Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Catchup--NQR*

*Not Quilt Related
So, I've been away from the blog again.  Seems to be an unfortunate pattern!   No sewing has been happening either, for a number of reasons.

Last week I left work midday on Wednesday to meet my husband at the ER where my 95 year old mother in law, Frances, had been taken.  She apparently had another episode of vertigo/dizziness/weakness walking in the hallway of her apartment at the retirement home, but did manage to make it to her bed, where she called out fruitlessly for help, then apparently passed out or fell asleep for a couple of hours. She telephoned for help when she awoke and an ambulance was called by the nursing staff.  No stroke, no abnormalities they could find at the ER, and after a couple of hours she was released home.  We were advised she probably needed more nutrition and more hydration.  While Grant went back to work, I spent the rest of the day taking her to get something to eat since she had missed both breakfast and lunch, and taking her home, where I found her missing hearing aid hidden.  Then I went to the store for snacks and water, Ensure, a prescription for Antivert, and back to her apartment.  Anyway, she seems recovered but is getting very forgetful these days.  She did not remember that we took her to the ER for this same problem several months ago, when they ruled out a stroke.  She sleeps a lot and eats less.  She often says, "I'm ready to go, the good Lord can take me any time". We're checking on her more often now. 
Frances on her 90th birthday, five years ago

And now I've gotten a summer cold, causing me to spend the weekend mostly on the couch or in bed.  Yesterday was the worst, but I didn't think a coughing, nose-blowing medical staff member is quite appreciated, so I stayed home today.  Maybe by tonight my ears will pop so I can hear again!

Meanwhile, I've been making lists of quilting projects and their needs, and also home organizing projects.  Have you heard of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge?  Well, I hadn't either until I stumbled across it while on Bloglovin.  The idea is related to Spring cleaning, but spread out over essentially the period of Lent.  That challenge period having passed months ago, it is still a good way to systematically go through your house/garage/attic/basement, etc., in a less overwhelming way.  I decided to start in our bedroom, since it has turned into a dumping ground.  Picture frames, magazines, books, linens, blankets, clothes, and things that didn't have a home.  My husband also liked the idea and together we purged a number of bags, for a good start on the 40 bags.  Today I called for the donation truck and hope to have a number of additional bags to add to the constant accumulation of donation items hiding behind a quilt thrown over the upstairs railing :)    Next room is our office (shudder) and then the music room closet (a true catchall). 

My hardest thing to get rid of is family heirloom-type items.  But we have TOO MUCH STUFF, unused and just taking up storage space.  Some tough decisions will have to be made regarding certain items...many of which came to us from my MIL when she sold her home 10 years ago and moved to the retirement home, like these:

Hand painted gold-rimmed bowl, made in Germany, treasured and displayed for many years by my MIL in her home. This may have belonged to her mother before her, as it is quite old.

Gold rimmed and decorated plate, another vintage piece from my MIL.  Lucy the cat is much newer, only two years old :)

Or, especially, several of these:

This mink stole was handed down to my MIL by HER MIL, who was my husband's paternal grandmother.
 Purchased no doubt at the fancy Downtown Los Angeles Bullocks Wilshire many decades ago.

Her name is embroidered in several of the furs we now have.  Grandma Rose was of French blood.  She passed away sometime in the early 1970's so I never met her, though Grant's grandfather lived to be in his mid 90's and met two of our three children.  What do we do with this and several other real furs?  Hard to decide, so there they hang, unused.  I'd appreciate some ideas, should anyone have some!  And now, back to blowing my nose :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Design Wall Monday--Aug 18, 2014

On my design surface today is a new project, and off the design wall is a finished one. 

A friend has commissioned a quilt for an anniversary gift and I've tentatively suggested a Winding Ways quilt.  A key to that suggestion is the fact that I own a Winding Ways die for my Accuquilt GO! cutter.  We'll choose fabrics together but I pulled a couple from stash to try out the cutter and make some test blocks.

I did look at a couple of posts on Accuquilt for some tips on cutting the shapes.  They suggested cutting strips of fabric 10.5" wide, and making sure the selvage edge was placed toward the die label for the grain to turn out correctly.  My fabrics are thin cotton so I layered four thicknesses to get two complete blocks. Easy enough to roll through the GO cutter and peel off the shapes.  The 10.5" width was unnecessarily oversized, I think.  The die itself is only 10 inches, and the blades even short of that.  That left a fair bit of waste that really cannot be used for much. But it was sure quick to cut two blocks!

I'm going to look at a few more tutorials on the block construction.  My test block came out  nearly square and even, but a bit of a miss in the center.  By the time I sew a half dozen blocks, they should all look better than this one :)

Off the design wall are the placemats I started a couple of weeks ago. 

