Thursday, August 30, 2012

Month's End

Here it is, end of August already.  It has been hot again, and humid.  That humidity helped a little bit for one month's end event:

Fire in the hills!  This pic was taken while standing at my brother Kevin's auto repair shop.  The fire started about 4:30 or 5:00 pm Tuesday and was very quickly being battled by multiple fire agencies and a water dropping helicopter. 

My brother, who knows everyone, said that when he saw the fire started he called the guy who lives in the house with multiple tall palm trees and told him he'd better get home!  The fire luckily burned away from the houses and required a couple of water tanker airplanes, but the weather cooperated and it was under control within hours and no homes were damaged.  Some 30+ acres of very dry brush and a few avocado trees in an orchard were burned before it was thankfully declared completely out early the next afternoon.

There is only one more long seam for this month's UFO of the Zig Zag 9 patch to be a completed top, so I'm auditioning border fabrics from the stash.  

The brown is a nice print but seems kind of muddying.  The ochre one is a bit of an odd color and is a small, directional print.  I think the cheddar with the larger pattern is the best complement to the busy blocks.  Opinions?  This quilt needs to be finished by tomorrow to make the challenge deadline.  I think I can!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--August 28, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.
  • My mother in law's senior place had a luau over the weekend. Pacific island music and dancers provided entertainment.  The lady singer kept trying to get us to sing along but there wasn't much enthusiasm--we were too busy eating and talking.  She tried "Tiny Bubbles" and other standards, then said the next song we would all know.  The music began and she sang the opening line, "C and H (C and H)...Pure cane sugar (pure cane sugar)...From Hawaii (from Hawaii)..."  Smiles ensued and we did know the words to that old jingle.
One of many costume changes!
  • Traffic Rant:  A young dude in a large, lifted, loud truck pulled up behind me in the drive-thru lane.  He gunned his engine several times as he needlessly creeped as close as he possibly could to my rear bumper, then grinned at me as he saw my irritation at his obnoxiousness.  Jerk!
  • Grant was away all weekend on an annual jaunt to Del Mar (near San Diego) with his four oldest and best buddies. They surfed, swam, sunned, watched the ponies, yakked and laughed.  He came home smiling and relaxed.  Loved that!
  • My daughter's salon held a fundraiser for one of her co-workers who was diagnosed with breast cancer necessitating mastectomy, and just recently had to have a hysterectomy as well.  She's a married mother of two who has weathered with incredible positivity the difficulties of the year.  The turnout was amazing--when I got there at 5 pm the lines were several deep everywhere.  Elaine texted me afterward that the preliminary total raised in six hours was $9,000.  Wow!
  • Someone is turning 27 today. 
Nick, age 6

Happy Birthday to the boy who has never lost his sweetness.  Love you to pieces, Nick!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday--August 27, 2012

On my design surface today is progress on this month's UFO, Zig Zag 9 patch.
Half the rows are sewn together and six more are left.  This is going to be a nice big quilt--it is already 68" wide before borders.  However, for the UFO Challenge purposes, I only assigned myself completing the top. 

The Picnic leader-enders are piling up.  I found it much easier to start on the side of the segments than the top.  The painter's tape guide is working out very well. 

Picnic parts all paired up and ready to sew...the ruler made a nice transport vehicle from cutting table to sewing desk :)

Here are the first eight blocks.  This block would be fun to do in a single color, too, wouldn't it?  Six blocks would make a perfect sized placemat.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday's Orts on Thursday

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly (but sometimes not on Tuesday!!!)

