toys and more.
We bought ourselves the perfect anniversary gift .. a ravioli form!

After that we just kind of wandered here and there following our feet through the crowds - it was really busy! The best times were went we wandered down the empty streets without any aim, but darn there, we forgot to take pictures.

We even found an English bookstore with lots of old hardbacks including Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms and a couple of other historical reads for me.

Oh yeh, I wanted to run into the yarn/fabric shop. I had no idea Stoffenidee had moved (two years ago!), but the new shop owner was very very friendly and pointed us in the right direction. I swear I have the most patient husband. Off on a jaunt, past Gravensteen, a bit further and yep - there it was! I love their new location and they were soooo much more friendly this time. Is it because I speak Nederlands now? Although, when stuck they were happy to switch to English and then back to Nederlands when we figured it out again. Came out with a sweet bag full of yarn for this project and an impulse buy of yarn and whoppen needles for the simplest shrug or "teapot warmer" as my friend Janice would say.

There's more fun girly stuff to share, but this post is already getting long and I've probably bored you so I'll do another tomorrow and show my LACE PURCHASE .. it's to die for!

We ended the evening at the Raj along the Kraanlei. We sat outside, the weather was amazing, the service great but the food sadly wasn't much to write home about. Pin It Now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

14 years and counting

Axel and I are celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary today. Geez, it's hard to believe it was so long ago.
our wedding day

We have some fun and funnier as well as some hot and hotter (weather-wise) memories of the day. We did it smart, a very tiny celebration - just 10 of us including the priest and our friends' baby but complete with a hand-made wedding dress and vests for all the boys. It was very relaxed .. oops, I might not have done my hair (which you wouldn't know since I was wearing my mom's wedding hat) and well, my fingers might have been green - from putting together impromptu bouquets just minutes before getting dressed. I'd only change one thing if I could and that is to have better pictures .. but maybe not .. maybe the memories are better. I'd love to show you another pic or two but I've yet to find the negatives and scan them. Maybe for our 15th.

In the meantime, we've packed a lot into these fourteen years, plus the two years we dated before that.

We met in Seattle, moved to England, moved back to the US and at the same time rented an apartment in Germany (because that was cheaper than a storage unit in England plus gave us a place to stay when we came to visit his family and for me when he went on tour). Five years ago we made the final leap back to Europe and made Belgium our home.

When I met Axel I was a twenty-something office worker who still hadn't decided what she wanted to do. I've worked as an office manager (several times), in my share of temp jobs, as a nanny, in a fabric store here and there and taught more quilting classes than I can count. Now I'm a stay-at-home business owner with more ideas than I have time to create.

Axel had left his job as a university lecturer to work in tourism for a friend in Seattle, he went back to lecturing for a while when we returned to the UK. He drove buses and has continued to be one of the darned bestest tour driver/guides to hit the road in Europe - just ask his customers. Now he's working for the football (soccer) industry - who would have thought?

We've been through some tough years .. some *really* tough years .. but if I had one bit of advice to any newlyweds out there - I'd tell them that the best comes after the worse.
I take you, for my awful wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life, until death do us part.
We have really struggled through it all - through sickness and financial hardships and more ... but the best really does come later, much later - with a lot of work and compromise.

And to celebrate I'm cooking home a yummy dinner for tonight. From our garden tomatos who have also gone from better to worse and right now I'm hoping they'll turn out best .. I'll share more tomorrow in the little grey cookbook.

Saturday celebrate in full style with a stroll through Gent ending with an Indian meal - we're both looking forward to that - cross your fingers that the weather plays ball. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Custom Fabric

In the course of working on my latest hexagon project I began wishing for motives and textures I couldn't find in my stash.

Axel and I want some specific things in this quilt so we made a list and I went on a hunt for images: bicycles, watches, moose, steam trains were on Axel's list. Most of what I want I had in my stash (funny that, huh) but I fell in love with this butterfly.

Our initials in bold red will look great with the poppy theme fabric. And the 18p stamp .. well we were married on the 18th of August in West Drayton, England.

Ordered an 8" x 8" swatch of this from Spoonflower today. It's supposed to take 6-7 days to ship. I can hardly wait to feel it - I've heard good things.

If you could print your own fabric, what would it be?

