Saturday, November 21, 2015


So the new house needed some work... we knew that when we bought it... the pool had to be demo'd, we'd need some new furniture, some painting and lots of cabinets and drawers to line... But the house wasn't done with us yet... We did all that and then realized in the light rain of a few weeks ago that we needed a new roof.  With the prediction of an El Nino year, all the roofers in our area were booked til January or February, leaving us with a serious problem... FINALLY, after a zillion phone calls, we found one roofer who could do the work now.  He had a questionable review on Angie's List, but we needed him.  The work is now done, and we're waiting for the inspector to come and sign off on the work... Wish us luck!

As for quilting, I AM working hard at trying to finish projects, but not getting as much done as I'd like - I caught up on some projects and have fallen behind on others.  That's to be expected this time of year with all the social obligations and holidays.

I finished Which Witch... but not quite in time for Halloween - I'll have it for next year though! :

I did another block in the Arcadia Avenue BOM:

I finished Bertie's Spring, all ready to hang in March, when the season arrives:

And Bertie's Winter, all ready to hang in December!:

While it may seem like a lot of projects done... the two Bertie's projects were BOMs, so they took a long time, and Which Witch, in all honesty - took just a few hours to make, including the quilting - the binding was the longest part of the project. 

I'm not running out of projects to work on - lots of BOMs still to finish, and crazy person that I am, I just signed up for another one... sigh...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Where have I been ? ? ? ?

Moving!  I moved from one town in So. Calif. to another about 30 miles closer to the beach (for the cooler weather).  We officially moved on July 16th, and have been unpacking and settling in for the past couple of months.  We bought two new sofas for the den and living room and are now hanging art around the house... there is a LOT of art to hang (between quilts and prints and paintings.... sigh). 

I have a new studio... and while the fabric isn't ALL as readily accessible as it was in the old house, it is all shelved and ready to use (some piles of fabric are behind others, so a little hard to get to, but I'll manage - the Costco metal shelves are very deep, but they are what we had to work with).  I have access to all my books and patterns, fat quarters, tools and notions, it all works... just waiting on my design wall (not a high priority just yet in the whole scheme of 'to-do' lists).

I have been able to work on my BOM projects and other things (like making pillowcases... this is one of our new sofas with the pillowcases I made today:

 We don't exactly live AT the beach, but the pillows have a nice beachy vibe to them.

I have been sewing through all the chaos, albeit not as much as I'd like to have been.  I am working on 7 or 8 different bom projects, all in progress at present.  I've also been taking a Thursday night 'class' (class is a loose term as it's more like an open sew time).  I made this quilt as my first Thursday night project:

I love stars, and it's a pretty blue, teal, purple and green quilt.. my favorite colors together.  A Buggy Barn 'crazy' piecing project.

Then, not done with the whole Buggy Barn craziness, I made this on Thursday nights too, just finished this week (well, not exactly finished, as it's not quilted yet):

So as you can see, I've been busy with more than moving in...

We've been kind of overwhelmed too with the money pit of a house we bought... I know, everyone says their new house is a money pit, but we had to demolish a pool (more then just filling it with dirt, as the old pool has to be broken up, and THEN filled with dirt... took almost a week and a half.  Now we are in the middle of roof repairs, which with the predicted El Nino year, is getting difficult as most reputable roofers are overbooked already... and we just had a little LIGHT rain and had a leak.  sigh.  And these are just the big things... we've had lots of little things come up as well.  Hopefully all will be done before the rains hit in earnest.

In the meantime, I will just enjoy my new studio (which has no leaks), and keep a bucket in the master bathroom (where there is one). 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Moving along...

The mystery quilt I made, laid out on a bed, takes on an entirely different look!
It's still busy - but not unpleasantly so... I like it, and glad it has a great home where it will be appreciated.  Amazing how something so subtle like seeing the quilt on a bed as opposed to on a design wall makes it take on a whole new look.

On another subject entirely, our move went smoothly... We are in our new home now.  We moved closer to the beach for the cool weather, and moved right into a heat wave.  Sad, as our new house has no air conditioning, but we are handling it okay - opening the house up in the morning and early evening to take advantage of the cool breeze then, and closing things up during the warmest part of the day to keep things cool.   Just opening things up and shutting them down during the day seems like a big job - we're realizing just how big this house is during the progress... it just doesn't see so big until you have to traverse it multiple times a day... it seems to get bigger and bigger... lol.

