Monday, February 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday--2/28/2011

There's nothing on my design wall, but I've been checking off steps for various other projects.  Yesterday I made piping for some pillows I'm making my DD Erica. I had a special helper.
This is Bear, who assisted me with the miles of piping.  He of course favors blue of all shades.  Bear belongs to my dad but I requested a sleepover so Dad drove him over.  More about Bear's activities at Casa de Orts later...

The Bear's Paw mini quilt got its binding and will be completed today, just under the wire for Judy's UFO Challenge.  It looks really wonky here, having been thrown over the bedcover!  See more Design Walls at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress

Though I have never read that book, the title often crosses my mind when projects are at a slow creep.  Still, they are getting done!  First up, the Bear's Paw project, my #10 for Judy's UFO Challenge.

The other day I posted that something organic would have to happen in the borders of the quilt. Well, this was the first attempt.  Too small, too fussy.  An hour's break and more thought produced a keeper:

Ah, much better!  Simple and classic scallops.

My primitive hand quilting aside...

...I've enjoyed getting this little project done.  It will not end up a pillow, however.  I've decided to coapt the pillow backing from the kit for binding and keep it as a mini, for my "someday" mini quilt gallery.

Next, the edict from DD Erica for taking home her finished pillows after her return to CA next weekend resulted in more handwork:

More stitching has been completed since this photo, and one more pillow front will need to be embroidered.  In the meantime, I have been studying up on pillow construction techniques using covered cording and zippers in a terrific comprehensive sewing book I have, from Reader's Digest, no less.  More progress to follow--and definitely a finish for the UFO #10 before the deadline!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I came home tonight to find a squishy on my sewing desk.  It arrived sooner than expected.
I got mail from Kate Spain!  I was one of the 10 lucky names drawn for a "surprise" gift associated with the Moda designers Pillow Talk blog hop. 

These adorable 2.5" charm packs were in the squishy along with a handwritten note.  One is from Kate's Central Park line, and other is Buttercup from Fig Tree & Co.  Thanks, Kate, I'm definitely feeling surprised and lucky! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Feb 22, 2011

This week's Orts brought to you by partly cloudy and freshly scrubbed Southern California skies. 
  • I went with my daughter Elaine and my future son-in-law Chris to check out a wedding venue over the weekend.  It was a large old Victorian farmhouse on the coastal plain, surrounded by orchards and fields.  While beautiful and secluded, the site fee was $3,000 and did not include anything but the use of the grounds plus the separate structure housing the bathrooms and dressing rooms.  The house was private.  Gulp.  It started thundering and rain came pouring down as we left.  Maybe a sign?
  • My future son-in-law has informed me that HE is going to win the HGTV Dream Home.  Pretty great if he did!
  • I have been watching a few shows on Oprah's new channel, OWN.  I like Oprah well enough, but not her best friend Gayle King.  She always seems immature and annoying to me!
  • Email comes to me from two groups I belong to on Yahoo--one of which is high volume and I am not reading them at all.  For some time (like over a year) I have been wanting to change the delivery method but couldn't remember my login, though I knew the password.  Finally I did remember and my inbox is decluttered instantly!  You can bet I wrote down the login name for future reference.
  • Traffic rant:  Drivers entering from a parking lot or side street who look straight at you through the pouring rain and then pull out in front of you anyway, causing braking and bad words.
  • The International Quilt Festival's spring show moved to Cincinnati this year and my sister, my Mom and I are going.  I hope it isn't still snowing in early April because I don't own heavy winter clothing!
  • Son Nick is eagerly awaiting his youngest sister's return from AZ in less than two weeks--he wants to move into her old room as soon as she clears out more stuff.  Meanwhile, he occasionally spends time here watching sports on TV:
Mini cat and Russell dog love Nick!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Feb 21, 2011

On my Design Floor today are two WIPs and a UFO.  Progress on the #10 UFO from Judy's Challenge is squaring up the Bear's Paw pillow top and getting it basted for hand quilting.  Only a week left to finish this UFO!
I failed at spacing the pattern's cable template for the border, so erased my marks as best I could. Something else will have to happen organically as I quilt!

A JoAnn's Fabric visit resulted in the purchase of flannels for the backing of the Kitchen Sink Quilt.  I sent a photo of my completed top to Kim Brackett, the designer, and she liked my version :).

