Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crazy Exchange

Once again, my Crazy Exchangers made it Christmas on just an ordinary Thursday. I'm very lucky to have received a delightful pin/needle cushion and thread holder. Very clever how the band goes through the spools to hold them in place. Thank you Chantal.

And Miss Susan sent a wonderful assortment of embellishments: lace, ribbons, beads, fibers, cherrywood fabric pieces, a needlecase AND some exotic teas (Seven Blossoms, Magic Mountain and some I cannot read).

The rules of this exchange "game" are that now I will make something for Chantal in Belgium. I will have to think hard about what I should do [and I cannot tell you as she has this blog address, so I cannot give it away.]:->

I forgot to include this in my last posting - during our RVing week-end we had a raffle of one gal's photographs and look what I got: No, it's not a skull but a very intersting piece of driftwood. She had taken the photo at the same beach where we were staying, a couple of years ago. And the driftwood was still there, although much more worn by now.

Brenda and I tried to come up with something brilliant to use her african fabrics, with or without mine, but struck out. Nothing seemed to "play nicely" with her fabrics, colors were very hard to figure out and we couldn't find any pattern that really spoke to either of us. So now we both have a few pieces to carry around with us and see what we might find, in time, as we haunt various quilt stores. So this year's Rabour Village auction will have to do without. I did make them a lap quilt last year - some of you have seen the fabrics in some little pin cushions I made from the trimmings. I do, however, have one or two things to keep me occupied. Ha!

Monday, August 27, 2007

"Oh the days dwindle down....."

Can you believe it? It's almost September already. Where has summer gone or perhaps we should say, did we really have a summer this year? It seems that everyone has had such peculiar weather that is surely hasn't felt like the "good ole summertime". We went camping this past week-end and between rain showers did have a beautiful sunset. We were at a place called Willipa Bay, off of the Pacific ocean. This is a huge bay known for its oysters and other shellfish. We had a fun week-end with a bicycle maintenance class, went for a bicycle ride in the misting, made a birdhouse and had a fabulous seafood potluck buffet. Now you cannot ask for more than that.

Now it's time to prepare my exchange for Marika (from Finland - see previous blog entries). She reports that she likes "simple and elegant" things. Oh dear, I'm not sure that I would describe my work as elegant - although 'simple' for sure. I was able to check online and found some freebie patterns from a couple of her favorite designers and will mail those off today. Hmmmmm. I also really am being nudged to complete a number of unfinished projects before we are really into the fall/Christmas rush. Brenda is coming over on Tuesday and we are going to be combining some african fabrics she has with some of mine, to see what we can come up with as a donation for a fund-raising auction. [See Rabour Village Project, Kenya].

Almost Labor Day holiday week-end (for Americans) and then school starts right afterwards. Time marches on, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New acquisitions

Oh - how lucky I am. Yesterday the parcel arrived from Marika and today I had another exchange gift from Michelle. She made this beautiful embroidery - they call it a pin keep.

I will need some help with the french words on the top, but I love the flowers and leaves and especially the Ladybugs. Isn't it precious?

And then, my order from Amazon arrived. Oh such excitement, all at once.
"Our very own" (if I may use that phrase) Judy Laquidara's new book. And a 'how to' book for McTavishing. Not sure I could ever conquer it, but I do love it. She says to start practicing with paper and pencil. THAT I can manage.

Oh boy - busy times ahead!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Look what came in my Crazy Exchange

This is such fun, anyway and then to get gifts! Wow! A beautiful piece of needlework, some rare Finnish tea and some fabric for my quilting bits and pieces. And dare I say, educational. How many of you know where Oulu, Finland is? It was fun to look it up on the internet and read about the town and the community and the weather (!).

Many thanks, Marika. Now I will be making something in return. I wonder what I shall undertake????? Hmmmmm.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Camping with the Grandchildren

Our traditional camping with the grandchildren week-end was this past Saturday and Sunday. Once again we had a marvelous time, with no major tragedies. My daughter and her 9 mo. old slept in their tent while the children slept in the motor home. We went on some little "hikes" (walks really), wandered down to the beach and looked for interesting shells and learned how to "skip" a flat rock. We took turns with the cooking, which made it easier on everyone. Each of us had our bicycles with us, so we were able to cycle around the campground more times than you can count. Luckily the campground was full of families with small children, so no late parties. It was great! Nana covers the table outside the camper. The tent goes behind the table.

