Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sewing and Stitchery Expo

This is a great 4 day event held in the nearby town of Puyallup. This is the 26th year. Typically there are more than 20,000 attendees. In the publicity it is described as "Four days of sewing and quilting action jam-packed with hundred of booths, classes, hands-on workshops, Free Stage Style Shows and daily special events." You really should consider making a trip out this way. 2011 dates are March 3-6. It is terrific fun. More than enough inspiration to last until the next year. One could manage to spend hundreds (no, thousands) of dollars, if they aren't really careful. I just spent Friday this year, as I didn't take any classes. In previous years I've taken as many as 13 classes over 3 days. One has to allow enough time for serious shopping, plus a lunch and coffee break with a scone.

Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to Puyallup without this:

I cannot hang-out in the sewing room until the house is ready for out-of-towners (my one little piece of self-discipline) so have only one small project to show you. I had started this one months ago and just finally got it finished. It is above my desk. Yeah!

Still enjoying the Olympics, but it soon will be over. Alas!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday This and That

It's hard to get lots done between Olympic events. Quite a few Northwest competitors - it's fun to follow along with their successes and less-than successes. It's great!

My between activities have included a couple of borders, including this one (that you have seen before)

I'm liking it. I think I will look for something special for the back when I'm fabric shopping with my Dutch quilt buddies, in a couple of weeks.
Woo Hoo!

Finished a chicken for my poor, frustrated friend Ronda,
She had it all cut out - I just had to put it together. But I have to say (again) that it is difficult.

For the quilt guild retreat, we are making black and white string blocks which will be raffled off
at some point over the week-end - just because it will be fun,

And then just because, I've been cutting scraps to make 2 inch - 2 patches - a la Bonnie Hunter.

As I will be having houseguests in a couple of weeks, I had better get out of the sewing room and behind the vacuum cleaner. My hand is entirely healed up, so that isn't a good excuse. We'll be documenting that visit for you to follow along. :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Really Using Scraps

All this beautiful weather makes all of us (including the flowers) think that spring is here. We are scheduled to have weather in the mid to high 50's, at least until next Wednesday. Imagine that!

Our Quilt guild's up-coming spring retreat has a theme of "Spring Chicken" (ahar, ahar). So we have decided that for table 'favors' we are making chicken hot mitts. They are pretty cute but doggone they are a lot of trouble to make. All the layers tend to slip and as you have to stitch really close to the edge, it's easy to miss one or more of the layers. Most frustrating! But I have managed to complete one.

But on to scraps. [Back story: friend Ronda made a Courthouse Steps about a year ago. She had almost a shopping bag full of left over 1 1/4" strips. Of course, who could say "no" when she offered them to a new home. I have been mulling over what to do with them. I used a few in the Grandma blocks I made at Christmas Time.] I took some strips and started piecing them. First I just made blocks and sashed them.

Not sure what happens next but then decided why not use my old faithful pattern for wine bottle gift bags. They were a bit bulky but did work just fine,

Cute, huh? Is it my Scotch heritage? but it sure feels good to be putting those strips to a 'good' use.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mid week

I promise not to focus on this, but I gotta whine for a minute. For reasons unknown to anyone on the west coast, NBC has chosen to delay Olympics broadcasts from live (we are in the same time zone as Vancouver) to a delayed broadcast, of Olympic events. Normally we would have watched the events live on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) -forget NBC- but because CBC didn't get the contract to cover the games, we have no option but wait from 7-8pm (it varies) to midnight (!) to watch. Oh come on! Enough.

Somehow I had a wild hair last night and made a breakfast casserole for today. I had some left over challah bread and saved some asparagus from dinner and just added swiss and parmesan cheese. (of course, milk and eggs too). Well, this is the remainder after breakfast. Yup - it went down really well.

Watching Olympics (to the middle of the night!) necessitates some hand work. I had purchased the quilt top, made the back and my friend Alayne quilted it. Found this nice black with little leaves for the border - King sized quilt

Gift for my brother. I think it will be well received.

Unfortunately today must be a paperwork day for CTA. I'll have to squeeze in a few minutes of sewing sometime. At church I'm a mentor for a fabulous 16 year old gal and she and I have a tea date this afternoon. Great fun!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Holiday Fun

Today the 3 grands (and their Mama) came over and we celebrated Chinese New Year - the Year of the Tiger. We really had a great time. We used a red tablecloth - red being the appropriate color of the celebration. The children wore red shirts. Nana found some swell paper plates and napkins at the costume and display store.

