Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silver


25 years ago I married my sweetie on a Sunday in February, in my hometown, at the Catholic cross in a public park, by a Jewish judge, my uncle playing guitar and singing, Grant's niece as our flower girl and the dear friend who introduced us as my attendant, one of Grant's oldest and dearest friends as his best man, and we had a Native American blessing in our vows.  Happy Anniversary, Grant!  Love you always.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quilting is Grand

I got a lot of quilty activity in while enjoying some gorgeous weather over the long weekend.  An email notification alerted me to the Grand Opening of the new location of one of my fave quilt stores.  I took my leftover Christmas money and made the drive through some lovely country backroads part of the way, towards Thousand Oaks, to the new location of Cotton and Chocolate.  The shop moved to a much larger storefront in the same shopping center and it was so nice to have lots of room to see everything (note: the pictures on the website are not of the new shop).  There was a chocolate fountain (I had a marshmallow), and a wheel of fortune to spin for discounts and prizes.  I won a coffee cup and three fat quarters.  It was so hard to choose!

None of these fat quarters have anything to do with the others--I just liked them.
The coffee cup has been put to work in my sewing room already.









My eyes always find the clearance racks and bargain bins first...I snatched up these Thimbleberries fabrics which were at the ridiculously low price of $3.00 per yard.  Just a week or so before this I found a $5 bolt of a Thimbleberries print at my local fabric store and thought that was a good price, but who could pass up $3 a yard?  I bought the remainder of one bolt and 3 yards of the other.


There's no particular plan for these either.  Can you say stash enhancement?










The remnant basket was my next stop.  All these lovelies were $5.98 a yard.  They were all different size pieces.  Again, I just liked them, though there are plans for at least two of the fabrics!














I've been seeing basket blocks all over the web!  I wanted the Schnibbles pattern but they did not have it, so this bargain Miss Rosie pattern is the stand in.  Hmmm, I can see some baskets from thoseThimbleberries fabric in my future.  What do you think?













The crackle fabric I have previously bought in fat quarters in a couple of different colors.  I just love it for the texture and warmth it gives a background.  The purple dot will fill help me complete my Rick Rack Road quilt, as part of a pieced backing and also the binding.  These two fabrics were not on sale, unfortunately, so that added a good bit to my bill.  However, with my Christmas money I ended up only paying $35 of the total of around $90.  Not bad, not bad at all. 


I spent a lot of time cutting and sewing as well over the holiday weekend.  Got a bunch of bow tie blocks made for my brother's quilt and firmed up my design; also washed, ironed and cut squares for Erica's quilt (pics to come!), finished the hand quilting on the giveaway quilt, cut, sewed and attached the binding, and did a bit of cleanup.  My list making needs updating as it seems I am working on five things at once with five things standing in the wings ready to pop out and take over at any time.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed with this short month and all that has happened in less than three weeks! 

On the St Patrick's Day front, I located a free pattern I liked.  See if you like this as much as I did!  Some of that new green fabric will definitely end up here. What are YOU working on?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day always makes me think of my elementary school days and the smell of paste and construction paper...I also miss the days my kids used to bring home their little art projects from school.  Some I will never be able to part with!  Here are the two other Valentines I made this year:

I unintentionally chose the exact size needed for the border squares/sashing--a no-math miracle for me!  I had intended to just sew squares together and then whack them off wherever, but they ended up fitting perfectly.  Who knew four 2" squares (plus cornerstones) would fit a 6 1/2" block?  Not me!













A closeup.  Random placement of squares but I like all the fabrics jumbled up here.












This single one I made for my office roommate but arranged the squares in the same sequence circling around the heart.











Looks lik the Valentine Flag on the back!













My office roommate is now asking for a St. Patrick's Day quilt giveaway.  I am a soft touch when people ask me to make quilty things, so yesterday I bought some nice green fabric and will be on the hunt for a good St. Paddy's Day free pattern.  Anyone have a link for me?

Hope your Valentine's Day is spent with those you love, human or animal!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stationary Object?

