Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side

Amy of Amy's Creative Side has once again organized the online Blogger's Quilt Festival that is so full of inspiration and wonder. My entry is my latest finished quilt, which was a wedding gift for some very special people, Drew and Dee.  Drew, the groom, is the son of very dear friends, and we have known him all his life.  He and Dee met in middle school, started dating in high school, dated for a long time, then were apart, came together again, and finally were engaged.  Of course I wanted to make them a quilt to celebrate.

The quilt was inspired by this Malka Dubrawsky design in the American Patchwork & Quilting August 2012 issue.  It seemed right for the modern young couple in mind, although the blocks were rather larger than I desired so I redrafted the pattern to make them finish at 24" instead of nearly 36".

Choosing the fabrics is my favorite part!  The green dot, red oriental, and teal ginkgo prints were from stash and the other prints found at JoAnn's Fabrics.  I especially loved the mustard print.

The blocks came together quickly--the hard part was finalizing the layout.  My readers were very helpful in voting for the best one.  Here my quilting assistant Mini aided me in photography on a windy day.

I opted for the same narrow-spaced wavy line quilting that the designer had used.

All finished!

The bride is of Mexican heritage and the self-printed postage stamp on their Save the Date card included Drew in sombrero and false mustache, and Dee in skeleton face makeup. That was the inspiration for using this Dia de los Muertos Alexander Henry print called Zocalo, which ended up being the quilt's name as well.

Serendipitously, the colors matched the top perfectly.  I used the grass print cut crosswise to simulate a striped binding.  Drew and Dee's Santa Barbara wedding was full of warmth, charm, humor, and love.  I eagerly awaited word about whether they liked the quilt, and the bride obliged by replying that they loved the quilt, and sent action shots of the gift in use.

Dee explained that the above shot is what usually happens when they cuddle under a quilt on the sofa:  she reads and Drew crashes out!

And here they are toasting each other as husband and wife.   Our best wishes for many happy snuggling hours ahead!

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats:
Finished quilt measures:  48" x 72"
Quilted by:  Self
Best Category:  Throw Quilt, Home Machine Quilted Quilt

Tuesday's Orts--In Photos

Tuesday's Orts--random bits and scraps of events and thoughts that land here semi-regularly.  Today, a photo version.

 My dad took this photo on the Colorado River, where he and my three brothers fish for trout twice a year with a guide.  This time they spotted a lot of horses by the river and got some great shots--although brother Ted complained that brother Kevin kept yelling "Horsey!!" and scaring them off.

 My sister's roommate invited us to go along with her sister and nephew to Creepyworld to shoot zombies with paint balls from a hay cart,   Here are Kathy and me dressed in masks, ready to go in and save the world.  However, we had to brave a ghoul infested car junkyard and a meat house hung with human bodies before we got to this point.  I provided extra entertainment by screaming and running away from the scarily costumed demons and ghouls, clutching my sister, who punched one of them in an automatic reaction.  My savior!  We skipped the remaining five haunted barns after the hayride.

 Scenes from breakfast next to the Camarillo Airport--a plane being towed out to the road by an SUV. Not something I had ever seen before!

Some of the tens of thousands of of acres of strawberry fields in the county being planted this month. The prep to get to this point is massive.  The raised beds have channels at least two feet deep between them to reduce the amount of bending for the fieldworkers.  A heated apparatus makes holes in the plastic for the plants, and then the irrigation sprinkler pipes have to be laid, tested, adjusted, and maintained.  Big job!

Grant loaned his Garmin Nuvi 50 GPS unit to me for my trip to St. Louis.  He helpfully packed it in the original box for me.  However, when I opened it at the rental car place, the instruction insert he packed was the one in FRENCH.  Thanks, Honey!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Home from Tripping

For some reason Blogger will not let me move this photo down to enter type above it, so my trip's story will start with this great quilt shop--Helen's Hen House in Florissant, MO.  

It is in a restored late 1860's house that is now on the historical register.  Downstairs is the quilt shop; upstairs there is a weaving shop.