We are getting very tired of opening boxes and putting things away... but it has to get done.  All the master bedroom boxes are done with, as are the kitchen and dining room boxes... and the boxes for the hallway closets.  We just have a few rooms left to do - the game room isn't finished, and the living room hasn't been tackled yet, neither has the sewing room.  That last is going to be a BIG job, since i have so much fabric.  Once the boxes are done in there, I still have to put up a new design wall and the inevitable television (can't survive without a tv in my studio... what can I say?  I'm an addict).  

It will be weeks before we are finished most likely, but we ARE working on it.  Any progress is good, that's how I'm looking at it, and we do something related to unpacking every day... some days more, some days less, but always progress.  We have made a promise to each other not to live with unopened boxes, like we had in our old house - we found things in boxes that we hadn't opened since we moved in to that house 20 years ago - SO not happening again... not here, not now, not this time. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thimblecreek Mystery

I love receiving the Thimblecreek Gazette (from Joe Wood of Thimblecreek Quilts) every Tuesday morning.  Recently, he posted a mystery quilt with 15 different clues.  I decided to make the mystery - it sounded like fun and I had this collection of Downton Abbey fat quarters that wanted to be used for something.  So in I dove.. and what an odd collection of blocks and sections!  I couldn't imagine what it might look like when it was done!... I'm used to mystery quilts where the different bits and parts made a new pattern when put together... but this one worked a little differently - it was a lot of finished blocks.  I just couldn't fathom what was to come.

I dutifully did every set of blocks every week... then the final clue came - how to put it all together.  The process was interesting - putting sequences of borders on a central medallion... border after border after border... It took several days to get it together because I am in the middle of packing to move, so it developed slowly.  Finally I got it all together (it's about 50x50, so it's pretty big).  I love this picture of it, but I can't say I love the quilt itself... It's a little busy for my taste.
It's very odd how I can love the picture, and dislike the quilt itself... but that is the case... Really, how can I dislike a quilt full of purple?  that makes no sense either lol....

So I offered it to a quilting friend who said she really liked it and it would go with her decor.  She will make a back for it, have it quilted and use it in her home... which is great - it will be loved... and she will have a quilt of her own - She tends to make so many things for her 12 grandkids and her kids too, that she ends up having none of her own quilts to treasure at home (ie she gives them all away).  Someday, perhaps I will have grandkids (*peeers at her son and dau-in-law expectantly*)... but for now, I have lots of quilts and no homes for them except my own. 

Anyway, glad I made this one - it was definitely a fun process - and glad it has a good home.

Now, on to Thimblecreek Mystery #2 which just started (it's a Halloween themed quilt by colors, but not requiring themed fabric, and could probably be done in any colors)... If you're interested and don't get the Gazette, google Thimblecreek Quilts and sign up for their newsletter (the Gazette)... clues are free and very well written, so they are easy to follow!...

Now, back to packing for me... We are moving to a new place with a whole building for my husband's mancave and radio shack (he's a ham), a larger quilting space for me, and a huge game room for us to come together with our friends (we are gamers - boardgames, roleplaying games, and the like).   It's no fun packing and getting ready for the move - the sorting and purging has been heart-wrenching and hard... but needed to be done... we've lived in this house for 20 years and had some boxes we never opened since moving in here - scary, huh?  I highly recommend this sorting and purging process, and wish we'd done it a long time ago - we'd have had a lot more room here if we'd done it, but then without the impending move over our heads, we might not have been so ruthless with the purging part of it...

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but it is the godmother (at least) of motivation. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

2015 Row by Row Finished

Finished and ready to go into my local quilt shop tomorrow morning.  I basically spent most of the last weekend working on this instead of packing for our move... I should feel guilty for doing so, but I don't really... I'm glad I finished it. 

