Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hello Everyone,

Country Charmer went on my HandiQuilter yesterday.  This one is going to take me forever to quilt!  Very little marking is required on this one, but lots, and lots of slow work with different templates and rulers.

I felt like I was stuck in a border rut......and needed to challenge myself with something new and different.  I didn't want to quilt just feathers, or straight lines on this version of the quilt.  I had to step outside my comfort zone and quilt something unique. 

I got out my clear plastic drawing sheet and recreated my doodles from a sketchbook, and drew them on the plastic. 

Mr. Joe added his 2 cents, and we decided that we both liked this motif the best.  I'm not quilting the line of squiggles between the straight lines.....overkill on this one.  If I didn't like it, I would be ripping out forever!  The lighter, red check is a woven that doesn't like to have thread ripped out of it.  I learned the hard way on that one!

Once I take it off the machine, and can view the entire quilt, I will then decide if I need to go back and literally fill in the blanks.

On a personal note, our granddaughter graduates from 5th grade this morning.  I seems like it was just yesterday when she was born.  In the blink of an eye, we will be attending her graduation from high school.  Time, go way too fast.  Savor each day by creating, enjoying, and most of all, loving life.

As always,


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Madrigal Class is in Session

Hello Everyone,

It is always a good day when quilters gather in the classroom at In Between Stitches.  The back door swings open, and the sewing machines start rolling in, ready to begin their productive day.  Boxes, and bags of fabric decorate the tables and then the design wall comes alive in color.  Old friends hug and warmly greet newcomers.  Friendships are made, ideas and suggestions are exchanged.

Sylvia brought out her blues that she has been collecting for years.  Before you knew it, she had some hourglass sections made.

Her red, white and blue combinations are going to come together in a beautiful, patriotic quilt.  The white setting square will become 'home' to an intricate, quilted design.

My sister Gail, wanted to get extra credit, and finished quite a few of her blocks before class began.  She was on a roll, and loved making her blocks for Madrigal in warm, homespun colors of beige, maroon and black.

She found just the perfect beige and maroon gingham for her flanges around each of the setting triangles and started working on them.  Her quilt is going to have a maroon inner border with a beautiful black border. 

Kaye loves a pastel palette, and is pulling her blocks together from her stash with just a sprinkling of new fat quarters.

Her combinations are going to make a lovely quilt to match the Party In The Garden quilt that she is making.  The two quilts will be hanging in close proximity to each other and will make a dramatic wall!

Karen brought in a wonderful selection of fabric from her stash.  I had so much fun looking through it and lusted after many of the pieces.

Just look at that plaid....extra credit is given to anyone using plaid in my classes!  Karen is going to use a little red and white check gingham for her flange that is going to be perfect with her green paisley border fabric.

Barbara started with a very rich brown, pink and purple border.  Her hourglass units are several different shades, drawing out the lavender from the border.

She has lots of squares to begin her power sewing for her blocks.

Carol has all of her blocks made for her quilt.  We selected flange and inner border material for her creation.  The border is a very rich stripe that she plans to fussy cutting for maximum impact.

Now she is getting her colors pulled together for her center applique section.

We'll have the second session of our class toward the end of next month.  All of the quilts are going to be fabulous!  I can't wait  to see them.  I have a feeling that the girls will be working hard on them during the month.

Have a great day.  Do something that you enjoy......just for you.

As always.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Madrigal Class Today

Hello Everyone,

I'm off to the shop this morning to teach Madrigal.  This is going to be a good class and I'll be posting lots of pictures tomorrow.

This version of Madrigal will be at the Carson Valley Quilt Show in Carson City, NV next month.

This version is hanging at In Between Stitches.  Soon it will be headed to The Christmas Shoppe in New Hampshire to start traveling to quilt shows around the East Coast.

I feel like Alice in Wonderland....."I'm late, I'm late for a very important date."  Did she say that or was it the rabbit?  Gotta scoot.

As always,


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Buttonwood is Finished!

Good Morning Everyone,

I only have time for a quick post this morning.  I'm expecting to hear the pitter patter of little 4-year-old feet running down the hallway, wanting to fix a special breakfast with Grammy.  Kids are natural cooks and Jess loves to be in the kitchen.

Yesterday, before the family arrived, I finished Buttonwood.  To add a little whimsy, I have two Lady Bugs buttons flying around the quilt.

I wanted to have this finished and on display for Memorial Day, and I completed it not a moment too soon.

Mr. Joe made the snowshoe lamp for me by the side of the bed.  I saw one in a magazine that cost a gazillion dollars, and he said, "I can do that."

The storm announced itself with the crackle of thunder rolling across the mountains, and rain, and hail, and then the snow started falling.  My clematis wasn't expecting her blossom to fill with hail.

No picnic lunch for us on the deck yesterday.

This is my view from the dining room where I set up my quilting shop.  I didn't get much done as I was too busy looking out the window, trying to convince myself that it's May, the official beginning of summer.  I was working on the pesky "Y" seams.

We'll try to get a hike in today between storm clouds. I'm still trying to work off the calories from the beer can chicken and bacon!

As always,


Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial Weekend

Hello Everyone,

I thought I would post a recipe I tried the other night to start our Memorial Day Weekend.  I like to test new recipes out on us first before I subject our company to a potential failure.

This recipe is a new twist on beer can chicken.

Start with a teaspoon each of:

Garlic powder, onion powder, sage, ground ginger, seasoned pepper, salt, paprika and dried oregano and any other seasonings you can think of (just like my scrappy quilts, throw in any spice that you think will work.)  Wash and dry the chicken first.

Mix up the spices.  Rub half of the spices around the inside of the chicken.  No time to get squeamish!  Gently detached the skin, and rub the rest of the spices between the skin and meat.

