Monday, November 28, 2016


I've been lax again about posting here... and I have no defense, just rationalizations which are less than useless and no excuse, so I won't state them here.  Just suffice to say I've been busy, and let some things slide.  This blog was one of them.  My apologies to all who read here.

Lately I've been doing more piecing than applique, a sort of reversal from the recent past.  It's been a refreshing return to my quilting roots.   I'd forgotten how much fun and relaxation I got from piecing.

I am participating in an online mystery quilt called 'En Provence', designed by Bonnie Hunter.  So far, we've only had one clue, and here are my neutral 4-patches that I made for Clue #1:

Can't wait to see clue #2!  I'm excited about this one, which is strange for me, as I'm not a 'scrappy' quilter generally.  I usually like to plan and select my fabrics with care and an eye to color.   I am definitely stepping out of my comfort zone for this one.  Anyway, I really love the neutral background horse print I used in some of the patches.  Hopefully it will not prove to be too much for the quilt.  Here is a link to the 'Monday Morning Links' to see the progress of others participating in the mystery.

I worked on a second butterfly quilt.  Now I try not to repeat myself too often, making the same quilt over and over again is boring and I learn nothing new from it usually, and I like learning new techniques, skills or tools.  However, my class wanted to make the butterfly quilt and so I'm teaching it to them...   They should have their butterflies done by Saturday and I will teach them how to applique the antennae on and show them how to trim the blocks... Here are a few of my blocks pre-trimming:

I also made a second tuffet (yes, I know... repeating myself, but it was so much fun to have a finished piece of furniture in the house after making it, and I wanted a purple and green one.)... I even signed up to take a class in January on how to make a square one!  

I also started cutting for Elizabeth Hartmann's Cat Quilt.  I've got the background and the black for the eyes and noses all cut... and I'm ready to start cutting and piecing my kitties.  Looking forward to sewing these and seeing the different kitty faces emerge.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Finishing Binge

I've been on a finishing binge of late... just got another one done this morning... the binding was done as of last night but the label was only half on... I finished it up today. It is a king sized log cabin made of 4 1/4" blocks. Started in 2008, all from scraps I had around from previous projects.

It sat in a cabinet for 7 years waiting for the perfect border. I agonized for a long time over piecing or appliqueing a house border, and then sort of backburnered the entire project and forgot about it. Then this year, the theme of the Row by Row Challenge was 'Home Sweet Home' and LO!, one of the fabrics for the line was a house row print. It was perfect, and I bought some... Just enough it turns out, as I didn't have a lot left over. 

 Glad to have this one done, as it's for my own bed, for use as our 'winter quilt'... Time to wash and put the summer quilt away and get this one on the bed!

Two views of the quilt:  'A Barn Raising: My Life in Quilts'

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Old Skills, New Methods

I used to be a whiz at setting zippers... in clothes.  I could do any kind of zipper - normal or invisible, single or double placket... and I was good (and fast) at it!  But that was 40 years ago when I used to make clothes!

So when I bought this pattern for a 'Bionic Gear Bag,' I dreaded putting in these 5 zippers, but figured I'd remember it all, like riding a bike... you get on it and it all comes back to you - the balance, the coordinated movements between pedaling, steering and keeping your balance.

I was surprised... no, call it SHOCK, when I read the instructions in the pattern (didn't even bother with the ones that came with the zippers, saving them to read only in the event that the pattern instructions made no sense to me.  Luckily, they did and it was EASY... zipper FEET have even changed (probably mostly because of movable needles)...

I feel, alas, that my old skill with zippers will have to remain an artifact of days gone by.   I'm rather proud that the Bionic Gear Bag is done, and the zippers (and the bag in general) came out perfect.

This is the bag all zipped up and closed, followed by a picture of the bag opened up showing all the interior pockets and zippers... SO much storage space in such a tiny bag!... and I love the little 'shelf' in front when it's open... I keep my pin cushion there, and use it to store things like binding clips when I'm sewing binding (my other current project).

