Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Nov 30, 2010

This week's Orts brought to you by the final November post.  Only 31 more days in this year, wow.
  • Across the country, millions of pounds of uneaten turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and other leftovers are landing in the dump.  I don't think any of that is compostable, do you?
  • We're still enjoying pie, however.  We orderd homemade pies from my co-worker, who baked the most delicious apple and pumpkin pies and used gluten free methods to do it.  The converted kitchen of her granny flat has a tiny oven that could only fit one pie at a time--19 times she did that!  She was rightfully exhausted but earned many raves.
  • My only shopping foray out of the house from Wednesday night through Sunday was a two hour trip to JoAnn's fabrics on Saturday.  Hmmm.
  • Had an optometrist appt on Saturday and picked out new frames.  My total after insurance paid was only $70 so I was doing a happy dance.  When Grant and I got home an hour later after having a late lunch, we had a message from the optometrist's office that the girl forgot to add in my progresssive lens' cost and we would owe another 93 bucks.  The happy dance was short lived.
  • While at the optometrist's, we watched an elf decorate her windows with paint.  She was wearing a costume and even the ears.  Watching her write "Seeson's Greetings", and being a speller for a living, it bothered me.  Then she added glasses on top of the S-E-E.  Cute!
  • Traffic rant:  The offramp is not the place to speed up.  Really.  The chances of hitting a red light are pretty high, and there are very few without a stop sign. So get off my bumper!
  • My nephew had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his leg.  They didn't give him crutches at the surgery center.  Not sure how they thought he was going to get to the bathroom, kitchen, etc.  Was he supposed to hop on one foot while on pain medication?  Fortunately, Grant had some from his knee surgery and my brother came to pick them up.  Note to young men: do not accidentally fall through sliding glass doors.
  • Time to put away the fall decor and get out the advent box.  I know what I'll be doing tonight!

My poinsettia last year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Nov 29, 2010

On my Design Desk today is a new project, from the Scrap Basket Surprises book. 

This is called Kitchen Sink.  I like this design particularly because all the strip units are cut the same size and I don't have to remember any other measurements!  These are all scraps from my precut bins and my scrap sorting and cutting session over the weekend.

I found this under my desk yesterday as I walked from the living room.

Mini, in a place I've never seen her before.  On the desk is DD Erica's big quilt.  I finally started the quilting yesterday by stippling the white areas between the bear paw blocks and so far have had a frustrating time.  A grease clot came up from the bobbin case and stained the white thread and white fabric (horrors!).  That had to be ripped out.  Then the top thread broke.  Then I ran out of bobbin thread.  Ripping out was required again.  But at least quilting has been started!  Go to Judy's blog for more Design Walls.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roy G Biv

My scrap boxes overflowing, I set about remedying that problem this weekend. 

Roy G Biv helped me out--Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet were sorted into groups.  I added brown, black, and lights too. 

I removed any pieces smaller than 2 1/2" since my plan was to cut everything else to that size strip.

These are just the odd sized pieces I had been throwing in a couple of boxes, destined for my precut strip drawers once trimmed to size. The lights, blue and red strips already got ironed, ready to make a Kitchen Sink Quilt from the book Scrap Basket Surprises.  Yes, I started another new project---Feeding the addiction!  I also spent about 2 hours at JoAnn's fabrics yesterday, just wandering about and looking at everything.  Some great deals landed in my basket.  I have a long list of cutting jobs to do, and a fresh blade in my rotary cutter.  Look out!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Goodbye to Fall

Though Winter officially starts in a little over three weeks, signs that the Christmas Season has begun are evident in my neighborhood.  Lots of folks putting up strings of lights this weekend, probably many getting a tree up as well.  Not us.  We like to hold off until December is on the calendar page.   Here are a few last Fall photos from my corner of the world:

Our across the street neighbor's ginkgo tree, all orangey gold, still has most of its leaves.  Two other gingkos on the block have yet to turn.

In southern California, Fall means brown hills and green fields. The strawberry planting is all done in October.  There are vast fields planted all over the county; this one is about two miles from us.

