The Friendship Quilt

There is nothing like a fresh set of nicely matched fabrics all wrapped together in a pretty yellow ribbon. At least those were my thoughts when my mom brought home this beautiful kit for a quilt pattern called Friendship. She sent me a picture of it via text messages and I was a tiny bit envious of her new, shiny things.

To my surprise, she showed up yesterday with the set in hand and gave it to me as a gift! My dad had spied this quilt in the Orange Quilt Bee in Orange, CA and thought it was beautiful so they purchased the kit for me to have fun with.

Some girls like jewlery and some like flowers.

I’m happy with some fabric and a new sewing project any day!

I was so floored and a tiny bit confused (wait…wasn’t this her kit?) but also super appreciative that they had thought of me. It’s not everyday you get a gift of new fabric in beautiful earthy tones to play with!

I didn’t get the chance to dive right in due to nursing a severe sunburn but today I finally got to break into the kit and look at all the lovely fabrics and colors I have to play with.

I can’t pick a favorite because they are all too beautiful. I like the differences in the greens and the yellows and the little pop of color the blue lends to the whole thing. Just stunning!

Here are all the fabrics on display, organized by color family. It was a beautiful sunny day so I took advantage of that natural sunlight to really bring out all the beauty of these swatches.



Now I’m not done with either my Playful Colors Quilt or my CIRCA 1934 quilt but having this new project in my hands has made me itchy to start something new.

After talking with my mom about my “quilters guilt” (the feeling you get when you put aside an almost finished project to start something new), I’ve decided to do what I want and not what I feel I’m obligated to do.

I have this strong need to complete the work I’ve started and feel bad about starting something new without finishing the others first. But my mom reminded me that it’s pretty common for crafters to have multiple projects going at the same time. If a project isn’t fulfilling something in the maker, it’s perfectly fine to jump to another project to keep them happy and creative.  
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Peeled Wellness

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Sew Fresh Quilts


Hobbies Up To Here Episode #6

And welcome back! It’s podcast time again! This week we’ve recorded episode #6 and it’s here for your enjoyment!IMG_6544

We’ve got some crafty events coming up! In a few weeks, Dori will be taking a trip to the coast to enjoy the Sawdust Art Festival . Can’t wait to hear all about it and hopefully see some awesome pictures of some of the art works there.Even bigger than the Sawdust Festival is the Row by Row Experience about to start this weekend!!

The Row by Row Experience started in 2011 and has spread across the US and Canada. It starts June 21 and stretches through September. You collect patterns at each shop you visit. If you are so inclined to put together a quilt using the rows you’ve collected, you can enter it to win prize! You have until October 31st to enter your finished row by row quilt.

This year’s theme is H20 which is slightly ironic for us here in Southern California due to our lack of rain hahahaha. Either way we’re excited to participate. Will you be visiting your local quilt shops and playing along?

If you are a Southern California local, there is the Southern California 17th Annual Quilters Run beginning this weekend and ending June 28th. Check the list of shops to see if your quilt shop is having their own block party.

Thanks to Melanie over at Thousand Needles for sharing this with us! Maybe we’ll see ya at a quilt shop next weekend!

Layer cakes, jelly rolls, and charm packs OH MY! My mom shares some of her purchases from The Quilt Cupboard and begins her foray into the world of precuts. Her first attempt using some precut sets will be to make the Five & Dime quilt. Check out our post about our day shopping together.

She has the Ambleside precut packs and some great Christmas packs to play with. 

My first sewing attempt didn’t pan out like I wanted but I’m determined to make something my son can wear. Maybe I’ll skip this pattern and just make my own, ha!

In the end, I made this! It’s not done yet but my son loves it! Time for handles!

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Oui Crochet

Borders, Sashing, and Backing OH MY!

Have you ever pulled out a WIP and realize that you are missing a part of it? If you have, then you’ll sympathize with me . If you haven’t, then I hope you never do. It sucks!

I pulled out my Playful Colors quilt the other day to finally get cracking on the final steps. I’ve acknowledged that I don’t like wrapping up a quilt as much as I like put the top together. Once the pieces are all together and I have to start putting the borders on or adding sashing, I start to get distracted and lose focus.