Ok, back to work! Me, not you .. enjoy the browse and happy stitching as always.

xox J Pin It Now!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jekyll & Hyde

The two latest projects in my sewing basket. One started as a class sample, the other because a pile of fabric was screaming at me. Sometimes I wonder about my split personality .. do you have a "style" .. or do you wander out and about and every quilt has a unique look?


Both of these projects are likely to end up on a bed some day ... one for our bedroom, one for the guest room. Which one would you rather sleep under?

more hexies

And both are sewn by hand. The smaller one uses the English Paper Piecing technique, the brights are traditionally hand pieced.

BOTH feed my addiction to hexagons. Off to the sofa for a quiet evening of stitching after *another* rough night of sleep. Geez, when will this end?

You can see more of my addiction to hexagons here. Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

fueling my addiction to hexagons

more hexies by Jovita's Patchwork Atelier
more hexies, a photo by Jovita's Patchwork Atelier on Flickr.
when you have a problem, stopping is harder than you think ... Pin It Now!

Friday, August 5, 2011

An Abundant Day

Yesterday was amazing ... I'm still dragging my butt out of bed in the mornings and getting what I need to get done, but yesterday I felt like Superwoman!
By 11 am I had :
  • bread rising (but it flopped and weighs a brick)
  • eggs were boiling to go into sandwich filling for dinner and Axel's lunch today
  • beets from our local CSA were simmering away
  • zucchini bread was in the oven - you can get my new recipe here - yummmeeee!
  • and I finally refined my recipe for mock apple pie - it turned out really good this time.

1. my A-7, 2. hand-pieced HAL, 3. Zucchini Bread, 4. Blogged A-7 5. Cooked beets 6. "Scandinavian" sandwich filling

Oh, and in the midst of all this, I was WORKING! I wrote this really long, picture-packed blog post about how to piece A-7 block for Contemporary Jane.

But I have to give most the credit to Superman, who came home after his own busy day and cleaned up the kitchen after I had packed up my basket with zucchini bread and pie and ran out the door to cooking club with our local CSA. What fun! I think there were 8 to 10 of us and we used red beet in 6 different recipes.
  • pureed soup - with carrots and onion garnished with cream, chive and a nasturtium
  • baked - with garlic and herbs
  • as a carpaccio with capers
  • pan-fried with peaches
  • raw salad with apples and raisins
  • as a coulee with ginger and raspberries served over ice cream
I think that nearly all the vegetables and herbs came from our field. Fresh dill, anise, thyme, oregano, chives and more! It was fun, our first meeting. I think it's fair to say they were all a tad surprised but intrigued with my baked "vegetable" goodies. I am loving the CSA experience and am hoping to get more involved and cooking up some new recipes for us all. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is "Reverse" Applique?

I've had a couple of questions about what "reverse" applique means? I thought I'd see if I could come up with a simple explanation for you all.

WHAT is reverse Applique?

The term reverse applique applies when  the desired shape is cut out of the upper layer of fabric and appliqued along the inner edge of this "hole" to reveal the fabric below.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT from "normal" Applique?

The easiest way for me to paraphrase this is ...
  • "normal" applique is stitched 
    • counter-clockwise around the 
    • outside of the shape which sits 
    • on top of the background.
  • reverse applique is stitched
    • clock-wise around the 
    • inside of the shape which sits 
    • beneath the background.
... of course this is if you are right hand-handed.
If you are left-handed ... "normal" applique is stitched clock-wise and reverse applique is stitched counter-clockwise.
Here's a quick photo-cap:

"normal" vs. reverse applique
Down-load a printer friendly version of this picture tutorial here.

WHY do reverse Applique?

One reason for doing reverse applique instead of "normal" is that the background fabric would show through ... for example if you were appliquing a white snowman or ghost onto a darker background. You would get what is called "shadowing" or "ghosting" around the inside edge of the applique shape. So you could applique the lighter object behind (in reverse) your background.

Before I decided that my black fabric should be on top, I checked if there would be a problem.  See that black showing through in the top picture? Well that means that if I had appliqued a green melon shape on top of the black, you'd not only see a green ghost (in the seam allowance) but also the black showing through the middle.  I could have avoided the black in the middle if I cut my background out from my applique but I *almost* never do that.

Of course there are other practical, dimensional and even fun reasons for doing reverse applique.

For example when you want to add detail without adding another layer on top.  In both cases here the detail in the rose, leaves and star are created using reverse applique.

