Monday, January 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Jan 30, 2012

On my design table today are two works in progress.  The first is the pick for the UFO Challenge, a small quilt that needed handquilting.  Have I mentioned I am not really good at that?  Probably why I waited until this past weekend to get started.
I came to two conclusions as I quilted:  I need to learn how to use a hoop and that people who quilt on car trips must be experts.

The bating fibers were choking me so I attached the binding after getting home yesterday.  Four whole blocks and the two half blocks are finished.  I have until midnight on the 31st to finish the rest...


All the blocks for Bricks and Stepping Stones got finished on Friday night so it will be time to play layout and switcheroo after the handquilting job is done. 

Today is my mother in law's 93rd birthday so we are taking her to a nice dinner out.  Here she is in front of the quilt I made for her 90th birthday.  Frances is still living independently (in a senior apartment complex) and very active.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

On the road again

I go months without getting out of town and then it happens in threes--this time with my honey. Grant's employer has an annual awards dinner, held in a different place every year.  We got a late start on the 120 miles drive south to beautiful Dana Point on Saturday, arriving just before sunset at the fabulously ritzy Laguna Cliffs Resort. 

A beautifully restored Woodie is featured beneath the porte cochere at the lobby entrance.

Surfboard appropriate background for the description.

We quickly checked into our room and then went for a sunset stroll.  Lots of folks were out on the grounds of a large public park just beyond the resort property.

The architecture reminded me of the famous Coronado hotel in San Diego (featured in the great old movie "Some Like It Hot").  Our shadows are real but this perfect lawn is a darn good fake--AstroTurf in dry SoCalif is a great water saver.   

Lots of pines cover the walk to the edge of the coastal bluffs...

...Where a view of the Dana Point Harbor entrance was nicely framed by Eucalyptus trees.

The famed Laguna Cliffs ring this natural cove for miles.  Surfers in the water were catching more rays than waves on this calm sea.  We left this serene scene for our room and dressing up for a lovely dinner and just-a-tad-too-long-but-bearable awards ceremony. 

View from our balcony the next morning as we said goodbye to Dana Point and got on the road after too short of a stay--I would love to have lounged by the pool and taken another walk down to the harbor, or even scheduled a spa treatment.  I told Grant that we really should aim for at least a minimum of 24 hours away from home the next time we have a chance to go somewhere--especially when someone else is picking up the hotel room/parking/breakfast!   On the car ride I finally started hand quilting on my UFO Challenge pick of the month, but more about in that next post. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Road to CA show

A few days late but here is some eye candy from the show.  Funny, it seems I come home with photos of the kind of quilts I don't make!  All photographs were taken at the Road to California show.

Large and very exuberant quilt.  I liked the perspective.


This quilt artist sure can do realistic!  

Sorry for the blur!

Ditto on the blur.  This quilt had wonderful colors and even more wonderful fabrics used for the animals when you got close up.


Check out the chicken wire and hoof quilting on the right side of the piggies.


I wonder if the stars in the Chief's sash drew this quilter to the photo originally?


Amazing 3D effects--not sure how they were achieved exactly.

So much to explore and digest in studying this wall hanging.

Wish there had been a description of the techniques used.  

Julie, me, and Libby (Libby says photographs steal her soul so I got special permission, lol!).  Dawn had already headed back to her afternoon class session.

I made and gave these little threadkeepers to Julie and Libby from a free pdf pattern from Primitive Gatherings (Lisa Bonegan--which I don't find on her site so don't know where I got it!).  The buttons are vintage and the cheater fabric made them interesting.  I kept one for myself :)


Julie made me this wonderful tote bag (she remembered I love green and that was the color of the lining) and the mini "Spring" quilt she recently posted on her blog, as well as the HST zip bag filled with lotion and chocolate--two staples quilters always need.  I was so surprised and thankful for her generosity.  A Beam and Read light and some half yard cuts came home with me from the vendors along with a few other treasures I can't share just yet.  Really good show and so great to meet such wonderful ladies!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 24, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--bits of thoughts and scraps of events from my week that land here.