I’m at that point now with this quilt and my CIRCA 1934 quilt, too. My CIRCA top is done and just needs borders, quilting, and the binding. My Playful Colors quilt needs the sashing to finish the top then the borders, quilting, and binding. But, the speed and interest I had originally has dwindled and I’m finding myself interested in started another project instead (OH SHINY!).


But I know better. I need to wrap these two up before I get going on anything new. Sadly, after a pricy trip to JoAnn’s I realized I’m missing a square. Dang! And I have only three strips of this pattern available to make a new square. So, I’m going to have to adjust my layout and go with what I have.


I also found out that the fabric I originally wanted is not being sold at the JoAnn’s near me and I can’t find a swatch of the fabric with a salvage edge that has the name on it so I went searching around the internet and couldn’t find the extra fabric. Once again I thought I was all set and now I’m having to change things up at the last minute.


Instead of a goldenrod fabric with orange polka dots, I’m making the sashing from this vibrant striped fabric. At first I worried it would be too busy but it has a lot of colors in it that match the variety in the charm pack. I got a nice yellow and a beautiful green to make the borders out of.


Just laying together it looks like it will work! I’m crossing my fingers it will work once it all comes together.


While I was there I also got the fabric I’ll need for the borders and backing of the CIRCA quilt. I wanted simple and strong so that it looked like the quilt top was framed with a cream matting and a final black border. I think I hit the mark with the cream/white fabric.



I struggled a bit with the red because it’s more of an orangey/rusty color than a true or cherry red. I threw a lot of reds down against the top and just couldn’t seem to find a good match. Then I red across this red and felt that it was pretty close and doesn’t seem to clash even if it is not perfect.


Again I’m crossing my fingers that everything comes together and that the colors work and don’t clash.


Honestly, looking at all of them together I almost think they could have made a great blanket! I think I may need more of that striped fabric. It’s seriously amazing! These pictures don’t really do it justice!
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Live Randomly Simple

For The Rocker, The Sewer And The Paisano In You!


Toscana. Sew Vintage. All Amped Up.

Yup, that about sums it up! I’m primarily Italian, I looove vintage era fabrics and am a rocker chick at heart. These three Layer Cake designs from The Missouri Star Quilt Co. are a perfect addition to my growing stash. I already have the piecing ideas in my head thanks to YouTube videos put out by MSQC. It would be soooo easy for me to sit at my computer and buy dozens of these packs with the excuse that I have SO many quilting gifts to make for Christmas! That justifies a rather large purchase, doesn’t it?!?

To be honest, I’m saving the Sew Vintage for myself. Each 10×10 inch square has a sewing motif. I love the muted colors and can see myself cuddled up underneath it when it’s finished, watching Sense and Sensibility or maybe Fried Green Tomatoes on the boob tube!

I’m excited about Toscana as well. With no theme printed designs, it will give me the opportunity to experiment a bit with quilting patterns that might not translate well with a directional design. I can’t wait to practice FMQ on these fabrics as well.

Now…the All Amped Up is already slated for a recipient! And it wasn’t the one I originally bought it for! I’m going to buy more packs of this design so I can make more than one quilt as requested. It will be fun fiddling with different patterns to see how I can showcase the awesome music inspired designs on each square.

Are there fabric designs that you naturally turn to when you enter your favorite local quilting store? What takes your breath away? Are there designs that you feel define who you ARE? Please share!
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Live Randomly Simple

WIP: The Marvel Quilt

A while back I made a discovery; my son is growing up super fast and is more like a little man than a little boy.

I made him a quilt recently that took way longer to finish than I had planned.


By the time I was finished, he had outgrown both the fabric choice and the size. So it was time to upgrade him.

We picked out some cool big guy fabric of his favorite Marvel characters and I stashed it away for a time. I was waiting for some other projects to wrap up and for the time to be right.

Well, just as with having a baby or buying a house, the time is never perfect or right so you just gotta go with it!

This week I started his Marvel Quilt by cutting out all the superhero center squares. I’m going to border these with some stark primary colors like blue and red.


Kinds like this!

So far I have 43 squares cut and I’ve run out of fabric. DAMN! Looks like I’ll need to make a trip to JoAnns soon to grab another cut of this fabric so I can stay consistent with the center squares.


The Hulk sees you!


A trio of good guys.


