Friday, May 30, 2008


[photo from Betty Reynolds, Oct. 2001] Oklahoma Nine Patch My quilting group, named StashBusters, makes a quilt each year to be raffled off by a neighborhood center. This, in turn, covers the cost of our rent to use space at the senior center for our every other week gatherings. This is an approximation of what we are doing next. Each member made between 30 and 40 nine-patch squares - cut 1-3/4". We put our lights in the #1 and #3 positions (top left and top right) and then used totally scrappy darks. We will be doing our triangles in a brick-colored marble and a cream light. I really think it will be quite attractive (and certainly a far journey from our Judy Niemeyer Sunflower from last year). Just so you don't think I have been sitting around looking "cute".

On the home front, I have finished up the baby quilt for my DIL's sister and that family's first grandchild. Much excitement

And I got the horizontal sashing on my Crazy Mom Quilts - Quilt-a-long blocks. Not a great photo, but it gives you the general idea. I plan to use the muslin for a vertical sashing with scrappy cornerstones. Border ideas are still 'in the works'.

Bring on the sunshine!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May is almost over

Well, my good intentions seem to have evaporated (for more regular updates). Alas, life has been keeping me away from the computer - but that's not all bad. Starting with the sewing activities: I had a great visit with the gal who will be quilting my White Chocolate "child" [it has been over 9 months, so this child is sorely overdue by now]. She helped me with some accurate measurements and a decision regarding another border or not. (yes, to the border) I also needed advice regarding the backing. I was going to use a pieced backing. I headed to the quilt fabric store, to look for fabric for my backing, as I didn't have enough of the wonderful Moda "Shangri-La" that I had recently found to add to the 25 fabrics I already have in it. I do have enough and will use this for the last border. Well, the quilting Gods were smiling upon me, as they had exactly 3 yards of the backing size (108") of Shangri-La. So, forget the pieced back and onto a lovely, lovely back.

The backing is on the right - and you may be able to see that it is just a teensy bit darker, which is just fine. So I have my work cut out for me and Alayne is ready to take it later in June. Yeah!

A while ago I bought a series of Patterns called Baltimore Blues from Sindy Rodenmayer. I had thought that perhaps I would try my hand at needle-turn applique. But my skills are not that good, so decided to try my hand at using Steam-a-seam.

This turned out pretty well, so now to do the machine work. Whether or not I will manage all nine, I'm not sure.

We had a delightful camping week-end over Memorial Day, with our RV group. We did the annual triathelon (bocce ball, ladder golf and horseshoes) on Saturday and while my performance was pretty mediocre, it was fun. On Sunday we had a fund-raising auction and I purchased a charming bag made by my friend Miriam - a fairly new quilter.

And arriving home on Monday, I discovered a parcel on the front porch from Crazy Exchanger, Pascale from Belgium. A flannel table topper, shopping list, thread, patterns, scissors and fob and a Dutch quilting magazine. Aren't I lucky?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

Another week has gone flying by and I've been doing my best to keep up. How did I ever find time to work, with all the rest of these things that are going on? So to back up: CTA training (I think I'm a week behind in reporting) May 5 we learned about color and design, body proportion and fabric pests (yuk). This past Monday was a regular CTA meeting and the training portion covered threads. (2 hrs. worth)

Last Saturday was "collecting" on an auction item I had purchased over a year ago. A local chef came to my home, along with the 4 other co-purchasers and we made ourselves dinner. No ordinary dinner, mind you - we started with Panzanella (bread salad), pumpkin gnocchi with sage/butter sauce, osso bucco with onion confit and braised fennel and for dessert a poached pear with vanilla cream and chocolate sauce. We also had delightful adult beverages to go along with the first 3 courses. I think every pan and dish in the house got used, but it was fun. 3pm until 9pm.

Sunday, Mother's Day, was very nice. I had received beautiful lavender roses from my son and daughter sent a card (and we chatted on the phone). [she is just finishing up a course on web design AND is mama to my 3 best grandkids!] After church we had tickets to the Symphony Pops series - the last of 5 concerts. As it was the last one, we decided to use our swap coupon and changed our seats from our regular ones in the 3rd balcony, to 'best available'. We were on the main floor, Row L. Perfect! It was all Romantic music from the movies. Such fun!

This week has been trying to pull things together. #1 tidying the sewing room. I realize that I am really very lucky to have a whole room, just for me, where I can leave all my sewing things - tidy or not. But one could hardly get through the door, so it was time! The fabric shelves, while not as beautiful as Karen's she did have some help. (whine!!!) I also managed to get all the fat quarters (and similarly sized pieces) into the little drawer unit I bought myself last year.

