Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Machine Quilting Madness

Hello Everyone,
Just a quickie this morning since I'm off to class this morning.  I wanted to show my machine quilting progress on Country Sunshine.

I made the borders 8" wide as I planned on filling the space with plate feathers. My plan almost went in the dumpster when I had to pick out every stitch of what you see.  I checked my tension in the beginning and proceeded to merrily quilt.  The front looked gorgeous, the back was horrible and turned into a continual birds nest!  Something went wrong with the tension and I had the BIGGEST mess.  What took 20 minutes to quilt, took 2 hours and 20 minutes to rip out.  Click HERE for a link to plate feathers tutorial.

My head finally hit my pillow around 11:30pm and the top border was done.  It's 5:6am now and I'm starting in again before I head to the shop to be with my Sew'n Wild Oaks girls.

I will quilt all day tomorrow, then Thursday I head to Colusa to teach Patchwork Math and Heritage at Friends Around the Block on Friday and Saturday.   I can't wait to see the shop since it is located in a former mortuary.  I was so mad at this quilt last night, I was ready to throw it in the crematorium!  I'm better today, and no longer have such dire thoughts. For me, quilting plate feathers is like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time.  They do not come naturally at all.  Heaven forbid that I get distracted, and that is my middle name!

Off to the quilting room to get some quilting in before the sun comes up.  The girls are going to have to prop me up in class and make a coffee run or two or three.......


Friday, January 19, 2018

First Flimsy of the Year

Hello Everyone,
Borders on......check.  Dog on.....check.

As soon as I get the camera out, Mazey goes into "pose" mode.  I always take pictures of my quilts draped over this old sled, and she knows it's time to have her picture taken.  Her golden hair blends in perfectly.

Today is backing day.....my least favorite part of making a quilt.  I will most likely use the leftovers, cut them all up and stitch them all back together in a scrappy back.  Mazey loves backing day because she will roll around on the fabrics so carefully arranged on the floor.

We just got a dusting of snow in the night.  The deck looks like the angels sifted powdered sugar from the heavens.  We aren't going to have to dig our way out today.  I can probably use a broom on the driveway.

We had another load of wood delivered the other day.  The young man said he would stack it for us for an additional fee.  I guess he thought we didn't look robust enough to carry all of the wood down the hill to the cabin.  We declined his offer, although it was a fair price.  By the time we finished, our hill looked more like Mt. Everest every time I went back up to put another few pieces of wood in my carrier.  Mr. Joe manhandles the wheelbarrow.  He likes to think he's Paul Bunyon.  I guess that makes me Babe, his trusty blue ox. 

Speaking of being a "babe".....I got my hair cut yesterday......all of them......very, VERY short.  I guess I forgot to mention to my new hairdresser that I didn't want my hair shorter than my husband's.  I guess I also forgot to mention that I didn't want to be able to see my scalp.  I guess I also forgot to mention that I would prefer to look like a woman.....not Babe the Blue Ox. I also learned not to get my hair cut short when the temps dip into the low 30's.....my ears are cold.  Maybe this new "do" will grow on me.....literally.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Country Sunshine Version #2

Hello Everyone,
I've hunkered down over the past couple of days and finished all of the blocks, sashing strips, and got this quilt together.

Today, I'll trim up the sides and get the borders cut and sewn on.  Very simple borders will highlight the quilt center.  Tomorrow I'll make the backing.

Next week I'll get this one on the long arm and machine quilt until I drop.
On the fugitive front, he's still at large.  We don't have the huge police presence in town, so I'm assuming that law enforcement believes that he has left the area.  We are still keeping vigilant, with the doors locked night and day.  Our alarm is on at night.  If it goes off, we will be shocked and terrified at the same time. 

We are back to walking Mazey at night.  I was a little jumpy when I heard something in the woods which got this old heart pounding.  Mazey started barking then whining.  Two dogs came running toward us.  Mr. Joe had the composure to pull out the air horn and gave it a couple of good blasts.  Luckily the dogs retreated one way and we retreated the other.  When the dog's owner walks them by our house on a daily basis, he can hardly keep control of them on leash.  This is only the second time we've seen the dogs running loose since 2005, so it isn't a daily occurrence.  They are scary animals.  One of them is named Samson......does that tell you anything?  A bear would be in retreat mode if it saw Samson.

It is supposed to start snowing tonight.  Mr. Joe is so anxious to use the new generator.  It think it is a little noisy.....but I can't hear as well now after the double blast from the air horn the other night!