My favorite mountain range looms over the coastal plain.  These are the Topa-Topa Mountains.  Snow appears from time to time on this 3500 foot range during the winter storms, a lovely treat to see. 

A fall vignette with a tablerunner I made last year.  The other side has Halloween tumblers.

Gorgeous Thanksgiving Day flowers from my mom (she brought these but forgot her fruit salad, silly woman!)

Love the purple fringe on these sunflowers.  Daisies and mums, eucalyptus and cattails flesh out this fall arrangement in all its colors. Goodbye, Fall! The red and green reverie is about to begin. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

After the cooking...

...Comes all the fun!  We had 17 that ate at our Thanksgiving Day dinner table(s) and it all went very smoothly--doing a lot of the food prep the night before really helped so much, plus the housework and fetching the kids did, along with farming out some of the side dishes and the ham.  The younger people hung out at one table and us oldies at the others.  We were thankful to all be together to stuff ourselves and feel rich in food, warmth, and family!  

Isn't this the coolest, funky taloned plate holder?  It isn't mine but my SIL Laura's--I took this on the Arizona visit.  She has a fantastic eye for the unusual and loves antiques, especially those that are bird related.  It looked great on her absolute black granite countertops.  In just a few weeks we'll see their family and also my sister out here for the Christmas holidays.  Can't wait!  I have the week after Christmas off work from Job #2  and it will be great to spend time with everyone.  I hope we can have a quilting circle at least one or two times, I so enjoy that.   Happy Shopping, everyone! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays Orts--Nov 23, 2010

Another edition of the "orts"--the bits that float around in my head and land here every week.
  • Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It's all about family and no pressure of gifts, except for the gift of yummy food and lots of talk and laughter.  
  • Thanksgiving always makes me miss my Grandma Thelma so much.  She was a fantastic cook, all her life, and made putting together meals for dozens look easy.  She always wore an apron and despite her neck and hand arthritis, would stand and peel or cut for hours.  She made the best pies and the best gravy.  The first time we hosted Thanksgiving at our house, she came to help me.  When I told her that I had never made gravy her jaw dropped.  I will never forget that!
  • Grant had arthroscopic knee surgery last week for a torn meniscus and did really well, except for the part where he forgot to elevate his knee overnight and had a lot of pain the day after surgery.  Thankfully, it was just the one day.  He was expecting A pluses from the doctor at his postop visit.
  • Traffic rant:  This week I'm talking about grocery store traffic.  People!  You are not alone in the store.  Push your cart to the side and then walk over to the shelf.  Likewise if you run into a friend or neighbor and begin chatting, don't stop in the middle!  Also, when leaving the register, please walk more than 1 mm per minute so that folks behind you can get out of the store.  Thank you.
  • My life is so exciting on the weekends.  I scrubbed grout for an hour and a half, went grocery shopping, and made lists.  Oh, and I watered houseplants.
  • My mom and dad bought me a beautiful birthday gift while they were back east (or is Ohio Midwest?):


A gorgeous miniature Shaker wooden box.
    It has teeny tiny brads holding the bent wood, which is Birdseye maple sanded and finished to an incredible smoothness.
     
    I love it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Nov 22, 2010

There is nothing on my Design Wall today.  But I have been stitching.
I finished this stitchery on linen at least four or five years ago but never got it framed or made into a wallhanging. 

The stitching just added is my initials.  I've offered this to my mom to give to a friend.  I used an alphabet book I've had for many years and used often, a Leisure Arts Mini Series leaflet called 20 Backstitch Alphabets (published in 1985!).

The winner of my birthday giveaway, Vivian, chose her husband's name for the second stocking and I got their names stitched, from the same alphabet leaflet. 

Auditioning fabrics for this soon to be pillow.  This is another cross-stitch I finished four or five years ago.  I added my initials after I took the photo.  I'm leaning towards framing it in the green on the far left.

Don't know if you can tell, but these were decorator sample swatches from Joanne's Fabrics that I bought for $1.99.  They are perfect for pillow backs.  So far I favor the yellow, which has a nice ribbed texture. 