Lastly, the blogaversary giveaway tablerunner was quilted and bound--the winner, Sherrill, chose the brown wicker print.  I like it!  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times blog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Last Saturday was spent outdoors.  I know, amazing, right?  My mom and I went to a BBQ for charter members of a botanical gardens project in the hills above our downtown.  We parked our car behind city hall and were shuttled up into the hills.  Our driver was an old friend so we chatted and laughed on the way up.

It was a bit hazy but there was no wind and it was a perfectly comfortable 70 degrees. This is looking south towards L.A.  That  mountain range in the distance is the Santa Monica Mountains (you can just make it out on the left middle portion of the photo.  I told you it was hazy!). 

We lunched on tri tip, chili, salad and garlic bread prepared by the Rotary Club, amid a colonnade of Peruvian pepper trees.

You hopefully can see the end of the pier sticking out, to the left of the tall building in the photo.  I showed you the pier up close here last week.

The Anacapa Islands are in the distance, about 13 miles off the coast.  The breaking waves seen beyond the palm trees in the foreground are at Surfer's Point, and there are always boards in the water.  See how steep this road is!

From the garden BBQ we walked down to view a new rock wall that is being built by master stonecrafters.  Someone had created this really cool balanced sculpture, which is about 3 feet high.

My mom and I couldn't help creating one of our own.  A bit less impressive, eh?

This is a dry stacked stone wall about 8 feet high and probably 60 feet long.  It is just beautiful.

The road leads to the Serra Cross Park.  Grant and I were married here 26 years ago.  Mom and I chatted with a couple who were at the cross planning their own wedding.  Father Serra, a Spanish Missionary who founded multiple missions in the state in the late 1700's, placed the original cross at this site.  It has since been replaced several times.  The city was forced to sell the property due to a lawsuit for separation of church and state, and now it will become part of an ambitious botanical gardens plan.

Mom and I decided to walk back to our car, down the very steep, narrow road.  We enjoyed vistas like this the whole way.

This archway is the entrance to Grant Park and sometime in the future the botanical gardens.

The plan covers a very large area of the hillside and has many hiking trails.  Proposals also include a cafe and picnic areas.  

My hiking partner.  Today is her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

We both loved this Craftsman style house at the bottom of the steepest part of the road.  Wish my photos were better.

 I had fun with Picasa making this shot look like a tinted postcard.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Old Things

Old sewing things, that is.  Thrift shops in my area don't seem to carry many craft items, but the antique malls and shops do.  I found this lovely item some years ago and recently rediscovered it for my embroidery projects.
Pretty sure this is a workbasket from the 40's or early 50's, based on the fabric print.  It's in perfect condition.

Even the lining is undamaged.  Plenty of room for yarn and needles or other handwork.

A strap feeds through the plastic bracket so it can loop over your arm.  Love it!

Not Tuesday's Orts

So I didn't get a Tuesday's Orts composed Monday night because I was too tired to think, and yesterday there was a lot of work at both jobs and I was too tired to think, plus DH was using the computer most of the evening.  Boy, am I ready for the 3-day weekend coming up! 
  • Traffic rant:  Would you consider contining to drive when your car is putting out a lot of smoke?  The car I was following up a freeway offramp the other night suddenly disappeared in a cloud of first black and then thick white smoke such that I had to stop my car because I couldn't see.  The other car continued to drive, going up a long offramp, turning right and driving another 1/2 mile to major intersection.  Traffic was stopped entirely by the smoke and it was very scary.  I couldn't believe the other driver didn't notice his car blew up!
  • Living in the same city all my life, I am still surprised to know so few people when I go to community events.  That's what happens when you're not much of a joiner, I guess.
  • DD Elaine is in wedding mode now...the 1,000,000 decisions required between now and then are a bit daunting.
  • I've watched a Lifetime TV show called One Born Every Minute, about labor and childbirth in a major hospital.  I am frankly astounded to see how labor happens these days for a lot of women--not all of them, but most.  They are stuck in bed strapped to a monitor, are given IV Pitocin to speed labor, have epidurals, and then are propped up in a sitting position for 45 minutes towards the end of the labor for gravity to help.  Huh?  Only one couple so far has had a natural childbirth.  It is still fascinating to watch, but I feel out of touch!
  • I just got a phone call from work--the receptionist is needing to go home due to feeling ill so I gotta get to Job #2 immediately.  One final Ort is the Kitchen Sink Quilt top finish.  I made myself keep at the border work until it was all complete on Sunday night.  I think it turned out nice.   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Feb 14, 2011

On my design wall/floor is the Kitchen Sink quilt (from Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Surprises book). 