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Country Sunshine

Hello Everyone,
I've not dropped off the planet, I've been traveling.  This week I was at the Folsom and Fiber Quilt Guild for a lecture and a workshop.  I'll post picture of those fun ladies and their creations tomorrow.
My sister Gail went with me to Folsom to be my "Vanna" during the lecture, then she helped out with the workshop the next day.  When we returned to the cabin, I put her to work pattern testing Country Sunshine. Here is Gail's block.

I'm down to the last five blocks for this quilt. Of course there are more sashings to make, setting triangles, borders.....etc. etc.   I would love to be able to get the top together before the big quilt show in Folsom in February.  It would only be a flimsy, but it would show a different colorway.  The fabrics used in this quilt are Crystal Farm from Andover Fabrics.

Here is the first Country Sunshine using Rachael Remembered fabrics from Moda.  This one is going on the long arm in the next couple of weeks.  I'm going to make the backing and get this one done!  Side by side they don't look like the same pattern.

I usually make every pattern twice, if not three times, in one case four times to show the quilt using a different fabric palette. You know me, I would love to make this into a very scrappy quilt and use black in the sashing.  That is NOT going to get done anytime soon!

I'll be working on the pattern directions today during football playoffs.  I may try to sneak back into my sewing room and make another block or two. A lot depends on how exciting the games are, and how much they hold my attention and keep me from my appointed writing task.

There is a fugitive loose in our area, a robbery suspect with a long list of warrants out for his arrest.  A reward has also been posted for this "most wanted" man in Calaveras County.  We curtailed our nightly walk with Mazey.  These two, gray-haired geezers would be easy "pickens" since we couldn't out run each other let alone a desperado. Mazey would lick him to death and want to play.  A two-legged creature scares me more than a four-legged furry creature.  The air horn isn't going to work on this fugitive.  We drove to town twice yesterday, and each time we saw four sheriff vehicles patrolling.  I didn't know our county had that many.  There was a big community meeting the other night at Independence Hall regarding this man, and crime in general.  Mr. Joe tried to attend the meeting, but by the time he arrived it was standing room only, and the only standing room was outside in the cold.....he was home early.  Needless to say, we are keeping the cabin buttoned up pretty tight both night and day.  Our trusty guard dog slept like a baby all night.  I wish I could say the same for me.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Over the Propane Tank

Hello Everyone,
I've been fussy cutting my heart out for the new blocks in Heritage.  What started out as creating examples for my class at Friends Around the Block, has turned into an entirely new quilt.

This block is a combination of Kim Diehl meets Laundry Basket fabrics, along with Moda. They all play well together.

Here's the progress as of yesterday morning. 

In making a parody of an Erma Bombeck phrase, I'm changing my quote to read, "Life is Greener Over the Propane Tank!"  This is my view out one of the windows in my sewing room. Not much going on outside, but it is oh, so sweet inside.  Mr. Joe came into my room during the week to check on me since he hadn't seen me in a fair bit of time. I completely lost all track of the hours while working on my blocks.  I was having a ball!  I was digging deep into my stash to come up with different combinations of color.  Just like a chef, a dash of this, and a dash of that, and I was cooking up some blocks.  This quilt is going to be a melting pot of colors.

I discovered I'm at my happiest when working with a LARGE palette of choices, and really stir things up.  I'm absolutely only pulling from my stash.  Nothing new at all for this quilt. 

Today is going to be a day to pull up a chair by the fire, and enjoy a good read during a nice, soaking rain. We have to run over to Quail's Nest quilt shop in Sonora this morning to pick up Grammy Squares, then home to this cozy spot......or I'll be in my spot over the propane tank!

Next week I'm headed to Folsom, CA to speak at the Folsom Quilt & Fiber Guild.  The lecture is Tuesday night, and the Patchwork Math workshop is all day Wednesday. I'll have to stop quilting long enough to prepare handouts, and give my talk a good run through.  If you are in the area, come on by and introduce yourself.

Gotta scoot.....my propane tank is calling me!


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Lessons Learned

Hello Everyone,
Here are images of two more new blocks for Heritage. 

It takes me awhile to select just the right fabrics.  I don't want them to be too matchey, matchey.  I want them to be unique and be able to stand alone on their own within the quilt.  There are 49 star blocks in the quilt, giving me 49 chances to get it right!  I can't knock it out of the park every time, but I can try!

I have a couple more that need to be sewn that are on the block layout sheet.  Maybe this afternoon I will put everything else aside and work on them.  I've already changed the block on the bottom right to give it a bit more "zip".