I had to buy the kit for this turkey mini quilt that greeted all visitors to the rear entry door. 

 Across the lawn from the house is the barn, and right next door beyond the barn was the hotel I stayed in.  Talk about convenience for a quilter! 

 Yummy wools filled the entry to the shop, which was probably the home's back service porch in the days it was a family residence. 

 I loved all the original moldings, transom windows, and ceiling medallions, its worn wooden floors and fireplaces in many of the rooms.

 The shop was chock full of the CW reproduction prints and colors that I love and which are not available in my area in such abundance.

 This was the ceiling in the shop's classroom, obviously the former dining room.  Can you picture how it might have looked when the plaster was freshly painted?

 I could not get a shot of the front of this grand house straight on--I would have had to levitate over the freeway access road--but it is still a lovely thing with all the trim and columns. 

 On the drive to my sister Kathy's house I passed a haunted graveyard....

...and a lot of colorful fall trees.  This scarlet one was my favorite.  But let me back up:  Our adventures began right away when I arrived in St. Louis on Wednesday.  Kathy drove over to the hotel soon after I checked in and we went on a rescue mission--her daughter Caitlin was out on a date and the date's car had blown a tire on the freeway.  So Kathy directed me in my rental car as we drove in a few circles before we could see where they were on the side of the road, then had to go around again to stop and pick them up.  Hazard lights and people running across the freeway access road!  We left them at home to finish their date with order-in pizza and video gaming, and went off to dinner by ourselves.  It was the next morning that I visited the quilt shop next to the hotel. I would not have known about the shop without the help of another St. Louis resident, Cherie, from Quilted Jonquil.  I had emailed her prior to my trip and she was graciously excited about getting to meet a fellow blogger.  We made arrangements to run into each other closer to her work, so she suggested The Quilted Fox, another terrific quilt shop.

The shop's employees were interested in our Blogger's Meet and Greet there and snapped this photo of my sister, me, and Cherie, making sure fabric was our background.  Lots of great gals work there and it is another shop full of wonderful fabric, including batiks, Asian, Australian and African prints in addition to repros and modern sections. 

Cherie and I both contributed words to Tonya's Ricucci's free-pieced letter quilt that made the cover of her book, Word Play Quilts.  It was my sister's idea to have us each point to our word after we found the shop carried the book.  Kathy thinks all the contributors should get together to be photographed with the book.  That would be fun, wouldn't it?  Cherie joined us for lunch and we enjoyed spending time swapping stories.  Cherie is a busy quilter with a lovely, sunny and vibrant personality and it was wonderful to meet her. 

Look at all that loot!  We talked so much at The Quilted Fox that I only managed to buy the two polka fat quarters in the middle of the photo.  The rest came from Helen's Hen House:  Two grab bags of brown scraps on the clearance shelf, a one yd cut of fun fish fabric, some repro fat quarters, and the turkey mini quilt kit.  After a quick three days of some much needed Quality Sister Kathy Time in St. Louis, I got back on the plane and headed for home, landing in Phoenix for an overnight stay with my brother and family, and to see DD Erica.  One of my nieces was on a sleepover so I was given her room, and her roommate:

This fuzzy photo is of Rufus, her approximately 8 month old Ragdoll kitten.  He was an incredibly soft and charming companion and didn't keep me awake, hardly weighing a thing at this point.  Someday he may make it up to 20 pounds.  My brother Ted and I then flew back together to SoCalif, landing in Santa Barbara.  My generous brother upgraded us to first class (my first time!), a great ending to a quick jaunt.  And now, back to our regular programming...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I got up at 4:00 a.m. this morning and am coming to you now from the midwest, where today it was 80 degrees and humid--Welcome to Fall?   I am visiting my sister as an early birthday present for her, and already we have had several adventures in just half a day...we'll be back at it tomorrow!   It seems I've missed the best of the fall leaf peeping here in St. Louis, but there are still a lot of showy trees to admire, usually with homeowners under them desperately trying to manage the huge piles of already fallen leaves, as well as quilt shops to visit, a Halloween costume to help finish, and whatever else comes along.  Be back soon with more tales and some photos, for sure!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Design Wall Monday--October 22, 2012

