Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Quilt and Surfer's Point

A Quilt: I fin-al-ly finished stitching the hem on the last side of the big Cheddar and Cinnamon quilt on Thursday morning.  

The cheddar binding is a bit wobbly and lost against the new fence boards, but is flat and even. I'm happy with how the wool batting looks with the quilting. 

Stats:  72" square, made from 9 patches received in Julie K's swap in 2009, the square-in-square star points and borders are Jo Morton prints.  Quilt top was made in 2011, the backing in 2012, and after hanging in the closet for five years, I finally sent it out to be quilted in June 2017.  Binding complete January 2018.

I machine washed and air dried it and it is cozy and warm on the bed.  It looks good hanging on the back of my couch too. Hooray!

Surfer's Point:  Friday afternoon I felt like going to the beach and headed down to my favorite spot to visit.   This is a famous point break, ask any surfer!  It was windy but not too cold, with no crowds that late in the day. 


This is looking south towards the Pier, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance. You can see there is a lot of driftwood litter at the tide line.  Some of these rocks are purposely there to hold the beach from washing away, but recent storms brought a lot in from the Montecito floods to the north.


I was happy to get this shot of two different kinds of surfers on the same wave, one on a regular board, and one with a kite.  That is a huge container ship on the horizon.
Walking down the path, I spotted some rock statues someone had assembled and got another lucky shot with the surfers and the Channel Islands in the background.  


Down on the sand, you could see where the heavy storm surge pulled away the base of the pathway.  These huge tree logs/branches were all over the beach.  The red colored one I believe is from a Manzanita tree that must have been quite old, as these start as shrubs.  The runner on the pathway above gives more of a hint of the log size than my long tall shadow.

Another broken, burnt and battered branch in the sunset.  

I picked up a few small pieces of driftwood, but was most taken by a larger, about 3 foot piece I found at the high tide line.

I'm not sure what kind of tree this came from, but it was burnt, from the inside.


I have never seen anything like this before. It was heavy, waterlogged from being in the ocean. The end looks to me like a paw, or deer's hoof.   I'll have to find a way to display it in the house when it finishes drying out on my porch.  Rescue and recovery is still happening in Montecito, more offramps are open and some residents have been allowed to return home as services are slowly being restored to the mudslide area.  The cleanup will take many months.  I saw trucks bringing more mud and boulders to the Fairgrounds in Ventura, where the debris will be sorted out and remaining dirt and rocks used to rebuild our washed out banks.  

Our own scorched hills have sprouted a tiny bit of grass here and there with the little amount of rain we received in early January.  But dry, hot winds are back, with the red flag warning in effect again.  There is still a lot of dry fuel to burn due to our prolonged drought, and always the threat of fire.  Our guild is having sew-ins through all of next month and we have gathered a lot of donations our Thomas Fire relief quilts.  One board member brought home an amazing donation of 77 bolts of last year's fabrics from a shop in Santa Monica.  We shopped her pickup truck for backings at our sew-in Saturday!We have secured an almost free storage site that will help keep us organized.  Lots of wonderful quilt tops and entire quilts have been donated and we will get them out as fast as we can.  I made two backings today and sewed some binding strips in preparation for quilt sandwiches, and have another kit of blocks to assemble into a top.  Lots of sewing to keep me busy!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Weekends Are Too Short

Another weekend has flown by.  I did get some sewing in, saw my grandsons, cleaned up some areas, and did a bit of shopping.  It felt good to get some things done after last weekend when I was sick.  Amazing how quickly your energy level falls when you don't eat or move around much.   That weight I lost? It came right back :(.  But my husband and I are working on adding exercise to our week, he at the gym and me with walking, eating fewer carbs, more fruits and veggies, and just generally less of everything, especially added sugar. 

I got two more rows put together of Perkiomen blocks for  a Thomas Fire quilt.  Imagine please that these two sections were joined...

But alas, the last row is still incomplete.  I'll work on these tonight and get the top finished, as there are only these three rows to add.  Our guild efforts have been so successful in receiving donations that we are overwhelmed and looking for someplace to store it all!  What a wonderful problem to have.  We have another sew in next weekend and I'll be attending that.  I hope to have a quilt to bind by then.  