California Row by Row Experience on Facebook hasn't reported a California finish yet - I've seen a few from Texas but that's it so far... I'm not counting on being first in the state, though that would be cool if I were, but I DO intend on being first at my LQS.  Wish me luck!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Row by Row Experience

Row by Row is a yearly shop hop-competition that is all over the US and Canada - you go from quilt shop to quilt shop collecting patterns, and make a quilt using at least 8 patterns... this is the top I made using the patterns I collected.

 I still need to quilt it, bind it and put a label on it, but it is almost done!!!  So happy to have gotten this far with it! 

I an hoping I have time to  make a backing for it on Sunday and start quilting it then too... maybe finish up by Monday and bind it by Tuesday... wish me luck... that's where the 'competition' part of the Experience comes in... the first to take their row into a participating quilt shop wins 25 fat quarters and possibly more... fun times!

I won last year, and hope to win again this year.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Insanity Prevails

Right now, things are a little wild and crazy around my house.  We are in the middle of getting ready for a major move...  We haven't moved now for 21 years, so we've accumulated a lot of 'stuff'...  Currently we are in the process of 'de-stuffifying' ourselves (I know that's not a real word, but I'm using it anyway, as it fits what we are doing).  21 bankers boxes full of books for donation, and we still have many many books to go through and sort out ones we can part with.  Oh, this is so devastatingly hard... Both my husband and I are bibliophiles and have been collecting books since the 60's...

Not just books though.  We are getting rid of LOTS of things!  Anything we can part with, we are letting go - donating, selling or giving away.  I have spent a few days sniffling back tears over what we are parting with, but I know in the long run, it's been a long time since we've used these things, so we don't really NEED them.

I don't think it's in an artist's nature to enjoy a move... We like the comfort of our usual surroundings and our studio space...  It is a matter of being grounded and knowing where everything is and how best to use it as it is.  I look forward to the time when I am settled in at the new house and ready to resume my quilting life.

Still among all the chaos, I've managed to partly keep up with projects.  A few of my block of the month commitments have fallen behind, but a few I've managed to keep up with.  I also took a class in how to make a Buggy Barn quilt called Crazy Eights.  If you're not familiar with the Buggy Barn method - it is a 'stack, slash, and shuffle' technique that results in some really fun quilts.  I wish they were still in business publishing new patterns.   Here is the quilt top I finished in this class:
It's a little bigger than the original pattern called for, but I don't like making square quilts when I can avoid it, so I added more rows to the bottom.  It needs to be quilted soon, but the top is constructed and just waiting for a backing.  SO much fun to make!  And to make it even more fun - I got to meet some fascinating and fun ladies in the class, so win-win for me.

We enjoyed sewing together so much, we decided to make class-night a regular thing, where we will meet each week and work on our different quilts - Either the same pattern or something individual, depending on personal preference that week.  Anyway - lots of fun to make.

I also did another round robin block:
 My contribution was the applique in the turquoise rectangles (trees/presents/flamingos).  The round robin deadline is this coming Tuesday, so I'm done in time, and I'm happy with the results.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Keeping up with the Karda.. I mean the BOMs lol

So, I haven't posted here in a very long time... I've been crazy busy closing escrow on our new home.  Now we are busy sorting, purging, getting ready for the imminent move...

With all of that, I am also working hard to catch up with my Blocks of the Month and Saturday Samplers. 

I have made significant progress on my Past and Present Animals blocks:
 There are still several blocks to go... and the borders are incredibly busy with applique, so lots left to do, but the hardest block (the cat block) is done, so I'm happy about that.

I finished a block for Arcadia Avenue:
This time with the fabrics in the right order... I'm very happy with this one... though I am still behind with another block to sew now and another on its way via mail already.... so I'm about to be 2 months behind on this one... Maybe I can get it done tomorrow so I don't fall further behind when the mail arrives on Monday.

I have another BOM I'm working on called Spooky Hollows:
I'm all caught up on this one... 7 blocks done (one not pictured), and a little time left before the next one is set to arrive... *takes a deep breath and relaxes a little*

I've made my May block for one of my Saturday Samplers (no picture yet), and another May Saturday Sampler block yet to make (it's on my to-do list!)

I also have another round robin block to work on... I didn't even have time to take a picture of last month's block before I had to turn it in to be passed on to another 'player' and here I am falling behind on this month's block as well... Last month I had a good excuse, but this month I have none except for procrastination. 

