Saturday, September 30, 2006

This is one of the quilts you could spy yesterday. I got several requests for a better look. I started out making 'Wild Things' from Primitive Pieces by Lynda Hall. After I competed the applique pieces, I remembered the wonky crows I had lying around from a previously abandoned quilt. As luck would have it there were just enough to make the alternate strips. The result was a slightly narrower quilt than Lynda's pattern. Because of it's narrow size I have been able to display it around the house in places where nothing else fits. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 29, 2006

After several futile attempts at putting up a short video, I am going finally going to post some photos of our nearly finished, freshly repainted bedroom. We started this project just before Labor Day, completed the bulk of the work, then took a nice, long rest. This week things were hung on the walls again and it's starting to look like a bedroom again.

It has been a journey for us. This room has been painted four colors now. We started with the contractor's choice - Navajo White. Next I selected a pale green. Pretty enough on the paint chip but felt like we were sleeping inside a carton of pistachio ice cream. We went back to a neutral color - sisal. We like it fine but our livingroom and hallway are that color, too. Didn't feel like we had much imagination.

Here we are with Camilla Sage. I still can't make sense of the name, but I sure like the color. The first picture is the little hallway that enters into the room. The door on the right is a linen closet.

The next photo is looking back toward that hallway. The open doorway at the right edge goes into the bath. If you turn right at the leather backpack (a future 'Favorite Things' subject) you would be headed back out the hallway that you just came in.
This picture shows 'my side of the room'. Some of my very favorite photographs from over the years, a few special stuffed animals including one made from my grandma's mink coat, an Winnie-the-Pooh painting I did for Hubby some years back.
This photo shows the last part of the room to be decorated. We didn't put things back on the wall in the same places they were. That left this whole wall with nothing on it. I know just the quilt I want to make to display here. Remember that stack of brushed cottons from a few weeks back. I have them all ironed and ready to cut. This won't be a blank wall for long. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The fall decorations are getting put out slowly, but surely. This year I am trying to find new places to display them, so it's taking a bit longer than normal to put up.
This is a little Fall Valentine I made for Hubby a couple of years back. The verse was from a card I sent him many years ago. I always remembered and liked it. I drew it all out on paper just doodling and decided I could convert it to embroidery quite easily.
The green stripe fabric at the top is my favorite fabric of all time. I only have about a fat quarter of it left. I'm quite particular about when I am willing to use some -- especially for a gift. Hubby was an easy choice.
I haven't been at the sewing machine for many days now. It's not bothering me because I have several hand projects that are on going and I'm getting in my quilt-y time that way. I am close to completing the punched rug -- maybe one more evening. I have my ever present hexagons and a hand quilting project that I have not yet shared. I know exactly what I'm going to start on next -- just feel like I should finish something up before I begin another. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

We live in a great town. I suppose it is technically a city. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 residents. The western border is the Pacific Ocean. To the north, east and south you simply cross a street and your in the next town. Still it feels like a small community here. There is a lot of civic pride, support for the schools, the arts and even public art, which during the 90's was a hot bed topic. We are willing, and do, close our streets at the drop of a hat in order to host events that support the community or bring people to it. We have a marathon in the winter, a world-class 5-K event in the spring, twice a year we have a one-day craft fair that is the largest in the state. During other times there are small antique shows, the twice weekly farmer's market. Today was 'ArtSplash!'
This annual event raises money for the arts in the public schools. A street is closed off, freshly coated with whatever the stuff is to make it nice and black and area merchants and businesses buy a piece of the street. Various artists work over the two day event to bring these chalk drawings to life. It is really something to see.
The artists are happy to talk to you while they work and usually have portfolios of previous drawings they have done. It's a little sad to me that they work so hard to make something so wonderful and tomorrow commuters will be driving right over their work.
This year there were several pieces that must be viewed from a certain spot in order to get the proper perspective. Because they want you to get the best view, the artists marked the best view spot with tape. These are fun to look at, but they seem to look much better in the photos than they did in real life.
Hubby and I favor the self-portrait drawings, like the first photo, and recreating old world paintings such as the 3rd photo. This year included several undersea-scapes, mermaids and a few fantasy pieces. There is also an area where regular people can purchase a small square and have a try. We haven't gotten the nerve yet. Maybe someday - after some practice on the patio. I love sidewalk chalk and Hubby is quite talented when it comes to drawing.
This last photo is the view from ArtSplash to the ocean. We were on a hill just a little over a mile from the beach. We were lucky to have 'Chamber of Commerce' weather today - no fog and no clouds. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I have seen so many of your pincushions this last week and wanted to share my collection. What I noticed when I began gathering was I seem to have a chicken theme happening. I don't have chickens anywhere else in my home. I wonder how this happened?
Starting from the left is a wool tomato (pumpkin?) that was a souvenir from my MIL's trip to Keepsake Quilting. It is my everyday pincushion and lives by the sewing machine. The red chicken is a spoolie I made from a Gooseberry Patch book. It serves as my hand stitching cushion and stays by my chair within easy reach.
The little beeskep I made for my mom at Camp Fire Girls probably when I was 9 or 10. (Does anyone else remember having their pigtails adorned with the thick yarn a la Cindy Brady?) I don't use this one -- it's' just like Mom left it.
The log cabin chicken was a class project and lives in the tote box I use to carry supplies back and forth to class. My teacher likes to tease about stabbing the chicken. I like to spread the pins out to look like a full plumed tail and never, ever put pins in the eyes.
The needle keeper in the front was made by my MIL for a Christmas gift. It came stuffed with a little cash for a shopping spree *s* This little helper goes with me to my friendship group or when I travel with only hand sewing.
Somewhere around here I have a traditional red tomato with a little strawberry attached just like Mom and Grandma had. Also I have instructions for some make-do pincushions. I don't think I really need more, but I sure do want them. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 22, 2006