Tuesday night when shopping at Costco, I located a box with 225 plastic sheet protectors - perfect for holding those quilt patterns I have downloaded or scribbled on little pieces of paper (and can't find later). In fact, I stuck them into notebooks and now have several on the shelf. When Caro arrives in September she is going to have lots and lots of reading/looking for those nights when she can't sleep because of jet lag. :->

Here are the little flannels I found at the unique fabric store. One has actually become a little blanket for my physical therapist's new baby. Lucky I finished it this week, as he said I'm "finished", as of yesterday. Good news, really. No more P.T. appointments.

Just because I wanted to see how it would look, I took one of the nickel packs I had bought and made a little sample. Of course, I can't remember a specific name, but you know the one I mean: make a 9 patch, crosscut it into 4 pieces and reassemble it. It's kind of cute. Now I just need to figure out what is next.

Today is take the car into the Ford dealer - change the brake fluid. I need some hand work to do. Then going to take a look at a camping place south of here. I'm responsible for all the sites for next year's (2009) RV monthly rallies. It's turned out to be harder than I anticipated. We are a large group and many parks don't want to be bothered with week-enders. They much prefer (understandably) full-timers or at least long-timers. Doesn't make my job easy. Alas! But at this point, we are still going - high gas or no! Life is good!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"I am a material girl. . . . "

I really do try to think of cute, little titles for these entries - believe it or not. As a child, my father would always write the tags for the Christmas packages, and each would be a clue as to what was inside. I thought that was so clever and wanted to be able to do the same thing. So can you guess what I'm writing about today?

On my way home from the CTA classes I pass a Goodwill store. I will often stop in to peruse the aisles for any left-over fabrics. Gold mine this week! Found a very nice, soft yellow-tan. I was sure it was cotton, but after washing it, I did a burn test - and no polyester. And the best part: approximately ten yards for two dollars and fifty cents. Yup! It had a pink tag and it was 50% off. Fabulous, no?

I was able to get a few photos with the sewing class. These ladies are very reluctant about having their pictures taken, but allowed these as they were for my purposes only. The locale of the center where we teach the classes, the sewing classroom (with another teacher and one student), our field trip to the (most unusual) fabric store, yesterday, two of my students with their selected fabrics and other items for sale at the store.

This particular fabric store specialized in fabrics for unique markets: Pakistani, Indian, Cambodian and Vietnamese, African, etc. Lots and lots of beaded and embroidered fabrics, silks, crepe, chiffons, etc. Only a few wools and cottons and flannels. Lots of stretch velour and 80" hawaiian prints and a wall full of beading and items to decorate your creations. It was quite amazing. And it was cheap! I think the most expensive thing I saw was a wool gaberdine, 60" wide for $7/yd. You will then not be surprised to learn that I did find a couple of things that just called after me: two different flannels for the myriad of baby quilts I'm having to produce just lately and a crepe backed satin for a replacement lining for one of my favorite wool jackets. [the jacket was fine, but the lining was in shreds]

Can't get the flannel picture to copy over. Oh well, another time. Happy fabrics.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fruit of the Vine

(Lots of photos, non-quilty)
(Quilty blog to follow later this week)

We just returned from a very fun and informative week-end. A dear friend and her brothers organized a trip to eastern Washington for 36 friends. Washington state is second only to California in amount of wine produced, with somewhere between 500 and 700 wineries. (we got conflicting information). There are acres and acres of land devoted to grape vines and it is a BIG business. On Friday after work we boarded a chartered bus and headed to the town of Yakima, on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. There were hearty snacks before we boarded the bus and loads and loads of snacks onboard. While driving along, we had wine trivia games, with prizes and also door prizes, just because. [all wine related] We arrived in Yakima approximately 9pm.

At 9am on Saturday morning we headed out to visit the first of six wineries. It was, in fact, highly informative to learn the proper way to taste (sip, slurp, smack and breathe) wines. Each vineyard was most welcoming and happy to answer all our questions - many of them pretty basic. We learned the difference between aging in stainless steel and aging in oak, and talked about corks and screw tops and even wine in boxes (originated in Australia). Our organizers had made everyone a name tag as well as providing us labels to put on wine boxes, so that we could each file away our purchases underneath the bus, in our own box. People were tired but feeling enthused about our new knowledge by the end of the day.

This morning we gathered a bit earlier, as we were driving further east, from Yakima. First stop was a family owned farm where they grow both grapes and hops (for beer). We made two further stops, one before lunch and one afterwards. Each was referred to as a Wine "Village", with multiple vintners at each. The first had 5 wineries represented and the second with 8. These were more like little shops where they sold wine, but were not where the grapes were grown (as opposed to Saturday, when we were out on peoples farms.) While Saturday was a bit grey and dreary, today was gorgeous sunshine. Each day we had a picnic lunch, arranged by our organizers. They really outdid themselves. We all learned a lot, had great fun and will get to sip throughout the summer, hopefully remembering all we learned.

Beginning our wine tasting lessons:

Lots of apple orchards:

Hops on the right; grapes on the left:

Hop growing: