Wednesday, February 15, 2017

No Place Like Home

I spent the bulk of last week in SoCal, settling my dad back in his home.  Long story, and we're not at the end.  We're trying Home Instead, which appears to be an answer to prayer.  If only he would stay home to let them in to help around the house.  (He tends to go AWOL.)  I spent hours clearing out cake mixes from 1999, and tons of bug habitat.  I left it just begun, and am hopeful that they will be allowed in today, to finish the job.  ugh.

The yard is not what I remember.
The drought has taken its toll, and there are 70' pine trees that are absolutely and completely dead.  The oleanders lining the driveway?  Mostly dead.  The tangelo trees, my mother's pride and joy?  95% dead.  An acre of dead and dying 50+ year old trees, covered with spectacular new growth of bright green weeds, etc.  It is tragically beautiful.

While there, I spotted a needlepoint "tapestry" that I made for my mom in the early 70's.  I wrote the essay when I was in 7th grade.  She loved it so much, I ended up doing the needlepoint during the hours (and hours and hours) that I spent babysitting while in high school.
My dad sent it home with me, and it is now hanging in the guest room.  Lots of memories are held within that picture frame.  The teacher had a poster on his wall.  It was a black and white photo of a young dad with a toddler on his shoulders.  They were walking down a country lane in autumn, under a canopy of trees.  The caption on the poster was "Take Time."  Mr. Milne, our teacher, said, "Write an essay, using the poster as a prompt."  And so I did.

February's goal has been met.  I got my entries submitted to Best of the Valley 2017 by yesterday's deadline.  whew!!

And I guess that's it for now...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Old Quilt, New Binding

A couple of decades ago, I made my baby a Big Boy Quilt.  That baby is now 27 years old.  The quilt is 23.  My quilting skills have improved since 1993.

One thing that has changed has been the way I make binding.  When I began quilting in earnest, in the late 80's, I was told that single-fold binding was fine, double-fold was a waste of fabric.  I've since learned that if you are making a quilt that will see much use, double-fold binding is highly desirable.  It doesn't use THAT much additional fabric, and saving yourself from redoing binding is a win in my book.

I knew the quilt was faded, but just how faded?  I was surprised.
 I thought I still had leftover fabric, but the piece in my stash was actually a different shade.  I realized that once I'd cut the binding.  yikes.  Not sure it will work.  The color change is pretty dramatic.
 But when I sewed it on?  It's not that horrible, is it?
I finished yesterday, as the SuperBowl came to an end.  Perhaps it will see another decade or two of use.  It was well-loved, that much is certain.
 One thing that I am glad that I learned early on was that "All Quilts Need a Label."  I made this one with Micron pigma pens, back in the 90's.  Can you read it?  It says who the quilt was made for, why I chose the pattern, who made it, and when.  And then, at the bottom, I've added the additional history, which is the ribbon that it won at the County Fair.
My current labels are machine-embroidered in matching fabric and threads, but the information stays the same.  And if a quilt wins an award?  I make additional labels to attach on the back.  One thing is for certain:  Whether anyone is interested or not, my quilts carry their history with them, wherever they go.

And on that, it's time to get to work.  Happy Quilting!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

More Postcards

Yesterday I had about an hour in the studio.  First, I pored over lists and quilts, trying to decide what to enter in Best of the Valley Quilt Show.  I came up with 7 possibilities, all them wall-sized or smaller.  Not one "small" (72"-48" on the longest side) or large quilt in the bunch.  wow.  I really do need to reevaluate what I've been spending time on.  Most of my recent pieces have also been too small to enter in most national quilt shows.  I don't think I entered a single national show last year, which is probably the first time in 20 years that I've failed to do that.  Like I said, time to reevaluate.

I found the scraps I'd cut for more barn postcards, and decided to finish them, rather than toss the fabric.  You knew that would happen, didn't you?  I rarely toss anything.

The last quilt-related thing I did yesterday was to dig through my box of solids, to find the piece of twilight blue that I'd used in my son's Big Boy Quilt, over 20 years ago.  That quilt has seen a lot of wear and tear, most of which is in the binding, which is holey and shredding.  I washed the fabric yesterday, and perhaps today will press and cut new binding.  The thing is, the color is completely different from the current color of the quilt, but I am certain it is the same fabric.  Fade happens.  I'll post pictures on another day.  Right now, my dad is asleep in the room next to the studio, and I don't want to disturb him.  We'd planned to go south yesterday, but instead, he preferred to stick around.

One at a time.  That's how we're doing this.
Every day is a gift.