I hope you all had a good New Year's Eve.  We had a quiet one and binge watched "The Last Post".  It is an Amazon original series and it captured our interest with the first episode.  There are only six episodes and we have one more to watch.  Unless I'm working on an applique project, I usually doze off at night in front of the TV.....but not during this show! 

I'm going to take a different stance on the new year.   I don't want to sound like Miss Congeniality in the Miss America contest, so I'm not going to say that I'm wishing for world peace.  I'm going to look at what I learned from 2017, and try to apply those life lessons to 2018. 

If someone had told me last year at this time, that our son was going to get divorced.......I wouldn't have thought it possible.  Lesson learned - Nothing lasts forever.  Choose forgiveness over anger and life will be sweeter.

If someone had told me last year at this time we were going to move after being in the same house for 30 years......I wouldn't have believed you.  Lesson learned - Downsize, downsize, downsize!  I repeat DOWNSIZE NOW!!

If someone had told me that my business was going to take me to heights I'd never experienced before.....I would have laughed and said, "No Way"!  Lesson learned - Keep plugging away at what you've set in place and it will grow with constant care and feeding.

So what did I learn?  I learned to roll with the punches, accept change and know that everything is going to work out for the best.....and it will if you BELIEVE it will.

Now comes the Miss Congeniality spiel for 2018. Let's all be kinder, and let it begin with us, the quilters of the world.  There are millions of us, so let's put all of that positive power into action and make the world a better place, one kindness after another.  End of spiel.

I have it by good authority that my High School Freshman English teacher might be reading my blog.  I'll apologize right now Mrs. Boness for my lack of proper punctuation.  I must have been asleep during that whole unit.  Now spelling on the other hand is good.....thanks to spell check!  You were always a positive influence on our young, hormone and testosterone driven teenage brains.  Because of you, I love the English language from poetry to the classics.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't read a few chapters, and write a few words from my to-do list to my blog.  End of "suck up" time, at least I don't have to worry about a grade anymore. Thank you for putting up with us. I hope to see at a guild meeting in the future.

I have hit the reset button and hit the ground running for 2018.  The creative juices are flowing and I'm excited about new opportunities, challenges, and changes.


P.S. If you are interested in purchasing my Heritage pattern, it is located HERE in my Etsy store.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A New Heritage

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year's Eve!
I'm spending the day in my quilting room and in front of the TV watching football.  This is going to be a great day!
I'm going to be teaching Heritage at Friends Around the Block quilt shop in Colusa in a few weeks, so I wanted to pull a couple of scrappy Heritage blocks together to show what can be done with the pattern.  Plus, I needed to brush up on the block so I don't appear to be an idiot while I'm teaching!  The shop is located in a former mortuary.  I hope the attendees don't die laughing during class! 
I've always wanted to make a scrappy Heritage.

The log cabin blocks will all be the same for consistency.  All of the star blocks will be different.  This is a great way to attack the ever-growing scrap problem in my sewing room.  I find I can use any color in a quilt if I separate them with black.

I love to select the fabrics for a scrappy quilt.  It can be painstaking, but it is so worth the effort taking your time and fussy cutting to get just the right look.  This quilt will be a combination of reproduction fabrics mixed in with non-reproductions.....an eclectic mix of color and patterns.

Here's the original Heritage.  The scrappy quilt is going to look entirely different. 


P.S.  If you are interested in the pattern, it is located on my Etsy site HERE.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Back to Normal Life

Hello Everyone,
The little boys have gone back home to their parents.  Now these grandparents are returning to our much slower way of life.  It is too quiet here!
To fill the void, I started cutting up this yardage for my first quilt show of the year held in Folsom the first part of February.  I purchased all of this yardage at Debbie's Quilt Shop in Paradise, CA in November.  Debbie has the best selection of reproduction fabric under one roof!

I'm making fat quarter towers of this assortment.  The bundles are comprised of fabric from Moda, Marcus and Windham fabrics.  I selected fabrics that fit my style from Prairie Basics, Antique Cotton, Shenandoah Valley, Party of Twelve, On Maple Lake and Old Cambridge Pike just to name a few.

I may put a couple of the bundles out on my ETSY site once I get them all cut, folded, and priced.  The Folsom Quilt Show runs over three days, so I have to have a ton of product to fill my booth.  I have to start now to get ready for the show or else I will be a mad woman at the end of January.