Got a good cut of Marvel comics.


Got a little Silver Surfer in that cut.


Thor’s swinging’ his hammer.


The kidlet got in on the action and helped me show off some of the squares. Asking him to hold still AND be serious was of course too much. He was a good sport.


He even ironed the squares! I was pretty impressed. He’s usually not comfortable around things that can hurt him like the rotary cutter or the stove. Understandably so, anything can happen. But he ironed like a pro and we got 43 squares cut and pressed.


Check back to see my progress. I don’t have a time limit for this quilt so of course it could take me until he’s getting married to finish the damn thing, ha.

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Stash Love: An Amish Collection

Hey Fabric Fiends! Today I’m sharing a fat quarter set I’ve had for years just sitting in my stash waiting for me to come up with a plan for them.

During our podcast last week, I shared that this bundle was given to me as a gift. I love its earthy tones and the little pattens mixed in with some simple solids.

I noticed recently that this had a theme and it was Amish with the little people and the buggies and bonnets. There are even little cows!


It really has a nice simple tone to it a very salt of the earth look. Plus purple and blue are my favorite colors.


I hadn’t planned on using this yet but after talking to my mom, I’m itching to do something with it. Maybe I’ll give quilting-as-you-go a try and make some place mats or a table runner.


How can you NOT love a fabric with little buggies?!


What should I do? I know I need to work on my binding techniques so a little project that I can knock out quickly but use to focus my attention on making improvements would be good. This way I can really take the time I need to do the binding right.

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Quilting Is In The Blood

The past couple of years my parents have been on a real organizing kick. They’ve invited me and my siblings over at different times to go through the garage and the closets so that we can take what is ours and donate or throw away anything we no longer need or want.

That’s how my son came to have so many Nerf guns (thanks Uncle Mike).

There hasn’t been too many of my own items but during my last visit I did find a quilt I forgot I had.

It was made for me by my great grandma, Grandma Emily. She was a tall, loud, imposing woman who only remembered the dirty words in Portuguese and liked to greet you at the door without her teeth in. This is how I remember her in her later days.

When we were younger, we would go away with my Grandma and Grandpa to visit my great-grandparents in Yucaipa, what I remember as a flat, dry desert. My Grandpa Joe said very little and I remember him as a stern, quiet man that sat and watched a lot of TV. My Grandma Emily, on the other hand, she was always making something. Bread, jam, pies, quilts or something knitted.

I think she hand made my baptismal outfit that I have stored away in a hope chest.

The quilt I found is a small crib sized log cabin quilt made of browns and yellows, very reminiscent of the times. It was a quilt I always used in my tent and fort making and I knew it was mine. I don’t remember receiving it or if it was for a christmas or birthday.

I was told, as I got older, that it was once bigger but there was a house fire. The house burned down and this quilt along with a family Bible with a log of births and deaths for generations, survived the fire mostly intact.

That little burn mark there on the back is a left over singe mark from that devastating fire.

I hadn’t seen the quilt in years and after finding it and washing it, I took some time to look it over with my quilters eyes for the first time. That’s when I realized the perfection of the handmade and HAND STITCHED quilt!

My Grandma Emily was a quilting Bad-Ass!

I mean look at that square! The colors are dated but so beautiful together. It really reminds me fondly of my childhood in a very 80’s home.

 The binding is secured with an cross stitch while the rest looks all hand stitches in perfect little lines.

I’m very impressed with the longevity of this quilt. I’m almost 35 and this was made when I was very little so that puts it over 30 years old. Other than a small rip in the fabric no more than 2 inches long (and easily fixed) it’s held up amazingly well.

I’m so happy to have this blanket to remember where my family came from. We are a family of crafters who take pride in the things we make. My dad crochets and makes delicate lace doilies. My mom hand quilts and knits beautiful projects that look professional. Before our generations my grandmothers made their own clothing and knitted socks. Their stories are still alive with them when they share with us.

And before even them, my great grandmother quilted, baked, jarred, and knitted with a perfection that astounds me. I never got to quilt with her due to her death years ago and I regret that I didn’t realize what I had when she was here. I wish I had a chance to learn with her but I’m glad I get to carry on her legacy.

Fresh Poppy Design

Look What I Found!!!