Look at what was in my mailbox yesterday. Melanie sent the sweetest of fabric postcards to me. Fall is my favorite time of year and crows and pumpkins are among my favorite images. The stamp is still in tact and it has been hand-cancelled. The perfect pick me up during a week that has had some up's and down's.

I worked on the punched rug quite a bit yesterday. (The one with the pumpkin and crow *s*) The inner background is almost completely filled in. I hope to get the outer background done over the weekend. Then the question is: What to do with it? Right now I'm going between framing or turning into a pillow. Any thoughts?

Yesterday's post had a picture of a quilt on my bed with a repeat paragraph about the punch rug. I have taken to copying my posts to a word file until I'm sure that Blogger has not eaten it. Blogger was hungry yesterday and I had to cut and paste my post over a couple of times. What I intended to share was the quilt on the bed is a project I completed last week. I had shown the top in a previous post. Now it is quilted and bound and has found a temporary home on my bed. The pattern is from Buggy Barn and uses half square triangles to make up the Lone Star design. I made a traditional Lone Star in my early quilting career with lumpy success. I love the colors in this one and the fact it came out flat. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I have been a little out of the loop for the last day or two. Bloggers and quilters are very prolific -- there are so many posts to catch up on. I have been reading and enjoying them all. I might not take a moment to comment at every place I visit, but I'll try to get back on track with regular visits after today.

I have been working on the punched rug. It is fun and very mindless. I am cutting strips as I go and that seems to be working well. While the pattern gives fabric amounts, I didn't want to cut it all into 1/4" strips -- what to do with the left overs? I wouldn't want to attempt stitching them into something. This way I cut a bunch, punch them in then go back and cut some more. If I do this type of project again, I will have a better idea of what it takes to fill in an area without too many leftover strips.
I have been working on the punched rug. It is fun and very mindless. I am cutting strips as I go and that seems to be working well. While the pattern gives fabric amounts, I didn't want to cut it all into 1/4" strips -- what to do with the left overs? I wouldn't want to attempt stitching them into something. This way I cut a bunch, punch them in then go back and cut some more. If I do this type of project again, I will have a better idea of what it takes to fill in an area without too many leftover strips. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I had a lot of comments and questions about the rug project I showed yesterday. While I am certainly not qualified to offer any sort of tutorial, I'm happy to show some pictures of the tool I use and what I have done so far.

The tool is called The Oxford Punch Needle. It came in this nice box with a detailed booklet of instructions -- that I completely ignored. The tool came pre-threaded with a piece of yarn. I carefully re-threaded it using fabric and went on my merry way.

I did follow the instructions in the magazine (which are minimal at best.) They said I should begin with the pumpin. Using rotary cutter and ruler, I cut up a LOT of 1/4" strips of homespun fabric to use in the pumpkin. I had previously transferred the pattern to Monk's cloth. Once the strips were cut, I was ready to punch.

First I did the detail lines inside the pumpkin then started working from the outside - in. With strips of fabric 45" long, I was rethreading that little tool fairly often. Fortunately it's easy to thread. I'm thinking there must be a way to cut the strip so it is continuou ... like making miles of bias from a square of fabric. I will ponder this more before I cut the next color.
This is the backside of the project and the side that you work on. It's just a matter of punching and filling in the space now. There is a photo below that shows the front side so far.