Go to Judy's blog to see more Design Wall goodness!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Turkey Day Prep

After spending some time this morning making my checklists and breaking down the "To Do's", I'm feeling good about my Thanksgiving Day plans.  We will be 18 this year (at least) so that takes a lot of furniture moving and job assignments in this not-so-big house, to fit us all in comfortably.  Luckily we have done this A LOT--routine occurrence in a big family!  The shopping is now done, thankfully, and I'll get started on food prep on Monday night. 

Unfortunately, I'll hit a large snag on Wednesday.  Our receptionist has taken the day off, which means I have to be her and get to the office around 8:00 and stay til 5:00.   I'll be counting on offspring to help out.  Cheerfully, if possible. 

On other fronts, Erica made a recent purchase of some headwear for cat heckling (as previously demonstrated):

Neither Amelie

nor Mini seemed to think it was flattering in style or fit.  Do you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And we have a winner!

Lacking opposable thumbs, my original furry assistant choice was swapped out in favor of someone who could actually unfold a slip of paper:


My extremely excited oldest offspring drew the name....

Congratulations, Vivian!  An email will be sent your way immediately.  To all the others who shared their favorite ornaments, thank you for letting me read your stories.  It seems angels and children's early creations are the most dear to a lot of us!

Still time to enter my giveaway!

Entries for my little birthday giveaway are open until 5 PM Pacific time.  I'll have my assistant, Mini, help me pick a winner tonight after work. 
She's waiting patiently on the bookcase for the drawing to begin.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stripz

The new Winter 2010 Quilts and More magazine jumped onto the counter at the grocery store the other day.  I couldn't stop it, even though Grant asked "You don't have enough quilting magazines already?"  There were several quilts I loved, but particularly the cover quilt called Line Art, using precut strips.  It inspired me to pull out the jelly roll I bought at Tuesday Morning last month, called Stripz, which I previously had promised to show when I opened it.
 
I sorted and counted and there are 50 strips of six different fabrics cut 2.5 x WOF.

Pretty cute bug and butterfly fabrics.   The quality seems fine.

The Line Art pattern calls for 37 strips for the quilt and 7 for the binding.  I'd have more than plenty to play with.  The alternate setting shown in the magazine with a planned zig zag was my favorite.  This generous jelly roll was a bargain at $14.99 and will make a great kid's quilt.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Nov 16, 2010

A late edition of the Orts is brought to you by a crazy Tuesday where I woke up--bing!--at 4:45 AM and then didn't get home from work until 7:00 PM.  I am tired!
  • Airports are such great places to people watch.  However, I have to remember to keep my face neutral!  Erica caught me agape at a totally mismatched couple of employees at the Phoenix airport who luckily were too busy holding hands to notice me embarrassing myself.
  • There were so few passengers in both airports on Tuesday night that the employees were all sitting around talking.  Everywhere. 
  • My big sewing plans for last weekend petered out when I allowed the big job of Erica's quilt to paralyze me and instead spent way too much time trying to find a pattern on a list of quilts I wanted to make and had lost track of the magazine.  I didn't find the magazine and I didn't work on Erica's quilt.  Bad quilter, bad!
  • Traffic rant:  Driving to the airport, we were first behind a van whose driver had the dome light on and was searching for something on the floor, to the detriment of their highway driving capabilities (there was a lot of course correcting).  Then on the freeway we passed a sedan whose dome light was on as well, but this driver was holding a cup of soup with one hand and eating with the other.  I hesitate only slightly to mention that both of these drivers were men.  Note to moron males:  PULL OVER!
  • I mentioned yesterday to my co-workers that I am now published: the free-pieced word I made for Tonya was put into a quilt that graces the cover of her new book.  My work friend Pat quipped that I was starting at the bottom of the publishing world--with just ONE word!  Pretty funny.  (My word is SOAR).
  • Brunch is a great option for a birthday get together, I found.  Especially an all you can eat buffet that includes an omelet bar and a waffle bar.  And the lighting is good for photos without flash:
Elaine and Erica  (l to r). 
  • Sometimes Tuesdays are the busiest and worst day.  But it's hard to say "What a week!"  that early in the week.
  • Thanksgiving is coming up way too fast.  We'll have 18 at our house this year but no little kids.  So do I still have to make jello?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Nov 15, 2010

I'm very late for this Monday, but it was a busy day!  On my Design floor are a bunch more square in square blocks, testing the layout for the Cinnamon and Cheddar Stars:
 As someone pointed out last week, the lights are really putting forth a lot of  "look at me" vibes. 

