Monday, April 30, 2007

A little surprise landed in my mailbox this weekend.
Recently Wendy posted a challenge she was taking called Brooms Out Of The Closet. She had a drawing of all the bloggers who left a comment on that post - YIPPEE! Her daughter drew my name. Tell me, what girl doesn't like to win a prize. For me, it's just the joy of hearing my named called. But then to receive such a fun package in the mail, it was an extra treat.
The charm pack of Cornucopia fabrics is just perfect. A couple of months back I purchased the charm pack of wovens from the same line with plans to make the currently postponed Easter project. Maybe in the back of my mind I knew I would end up with an even better piece if I waited just a little longer.
But wait - there's more. She included a delightful pattern by a designer in her area. It's right up my alley. Nice and scrappy. It will definitely get added to my list of quilts waiting to be made. Thank you Wendy for such a delightful package - quilt bloggers are just the best.
I'm still trying to get back to my regular daily routine. Seemed like I was spinning my wheels last week and really accomplished nothing. Today, no more sleeping in. I was up early (not bright- we haven't and won't see the sun today) By the end of the week, I should be back to my usual daily cycle of chores and quilting. Hubby mentioned yesterday that he hadn't seen me sewing lately - that's a sure sign that I need to get back to my machine. I think I hear it calling my name.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Princess has made it safely back to her home. Everyone had a great time during her visit. Way too much good food, lots of laughs, a couple of games and time spent hanging out as a family . . . everything was just right.Now I'm trying to get back to my regular daily routines. There are some neglected housecleaning tasks to tend to and a few loads of laundry piled up. What I really want to think about is making a quilt. Remember these fabrics?
This morning I laid my progress out on my 'design floor' I'm using a pattern from AP&Q Dec '06. It's fast and fun to piece together. I need to cut the rest of the pieces for the edges. Then I can start assembling the rows. The large paisley fabric is for the outer border of the quilt. I have enough fabric that I can miter the border instead of following the pattern. This will require that I pull out some instruction books, marking tools, rulers, pins - maybe even a compass and protractor. I don't miter often enough to not require all sorts of study and test runs. Keep me in your thoughts.

Monday, April 23, 2007

April showers bring May flowers . . .We had some wonderful rain come through over the weekend. Very much needed in these parts - we are over 6 1/2" below normal rainfall for this time of year and well past our regular rainy season. On late Friday afternoon, there was the most gorgeous rainbow in the valley I can see from my kitchen window. What a joy to watch it while preparing dinner.
We are down to the last few days of the Princess' visit. What a fun time it has been. We haven't done anything particularly spectacular in the way of trips or such - it's just so nice for all of us to be in the house together. Feels like family. I am trying to slowly but surely catch up on reading all the posts I have missed - please bear with me - I may not leave a comment on each individual post, but I am reading every word.
Not much in the way of quilting has gone on so today I am sharing a quilt I made a few years back. Because I favor darker colors, I have a difficult time decorating for spring. This quilt is called Purple Coneflowers by Linda Brannock. I think of it as a spring quilt because it features flowers and there is just a hint of pink in the background fabric. Guess it's a good thing that spring is a short season . . . for decorating purposes I think of May as the start of 'patriotic season.' Plenty of quilts to go around for that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Still here. The Princess festivities continue and everyone is having a good time. Last night one of her girlfriends flew in for a few day's visit. Such fun to have a houseful. Harper is working hard on figuring out how to keep this lively action going.
During the evenings, I have been working on the applique for Holly and Berries. Today while the girls are out exploring all southern California has to offer, I got the pieced borders stitched together and added to the top. My hope is to get layered and basted. The plan is to hand quilt with a big stitch using black perle cotton. Hand quilting is so relaxing to me and I love to have something just lying around to pick up whenever a moment or two to stitch comes along.I have been very lackadaisical in keeping up with blog reading and comments. Please bear with me for another week longer. I will be back to my regular Princess-less schedule before we know it and will have more than ample time to read and see everything you have been up to.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Look what happens when you are not paying attention.The tomatoes set blossoms.
The roses bloom . . .
and bloom.
And weeds grow taller than the fence.

We are having a brief break in The Princess action - she has gone to visit a girlfriend for a couple of days. This morning I went out into the yard and was greeted by a lot of growing activity. Guess I need to devote a little time to the yard this weekend.

I have had my eye on that weed for sometime now. I thought it was kind of fun to let it grow. Technically it's outside of the fence and it wasn't really bothering me. Now I'm rethinking that plan. It has grown so tall and looking at all the seed that is going to scatter and bring about more weeds. I betting they won't be courteous and stay outside of the fence like their host plant.