The cries of joy heard all over Santa Barbara  and Ventura County were because they reopened Highway 101 in Montecito this afternoon, after hundreds of truckloads of mud and debris were scooped up and carted off day and night for at least 10 days.  A lot of the mud was dumped on the beach and will be absorbed by the surf.  Many more truckloads ended up at our Fairgrounds to be combed through.  There are still two people missing, though a third missing was found, a 21 year old girl who died in the mudslide.  All the offramps in Montecito are still closed, and the mudslide areas forbidden to lookyloos as search and recovery goes on.  We hope the bodies of the last two missing, a 2 year old girl and a 17 year old boy, will be found soon.  No big rainstorms are predicted in the near future, thankfully.   Our guild will keep making quilts, as many as we can as fast as we can, to try to give some comfort to survivors. 

I watched my grandsons last night for a few hours. So great to be able to do that often. 
This is their Christmas card pic, Hunter on the left, big brother Cove on the right.  Boy, Cove sure knows how to stretch out bedtime.  After a long book, and his traditional bedtime song, he had a question about "why some dinosaurs didn't die in the mass extinction".  He actually said that, at not even 4 years old!  So we explored various scenarios as to why some "feathered" dinosaurs made it, and also mammals.  I think it was after 9 o'clock by then.  Then he came out of his room 3 minutes later to ask Mimi "why sometimes you have bad dreams and sometimes you have good ones"...deep thoughts from the great staller.  Finally all was quiet.  Too funny.  

Here's the (not too terrific) photo I promised of my mantel with the Nesting House Set from the new Magnolia collection at Target.  The little white house and smallest black house are actually a set of salt and pepper shakers, but I like them here.  The large vintage painted metal tray I found years ago at a resale shop downtown.  I love it.  Okay, off to fix dinner...

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sewing Again, Thomas Fire, etc.

Since I virtuously devoted two evenings this week to clearing surfaces in the sewing room, including hours cutting down and sorting/storing rats nests of scraps unearthed everywhere, I felt I deserved a sewing reward.   

One of the project boxes I cut for last year is Jewels In the Curio, a Moda Bakeshop project by Jo's Country Junction.  Jewel Box blocks and a scrappy squares border drew me in.  I had already done all the cutting and sewing of the block components, and spent a happy hour or two choosing sets and stitching up the first dozen.  These are from a jelly roll and 5"squares CW pack, with some CW prints from stash.

Scrappy blocks and the barn raising setting drew me in.  I have a total of 64 to make and look forward to more pairing and stitching.

Yesterday I spent a frustrating time shoe shopping.  Somewhere either at Kohl's or Famous Footwear (I'm cheap about shoes!), I hurt my hand.

The blood vessel in my ring finger popped and was painful and sore for hours.  Have no idea what I did.  Today it is more purple at the base of the finger, a little tender to touch but not swollen, and I can put my wedding ring back on. I don't think there's anything that needs to be done for it, but watch.

While pushing around the cart at Target with one hand, I searched and found the new collection by Jo Gaines of Magnolia, love her clean and rustic farmhouse style.  
I have these displayed on my mantel with a "birch branch" light set bought on 80% clearance at JoAnn's, but my photos didn't come out this morning, too much light coming in and I'll have to wait for the afternoon.

This is our Ventura Modern Quilt Guild's Opportunity Quilt.  It is called KaBloom.  It looks even better in person, since this pic is before it was even quilted!  I made the big red flower in the right middle.  I mailed off some opportunity tickets to my aunt the other day, thriftily reusing the blank card she sent her money in, and I decorated it with a log cabin block.  Want a chance to win? Chance tickets are $1 each, or 6 for $5.  Drawing is mid March 2018.

The VMQG booth at Road to California is 6H.  Members who arrived to hang our Thomas Fire Quilts were greeted by Leo 9 Textiles with a huge donation of many bolts of fabric (pic swiped from our guild FB page).  Amazing! Many more finished quilts and blocks have come our way.  We thank all who have been so generous with their time and efforts to help us get 700 quilts to evacuees and fire victims. 
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

Everyone is hoping that Highway 101 will be open again through Montecito on Monday, since they have spent an additional week clearing mud and debris from the road around the clock, repairing the guardrails, and inspecting the road.  Our son took the crowded train to visit his girlfriend last weekend in Santa Barbara, she is taking the train to Ventura today.  I'm sure it will be very crowded as well since we have a huge storm swell and the boat ferries are not operating this weekend.  Okay, I'm off to the sewing room again, need to get my own Thomas Fire quilts finished.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Quilting Plans

This year I opted not to join any UFO challenges.  I did barely okay, maybe 50%, on the challenge through Judy of Patchwork Times in 2017, but the near misses bothered me.  I always seem to get stuck at the same place in a quilt project, which is generally making the quilt sandwich and quilting.  Not having a longarm quilting machine, nor being rich enough to send out all my quilts, it is a more time consuming effort.  I know I am not alone in getting stuck here! 

