Isabella's Whimsy

handmade with love

Row by Row on Vacation in Oregon

You may have heard about the amazing quilting extravaganza that is sweeping the US and Canada, the 2015 Row by Row Experience, and experience it is! This is my first year to participate and I look forward to the years to come. Even if this is the first time for you hear of it you are not too late…well, maybe too late to win a prize, but not too late to pick up some free row patterns and/or purchase kits and make your own quilt.  I am not competing for a prize (I’m very slow), but after starting my pattern collection in Texas I determined to pick up some rows while on vacation in Oregon.  My sister (hostess) is a quilter herself and my biggest supporter, so although she wouldn’t have gone out searching for rows on her own, she graciously said, Let’s go!

Our first outing was into Eugene and Springfield where we visited Something to Crow About,

The shop made their row into a table runner using Row by Row fabric for the borders; for the display only, not for the kit.

STCA shop made their row into a table runner using Row by Row fabric for the borders; for the display only, not for the kit.

Piece by Piece Fabrics,

Piece by Piece, Eugene Row of Rain 1

and The Quilt Patch.

The Quilt Patch, Eugene, Waterwheel

I spent one Saturday in Portland and made a quick trip to the Fabric Depot.  They were having a big sale going on!  I decided to purchase the kit for The Cascades and Lake row,

Fabric Depot, Portland, Cascades and Lake

but to just pick up the pattern for Sailboats on the Oregon Trail.

Fabric Depot, Portland, Sailboats on the Oregon Trail

I found another row pattern there for the Fremont Bridge.  I hadn’t seen this pattern associated with Fabric Depot, but I had seen it with A Common Thread, also in Portland. This is the picture from A Common Thread for the Fremont Bridge.

A Common Thread and Fabric Depot, Portland, Freemont Bridge

After all these hops, my sister and I headed south from her home and visited the Fabric Farm in Drain to pick up the salmon row. (Shown in two colorways)

Fabric Farm, Drain

We continued south to two shops in Myrtle Creek, Sew _____ Nice

Everything Sew Nice, Myrtle Creek

and the Rustic Rooster.

Rustic Rooster, Myrtle Creek

We headed back home but made a little side trip to Dillard to visit the _____ and get their Sea Turtles row.

Sew Cute Quilting & Fabric, Dillard

I don’t know what other people think about this experience and marketing opportunity, but I am enjoying it.

I showed my aunt all the patterns; she said, “You are going to have a fun winter!” And that I am!

Well, I have 10 Oregon Rows…I better head back home pretty soon; I only have 3 Texas rows…so far!



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Reading and Quilting

You already know I’m into quilting, but I am also an addicted reader. I read pretty much every night after I work a Sudoku puzzle, to help me go to sleep (too much quilt-thinking and scheming).  While visiting an Oregon library I came across an author whose books were in the quilting section but they are far from your usual quilting books.  Lisa Boyer is a columnist who has written two collections of quilt stories.  They are quite humorous and I gladly recommend them.

Lisa Boyer

Her first book is That Dorky Homemade Look: Quilting Lessons from a Parallel Universe.  She shares The 9 Principles of Dorky Quiltmaking. Number 1, “Pretty fabric is not acceptable. go right back to the quilt shop and exchange it for something you feel sorry for.” A couple of chapter titles are Oh, Well, No One Will Notice and The Zen of Seam Ripping.

Her second book is Stash Envy: And Other Quilting Confessions and Adventures. In the chapter titled An Open Letter to the Worldwide Quilt Judging Organization Lisa suggests criteria for judges to use for Dorky Homemade Quilts.

So, when you need a break and a shot of fun, try out Lisa Boyer’s books.



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Portland, Oregon

I’m having my annual vacation in Oregon and loving it!  One special event occurred Saturday, July 18 – I met up with a young friend from Texas A&M, in Portland. My heart always catches a little when I think of Portland, place of my birth.  My family moved to California when I was part-way through Kindergarten, but I have many memories of living in Portland.

So my young Aggie friend and I spent the day wandering through Portland taking in many fun sights.  First we rode the Max over Steele Bridge and found our way to VooDoo Doughnuts.

