Monday, October 22, 2007

Return from the Sewing Retreat

I have been on other sewing retreats but was not sure I was fully committed to this one, but in fact, I had a marvelous time and managed to accomplish a lot. We arrived Friday at noon, after a quick stop in a Quilt Store on the way. Naturally I found a couple of little things that I really "needed". We began to get set up in a room with lots and lots of natural light. We did, also, bring lots and lots of Ott (type) lights which also helped a lot. Because these CTA's hope to sponsor a conference for all the CTA's statewide, we need to raise money for speakers, room rental, etc. And so each person was asked to contribute some time this week-end helping to make items to be sold at a bazaar to be held closer to Christmas. We made personal teabag holders (photo follows), bright children's pillow cases (photo) and bug catchers (no photos - but they are just like humbug bags except made with polyester screening).

And then, we were each free to work on our own things. I began cutting and did some very preliminary stitching on my "White Chocolate" quilt - and oh I'm happy with it, so far. It is very pale with minimal value differences in the fabrics, but has a warm, almost antique look to it. I love it! I also decided that I ought to really finish up the paper-pieced tree skirt for the holidays. Sadly I'm not done, but we shall see how far I get. I also added the 6 inch borders to the wedding banner - you've seen it before. But as the wedding is the 3rd, I had best be getting really busy if I want to see that done. This afternoon I will work on making the sandwich and then attach the part that drapes over the top of the table in the front of the sanctuary - my part hangs down over the front of the table. I'm sure there is a wonderful ecclesiastical name for all of this, but I don't know it.

The gal sitting next to me was making needle-turned grape clusters - ouch! What a lot of work. Amazing that she was so patient. Others were finishing up mystery quilts, a couple of husbands were getting new sport shirts, there was a new purse constructed, a couple of pairs of trousers, several quilts etc, etc, etc. This is an amazingly competent, skilled group of women.

Many stayed up way too late for me (as always happens) but we mostly were in bed before midnight and some of us were up before 7am. The Free Methodist (Christian) Camp where we were didn't seem to know what to make of us, busily focused on our machines. But how wonderful to have no other responsibilities except to play on our machines - someone else cooked (good, too) and cleaned up. I just had to crawl into my sleeping bag at night and start again in the morning. Fun, fun, Fun. But I've been doing quite a bit of wandering around - and now it's time to stay home for a bit.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Like the proverbial chicken. . . . .

Yup - I've been running around for a couple of weeks and it seems there are still a couple more in front of me. Imagine thinking of the "holidays" as a break and slow down. Oh well. So starting much earlier in the month, I attended the national conference of the women's RVing group I belong to (to which I belong - my mother would correct me). There were, as I recall, 190 RVs and about 325 ladies in
attendance. We did lots of social/get-to-know-you activities, had classes and seminars related to things RV as well as just for fun, ate, drank, socialized and had a generally good time. This year it was at the Fairgrounds in Lodi, California. I had looked forward to and enjoyed mostly sunshine and temps. in the 70's during the day (as opposed to northwest gray and rain)! Some photos:

The fruit of the vine was not quite ready for picking, but we did force ourselves to sample some of the local 'produce'. The Chamber of Commerce informed us that Lodi actually has more acres in grapes than Napa and Sonoma combined. Hmmm. It was so nice to be outdoors, with shorts. Very cute whirly gigs - found one for my grandson for Christmas. Bottom left photo you can see Mt. Shasta with its top in a cloud - we were a bit concerned that there might be snow on the ground, but sunshine was with us.

And then I thought, I hadn't been doing anything sew-y, but in fact discovered a couple of things that I just work on as I get the time and have managed to finish up a couple. And so:

For my friend who would eat chicken teriyaki 3 meals a day, I thought this seemed appropriate. Not sure how I will finish it, but it was fun to do. The other is a wholecloth pillow cover I bought last year in Houston (International Quilt Show) to practice my handquilting stitches. I seem to be able to get them fairly even but by golly they aren't very small. Oh well - I'm told to just keep practicing and practicing.

Other projects:

Humbug bags I've made as samples for an informal class I will teach later today, practicing my hand applique with this little morning glory blossom. [I like it better with the darker flower, I think.] Maybe I can come up with some use for these. The blocks with the gold are for my large quilt guild's block swap. More of those to come for next month.

Phew! There you have it. This retirement is sure tiring! But I do recommend it to any and all! Life is good.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Rain in California stays mainly on the plain

Well, I'm here in rainy California. In fact, it started last night and continued through most of today. It has, however (8:45pm) stopped for the moment. We shall see what tomorrow brings. I left the soggy northwest expecting sun and sun, but right at the moment, no such luck.

I have no photos of the Women's RVing event - actually I have photos on my camera but forgot the USB cable. So those will have to wait, if any turned out, for next week. I'll add something just because it makes it so much more fun to read with photos.

This photo is from our vacation this past summer in Montana, on our way to Glacier National Park. I just loved these trees. We were told that they are all actually from one major root system and are like lilac suckers and just pop up in little clumps like this.

Leaving California on Sunday returning to the northwest.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Bits and Pieces

Sorry - no photos, today. Been working on the 'pink' family (below) and being sure that I have the thing in the right order. Some (many?) of my seams didn't align, so have done quite a fair amount of 'unsewing' in order to get them more lined up. I mostly used the "U" shaped pins at the seam intersections. They seemed to help some, but didn't resolve all my issues. Thoughts or suggestions?

Last week-end was the Autumn Leaf Festival in the Bavarian-esque town of Leavenworth, in the Cascade Mountains. It was cold enough Friday night that the RV furnace came on several times. It was 42` when we got up - Brrrr. But by noon it had warmed up enough that we were able to sit outdoors at a lovely Italian restaurant and watch the annual Autumn Leaf parade. There were marching groups and floats and several bands. Several small towns send their local Princesses to this parade, as well as both middle school and high school bands. Quite fun! Of course, Leavenworth has a very lovely, albeit crowded, quilt store. I did manage to find some yard goods that just called my name and a new table runner pattern. So, I feel I did my civic duty to aid the local economy. :->

Heading to northern California on Friday for the annual women RVers convention. I have never been before. Will report on our return in about 10 days. Keep sewing!!!!