Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunny Sunday in Seattle

As I have been known to whine about our weather, I must also comment when it is simply georgous and it has been for the past several days. Friday evening was picnic supper at a nearby park, on Lake Washington.

Yesterday I tried my hand at Stack and Whack. Really a straight-forward concept, requiring some precision in pinning and cutting, but beyond that - "piece of cake". There were 6 of us, so we got a lot of the instructor's time and attention.

While we had such a slow start to spring, all the spring fruit has been a bit late to come in, but the strawberries are here, now! Yeah! --- thus what was required? Freezer jam!

I think I see toast for breakfast in my future. Life is tasty!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Potpourri

Monday was StoneSoup Quilts. I am not a Quaker myself, but really enjoy participating in this group supported by the North Seattle Friends church. Each Monday we gather to assemble kits that can be made into quilts. The tops are returned to the church and another group assembles the quilt 'sandwich' (batting and backing), another finds binding and attach that and then they are quilted. Many hands touch these quilts. These become beautiful realities that are passed on to patients at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Center (and a couple of other facilities). One of our members, Sharon, died this past week, from cancer, and we are all diminshed by her passing.

Tuesday I was one of the leaders at Camp Stitch-a-lot. The CTA's in Snohomish county have a two week summer "camp" for 8-18 year olds to learn and perfect their sewing skills. It was exhausting but great fun. The kids bring their own machines and fabric. We (CTA's) supply adults, thread, advice and snacks. What an adventure. They started with little squares to make charity baby quilts. They moved on to alphabet pillows. Later in the week they will start on pajama bottoms and tops. The advanced group, in early July, will make bedroom accessories: window valance, bulletin board, bed pillows, etc.

Wednesday I got to use the little Dutch cookbook that Jacqueline (from Crazy Exchange) had sent me. I made the Apricot Butter Cake (aprikozen botterkoek). Oh my that was right next to heavenly! I brought half of it along with me and my former Dutch (language) teacher to visit some of her private students who had recently traveled to the Netherlands. As we had all chatted before their trip, this was a report back and seeing photos and enjoying a wonderful cup of tea and cake. They also brought some very typical Dutch cake - a heavier, fruit cake. (Deventerkoek). A calorically delightful time.

Yesterday I was a volunteer usher for a local production of a Noel Coward review, entitled "A Marvelous Party -The Noel Coward Celebration". And marvelous it was. So very well done: 3 men and a gal, sang and danced and kept us all tapping our toes throughout the 2 hours. You are, of course, familiar with the song, "Let's Do It - let's fall in love". They even managed to write several new, timely and topical verses to that song. The house was in stitches. So for a bit of ticket-taking I got to enjoy this delightful production. If it comes your way, take it in.

Today, bless the Gods that be, the sun is shining and predicted to be about 80`. Now isn't that just what is supposed to be happening? And it happens that we are celebrating our friend Diane's birthday with a picnic supper on the shores of Puget Sound. So I musn't let the morning go on too long without getting started on my part of the food contributions, including a little birthday cake, of course. And tomorrow I will stack and whack-it. Ah - life IS good.

I forgot to say, I'm still working on putting the border on my block quilt:

And the mock oranage is blooming just outside the back door:

You know it's good!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Got the wrong picture up of the brown pelicans. I will try again here:


Never in a rut!

I really am so fortunate that I get to do lots and lots of things. Life is never dull. Some of you know that I belong to a women's RVing group and we have monthly outings. Just returned this evening from another doozie. But before I tell you about that, when we arrived home there was a parcel on my doorstep. Somehow it seems that I often get these parcels when I'm out of town, so what a marvelous "welcome home" with a goodie package. This was from Edda in Iceland. She and I are part of the Crazy Exchange and she was sending me a package in return for one I had sent her. The very nicest part of this package was a beautiful biscornu which she made for me. I didn't have one and I had seen them on the exchange and hoped that I would get one - and here it is. A beautiful rose linen with varigated thread in colors of peach and rose and teal. Oh so georgous! [I think the name is french - I didn't know about them before this group. Beautiful stitching.]

Camping this week-end was at the Pacific ocean, at a place called Long Beach (because it has a long beach - yeah, yeah, yeah). The weather wasn't bad at all, not overly windy and we were able to ride our bicycles into town from the RV park - about 5 miles. We found Anna Lena's Quilt Store which I have patronized before. Beautiful fabric. She also has killer fudge - especially the cranberry/walnut from cranberries grown right there. After that uplifting time, we headed down to the beach for the Doggie Olympics. LongBeach has a no-kill animal shelter and this is their major fund-raiser. Each dog and owner pay a small fee to enter and there were events from noon until almost 4pm. Some of these folks [two and four legged varieties] are real competitors and those were coveted medals they won: gold, silver or bronze (colored). Which dog will shed the most when brushed for 3 minutes, which dog can run the "bases" of a baseball diamond and follow a different command at each base, which dog licks the peanut butter off the spoon fastest, and they ended with a small agility ring. Each event had the competition divided into small, medium and large dogs. Everything from the pekinese (sp?) in the pink tutu running across the teeter-totter in agility, to the great dane loping around the bases. [Interestingly, her owner was deaf and she responded solely to hand signals - and she won!] Really delightful.