I really like all these colors thrown together so will carry on with completing the square in square blocks--halfway done now but having trouble with my MATH.  I thought I had cut enough strips of the cinnamon fabric to make all the blocks but NO, I did not.  Luckily there is plenty of fabric left.  Go to Judy's blog for more Design Wall fun. 

My birthday giveaway is open until Thursday.  You can enter here.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giveaways and Birthdays

The giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for playing!

I am far remiss in posting about a giveaway I won a couple of  weeks ago from Jo's Country Junction.  Check out the adorable headbands she made with wool and her GO Cutter.  I entered by saying I liked the mum one best and she sent me these:
Parts to three different headbands!  A belated thank you to Jo for her generosity.  I look forward to spending some crafty time playing with these lovelies. 

And now for another small giveaway.  It's my birthday, but one of you will be getting a present!  In the picture below are tree ornaments with a little holly leaf cross-stitched name, some Christmas fabric, a bit of lace, and some satin cord.

These were made for co-workers and my doctor boss (his initials) for the office Christmas tree.  Over the years I made a couple dozen as staff changes occurred.  My rule was that you had to work at the office at least a full year before you got a stocking. I wish employees who left had taken their stockings with them--I have a stack of stockings with no home! 

This Santa print is my absolute favorite and is vintage fabric I got from a neighbor long ago--as in more than 25 years ago. Sadly I am down to mere scraps, not enough to even craft a stocking, I'm afraid. 

So here are the details:  I'll make the winner a stocking with their own name, plus another with the name of their choice.  It can be any name--that of a relative, friend, pet, boss, etc.   I'll pick the fabrics, 'cause that's easier. I have lots of Christmas fabrics to choose from :). 

To enter my birthday giveaway, tell me about your favorite Christmas ornament, either made or bought.  That's it, no hoops to jump through, and I will ship internationally.  I'll close the giveaway on Thursday, November 18th at 5 PM Pacific and pick a winner that evening.  Make sure I have a way to contact you either in your profile or by leaving your email address in your comment.  My goal would be to have these ready to send off by December 1st.   

Friday, November 12, 2010

Desert Desserts

Our trip to Arizona was precipitated by Erica's acceptance to ASU.  Though she has decided not to enroll for spring semester, we still wanted to meet with the advisor, get the lay of the land for school and a feel for her new neighborhood.  We flew out of Burbank Airport and there were eleven people on our flight.  Note to self:  Always fly on Tuesday nights!  My brother Ted picked us up and we went directly to the newly named Chez Erica, a lovely guest house on a nearby property they have.  The next morning we borrowed a car and headed to the downtown Phoenix ASU campus.  The advisor, we were told, was out sick.  That was a bit annoying but the backup advisor had plenty of information, plus we visited the financial aid and admissions counters as well.  All in all, it was worth the trip and her plans can now solidify a bit more.  She'll see a lot more of Uncle Ted and Aunt Laura's come January:

She loves their dogs!

Gorgeous mesquite tree and wishing well.

And she'll hope to borrow Ted's Corvette again too (and no, she didn't let me drive!)

Ted and Laura took us out for lunch to one of their favorite restaurants.  When we arrived at the Kierland Commons shopping center, the parking lot was completely full and there was a line of hundreds of people on the sidewalk across from the restaurant.  Turns out the famous Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, was doing a book signing gig at Sur La Table (a fancy kitchen store).  We did manage to get a table at the restaurant and had a fun, fabulous time at lunch; then we girls went shopping while Ted picked up the kids from school.  Oh, Crate and Barrel, I do love thee!  All their fall displays were backed with Marimekko yardage in a pumpkin print called Kumina. I searched in vain but they were not selling this in the store. It was stunning.  Then we spent a great deal of time in Anthropologie, where I fell in love with all the embroidered dishtowels, reproduction glass ornaments, kitchen kitsch, silk robes, cashmere scarves, and the Tokyo Rose perfumes.  Erica acquiesced to her Aunt Laura's wishes and consented to be bought a gorgeous dress and divine coat from the sale room--a big thank you to Laura for her usual generosity. 