This weekend, my to-do list includes updating my calendar on my blogsite.  I hit the ground running in January with lectures and workshops.  I've had a wonderful few weeks off, and now it's time to start in again on my travel schedule.

We had so much fun with the little grandson.  They are 10 and 9.....the perfect age for adventure in the mountains and using their imaginations.

They were hit with gold fever while panning in the little town of Columbia.

They road shotgun on the Pony Express stagecoach.  The stage was also held up by a bandit during their ride.

They sang along with a country western singer that resembled Ed Harris.  Maybe he's adding to his retirement fund.

They went bowling.  Only the best and most modern bowling alley for our grandsons. 

They played in the snow at Bear Valley.  Two boys and a dog.  What could be better? 

We binge watched Diary of a Whimpy Kid movies.  I am now completely up to date and well versed on the bathroom humor of a 10-year-old.  OMG!  I can see why the boys like reading the books and enjoy the movies. I only dozed off once and they caught me!

It was three days of no video games, no phones, nothing electronic at all.  It was Lego's, playing Monopoly, sledding on pine needles and in the snow, building forts, and family time around the kitchen table.

Mazey is missing her boys.  If a dog can be depressed, I think she is.  If a Grammy can be depressed.....I think she is.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Sons of our Sons

Hello Everyone,

I got so busy with the family for Christmas, I forgot to post and wish you all a Merry Christmas.  Now I'm wishing you all a Happy New Year!

We spent three wonderful days in Livermore with the entire family and enjoyed lots of eating, laughing, games, presents and hugs......let me mention eating again.  Now we are back at the cabin and we brought the two youngest grandsons with us.  After unloading the car, the boys immediately wanted to start assembling their new Lego kits with 1,000 pieces.  They each have their own table to carry out the construction.

Mr. Joe went outside to check around the property and saw these large, what we think are bear tracks, leading up to the deck.  I guess the animals partied on the deck while we were gone!

The boys wanted to roast hot dogs for dinner.....so we did. Hot dogs with macaroni and cheese is the dinner of champions. Tonight pizza or spaghetti......whatever their little heart's desire.

We watched the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Long Haul movie, then the little guys headed off to bed.  They were tired after playing outside and working on the construction of a fort in the woods.  Mazey sticks with them like glue, and is their early warning defense system when it comes to critter alert.

As soon as the sun comes up, I'll head outside and bring the game camera inside to see what was wandering around last night.  Mazey was going ballistic around 5am so we know something was prowling around.  We've learned to recognize her different barks, growls, and howls for different four-legged and two-legged animals.  This morning I think her bark signified something bigger than a bread box!

Today we are headed to the little town of Columbia.  It is a nicely preserved Western town complete with blacksmith, and a Pony Express office offering stage coach rides.  The boys don't know it yet, but the stagecoach always get "held up" by bandits.  The entire main street of town is a State Park and is completely closed to traffic.  We'll wander around the old buildings and also do some panning for gold.

The little boys are 10 and 9.  They are the sons of our sons.  For us it is like stepping back in time to the days when we had two boys.  For some reason, these two are much better behaved!



Monday, December 18, 2017

Seasonal Hexie Toppers

Hello Everyone,
I made good use of my "football watching time" yesterday, and put four Seasonal Hexie Toppers together.  The games were so exciting, that I kept getting distracted.  
I started by cutting a large hexagon center and strips from four coordinating fabrics in varying sizes.

By the end of the second game, I had four tops together.  I want to use an 80/20 batting in this project.  Do you think I have any at the cabin?  I have lots of wool batting, but these are most likely going to be washed a lot, so no wool for me in this project.

I also didn't have any green or red thread!  I have tons of spools at home, but none at the cabin. The closest quilt shop is about 40 miles away....so sigh.  These are going to have to wait to be quilted later on this week since the shop is closed today. 

Today I will work on my Christmas cards, and maybe do some baking......which could be dicey.  We are having a generator installed today.  I don't need to have a batch of cookies in the oven, and have the workmen turn the power off to connect something.  I have a hard enough time baking at this  elevation.  Seriously, I have  major baking issues, with a great many flops.  Mr. Joe will eat anything, but once he passed on a layer cake the size of a pancake!

Snow is predicted for Tuesday night into Wednesday.  I can't wait to get some actual winter weather.  The high temperature is supposed to be in the 20's during the day.  I'll put my studded shoes on so I won't start ice skating around the outside of the cabin without giving me prior, written  notification!


P.S.  The pattern for the Seasonal Hexie Topper is located HERE in my Etsy store.