Sunday, August 30, 2009

Greenpiece giveaway

The Jolly Jabber blog at The Fat Quarter Shop is offering another giveaway, this time with the fabulous Moda "Greenpiece" quilt I have drooled and oohed and aahed about previously on my blog! It's for a pile of fat quarters from one of the many lines used in the quilt. I can't get enough of the quilt and do plan to sign up for the BOM, just haven't got around to it yet!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another birthday

No, not mine, not yet---I'll be spending my birthday flying over the Pacific to Australia. This birthday is of my first born. He arrived three days past the due date but exactly as ordered: blue eyes, blonde hair, and looking just like my darling Grant. He was a happy baby and has grown into a fine young man, funny, smart, sweet, loyal, affectionate, and TALL. Happy 24th Birthday, Nick!

Silly smiles on Mother's Day 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thimbleberries

Lynette Jensen's Thimbleberries designs have appealed to me for as long as I can remember. Now there is a BOM with three different colorways and a giveaway. I have entered through the Jolly Jabber blog and would love to win the drawing! I chose the Dawn colorway. What would you choose?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A trip to Oz

About ten years ago I was making this quilt from the American Patchwork & Quilting, Feb 1996 issue. Although I had subscribed to the magazine for a year or two, I had never made anything until 1999!


Of course, I had to change it. This is the Grizzly bear from the California State flag. I consider this my first quilt. I had a lot to learn! I had no idea that homespuns were more loosely woven than other fabrics and struggled to make my triangles perfect--the shortcut of making triangle squares was not in my knowledge base, and each triangle was cut separately. Although the project was called a "weekend whimsy", I worked on it on and off for many weeks.


I had a lot of questions about applique, machine quilting and binding, so I jumped on the internet website for AP&Q and looked at the message boards. There I found a section for "pen pals". I responded to a message from a woman in Melbourne, Australia and we started corresponding. Our lives were remarkably similar: we both were married with three children close to the same ages, both worked doing transcription of a medical nature, and both loved to write. Susie and I just clicked immediately and we spent many happy times chatting online and exchanging emails.

I continued the little quilt on my own, doing some machine applique and echo quilting, and hand quilting the triangles. But I was so unsure of how to apply a binding that I simply folded the backing to the front and stitched it down. Primitive is surely the look I got!

After about nine months of corresponding, Susie began to talk of coming to the US to meet me. What a dream come true it was when I met her in San Francisco in January 2001. We toured the city for several days, then traveled to Carmel/Monterey, took the 17 mile drive and then drove down the nearly empty Highway 1 to Hearst Castle. She stayed at my folks' house and we did the L.A. thing, Disneyland, Beverly Hills, The Getty, and Santa Monica. I showed her the little quilt, finally finished just before she came to CA (a mere two years later!). It was a wonderful vacation and we parted better friends than ever.

We continued our correspondence through the years, sometimes more often than others, and as our lives changed kept each other updated. Of course we talked about me coming to visit her in Oz, but life being what it is, the opportunity never presented. Eventually Susie was a single woman again and she began a new relationship with a man who is now to become her husband. Finally, I am going to visit her and will be present for the happy event--I am going to the wedding in November! My trip to Oz will be short but so sweet and another dream come true.

While Susie will be enjoying spring weather for the wedding, I will be displaying these fall quilts. This one I made last year from another issue of AP&Q, taking a single block from the quilt design.


And another AP&Q magazine design. This one I altered by not attaching some applique shapes on the pumpkins that were called for by the pattern. I wanted to keep the pumpkins fallish, not Halloween. Again my lack of finesse in the applique led to a primitive look but it was more intentional this time!

I wish my trip to Oz could include visits to many wonderful bloggers from Downunder that I have met in blogland, but Queensland is the only territory I will be going to. I hope it will not be the only trip I ever make to the Southern Hemisphere. Dreams can come true!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summer's nearly over? No way!

Summer heat and sewing room progress....these photos did not exactly land where I wanted them to, but so be it! This is one half of the closet, with the old dresser that is now filled up with most of my stash. It isn't organized yet and I didn't bother to paint over the blue that used to belong to Nick when it was his room, but lots of action will take place here in the future!


A while ago I got the (not so brilliant) idea to fold my fat quarters into triangles, so they are pretty spread out in this drawer. I'm sure I'll refold them in the future so I can get a lot more fabric in there...All of the drawers have fabric in them; the bottom two are yardage sized pieces and the rest fat quarters. My precut strips live in a rolling drawer cart pictured below.


Here's the view of my little sewing room from the doorway.

Below is a wooden chest 2' x 4' high that my SIL was getting rid of so I snagged it before my brother put it in the Goodwill pile! As I just brought it home yesterday it is empty but I know I can quickly fill with quilty stuff!