Prayer Flag Squirrel Runner
Counting up all the WIPs, UFOs, and PIBs in the sewing room gave me a list of 25 projects I have in various stages from collecting fabrics to partly pieced, or on a hanger awaiting batting and quilting, like the Squirrel runner above.  Last year one of my monthly UFO projects was simply cutting all the pieces for the projects languishing in boxes for years with pattern and fabrics. I'd like to get those all sewn up into quilts, at last.  

Medallion Star Rescue, as I call it, only needs the quilting finished and the binding attached.  Yet it has sat on the sidelines for many months awaiting another turn under the sewing machine needle.  I'm going to donate this quilt when complete.  I'm thinking the near finishes like this should be first on the list.

My new Viking Sapphire 930 sewing machine, with a 10" harp, should help a lot with being able to quilt these projects.  My other Viking Lily had a 7" harp space and believe me, it was a workout shoving and pushing/pulling on big quilt sandwiches.  I need to order a plexiglass surround for the new model for my sewing desk.

Moda Love Top
I am considering using Google Sheets to help me keep track of progress, though I never learned to use a spreadsheet program properly before.  Anyone else use this program for quilt or craft projects?  

Naturally, since I have so much to do, I joined Barb's Churn Dash block swap (now closed), so I'll need to put that near top of the list!  

Monday, January 15, 2018

Design Wall Monday, and Recovering

Having been slayed for two days by an unpleasant GI illness, I'm staying home this Design Wall Monday to regain strength.  Yesterday I could only manage to eat one cracker and sip on Gatorade. This isn't the type weight loss program I am a fan of!

I have a few things to share.  




We had a mini -quilt swap at Guild and I made this for Scott. He loves blue and hates orange but I ended up with a couple of tiny triangles of it in this quilt :).  It is about 20x24", I'm guessing, made from leftover blue and white HSTs onto which I improv sewed other cutoff triangles. I had already quilted part of the quilt but finished with my new sewing machine, a Viking Sapphire 930, which has a 10" throat.  Heaven!  I also sewed up--at the last minute--a mini quilt for our Holiday gift swap. Somehow I didn't get a pic of the finished quilt and will have to ask Sarah, who ended up with it, to send me one.

5" charm pack squares with 2" light gray corner squares to make cute snowballs.  I backed it with the same light gray, quilted with my favorite 3-step zig zag stitch and bound it with a bright blue solid.


While missing our Ventura MQG Sew-in for Thomas Fire quilts on Saturday (having sent DH to deliver batting and fabric),  I had a home session sewing Perkiomen blocks from the kit I brought home.  Lots of rearranging, pinning, and getting up and down from the machine to the ironing board.  I finished three full rows before giving up and heading for the bed. No pics of that yet. 

I also worked on a cross-stitch from a Lizzie Kate pattern.   

In progress, had to show my manicure :)

And a finish!  This was my first time using a hand-dyed embroidery floss (Weeks Hand-Dyed), and I must say I am not particularly fond of the striping that occurred in the background of the large letters.  I had a couple of creative opportunities with this stitchery (ahem)--the C in "Stitching" received more of a curve as I miscounted where the next letter started.  I actually like the way the letter looks with the addition but the stitchery doesn't line up perfectly.  Some other design decisions occurred in the bottom section, but the differences didn't bother me enough to tear out rows and rows of stitching.  This will look cute framed and up on the wall.  

More hand sewing while reclining and alternately dozing through nausea yesterday...

Cheddar and Cinnamon Quilt
This poor quilt has been waiting since September 2017 for the binding to be finished after I had it  custom longarm quilted.  I have about 1.5 sides left to do.  It is a fairly big quilt at 72"square, so takes awhile.  