No special toys needed.

On a sewing/quilty note: yesterday I visited the Family Center where there are programs for Refugee Women. I will be teaching basic sewing, with another woman, to interested participants, starting in September. I hope it doesn't feel like "too much" but am anticipating an interesting time and hoping we manage to get through our language differences. These women are primarily Vietnamese, Cambodian and Somali. That alone is challenging. As my camera battery died on the camping trip, I don't have more pictures of the children or of the Family center - but will follow up with the latter. Keep that sun shining for a few weeks more - I'm not ready for summer to be over.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday photos

High Definition television is simply amazing. I remember looking at it in a television store perhaps 10 years ago and thinking then it was incredible. In the intervening years it has improved AND better yet, it has gotten much, much cheaper to own. And so, EVER grateful that I am able, I bought an HD TV. In some ways it might be silly, as I watch so little television, but I find some of the programming captivating. In the mornings (here it is 7-8am) there is a program on that I believe is simply called "Morning". There is no commentator, only the sounds eminating from the scenes shown. Each day is from a different location. Last week, one day, they were at a children's school in Cambodia and another day along the River Li in China. This morning they were in Iceland. I'm not sure these photos do it justice, but I was so amazed at the sight - I tried to capture it. I couldn't find the locale on my atlas - the name was something like Gulfool - nenetheless, I was just mesmerized.
> So having had that morning up-lift, I left for Stone Soup Quilting. I've talked about this before - it is a group with many participants who make kits to make quilts for folks who are undergoing cancer treatment at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Center. After the tops are made by folks in the community, they are returned, a back chosen and basted by another group of volunteers. The quilts are quilted on our "big" machine. Then they are handed off to another group who bind them and put on a label. These are given to the patients for them to keep - or we are told, occasionally the quilt is given to a family member who seems to need it more. It is a wonderful way to spend my Monday mornings. I get to play with fabric, choosing colors and patterns that I find pleasing, and finding backs for completed tops. The majority of quilts are a log cabin pattern, requiring 12 fabrics, plus center squares. The fabrics are sorted by size and whether light or dark, and so the maker will know what we picked out for which log in the pattern. The volunteers cut the strips and sew it all together. Beside log cabin, we have started to use the left-overs to make a Chinese coin pattern and even a tesselated-type of design. ALL the fabric and batting and thread are donated, as well as the generous time of the volunteers. Great fun and such a worthwhile cause.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The joy of "un-sewing"

I realize these look like perfectly normal paper pieced blocks. They, however, have comprised much of my past few days. My LQG has an arrangement where in order to use our meeting space for free, we will make a quilt to be raffled off at the annual fund-raising event. A Judy Niemeyer pattern was chosen (before I joined this group) and so it was decided to make a sunflower type of pattern and we began with this outer radiating sections. I had seen the cover of the pattern, but (silly me) didn't think to ask for a copy. And so about a week after receiving the pieces to make these up, I sat down to do so. Clearly I remembered that the outer sections (purples) were going to be scrappy so somehow assumed that the golds/yellows/peaches would be scrappy too. WRONG! Having dutifully shortened my stitches for paper piecing and even trimmed up the blocks I took them to our meeting on Thursday night. Well no, I had not got this right and they had to be re-done. However, we are short of the golds/yellows/peaches and needed to save as much of the old ones as I possibly could. So with my best pair of glasses and some really good light, I began to un-sew. Needless to say the paper pattern was trashed but managed to get all the pieces undone. So I gathered all the matching colors for the seven points and tried to re-sew them. However, with the trimming, several of the pieces were unusable (I learned after trying to sew them again - and unsewing them again). But never say die - Friday I spent most of the entire afternoon sewing, ever so carefully and managed to find a little more of the peach fabric and completed these two silly blocks. The centers are all done, so mostly we now have to assemble the top.

I really don't think I will be buying any tickets for this little treasure. It's not really my style anyway. And maybe next year we could be thinking about something with squares or diamonds or some such. No more paper pieced sunflowers.