October month is shortening ever faster, just like the daylight hours.  On my design surface is the month's UFO, which has just been pulled from the closet and seen daylight for the first time this month. 
These blocks I won in a giveaway from Nicole at Sister's Choice a few years ago; the fabric line is Yuletide Blessings, though the prints aren't particularly Christmasy.  Red, green, cream and tan--one of my favorite color combos.  It only needs quilting and binding.  Originally I had planned to play with feathers for the first time on this quilt... 

But I'm chickening out under the pressures of time and will do something tried and true, like giant puzzle piece stippling.  The backing fabric is from JoAnn's and the binding is all ready to go to, more crackle fabric in a nice light beige.  I won't get to work on this in today's daylight--a trip to the airport and then a shift at the Senior Craft Shoppe will take up those hours.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spooky Things

The crooked Haunted House slowly came together over the past few days.  It has been a long time since so many fused pieces appeared in a piece I've made--and this being my own composition and design meant decision making, drawing, and repositioning.

Before fusing.

And after fusing and trimming to size. 

The moon is a crackle fabric I just love.  Wish I had yards of it!  The instructions for the fusible product Steam a Seam2 say that sewing is not needed to seal the edges, and since this wallhanging is not likely to get a lot of handling, I'm inclined not to.  Perhaps just a backing, no batting, and a simple hanging sleeve at the top?  Opinions welcome. 

My spiderweb designer daughter, Erica, has been in town this week on fall break from ASU...here she is being photobombed by her dad.

Trying out a cobweb mustache.

And relaxing on the lawn with Russell after completing her front porch creation.

Another masterpiece of spookiness!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Orts of the Wedding Kind

We attended the wedding of a dear friend's son a couple of weekends ago--I made the Giant Shoo-Fly quilt for the young couple.  The wedding was in Santa Barbara at an old adobe preserved by the County Historical society.
We entered through wrought iron gates decorated with carved gourds with the couples' names.

They were wed in front of this arbor covered with wisteria vines and draped with linen.( I took this shot after the crew had removed all the chairs.) 

The beautiful bride with her father.  My photos of the wedding party in front of the arbor were all too blurry to share, unfortunately.  

Cocktails in the adobe's courtyard and covered porches.

The bride and groom kept a sense of humor about many details, including this can cozy wedding souvenir. 

They also had a candy bar and vessels with trinkets such as stick on mustaches, tiny plastic wrestlers, and glow necklaces.  Grant affecting his "most interesting man in the world" pose, above.

The reception was in a separate beautifully decorated courtyard with an enormous fountain, dance floor, and wonderful lighting.  It was a warm night so we didn't need the heaters lit, fortunately.

The blurriness of my photo aside, these traditional Mexican banners were strung above with the lights and streamers and fluttered charmingly in the wind.  

The groom, whom we have known since birth, and his lovely wife.  Her hair looked beautiful.  DD Elaine did the bridesmaid's hairstyles, along with three assistants, as there were 11 bridesmaids!   They all looked so pretty. The groomsmen escorted two bridesmaids each down the aisle and into the reception.

The sense of humor continued as the groomsmen came out and did poses wearing these Mexican wrestler's masks in tribute to the bride's grandfather, who had wrestled professionally in Mexico in the 1950's.  Our friend Danny modeled the groom's brother's mask later at the table.

Traditionally at Mexican weddings, the centerpieces are party favors and the guests take them away.  Although I saw some other guests removing them, these were so wonderful that I was afraid to, and had to ask our friend, the groom's mother, if they were really meant as gifts.  She said the bride's father had made all the boxes and they were indeed to be taken away...

...along with more succulents in vessels.  I ended up with two planter boxes and these five vessels as the groom's father put more and more in to an empty packing box and insisted I take them.  I love them!  Unfortunately, I still have not heard how the bride and groom liked the quilt.  Waiting with baited breath...

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...