There was a slight problem with concentration as the news of our daughter's engagement was being anticipated as I pieced the rows on Saturday. 
Um, no, that corner paddlewheel isn't quite right!  Once we got the "Mom, I'm getting married!" call from our happiest girl in the world, I was able to get the center of the quilt completed.

Then I auditioned stash choices for the first border, a 1" finished strip.

Hard to tell from this photo, but neither of the blues worked.  I rejected the red as it was a directional print and I only had 1/2 yard of it.  So the green won out. It is very close in value to the blue dot but that's okay, I wanted it to be a quiet border.  Since taking this photo I've stitched on the two borders.  The outer border is the same blue dot as the setting triangles (which is Wiscasset, by the way).  I enlarged it by 3 inches as this quilt is going to a relative just starting radiation therapy for cancer and I wanted the quilt to cover him well.  Pics to follow.  See more design walls on Judy's blog

Happy Valentine's Day!  Virtual chocolate and flowers to you all.  I'm making an apple cobbler for a special dessert tonight.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

He said, She said

Our regular Saturday afternoon was interrupted by a phone call.  Chris, Elaine's boyfriend of 5 years, called and said he was coming by because he needed to ask Grant a question...of course he knew we'd figure out what the question was by the time he arrived.  Very sweet, all the same!  With Grant's blessing (and mine), he proposed to a surprised Elaine at home while she was eating lunch, making her the happiest girl on earth.  She said YES! 

The newly engaged couple stopped by for official congratulations and admiring of the beautiful ring.

Many congratulations to Elaine and Chris.  We love you two!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winner, winner, not a chicken dinner!

Thank you all for playing my little game--I enjoyed reading what different favorites everyone has!  Aren't we lucky there are an abundance of choices these days.  Remember when it was impossible to find brown in the mid 80's--even in fabric? (Well, some of you might remember!)

Okay, I'll get on with it:  There were 33 comments between emails and direct comments on the Blogaversary post.  I've tried and tried but can't figure out how to make Mr. Random Generator appear on my blog, so you'll just have to take my word for it that he selected #30. 

That means that Sherrill is the lucky winner!  Sherrill said "Ooo, I love the block you used. SO CUTE! I think I'd like the wicker binding. My color(s) are red with pretty much ANYTHING. LOL Thanks for the giveaway."  Sherrill's blog is Quilting in My Sleep and she just came back from a quilting cruise! I'll be sending an email to Sherrill and wicker binding will be going on the tablerunner.  Wish I had a tablerunner for everyone!

I appreciate each and every peep that pops by--and love the comments you leave.  I'm staying here in blogland!  Thank you for making my days brighter!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mid week play

Boy, I started my Wednesday with a workout--pulling out the refrigerator turned into quite a wrestling match, but it was past due for a vacuuming and wiping behind it.  Mini supervised me closely, to make sure I didn't slack off until it was completed. 

It's been really windy here, very dry winds that are unusually cool, as opposed to the hot Santa Anas that we are usually treated to. 

My patio chair's cushion took a sail to the lawn!  Oops, maybe I should have taken the photo after I emptied the dish drainer...

Due to a patient-free day at work, I was actually able to leave before dark.  I took the pedestrian bridge over the freeway towards the beach.

In all the years I have been driving, a train has never been on this trestle as I've driven under or over it.  I find that amazing since I pass this trestle currently up to 10 times a week at all different times, and lived downtown three separate times in my early 20's. 

Of course, as soon as I passed over the bridge and was on the pier, the train whistle sounded and I waited to see it cross the trestle!  Can you see the colored area in the photo?  I tried to highlight the blue roof of the Amtrak train.  Doesn't that look like a fun play structure?  

Our pier is reported to be the longest wooden pier in California.  You can see the Channel Islands in the distance, which are a National Park and uninhabited by humans.

More islands to the northwest.  I'll take this walk a lot more often after work once the sun sets a bit later!

After dinner play included cutting the sashing pieces for Sunday Picnic, the Brown Bag Quilt Contest project, and stitching up the first two blocks.  Liking it so far.  