And on that, I'd best put in some time on the quilt show.  Goals are good!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Under The Wire

whew!  I am pleased to announce that I finished my last postcards for Postmark'd Art, Round 26, "Barns" theme.  whew!
 They are rustic.  haha.  I believe I made them with raw silk.  Silly, that.
 They're the same, yet different.  I have 3 more cut out, but I'm not sure I'll finish them.  The fiber is very shreddy.
I guess that means it took me the entire month to meet half of my first week of January goals.  hmmm.  Hopefully February will be more productive.

My primary February goal is to get my entries submitted to Best of the Valley Quilt Show.  The deadline is February 14.  If I really got my act together, I could get my entries done tonight.  Or tomorrow.  Please.  Do not hold your breath!

My dad has said that he wants to go home, so I'll be heading south again in the next few days.  My hubby had surgery on his nose today, and I hesitate to leave him home alone.  Then again, he decided to go back to work this afternoon, after the procedure ended.  (It was a skin cancer removal thingie.  Took almost 5 hours with three slice & biopsy evaluations.)  He expects to work tomorrow.  I hope he knows what he's doing, and that he listens to his nose if it tells him to stay home.  His work involves dairy cows and lots of manure.  Not exactly hygienic for open wounds, but hey, what do I know.  He's the doctor.  ;)

But you didn't want to hear all that.  You want to know what's happening in the studio.  The sad sorry state of affairs is that nothing much is happening there.  If anything changes, you'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UFO's, etcetera

I've been trying to get back into the studio, literally.  That attempt involves a lot of sorting, tossing, and putting away.  My assistant, when he's in the house, tries to help me.
 Oh, look!  What's that item folded in front of Mr. Watson?  It's another UFO, one that was omitted (unintentionally) from my 2017 UFO list.
 And in another pile?  There's this small ocean scene, complete with paper boat.  It was a reject from the Oasis call for entry back in 2015.  Another UFO that missed the list.  I think I'm up to 42 now.  At least the two mini quilts to the right are finished!
My dad is still here, and with him is his little dog.  Watson, who could not care less about Scruffy, and who plays tag with Pixel, wants absolutely nothing to do with Hotty.  (Don't ask me where she got the name.  My dad gave it to her, though he says, "She came with it.")  Anyway, Watson's eyes get bigger than usual - see first photo - and he disappears for hours at a time.  I finally found him.
 Do you see him?  No?  He's in the upper left quadrant.  Maybe this will help?
 He's in a cradle of limbs, and feels confident enough to sleep there.
 I couldn't get him focused, as the camera insisted on focusing on foliage.  But, wow.  I don't think kitty got the memo:  He's been declawed.  Yet, there he is 20' up in the air. It has not slowed him down one iota.
Quilt show details are coming together.  Entries are open, and remain so until February 14.  To download your entry form and/or enter online, click here.

And on that note, I've got work to do.  Best to get started!

Saturday, January 21, 2017


In early January I mentioned that Round 26 of Postmark'd Art was due by January 31.  I thought that I'd be able to whip out my contributions without delay.  haha, fooled myself!  But today?  I snuck (sneaked?) into the studio and threw together a set of "Autumn Leaves."  woohoo!  Cross that off the list.

 It was a small trade group, and I ended up with a spare.  That's always fun.
There are still 10 days remaining in January.  That's plenty of time to set a few more goals, isn't it? 

Before the end of the month, I'd like to finish the last set of Postmark'd Art postcards, and get them in the mail before the deadline. 

I'd also like to quilt a small art quilt, though I'm not sure which one.  I'm currently drawn to the one from the Jean Wells class, from May 2016.  And, finally, I'd like to quilt the Lifeguard Tower.  I've actually begun, but there's no way I will meet the entry deadline for M-AQF.  Oh well.  The Best of the Valley deadline is February 14.  Maybe I should shoot for that?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Brief Pause

I spent a couple of days at Road to CA, helping in the judging room, primarily as a Scribe.  Then it was off to San Diego to pick up my dad.  I pulled off at the View Point between San Clemente and Oceanside.  The vista is worth the break, and I took multiple photos.  Simply lovely!

Made it to San Diego, swung by Escondido, then hit the road through LA and back to the Central Valley, in the rain (yay!). and home by 8pm.  Long day.  I'm glad I took the time to smell the salt air and count the sea rats.  I mean sea gulls.  ;)

Maybe one of these days I'll sew something.
Goals are good!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Surprise Finish

I was looking for a piece of paper yesterday, and instead, once again located the unfinished "Another Sunset" that I'd misplaced/found/misplaced early in January.  Best to finish this one up before I lose it again!
 The top picture gives you an idea of its size, compared to my iPad.  The bottom picture has more accurate color.