And I am also doing the Thimblecreek Mystery quilt, which I am 2 steps behind on... step 9 is cut, ready for sewing, and I haven't even read the instructions for step 10... I am sure that step 11 will be out on Tuesday, so I've got some real catching up to do there... I hope it comes out okay... as I am using a hodge podge of Downton Abbey and civil war fabrics... could be a total disaster.. lol... anyway, I just hope it doesn't end up square (I hate making square quilts)... I don't know what possessed me to start it before I knew what shape it would be.  I could have just downloaded the patterns each week and waited...

In all of this I still have roomfuls of 'stuff' to go through so we can move in a few months... the old owners of the house are leasing it back from us for 2 months while they househunt for themselves, then we have a little work to do on the new house before we move in... then we have to work on the old house to get it ready to rent it out... So much to do... so little time.  I know a few months sounds like a lot, but I know it will creep up on us when we are still not ready to pack and move... Thanks goodness for professional movers... I'm far too old to move myself anymore and 20 years in one house gives you lots of time to accumulate 'stuff'.  I don't want to move most of this 'stuff' to the new house.  I just want the essentials.... the hard part is sorting essential from non-essentials... So hard to let it go. 

And now I have that song from Frozen running through my head.... aaaaagggghhh...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Round Robin, Pt 2

My mini group is doing a round robin this year.  There are 7 of us participating and this month was our second month.  I put borders on an eagle panel this month, adding only 2 borders (top and bottom rail fence blocks) with some appliqued stars.  I knew when I started that I needed to calm down the first border of scrappy Americana squares with a more solid looking border. 

However, I didn't put it on the design wall before doing the stars, and I might have rearranged them a little if I'd seen it from a distance first.  Still, I'm happy enough with it as is... I hope the owner likes it when she gets it.  The way it's going, it is going to be a good sized quilt by the time it's done - it's already about 24" x 36".

Other than this little foray into the studio, I've done little quilting of late.  Yesterday was Worldwide Quilting Day and to celebrate (well, not really, they just happened to coincide) we had a quilter's yard sale.  I took 5 bins of fabric and sold some of it... I only made about $300 but it doesn't even look like I made a dent in what I took with me... I will need to do it again to sell more... I just need to get rid of more fabric I no longer want!  Especially if we might move in the next few months (probably not gonna happen, but you never know).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sewing through the Pain

I signed up for a class to be held the 28th of March.  Part of the preparation for the class was to make sixteen 9 1/2" blocks in advance.  I decided I wanted to make the project out of selvage blocks so I made sixteen of them.  By the time I was done making them, three days later, my right wrist was killing me.  I managed to work through the pain to piece them into an 8x2 panel of blocks:
The pain was the result of constantly raising and lowering the needle with the wheel on the right side of the machine.  I'd forgotten I had a button that did that on the front of the machine... would have been much easier and caused me no pain.  Ah well, live and learn... or in this case live and remember.  Next time I hope I recall this little lesson.  My wrist hurt so bad that when I went to see the Buddy Holly Story at the Civic Arts Center last night, I couldn't even applaud.  Tonight I will take some pain meds I think.

I spent yesterday quilting the blocks so that they can be made into a bag.... that part was easy peasy in comparison to the piecing and I DID use the button instead of the wheel to lift the needle. 

Now I have one week to prepare for a fabric sale.  I hope to get rid of at least a couple of bins of fabric to quilters who have less.  I sell the stuff I no longer want for $3 a yard, so it's a great deal.  So sad to let go of some of it, but I know I'll never use it all.  Besides, we just put an offer in on a new house and the less we have to pack and move, the better. 

It feels good to purge stuff I don't want any more... as artists, often our tastes change over time.  Lots of fabric I loved, and just don't anymore... and then there's the stuff that I look at and think 'What was I thinking???' and can't imagine why I bought it in the first place.  All of it has to go.

Last year after this sale, I felt SO good, and I took the money and invested it in stock, rather than more fabric which felt really great to be doing something productive with the money.  This year, that fabric money may be going toward things for a new house... we shall see.