  • Grant's car accident was over a month ago and he has been released from doctor's care and gotten another car--he replaced his 2005 Acura TL with an almost exact replica--it's even the same dark gray color.  It isn't surprising, really, since it took him 9 months to find a car he liked enough to buy and he only had it for six months.
  • Unemployment isn't quite a reality yet, since I am still working a bit at both my jobs, though it is hard trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up, and depressing to look at the unemployment statistics in CA. 
  • Traffic Rant:   A large backup of one side of a six lane boulevard caused me to abandon plans to visit a certain store, and I pulled into a turn lane at a signal.  The driver of a small pickup truck, however, didn't make that choice early enough.  He was stuck in an unmoving line and after a mere minute or so--the signal light had not even cycled yet--he nevertheless decided to drive up and over the median and make an illegal U turn in heavy traffic, blocking two lanes until the signal changed.  Unbelievable.
  • Being home a lot more has caused an unexpected result: the house gets dirtier faster.  Scratch and shed season never seems to stop with our two animals!
  • DD Erica walked in the front door from an outing in tandem with me taking the last stitch on her laptop bag yesterday.  She asked if I needed to take a picture for my blog (of course I did) and commented she "had better be in it".  That necessitated a wardrobe change but then we headed outside for modeling.

Silly girl!  Big and roomy bag for our college senior's laptop, books, and school ephemera.  The plumeria in the background has been loving the hot weather for the past several weeks.

Two interior pockets and nice thick straps.  I had to redo the straps entirely since I neglected to add interfacing for extra strength and shaping, and was glad I took the extra time to do so.  I also stitched from top to bottom at each corner to give the bag shape and keep the lining from shifting around.  Ready for campus now!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I'm Working on Wednesday

I've been absent a bit from blogland, but have been playing with fabric.  DD Erica leaves for college in AZ today so I got busy last night sewing her a tote bag for her laptop.  This pretty purple scroll print was from JoAnn's.  Glad we bought a yard and a half last month.

Her laptop is 17.5 inches wide so the bag is pretty big. I did the MATH for the bag and cut all the bag pieces, but miscut the width, fortunately LARGER than necessary.  Of course I didn't have any batting the right size so had to piece some together, which took extra time, and when you start projects at 9:30 pm it gets late fast.  I managed by midnight to get the quilting done, the bag front/back assembled, and one pocket sewn on the liner.  Another pocket, straps, liner completed and some topstitching and it will hopefully be finished this morning. 

In the meantime I wanted to have a leader-ender project to use when I sew the 9 Patch Zig Zag top so have been cutting into fat quarters and scraps for that.  These will turn into Picnic, the quilt featured on the cover of Kim Brackett's Scrap-Basket Sensations book.  I've been collecting strips and scraps in a box for months and have a length of a background cream print ironed and ready to cut.  I want to make my quilt larger than the pattern so have a lot more strips to cut, but this is a good start.

The cutting scraps have been going in this pretty "garbage bowl".  I borrowed this idea from Little Lady Patchwork.  It looks a bit yellowy in the photo, but is really a lovely chartreuse shade.  I have no recollection of how I obtained this vessel but adore the ruffled edge.  It has been living in the Hoosier cabinet with vintage rick rack and buttons resting in it, but is really too pretty to stay out of sight, don't you think? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Birthday Dinner

There was no singing at DD Elaine's birthday dinner--that was nixed with a shake of the head, but we did have a good time and an unusual guest. The Italian restaurant she chose is a roadside institution of casual dining in Ojai (pronounced O-hi) called Boccali's; we sat outside on wooden picnic tables with umbrellas trying to provide shade.  It was still pretty hot, as the sun had not yet sunk behind the mountains, but we had just a bit of a breeze. 

Here's our unusual guest, craning his neck to see if he could join our table.

DD Erica is a bit freaked out by large birds and bolted with a yelp, but couldn't resist creeping back to take a photo.

This little boy in arms made the same exclamation as his mom brought him over to see the peacock, who soon wandered off to peer at other diners.

The lovely birthday girl took it all in stride with a serene smile.

Our equally precious daughter Erica and son Nick.

The whole family in tableau.  After taking this pic I instructed son-in-law Chris to act like he was having a good time...