This is a vintage blond oak sewing desk my MIL bought new in about 1954. It no longer has a sewing machine but is pretty cool looking and makes an extra horizontal workspace for me. I removed the hardboard "cradle" for a lowered sewing machine so I could fit in my drawer unit.


Below is the Hoosier cabinet gussied up a little. The wooden duck on the top has padded fabric wings to hold pins or needles and a slot for the scissors to be the bill. This came out of my grandmother's things but I don't know if it was hers, her mother's or her sister's.


We are finally getting our share of hot weather here in the So Calif coast. Weird monsoonish type weather, hot and humid with big thunderheads over the mountains. My new sewing room was quite a sauna last night. Grant even brought in a fan for me, though he stole it back this afternoon for the office. I've been working on my Rickrack Road, which is all in summery colors. Turned out I was short by three units, dangit. In going through my stash I found only ONE lonely white fat quarter --that's the extent of my lights! I tend to run low on those often because I mostly go for the colors when I shop. I had to scramble to find scraps large enough to use. Luckily I haven't worked on my "scraps to cut down" boxes so I found suitable pieces.

I got all the units for Rickrack Road made up and sorted into four piles of 28 for the vertical rows. Next will come the puzzle of getting them arranged into four units per block without too many repeats or same fabrics touching. It is a happy, bright quilt and I'm loooking forward to setting it together. I ordered what I thought was the perfect fabric, and it is really pretty and happy too, but I am afraid it is too white and may need a tea bath. Can anyone recommend a tea bath method?

Monday, August 17, 2009

County Fair

Our county fair just ended yesterday. Grant and I went one night to watch Huey Lewis and The News--it was a great show. Love those horns! It was a perfect evening, clear, slightly cool, with just the faintest breeze. The vendors love to come to our fairgrounds as it is literally on the ocean and much cooler than all those inland fairgrounds around the state! Erica went with me another night so I could look at the exhibits while she saw Good Charlotte. No one else is really interested in spending a lot of time in the Home Arts building with me! When the kids were little, Grant would take them to the kiddie rides section and I would get about 20-30 minutes to look around, not nearly enough time to study all the quilts! This year's entries were quite varied and I took pics of a few favorites. This first one's stars were about 14 inch blocks. They were really pretty. I had never seen this design before. Anyone else know what it is?


This one below appeared to be an original design. It was about life size for a fireplace and the fabric choices so good! The quilter, from Ojai, also had a number of other landscape or pictorial quilts, just as well done.
Don't the cats below look familiar? I loved the color choices in this bright and happy quilt. The wide border and perfectly turned black binding looked great.


Elaine's birthday fell during the fair and we celebrated at her favorite restaurant. Grant and Chris look on as she opens her "salad basket", including the very important Tupperware salad dressing shaker for the ranch dressing! A salad bowl, two sets of tongs, croutons, ranch dressing mix and a jar of Best Foods mayonnaise rounded it out. Happy 22nd Elaine!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hoosier Cabinet

The day has come--my quilting room is starting to be put together. First up: the Hoosier cabinet. Lynda asked for more details about this piece of furniture, so here are some pics of it all cleared off. It breaks down to two pieces so was easy to transport upstairs to its new home. Below is what it looks like with the tambour door down and the tabletop pushed in, which is the usual position.


Below is with the tambour door up and the tabletop pulled out. The cabinet is oak with an enameled metal tabletop that simply slides out.

The brand is Sellers, and "751 Oyster White" is written on the back of both pieces. This may be the model number, I've no clue.

Below is with the flour sifter in place in the upper left cupboard. The metal container slides out and the top lifts up for refilling. The sifter handle on the bottom turns like a Jack in the Box handle. The bottom right drawer is lined in metal and has a vented metal cover that also slides off for refilling. Naturally there is no actual flour or grain in either one now!
It is really amazing how much quilting stuff this baby can hold! Plus I put things on top and under it so it is really a workhorse. Since I took this pic I have attached a clip-on light to the top rail (cushioned with some felt so as not to mar the wood) and have removed the sifter and put it on top of the cabinet. The idea is to leave the tabletop clear for cutting small projects, trimming, etc. My goal is to utilize this for current projects and everyday supplies and keep the closet as my main storage. Elaine left a dresser/armoire in the room that I am hoping to switch out with a smaller dresser Erica has that I can fit in the closet. It would be very handy to keep my fat quarters and yardage in drawers instead of bins. I would lose a couple of small shelves but think the drawers would be better. I'm off to get some organization done and get to actual quilting. Elaine is waiting for her quilt!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Neverending story

This summer seems to be the never ending cycle of bad work weeks. Whew, today marked the end of my covering for two vacations at once. Not an easy thing, not at all, hope I never have to do it again! The other transcriptionist I share the hospital physiology Job #1 with has been out for 10 days, driving her daughter across the country to grad school in Rhode Island. Her vacation is supposed to be over tomorrow. At Job #3, the doc has been out on vacation for the same period but I have had to go three places instead of one to do that job: post office, regular office to check for faxes and mail, and to his house to use the computer and make phone calls. He's back on Monday. It has been uber hectic especially with the ongoing saga of employees being out for different reasons at Job #2 as well. Today was the longest day, starting out with waking up an HOUR late, which put me that much behind all day. I did round two of hospital work tonight to catch up and it is almost 11 p.m. I'm still not finished but just had to stop.

