Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Scene it

On Sunday, Grant and I went out to breakfast and then I requested a walk to the pier, which was just around the corner and over the 101 freeway.  We had rain early Sunday morning but that had cleared and it was just gorgeous out.  No wind, mild and pleasant temps.
As we crossed the pedestrian bridge over the freeway, I stopped to snap these large outrigger canoes with six rowers, heading back to the harbor, far to the left of this photo.  (These pics should biggify with a click.)  On the shore are some folks fishing.

This time of year we can often see the terrain on the Channel Islands.  Most of the late spring and summer you would never know they were there because of the marine layer (low clouds and fog) that hangs around and keeps us cool, while the inland bakes.  People seeking the beach are often surprised that they need a sweatshirt as the fog and wind can be very cool in the summer when it rolls in.

There were lots of surfers in the water, including some standing on their boards with paddles (far right).

We looked down through an opening at the end of the pier.  The sea was very green.

And this is looking back to the downtown and hills behind the city.  (Didn't mean to catch that lady stretching--I didn't even see her when I took the shot!)  It was a great way to spend a half hour after breakfast. We vowed to do this more often. Hope you have a favorite place to stroll with your honey!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Mar 29, 2011

This week's orts are brought to you while patiently waiting for the shutters dude to come measure.  He's late!
  • At Bunco last week I brought some chicken salad spooned into toasted pita pockets.  If you have a Trader Joe's, try their Wine Country Chicken Salad from the deli section, it's delicious!
  • I also found they had restocked the Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce that is to die for.  I bought two jars.
  • Most of the ladies at Bunco are about 10 years younger than I am and have school aged children and even babies.  We had a sub who sat in for a missing player and when she asked me the ages of my kids, the reply of 25, 23, and 21 startled her a little bit!
  • Traffic rant:  Zoomers.  These folks come in all ages and sizes but their M.O. is the same.  They speed past you, barely clearing your bumper before crossing in front of you to exit the freeway or turn the corner.  This behavior makes me want to lay on my horn, but I don't, because it only upsets ME and makes no impression on them, selfish beasts!
  • This whole wedding wagon we're riding sure is a complicated contraption.  This weekend we'll work on Save the Date cards, a modern fixture that I don't recall existing when I married 26 years ago.
  • I've been seeing some late nights with my upcoming deadlines for two quilts.  Last night the Brown Bag Quilt (Sunday Picnic) got pinned:
I used some clamps that a generous friend sent to me.  Thanks, K!  They worked great.

All ready for quilting--it will get an allover design, probably a large stipple.  Ordinary, I know, but this quilt is going to Quilts for Japan and will need to be able to stand up to lots of washing.  Only three days to finish this and Rick Rack Road.  I see some more late nights happening...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday--March 28, 2011

Last DWM of March--boy this month has gone fast!  There is nothing on my design wall as I have been working very hard to get my March UFO Challenge quilt finished.
After first securing all the zig zag rows with some curved line stitching, I tried a little free motion quilting in the floral bands separating the zig zag rows but did not like the effect of the dark green thread I was using. Too busy.  Rip, rip.  Then I decided a trellis effect might be nice, so worked a few lines of straight stitching.  Too severe.  Rip, rip.

Much better!  I like the softer curvy lines and the irregular pillow shapes with that pretty floral.  Now the hard part will be filling in the open background areas with some emblem/design--feathers would probably be great but I have never done those yet.  I may just put the binding on first!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where have I been?

Overwhelmed with paying work!  Can't get my quilting mojo going at night since Monday.  Seems I always get stuck at this point, THE QUILTING.  It doesn't help that my most recent projects have included lots of problems with thread and needles breaking, and just plain unsewing being required.  Maybe I'll start off slow today with some nice easy cutting and sewing of binding for the Brown Bag Contest Quilt.  Yes, that sounds good!  Meanwhile, I still need to finish the backing, though I am getting close:

I think it is long enough--need to measure again--but I will add some panels of stash fabric to the sides to make up the width necessary.  A peruse through my stash dresser drawers revealed that I had an additional yard-plus of the black Dimples fabric I used for the sashing in the blocks, and could have used it for the inner border instead of the stripe which was intended originally for the binding.  Note to self: DON'T put away the fabric until the quilt is finished!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