We took a tour of Chez Erica before we headed home from our lovely and too short trip.  We spotted some bobcat tracks behind the main house on the property, which backs up to a wash.  I'm sure she will see javelina (wild pigs) and maybe some coyotes and definitely birds.  I spotted a wild bunny both mornings in the walled courtyard. She hopes she doesn't see many scorpions, but Uncle Ted has promised to buy her a blacklight and long tongs for hunting them.

Bougainvillea, palo verde and mesquite trees.

The saguaro in the center will someday develop arms.

Don't know what this cactus is but love the matte green finish.


She has access to a beautiful pool.

...and already feels at home (i.e., she's ready to decorate the place!).  Though we will miss her a lot when she goes, it's wonderful to know she will be near very loving and supportive family and only a quick plane trip away from us. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Back

Erica and I got back this afternoon after our quick trip to Arizona--more to follow, but here are a couple of photos from my brother and sister in law's Scottsdale front yard--humans added for scale!
Giant ocotillo which will be covered in gorgeous orange blooms in the spring. Ignore my dratted closed eyes in this pic.

And even more giant saguaro cactus!  Laura, my SIL, answered my question about its age by stating that it takes 70 years before the saguaro cactus plant develops one arm.  She thought this cactus was probably over 100 years old. 

More on this trip soon!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Nov 9, 2010

Tonight I'll be winging my way with Erica to Arizona to check out ASU and her new digs.  But first, a few orts to share...
  • Weekend clothes shopping plus doing two weeks' worth of laundry equals a full closet and drawers.  Too bad I am sick of about half of the old stuff, even when clean.
  • Curiously, there is a shortage of navy in the world just now.  I cannot find a pair of navy slacks anywhere.  Also, navy fabric is sorely lacking at my local fabric store.  Another color conspiracy?  I remember in the early 80's the inability to find brown fabric--even brown yarn was hard to find!
  • The housekeepers were here a week ago and I am still straightening photos and paintings.  Sometimes I think they leave them crooked on purpose so we'll know they dusted them.
  • With the recent dizzying jump from too hot to cool, my confused garden is now sporting daylilies, plumeria blossoms, camellias, margarita daisies, poinsettias, and the avocado tree is producing buds and blooms. The ornamental pear and Golden Rain trees are turning colors and losing leaves. At least the poppies have died out until spring!
  • Traffic rant of the week:   Putting on your hazard lights while parking in a loading zone or red zone does not mean you're not breaking the law.  Especially if you are  parked on the wrong side of the street facing oncoming traffic--a sight actually witnessed last week in front of the building to the rear of our office!
  • I read recently that the final book in the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel, called The Land of the Painted Caves, will be coming out in the spring, 31 years after the first book.   But then I read that she may still have one more book in her--at age 74.  If she keeps the same pace of writing, I'll be a grandma before it is published. 
  • Speaking of grands--our granddog Scully enjoyed his Halloween costume so much he did not like to take it off.
He was nice and cozy as a shark!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Nov 8, 2010

On my Design Desk today is the second project I'm making with the 9 patches from Julie K's swap.  I made up a few of the square-in-square blocks to see how my plan to emphasize the star in this layout is working  (quilt design from a Thimbleberries book).
 
Cinnamon star.

Cheddar star.

I am a little concerned that this is going to turn out just incredibly busy and not the scrappy look I love.  I want the stars to stand out, and they will be the only constant fabrics in the patchwork.  I'll probably have to make a lot more of the square in squares to see if I really like this.  I do love the cheddar and cinnamon Jo Morton fabrics!  Opinons, anyone?  Go to Judy's blog to see more Design Walls.