Tomorrow Grant and I will be helping our chicken move into her new roost, so I expect we'll be gone a lot of the day. Elaine's quilt is not finished although I did get about 1/4 of the machine quilting done late the other night. It may not get finished until I get my new sewing room all set up. Grant joked that I will need to get that done on Sunday because he wants his new music room ready for Monday. Um, not very funny! I have pics to share but not tonight---I am taking my Advil and going to bed!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting closer!

DD Elaine's moving day is getting closer...and tomorrow is her 22nd bday. Her birthday request was for household items and boy, she's been getting them! At our family dinner outing for her birthday I presented her with a gift basket with a special surprise I have been building up for several weeks. Thankfully she wasn't disappointed that it was only a Tupperware item---but very necessary for a girl who only uses Ranch dressing on her salads! This is the special item, and I gave it to her along with a jar of Best Foods mayonnaise (the only kind to use!), a box of dressing mix packets, a salad bowl and two sets of tongs, and a box of croutons!! Very entertaining for me and she really liked all the stuff I got her in addition to that combo gift.


Today we painted the legs of a donated table and then had a trip to Costco (warehouse mega-store) where Elaine was excited to buy multipacks of toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, and mac n'cheese. Oh, its a rare day indeed when megapacks can make one happy! We will have a very busy weekend helping the young folks move in. I'm trying to get her quilt done before then too. It is all pinned together and I bought thread for it today. My hope is that the next two nights will be relatively quiet and I can get to my machine for some intensive free motion quilting time!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Hook

Last July at the Long Beach International Quilt Festival, I laid my first hook and snagged my SIL Laura to look at the kit for this quilt. She thought it would be perfect for her daughter Emma. We didn't do anything with it at that time, but I had her bring it when they came out for Christmas and after she washed the fabrics, I took the kit home to cut all the pieces. Then we had an all day sew-in when my sister was also out for Christmas. Laura now refers to that day as "Amish Day", since I kept them at this one task all day long! This was a complex quilt to lay out, but once that was accomplished and I started sewing the rows together, Laura got really excited and she took over the sewing. We got the center done and she took it back home to AZ with her, where it languished for a few months until she got a friend to help her with the borders.



The fabric was called Paris Cats and I think it was a Moda line. They now have London Cats, Italian Cats, and some other kind of cats. Very cute designs and fun modern color combos.


Laura found the perfect backing fabric at a quilt shop in AZ; while on her way to the bathroom she passed a sale rack with a bolt end of the very same line of fabrics---just enough for the backing and binding!

Laura took it to a professional longarmer who helped her pick the perfect scroll for the quilting! The longarmer actually did the binding as well. I didn't know they did that. It turned out so cute and Laura had the satisfaction of seeing an entire project come together in less than six months. Her daughter Emma loves it! Laura said her other daughter "did everything she could" to get it away from Emma, but that inspired Laura to make the brown and pink toile star quilt we put together this summer. I am happy she went home with two quilt tops all sewn, and one backing ready to assemble.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What UFO list?

As a "reward" for having a July finish, on Sunday I played with a few brights I bought several years ago outside of Lafayette, Indiana. Wish I could remember the shop's name, sorry! This is the first snail's trail block I have ever made. Man, it was easy to get off square! I should have read these hints before I tried it!
Below are my pieces and the free mystery quilt download from Quiltzine, an unfortunately now defunct website. Can you tell where this is taking me?
Clever patternmaker!
I can't decide which kitty is my favorite of the Twisted Tails Mystery. The purple fabric I had in my stash, but the others were from that Indiana quilt shop. I had a lot of fun with this project though it took me nearly half the day to plan, cut, and piece it. Have I mentioned I am not a really fast sewer? I like to take my time! I plan to finish this with some simple sashing and use it as a wallhanging, maybe in my cubicle at work (my sister says they do not have cubicles at her work, they only have two walls so they are HALF-icles, LOL)
Next I really NEED this pattern to try out my snail's trail skills again. It's not in my local bookstore yet so I'll have to check back soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sewing party

Our post-Long-Beach sewing party included a special gift from my sister to me---a new chair! Reaction below staged for all posterity:


Speaking of posteriors, mine felt the cush of this chair!

