The Unaquilter strikes twice!

Dear friends,

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I’m not sure why I’ve been blogging so infrequently lately. Part of it is an exceptionally busy time at work combined with a revved-up workout schedule, but part of it is that I’ve been trying to catch up on backlogged quilts.

I finished two of my languishing projects last week. Both are for baby girls due later this spring so I really needed to get going. One quilt was for a colleague and features the most adorable and whimsical animal print ever. I had so much fun stitching up this quilt that I would have been tempted to keep it for myself had it not been crib sized.

Here’s another view of the adorable Cori Dantini fabric line.

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The second quilt features a lone, framed star on front and an impressionist floral on back. It was an improv design with mix-and-match fabrics including a couple of pink prints left over from my Cori Dantini stash.

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For some reason, this quilt gave me fits and I spent two nights ripping out row after row after row of stitches after discovering multiple puckers on the back. Ugh.

On the bright side (literally), my favorite part of this quilt was the white-on-white floral fabric with simple white quilting.

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This quilt is for a friend of my CupKate’s. I’ve known B since she and Kate met in Kindergarten. I don’t know where the time went and I can’t believe I’m already creating wedding and baby gifts for my oldest child’s friends.

Still, I had so much fun I bought another star pattern — aptly titled Swoon — that I’ve been eying for months.  And I’ve got just the girl in mind for it.

Once I cross a few more projects off my to-quilt list, that is.

With gratitude {for a busy but productive spring},

The Unaquilter, aka The Magpie, who wants to come back in her next life as a Cori Dantini-illustrated magpie

A king-sized makeover.

Dear friends,

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Last week I made a quick business trip to St. Louis and, while I was there, I picked up a few things for Kate’s room. The results are shown in the Instagram photo above.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s nothing that perks up a bedroom quite like new bedding. In addition to buying a white seersucker duvet, I purchased a bright paisley quilt, some new throw pillows, and three fun art canvasses, which we hung over her bed and then strung with twinkly lights.  All the items came from Target.

Kate had no idea I was planning a makeover and she was thrilled with the results.

Can I just say that’s something I absolutely LOVE about my daughter? She and I share similar tastes in home decor, fashion and jewelry, so I often shop spontaneously for her. I’m not sure if I always hit the mark, or she shares my commitment to gratitude and accepts my gifts graciously. Either way, it’s nice to have a daughter who doesn’t seem to have a picky bone in her body.

Why the sudden urge to re-make her bed? Well — it’s not so sudden. When we moved two years ago, she inherited the king-size bed from our guest bedroom. Because we were moving from a four-bedroom home to a three-bedroom home, we chose to discard her full-size bed rather than the spare king-size bed. Since she was leaving for college after a year, it made more sense to keep a bigger bed in her room for the occasional guest. The only problem was that by inheriting the bed, she also inherited the bedding, which neither of us really liked that much but which we made do.

I’ve been window shopping for bedding ever since — but just never pulled the trigger. Last week, I was so happy to have her home for the summer that I broke down and loaded up during a quick dash into Target. Besides, Target has great prices and the re-do met my affordability threshhold.

I think the bright oranges, yellows and pinks look terrific with her turquoise walls. And you can imagine how blank the wall above her bed looked before we hung the art. In the words of my favorite philosopher, popularly known as the Dude, the art “really tied the room together.”

If you’re interested in a closer look at some of the items, you can find the duvet here, a version of the Love pillow here, the quilt here, and the three canvasses here and here and here.

I’m delighted that Kate has a summer oasis to call her own with a true college-coed vibe, instead of the stuffy, old-lady vibe created by our former guest-room castoffs.

With gratitude {for a quick-fix and the opportunity to spread some love to my favorite college girl},

Joan, who bought the Eiffel Tower canvas because she studied French in college and still dreams of aller a Paris un beau jour

An unexpected Easter blessing.

Dear friends,

So many of you reached out to me yesterday, both on this blog and my Facebook page, with kind words and expressions of sympathy for our family’s loss. I can’t thank you enough. Your loving messages buoyed me so much, especially those of you who knew and remembered Frito and shared your memories with me. I deeply appreciate  your support.

Many of our neighbors are as shocked as saddened as we are. The beautiful plant is from a young family a few doors down. I adore gerber daisies and pink is my favorite color, so I am cheered by this very thoughtful gesture. The warm embrace from those near us and from all of you has been an unexpected Easter blessing for which I am most grateful.

Easter is a tough holiday for me in the best of times because it is the last holiday I spent with my mother. So even before Frito passed, I was feeling more than a little melancholy. Our last Easter together was in 2010. Mom was frail, but happy as could be to share the day with us.

I’ll never forget the incredible meal I made — salmon en croute with lemon cream sauce, steamed asparagus, and lemon meringue pie. Mom always thought I was a good cook (that’s sort of like the pot calling the kettle black, but in a good way), but on what ended up being our last Easter together, she was  absolutely wowed. I had made the pie — her favorite — just for her and she called it “outrageous,” as in outrageously good. I thought I had let the meringue get a little too brown, but Mom thought it was perfect.

I am reminded of something my friend Deb said in a comment on this post a few days ago. She talked about “living in the warm reflection of (her mother’s) loving gaze,” and I never felt it more strongly than on that precious Easter with my mother.

I searched through my computer archive and couldn’t find a photo of Mom from that day, but I found the pie that knocked her socks off and it surely made me smile.

So, dear readers, happy Easter. And thank you. I hope you have something wonderfully, marvelously outrageous to enjoy on your Easter Sunday.

With gratitude {for all those who have lifted some of the weight from my heavy heart},

Joan, who gathered up her family and dined out today as both a distraction and a much-needed day off