It’s been my theme lately: fabric discovery! I’ve been weeding through my boxes of fabric, unearthing old UFO/WIP bits and pieces I like to call Forgotten Projects. I’ve found bundles of fabric I completely forgot I had and discovered whole kits of jelly rolls and precut fabrics. It’s been a pretty exciting couple of weeks! Like Christmas or my birthday everyday!

Then I found the ultimate Forgotten Project: my very first attempt at quilting.

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Ok now, let me set the stage. My mom bought me my sewing machine (whom I lovingly call Shelby) when I was 9. Sewing was interesting but not a hobby I wanted to take up so young. I’d seen my mom sew and quilt but wasn’t ready to attempt it myself. So that sewing machine sat until I was in college. My sophomore year at SFSU I dug up ol’ Shelby and drove her from my home in southern California to my new apartment in San Francisco. There I helped my roommate cover some ugly ol’ couches we were given to decorate our apartment with.

And then nothing…

Shelby moved with me from apartment to apartment, collecting dust in closets or on shelves. I rarely used her until after we graduated and moved into our own places. My friend was now married and I was ready to live without roommates. It was during this time that my mom gifted me a Pooh Bear fat quarter set and a book about making a simple quilt. Those fat quarters became the baby quilt I made a while ago. That’s when it started. My friend and I both fell deeply in love with fabric and the colors upon colors and patterns to choose from. Our initial attempts at quilting were pretty pathetic. Nothing cut right and everything was crocked!

I remember being SOOOOO frustrated! I would look in these books my mom would send me, drooling over the intricate patterns and beautiful fabrics. Then I would attempt to make my own quilt and it would never turn out right!

When I discovered I was pregnant with my son, I moved home from San Francisco to start our lives with my family. I was taking on the job as a single mom so I would have little time to quilt. Shelby once again found a home on my shelf and there she waited till I was ready again.

Since that time, my original attempt at quilting was stocked away to be forgotten about. I haven’t seen this thing in a decade and then some! But just a few days ago I discovered it in the bottom of a basket. Seeing it for the first time in year, I had a few reactions.

Firstly, I was impressed with my attempt at a smaller more intricate design for my first quilt. Lately I’ve stuck to strips and squares because I know I’ll finish them! I’m not up to the task of cutting smaller bits and making them into bigger bits…yet. I will someday, just not right this moment.

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Secondly, the colors! Oh my goodness are they bright on their own but man are they blinding together! I think this was a fat quarter kit I grabbed up and figured they’d look good together because they were the same colorful palette just in different colors. Blimey…

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Also, it looks like I made the same mistake in each of the squares. I can’t actually tell what the pattern is supposed to be BUT I think there is a corner on each square that is flubbed. I can’t be sure but something doesn’t look right.

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And lastly, it’s a mess. Very all over the place with the cutting and the stitching. I can’t really make heads or tails of it but there it is, in all it’s Technicolor glory.

But I must say, I kinda love it. Maybe it’s like your first child, the one that puts you through your paces and teaches you how to parent. It’s the one that you look back on and see ALL your mistakes but you still adore it to pieces.

This quilt is technically my first although it’s only being completed now. And, although it’s messy and kinda ugly and not nearly big enough to be a full sized quilt, I love it!

I went out last week and picked up some fabrics to complete this little project. I figured with all the color black would be a good backing to it so I picked up a clean Kona black. I couldn’t help but grab up some rainbow polka dots to kinda tie in all the colors.



I also grabbed a couple of yards of this mellow yellow that was on sale for like $2 a yard. When she said that I about had a heart attack and flew at the chance to have more! I could also use a good solid in my stash!


So now to work on putting the colors together and making something out of this ugly yet loveable mess. It’s my new work in progress!


Fresh Poppy Design

Avengers ASSEMBLE!

I’ve been on a quilting roll lately, finishing up older projects or starting new ones and sticking with it till they are done. So much so I actually allowed myself some fabric shopping for a future project.

After my son’s quilt was done, my husband pointed out that a) it was too small and b) it was a little on the babyish side. He said it with the sincerest of tones and I didn’t even take it personally. I saw what he meant. What started as a quilt for a little guy ended up a quilt for a much taller and older guy. A little man who is into Transformers and comic books.

