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Today we had a very busy day of work…an event that welcomed interested people to learn more about our line of work and how they can be involved…  So, between making coffee, welcoming guests at the door, and talking with all the new and interesting people…I hurried to the computer to buy the fabric I need to make my next two quilts! I have been looking for quite some time now, and I needed to bite the bullet!

One day I'll visit the Purl Shop. Click to see the shop and home tour at Martha's.

Choosing fabric is {honestly} not one of my favourite things to do…!  Don’t get me wrong…I love fabric and all the possibilities that lie within its amazingly extraordinary existence!  There are just soooo many places to choose from and soooo many prices to compare…not to mention the workings of design and colour coordinating that go into the decision process.  And when it comes to money {and maybe some other things} …I am not a quick decision maker…  I am too much of a perfectionist.  So, one day {when I grow up} I will maybe build up a stash…which I can imagine will improve the whole design process, and make buying fabric a bit less pressured.  But for now…I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to continue quilting and making gifts for others!

Here are the colour schemes for these two quilts : one for a beloved boy, and the other for a dear little girl…

Janoah quilt colours

Francis quilt colours

My fabric {eventually…after much nail-biting and staring into the computer screen…!} came from Shabby Fabrics and The Fat Quarter Shop this time.  Both are US based but ship internationally.  And both ended up less than UK prices…so, I am really cool with that.  The only qualm I have with them is that neither allow you to buy smaller than 0.5 yard.  I would like to be able to buy 0.25 yard pieces most of the time…but I suppose they probably enforce a minimum to make it worth their while…  Anywho, I will look forward to getting my first shipments from both and seeing in real life the pieces that will soon be snipped and bound into a whole new warm huggy thing that you can curl up under!  I love that about quilts…its like, hours of investment into a big hug!  I’m American.  I like hugs.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the event went really well and I met 13 new people that I may be seeing again someday in Tanzania or some other far off place.  Its cool to live in an international and nomadic community…  Sometimes I dwell too much on the sadness of saying goodbye all the time that I forget how much fun it is to say hello!

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moda love quilt

I found a new toy tool!!  Its a project creator that lets you choose your favourite Moda fabrics and patterns and put them together into a visual masterpiece {like the above}!  Its sooo great!  I know its probably a ploy to get me to show Moda more love…but…well…its working!!  I am such a sucker for visual aids!  I don’t have any quilting software {and don’t plan to anytime soon} so this is really great!  I have such a hard time figuring which colours will work from different fabric lines when looking online.  So, there we go!  Go on over to Moda Fabric Matcher to start your own little project folder…and have fun!!

{As you can see, I’ve squeezed in a little turquoise here and there…ok…so I’m a little attached to that particular shade…so sue me…!}

Cheery patchwork pillow

I have been having so much fun making pillow covers! I use a mixture of thrifted and new fabrics {I love mixing old with new} and each is a little different, but very comfy!  There is something satisfying in making a pillow cover…  Something about an empty shell of fabric being plumped to fullness with a squishy softness!  My Man likes them too {always good}.  We both like soft cuddly things over here!

In other news, I have been learning Swahili {slowly} and this morning was very funny as my Man put on his generic ‘African’ voice and spoke nothing but Swahili to me as I got ready for the day…  Yeah, my most productive part of the day is the morning, but I still can’t keep up with him…!  {The giggling probably doesn’t help…}  Oh well, at least I have another year or so to learn all I can…before I am surrounded by Tanzanian folk…!  Hakuna matata!

Pinwheel quilt

Well, the quilt I am posting for Park City Girl’s Quilt Festival is about to fly this nest to live with another family…  Its amazing how attached you become to your labours of love…oh, where’s my hanky?…sniff..sniff. ; )  I’ve had a brilliant time sourcing materials, choosing patterns, piecing and quilting this baby sized quilt for a colleague’s first baby.  I have learnt so much through the process, and I am so glad!

For this quilt I sourced all of my fabric online from Sew Mama Sew and had it flown over from the States {to my home in England} with my family’s luggage when they visited this summer.  While I love each and every fabric I selected – not to mention the great service at Sew Mama Sew – I learnt that I prefer to choose my fabrics in person, rather than online.  I am learning that I am at my best creatively when I can use my senses intuitively – especially touch.  It is exciting to see my creative process develop more and more…

Label

I followed a specific pattern for this one, and I was very glad I did.  Being relatively new to the quilting scene, I felt it gave me foundational principles {i.e. machine stippling, colour-work, etc.} and expanded my knowledge of what works – which is always good!  These foundations give me the confidence to brave my own designs and bring in the organic creativity that I so love in all my crafting!

DuckiesI guess the thing I loved most about this quilt is that it was made for a fellow wife who also has a cross-cultural marriage {she is Finnish + he is English} and is, for the moment, raising her first child in a country that isn’t her home and in a language she continues to learn.  Being in an American/English marriage, myself, and living in a country I didn’t grow up in, we have a connection even though we have nearly nothing in common culturally.  We understand each other.  And it makes me happy that through the everyday challenges of living and being married cross-culturally we can encourage each other through the differences we share together.  And I think this quilt is my way of giving a little piece of ‘home’ while she’s in this strange place called England.

Behind every quilt is a story!  To see more quilts and some of the amazing stories behind them, click on the Park City Girl’s Quilt Festival button at the sidebar.  And grab a box of tissues – you’ll be in tears as you hear these people’s stories! Enjoy!

So, we’re just about ready to hit the road to Burkina Faso for the month of July! My hubby and I will be leading a team of 5 student-aged people into Ouagadougou {Ouaga for short…} and then around to a couple other village areas to spend time with some of the local communities and experience some of the culture…  The team is so excited…and it brings me back to my first time going to Africa about 11 years ago when I was part of a medical team to Ethiopia…I remember not being able to sleep for nights before out of excitement…  Oh Africa, here we come again : )

Neither of us have been to the west of Africa, only the east, which I gather is quite different…  So we’re looking forward to learning about some of the differences and will surely find some similarities in contrast to our native countries…

So, I think its probably safe to say that I won’t be blogging at all in the next month or so…and definitely won’t be making anything crafty worth posting…although I will be reverting to my MacGyver role in Africa and will no doubt come up with some pretty impressive gadgets… : )  I will be keeping my eye out for the beautifully colourful fabric from Burkina Faso that I have only seen pictures of …  And will hopefully be bringing some of that home with me to make something with!

Will take lots of photos and will look forward to showing them off…  So, have a good summer until I return from the far off land of Burkina…

There is something remarkable about woven textiles. Something in the feel of the individual strands of a linen that reminds you that its functionality is a result of uniquely created pieces brought together to make a whole. Ahh yes. Now what shall I do with these leftovers…?

woven

woven

linen inspiration: i heart linen

Our Little Family

today at the nest

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Pattern Challenge