If you haven't entered my Blogaversary giveaway, there is still time before I close comments tomorrow evening.  Check it out here

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Feb 8, 2011

Another edition of the orts that float around in my head all week and land on Tuesday:
  • DD Erica in AZ has gotten a job!  Well, she will get it once she passes the background check.  She had to go to downtown Phoenix to the main bank headquarters be fingerprinted.  That building ended up being one block away from the ASU campus she will be attending in fall, so she was already familiar with the boulevard.  Definitely a bonus in a new city.
  • Friday night Grant and I had a rare dinner out to our favorite local steakhouse, Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill.  There is nothing better than slow cooked tri-tip with tangy sweet BBQ sauce.  I had mine with fresh grilled corn on the cob and cole slaw--they make theirs with an oil-based dressing and whole peanuts.  YUM!  Then we topped that off with McConnell's ice cream.  I had pink peppermint.  Double YUM.  Don't worry, I didn't finish all my food, I took some home!
  • At work, we have some difficult patients.  But some are just a joy and we look forward to their visits.  The difficult ones are extremely anxious and needy people.  This is a function of their chronic pain but it is hard to be sympathetic when they call 4-5 times a day for the same thing.  Many of them run out of medication early and have to be added in, usually the same few.  Last week we had a patient walk in at closing (we close at noon on Friday), say they needed to be seen, and when told it would be and hour and a half wait because there were three people ahead of them, two of which had already been added in, went outside to smoke.  Then 15 minutes later the receptionist got a voicemail message from the patient indicating they had left and would call next week for an appointment. This was after the receptionist had located and pulled the chart, added the patient to the schedule, printed paperwork, assembled the chart, advised the doctor and back office assistant that there would be an extra patient, and pulled lab work, all after closing time.  She was really mad at that patient and I couldn't blame her.
  • On Superbowl Sunday my mom and I went to a quilt shop and then to The Oaks mall in Thousand Oaks.  It was absolutely gorgeous here in So Calif and the mall was sparsely populated in the mid afternoon.  We had Anthropologie practically to ourselves!  I want about 50% of what they sell there, mostly the linens, dishes, and decor items.  Everything is so unique--but pricey!
  • Traffic rant:  If someone was standing at the "YOU ARE HERE" map kiosk, would you walk up in front of them?  I had two different pairs of people do this to me, one of which was a father-daughter duo who then began to argue in another language over what restaurant to go to, still standing in front of me and pointing at the map.  The other was a pair of young ladies, who were also hungry.  By the way, that's the reason I was looking at the map too.
  • Mom had been giving me the "yo tengo hambre" signals for awhile, and when we realized it was 2:45 PM, it was no wonder we were starving.  We walked for what seemed a half mile through the gorgeous outdoor shopping area and ate on an outdoor patio at The Lazy Dog Cafe, a new-to-us restaurant.  Very reasonable prices and plenty of food--we enjoyed every bite we ate.  Unfortunately, Mom discovered Monday that she left her cellphone there so she and my dad had to drive back up the hill to get it.  She has a very basic flip phone so it was obviously not enticing to anyone!
  • Finally, I did hear from my Australian friend Sue.  She and her family and friends waited out Cyclone Yasi in a concrete apartment building in Port Douglas.  She wrote that all night she was texting her daughter in Darwin, who was in labor--a welcome distraction to the horrific sound of the winds, which were loud and scary.  She said their house and boat were fine, but there was a lot of damage to the rainforest from the cyclone.  Her daughter had a healthy second boy, her third child, and Sue was able to fly out from Cairns by Saturday.  Welcome, Max! 

I'm thinking that the above photo, my first view in 2009 of the coast on the way to Port from Cairns, no longer looks quite like this.  My thoughts are with all the people in all of Queensland who have lost homes, roofs, belongings, boats, loved ones, and their livelihoods from such horrific natural devastation as has happened these past couple of months.  And is still happening!  La Nina is wreaking much havoc.  Let's hope she goes away soon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Feb 7, 2011

It's late but I'm still joining the DWM party!  Yesterday I purchased the one new fabric allowed in the Brown Bag Quilt Contest, which for me is the black for the sashing. I think this is a Dimples print.  I found the scroll-printed black and white in my stash and felt it was perfect for the outer border and center squares. 
Though I pulled another pink from stash, I want the blues to predominate; there will be 20 sashed squares total.  I have another black and white print with ladies hats on it that may also get added to this mix.  So far I am happy with the combo.  Still loving that stripe as the binding and hope I have enough of it!  Now to get the sashing and border fabrics washed and ready to cut.  See Judy's blog for more Design Walls. Also, be sure to see my last post to enter my Blogaversary giveaway, which is open until Friday.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blogaversary Giveaway, Year Two

Comments are now closed.  Thanks for playing!

