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Last year at Quilt Market, my friend Annelies introduced me to Andrea over at Birch Fabrics. We chatted a while at their booth  and I got the chance to check out their quilting weight cotton solids line, immediate love. All of Birch fabrics are organic and as far as I know, the only organic quilting/sewing fabric line there is. These solid colors have the perfect hues and I feel like they have a very earthy quality to them. Just the right softness too.

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Andrea sent me this bundle of solids and I will turn it into a quilt. I started cutting into several of the colors and I have a good feeling about where this going. For this project I decided to hand cut all of it. I ditched the rotary cutter a couple of projects ago and I have never felt more free. Maybe this is the case of organic fabrics calling for organic methods. More of it soon.

Which might be a year from now. That baby girl has got me trained.

Or maybe I will finish before I can pick pears from my tree. Look at this. Blooms are everywhere. Oh I love Spring, pollen and all!

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It was somewhat a last minute trip. The oldest daughter was on Spring break and we just had to get out of town. A little history field trip never hurt anyone, I thought. So we headed to San Antonio. Lots of things to do and see there, on my list: the Alamo, the missions, el mercado, and the Riverwalk. Typical touristy stuff. Prior to the trip we went to the library and checked out a few history books about the area, you know, to make this a real learning experience. The kids were especially giddy about the hotel. I picked a very charming one, see picture below.

It all started as a jolly little road trip. Let’s take the more scenic route, announced the husband. Let’s stop and eat in Round Top, announced the wife. We can’t wait to get to San Antonio, announced the girls. Off we went, 3 hours later we arrived at our hotel, kicked up our feet for a few minutes then headed to the Riverwalk. We had planned to visit El Mercado on Thursday and the Alamo and missions on Friday. As all perfect plans go…

©nathaliebearden.comA stomach virus decided to rain on my darn parade. OMIGOSH!! My middle child left half of her stomach’s contents at el Mercado and half on the Riverwalk on the way back to the hotel. We never saw The Alamo, or the missions. Turned out that the beautiful eclectic hotel was a nightmare, for every time we had to take a child to the restroom to puke, the creaking floor boards made the baby wake up, so she pretty much screamed all night. It was so tragic we could only laugh. Took us 6 hours to drive back home the next day with two more kids puking in tow. My car became a mobile Petri dish. I am not even sure how we made it back home, but boy I am glad I am here to tell the story. Our next road trip is scheduled for Spring break 2025.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No, you are not time traveling. I am writing things I should have written a while back. Like sooooo 2014. However, Before we get to 2014 we must travel a little further back, 2013 to be more exact. Phew, it seems like yesterday and a million years ago.

As I have mentioned before, 2013 was a pivotal year for me. It was the year I decided that quilt making was my thing and I would like to make quilts for the rest of my life. In October of that year I visited the world famous Houston International Quilt Festival. I was there, standing in front of those mesmerizing quilts. My friend Claudia was there too. We were in awe of the amount of skill and patience that is put into those works of art. She also got to experience the craziness that is to go to the Houston quilt festival. On a Friday, no less. And it was there, that day, I told myself, God willing I will have a quilt in this show next year. I came home and made myself a promise. I told myself some way some how I was going to do it. Yes, I am guilty of setting lofty goals for myself and more often than not, falling short. But there’s the journey thing, journey, journey, not destination. So, even thought there is a lot of failure, there is a lot of learning too. I have come to accept that.

Jump to 2014. I joined the Modern Quilt Guild. Not too long after I joined, came a call for entries for the modern quilt showcase at, where? The Houston International Quilt Festival. I printed that call and put it by my sewing table. And from that moment on I started working on my entry. At that point my quilts had been just objects of my affection. Something I made here and there. Some I kept, some I gave away, some I sold.

Amazonia ©nathaliebearden

Thing is, the moment I decided to make a quilt for that modern showcase entry, the devils in my head began to party. NOT GOOD ENOUGH, NOT TALENTED ENOUGH, NOT MODERN ENOUGH. Blah, blah, blah. Oh yes, they talked their non-sense all of the way through the process. I tuned them out, but ’em things speak pretty loud, do you know?! I worked past their lies and past my bedtime. In the end, I made a quilt and named it Amazonia. And best of all, Amazonia is the first quilt in my ongoing collection of quilts inspired by my upbringing in Brazil. Much more on that soon.

I submitted the entry the modern showcase call and forgot about it. At the time I was pregnant, expecting that sweet baby in the post before this one. I went on being pregnant and tired. Then, a few days before giving birth to our third daughter, the email came, “Congratulations! Your quilt Amazonia will be featured in the special exhibit Modern Quilt Guild Showcase 2014.” You mean, MY QUILT? For reals? Yep. for reals. This time my sweet friend Annelies trekked to Houston with me. It was her first time at the show. And I am glad I got to share this moment with her. Well friends, there it was. A dream that came to reality.

©nathaliebearden.comStaying true to character, I work on multiple things at the same time. Major ADD here. During the same time I was working on Amazonia (and being super pregnant), I came across another opportunity to have a second quilt at the same show. This time a juried exhibition put together by American Made Brand. It was called Farm to Fabric. This exhibit celebrated American Made Brand’s mission to grow and produce a cotton fabric line completely in the United States. I was very stoked about the idea and I ordered some of their solids for this challenge. Here’s is the quilt I made for the exhibit. It is called Bird’s Eye View. This quilt was inspired by row crops when viewed from above.

Bird

Two of my quilt at the same show. Who would have ever thought.