And he obliged, causing plenty of laughter.  We ended our delicious Italian meal with fresh homemade strawberry shortcake and birthday wishes.  So glad we were all together to celebrate Elaine's 25th!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prize Winners

Grant has been on vacation this week and that sure makes it difficult for me to want to go to work, especially since I am there all by myself usually.  On Monday we went out to breakfast and then down to the Fairgrounds to pick up my quilts and ribbons.  We were too early for the appointed pickup schedule by 40 minutes, so dropped by my office to check faxes and email, and then spent another 20 minutes taking a stroll on the beach.  It sure is nice to be able to do that--we do live in a beach town but hardly ever take the time to!  Returning to the Fairgrounds, I waited in a long line to pick up my four entries, then nearly forgot to stay in the line to get my prize check; it was a grand total of $13.00.

Of the four quilts I entered, only two had comments on the tag.  This was on the Patriotic Fields quilt, which was from Humble Quilts' Strawberry Fields Doll Quiltalong.  I appreciated the effort of the judges to evaluate all the entries--and I enjoyed the kind words.

On the Micro Mini HST were more kind words to warm a quilter's heart.

Not a prize winner is my frontyard tree, a Golden Rain specimen which in late spring featured only ONE leafing branch.  Though still pretty puny looking, the tree did become more green and is producing flowers.
The yellow flowers are so pretty but have no scent; bees like them anyway.  The flowers become green papery pods which later will turn orange for fall.  Hard to believe September is a mere two weeks away.

All of the daylilies in the frontyard are orange--I love this deep orange colored one.  On my task list this year is dividing all the daylilies.  But I will save that big job for much cooler weather.  It has been 90 plus all week on our end of town and, since we don't have air conditioning, the heat sure saps the energy/will to do much of anything!  Erica is visiting from Arizona again and of course disagrees with our assessment of hot.  We will be going up to Ojai tonight for a family dinner at a restaurant, celebrating Elaine's birthday, and it is likely to be 100 degrees up there at 6:30 pm.  Now that's inarguably HOT!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What I'm Working On Wednesday

I have been catching moments of stitching now and again.  Somehow even though I'm working at the office far fewer hours, I'm wasting more of my time when home.

Granted, some of the sewing has been a little fiddly, like the borders and smaller corner blocks on the Garden Pinwheels quilt.  Now contemplating choices for the appliqued vines and leaves, hoping to use something from the stash.   

The Giant Shoo Fly top is all together as well.  My faithful assistant Mini used her tail to hold down the edge of the quilt against the wind while I took this shot.  Thanks, Mini!

This quilt is a wedding gift; the engaged couple printed their own stamps from a photo for the invitation reply.  In the photo he is wearing a sombrero, serape and a fake mustache, and she is wearing skull makeup in the style of Dia de Los Muertes (Mexican Day of the Dead).  Inspired by that, I found this terrific fabric for the backing, with all the right colors, at my local fabric store--an Alexander Henry line called Foklorico; the print is Zocala. It was a bit pricey so I went home and tried finding it online for less.  I did locate a source with a price three dollars a yard cheaper, however it was out of stock until mid September.  Sigh.  So today I went back to the fabric store and paid $10.99 a yard. 

There was a bit of huffing and puffing in my dining room today.  I had to push back the table and chairs and clean the floor in order to lay out the Zig Zag 9 Patch.  There was a lot of bending but relatively little switcheroo involved, though I did have to dash to my sewing machine to make up one more partial block for the bottom edge.  This sideways photo required standing on the couch to try to get it all in!

12 rows all stacked and ready to stitch.  The goal for this UFO of the month is a completed top with borders.  Sounds doable in the next 15 days, doesn't it?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Design Wall Monday--August 13, 2012

On my design floor is the month's UFO pick.  I got all my setting squares and triangles cut with the help of the On Point Settings tip sheet that Bonnie Hunter has on her site, Quiltville.  Sure helped me a lot for someone else to do the MATH.

This will be a big quilt--there is an entire additional row of zig zagged nine patches plus side triangles that didn't fit on the floor.  I will have to either take down my cutting table or clear out the dining room to lay it all out.  The nine patches are 9 inches finished and there will be an outside border of some kind eventually.