I should have reversed the pattern before I transfered it. My finished product will be facing opposite of the model in the magazine. Also, I have never used Monk's cloth before. I should have put masking tape around the edges before I began.

I hope it's as clear as mud now. I'll post photos of my progress.
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Things are getting back to normal around here. Hubby was out of town on business last week. The plan was to sew morning, noon and night. It was a good plan. But life sometimes makes you change your plans and that's okay too. I began putting out some of the fall quilts and decorations. This quilt is called "Moonshine" by Lynda Hall. A fun, scrappy quilt that just happened to be done in autumn colors. It's not really as ruffly as it appears here. It has been covering the ottoman and has taken on the shape *s* I did machine quilt a top that had been waiting patiently and got the binding all stitched down. Also stitched the binding on a friend's quilt. So I didn't get to the new things I thought I would, but I found satisfaction in getting a couple of items off my plate.

In the mail, I got the new Create and Decorate. This further sidetracked me from my original plan. I found this pattern for a rug that I just knew I needed to have. It uses a technique like punch-needle using 1/4" fabric strips on monk's cloth. I happened to have the brushed cottons and homespuns that I needed. A quick trip to the store for monk's cloth and to enlarge the pattern and I'm all set. Today I'll be cutting 1/4" strips of fabric. I've not done this before, but it should be fun.

I made the first soup of the season yesterday afternoon. A very quick and easy one. We call it Fiesta Chicken Soup. Our Costco sells packages of pollo asado - seasoned, boneless, skinless chicken. I cook the chicken in chicken stock and allow it to cool. Shred the chicken and put it back in the stock along with a can of corn and reheat. Serve with crumbled corn chips and shredded cheddar cheese. Yummy. I'm looking forward to lots of soups -- even the 17 Bean Soup that The Princess dislikes so much. With my new bread baking skills it's going to be a delicious fall. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ooops. In yesterday's post I showed a photo of this quilt and said that I have it on display most of the year. This is a photo showing where it actually lives ... on top of a treadle sewing machine that we use as an end table.Because I have been too lazy to reload the digital camera software after Death of the Hard Drive 2006, I have been taking all of my digital photos with my cell phone. I quickly press a few buttons and the pictures magically show up in my email. The downside to this is the cell phone is not a high quality camera and pictures are much better when taken outside. In particular, the color of the walls always comes out with this odd green-ish cast that I can't seem to edit out.

So today I'm sharing a few photos of the backyard fence. I have taken to hanging my quilts there when I photograph them. I have gone so far as to just leave push pins in the wood so I don't have to fuss with carrying them out there in my pocket and stabbing myself in the leg.
All of the outdoor photos were taken spring after everything was freshly planted and not filled in. The plants were all so low, it seemed like we were just looking at a vast expanse of fence. I went to my favorite junk/antique store picked out a few things to break the monotony.

I was trying to make it seem like a garden room. Over the summer, some of the plants filled out nicely and thrived. Others didn't fare so well. Such is the fate of plants that come home with me -- they must be hearty and able to fend for themselves. I do my best, but I was not blessed with a green thumb.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the last couple of days, Patti shared some of her miniature quilts and Darlene showed a quilt made with tiny little 9-patches. Those posts reminded me of this quilt I made a few years back. I believe it is a Jo Morton pattern that was in American Patchwork and Quilting. The small 9-patches are 2" finished. I made it the very day the magazine came in the mail -- just pulled fabrics right off the shelf. When the pieces are so small it doesn't take much. The colors have a fall flare to them, but this quilt stays on display almost all year long.
I'm working on completing a couple of things that have been hanging over my head. Hopefully by the next post, I will have some newer work to share. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

A sweet surprise landed in my mailbox today. A few weeks back MayBritt asked the question: What do you think about blogging. I responded to her query and was lucky to be selected by MayBritt and her daughter to receive a prize *s* I went to my mailbox this morning and found this little package with a sweet note waiting there for me. This lovely fat quarter is sure to find the perfect home in quilt before we know it. I think the wise little owl will probably sit on my sewing table to give me guidance while I'm stitching. I have a friend whose husband has some health problems, but enjoys spending his time with a stamp collection. So even the stamps on the envelope will bring happiness to someone. Thank you MayBrit-what a fun package to receive.