I didn't have a can of beer, but I did have a bottle of beer from our local brewery.

To improvise, I poured the beer into an empty can of Sprite.  Save out about 1/2 cup of beer.....why??  To drink of course!  Actually, you need space for the two to three cloves of crushed garlic that you are going to put into the beer/Sprite can.  I had a genius idea to put the can into my spring form pan to hold the chicken up, since I didn't have one of those handy dandy beer can holders.  If you do this, make sure you put pan and all on a baking pan to collect the juices.

I thought this was the neck cavity of a chicken......wrong.  It is the opening where you are going to stuff the 8 slices of bacon.  I used thick, applewood-smoked bacon.

Play ring around the Maypole with the bacon, and drape it around the bird.  Before......

After.  I baked this for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then for another 1-1/2 plus or minus hours at 325 degrees. Keep checking the internal temperature which should get to 165 degrees. Halfway through the cooking time, I threw in a handful of baby, honey-gold potatoes. The wonderful aroma wafting out of the house while this chicken was baking, brought Mr. Joe out of his woodshop and down to the cabin to see what I was up to. I served this with a salad, and we were in beer can chicken heaven. The bacon kept the chicken moist and it was so flavorful! 

For lunch yesterday I made sandwiches from the leftover chicken.  I cranked up the panini machine, and layered  chicken, bacon, avocado, Jack cheese and Dijon mustard between two slices of sourdough bread.  Then we walked around the neighborhood to work off the calories!  Maybe we should have hiked all the way to Bear Valley.  

So, you can try this recipe on your holiday guests.  It definitely passed muster at our house. 

Gotta go and work off more of those delicious calories.

As always,


Thursday, May 24, 2012


Hello Everyone,

Yesterday I got the last border and the nine-patches made for the corners on Country Charmer. Lately, I've been working so sporadically on this quilt. I knew I would finish it by Christmas....but Christmas of what year?

I changed the corner nine-patches up a bit from the first time that I made this quilt.  I used the lighter red, so they wouldn't get lost in the border.  I love to drape quilts over this old sled.  Just a perfect way to re-purpose a non-functional sled.

I'm also going to change the way I quilt the borders on this one.  I have my sketches drawn, now I just have to transfer my ideas to the quilting machine.

Nothing goes to waste.  I had some strip sets left from the nine-patches, so I incorporated them into the backing.  The center is a light green check, the lighter fabric is leftover from the front background, and the greens are leftovers from the blocks.

I just listened to the weather report, and there's a chance of rain here on Friday and Saturday! Even a slight possibility of snow....snow??  This is May isn't it?  I need to get my raking done and piles of pine needles picked up before the rain begins.  I have to sign off now and start my day.  I hope you all enjoy your Thursday.  You want to rake some pine needles?

As always,


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Coveralls and Corsets

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday on our way up to the cabin, we stopped in Angels Camp and took pictures of the coveralls and corsets hanging across Main Street. 

It is quite the sight and so much fun. Back in 1848, Angels Camp was home to over 4,000 miners.  Today, the population if closer to 3,000 and there are probably more quilters than miners.

Take away the cars, and you would think you were back in the days of Mark Twain and right in the middle of his story called The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country.

Every year there is a frog jumping contest, and the winner gets their name on a brass plaque in the sidewalk.  Just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

On a quilting note, I stopped by The Country Cloth Shop and chatted with Ginger and Pam.  It is always good to see them.  I may be teaching a class or two there during the summer.  I'll keep you posted on the scheduling.

Once we got to the cabin, and opened it up and aired it out, I settled in to make binding for Buttonwood.  The little Clover clips are the BEST for holding the binding down while hand stitching.  I don't know what I used to do without them.

I see binding and borders in my future today. Plus grocery shopping and chores to get ready for company for the Memorial Day weekend. Then all quilting will stop and turn to fishing, hiking, picnicking and game playing......and eating......and more eating!

As always,


Monday, May 21, 2012

Am I Losing My Mind???

Hello Everyone,

I thought I should try to sew some of the "Y" seams before I got too carried away on this quilt.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but there is absolutely no way to rush through them.  This block is sewn together......all 136 pieces of fabric in ONE 20" block! 

This is the next grouping waiting to be sewn together.

The outside is actually a very dark purple on this block.  This is my favorite one so far.  Just look at all the opportunity I have to add lots and lots of color.  I think the gestation time for this quilt is going to be around two years......or more.  It's going to be a long, sloooowwww birth of an amazing quilt.

This is the biggest, and most ambitious project I've tackled so far when it comes to quilting.  Selecting the fabrics have become a game, and it is the easy and fun part for me.  I've decided to start keeping track of how many fabrics I've used with swatch sheets.  Now I just need to convince my granddaughters that it is fun to cut little swatches and fill in the blanks.  There are 14 different fabrics in each block. By the time I finish, I will try to incorporate over 200 different fabrics.  This is going to be fun! ......I think!

This project is definitely for an advanced quilter, or an intermediate quilter with 'stones'.....if you catch my drift.  Sorry if I've offended anyone, but it's true!

As always,


P.S.  I forgot to calculate the fabrics in the setting squares......add another 50 different fabrics.....give or take a few.  My granddaughters are going to be busy cutting squares for those swatch sheets!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Buttons and Binding

Hello Everyone,

The machine quilting is completed on Buttonwood.  I forced myself to finish this yesterday so I can start working on the binding, and have this quilt hanging up Memorial Day weekend, then it will be on display at In Between Stitches.

Kits are still available at the shop for Buttonwood Americana.

Now that I'm done with baskets, it is time to get back to October Magic.

Then I have to put the last border on Country Charmer. Once that is done, it will go on the quilting machine.

I think I need a few more projects!

As always,