Thursday, October 31, 2013


Alright, I'm going to come clean, I'm going to tell you the real story. I don't like to over share, but the truth is I have recently come down with a serious case of blogger's block.  It's pretty bad and honestly, I am a bit lost as to what to do about it. I keep thinking, "O.k., tomorrow, surely tomorrow I have will have something clever, crafty, or witty to say!" And when tomorrow comes... nothing, nadda, zip, zilch!

Perhaps it has something to do with the overwhelming pile of boxes still unpacked, hanging out in my new home. Or maybe it's due to a shocking dearth of shelving, therefore hindering the unpacking of said boxes. Or it could be that every room in the house needs painting and I don't know where to start. Or could it be that with Fall sliding headlong into Winter that I have become more quiet and introspective?

I have been spending time in my studio. Sewing and spiffing for an impending photo shoot and that is exciting, but too premature for me to share. 

I have been mulling, scheming, imagining and thinking over what I want Lola Nova to become, where I want this whole creative business to go in the future. Having deep thoughts and big questions; am I a maker, a crafter, a seamstress, a designer, an artist? Oh good gravy! Artist is a potent word don't you think?

I have been pouring my energies and time into my family, making this new house a home (unpacked boxes and unpainted rooms aside), and trying to find my footing after a roller-coaster year. 

If you are a blogger, maker, artist, family wrangler, do you ever feel blocked? What do you do to move past it? What helps you "unblock"? I'd love to know.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Great Pumpkin

"This is the time of year to write to the Great Pumpkin."

"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see." -Linus

Quoted from: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello Monday - Planting for the Future

"A garden is never so good as it will be next year."-- Thomas Cooper

The morning fog has given way to another bright and crisp Fall day, so I am to the garden, spade in hand, to plant a variety of flower bulbs.

Times 208 to be exact. That is a lot of little holes to dig! Oh but think of the pretty Spring we'll have!

"Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it." - Author Unknown

Friday, October 18, 2013

On The Make Again

After a long time away from my machine, piles of fabric, spools of thread and the joy of crafty cogs turning... I am back on the make! Once the engineer installed a proper light in my new work space, it only took the dawn of the next day and I was at it. 

I have had quilting on my mind and so though I was hesitant to give up the wall space in my small studio (there was a thought of useful shelves going there, as storage is much needed), I realized if I was going to get serious - not dreadful serious mind you - about this quilty business, I needed a "design wall." This was easily accomplished with a few meters of thin cotton batting tacked to a wall above my work table. 

I pulled out a few Kona and Moda solids from my stash, without specific plan, and the next thing I knew I was cutting triangles. I placed a few here and there to test out my freshly minted design wall; Lo and Behold it was a pleasing combination! I felt a little bit of that old giddiness and excitement upon the realization of a project coming to life. 

Oh how I love the hum of the machine, the steam of the iron, the snip of scissors and watching the progress come along!

As the afternoon wore on I happily sewed away until I reached a stopping point. I went out into the Fall sunshine and stood back to look at the thing I had made. Just the center piece of a larger project, the beginning of something good, and it made me smile. It is indeed a great and grateful thing to be back on the make, doing what I love!

Today I'll be back at it. I can't predict a completion date for 'tis the season for pumpkin patches, planting flower bulbs (of which there are over 175 waiting for me!) and baking delicious treats; there is much to do!

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

For the Birds

I have never considered myself a birdwatcher/ornithologist of any degree. I mean I love birds, I plant plants in my garden that birds like, along with bees and butterflies, because it's wonderful to invite these creatures into your life. However, when we moved into the new place, I started looking at the birds a little more closely; which wasn't hard considering the crazy amount of bird activity we have going on around here. Seriously, I am considering making a call to the Audubon Society to tell them about the bird action in our backyard!

I sit outside on the patio in the late afternoon and find myself entertained for well on an hour just watching (and listening) to the birds come and go. It is really fascinating to see them interact. As I watch them I can identify the easy ones, but I thought I should pick up a field guide so that I could know my new neighbors a little better.  I find myself getting all excited if I notice a new bird that i haven't seen before. "Oh hello!" I say, "Now who might you be?" then I grab my handy dandy field guide and try to find the picture that most resembles my new feathered friend. Once done I read up on the little miss or mister to see what else I can learn. I do believe I am learning quite a lot these days!