Last Saturday night, we received a frantic call from DD Erica at about 9:40 pm, saying she had just been in an accident on the highway a few miles from home.  She was unhurt, as were her three passengers, but she was very upset about her car being wrecked.  She said she had hit a tree and that a bunch of other cars were also involved in the accident.  She was so upset that it was hard to get exactly what happened.  Grant and I jumped in my car and approached the site of the accident on Highway 126.  There were about a mile of flares set up and multiple Highway Patrol cars.  We were lucky to get through, as they closed the highway at the offramp behind us about five minutes after we passed it.  We slowly inched up to a long, wide curve in the highway.  Our headlights hit the tree--it was an enormous eucalyptus, probably 60-80 feet tall, that had fallen from the park on the side of the highway, across a drainage ditch, the shoulder, and both lanes of the highway.  You could not see it at all until your lights hit it as it is very dark there.  We were funneled off to the inside shoulder to go around all the branches.  The debris field was huge.  We passed several severely damaged vehicles and were directed by the patrolman to park on the shoulder in front of all the other cars.  There were at least 6 cars we saw, including an ambulance with a smashed windhield and front end damage that was in front of Erica's car.  Her windshield was almost completely smashed, there were dents in the fender and side panel, and both front blinkers were gone. Her passengers all told us that they were unhurt.  Erica told us that she was driving in the right lane behind someone, as her offramp was coming up.  That driver slowed down for an unknown reason and she changed lanes to go around him, while on the large curve on the dark highway.  Suddenly her lights hit the huge tree but it was far too late to stop, especially as the other driver was now behind her.  She hit through the tree and as she came out the other side, there were two vehicles on either side of her that had also driven through the tree; she had to negotiate through them, making her own lane, with inches to spare.  She did not hit any of the vehicles and pulled to the side of the road.  Only then did she lose her composure! 

Erica gave her statement to the Highway Patrolman and a tow truck loaded her car onto the bed and took it away.  As we exited the highway, we saw yet another vehicle parked and covered with tree debris.  We contacted our insurance company immediately and a rental car was approved.   The body shop did an estimate on the car repair which totaled more than $3800, which was also approved by the insurance company.  Yesterday, we got a letter from the insurance company about the accident.  It said that after initial investigation, "the driver of our car was 100% at fault for striking a stationary object".  WHAT THE H*LL!

Stationary object? Well, yeah, I guess, AFTER it fell across the highway!
This is the base of the huge tree, after city/state crews worked on it.
The ditch and guardrail and the two lanes of the freeway beyond--see all the trunk/huge branch sections in the ditch?  Those were once across the road!  These pics are taken from the park that the trees line, after the highway crews worked on removal for two days.  Yesterday there was a crane removing the rest of the huge trunk sections.

Of course we plan to call our insurance company and find out the meaning of their "initial investigation" rubbish!  We are so grateful that nobody in Erica's car was hurt.  She is now driving a snazzy rental car, a black 2010 Dodge Challenger.  Pretty hot-looking, much more than her little old Toyota Camry!  This story is to be continued....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winner!

Thank you all for participating in my little blog's one year anniversary.  I hope there will be many more to celebrate, and some giveaways in between too!   The most popular binding choice was caramel/cheddar--which is what I selected for Grant's quilt too (the blue was the backing on Grant's quilt).

Everyone's name was typed up and popped into a bowl:
Grant fulfilled his task admirably and a winner was selected.

Aaaannnndd .....


It is Banaghaisge!  You should have heard Grant trying to pronounce the name on the slip---very entertaining!  By coincidence the winner is also a member of the online quilter's Yahoo group I belong to, Quiltbuddies.  Congratulations, Jasmine, all the way DownUnder, in the searing heat at present.  Sorry I can't send you ice cream too.  The little quilt will be bound and sent off to you soon along with the patterns.    Happy Quilting, Everybody!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hearts and Home

I got some better photos of my little heart wallhanging--this was made from some fat quarters I picked up at my LQS.  Somehow I completely missed the Valentine's Day fabric section and just looked at the bins of pinks and reds!




The super-simple 6.5" blocks came from the free patterns on about.com.  What a great resource!  I became aware of these hearts due to a post by Jeanne of a swap she was in.  Such a cute, quick quilt project!  She graciously sent me the link at my request.  As soon as I checked it out, I realized it was the same block requested for a healing heart quilt being made by an online group I belong to for a fellow member whose husband is in hospice. Easy to cut and piece and fun to play with.  I made this wallhanging to raffle off at work for the girls--high roll of the dice won!  I made another wallhanging for myself with borders and sashing of randomly arranged 2" squares cut from the same fabrics.  No picture of that one yet, it got left at work today for the saddest loser (my office roommate) to enjoy for a day or two...She jinxed herself by first pretending to roll a six, but then she rolled a one on the real try!  I told her I would make her a single heart block but it had to be on the q.t. ( I have no idea what "q.t." actually means, I just realized)

My sewing machine had its spa day today and did not need any additional work beyond the cleaning/maintenance check, though the repair guy did write to me that I would get a better looking stitch if I used 50 wt thread rather than 40 wt.  Oh, well, it was just what I had on hand of ecru thread!