Off to find the Round-Up spray.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Reason #53 to have your very own Princess . . .Mother- Daughter pedicures on her birthday.
Happy Birthday Princess - I love you :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Color me flattered. I have been tagged by Caroline, Darlene and Dawn
with The Thinking Blogger Award. Sitting down at the computer and writing about my days and sharing photos from my little corner of the world is quite simple - once you get me going, it can be very difficult to shut me up. Little did each of them know that the hardest part would be 'thinking' about all the blogs that I read every day and the particular ways that each of those authors inspires me and has brought a new level of friendship into my life.
It goes with out saying that Caroline, Darlene and Dawn each bring just that little something special and inspiring to me through their blogs. In addition to them, I would like to nominate 5 other blogs that have brought something special to me through their writings.
First there is Finn. I had stumbled on to quilt blogs sometime early last year and was quietly reading several for months trying to decide if I wanted to have a blog of my own. I just sat on the fence until Finn wrote a post about a favorite childhood book and the Carnegie Library in her hometown. I wanted to comment - and needed a blog of my own to do so. Thanks to Finn, I got off the fence and started pinning my quilts to it.
Judy does some of the most wonderful applique quilts. Her ability to look at a quilt and interpret it with her particular sense of style and workmanship is something I aspire to. She has brought a new kind of friendship to me - and I am so glad for it. I love getting a tip on a new website or sharing a recipe for something yummy with her. Her descriptions of daily life - from weather I never experience to the worry over the health of her precious kitty remind me that even though I am on the opposite side of the country, friendship makes the world a much smaller place.
Melanie reminds me with every post and e-mail what a treasure each new day is for us. Her faith, love of family, respect for all things with a history cause me slow down and drink in the simple pleasures each day offers. I'm so grateful that she picked me out of the crowd.
Nancy does the most wonderful primitive quilting - I am just in awe of her work. She shares not only her beautiful quilts but the breath-taking beauty of the Montana landscape and all creatures - wild and domestic that are a daily part of her world. A new post lets me know I'm going to leave my urban setting for a while and see something truly spectacular.
Patty is so generous, sharing tutorials and tips on all things related to quilting - stash storage and management, precision piecing, applique, etc. The wealth of knowledge and beautiful work she does are a testament to her love of quilting. Add in her joy at the new addition of a granddaughter and soon a grandson and I find myself smiling when I see she has a new post.
I hate to stop at only 5. I have a list of nearly 70 on my bloglines subscription and several more that I regularly read outside of bloglines. My world certainly expanded when I began blogging. The friendships I have made warm me like the many quilts around the house. Each of you has certainly added just a little something special to my life.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I got a new toy yesterday. My trusty cell phone finally came to a place here it needed to be retired. It no longer wanted to take or hold a charge and just didn't seem to want to keep up with me any more.
I've known this day was coming for some time now and have been keeping an eye on what was available and the features that I wanted and needed most. High priorities were for hands-free talking (California law goes into effect July '08) and a camera.
When I first got a phone with a camera, I thought it was a silly thing. How wrong I was - I use it all the time. Seems like I'm taking a photo of something nearly everyday. Now not only can I take still photos, but I have video capability as well. Who would have thought? Hubby and I often laugh over the conversations we once had about never seeing a reason to have a car phone. Now we have phones with more memory than our original PC - and smaller than a deck of cards.
Here is a picture of my most willing subject - unedited - just straight off the phone . I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with it . . . and I may even make a call or two.
Princess Update - She is in the U.S. She has a long layover and then back in the air. Only 7 1/2 hours to go.
Hoppin' on by to wish you and yours a very Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Preparing for The Princess.
Everyone in the 'realm' is fairly giddy with excitement. The Princess will be home for a visit beginning this Sunday. Preparations are in full swing for her pending arrival. Her bedroom, once again, looks like an actual bedroom - there is no pea under the mattress. The cupboards are filling with all the favorite foods for meals and snacks. We are looking forward to a good time over the next 3 weeks - a birthday party fit for a princess, a visit from a friend who has never been to California, laughing, games and the feeling of the whole family all in one place.
This selection of fabrics is pulled and ready to become a quilt. I try to not go digging around the closet while The Princess is back in her room if I can help it. Along with some works already in progress, this should keep me plenty busy during the times she is out visiting, shopping, etc. Only 3 days, 6 hours and 55 minutes to go . . .

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Last week, I had all but given up on making an Easter wall hanging (in time for Easter) this year. I have been thinking about it for some time and couldn't seem to take the leap from thinking to doing. So I put my plan away and began a Christmas project - it seemed like the best plan at the time.
The very next day, I went to my mail box and there was a little package in there. I hadn't ordered anything - a total surprise! Seems the Easter Bunny did not want me to be without a wall hanging for another year. I opened the package to find a darling kit - just a cutie little thing and I went straight to work and finished up last night.

That Easter bunny is a wascally Wabbit. Thanks so much for a wonderful treat.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Getting down to the heart of the matter.
Hubby and I were both born and raised on the central coast of California about 80 miles apart. Unlike Los Angeles and San Francisco - the urban playgrounds most are familiar with in California, this area is known for sleepy towns, ranching and agriculture. A climate filled with sunny warm days and evenings cooled by coastal fog combined with fertile soil make just the right conditions for growing a wide variety of vegetables year round.
While many families made their living growing in the fields, almost every household had a garden of one sort or another. A local favorite - to grow and eat - the artichoke. A member of the thistle family, the artichoke is often misunderstood and overlooked because of it's unusual appearance and sometimes thorns on the leaves. It's a puzzle on how to cook and then consume such an odd thing.
It's a simple as trimming the stem end so the 'choke will stand. Then simply steam for about 20 to 25 minutes - until it's easy to pull off a leaf. We eat them hot, dipping the leaves in mayonnaise, scraping the fleshy pulp from the base of the leaf with our teeth*. Others eat their artichokes cold, dipping in melted butter and lemon juice.
We keep a community bowl on the table as a convenient place to throw the used leaves. Eventually the leaves will become to small to pull, but wait - you are not done. Using a knife, you can scrape away the the tender leaves and fuzzy stuff (a highly technical term) leaving you with the artichoke heart. All the work of pulling and scraping leaves you with a generous portion of flesh to eat as a work-free reward.
When we were growing up, artichokes were served as a vegetable accompaniment to the main meal. These days we have them as the meal - being less concerned with having the '4 Food Groups' represented on our table than our mothers were.
Now that we have moved away from our hometowns, we buy our artichokes at the market, but we do have a couple of plants in our flower bed that we allow to go to flower rather than eat. It's like a little bit of childhood to see those plants growing tall from the kitchen window.

*After nearly 28 years of marriage, tonight we learned that we do not scrape the same. How can this be? I turn the leaf upside down and scrape on my bottom teeth. Hubby leaves his upright and scrapes with the top. Just when we thought we knew everything there was to know about one another.