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Bits and pieces...

Bits and pieces...

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Today is a "either-or" sort of day.

It feels like everything I've got going is either winding down or gearing up, and my calendar is full of "weeks and weeks away" or a rapidly approaching deadline.

Winding down - Christmas in July.  I'll still be making and sharing some good-for-gift projects in the  coming months but the only thing left is to say - after one of the ladies in the office picked five numbers and I found the corresponding comment, I sent five e-mails.  If you didn't hear from me, not to worry, this isn't the last time I'll have some surprises to share.  With birthdays, anniversaries and the holidays, there's still plenty to celebrate.

While this doesn't wind down for two more weeks, the deadline is looming.

August 18th - Spoonflower and Fabric8.  Are you putting the finishing touches on your artwork for Botanical Sketchbook?


Your name on a Moda selvage - it could happen.  But time-is-a-wasting!  You've got two weeks from today - get busy!

We are gearing up for several "events" coming soon, and just as it is with back-to-school, all the catalogs full of new "Fall" stuff, there are crates and boxes arriving in the office and over in the warehouse.  From fabric to notions, it's all got the feel of "gearing up".  It's all rather distracting - partly because it's intersting, partly because some of what is arriving are things we've been working on for much of the year, and partly because it's all very new to me.

I'm also somewhat easily side-tracked.  It didn't help that a couple of new "Christmas" books were dropped off in my office this week from That Patchwork Place - Martingale.


Handmade Christmas Cheer by Pat Wys of the Silver Thimble Quilt Co. and...


Season's Greetings by Anni Downs of Hatched & Patched in Australia.

Both books are terrific, and both books have projects that you can finish by the holidays.  (And yes, I'm sharing.  These books found their way into two of the "gifts" going out this week.)


By the way - today is National Chocolate Chip Day!

Not National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day - that's May 16th.  But it's a loophole - celebrating the chocolate chip includes chocolate chip cookies!  Of course, it also includes chocolate chip pancakes, waffles, muffins and bagels.  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream - mint and "regular", chocolate chip milkshakes and chocolate chip cake are worthy treats, as is any trail mix or granola bar with chocolate chips!

I'm sorry... I need a moment.  In the excitement over chocolate possibilities, I sort of lost my head.

David Leite's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I was distracted by this picture.

This was the recipe that resulted from David Leite's search for the "consummate chocolate chip cookie".  David Leite is an award-winning, renowned chef-baker-gourmet who writes for the NY Times and he wrote about this several years ago as the "Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie".

I've made these cookies - mine didn't look anywhere near this perfect - but it's a recipe that's definitely worth trying if you love Chocolate Chip Cookies.  David Leite's Chocolate Chip Cookie - Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I had a deadline this past week - and I missed it!  July 31st.  That was when I was supposed to have my blocks finished for a swap I'd been invited to join.  I finished them over the weekend and turned them in this morning... "finished" being an operative word.  That kind of implies that they were "in the works".  Does having my fabric selected count as "in the works"?


These are my blocks - before I cut them into quarters.  The "center squares" aren't in the center and really, they're not supposed to be.  This can be a scrap-buster or a "I must buy lots of pretty fabric for my new project" kind of quilt.  (Mine was mostly the latter.  I know, you're shocked.)


Have you ever participated in a swap?  I think this is my fourth.  Or fifth.

I won't pretend that they always goes perfectly - that you're always going to be thrilled with what you get back in the swap.  With the right group - like-minded quilters - and a few guidelines and rules, it's a whole lot of fun.  Most swaps I've participated in are fairly specific about fabric - 100% cotton, quilt-store quality, color palette and sometimes even the style.  E.g., no novelty prints, all 30s or batiks, etc.

The benefit of blocks like these is that they can be squared up to uniform size to account for "variations".  The quilt we're all making is based on one from the Sunday Morning Quilts book by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison - and yes, we all have the book.  We were given a fabric and color-palette of - Bonnie & Camille meet Minick & Simpson.  No, fabrics weren't limited to those two "designers"... let's just say nobody had to dive into their stash of brown or purple.

Truth be told, half the fun is seeing what you get back.  Most are gorgeous - much better than anything I made.  But every now and then you get one that elicits this comment, "this block is from <insert the name of the sweet friend who you adore but are convinced is color-blind>... well, bless her heart."

I'll let you know how it goes.

That's it for today - I hope you go celebrate the holiday and consider participating in a block swap of some kind.

Happy Tuesday!