Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sad and Happy Halloween week

This has been a week full of ups and downs. The services for my Grandma last Saturday were very nice. I made it through my speech without completely breaking down, although my brother Tyler, who spoke after me, said, "Thanks for the choke!". Lots of relatives I hadn't seen in a long time were there, and even three of my mom's brothers attended. We shared lots of stories and laughter as well as tears. My Dad's younger brother hosted a wonderful catered Santa Maria BBQ at his house and his wife had made special CDs of interviews she conducted with Grandma and her two sisters and one brother a few years ago of stories from their growing up years. Grandma's special treasures had been laid out and we were able to choose items that meant something to us. I may share pics of those at another time.

Sad news arrived on Monday the 26th, when I called my work friend Pat and learned that her son had passed away in the night, in the presence of his parents, one year and one month after his initial diagnosis of cancer. He was only 43 and had suffered a lot, especially in the last months as his liver began shutting down and affecting everything else. Our hearts break for Pat but we know her son is at peace now. She may return to work as early as next week, as she says she cannot sit at home just thinking about him. Being at work with us was her sanctuary during all the months he was in treatment. We will be glad to have her among us again.

Halloween projects kept me in my sewing room and I finished the Halloween Tumbler quilt this morning.

I made it two-sided so I can enjoy it through the fall, using fabric from my stash. The light orange print fabric was being used as a curtain in Elaine's new place when she moved in. It was just cut in half and not hemmed or anything so I appropriated it, washed it, and will use it up.

I like the way the quilting from the front looks on the reverse.

Erica's cobweb work is exemplary as always. She said she'd be happy to be hired out for this kind of decorating! Lots of people in our neighborhood have decorated with lights and there are a couple of graveyards too.

Here's a ghost I made a few years ago out of cheesecloth and liquid stiffener. The shadows make him look pretty spooky in this daytime shot.

This little woolen pumpkin was made by a dear family friend many years ago. I love his mask and can't wait to put him out every Halloween. I put him on a pillar candle holder to get him off the desk.

We will probably have hordes of Trick or Treaters, as we always do. Grant bought more candy this morning so I think there are about 8-9 bags now. I enjoy seeing all the decorated houses in the neighborhood and there is a "Trailer of Terror" around the corner that always draws lots of folks.
The last happy thing is that two weeks from now I will be flying to Australia. I spoke on the phone to my dear friend Susie the other night and can't wait to get there to see her, meet her fiance Jon, and all their family. I'm so excited and can't believe it is coming up so fast!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another sewing room visitor

My sister Kathy is here from St. Louis and she visited my sewing room last night. I showed her bunches of stuff and she gave me some advice about design walls and storage. Then she gave me two gifts. Remember this drawer and my comment about my not so bright idea to fold my fat quarters into triangles?

Kathy did this for me!

Look how much more room there is now! She got through two drawers pretty quickly. Surprise, surprise, it didn't take as long as you'd think.

Kathy gave me a pillow. Nice and bright, right? A co-worker of hers offered her ten bucks to see the reaction on my face when she gave it to me.

It is entirely crafted of DOUBLE KNIT POLYESTER. Ewww. Someone even PUT A ZIPPER IN IT! My mom got pics of my curled lip and finger-pinch only grip of the gift. Kathy got a big laugh but said there was no way she was taking it back home with her. She said I had to accept it because she actually paid money for it. Did I mention she loves estate sales and thrift shops? I'm going to find just the right recipient for this gift, and "upcycle" it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween decorating

The little tumbler tablerunner's progress has been fun to work on. After sewing the tumbler rows together I cut the triangles out of the dot but it needed something more-- so on went a border made of strips from the charm scraps. I am getting my money's worth out of those 5" charm squares! I'm considering using some fall colors from my stash to make stripes on the back so the table runner will be Fall/Halloween. I used to have a Fall/Christmas one that I bought, but they didn't wash the fabric first and it got wonky when I washed it. Then later a ton of candle wax got stuck into it so it became trash, dangit!

These "75 cent bin" panel leftovers from the LQS turned out cute with just a little quilting and ribbon. I unfortunately don't know who made this panel but it is so old-fashioned and cute. This square came to work with me and adorns my cubicle at Job #2. The one on the left in the pic below I gave to Elaine for her their new place along with some spiderwebs, a banner, a pumpkin, and some other little haunted decor. I love Target for decorating on the cheap!

The backing came from my stash. I just did a simple stitch and turn and added some ribbon I had on hand for a hanger. The remaining panel square I am going to take to work and raffle off with a roll of the dice after everyone clamored for one of their own!