They are about 13x18--I like big placemats.  The quilting with the three-step zig zag took a while, but a pleasing texture emerged.  Four are finished, two more are needed to complete a set.  How do you think I did coordinating with the table runner?  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Speaking of tablerunners, my husband picked up my entries from the County Fair while I was at work last Monday.  He and the person who was helping him traipsed up and down looking for the patchwork tablerunner, finally finding it just the same way I did, by looking in every display case until I found it in the furthest end of the hall!  He brought me a check for my first prize as well--$4.00.  My sister, however, having gotten first prize for her block entry for the Fair Theme Quilt Contest, received a check for $25.00!  I guess I'm entering that contest next year too!

Our grandson came for a visit over the weekend while his mama used the computer here.  He sat in his Papa's desk chair, ready to work. Too cute!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Bear* in Paris, admiring 

*Bear is my dad's small blue companion. Right now they're in Glasgow. Bear may or may not have been kilted. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

LA Quilt Show

Since the International Quilt Festival moved to Portland, Oregon this year, quilt show options are slim in this area.  At our July Modern Quilt Guild meeting, we were informed about the inaugural LA Quilt Show being held at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles.  Since the location was no further than we would have driven to go to the Long Beach IQF show, my sister Kathy and I made a trip to the show on Sunday.  Though I am a native to SoCalif, I had never been to the Port of Los Angeles.  It is a HUGE port. The USS Iowa is berthed there and I'd like to make another trip down for a tour sometime.

Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles is a collection of individually owned "shops" under one roof, a huge old wooden warehouse with soaring ceilings.  It was a cool site, even if there was no air conditioning :)

We had gotten our tickets online and it included a really tasty lunch.  The show was very small, and there were only a few vendors; but--having no real expectations, we enjoyed ourselves.  Latifah Saafir,  founder of the LA Modern Quilt Guild, gave a talk and showed some of her quilts.  Before I realized who she was, I had already found displayed my favorite modern quilt of the show--Convergence--which was one of hers.

But my favorite amateur entry was No. 13:

The Crafted site doesn't have the show recap uploaded yet, but I'm hoping this won Viewer's Choice.  Some loot from the show and the Crafted shops did come home with me:

A few fat quarters, a pump converter for a mason jar, and some cookie mix.  My sister bought me the fat quarter stack of the polka dotted fabric.  I also bought some homemade squaw bread, which was delicious. Kathy, who loves to cook, got some bread and some flavored salts.  I had hoped to meet up with my blog friend Tanya, who is here from Japan.  I told her about the show but she and her family went on Saturday.  Here is her reaction. I have to agree that the show needs more participants and vendors, but it's a start.  Maybe next year my sister and I will send in entries.   I've made another web album to share pictures from the show.  Enjoy!

LA Quilt Show 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Results are In

My sister Kathy and I went to the Ventura County Fair on Monday night to see how our entries did.  I haven't previously mentioned it, I don't think, but my sister and I have joined the local Modern Quilt Guild.  Though I don't really consider myself a modern quilter at my core, it is true that I have made and admire many modern quilts.  Anyway, there is an annual Fair quilt block challenge based on the theme of the Fair.  This year it was "A Country Fair with Ocean Air", and the guild meeting challenge was a modern block in the Fair theme.  I didn't make one, but Kathy did.

As the Ferris wheel is always set close to the edge of the fair and the view of the water and islands perfect on a sunny day, she posed her couple in front of the sunset.  The first prize made us both happy, but Kathy was so excited she made a number of trips back to look at it as we made our way around the Home Arts building. I'm here to tell you Kathy made this block in about hour, with about 1/4 of that time spent choosing the fabrics!  Pictorial quilts are her thing, for sure.

Of my four entries, three received ribbons. 

 The snowman mini got a first.  The other two ribbons were "Honorable Mention", which was nice considering the amount of entries this year.

 My version of the Picnic quilt (Kim Brackett pattern)  and my tablerunner got the ribbons.

The quilt I rushed to finish didn't get a ribbon, but looked pretty hanging up in the rafters...
Even if they did hang it upside down :)

I've made a slideshow of some of the other entries that caught my eye this year.  Click on the image and you will be taken to my web album (fingers crossed!):

Monday, August 4, 2014

Design Wall Monday--August 4, 2014

It's been a few weeks since I posted on DWM--sewing has been sporadic of late.  I'm working on a number of projects simultaneously and there are a bunch more in the pipeline.  I hesitate to list them all, lest I instantly become overwhelmed!  But for today, just two to show :)

The first is High Cotton, a Kim Diehl pattern.  I have been cutting and sewing, cutting and sewing.  I think I'm up to about half of the 63 blocks the quilt requires.  These are 6.5" unfinished and I'm having a blast making them.

The newest are the bright green, the brown with blue leaves, and the purple with crescent-like shapes.

Also on my design wall is a project that I've made for others but never for my own home--placemats. 

These brightly colored placemats will color our table nicely for the rest of the summer (though the photo makes them a little grayed down).  I chose the fabrics to match a "ten minute tablerunner" I made a couple of summers ago. The stripe will be the backing and maybe the binding too.

Also very bright!  They will match the hot and steamy weather we've been having for what seems like all summer.  My husband said, "When did we move to Alabama?"  We Southern Californians are not used to 80-90% humidity!  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

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...