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Change is a Good Thing

Change can be a good thing.  Most of us are a little afraid of change. I know I am.  I have always been loathe to make changes to my life, my stuff, anything.   Sometimes change though can be great.  For example, we're all looking for a change from the heat of summer to some cool autumn days, at least those of us in southern California are, anyway. 

I bought this bag at a quilt show last weekend.

I decided that, while I love the colors and theme (Halloween is my favorite holiday!),  I didn't like those teeny tiny pumpkin buttons.  Yeah, they went with the theme, but they were lost on the bag, and they were cheap, plastic buttons.  I took them off and gave them to a young (6 years old!) quilter to embellish something she made.  Then, I went to the store and bought some larger buttons and put them on, and changed the pocket on the right a little bit (made it a little deeper by sewing up the left side of it a bit).   Here's the final result:

Much happier with the bag now.  I LOVE the big black button on the right pocket and the other two wooden buttons will do... they aren't perfect, but they were the closest I could find to what I want... I'll be keeping my eye out for something else in the meantime.  Still, I'm happy with the changes and love the bag even more now!  Change worked!

Tomorrow I'm going to quilting class, something I had planned to miss because we were having company over.  I had to cancel the event due to illness of one of the guests, so now I'm free all morning, might as well go work on a quilt or two. 

More changes, with positive results.  I could get to like change after all!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Long Time No See

Excuse my absence for so long... I've been really busy and barely keeping up with my Facebook page, and kind of let this one go by the wayside.  My bad, I'll try to do better.  After my Hawaiian cruise, I was feeling very down.  I think I barely survived that trip to be honest.

I think I recovered by mid-April, which is when I started my diet.  I've lost 70 lbs since April 12th and feeling great.  Playing Pokemon Go isn't hurting either... While I'm not walking as much as I could to do it, I'm walking more than I used to.

Add to all this, we adopted a new puppy.  We named him Chewbacca, but we call him Chewiee for short.  Bad name for a puppy... he chews on almost EVERYthing - people, furniture, our other dog.  At least he doesn't chew on quilts!

This is Chewiee just before we adopted him... all fluff!  but not a spare bit of anything on him (he was malnourished when the rescue organization, Sunny Saints, got him, and he looks so much better in this picture than his initial rescue photo!

 This is Chewiee today (he's the smaller of the two), sleeping with our adult Saint, Maggie:  He weighs in at 40 lbs already and growing daily!

I've been really busy - working on a lot of projects I felt I could finish... which leaves all my BOM projects in half-done or not-even-started-yet stages.  I am SO far behind on those... I think I will take them all to my quilting retreat in November!

Now, on to the quilts.  I finished my Matryoshka quilt... worked on this for about 3 weeks two years ago, then sandwiched it and let it linger for  a couple of years.  Finally sat down and quilted it!  Very pleased with this little wall hanging... Not sure what I'm gonna do with it, but it was fun to make.   I collect matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), so this one was a real pleasure to make... it doesn't really 'go' with my house at all, so I may donate it to my guild for an auction quilt.  We'll see.

Every year, there is a sort of multi-state/multi-national quilt run called 'Row by Row Experience'.  You visit shops, collect patterns based on a theme.  This year the theme was 'home sweet home'.  My rows were the ones shown here.  The first people who complete a quilt and take it (finished, bound and labeled) into a participating shop win a prize (25 fat quarters plus a bonus prize if the shop's own row is in your quilt).  I took mine to Roxanne's A Wish and a Dream Quilt shop in Carpenteria and won 25 really yummy fat quarters and some templates.  Very cool.  

I made this butterfly quilt, all made from batiks, in a 'class'.  The pattern is by Buggy Barn, and while I don't need a class to make a Buggy Barn quilt, it's always more fun to quilt and sew with friends.  Used up the fat quarters I won from LAST year's Row by Row Experience, so win-win!

I made this log cabin quilt years ago... my  first (and possibly last) log cabin quilt.  The blocks are 4 1/2" square, and there were LOTS of them - the quilt is king sized... but it languished in my UFO pile for several years while I tried to decide how to border it.  Then I discovered the perfect border fabric for it (from this year's Row by Row fabrics - a pre-printed border fabric with houses and quilt shops - perfect!)  I put it on 3 sides because just didn't need the quilt to be longer, and don't need it at the top where the quilt tucks into the pillows.  I sent it to Stover's for quilting and waiting for it's return.  It will be our winter quilt for our bed.