I've been thinking about what to do for the giveaway for at least a month and planned and discarded several ideas.  To me, handmade is best, so that's what I decided to do.  I gathered and rejected a number of fabric combos in my stash until my hands laid on fabric I had yet to cut into--it is primarily green and red, of course, my favorites.  As soon as I began to pull companion fabrics, I found myself smiling.
"Fresh Blooms" tablerunner from the pattern booklet "On the Run", by Heather Mulder Petersen, 17 x 51".

The teapot print is the treasured yardage and includes the name of my favorite tea, Earl Grey. These colors, the whimsy of the prints, the variety of dots, even the lack of a border are totally me!   

This is still just a top and will be machine quilted.  As I did last year, I'll give the winner the opportunity to choose the binding fabric:  either the white print with green dots like the sashing, or this brown and white wicker print.  There will be other special surprise somethings tucked in with the tablerunner...

To enter my giveaway, no fancy dance moves are required.  Leave a comment letting me know your binding preference, and answer one more question:  What color combination is totally YOU? 

The giveaway will be open until Friday, February 11th.  Comments will close at 5 PM Pacific Time and I will pick a winner by random number generator that evening.  Be sure I have a way to contact you, as 'no-reply' commenters bum me out!  If you do not have a blog, contact me by email at the address in the "About Me" section on the right just under my blog header.   

Happy Blogaversary to me!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blogaversary Thanks!

Today is my second blogaversary!  I would like to thank all the "early responders" who encouraged me by leaving comments on my infant blog, and to all those lovely folks who have done so since, who followed my blog, and welcomed me to theirs.  Thank you, thank you, for sharing your thoughts, stories, quilts, lives and loves.  Thanks for the laughs, smiles, tears, and virtual support!  I have so enjoyed being in blogland these past two years and plan to be around for many more.  A giveaway to celebrate will be detailed tomorrow.  In the meantime, have a piece of cake--this one is calorie free!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lists and Goals, Check!

Do you find having too many choices as paralyzing as I do?  Sometimes I can't decide what to work on so I end up doing nothing. 

Since listing those 12 projects for Judy's UFO Challenge 2011, I have been thinking about all the other PIPs (Projects in Play--my term), PIGS (Projects In Grocery Sacks), and leftovers with no plan that have been weighing on my mind.  Last night I went through every project bin, box, and bag in the Hoosier cabinet and revamped several lists I had already written in 2009 and 2010.

When looking for something else in a file folder, I came across two papers: one was a printout of an email to Lasting Piece, the maker of the kit for this month's UFO Challenge project, the Bear's Paw Pillow.  It was dated September 2000, which means it is even older than I thought I remembered in my post on Wednesday!  I had emailed the company because my kit was missing a bunch of pieces.  They graciously sent me the pieces and also a pin to wear, a miniature quilted log cabin.  Unfortunately I lost that sweet little item when my Aussie friend Susie and I were traveling in January 2001. 

The other paper I came across was a list from a different UFO Challenge I joined in 2008 with the online quilt group I belong to.  Of the 12 items on that list, only one was checked off as completed that year; I blogged about it here.  Pretty dismal for 2008. The Comfort Zone quilt is on there too, but my instructions to myself were to "cut, sew, quilt and finish" so it really wasn't a UFO, but a PIG.  Of the remainder, three projects are on my current UFO Challenge list, one was abandoned and the other six were completed between 2009 and now.  So my list completion ratio is pretty positive, if slow!

Last night's newly compiled list is an astounding 34 projects long. GULP.  Some of these were just vague ideas for leftovers, others much further along--project kits with completed plans or patterns as well as backing fabric, etc gathered together.  I spent time last night putting other kits together, labeling project bins, and finalizing plans on several leftover/bonus triangle projects.  It feels good to be more organized and know what I have.  Goals for the month were also written down and prioritized.  Bins were restacked, reorganized, leftovers sorted, and scraps put away.  Mini helped.

A box lid fell off my sewing desk and five seconds later when I got up to retrieve it, Mini was holding it down for me.  It has been kinda windy in SoCalif! 

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...