Can you see the line of brown pelicans swooping over the ocean? (I think you can click to enlarge the photo)

After some lunch in town we headed back to our little abodes, along a marvelous paved walking/bicycle trail through the dunes. Even the deer weren't bothered when we pedaled past.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dotting "T" 's and Crossing "I" 's

Oh it feels so good to finish up things that have been left hanging - some for a long time. I'm sure you never have this happen, but I'm afraid that from time to time, I intend to do something but somehow don't get there. So it is with great satisfaction that I can show you my scraps:

This is before and after.

I have sorted those pieces less than a quarter of a yard (or fat quarters or thereabouts) into plastic bags, by color, and by type of fabric, i.e. flannel versus cotton versus crazy quilt-type fabrics. There is also a bag for white fabrics and one for muslin. Does this seem a bit obsessive? It helps me to be able to find pieces when I'm looking for them. If I will take the time to put the scraps in the right bag - after cutting - then voila, they are easy to find another time. I know, I know, I've told myself this before, but what is life but a series of re-starts and that's good.

I have also been working on the border for the crazy mom quilt-a-long, started several months ago. I did have to move two blocks once it was assembled - having two of the same (or very close to the same) next to each other, which sort of missed the point of the scrappy-ness. So with the sashing and scrappy cornerstones, I was quite happy with this. So now what border? A friend suggested that it really called for a "piano keys" scrappy border.

I tried that and it was waaaaayyyy too busy. It just totally took away from the blocks. So next plan was to try the seminole piecing, with scrappy centers.

I'm quite satisfied with this look and will just keep stitching and cutting. I'm throwing them into a paper bag and pulling them out. Unless it is the same center, they get sewn onto the chain. Very random. I think that one of the things that makes a quilt so special, is the psychic energy (or whatever you want to call it) that goes into each one, as you work away on it and think about the intended recipient. There is much love and good wishes around and between each piece. This will be a wedding gift, made and given with loads of love. L and J - this is for you.

Finally, for today, I finished these two little blocks. I know they don't read my blog, so I can show you. Our quilt guild co-presidents are completing a two year term and so everyone is being asked to make these two blocks, one for each of them. I don't know for sure, but I think there are about 200 members of this guild, so if even a small portion make blocks, each president will have lots of blocks to make a quilt from. One set will be in blues and one is black and brights. Fun, huh?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm in a learning mode

This past week has been a time to try out several different techniques and figure out which ones I really enjoy (or not so much). I have been doing machine satin stitch around the blue and yellow block for Baltimore Blues. I guess I like it OK, but somehow tracing, cutting and glue-ing (ironing) takes a very long time and I'm not sure I love it that much. (back a couple of blogs)

I have been playing with applique. I so love the look of applique and want mine to be fine and beautiful. NOT YET! So practice, practice, practice. I find points, as in the ends of leaves, especially difficult to do well. This was a little piece I played with yesterday while I was watching the Netherlands play France in the EUFA soccer. The stem, some of the leaves and the flower were done with freezer paper on top and applique along that edge. Not too bad. I also tried the freezer paper removed from the front and ironed onto the back with the edges ironed over. Seemed like a good idea, in theory, but I had some difficulties and actually took off that flower. Will try another technique I think. I first learned applique from
Becky Goldsmith (needle/toothpick turn) and am fairly successful with that. I have watched videos from Nancy Chong (needle turn)and love her Hawaiian quilts. How do you do applique?

In a couple of weeks I will be taking a Stack and Whack class. I think I may be one of the last people in the world who has NOT taken one of these classes, yet, but soon I will have. You've seen my four patch posies, all based on the same idea, but this will make 60` hexagons. So I can add that to my repertoire. Fabric purchased:

There is an old Pennsylvania expression: Too soon old and too late smart. Do I resemble that remark? I'm working to make it not apply. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This must be what teachers feel like

It's June and the craziness is just about finished. I think I may soon have my life back under control and that will be marvelous. Working backwards: today was the last day of my refugee ladies sewing group. We had a very fun potluck lunch - a new concept for many of them.

Monday was the CTA graduation. Two of our number were away from the big to-do, but the rest of us were there to celebrate. Is anyone else, out there in cyberspace, also a CTA?

Saturday was a big potluck at church in commemoration of the the retirement of our senior pastor. How he will be missed. And Sunday's service had quite a few tears. Friday night was a 'welcome to town' party we gave for friends from Anapolis, MD. [with lots of dirty dishes left over] :-(

I did a bit of baby-sitting for my friend Danielle last week, as she had some medical appointments. She encouraged me with these fabulous roses.

And a teensy bit of sewing did get done - put these block in a box squares together. With a bit of a border we should have a fine lap quilt done.