  • Friday's excursion to L.A. was made so pleasant by getting chauffeured by my dad and spending the ride solving the world's problems in the backseat with Cousin Florence.
  • I could eat tacos every day.  And I did about four days last week:  Fish tacos at Spencer Mackenzie, beef ones from Taco Bell, short rib tacos at Parkway Grill, chicken tacos on date night, and breakfast tacos tonight.  Oops, I guess that's five times.
  • Traffic Rant:  Extreme speeders in heavy traffic.  These maniacs seem to travel together in pods.  They come out of nowhere, zoom across and through multiple lanes of traffic without giving anyone a second to get out of their way, and then vanish into the future.  Good riddance!
  • Saturday night turned out to be date night.  Dinner and a movie?  Okay, I can get out of my pajamas for that!  Sherlock Holmes was very entertaining and the popcorn good and buttery.
  • My Road to California Quilt Show meetup with fellow bloggers Julie and Libby was great fun.  They introduced me to Dawn, of Collector with a Needle.  Lots of laughter and getting to know each other stories.  Loved it!
  • Best line of the day was by Libby:  "Block of the Months are my Kryptonite.  I just can't take them." 
  • How to tell when you're nearing a quilt convention:
No need for the GPS guide any more!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Jan 23, 2012

On my design table today are leftovers and some new menu choices.

These half-square triangles were leftover from a Pineapple Blossom quilt I made my mother in law for her 90th birthday three years ago.  Last summer I made table runner with a bunch of the HSTs but still had a few left.  I came up with this fun zig zag layout and put them in a baggie.  Recently I pulled them out again and trimmed up to 3.5".  I'll put them in pairs and use them for leader-enders.

Two selections from a successful hunt for yellows for the Pink Lemonade, found in the Primitive Gatherings booth at the Road to California show.  I'm leaning towards the upper yellow but like both.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting Out, Making Music

Cousin Florence is visiting my folks from Ohio and I was invited to go along on a museum trip to L.A., for which I gladly took a day off work.  But first, we lunched at an upscale Pasadena restaurant called the Parkway Grill.  It's a warm and inviting restaurant with original art on the walls and delicious gourmet food.

Florence learned the towering arrangement in this enormous vase is made of fresh flowers which are changed frequently. There are eight one gallon vessels in the vase to hold the flowers.  After stuffing ourselves thoroughly over a leisurely hour and a half lunch, we headed to the nearby Norton Simon museum.  Anyone who has watched the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day has seen this modern building as it is on Colorado Blvd.

A vast collection of my favorite Impressionist art occupies many rooms in one wing.  These are sculptures by Edgar Degas.  One of my favorites is The Little Dancer, the larger piece in the rear of this photo.

Her cream silk ribbon looks new but her linen skirt was probably not this color originally.  Degas is best known for his oil paintings but also made hundreds of bronze sculptures in his later years.

I came around the corner a minute after my mother and liked this composition.

Matisse often used printed fabric as backgrounds throughout his career, and on his models, in this case black lace. This is a larger painting of about four feet wide.

 

Diego Rivera painted these exuberant modern portraits and is known for his murals and as the husband of artist Frida Kahlo.  This painting was donated to the museum by actor Cary Grant.

The thing I love most about going to art museums is the opportunity to get up close and study how much paint and what kind of decisions the artist made during his composition.  Here you see he started with an orange sort of crab leg shape but painted over part of it later with the brown. 

Picasso was very fond of color but what I really like in this painting is the use of browns, grays, and neutrals.  It also looks like a blue bordered linen towel was part of this still life.


This modern art painting drew me, for some reason :)

I encourage everyone to visit galleries and museums locally or in nearby cities. Often the entrance fee is low--or free, with a suggested donation only. There's nothing like seeing art in person.


A Steinway Baby Grand piano was set up in this gallery and speakers were being placed by AV staff.  Wonder who played this after we left?

I created some music of my own Friday night by completing the corner blocks for Pink Lemonade.  This modified mock up is pretty cute too, without the yellow alternate blocks.  Though I searched my local fabric store again, neither of the two yellows I found worked. I'm hoping to find a good one at the Road to California show tomorrow, where a meet up with Libby and Julie is planned.  Very excited!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forgot a few orts

Sometimes I have trouble when I actually sit down to compose my Tuesday's Orts post.  I think I'll remember things to include but then they fly out of my head when faced with a blank page.  Surely I'm not the only one this happens to!
  • On the Monday "holiday", I had to go in to the office because a new system needed to be installed--only because the installer was subsequently going out of town for 10 days.  So guess who volunteered to be there for what turned out to be 2.5 hours...
  • Afterwards I did a couple errands and then stopped by my Mom & Dad's because I was hungry and Mom always feeds me.  She tried to give me hummus, which I hate, or microwaved bacon. Sheesh! We went out instead to CPK and split our usual pizza and salad.
  • It was noted by the boss's wife that some newly printed checks (order form NOT filled out by her but by bank staff) state that we are a "Pofessional" Corporation. 
  • Remember that nice new used car Grant bought on New Year's Eve?  Well, we sold my aging one over the weekend in less than a half hour of parking it on a main drag.  Amazing at what speed a low priced vehicle brings attention.
  • Planning a getaway.  Wish me luck, since it involves Grant getting on a plane, something he is terribly UN-fond of.
  • The 18th anniversary of the awful Northridge (Los Angeles) earthquake was yesterday. My sister Kathy and her two kids were out from Missouri visiting when it occurred. Nice timing, right?  Though we had no damage to speak of in our area, the power was out most of the day.  So we took the all the cousins to the park to play.