So far I have identified the following: (All photos from free source on the web and I have linked them to Wikipedia in case you would like to learn more.)

So, those were the easy ones for me. There is also a large flock of pigeons that visit the house next door, but they seem to steer clear of our yard, which is ok with me really since they seem to scare off the other birds.

These next birds required gathering a bit more evidence and information to be sure. 

And my new favorite

There are more birds about, but I want to make sure that I am not mis-identifying them. It feels as though we have our own back yard bird sanctuary. I am looking forward to see what fine feathered friends come by this Spring!

So fancy that, I have become a bird watcher indeed!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Announcing the US Release of Simple Sewing with Lola Nova

Hello and happy Friday!
I am very excited to (finally) announce the US release of my book Simple Sewing with Lola Nova by Alexandra Smith!

This has been a long time coming so I am very happy to see it available in my home country!
You can find my book on HERE

I am still awaiting more information from my publisher and a few copies. I will keep you posted as to where else you can find the book, any special events that might be coming up, and a giveaway on my blog soon! Watch this space!

A huge thank you to all of my wonderful readers and friends!

Have a lovely weekend all.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kathreen Ricketson’s Brave New Quilts Legacy Tour

I am deeply honored to have been asked to be a part of Kathreen Ricketson's Brave New Quilts Legacy Tour. This is not just about her beautiful new book, but about the indefatigable spirit of Kathreen herself.

When I first received Brave New Quilts, saw the gorgeous cover and flipped through the pages; a fresh grief washed over me for a moment. Her tragic death earlier this year was such a shock to me and it was unthinkable that this bright light in our community was now gone. After a brief moment, I shook off the sadness and dove into the book with a sense of celebration and wonder!

I know that this book was a deeply personal project for Kathreen and that she was excited about it. It is a corker too! It's not just a fresh and cool new quilting book, but a really good read as well. Kathreen's voice is clear and engaging, and as with everything she put her energies into, it is so inspiring.

In Brave New Quilts, Kathreen has created quilts inspired by 12 different 20th century art movements. I love this! The information she provides is fascinating and accessible, the design principles engaging and inspiring. She really has a wonderful way of discussing color, design, and the rules of creating the quilts in the book. All the while she encourages us to go our own way and discover our own path; even providing alternate colorways for each project.

The arrival of Kathreen's book turns out to be quite fortuitous for me personally. I have recently renewed my love of quilting and have been experimenting with modern and art quilt design, this book is a great resource to add to my collection and just the nudge I needed to get cracking!

I can hear Kathreen's voice telling me, "You can do it! Go for it!" 

Kathreen's legacy is huge and far reaching. From my first introduction to her via her trailblazing website WhipUp, to her brilliant kid's magazine ActionPack, through her books and all of her endeavors; I have admired her talent, her love for her family, her intelligence and her amazingly generous spirit. She encouraged me greatly when I was working on my own book. She treated me with great respect and made me laugh. She is one of the people through whom I have made friends from all over the art/crafting/making community and have been more inspired and courageous than I ever could have imagined.

As I wrote in a post on WhipUp earlier this year:

 "Though I never met her in person, I considered Kathreen a friend, a kindred spirit and a supporter of the utmost kind. Through her hard work and gorgeous spirit, she brought together a community; fostered art and craft, endlessly inspired and encouraged so many wonderful people.  She made such a tremendous impact on me and I know so many others. She created an amazing legacy and I truly believe she made this world a better place. She reminds us to live life with passion and intent; to live deliberately with love and to continue to follow our hearts."

I absolutely recommend Brave New Quilts, it is a brilliant book. I also encourage you to follow along on all the stops on this Stash Books Legacy Tour!

Tuesday10/1Heather Jones
Wedneday10/2Kristin Link
Thursday10/3Maya Donenfeld
Friday10/4Alexandra Smith
Monday10/7Sonya Philip
Tuesday10/8Ellen Luckett Baker
Wedneday10/9Andrea Jenkins
Thursday10/10Shannon Cook
Friday10/11Mimi Kirchner
Monday10/14Cheryl Arkison