*s*See my shoes peeking out under the top of the coffee table? I notice this happens often when I take photos looking down. At least today, my shoes are cute ... so I didn't crop them out. Posted by Picasa
America - Land of the free .... home of the brave. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Scarecrows are complete and ready to adorn something in the house this fall. I did limited hand-quilting on this piece. I just wasn't in the mood to set up the machine for free-motion quilting, but didn't want to dedicate a lot of time to hand-quilting when it will be stored in the garage rafters for 10 out of 12 months. I did a quick echo around each scarecrow, once around the embroidery and just inside each rectangle and called it good. When I started I gave no thought to binding (and it probably shows) I just pulled some strips out of a strip box, stitched them together and put 'em on. It's okay. I love just putting things together as they may sometimes just to see what will happen.
Now I'm going to get to work on that nice stack of brushed cottons I shared a couple of days ago. Tonight I'll get it all pressed and ready to cut in the morning. Time to heat up the iron .... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, California. September 9, 1850 California became the 31st state. When I was in elementary school this day was a state holiday. We started school the day after Labor Day, then within a day or two had a day off. My mom found it quite silly -- I thought it was great. My favorite year in school was 4th grade. We studied California history that year and I loved everything about it. We learned about the mission system and went of field trips to our local and nearby missions. We learned about the Gold Rush and The Donner Party. California has gotten a poor reputation in the media. All the whackos seem to come from here -- according to the news. A lot of very nice folk hail from here as well. The state is not only the large cities most are familiar with, but some very nice small towns -- just like can be found anywhere else in America. There is agriculture and industry, high-tech and artisans. There are beautiful beaches, deserts, lakes, rivers, mountains. I think Miss Salan, my 4th grade teacher, said that if California were to become a country, the only thing it would need to import is nickel. Now, I knew that I had some nickels right in my piggy bank at home. She must have been mistaken on that one point. So again I say, Happy Birthday California, I think you're great and you'll always be home to me. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Inspiration .... thank you so much for the motivational comments you gave. I have taken them all to heart and feel much better getting on to a new project. I am going to take a good hard look at some UFO's that have been dangling over my head and see about finding them a new home. They deserve to be appreciated, not looked on with dread. Last night was quilt class. So fun to see all the ladies after a whole month away. Vacations, new grandchildren, radio prizes, quilt projects ... so much to talk about and very little sewing going on.

I took the opportunity to engage in a little retail therapy and came upon this little gem of a packet. It was singing my name. Once I picked it up, I knew it was destined to be MINE *s* It is the brushed cottons from Bound By The Prairie by Kansas Troubles. Stay tuned to see what it becomes. I completed the applique on my Scarecrows wall hanging and am hand quilting it. Nothing fancy, just echo around the appliques and a quick trip around each block and the border. I'll post a photo when I get it all done.
Although fall is coming to many parts of the U.S., it won't be arriving here soon. On a walk to the "Promised Land" with Harper, I took a picture of the hibuscus in full bloom next door. It really is a beautiful plant and makes me wish I was in Hawaii, sipping a tropical cocktail full of fruity goodness and a paper umbrella.
The last picture is the view of our backyard from the "Promised Land." This is one of the greenbelt areas in our neighborhood, full of rabbits, squirrels and birds. Harper can often be found laying in a flowerbed looking down longingly hoping to get a good, close look at one of those bunnies. When we walk down there, she has no idea this is the place she so wants to be. And those darned bunnies are very elusive. They run and hide at the first whiff of dog. No matter how much we promise not to hurt them, just want to get a good look, they refuse to cooperate. Darned ole bunnies.
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Motivation - where can I find some? I just feel as though I'm spinning my wheels, unable to find a direction to go in. The painting project is nearly complete. Only some trim left and then putting things back on the walls. I don't want to just put things back exactlly how they were. Time for change which will require some thought.I have not posted (or made) any quilting goals. That might force me to look hard at what I have hanging around, incomplete - possibly to never be finished. I did make a UFO list at the beginning of 2006, worked on completing a couple of projects, then promptly misplaced the list. That tells you how dedicated I am to sticking with a plan. I think I need to take a serious look at some of the projects - maybe it's just time to move on, accept that I learned something from them, but they are not destined to be completed - by me, anyway.Tomorrow, I resume my weekly class. We are always off for the month of August. Usually I am so excited. I'm not planning on making the quilt they are going to start -- it is very similar to the one I made for our 25th wedding anniversary. I just need to find a project to feel excited about. I'm hoping once I see the ladies and their show and tell from August I will feel more inspired.Next week, Hubby is out of town for work. I have lots of mental plans for all that I will accomplish then. Could this be partially responsible for this week's stall? So many things to 'save' for next week. Hmmm, that makes me feel a little better already. Maybe I'll go sit on the floor and stare at the fabric in the closet. Who knows what will pop into my head.
*This post has been eaten twice -- I hope three times is a charm *s* Posted by Picasa