This is a Saturday Sampler I did at one of my LQS - Quilty Pleasures in Simi Valley.  It was supposed to be blue and white and square.  I don't like square quilts, and didn't like their colors, so I used my own fabrics and added some blocks to make it rectangular.  This one was sent to Stovers too... waiting for it's return.:

Here is my finished quilt.  While the pattern is called Arcadia Avenue, I call the quilt "Adventures in Technicolor".  I posted pics of the blocks under construction in the past, but that was a long time ago... I finally finished it and it has been juried into a show later this year.  Can't wait to see it hang in an exhibition!:

I made this top, called 'Confectionary' from 20 fat quarters and a little white and gray for the backgrounds.  I made it for fun... a 'use 'em up' fat quarter challenge in a group I belong to called Stashbusters.  I picked 20 mismatched fat quarters and made this top.  I donated it to the guild to sell at their show boutique and sell it did!  Hooray... but I'm glad I made it!  It was fun!:

I made this quilt for our guild president to thank her for 2 years of service.  I designed and pieced the center, and my mini-group designed the borders.  I did most of the sewing on the appliques (3 of the border strips were mine), with one other person doing one border strip (thanks, Melanie!).  We got it quilted and bound and gave it to her last month.  It hung in our guild show last weekend, and it won a ribbon!:

This is a layer cake quilt called Speedwell.  The pattern is available free on the Moda website, and it was SO fast and easy to cut and piece.  Lots of fun to make... Not sure what I'm gonna do with it yet.:

This is a little tool tote I made.  I made a bunch of them for the guild show boutique, but I decided to make one for myself (no flowers, and my colors (love that purple and aqua!  Sew much fun!:

This is my latest complete finish, 'A Walk in the Woods'.  I loved making this with it's funky animals and images.  The borders took forever!  - Not my usual color palette, I don't usually work in taupes, homespuns and flannels, but it worked. Very happy with it, and I've submitted it to Road to California to see if it will get juried in... Probably won't know til late October or early November.  Until then, it will hang in my house!:

 A detail shot of the amazing quilting by Georganna Hawley:

In my Saturday class, we made mesh bags.  I made one out of ugly fabric for a contest and enjoyed it and like the results so much, I made a second one for me!  (of course, it's cat fabric!):

Well, IF you're still with me, and aren't bored out of your mind... That's what I've been up to since April.  I've also been playing LOTS of Dungeons and Dragons and Pokemon Go, so all my non-quilting time is pretty much spoken for.  I like having lots to do, but sometimes it seems like too much.  I get overwhelmed easily...

Speaking of overwhelmed, you probably are now too... so that said, I'll end this, but I'll try to keep it up more regularly so I don't need a repeat of this endless post. 

WAYWO??  (What are You Working on?)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cruising Along

Took a Hawaiian cruise... leaving from San Francisco and sailing to Hawaii, visiting 4 ports, then returning to SF via Encenada, Mexico.   15 days and nights at sea basically... 10 of the days just sailing, which I find usually restful and relaxing.... but this cruise it was brutally hard work lugging sewing machine (did I mention it was a quilting cruise?)  from our forward cabin to the aft sewing room daily, then back, then trekking back aft again for dinner, then back forward afterwards... I was a wreck most days after all that hard work, and my knees were killing me.. It was hard to sleep in such pain, but I did manage.  Got a lot of reading done and watched a lot of movies (in the room on the tv there).... saw 2 shows, stayed out of the casino (i rarely gamble), and the bingo games (my one gambling foray would be this, but I stayed strong this cruise)...

I took 2 classes on the cruise... one was called 'The Big Easy' and my quilt ended up looking like this:
Fun to make and the blocks were easier than they look.  Got to shop in Hilo at 4 quilt shops and found the border fabric on one of them...