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It is hard to sum up the feeling of seeing my quilts hanging at the show. In a way, it felt like I had had two more babies. Ok, I have two words, PRETTY AWESOME. That’s how it felt. And also, rewarded. Because no matter how hard we dream, how hard we plan, if we don’t act, stuff doesn’t get done. Period. And if we don’t act on our dreams, the world misses out on our awesomeness, I mean, art. My dream is vast and wide, and these are just little pieces of it. Every stitch, every quilt, a little more of the journey, a little more progress on the dream.

These two quilts and two more were also accepted at QuiltCon 2015. Wow, that alone was a feat. Not sure what the final count was, but I’ve heard over 1200 quilts entered and something like 300 accepted. This will be the biggest Modern Quilt Show in the world. I simply can’t wait to get to Austin in two weeks. So ready to meet amazing people, eat great food, and celebrate all things modern quilts. Stay Tuned. Lots of photos to come.

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Well folks, having three children is easy peasy! Said NO MOTHER EVER! As you can see, I am just resurfacing from being in a constant state of maternal fog. Oh, the great balancing act. I don’t remember ever being this exhilarated and exhausted all at once. True story, I’ve had these images loaded on this page for two months. Crazy or what? I was just too tired to hit publish. Anyway, the next few posts will be super outdated as well, but I have to post them anyway, you know, record keeping. If a tree falls in the forest…

If you follow me on instagram you’ve seen her plenty, and let’s face it, a much more recent image. But, it is about time I blog about this little love of mine. Her name is Florence Irene and she’s perfect in every way.

Florence’s birth was beautiful, long, and involved a lot of hard work. She was born in a birthing center assisted by midwives and my husband. While life can be tricky at times, not one of us can imagine life without this sweet baby. Almost 6 months later, we are still madly in love!

7 days old

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3 months old

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Thought I would share Florence’s birth announcement as well. It was inspired by a project in Ana Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings book. I snapped an image of the quilt I made for her, a picture of just baby, and one with sisters. I had the quilt image printed on back and front of a 5X7 card. I folded the 5X7 card 1/2″ from the edge and stitched both edges to make a little holder for the baby picture card. In photoshop I added the birth info to Florence’s image and printed a 4X6 card with one side just her (plus birth info) and one side Florence and sisters. I used  White House Custom Color for all of the printing. Envelopes from Paper Source. Then I addressed the cards and mailed to almost all of our family and friends. I only ordered 50 cards and I really needed 100. The End.

The best part of all of this was getting texts and calls about how adorable her birth announcement was. And the most hilarious text was from Katie Day. She told me her kids were fighting to see which one would get to put baby to sleep in her blanket. I giggled at this one.

Hopefully, I will get myself together soon and continue blogging. Until then, go have a baby just so you can make some cute birth announcements.

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© nathaliebearden.com© nathaliebearden.com

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How’s your summer so far? Mine has been completely devoted to kids and swimming pools and let’s not forget the World Cup. Ohhhh I so wish one day to see Brazil and US playing a final game! Sewing has been slow and haven’t had much time for it lately. Actually, I am taking a bit of a sewing break. It is nice to do other things and clear the mind up.

I made a bucket list for our summer and number one item was to cook with my oldest daughter. Allowing children in my kitchen is not something I enjoy, but I know I must do it. Cooking for me is relaxing, if children are properly entertaining themselves elsewhere. My oldest is finally at the age where the culinary tasks I give her get completed, without me having to spend an afternoon cleaning up the kitchen. Have I told you how much I enjoy age 7? It’s such a breath of fresh air. She’s so eager to learn and has the motor skills to do it. We have been doing our cooking while the youngest naps. That way we can share quality time together without little sister’s shenanigans.

A couple of weeks ago we three girls went to a local blueberry farm and picked a bucketful of goodness. We ate lots of fresh blueberries, made several bags to freeze (for smoothies or muffins later), and reserved some to make jam. Please note: I am at war with sugar. And so far sugar is winning. Moderation, right?

So here’s the recipe for this delicious jam.

6-7 cups of fresh blueberries

3 tablespoons of lime juice

2 tablespoons of lime peel

3 mint sprigs. it is best to tie them together using cotton kitchen string. The taste of mint is very pronounced in this recipe. If you are not a fan of mint, add one more tablespoon of lime peel and omit the mint. You will get yummy blueberry lime jam.

3.5 cups of pure cane sugar

1.75 ounces (or 3.5 tablespoons) of powder fruit pectin

7 half pint jars, bands, and lids (be sure to boil the jars in a large pot to sterilize them). Leave them in the hot water because you will want to fill the jars while the are still hot. And you can reuse this water to seal the jars.

Ladle

Potato masher

Large heavy pot (8-quart) for the blueberry mixture

Canning jar lifter

Pressure cooker or very large heavy pot. You won’t need it to have pressure, you just need a pot with enough room to accommodate all of the jars. I use the same pot to boil the empty jars and to boil the filled jars submerged in water.

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© nathaliebearden.com

© nathaliebearden.com

Crush the blueberries in a 8 quart heavy pot using a potato masher. Add a cup at the time until you have crushed all of the berries. Combine the lime juice, lime peel, and pectin. Stir the mixture well. Add the mint sprigs.

© nathaliebearden.com© nathaliebearden.comOn the stove top bring the mixture of a low boil, add sugar and stir until well combined. Continue to stir until mixture has reached boiling point. You will want for it to maintain boiling point for about 1-2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and skim off the white foam at the top of your mixture. Using a ladle, fill the half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 headspace. Do not overfill jars. Clean the rim of the jars, place lid and screw the band. Submerge jars in boiling water. Time boiling once water begins to boil again. Boil for 12 minutes. Carefully remove jars from boiling water and cool them on a wire rack. Once you hear the jars pop (seal), tighten the screw band.

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Once jars are completely cooled, dress them up pretty. Keep a few, and give a few away to your neighbors and friends. Enjoy!

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