This week sure flew by, and here I am posting another late edition of Orts.
  • Last Friday I took my quilt top and tools to my mom and dad's after work but never ended up putting the sandwich together.  It was nice just to hang out with the folks for awhile and have uninterrupted conversation!   
  • Why is it is so much easier to sleep in on a weekday than a weekend?  Bing! My eyes opened at quarter to seven on Saturday and I got up. 
  • DD Elaine is my hairstylist (well, the whole family's!).  She always does a great job.  You should see her "hairdryer arm".  Very impressive.  She has to work those muscles a lot when drying my long and thick hair. 
  • After my hair appointment I stopped at the local nursery and ran into my sister in law pulling a wagon with some roses.  We chatted for awhile but it was windy and cold so I left without buying a thing.  But that happens to me no matter what the weather--I look at everything blooming or growing but can't decide what to buy so I just go home and look at my poor neglected garden.
  • Traffic rant:  Drivers who park in spots not marked for cars, like against the curbing at the ends of rows, crowding the entrance to the lot, because they are too L-A-Z-Y to drive to the additional parking 100 feet away and walk back to the store entrance. 
  • Saturday and Sunday it absolutely poured down rain in CA.  We got over 3 inches from this storm at the coast and up to 6 inches in the mountains.  Naturally, some idiots decide to go hiking or off-roading at these times, necessitating multiple rescue efforts by sheriffs and volunteer units. 
  • This morning marked a big day for the Casa de Orts clan.  It meant me writing a big fat check but our girl Elaine and her fiance are now officially booked for a wedding site in October.  Elaine told her man, "Now on to the next thing we have to pay for!"
  • Buying ink for a color printer requires as much $$ as filling a gas tank.  However, I finally printed out current photos of the family to replace the extremely outdated ones on the fridge.
  • One of my favorite photos features a small blue bear who was recently an overnight guest...
"Papa" introducing Bear to his youngest granddaughter, Lauren, then about 1-1/2.  Lauren has Down syndrome but is extremely active, vocal, and loves to help.  She'll be having a 4th birthday next month.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Mar 21, 2011

I'm showing what ISN'T on my design wall this week:  The Sunday Picnic/Brown Bag Quilt Contest blocks!
The quilt top is complete (click for that post) and I'm working on piecing a backing from the leftovers.  That's hard work!  Don't have a photo; it's not nearly big enough yet.

I went on to the next priority, my #1 on the UFO list, Rick Rack Road.  I borrowed my mom & dad's tables and bought two packs of bed risers for my quilter's toolbox.  These are 5" risers that were $8.99 per pkg of four at Bed, Bath & Beyond and worked perfectly for my height (5'9").  Grant helped me spread out the layers.  Next purchase for my quilter's toolbox must be a pack of clamps to fasten down quilts too big for two tables!

Sorry for the blurry photo.  It is now pinned and ready for quilting.  See other Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, March 19, 2011

National Quilting Day

I'm pleased to report that quilt-related activities did occur at Casa de Orts on National Quilting Day.  In fact, they have not ended yet. 
I came in the house from my hair appointment and put something on the kitchen counter.  When I turned around and found Mini here, I had to get my camera!  But that isn't quilt-related.

First, the borders got attached to the Sunday Picnic/Brown Bag Quilt Contest quilt.

Mini decided to help with this photo too. 

Initially when I laid this out before making the last four blocks, I had all the blue blocks placed every other block.  But that didn't work due to the lightness of the blues so a switcheroo period ensued.  I think the arrangement works. There are 10 blue blocks and 10 "other" blocks.

The top is complete with the two borders, yay!  Now on to the backing, layering, basting, quilting and binding, oh my, before March 31st to make the contest deadline.  Next up, layering and basting the Rick Rack Road quilt for Judy's UFO Challenge.  I borrowed my mom's portable tables for that task and hope to be quilting on it tomorrow.  Time is going so fast! 

Be sure to look for the "super moon" tonight--it is the closest to the earth tonight since 1993.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May those who love us, love us
And those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he can't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--March 15, 2011

Almost forgot to post Orts today!  I'm a bit off kilter with the institution of daylight savings time.  That's as good an excuse as any...
  • I listen to an L.A. radio station that plays mostly rock n'roll music, called "The Sound L.A.", 100.3FM.  Yes, I quilt to Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Cream, America, The Eagles, Heart, Santana, Van Halen and Fleetwood Mac, among others.  Triple Play Thursdays are my favorite!
  • In most vehicles there are radios with preset buttons.  It is so terrifically annoying when all 8 preset stations are on commercial break.  It must be a conspiracy.
  • Two days in the last week the receptionist had to leave, which means I spent hours doing my least favorite activities in her place--filing and answering the phone.
  • Remember the tiny sock keychain I posted that I won from Loulee?  She confirmed that she knitted it.  Astounding!
  • Traffic Rant:  I think people who race down an onramp to get in front of a large semi truck-trailer by mere inches have played too many videogames wherein they die repeatedly but just restart the game. 
  • Putting labels on my quilts is a chore.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  I had the tablerunner for my blogaversary giveaway done for over two weeks before I finally put the label on it and sent it off to the winner, Sherrill.  Shame, shame.
It looked pretty good modeling on my front porch.  I had a stand-in supervisor for this task:

This is our next door neighbor's cat, who showed up as a stray a year or so ago.  She must have had a Scottish Fold parent as her ears are deformed.  Sweet cat--lets the boys haul her around and always comes over to say hello when I'm outside.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday--March 14, 2011

I spent some lovely hours piecing this weekend, working on the Brown Bag Quilt Contest project.  I'm making Sunday Picnic from Heather Mulder Petersen's book, Livin Large. 