DD and I had planned the menu and so she made a noodle salad with a peanut sauce/dressing while the children and Nana made dumplings/pot stickers. We used purchased wrappers but made our mixture of ground turkey, napa cabbage, some ginger, green onion, soy sauce and sesame oil. After it is all 'mooshed' together, then a small spoonful goes into each wrapper. The edge is wetted and then it is sealed. They are boiled twice and then can be (we did this for part of the 45 we made) pan fried. They really were great and the kids seemed to quite enjoy the whole process.

Nana also managed to find a sheet of temporary tatoos - oh so festive

It was great fun to have lots of small dishes with extra peanuts, with cucumber pieces and with dipping sauce for the dumplings. The kids got "into it" and made little origami boxes (OK so we have our asian countries a bit mixed up, but it was close) and because it was the year of the Tiger, we brought the Tiger they had - a Webkins Tiger - for the table. Also made some paper lanterns. All in all, quite a festive celebration and they loved being part of putting it together.

And because the weather cooperated, we were able to cap off the afternoon with a trip to the park. Oh such a fun holiday!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday update

Here is my favorite mug. Think about it!

The only real instructions I had re my hand was 'keep it dry'. So with plastic bag and lots of masking tape, I headed off for the shower. (NO PHOTOS!) Well, not perfect as things were a bit damp but I can report being clean - if not lovely. Next shower time, we'll have to reconsider the bagging arrangements.

I am happy to report that I have lots of movement with my hand, so I have been working on the binding on my brother's Christmas quilt (no, no - last year's - just late, although he was out of town until just last week). Looking forward to watching the Olympics and stitching binding. The soup for dinner is on low. Oh, life is good!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Limited for a few days

I knew this was coming so have been trying to get several projects well on their way. So I will be limited for a few days. [surgery only took 30 minutes]

Can you tell which finger it was?

Back to normal by next week!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, partly cloudy and 54`

My son telephoned from Washington, D.C. The federal government is closed for the day (again) because of the snow. And here we are thinking it's almost spring. I can even see a daffodil blooming, in the back yard, along with some crocus (what is the plural of that?) Sorry!

Been enjoying doing some catch up chores, preparing for a retreat and things like that. So to show you,
Finishing adding borders to the Bonnie Hunter Christmas mystery from Quiltmaker magazine (Christmas Lights). I have been toying with the idea of taking it to my friend Alayne's and trying out my skills on her longarm machine. Don't know about that. Suggestions?

In 2000 I started collecting reproductions of original block prints from the Dutch East Indies Company. These are available through an incredible shop in Amsterdam called Den Haan and Wagenmakers . The gentlemen who originally started this have sold the shop, but it is still in the same location selling fabrics to "die for". [and they are still producing reproductions of the originals] These do cost a 'pretty penny' (to American pocket books) so I have only bought a few pieces at a time. But I think that at last I have a sufficient variety to do a blue and cream quilt and have washed these and put them aside to cut and begin stitching at the Q.A. Quilt retreat in April. Oh so exciting. And aren't they just fabulous?

Friday the letter carrier rang my bell and look what she had for me?

Bonnie Hunter's brand new book. Oh my word, but it is delightful. Talk about busting your stash - right down to the 2 inch squares. In many ways, these quilts sort of build themselves as you stitch the squares while you are making other things. (at the beginning and ending - i.e. leaders and enders - of other things you are stitching, instead of a little patch of fabric that start your stitching on.)

And for this week, a big thank you to whomever cleaned out their closet recently. At the Goodwill I made another find - about 8 yards of fabric. It is perfect for the back of something, anyway. And are your ready for this? $6.99

Pretty good start to this week, yeah? Life is good!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Interesting Few Days

Over this past week-end, our church's annual womens' retreat, challenged and inspired 100 women. Our speaker was Jan Phillips, a very interesting woman from California. I'm not sure I can give you a succinct summary of our discussions. We sang, heard poetry, wrote our own poetry/prose and spent time considering how to be creative and use that creativity to help solve issues in our lives. And as the women of the church, how to 'hold' other women in their challenges. It was a refreshing and uplifting time. We were at the church's summer camp.

I have also managed to get a couple of projects moved along. As I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, this is what I made for my Winter exchange. I suppose it could go on a table top or I have put a hanging sleeve on the back. It is about 22 inches square.

This is a pattern I saw last year on the Westfallenstoffe website. I believe it says (altho it is in German) that this is from EQ. I bought the fabric when I was in Germany last March visiting with Caroline. And then I ran out of the solid green and she had to get me some more. [Note to Self: no more patterns in a language that you do not know using metric measurements! Yikes]

Here's the start of the log cabin stars lap quilt. Each of those large squares is approx. 22 inches square. There will be a total of 9 large squares plus borders.

I think that's all the news from around here. How are things with you?