For my "boy" version of Bunnyhill Designs basket BOM, I am appliqueing a star first and then adding the elements of each month's theme on top.  The outside edge of the star is of course "normal" applique, the inside is done using reverse applique.

Tisket Star JANUARYBOM-5009

So, I'm sure you have more questions, so feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer them whether it's more about applique or anything else you're curious about.

Happy stitching!  Jovita Pin It Now!

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's a Wrap

Officially our vacation / staycation is over and Axel went back to work this morning. It was tough, but I crawled myself out of bed, drug my bod downstairs and had breakfast with him. It was nearly noon and two iced coffees later before I woke up enough to climb back upstairs and shower.

What a vacation! I can't remember when I had a better time .. and I know when the last time I was this tired .. but geeez, shouldn't I be rested and raring to go after two weeks of bliss. Not likely! I think this might be the most action packed vacation on record!

Just a bit of as much as I can remember :
  • went exploring 2 days
  • made two bracelet / cuffs 
  • enjoyed a few meals in the garden
  • watched a few movies
  • made buckets of iced coffee
  • finished 3/4 of our bathroom renovation 
  • knit a new shawl
  • got ready for a big garden party
  • built a picket fence

And laughed our silly heads off about the amount of pouring rain we got and were grateful we hadn't tried to go away ... who wants to be stuck in an over-priced hotel room with a bed that's too short for your 6'8" (203cm) husband when it's raining? Not me!!

But best of all during the entire Staycation I enjoyed every minute of watching my husband relax, smile and laugh.

hubby and I

There is more ... lots more ... photos, projects and ideas to share .. but this is as far as I could get it together. Off to grab another mug of iced coffee and hang out in our warm, sunny, tidy garden.

Summer decided to return ... today! Pin It Now!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Axel and I have only ever gone on ONE real "vacation" it was 5 days into the eastern part of Germany. I loved it, we loved it ... I have some great pictures of this trip. It was moons ago, 6-1/2 years ago. It was a very stressful job due to a bunch of stuff going on in the shop and lack of available internet connections to put me at ease. I want to go back and this time enjoy every minute. And we did think about it, and we thought about the Ardennes, but then we re-thunk it all and decided this year a "Staycation" was our best option.

First, there's the dog to think about, then the whole problem I have with paying for a bed in July when *everyone* else is also on holiday and willing to pay top dollar when I have a perfectly good bed at home, and lots of little jobs we want to get done and and and ... so this year we're staying home and so far we're loving it!

We've got this plan, a 3-day rotation plan. One day we do whatever we want, one day we hit the road and go exploring (and have a nice meal out) and the 3rd day we work on projects around the house and garden.

Yesterday was our "do what we want." So first I made a set of reversible cocktail napkins and then I was browsing Pinterest .. seriously .. if you love to find quick and easy inspiration, this is the place!



First I saw this, which got me curious so I found this and then this. So I plunked myself on the sofa yesterday and made this ...

But who can stop at one? So now this one is in the works. Oh, and I did a bit of tidying too and found the sweet little girl on the way ... just one of many little wooden things we bought on that trip to eastern Germany.


If you'd like to see more of our trip feel free to browse this little slide show I put together. It includes pictures of our first buying trip to find indigos and the process involved in creating them. Pin It Now!

Friday, July 15, 2011

GOT DOTS Lollipops Pattern

Here you have it ladies & gentlemen, the long-awaited pattern for the LOLLIPOPS Block - part 3 of the great GOT DOTS quilt along.

Bowl Block
Got Dots BorderAnd just to tease you a tad more .. there is a border in the works .. here's a peak. Click on the link below or here to download the Part 3 pattern booklet and happy stitching. I am looking forward to seeing your pics added to our Flickr group!
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Heart went THUMP

Do you work from home? Ever work yourself into a complete tizzy and then crave the company of co-workers to talk you down? I had a Friday like that last week. Frustrated with so many things on so many levels I couldn't put a single thought together. By the time Axel came home I was a lost cause, I tried to explain and then ask him for ideas ... he was lost. Poor guy, he had no idea what I was talking about. Somehow I managed to talk myself down, but it was a rough, rough day.

Saturday was great and I made loads of progress on my white picket fence ... a small object that is beginning to represent so much.