Leader-Enders finally came about when I sewed the sashing pieces to the center squares.  I really must continue doing leader-enders!

The blues are what my swap partner sent so I want them to stand out.  Four more blocks complete the center, but I wanted to see a preliminary layout before I decided what those four blocks should be. 

Since two of the blue prints have very light backgrounds and there are two black and white print blocks, I decided to balance those out by making an additional two each of the brighter blue and green print blocks. So far, so good!  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Another version of switcheroo happened this weekend as son Nick swapped bedrooms with his sister Erica, in absentia.  His large furniture was an extremely tight squeeze in the smallest room of our house so he's happy to have some actual walking around room now.  Grant and I fixed up Erica's new room and I switched the bedding to display my Grandmother's yo-yo coverlet.  I have shown this coverlet before on my blog but it has not actually ever been on a bed, that I know of, until now.
Grandma was a teenager in Norfolk, Nebraska when these yo-yos were made from feed sacks/sugar sacks and stitched together into 9-patches and then 4-patches with lines of single yo-yos separating them.  I don't know for sure if she was the sole maker or if her younger sister Ella May and her mother also helped.
It remained a UFO from 1934 until 1997, when Grandma had the ladies at her church tie the yo-yos to a backing with perle cotton (it is not actually quilted since there is no batting). 

Here's a close-up of some of the prints.   Grandma packed this away after it was tied and I was never aware of it until the mid 2000's, when she brought it out to show me once when I was visiting her.  I loved it and am so glad it came to me when she was moved into a senior home and her house emptied some years later. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


I could hardly tear myself away from watching live video last night as the horrific devastation overtook Japan's people from the earthquake and tsunami.  Shocking and heartbreaking beyond my experience or imagination.  My blog friend Tanya (Taniwa), who lives in Japan northeast of Tokyo but not at the coast, did post that she, her husband, and her visitor from Australia, a fellow quilter, were unhurt but suffering from the continued huge aftershocks.  I saw a news report this morning that said as many as 88,000 people may be missing.  I sincerely hope that is a wild overestimate. 

Tsunami warnings were of course given for all the Pacific.  For our part, Southern California, only an advisory was issued.

An amazing sight along Harbor Boulevard, feet from the beach and pier.   
Not that anyone paid attention to that sign.  Local L.A. news crews were filming here in the morning and captured video of the fascinating though fortunately miniscule effects, here.  The office where I work is less than half a mile inland.  If there was a significant tsunami strike,  the office and a large portion of the western part of my city would have been inundated.  A scary thought indeed.  We do have sirens and evacuation plans but I can only think what pandemonium would ensue with everyone trying to escape at once.

A sunset view was much safer than the morning one, though no damage was reported from the small surge we experienced.

The surfers were immediately back in the water following the morning's tsunami ebb and flow, and I wondered at their sanity in doing so.  Here are more at a favorite spot next to the pier at sunset.  

My thoughts are with the survivors and those waiting to be rescued, waiting to bury their loved ones and see if any of their belongings can be found under all the mud and debris.  This awful story has just begun. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lucky again

Another squishy mail package arrived on my sewing desk on Monday.  It came from oh so far away, the Isle of Man in Great Britain.
Loulee had a drawing for her 600th post and my name was the lucky pick.

Inside the squishy were these beautiful items--a pear pincushion in blue plaids and a quilled paper flower pin both handmade by Loulee, and a darling knitted sock keychain.  I don't know if she made that but she has just learned how to knit socks. 

I love how the pear is outlined with embroidery and pearl pins.  Everything is just so special.  Thanks bunches, Loulee!  I am a lucky girl indeed.