Don't forget to leave me a comment one my previous post if you want to have a chance at my little quilt/pattern blogaversary giveaway.  I have been doing a lot more handquilting on it in the meantime...Drawing will be tomorrow morning before Grant leaves for the day, probably 9-9:30 ish. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blogaversary!

One year ago I started this blog after being inspired by so many other wonderful blogs I had read and enjoyed for several months--I wanted to be part of that world!  Some very kind bloggers left comments early on and I was on my way.  My little blog has trucked along and here I am a year later, having gathered some followers, whom I thank so very much for visiting and commenting.  To celebrate this blogaversary I am having a modest giveaway.  This little quilt is called "Diamond Orts", as I made it from scraps leftover from hubby's quilt "Grant's Gibson Diamonds".

I hand quilted this with a brickish red thread and really enjoyed doing it.
Though not an exemplary hand quilter, ahem, I am mostly pleased with the result but probably will add more hand quilting before I send it off to the winner.  I'm thinking all the triangles around the squares need quilting too.

Astute observers will notice that the quilt is not bound.  That is intentional--the winner is going to get to choose the binding!  Either this caramel/cheddar dot:


Or this blue pindot:

And to go along with this little quilt is a collection of paper-pieced patterns of little quilts (sorry for the glare).

To enter, just leave me a comment and tell me which binding choice you prefer.  Non-bloggers can email me at vtaannieo@gmail.com with their entry.  The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, February 10, 2010. I will have Grant select the winner either by random number or slips of paper, depending on the number of entries.

Thank yous and affection to everyone who has stopped by my little blog and visited or commented over the past year.  I'm planning on sticking around in blogland for a great while, so please drop by anytime!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Moda goodness

I misspoke on my previous post where I calculated that I was behind 6 blocks for my Moda Greenpiece BOM.  There's that pesky math thing again--I forgot to count the wool applique blocks so I was actually behind 12 blocks because there are two pieced and two appliqued blocks per month.  Oops! So over the weekend  I cut out six of the blocks and got four sewn.  So now I am behind 8 blocks AND a pieced border that came with the 3rd month.  But here are the first two months' pieced star blocks:


The colors seem a little dulled out in this photo but are actually rich and warm.  I had a hard time between the very yellowy light from the sewing room lamps and my not so perfect camera.  The two blocks on the left are deep brown and warm tan prints.  The blocks on the right are burgandy dotted and brown with red print.   The instructions for the flying geeze blocks are very interesting and quick. Mine came out better with this method and all my points stayed pointy! I also felted all the pretty wool pieces below and hope to get started on the cutting the shapes for the applique blocks this weekend.

There was also some heart block assembly for another couple of projects but my picture turned out too blurry and poor to share right now!  My sewing machine is going in for a maintenance check on Friday at my local LQS.  I got a call from the shop saying there were quite a few signups so my machine might not be ready by closing Friday and I could either come pick it up Saturday or leave it at the shop til Tuesday, but they would let me know if it didn't get done.  Glad there's an option because I want to sew!   

My one year blogaversary is coming up on Friday... so stay tuned for a little giveaway announcement on the 5th. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blogland curiosities

I'm wondering if it is just me, or has it been difficult to post comments for anyone else lately?  A couple of times late last week I would hit the "comments" button and nothing would open.  I could neither read the comments nor leave one.  Once, the comments window pop up was UNDER everything when I closed all the internet windows as I was logging off!  Mostly I notice it with word verification--it sometimes takes three tries for a comment to "take".  On some blogs, first I hit comments, scroll down to the bottom, make my comment and hit Post.  It takes me back to the top of the comments, so I scroll down to make sure my comment posted.  I get a message that my "request could not be processed".  So I hit post again.  Only then will it pop up with the word I must copy and finally when I hit "post comment", it actually happens.  I first noticed this phenomenon during the Fall Quilt Festival.  I wonder how many comments I made in the months prior that disappeared into cyberspace because I had not checked to see if my comment took? 

If anyone is encountering this on my blog, I would love to know!  Its such fun to get comments and I would hate to think something is happening to prevent them sticking here.  I have no idea what I could actually do to fix it, but at least I can bring it to Blogger's attention.  Happy Commenting!