So between Saturday and Sunday I woke in the middle of the night to thumping in my head. It wasn't a headache, but boy was it thumping, echoing my heartbeat which seemed to be a tad faster than usual. I finally got up and during the course of the day drank two huge cups of coffee (after giving it up and not liking the taste for over a year)! I sat down at my desk and drew up some plans: basic weekly to-do lists and a daily checklist. Some things are simple like make dinner plans and change the bedding. Other things were huge, like remember to eat a healthy lunch, clear my desk every night and make a plan for the next day before I finish "work" each evening.


This week has gone much better ... much! It feels better. That crazy heart / head thumping episode messed up my internal clock but last night I finally got a good solid nights sleep - long may they continue.

Yes, I'm still a tad bugged about the list of things that need doing .. all around really .. in the house, the shop, the studio. The list always seems to get longer rather than shorter. But that jolt of creativity I had a couple of weeks ago is still flowing strong in spite of the frustration.

DotsYesterday I finished hand-piecing the first twenty-five blocks of Got Dots together .. I am so in love with this project! Every dot, every heart, block, row .. it's lovely, it's satisfying and I'll keep going until it's big enough to nap under but for now it can hang on the wall of the shop, smiling on everyone that comes in.  It will also get a border but it's simple and sweet so I'll continue on that in the meantime.  On my list for this afternoon is to double-check the instructions for the Lollipop (formerly known as Bowl) block and get them posted on the blog.

I'm going great guns on Nesting as well ... I think I might even have the top completely appliqued and together by the beginning of September. The patterns are coming along well and I just have one or two that need a bit of tweaking here and there.


And then there's this .. finally .. in the midst of my panic on Friday I made myself a needlebook and took photographs step by step so I could finally put together packets, patterns and maybe even some finished product (etsy?).


So sometimes we put our panic and self doubt to good use - long may it continue!

Now I'm off to have a healthy lunch, play with Whisper, get a jump start on dinner and throw some laundry in the washing machine. This afternoon a fabric rep is coming and I'm hoping to find some new goodies for the shop. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Design Process .3.

Asking (and Letting) the Design Tell it's own  Story

You can tell summer hit here because I really dropped the ball. We've had fantastic weather and it feels like there are a million things to do. It would be so easy for me to hide in my studio all day and create ... but "real life" calls so I've had to leave the stitching for the evenings.

Design Process .2.
When I left you last on this project I felt like it was going in a very different direction than I thought.  No longer a "typical" piece of patchwork with some hand embroidery and applique, this piece was beginning to tell it's own story.

The basic elements were still there, quite a few of the motifs from my original brainstorming were working. But clearly that bird needed to be bigger so I let her take over and then I just listened while she told me a story. I grabbed a blank sheet and started scribbling away while she sang her tune.

Design Process .2.

Set her free
For your song
will always be
in her heart
She will build
her own nest
And make you proud

Set Her FreeSo now I sit here with these saltwater pearls in my hand, ready to add them ... Ready for her song to be complete. Thinking about Mary and her love for her daughters with every stitch.

Happy stitching, Jovita Pin It Now!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday the First

Really, it's the first of July already ... I'm having a hard time with that one ... but maybe I'll get over it.

This week has been busy, Patchwork Bee was Tuesday; then the shop was open, I was teaching class and was generally very busy on Wednesday, Thursday was quieter and I can't remember what I did .. yes, it was yesterday.

But Friday, today, is my day "off." I had so many things I wanted to do, but first, just one Jane. Ha! Ya, right! Six later I've finally had enough (never mind that the last one took 2 hours - completely my fault). So I thought I'd show and share what I have so far minus those that are in various stages of hand completion.

15 blocks

In case any of you are wondering the solid Kona that I am using as my "background" is Bayou.  A couple of you have asked so I'll do my best to include that in future posts.

I am sooo loving it. But now I'm really considering / reconsidering what I will do with my sashings ... because I'm definitely thinking I'll go away from what Jane did. I've been pinning a few ideas on our Contemporary Jane pinterest board.

So on that note, I'm off and running onto the next Friday task.  The shop is open tomorrow so have a few things to get done around the house.

I hope you have a great First, a wonderful Friday and Fun this weekend!  Piecefully xx

Pin It Now!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Sunday, Two Janes

One Sunday, Two Janes

It was a fabulous day here .. the sun was shining, we got the grass / dust mowed and Axel took a nap (after a 5 hour drive back and forth, plus errands with his parents yesterday *and* babysitting with me for friends until 1am, he deserved it).

And while he napped, I played! 