I am very pleased with the streaky purple fabric that I found to bind it with.  I wonder if there is enough left to bind the Lifeguard Tower quilt, if I ever get it quilted?

As to quilting goals?  I've had to bow out of, or at least put on hold the Katie Pasquini Masopust class that begins tomorrow.  Too many other things take precedence these days.

We're in between rainstorms right now, but the moisture is resulting in mushrooms.  I found this one to be quite photogenic.
My goal for this week:  Do some handquilting and get my dad safely back to Visalia.  Goals are good.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lost a Week

Well, so much for plans.  I had four goals for the first week, and met two.  I think I mentioned that my dad has been here with me.  I drove him back to his home on Monday, 1/9.  We hit a beautiful weather window in the middle of the huge storm, and made it to San Diego County in 5.5 hours.  A total record for myself.

I was wifi-free during the three days I was down there.  Since my return, I've been trying desperately to catch up on something, anything.  I guess I'm almost there with the laundry.  But quilting goals?  Haven't hit or set another since early last week.

I head out again in a couple of days, and will likely end up back at my dad's for a few days.  So much for goal setting.  Life happens and I just try to go with the flow.  And on that note, I'll leave you with a few pics taken at my dad's home.  The last time I saw the property, everything looked dry and dead.  The rain has given it a massive makeover.

 These terraces used to hold 125 rose bushes.  All gone.
 This jade plant forest just about blew my mind.  It's about 8' wide and 50' long, running the length of the driveway.  I took some clippings and am hopeful that it will find my climate as invigorating.
 We had a glorious day, in between storms.  I understand why people like to live in SoCal.
And on that, I'm thinking about quilting, but barely. So much to do.  Every day is a gift.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Each time I log into Blogger, I get a notification that I need to give out a notification that there might be cookies on this website.  So.  Here you go:  There are cookies on this website.

Perhaps they are not referring to these adorable felt cookies, made by my friend Wendy Van Beek?

Doesn't matter.  These are the only cookies I add.  Anything else?  They are here, courtesy of Google.

There.  You've been warned.  Now, may I please stop having the cookie notification each time I log in?  Google?  I know you're reading this.  You read EVERYTHING.

And with that, I think I need to go sew...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hide and Seek

On Monday, I had time to work on a quilt. The one I wanted to work on already has a name, "Another Sunset."  But where was it?  I had no idea.  I searched high, I searched low.  Eventually I gave up and switched to cleaning up a bit.  Perhaps it was buried.
 I can't imagine why I couldn't find it. oh wait.  Peek-a-boo!  I see you!!  There it is, hanging on the design wall.  What?  You haven't spotted it yet?  It's right there, hiding in plain sight.
Today, I cut the sails that I'd wanted to applique onto it yesterday.  But guess what?  I've lost it again. 

Believe me, it's a gift.

I still had an hour to play, so I picked up some shavings from "Sail Away."  Maybe I could assemble them in such a way as to come up with a 6" x 8"?  And do you know that I could?  It's not half bad.  But it needs sails.

A glass of water, scissors, pins, needle, thread, and two triangles..
And before you know it, I've got my first finish of 2017:
Suzanne Kistler 2017

As to 2017 goals of Week 1?  So far, so good!
Carry on!

Monday, January 2, 2017


One of the most annoying/disappointing things last year was the realization that my camera was taking poor quality photos.  I use a mid-price Canon, and must have scratched the lens or something.  What used to be sharp and clear was now slightly blurry.  Always.  Especially when I was trying to take call-for-entry photos. 

Enter my decision to replace my camera.  Charlotte found what I could not (specific model, on sale) and within a couple of hours, I was the proud owner of a new Canon.  That was in early December.  Today, I put it to the test.  I needed photos for Sacred Threads, of publishable quality.  And I think I got them!

The day was overcast.  I hauled my "new" design wall out to the backyard and snapped away.  I put the quilts through 3 "sittings," as I checked my results between each.  harumpf.  Shadows!  harumpf.  Crooked!  But in the end?  I have images that make me smile, rather than cringe.  Such a nice way to begin 2017!!
Here is where I found unshadowed light.  I was this close to the edge of the pool.  Steady, now...
I am thrilled to be able to cross one of my Week 1 goals off of my list.  Or maybe I should say two, since I've also blogged a second time this week.  So far, so good.

Carry on!