I also took a Mystery Quilt class.  All we knew was that we needed a light, medium and dark fabric, so this was what I came up with when all was said and done:
Not really my fabric styles, but the colors are nice... I think I would have been happier with a batik, but it's a nice quilt, and I will donate it and someone will love it, I'm sure.  The process was fun at least.

I also worked on a couple of BOM blocks and got 6 made (should have been 8, but I made a couple of fatal errors on 2 of them).  I won some prizes, and did some gift exchanges, all fun stuff... made some new friends and just had an overall good time.

I will probably never do anything like that again without my husband, but I'm glad I went.  Also, if I ever do anything like that again, I will make sure my room is at the same end of the ship as a the quilting/sewing room and dining room that I'm assigned to. 

Last night of the cruise (Friday), I started coughing... On the drive home Saturday morning, I started running a fever and coughing more... by the time we got home to southern California (from San Francisco), I was seriously sick, and crawled into bed without unpacking... Sunday and Monday were a blur, mostly spent sleeping and feeling miserable when awake.  Tis is now Weds. evening and the sore throat and fever are gone, and I feel a little better.  I'm so glad this didn't happen while I was still sailing. 

Tomorrow I will start catching up on projects left languishing while I was gone... My first priority is the round robin block from my guild, which I lost 2 weeks of time on because of the cruise... After that, I have like 6 different bom projects in various stages of backlog (some only a month behind, but most of them 2-3 months in arrears. 

LOTS to do, and a 4-day retreat coming up in which to try to catch up some.  I am starting to feel the time pressure I was trying to avoid by not signing up for any saturday samplers at local shops this year... too many BOMs and too many commitments... and no way out of any of them... Aaaargh!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

NQR - Disappointment and Depression

I must admit that I am a recovering (?) depressed person, on daily meds to keep it under control (Pristiq and Abilify).  Still, sometimes it's hard not to let events creep in lay the seeds for disappointment which leads to depression.

Tonight, friends and I had tickets to see Jersey Boys at the local Cultural Arts Center, performed by a national touring company.  We've had these tickets for months, waiting for tonight's event.  I declined an invitation to an Oscar Party that we attend annually to go see this show.

We went out for dinner before the show, enjoyed chat and good company while we ate... then headed to the theater.  We arrived at 6:45, plenty of time to get seated for a 7pm show.   We parked, and went in, entered the theater at 6:50 to find the place dark, and the show already in progress.  When we went out to the lobby and asked the usher, we were told the show started at 6:30. 

Furious, I went to the box office to get my money back, only to be told they couldn't refund the money because the misprint on the ticketmaster tickets wasn't their fault.  They said they had made good faith efforts to contact all the season ticket holders by phone and email, but the lady who got our tickets (who IS a season ticket holder) never heard a word about it.  We were given a business card of a lady who is in charge of the box office and told to call her on Tuesday (apparently she doesn't work on Mondays).  I was livid... they should have made good on the price of the ticket immediately, imo. 

I had a good cry over the whole thing on the way home (I tend to cry when I get angry).  Of course, now that I'm home and calm, the anger has turned to disappointment and the disappointment to depression.  I hope I can generate some anger again by the time I call this woman on Tuesday.  I will need the edge so I don't cry.

Anyway... I just needed to vent a little, so excuse the rant...

At least they gave us corrected tickets for the next play in the series (those were also mis-printed) while we were at the box office.  So we won't be late for Ragtime next month (which I've seen on stage before, so if I'd missed it, I would have been a little disappointed, but not so much as I am about Jersey Boys, which I've never seen, but love the music from it). 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Finishing things

I made a goal to finish up a few tops this month (February) because most of next month  (March) I'll be en route to/from or in Hawaii.  I am going on a quilting cruise, so I'll be sewing my way across the Pacific both ways, but I'll be working on 'class' projects, not my own UFOs. 

That said, I worked pretty hard on my goal and finished up 4 tops this month.   One is quilted, the other 3 are on the wait list for quilting.

I finished making the top to the second Thimblecreek mystery (they call it a Halloween mystery, but only a few fabrics are really Halloween-ish).  I changed the sashing they designed for it (it was supposed to be a pieced checkerboard sashing, but I didn't like how busy it was, so I redesigned it).