Cut and sewed these two blocks - the math I did yesterday, but yes, today there were corrections. Both blocks are rotary cut and machine pieced, they are A-1 "Pinwheel Gone Awry" and A-2 "One Two, Buckle My Shoe" from page 17 of the Dear Jane® book by Brenda Papadakis.

I am loving how they turned out! You too? 

Well then you should surely think about joining our Contemporary Jane quilt along featured Under the Willow Tree. A bunch of girlfriends from my previous shop are all doing it together and would welcome anyone who wants to join - the more the merrier. The construction method I used for these blocks will be blogged too .. including lots of tips and hints!

We are making "our" Janes ... we're not using reproductions but sticking to fabrics that reflect us now and allowing the freedom to add, change or leave out blocks that don't fancy us. To get an idea of what we mean, check out our "Contemporary Jane" board on Pinterest. For more useful Jane links, please see this post

My Jane? I'm using primarily Kaffe fabrics, but anything that plays nice goes too! The 2nd block is made using "Peacock" by Amy Butler ... how couldn't I?? Here are just some of the fabrics I'll be adding to my quilt .. and the basket I'll be keeping this project in, of course!

New Fabs

Yes, HOT ... and that is what we are expecting ... 
for 3 days, weather to exceed 90F / 32C.

Axel is already dreading it and drew up the beginning of his defense plan today. I was supposed to sew black out curtains for the living room and he install our air conditioner and a ceiling fan in our bedroom. Um, nothing happened. But tomorrow I will cut the board we need to have the air conditioner ready for tomorrow night. Sorry love, the curtains are just not going to happen until we finish painting that corner and hang the rod. Love you, x
Pin It Now!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Contagion Alert!!

I would love to call this a Friday Finish, but alas I must still quilt it ... if you know me, you'll know that can take a while, but I could not wait to share this little piece I whipped up!

Everything was all set for our Patchwork "Garden" Party last Saturday but I was itching to work on something last Friday night. The first section was nearly finished before we clocked off and went to bed.

Something bit me and it was something very contagious.

how does your inspiration grow?

It's probably the fasted start to finish I've ever done. Made especially simple by no pattern or lines to follow. The only pattern I drew carefully was the bird. All the leaves were cut and appliqued free-hand. For the dots, I used the same method as I do for "GOT DOTS."

The story of this quilt started with seeing this quilt. I was in LOVE and even pulled a stack of backgrounds from my stash to make my own. But there was no way I could justify starting another big project or even a swap. I'm happily drowning here as it is ... so many projects including GOT DOTS, Contemporary Jane, various BOMs in the shop, plus ... all.of.these.

But when inspiration and creativity strikes

By the way, Nifty's was inspired by this quilt featured in this book. I don't think I dare even admit to myself that this quilt is now calling my name.  For now I think I've got a handle on this bug .. although that stack of backgrounds is still there and loudly calling my name.  When it calls too loud I tell it to hang on a minute ... this creativity is brewing and plans are starting to take shape ... later, much later.

In the meantime "Set Her Free" is really shaping up too! Tomorrow I can start adding the finishing touches and hopefully quilt her next week so I can tell Mary I mailed it on July 1st! Pin It Now!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Design Process .2.

Choosing Fabrics & letting them influence design

So we left off this new project design with a few ideas ... I had sketched a couple of motifs I wanted to include and decided on a color scheme .. it was off to the stash to see what I could find with Mary's remit of "beachy colors: pale blues, seafoam green, biege"

design process process .2.I was able to narrow it down to this 9 ... or maybe 10 ...

and was planning to keep it a very simple patched background with motifs on each rectangle ... a quick math calculation indicated that finished rectangles of 2" x 2-3/4" should be about right .. and keep me inside our goal of 8" x 10".

With a few snips of various fabrics for each motif and with my sketches in hand, I headed upstairs for the evening  to see where this would lead. Boy oh boy .. never try to watch TV and design at the same time ... my poor husband has the patience of an angel. In the future I'll keep the designing to my office although I can applique quite adeptly while "watching" television.
Design Process .2.
My rectangles were throwing me a few good "problems"
  • the egg was easy to applique
  • the cage - hmmm, not sure I care for the proportion
  • I loved the bird shape but wow, it'd be really small if to 2" x 2-3/4" finished rectangles
  • and that branch ... how was I going to portray that well in a vertical space.  
It looks like this calls for a bit more re-designing to do .. but I'm feeling good about where this is going! Pin It Now!
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