DSCF1270  VooDoo donuts shop DSCF1273



They were yummy, especially the Official Portland Cream – and I don’t usually go for cream-filled.


After VooDoo we strolled over to the Saturday Market which is also open on Sunday. There were many fun stalls with lots of different wares. Even a stall for hats.


And a fountain.


And great old architecture.



We went to Chinatown to look around a bit.


Next we strolled along the Waterfront and took a selfie with an interesting background.


Strolled back through the Saturday Market, picked up smoothies and worked on the remaining VooDoo fare.


We did some more walking while looking for the Portlandia statue, but we didn’t really know where to look… We didn’t find it, but we found (in the park where we thought it was) a pioneer statue and a tall redwood tree. I love how in the statue, the boy is holding a Bible, and even though it doesn’t show here, the mother is wearing a necklace with a cross pendant. Having spent most of my childhood in the San Jose/Santa Cruz areas and having an outdoorsy dad, I am very attached to Redwood trees; this one made me happy.



We saw some Portland city buildings.

DSCN2939 DSCF1295

While waiting for the train back to his car I snapped a pic of the drinking fountain.


We then picked up his car and drove out to the Fabric Depot – he’s a good friend, right? To take an old lady to a fabric shop to pick up row patterns and some fabric on his one day in Portland!

DSCF1309 DSCF1311

Fabric Depot, Portland, Cascades and Lake Fabric Depot, Portland, Sailboats on the Oregon Trail A Common Thread and Fabric Depot, Portland, Freemont Bridge

Fabric Depot is an acre and a half fabric store! The Row patterns are called: The Cascades and Lake, Sailboats on the Oregon Trail, and The Fremont Bridge.  I hadn’t seen the Bridge associated with the Fabric Depot, just with A Common Thread also in Portland, but there it was.

After the Fabric Depot we picked up some take out Mahi Mahi plates from L&L Hawaiian BarBQue for a picnic.

Then back into the car to find a beach along the river. What a happy park we found! Families were enjoying themselves in so many activities: wading, swimming, paddle boarding, playing with their dogs (none on leashes despite the many signs, oh well – very laid back), laughing, and just plain old having a good time.  Then as we climbed back up to the park from the beach you will not believe what we saw…


After the riverside fun we headed back to pick up my car and head home.  It wasn’t late, but he had to drive back to Seattle and I drove back to my sister’s, a bit south of Eugene. We had tons of fun and are making plans for next year. Maybe we’ll find Portlandia and ride the aerial tram!



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Our Bricks to Help Make Emanuel AME Church Quilt

Late in June I saw a blog post on Wonkyworld by Bill Volckening called, “Help Charleston Modern Quilt Guild Make Emanuel AME Church Quilt!” The call has gone out for quilters to send a 3 1/2″ X 6 1/2″ fabric brick to the Charleston Modern Quilt Guild who would then assemble all the bricks into a quilt of love and support for the Emanuel AME Church who suffered a tragic shooting in June. Each quilter is asked to write his/her name, city and state on their bricks and send them to Charleston Modern Quilt Guild, PO Box 723, Sullivans Island, SC 29482.

For the beautifully written blog post go here: Wonkyworld June 27, 2015. You will see a quilt that inspires the SC quilt, and you will be able to see how Bill signed his brick for this quilt, as well as read all the instructions for the bricks.

My sister and I made bricks today to send:

Bricks for Emanuel AME Church

A little story behind our bricks…we have each moved and moved and moved.  We don’t really have a hometown.  She has lived in her current town for almost 5 years, and I have lived in mine almost 8 months.  We talked about what to do, because we wanted our bricks to carry our hearts to SC, not just facts. She suggested I use Texas A&M University as my hometown because I worked there my last 8 working years before retirement, and I loved the time I was there. After all I got a degree, so I am an Aggie! Sis thought it over and decided to use Yoncalla, Oregon as her hometown because that is where our family is from.  All of our growing up years when Mom said, “We’re going home,” we knew we were going to Yoncalla. It seems perfect to me because then the brick encompasses our Mom and Grandma who taught us to sew and many other life lessons.  So, if you are like us and not sure where Home is, listen to your heart and you will know what to do.



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