I really like the candy corn border treatment and the little 6" blocks were fun to make.

The Hoffman Color Palette quilt is finished, quilted and bound and I just love it.  Can't wait to find a place to hang it.  I love how it segues from warm to cool (left to right) and light to dark (top and bottom). 

The Animals quilt is finally finished as well... The borders were not as much work as I thought they'd be, and I love how it looks, so it's all good.  I have no idea how to quilt it though.  Traditional quilting like feathering or crosshatching doesn't sound right, and modern type quilting (lots of parallel lines) wouldn't suit it either, so I'm dithering.

I finally finished up that Saturday Sampler from last year too, the red and white one.  It too needs to be quilted of course, and I think an overall pattern for this one will be fine... I will probably end up donating this one eventually, but it was still fun to make.

I will be making 2 quilts on the cruise (one on the way to Hawaii, one on the way back), and there will be free sew time as well, so I'll be working on one of my (piecing only) BOMs.  I will be leaving all the applique BOMs at home, as I do all applique by machine, and we won't have irons available on the cruise (apparently the cruise line only allows them in the laundry rooms and they are a long way from the sewing rooms). 

Needless to say, I should be coming home from the cruise with two quilts that just need borders to finish up, some blocks for the BOM I'll be working on, and hopefully some good memories and new friends.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Projects New and Old

Today was a good day.  I set out to make blocks for a sampler quilt.  I had planned to make two and got four done!  The sampler is set on point and has 13 blocks... I didn't realize that and set my sights on two blocks - December and January (for a Saturday Sampler that started in February 2015).  I thought that would finish out the year, but when I got to the end of the book of patterns, there was one more waiting for me - February 2016!  I got that block done and then made the decision to make 5 more blocks so my quilt won't be square.  I got one of the five done, giving me a total of four for the day.  I've got four more to make now to finish off the blocks for the quilt, then I'll have to figure out how to set them all on point with sashing and such.  The pattern for the setting is a separate purchase from the shop, so I may just try to figure it out myself. 

I made the decision not to do any more Saturday Samplers this year.  The two local shops that are offering them are doing quilts I just don't like very much, using fabrics I don't like either.. (both are using florals, which are WAAAAY outside my comfort zone.  I know it's a good thing to stretch and actually do things outside that zone, but I just don't like florals.  I like flowers well enough, just not on my fabric.  Then again there's the quilts themselves - just didn't like the blocks that much either. 

So instead I'm doing a bunch of block of the months this year - three so far, but I've still got some to finish up from last year, so they are all overlapping.   The ones I am doing for 2016 are:

      Tuxedo Tales
      Susie's World
      Fancy Forest

I am still finishing up Purrfectly Pieced, Bertie's Autumn, the Animals quilt, Nifty Nine-Patch Saturday Sampler from last year.  Not to mention the other quilts I've made that need quilting - SO many of those piled up!  I counted them all and there are 31 (that I found!).  There might be a few more that got missed.  And I've got some I haven't started yet too - unopened kits and such.

I'm sure I'll add more projects as the year progresses, too!  I always find new things I simply 'must' do.  I really need to learn to edit my urges to start new things!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Focusing on Just One Thing

A group I belong to on Yahoo called Stashbusters has this 'JOT' or 'Just One Thing' motto.  It means try to focus on just one thing to get it done, instead of looking at the big picture and getting so intimidated by the totality of what needs to be done that you get nothing done.

My JOT for yesterday was to sew the appliques on the borders of my animals quilt.  I got some of it done, which is good.  I decided after getting about half the appliques done, that I would only concentrate on the colored pieces for now.  I got everything done except blue and green yesterday, plus a bunch of the trees. 

Today, my JOT is to do all the greens and blues... there aren't a lot of blues, but there ARE a lot of green leaves, so I've got a job in front of me.  Today is going to be a busy day, so I'm hoping I get them done.

When the colors are done, I will still have a lot of neutral appliques to sew down, but I can work on those on Weds at my weekly sew-in and not have to carry all my thread with me - just my box of neutrals. 

Here's the quilt on my design wall with the partially-done borders just pinned up on the sides to show what I'm working on.