There was finally some quilt-related activity here.  A glance at the calendar sent me into near panic as there are three quilts to finish by the end of the month (plus the pillows for DD Erica which I did not get done.  Eek).  I got all the rest of the pieces cut for the Brown Bag Challenge quilt.  Unfortunately I am short on the black for the narrow border.  I think I will instead use the stripe from my stash, which was originally planned for the binding.  Leftover yardage from my swap partner is plentiful so binding and backing is no problem.  I also am making extra blocks to have plenty to play with in the layout, so there will be leftovers for the backing as well.  See what magic Rhonda has done with the fabric I sent her, here

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Mar 8, 2011

Tuesday's Orts returns this week--from windy and cold So Calif.
  • Our birthday girl had a very busy visit.  Hair appt with her sister, eyebrows, nails, shopping, eating, and hanging out with all her friends took up a lot of hours.
  • I tagged along to the nail appointment at the last minute for a mini-pedicure.  A quick shave prior to the appointment resulted in a butcher job on my calves, as I discovered when I rolled up my pants leg and found dried blood in three places.  Sheesh.  You'd think I'd be better at it after 35+ years.
  • Our family's birthday tradition for the last few years has been a restaurant dinner party.  Erica chose a restaurant in Santa Barbara where a friend of hers works.  Our party of 10 possible partygoers shrank to 5 over the course of a couple of hours, for various reasons, resulting in three text messages to the friend to adjust the reservation.  Ah, technology!
  • Fancy French restaurants list ingredients I have never heard of.  Grilled Rapini?  Flat Iron Pork?  Both were delicious! 
  • Traffic rant: People who do the 5 mph cruise around the shopping mall parking lot with a line of four or more cars behind them, totally oblivious and uncaring, especially when they stop to let someone into or out of the vehicle in the middle of the lane, taking their sweet time with instructions or conversation.
  • I'm now paying attention to the temperature in Cincinnati on the weather page, since we are going there in a month.  Sure hope there is no flooding and no snow happening then.
  • Since our girl is currently single, she brought along her best friend Christy to the dinner party.  We miss Christy now that she is not coming and going from our house so were happy to have her company for a few hours while Erica was here from AZ.

Erica flew home today.  We miss her already! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Work has been very busy this week and I've been too tired at night to do more than blogsurf, watch a little TV, and work on the embroidered pillows I have to finish this weekend.   It is also a special someone's 21st birthday today!  Happy Birthday to our favorite youngest daughter, Erica.  She is home from AZ this weekend and we are enjoying having her back temporarily.   Tonight we'll have all the family together for a dinner celebration and then probably won't see her until the wee hours as her friends are also taking her out.
Here she is on her first birthday.  Hard to believe this photo is 20 years old!

I also want to thank everyone for indulging my silly side and sharing my adventure with Bear.  I do love to laugh and to make people laugh.  My dad loved reading all your funny comments too!  He did say Bear was pretty tired when he got home...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Bear's Sleepover

This is a Bear-centric post featuring a small blue fellow.  Bear is my dad's companion.  With my dad he has enjoyed many a geocaching and cross-country driving trip, gone fishing on the Colorado a number of times, and seen a lot of Fox News from his perch atop the den's couch.  Mom helps keep bear clean and often narrates for him.  I invited Bear for a sleepover and here are some of his activities at Casa de Orts:

Meeting Mini.  Bear wasn't afraid at all.  See his face?  He also met Russell the dog, who wouldn't stay still long enough to be photographed with the visitor.

Enjoying the view from the cutting table.  Bear very politely ignored the old laundry hamper in his view of the side yard.

Watching the Academy Awards from a perch on the piano.  He rooted for The King's Speech and liked Colin Firth's acceptance speech, especially the part about having some feelings around his abdominals that threatened to become dance moves.  Bear feels like that sometimes too.

Bear lives with retired people so is not used to morning alarms.  He turned over for a little more shut eye the next morning.

But was soon awake and his usual smiling self.

After breakfast Bear accompanied me to Job #1, just up the stairs in the office.  He listened to a little dictation from Dr. Mitchell, one of my favorite cardiologists.

...and held my reference materials for the pulmonary tests while I transcribed.  I knew it wouldn't be a violation of patient privacy rules to let Bear watch since he knows how to keep a confidence.

After the work was finished we went downstairs and Bear took a gander out the front window.

He sat a while waiting for a bird to come by (but they didn't, because of Mini).

Bear admired the flowers Grant gave me for our anniversary.  He liked the lilies best.

He kicked back on his quilt as we watched TV while I finished the binding on the Bear's Paw Quilt.  Bear loves his own quilt and uses it every night.  His favorite part is the salmon stitched onto the front and also all the different fish on the backing.

We took a tour of the backyard after he modeled on the Bear's Paw Quilt and Bear spotted this baby Hass avocado on our tree.  I told him it wasn't ready to eat yet and we shared some popcorn instead.

Yikes!  This grass is deep!

Checking out Russell's room.  Bear likes his handmade quilt better than this old and worn out storebought one of Russell's, but he didn't want to hurt Russell's feelings so didn't mention it.

A healthy dose of exercise climbing a tree finished off the afternoon.  Bear was a great visitor and gave Grant and Nick paw-bumps as he left.  He had to sit in the front seat of my car, but usually he has a car seat when he drives with Dad. 

Bear can see straight out the window in his car seat and always has a smile when he rides!  I hope Bear comes back for another visit soon.

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...