I am hoping to get my "Any Witch Way" borders cut and applied this weekend but am not sure if that will happen. Services for my Grandma will be Saturday in Bakersfield and my sister is flying in tomorrow night so I'll want to spend time with her. We may squeeze in a session in my sewing room, which she has not seen yet :).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Grandma

Yo-yo Feedsack quilt by my Grandma
Our family had sad news this week as my dad's mom passed away shortly after midnight, October 15, 2009, after suffering from bouts of atrial fibrillation and gastric distress the last week or so. Her heart finally gave out. She was 92 years old. My dad is her eldest child, I am her eldest granddaughter, and my son Nick her eldest great-grandson. My beloved Grandma was a wonderful woman who never lost her sense of humor despite many difficulties throughout her life. She never set out to have a bad time and enjoyed meeting new people and going new places. Grandma loved loved simple things and most of all having her family around her. Now she will be laid to rest next to her husband, to whom she was married 50 and 1/2 years and whom she outlived by 22 years. We will all miss her so much.

This quilt's label says "Made 1934. Tied 1997" and is one of my most treasured items. It came to me after Grandma moved to a care home for dementia sufferers. How's that for keeping a UFO for a long time?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Festival Fun

Blogging took up a lot of my time this weekend as I couldn't stop looking at "just one more" entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I have only gotten through about 110 of the over 400 entrants and look forward to seeing many more. There are some funny, amazing, and very touching quilt stories out there, not to mention talented and experienced quilters as well as enthusiastic beginners! Thank you to the many commenters on my entry of my sweetie's quilt, and welcome to new followers. I hope you visit often and enjoy my little blog :)

Oh, and I was embarrassed into taking another photo of my wallhanging in the header--when I saw how blurry the image was full size I got my camera out again! I wanted to take a pic of the pieced backing on this pumpkin trio but my battery was low, so it will have to wait. I enjoyed making this little wall hanging a few years ago (another AP&Q mag pattern, go figure!) and most of the fabrics I already had---bonus!

This is going to be a difficult workweek as the flu has hit our office staff hard. I'm hoping that if I get it, it is SOON because I don't want to be sick just before I go to Australia in mid November. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Fall

My entry for the Fall Festival is the quilt I made for my sweetie, Grant, this year. This is a Sandy Gervais pattern that appeared in American Patchwork & Quilting magazine in April 2004 called "Diamonds are Forever". See the diamonds? Cleverly, the secondary pattern appears when you twist the blocks in placement, although all the blocks are pieced the same way, alternating solid 3" squares with triangle-squares--each block with 16 squares. That was a lot of cutting, for 24 pieces per block. I enjoyed collecting fabrics for this quilt and also using some scraps and donated fabrics. I made each block different. *edited to include the link to the Blogger Quilt Festival.

I machine quilted around the large diamonds and hand quilted through the center of the smaller diamonds in the centers. In one corner, I hand quilted a Gibson guitar, my husband Grant's favorite guitar brand, essentially as a label.

Many favorite fabrics are in this quilt, though it nearly killed me not to put any green in it, my favorite color!

My husband is a built-in heater for me, but occasionally he does feel cold and when that happens, he'll have a quilt built with love from me to wrap up in!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Last of the Simi Show

Here's the last few pics I took at the Simi Valley Quilt Guild's show last Sunday. This was another Kaffe Faussett fabrics quilt. I love the color combo and the crazy way all the fabrics actually work together! I think Kaffe uses all the same colors each new line he does, don't you?

This one was called something like "Wedgwood Fantasy". Blue is a color I have very little of in my stash but I liked the center medallion and all the different blue and white prints with those yellows in the corners. This was another large-sized quilt.
This Dresden plate quilt was fun because of the layout making it look like they were spinning plates, I thought!

I took today off, as Grant has been on vacation all week, and we had a nice day of doing a bunch of errands in an unhurried way, had lunch with our son, and I even fit in a quilt shop visit while Grant was seeing the chiropractor! I picked up the replacement fabric I mentioned here for Rickrack Road and also a few other things. The LQS has a sale room and one of the bins is "fabric by the pound". I bought a grouping of about 8-10 different sized pieces of reds for $7.00, and some "last chance squares" from bolt end panels that were 75 cents apiece. I got some Halloween ones to make into little decorations. The shop was quiet and when I went to get my fabric cut I noticed the clerk was quilting on an "Any Witch Way" quilt. I told her, "Hey, I am making that too!" I asked her if she sewed on the false eyelashes and she said that was too much work and she had just drawn them on. I think I may do the same, as the effect was great. She had written the names of all the shop's employees on the hatbands, and also left off the second black border. It was interesting to see another version. Grant is going to see a band he likes tonight so I will be playing in my sewing room again, yay!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Simi Quilt Show

I took pics of lots of quilts--some were favorites, others just interesting or inspiring.