My trusty assistant, Mini, held down the extra blocks for me.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  Have a good Monday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting Out

An unusual thing happened on Friday night--Grant and I went out on a date.  As in he asked me out, I said yes, we got dressed and then went to dinner and listened to live music.  It is nice when the band starts playing long before dark and we are not already entrenched in our usual evening routine.

It was a lovely warm evening as we walked to the restaurant in the Ventura Harbor.  In the background beyond the boat masts, palm trees, and coastal plain are my favorite hills, Two Trees on the left, and my favorite mountains, the Topa Topa range on the right.  In winter this scene can include mountaintop snow.

The boat slips were all full and the water mostly still.

This young gull was enjoying the scene too. I love the name of the boat in the background, "Once Upon A Tide".  We ate outside on the covered patio of the restaurant while enjoying listening to a friend of Grant's who is an exceptional guitar player, playing with a talented drummer, keyboard and bass players.  Lots of classic bluesy rock n' roll was heard.  After dinner, we moved into the bar and Grant joined the band to sing harmony on "Can't You See".  Unfortunately my camera does not work in low light so I got no shots of him singing, but he did a great job.  Thanks for the date, honey, I loved it!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It was 25 years ago today...

...that a baby girl entered our lives and changed us forever.  Our Elaine was born in the late afternoon on a Tuesday, joining her brother Nick.  Here are a few photos of her journey so far.
Healthy and happy at about 8 months old...

Laughing with her Daddy the day she let her brother cut her hair at age 2 1/2.  Nick and Elaine were playing beauty parlor early in the morning while I was busy with their newborn sister Erica. 

Dressed up for Halloween with her sister in matching Jasmine costumes I made.

She had a memorable solo trip with her Granny up to San Francisco at about age 6 to meet up with our longtime family friends. She and Granny wore matching vests I made.

The teenage years were soon upon us.  Here she is with best friend Caitie at about age 14.  We held her birthday celebration at the beach and rented bikes for all the guests.  That was a really fun party.

High school prom was only a few short years later.  She attended in a ball gown I made.  here she is with her friend Tany.  

And later, she went to Senior Ball in a lovely coral beaded gown.  That one I definitely didn't make.  
High school graduation came all too soon; pictured with her Grandma.
A big jump to the beginnings of her own marriage--her wedding shower party and the toilet paper bridal gown challenge.  That was a really fun game!

I told Elaine that the day she was born was one of the best days of my life, and so was the day our gorgeous girl and her handsome husband Chris joined their lives last October.  We are so proud of the way they are making their dreams come true together.  Happy 25th birthday, darling girl!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another Fair Day

Grant and I went to the fair last night on the graciousness of our neighbor, who handed us free admission tickets and VIP seating passes to the concert show of the evening, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  Not being too familiar with this band, a homegrown favorite, we gave our VIP passes to some friends we bumped into just as the concert started.  We ate typical Fair food like corn dogs, teriyaki beef and chicken from the Buddhist temple booth, fresh cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, and Indian Fry bread with powdered sugar.  Mmm, mmm, good!  We did a lot of walking and people watching, running into a few friends and acquaintances, and even some in laws--our son in law's brother and his wife.

The fairgrounds were just improved by a newly built, very large and beautiful covered livestock pavilion. We took a turn through to see what all the 4-H clubs in our area were up to--there were lambs and sheep and pigs and heifers.  Pigs were being shown for judging that night, so kids were dressed up in freshly pressed white shirts and their blue jeans.  These two, however, were definitely not ready for the ring:

Kim and Khloe Pigdashian.  I'm pretty sure it's Kim who has her butt in the food dish.

Grant agreed to photograph me by my quilts, as a proud winner. Thanks, honey!

He wanted me to point to the Micro Mini quilt.  It needs a new name, don't you think?  The fair ends Sunday and I'll pick up my quilts and ribbons on Monday.  That will end the Fair fun, but not the memories!

Slow Sunday Stitching-Moon Over Blackbird

 Slow Sunday Stitching— Kathy's Quilts.   I’m spending pleasant minutes here and there on a free Lizzie Kate Fall stitch—even though Fal...