Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We're back!

What an amazing journey our little family has been on! Sorry to leave this space so quiet but we were very busy on the other side of the country taking part in the 2012 Arthritis Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. A truly remarkable trip to participate in our country's legislative process. 

If you've been visiting here for awhile then you already know that my son Owen has juvenile arthritis. He was invited to attend this year's Advocacy Summit in D.C. to meet with legislators and tell his story to encourage continued support for research and programs that help the over 50 MILLION Americans who have some form of arthritis.

I am such a proud mama! Plus, he's so cute in his shirt and tie!

Of course, we DID fly all the way across the country (no small achievement for me, since I am completely phobic about flying, and it was the first plane trip for both kids), so we decided to add a few extra days to the trip to see some of the sights.

Arlington National Cemetery is a sight to behold. Such a tangible reminder of the great sacrifices made to ensure freedom in this country.

Beautiful architecture abounds in the D.C. area. It's not difficult to find inspiration and beauty everywhere you turn.

We all enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather -  a far cry from our fairly dreary northwest Spring.

And we had a lot of fun meeting our Senators to remind them to make arthritis a national priority.

We made lots of new friends along the way.

We also met with some of our Representatives.

We went to lots of museums.

We got to see the pandas at the National Zoo - a real highlight for the kids.

And while Owen said he wants to work in a space lab when he grows up, Bailey said that she wants to live here at the White House. 

We spent a lot of time on the Metro trains, enjoying the tunnels and the scenery speeding by.

All in all an amazing trip for our entire family. I must admit that in this election year, when I'm already tired of the rhetoric and annoying television ads and debates, it was magical to see our government and monuments through the wide eyes of my children. And needing to distill some of history's lessons into terms that they could understand, I found myself feeling very privileged to be an American. 

 I'll be back to normal crafting posts soon (after I tackle the mountain of laundry that erupted while we were gone). Meanwhile, if you have any questions about juvenile arthritis or what we were specifically advocating for while we were in Washington, please do ask.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Amazing Aurifil

Have you heard about the Aurifil Make a Designer Collection Competition? I've been watching the mosaics popping up all over blogland and figured I'd get in on the action. Here's my Vintage Vibe collection:

I chose these threads to coordinate with my Trajectory quilt because I absolutely love the colors and still haven't tired of them.

So, if you're feeling creative and want to play with all the lovely colors that Aurifil has to offer then go make up a mosaic of your twelve favorites and you just might win them! If you've already used this brand of thread you know how lovely it is. If not, I highly recommend it. I started using it about a year ago and I LOVE it for piecing and quilting. It makes really lovely stitches and doesn't shed nearly as much lint (especially in my bobbin case) as some other threads I've used.

Looking forward to sharing the "companion" quilt I'm working on for my son. We just set up his bunk beds. Two beds means Mommy has to make a new quilt!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Garden Party - free PDF pattern

Jennifer over on Sewhooked is hosting a paper-pieced pattern a day all month long to celebrate her birthday. How awesome is that? She has the birthday and we get the presents! I am honored to be included in the group of talented sewists who are creating patterns and today is my day to share a pattern with you.

This block was designed for maximum versatility. There are three distinct sections to the block: tall birdhouse on the left, small birdhouse and butterfly on the right. Each section is pieced separately and then joined together. In addition, each half is the same width so you can join the blocks vertically if you like to make one long block or a small wall hanging.

The birdhouses are probably the easiest parts to piece. Just one of these would make a cute snack mat - or you could add extra background material to make a set of placemats!

You could even make several birdhouses of varying heights to make a perfect Spring table runner.

The butterfly is the most complex portion of the block, but I would encourage you to give it a try even if you're relatively new to paper-piecing. And if you'd rather skip it, you can always replace the butterfly portion with additional background fabric.

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the many other blocks featured this month.

***And thank you to those of you who alerted me to a problem accessing the PDF. It seems to be fixed from my end of things with the file being made public so that anyone with the link can access it. If you are still having any trouble, let me know. Thank you for your patience! If you haven't already figured it out - this is my first time trying to post a PDF link on my blog!***

Monday, April 2, 2012

Michael Miller challenge block

A couple of months ago, the Portland Modern Quilt Guild was lucky enough to have Kathy Miller of Michael Miller fabrics come to speak at our meeting. Not only did she give everyone a color card for the new Cotton Couture solids but she also hinted at an upcoming challenge.

Then last month, every member received 8 fat eighths to design a 15.5" x 18.5" block. Kathy will choose something like 16 of them to be made into a quilt for the Michael Miller booth at Quilt Market.

Here's what I came up with:

Not to sound all commercially and everything, but these are really lovely solids to work with. The are so soft and have a very nice drape. I could see them being used for apparel as well as quilting.

I've seen a few other blocks from this challenge popping up and they're really fun. Can't wait to see which ones will be chosen!