Seriously, how pathetic does my old chair look now? I bought it used over 15 years ago and have been using a seat cushion and a pillow behind me for the last 3-4 years.

Note guitars and piano behind Kathy and me. Our poor little ex-family room holds two hobbies now--but not for long!

This Hoosier cabinet does actually have a table that slides out. Too bad I can't use it for cutting because of all the fabric and batting and magazines and mending and tools on top of it...


Can you believe I work in this mess? It's not usually this bad, really, but it IS pretty cramped in my little corner. Having the garage door open also adds to the visual clutter in this pic, but it was hot that day and we needed the breeze!

Kathy worked on a version of her Clematis/Hosta Leaf quilt, this time for Mom. Note the ginormous box of Splenda on the counter that my foodservice husband bought for me--2000 packets ought to last through a year's worth of morning tea :)

Kathy set up a worktable across the sliding glass door of the family room. She's about to make her vine from this yarn. The purple clematis quilt is hung over the chair.
Here's Kathy's finished project. She used oil paint sticks for the shading.

She put the yarn center and the beads on in the car on the way to the airport. Mom said there was a lot of "ouching" and swearing when she stabbed herself a hundred times on the drive!
The small petal's shadow looks perfect! The backing is a very soft and fuzzy Minkee-type.

I worked on Mom's pillow cover and also the binding for Nick's Monster, and helped Laura with her backing for the pink and brown star quilt. It was so nice to have some peeps to sew with instead of being all by my lonesome. Wish they could be here all the time!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A finish for July!

Nick's Monster has been quilted, bound, and delivered!

Grant and Erica holding the quilt from the stair landing as it was too big otherwise.

Quilt back.

Label--I should add my city and state, I suppose!


Closeup of the channel quilting and the binding.


On the queen sized bed. It hangs down to the bottom of the side rails! Nick painted his room blue, gray and black to match his quilt.

Monster Love. Night-night, Nick!

Long Beach Quilt Festival

I haven't posted because besides having to return to the working world, I've been down with a cold since our trek to the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach last Sunday. It was a quick illness tho and am feeling 95% improved.

Our group of four, me, my sister Kathy, Mom, and my SIL Laura had a fantastic few hours at the festival and vowed to go for more than one day next year. We took Laura's Hummer and had an easy trip of 1 1/2 hrs, though we started later than we planned. Sunday festival hours are only 10-3 so we lost about 45 mins of that. The vendor booths called us right away and it was mad how fast time flew! I kept pulling Laura or Kathy or Mom to another booth that caught my eye--Kathy swooned over threads and batiks, Laura and Mom over antique jewelry and fine fabrics, and I was all over the place. I watched a needlepunch demo and drooled over wools, coveted a new Huskquvarna (unfortunately no, the hard sell lady didn't get me), and pawed through piles of patterns and fat quarters. We spent so much time in the vendor booths, taking a short lunch, that we had only an hour at the end to see the quilt exhibitions! See this site for pics; I didn't manage to get my camera out once!


Not shown are a Sandy Gervais Christmas themed wallhanging I ordered along, with all the goodies that Kathy and Laura bought. The bamboo fabric Mom bought for me to make a pillow for her. Dear SIL Laura bought me a kit I picked out (below), for helping her this summer with her quilting. Can't wait to dig in! I in turn bought her a set of templates for a Storm at Sea quilt.



Walking around the festival, I recognized four designers and talked to two of them: Eleanor Burns smiled and waved and I spotted Patrick Lose . My sister was looking for templates and was picking the brain of someone in one booth when I walked up. It was the Marti Mitchell! We later came back to the booth and I had Marti crawling on the floor looking for the Storm at Sea templates under the table. How embarrassing! She was very friendly and joked with us. While my SIL was paying for the kit at the American Jane booth, I babbled to Sandy Klop about seeing her studio and designs in the AP&Q mag a few months back and how I had just used one of her fabrics on the back of DH's quilt, babble babble (while she smiled and my sister kept saying asides of "suckup" to Sandy's husband, manning the register). Little sisters, jeez!

In another booth, in my excitement over the apron kit with the large rickrack above, I turned to my sister behind me and thrust my bag towards her saying "look what I got!" Then I looked to my left as my actual sister came around the display. I had thrust my bag toward a complete stranger, who had obligingly said, "Oh, that's nice" before I realized she wasn't Kathy. Too funny!

Too soon the festival closed and we were sorry. Next year we'll probably will stay in a hotel for one night and have a grand time. I want to take a class of some kind too. I'll have another post about our quilt-in at my house the day after the festival. Mom took pics and I'm waiting for her to get them to me.