My husband suggested I look into fabric that would suit my son’s interests currently. I agreed. He deserved a quilt that not only fit him but also his age. After thinking on it some time and knowing Joann’s has a sale going right now, I convinced my son to hoof it over to the store and show him what they had. I had already scoped out the character fabrics for my own possible project. I spotted the Batman fabric for myself but I knew my son would LOVE the Avengers when he saw them.

My son ogled and ahhhhhed all the different Avengers fabrics they had in stock. Along with these, they also had Spiderman, Superman, and even Star Wars. In the end we picked up these two Marvel fabrics, one with the characters in action and the other a handful of comic book covers. I’m seeing a quilt with windows of fussy cut squares, bordered by the red, and blue with the yellow as the binding. My son loved the idea of having a blanket he could read!


A few aisles down I found this great fabric with the thought bubbles and all the action words used by many of our fearless heroes. How great is this? I bought enough of this for the back of the fabric although I’m not set in my ways. I definitely have room to wiggle in while I set down how I want it to look. For now this is what I have in mind.


Don’t Mind The Horrible Rendering

I bet there is a name to this pattern that I don’t know. I just like that it looks like the superheroes are framed in action!

Now I have all the bits I need to start and even some black if I need to add to anything, but I won’t begin this quilt any time time soon! I plan to finished a few other projects first and then maybe take a bit of a break to go through my crafting room and reorganize. With all the projects I’ve got going right now, things are a bit messy and I’ve got team-mom duties that start this week so my time will really be divided until Halloween.

Speaking of Halloween, here we are dressed as the Avengers a couple of years back. Not only is our little guy a comic book fan, so are we.

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This reminds me, it’s time to start thinking of our costumes for this year. Hummm…..
Fresh Poppy Design

Quilter’s Question: Storing Your Stash

Recently, I convinced the husband that I needed a new desk and filing cabinet from Ikea. I’d seen enough pictures around Pinterest to know that this set-up would work well for my beauty supplies and would relieve my bathroom stink from all the clutter. So I sold it to him on the premise that our bathroom would be cleaner and we’d have more room on the sink.

Low and behold I got my desk and filing cabinet! It took me some time to fill it out and rid the bathroom of all my palettes but we’re now able to see the tile around the sink and all my stuff is better organized. Yay for organization!


Along with all my makeup things, I realized that this desk would be a great place to set up my sewing machine and there was enough room to start storing my fabric stash here, too. So it doubled as a beauty/sewing center. Score another point for me!

But as I started to dig into my fabric and move it to my new craft center, I realized I had no method at all to my madness. I had a box from work that used to hold reams of paper on a shelf. I opened that sucker up and BAM! I found loads of fat quarters and bundles of fabric I forgot I had.


A Box O’ Fabric

Then I found another bin with lots of loose material floating around, some finished squares I bought on eBay to be put together to make a quilt (what was I thinking!) and jelly rolls for those quilts I had the best of intentions to make as gifts.


In short, things were a mess. I started moving some of the stacks to my desk and filled two shelved built into the side of the desk. Then I started to filter through the boxes and bins but got so overwhelmed I had to put them back together and store them in the closet as they were. Then I went to start the binding on my son’s quilt. That’s when I realized I didn’t know where it was!!


My disorganization was coming full circle and now I couldn’t find the last bit of material I needed to finish his quilt. After some searching, I found it tucked away in some vintage inspired fabrics. It was probably stuck with all of that fabric because the common color schemes are browns and yellows. But it definitely was the last straw.

I need a better way to store my fabric. And preferably a system that won’t require me to spend a lot of money.

My question to all of you fellow quilters is this: What is your preferred method of organizing your stash and storing it? Bucket? Hanging files? Do you wash, press, then fold them into neat stacks? Do you organize by color? Theme? Fabric type?

I’m curious to hear what everyones’ method is and maybe it’ll give me a direction to take when I start to get my mess of a stash organized.

For now I’ll show you the jelly rolls I found in a box tucked into the closet.

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I had completely forgot about these. I think I found them on sale at a Wal-Mart near us that was closing down its fabric section. They have a nice beachy feel so I think I’m going to use these for my next quilt. And instead of using the same four strip squares I’ve been sticking too, I’m going to change it up a bit.


More to come…

Fresh Poppy Design