See more Design Walls on Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Flood after the Fire


The Thomas Fire disaster has been increased to include flood, as many will be aware from the horrendous news video and photos shown of the Montecito area of Santa Barbara, 20+ miles to the north of my city.  Torrential rains on the night of January 8-9 caused mudslides and a creek to overflow its banks, sweeping tons of mud, huge boulders, trees, and water into houses and businesses, sweeping them off their foundations and filling them many feet deep in an instant.  It is a sad truth that the firefighters kept  these houses from burning a few weeks prior, only to have them destroyed by flood.  So many lives lost and many more to be found buried in the mud, likely up to dozens, though so far 17 deaths have been confirmed. Our son's girlfriend lives in Santa Barbara, a short distance from the devastation, but luckily she and her brother are safe.  



The main 101 freeway along the coast is impassable for many miles due to massive swaths of debris and mud.  This pic above from the internet shows how the pavement is not even visible.  Those bushes in the center divider are about 8-10 feet tall.  This heavily traveled road and rail service closures have resulted in a sea shuttle, with boats leaving Ventura Harbor three times a day and making the two hour boat trip up to Santa Barbara Harbor  Others are flying out of nearby airports to Santa Barbara; once again generous folks have offered free or reduced cost services everywhere to help survivors and residents.  I traveled this road daily myself for a year and a half when I worked in Santa Barbara a few years ago.   A multi-hour detour is now required to enter the city if driving from the south, with all trucking re-routed.

At our Ventura Modern Quilt Guild meeting the night the rains started, we discussed that any flood victims would by extension be Thomas Fire victims and we will distribute quilts to them as well,  never wishing such to come, or so soon.  Hundreds of Perkiomen Valley quilt blocks have been made and more donations are coming in.  We were set to donate our first set of quilts that night but the person who was to pick them up stayed home due to the rain.  Our guild president was tearful when telling us that the generous folks managing the Road to California quilt show this month donated a free booth and electricity so that we can collect any blocks/donations there. Amazing!  I brought home blocks and a quilt top/finishing kit to make, and donated a couple of blocks of my own, above. My car is full of an entire roll of batting, two huge tubs full of fabric ready to be made into quilts.  Multiple other local guilds have donated to our little guild, so generously, and we thank them sincerely, including Simi Valley Quilt Guild, Camarillo Quilters Association, and Valley MQG. We hope the rain, as much as we need it to end the drought, stays away for now. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thomas Fire Update

Returning to work this week was right to the grindstone, lots of flu here and plenty of general upper respiratory conditions.  We've been double booked morning and afternoon.  Many people with chronic lung conditions have been affected by the Thomas Fire, which is still burning itself out in the backcountry, 92% contained.  Every day we learn of more patients who lost homes or were displaced in the evacuations.  I finally saw the doctor for my own persistent cough of 6 weeks or more, was diagnosed with bronchitis, given an inhaler, and sent for a chest x-ray (which fortunately was normal). I hope to feel back to normal soon.

The other day, I drove up to one of the worst fire damage areas in my town, just a couple of miles from home.   

The wind-driven fire swept through the middle of the neighborhood in the middle of the night, December 4th, spreading embers willy nilly. Firefighters poured into the neighborhoods but were unable to save as many as they tried to.  There were hundreds of homes burned, mostly in the foothills above town, over 1000 (most in Ventura County) over 700 of which were single family homes.  An entire apartment building complex burned completely to the ground, displacing dozens.

I don't know what the green stuff is that was sprayed over the ruins, whether fire retardant or some kind of suppressant for the ash/chemical residue from burned building materials.  Insurance company vehicles were everywhere, and I could see homeowners wearing masks sifting through wreckage.  "Sifting Parties" are a thing now. 
Many of the burned houses are only marked by chimneys and burned vehicles that once were inside garages.  On days we have onshore winds from the ocean, the coastal plain is smoky for miles inland.  This pic is from about a week ago and the smoke is less heavy now, this far inland (about 5 miles). Fortunately, due to early evacuation policies, there were no resident deaths in this area, and only one death of a resident in Ojai,where a woman died in a single car crash while evacuating from the fire. 

Our own Ventura Modern Quilt Guild is making Perkiomen Valley blocks, designed by a member, for Thomas Fire victims and support has poured in from all over the county and country.  Multiple cutting and sewing parties are planned to get quilts made quickly and into the hands of those in need, from donated blocks and fabrics.  We have been fully inundated with fabric donations already.  Those who wish to help are asked to make blocks either individually, may join one of the many sew in dates, or donate batting.  Details HERE.  

While we need rain desperately here in Southern California, just a little at at time would be best.  Some moisture is expected early next week, fingers crossed it is not a heavy storm adding flood to the fire damage.