My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and Andrew surprised me with this huge vintage science-lab bottle so I can make a mega-terrarium bottle garden! Happiness!
I love it so much. Michelle and I headed over to Artemisia and I picked up some tiny, pretty plants that will hopefully slip through the narrow bottleneck. (I also got to go to Pambiche, the park, Bar Avignon, and Ringside. It was a pretty good birthday!)
Way back in the freewheeling crafty 70s, my parents made a bottle garden for my grandparents in a giant green-glass solvent bottle from my grandfather’s physics lab, and I loved it. I’ve always dreamed about making one myself. Approximately three million tiny, small and medium terrariums later, here I am, trying to figure out how the heck to pull it off – my mom says it’s pretty challenging! Luckily, I have some allies in the form of fabulous vintage craft books…
This is from The Family Creative Workshop (Volume 2: Beachcombing to Bottle Gardens). Love this whole series so much. (I snapped photos of all the pages in the whole Bottle Gardens entry that are here in my flickr set if you want to see them.)
I also have a copy of Sunset’s Gifts You Can Make. I really wish more vintage craft books had color photos, but this is a fantastic book, and I’m so happy that they included bottle gardens as an idea for presents.
If you’re looking for either of these books, here’s what the covers look like… in glorious color!
Andrew found the bottle here, on Division in Southeast Portland. I asked the owner how often he sees these giant bottles, and he said they’re pretty rare, but this is the place I’d keep an eye on if you want one too. Would love to add some other giant-bottle sources if you have any!
My other birthday gift from Andrew was this beautiful Oregon myrtlewood cutting board, made by Coast Range Woodworks on Etsy. It’s really awesome too.
So, hopefully my next bottle garden post will be lots of photos of a beautiful miniature world of lush plants… or maybe just a list of what not to do when it comes to plants and bottlenecks. Either way, I have a hardware-store shopping list ready to go and I hope I can get started on it this week!
Also coming up – just wanted to mention that I’m teaching a scrap projects class at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store this Saturday from 2-4! We will be making two projects, a sunglasses case and a patchwork draft snake, and all the materials are included for $25. PMQG members get $5 off any class at Pendleton, too…
PS: Thanks to everyone who came to our January meeting last week! Petra wrote up a lovely meeting recap over here at the PMQG blog. We are so excited to do some fun things this year… we have an all-day sew coming up at Fabric Depot on February 4 (9am-8pm) and we’ll be announcing some good surprises for the February meeting soon, too!
Like many other, bigger websites, I am turning my blog dark today to protest censorship.
If you enjoy sharing photos, text, and content freely online, I encourage you to voice your opposition to SOPA, which appears to have dangerous, far-reaching consequences for all of us. You can sign a petition here, contact your (US) officials here, or get lots more info here.
I’ve gotten to do two lovely swaps with the Portland Modern Quilt Guild recently. One was with the KCMQG after my visit there, the Portland + KC quilters each made log cabin potholders for a member of the other guild and shipped them out to be unveiled at the December meetings. Super fun! Here’s a look at all the KC-made potholders on the table at PNCA before they were snapped up…
So, I made Jaime this… well, not a potholder. She was my wonderful hostess in KC and happened to mention that she has tons of potholders already. I was thinking about what else to make her in that same realm, and totally loved Megan’s presentation at our October PMQG meeting on quilted fabric buckets.
So I made this small standing bucket/bag with little binding-tape handles, and filled it with the rest of the blue and green fabrics I pieced with (she said blue and greens were her favorites on the swap card). This small, deep bag was made with a 7″ x 12″ block, joined at the sides and finished with box corners. I lined it with one of the solid greens.
In return, I got this charming potholder from Nancy – her first piece with free-motion quilting! Wow! She stitched in a sun, moon and stars, it’s gorgeous.
I just love it and it’s such an honor to have her very first free-motion quilting project as a gift. Thank you, Nancy! The back is so cute too…
Meanwhile, here in Portland, we did a holiday swap within our guild. Everyone filled a small ziploc bag with pieces of their favorite fabrics any any requests, and we chose someone else’s to sew with. I drew Rachel, who asked for a potholders or a placemat. I have a pretty placemat I love that Adaiha made and sent me, which I use on my sewing table every day, so I thought I’d make Rachel something similar.