L to R: our brother Kevin's boys Jeff (4, who hated having his picture taken), and Matt (7, imitating his brother), my Erica (3 3/4, not looking at the camera), Kathy's Caitlin (4, boy those Midwestern kids are pale), my Elaine (6, with her cute holey smile), Kathy's Jake (5 1/2, getting ready to REALLY make a funny face), and my Nick (8, who found that superhero guy in the sand and was stoked).  Hard to believe it was so long ago!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--Jan 17, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--bits of thoughts and scraps of events from my week that land here.
  • What sounded like the bark of a very large dog in a vehicle outside our office the other day turned out to be a Basset Hound named Stella Louise. 
  • DD Erica's best friend moved to AZ and they are sharing her little 2 bedroom guest house.  Between that, new semester of college, dating, and working, we haven't heard from her much.
  • DD Elaine is helping organize a bridal shower for her future sister in law, her husband's brother's fiance.  She's the middleman between the out-of-state Maid of Honor, the bride to be, and the MIL, at whose home the event will take place--a complicated sort of land!
  • Things I Don't Understand:   Why are large plastic storage bin measurements given in GALLONS?  Who ever keeps liquids in them?  And who can picture what 109 gallons looks like in 3D?
  • On Wednesday a highway maintenance crew was digging a ditch along the frontage road that lines my neighborhood.  The next morning as I was leaving for work I nearly came to a screeching halt to grab my camera:
This white heron hangs around on our end of town from time to time but I had never seen it this close.  The funny thing was that he/she was in the exact same spot the following morning.  There must have been some good bugs dug up by the trencher!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Jan 16, 2012

On my design surface this Martin Luther King, Jr Day are the same two projects from last week, both of which are coming along well.  Bricks and Stepping Stones parts are all complete and a few of the blocks assembled.  I enjoyed all the piecing and pressing as I worked in batches.

112 bricks with attached 4-patch stones were sewn.  This is a Bonnie Hunter (Quiltsville.com) free pattern.

So far, I'm liking the colors very much.  The dark brown fabric second from the top left reads too dark and messes up the contrast with the black and white so I'm not going to use it.  I only made the one tester brick so am not short of blocks by losing it.  Spoke to the intended recipient today, my younger brother Ted, and told him I was working on his quilt.  So now that news is out and I'm definitely committed!

The Pink Lemonade quiltalong finish has been posted and while I have picked out the fabric for the four corner blocks (not shown), I am not feeling the love for this yellow calico with these CW prints and will have to look for something else at my local stores.  Poor me! See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.   

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Workroom

Friday night, even though I was tired from a long work week, some fabric therapy was needed.  After sitting in front of a computer all day, it felt better to stand at my cutting table and play with scraps for Pink Lemonade
Parts were cut for the half blocks as a lovely cap to the evening.  Saturday I was in my workroom doing about four different projects at once--washing fabric, cutting, and stitching.  I used the black and white four patches for Bricks and Stepping Stones as my leader-ender while putting together the half blocks.  I discovered a mistake in my notes for the half  blocks and had to cut another 2 3/8" square of each print, but since it is my habit to complete one "kit" of pieces before chain piecing the others, it was easily fixed.  I veered from Lori's instructions by making HSTs from whole squares, cutting them in half for the quarter square triangles, to improve my accuracy with these small pieces. 

Only a couple of switches to get to this pleasing layout.  All that is left is the corner blocks and setting squares.  Still contemplating if the yellow I bought is a bit too "calico" for these CW reproduction prints.

Workroom time was interrupted by a lovely visit with my hairstylist offspring, the newlywed Mrs. G, followed by a trip to the local mall, where the only success found was this photo of the sun setting behind our Channel Islands into the Pacific.  It seems winter has skipped SoCalif this year as the warm days have continued and it has been unusually clear and cloudless.  Hopefully late January and February's usual storms will come through.  Today, though, it's back to the workroom for some more therapy.