You can tell by the hanger that this is a miniture quilt--it was 12x18" at most and beautifully quilted by hand.

A man with a video camera hogged the viewing space in front of this quilt for a solid five minutes, maybe more. What can you video of one block for that long? Anyway, I loved the stars and the color combo.

There were a number of Tree of Life quilts at this show, all using the same border fabric in different colorways, so it must have been a class or something. This one was my favorite because of the brown background she used. Most of the others were all white backgrounds and I thought the brown made it really different.

This landscape quilt was called Poppies of Afghanistan and had an otherworldly feel to it that I really liked.

These Turkeys were great! Loved the realism and 3D effect.

This star quilt was another small one. The bars of the sort-of log cabin construction were no more than 1/2", maybe only 3/8" wide. I'm thinking this was paper-pieced!

Closeup of one corner. Loved all the browns.

There are a few more pics to share next time :) !

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday with quilting

The quilt show by the Simi Valley Guild was lots of fun. It was not crowded at all when we were there so I hope it was today and they made loads of sales and had lots of people looking at the wide variety of quilts. My friend Tanya came with me and brought a friend of hers who was also interested in getting back to sewing. I'll just show a couple of pics today and more later.

Here's Tanya pointing out something in a Kaffe Fausset fabrics quilt. This one was big and so interesting with the color and pattern mix!

I loved this little quilt, which was probably about 20x24 and all hand appliqued. The fussy cut urn and all the little birds were just adorable.

We looked at every quilt and gave our votes at the end. It was not a huge show but there were about 200 quilted items in the entire show, I believe, including a display of a Hoffman Challenge of quilted clothing and a guild challenge to remake one of those store mesh reusable totes. It was lots of fun to share looking at quilts with friends and to ooh and aah over all the yummy vendor booths. We also dropped entries into two giveaways and bought a chance or two on an opportunity quilt. We closed the place down at 5pm and headed back down the hill to home. Tanya's friend was a little overwhelmed by the all-quilt afternoon and we dropped her off at her car so we could go back to my house and smoke our quilt crack.

Tanya brought her latest fabric purchases and books and we spent another lovely hour or so talking quilting when we got back to my house. She bought a charm pack of "Gobble Gobble" by Sandy Gervais at the Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Store booth and needed ideas for an easy quilt. I showed her a simple squares-and-sashing pattern that I had gotten from my LQS when I bought these (below) charm squares a few years ago of "Scaredy Cat". However, I never did anything with them because I was disappointed that not one cat existed in the whole pack! In the purple print in the top row you can see the backs of some cats and their tails. But last night I sliced into them with the Tumbler acrylic template I bought a few months ago.

This is a 3" finished tumbler so out of each charm square I was only able to cut one tumbler, with the half pieces out of the scraps. I found it easier to trace around with a pencil and cut out with scissors than to hold down the template and rotary cut around it. I have enough of the scraps left over to do some sort of narrow border or edging.

The black with orange/purple dot fabric in the far lower left of the picture was a fat quarter I got yesterday to see if it would go with my Witches as a border, but it didn't suit so will end up with the Tumbler quilt. It was fun to put the rows together but I haven't decided quite what to do next. Maybe try to make a short table runner by adding triangles cut from the fat quarter and using the leftover charm strips for separator strips? Anyway, I love the colors and prints. Today I spent very little time in my sewing room other than to do some closet and drawer organizing but I'll be heading in there in just a few minutes to play some more.

Friday, October 2, 2009


It's the end of a very looooonnng workweek, but as tired as I am and as hot as it's been, I plan to spend some time here tonight! I have a lot of cutting to do--:)
Last Sunday I had the first visitor to my sewing room who actually wants to quilt. I pulled out books, projects, magazines, fabric, UFOs, tools, lists, and babbled to my good friend incessantly about quilting for at least an hour solid. She was envious of my little sewing room and so excited about quilting that she vowed to go home and immediately rearrange her bedroom so she could set up her machine and start sewing! Tomorrow I'm taking her and another "wannabe" quilter to a local guild show (Simi Valley Quilt Guild) held on the Cal Lutheran College campus. They have a show every other year, I think, and the panel I made into this wallhanging I bought from a vendor at the last show I went to. I'd like to find that vendor again this year. Looking at quilts is always fascinating and it will be fun to have companions this time! Pics to follow. Luckily it is supposed to be much cooler tomorrow and that is definitely "a good thing".

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...