I let the fabric piece sizes dictate the size of the placemat – three joined together, with a thin patchwork strip, made a nice-sized back so that was my template. I cut the rest of Rachel’s fabrics into 2″ wide strips and pieced them all randomly, then joined them vertically and top-stitched each seam. There were a lot of spectacular larger swap gifts on the table, but Rachel said that she really liked my humble little placemat, so I was happy!
I had the great good fortune for Anne to draw my name and assorted orange, yellow, and woodgrain fabrics. I said on my tag that anything would be great, and she made me a darling potholder and dishmat set – so cheerful!
I’ve been using the dishmat since I got home from the meeting. Here it is in its natural habitat, with a bowl and pan – it fits perfectly next to the (usually overflowing) dish drainer, in front of the toaster oven, and next to the coffeemaker. It looks so happy in my 1950 yellow and orange kitchen, I just love it. Thank you, Anne!
I’m also doing my first ever online quilt block bee, Michelle‘s Design Camp [think outside the block], and it’s been super fun. I just finished month #3 (for Michelle, but she hasn’t seen it in person so I’ll wait to post a photo). The first month, October, was a block with red Xs for Dustin:
Then, November, Coastal Dreams, was for Krystina:
I’m August, so I have a long time to think about my block fabrics + ideas. I’m considering sending out yellow, brown, and blue fabrics like the ones I used in the Denyse Schmidt class last summer, and getting everyone to improvisationally piece them as they’d like so I can mix them in with the ones I made. Hmm.
One last quilting note: I just posted a new correction for the Market Tote (page 141) from Modern Log Cabin Quilting. The seam allowance is incorrect on the first page (says 3/8″, should be 1/4″) – lots more details here. I’m so sorry about the error, but you can make a beautiful, sturdy, slightly smaller bag with the 3/8″ seam allowance, like Mary‘s here on the right (approximately 14″ blocks instead of 16″).
Happy New Year! I hope that your 2012 has been a good one so far. I just made a collage of my craft projects from last year and wanted to share it over here…
Lots of sewing! I think my favorite things I made are my denim wrap skirt, Everett’s birthday banner, and the plaid Pendleton blanket for my mother-in-law. I also love my Denyse Schmidt improvisational blocks, and I hope that I’ll actually get to piece them into a bed quilt in 2012. If you’re looking for truly spectacular finished quilt projects, check out people’s mosaics and posts on the Modern Quilt Guild FB page. (All of my quilting time went to Quilts for Quake Survivors, so my contributions were all just parts of a beautiful whole, so no finished quilts to show this year – I’m ok with it!)
Speaking of Quilts for Quake Survivors, I wanted to post an update over here, too. We are winding the project down this week after donating 30 quilts to survivors of the earthquake in Japan (March and April) and raising $2825 and counting for Mercy Corps’ relief work (May-now). A HUGE thank-you to everyone who has donated fabric, pieced blocks, joined or sashed quilt tops, sewed backs, basted, quilted, tied or bound quilts with us. We are so grateful for your beautiful work!
If you are interested, please go to our page on the Mercy Corps website and donate $150 (shipping is on us). You can donate to ANY cause you’d like the money to go to, not just Japan. Just state your preferred cause in the subject line. Mercy Corps will distribute the funds according to your specifications on their back end. Then you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the donation confirmation number and the number of the quilt and your shipping address. We will send you a confirmation email and ship the quilt within 48 hours via USPS. Also – if you’ve already donated $150 or more for end of year giving, you can send us the donor number and we’ll gladly send you a quilt as a thank-you.
After this week, we’ll donate any remaining quilts to Bradley-Angle House, a shelter here in Portland, for the women and children there. Thank you to everyone who has supported QfQ!!
I have a few more little things to share soon… like my favorite new hot chocolate recipe, and the finished 25-minute book and toy totes for Pearl and Everett (which were a huge hit on Christmas morning!). I’ll see you when I have a chance to upload some more photos!