Saturday, May 20, 2017

There and Back Again. And There and Back Again

zoom zoom.  I'm putting a lot of miles on my car, let me tell you!  I think it's been more than 2,000 miles in the past two weeks.  And I'll be adding more in the coming week as well.  zoom zoom.

The good news is that my dad is doing much better.  He has been moved from rehab to assisted living.  I am hopeful that he will settle in and wonder why it took him so long to make the move.  Here he is, getting a manicure from my sister.
 We weren't sure what to bring to furnish his room.  We will probably add things as needed.  Above you see his favorite chair and end table.  Below, you see a quilt that I gave him a few years ago.  He doesn't remember ever seeing it before.  He attended UCLA, as well as Boalt Hall, UCB.  Go Bears!
 Same with the 40th anniversary quilt, that I made for him and my mom.  The quilt was gifted to them in 1998.  It was all new to him, as he rarely entered the room in which it was stored.
 I don't know if you remember the picture of the fire hazard that was his property.  I asked the gardener to cut back the weeds, rather than mow this week.  Super!!
And in recent quiltie news?  I finally submitted my audio-file for the Sacred Threads traveling exhibit.  I think that's the last thing to do before shipping my quilt next month.  I had great hopes of attending the exhibit this year, but with my dad's situation?  It's best that I remain in CA for now.

The other thing I did was enter a quilt in Houston.  Will it get in?  I have no idea.  I'm just happy that I had something to enter.  The one I really wanted to enter is only half quilted.  There is no point in rushing the process, if I want it to show as well as I think it will.  There will be other shows, and there's always next year.

And on that note, make the most of your days, as every day is a gift. 
They really are precious!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life Happens

A day or so after my last post, I made more blocks for the string quilt.
 Eventually I would like to make 9 more blocks, if not 21.  It may be big enough with the large dark squares set 3x4, rather than 4x4.  With the foundation and all of the seams, it gains weight quickly.

Last week...or was it the week before?  My father had a medical issue that necessitated a trip to the emergency room.  His subsequent treatment of his treatment (or lack thereof - he refused to fill the prescription, then decided to do a home modification on an inserted medical device) landed him in the hospital and eventually in surgery.  He's currently in a rehab facility, but going home is no longer an option.  Here you can see the dramatic property line between the neighbor's place and my dad's.  Can you say, "fire hazard?"
 Needless to say, there was no quilting happening last week, as I spent 6 days visiting with him and trying to make sense of some of his paperwork.  I came home for a couple of days, but will be headed back again. My impassioned plea to all of you is to make sure that you have your estate paperwork in order BEFORE you need your estate paperwork.  He has maintained control for YEARS, and now that we need to be able to help him (he's 88), he's tied our hands in more ways than one.  If you love your family, you will not do this to them.  seriously.  The result of procrastination/refusal is hateful, and really limits his own options.

On a brighter note, I was home for a bit of weekend estate-sale-ing.  I only had time to swing by one, but I found this bright and cheery wedding ring.  It is graphically delightful, with its bold reds and happy ginghams.  Because it has worn spots and a tear, it was a mere $15.  I bought it with the thought of using it as a cutter quilt, but it is in much better condition than I initially believed.  I might have to do something fun with even patch/repair it!  Just looking at it makes me happy!
 And finally, the primary motivator for returning home this week was the wrap-up party I planned for the quilt show committee.  I'm not sure if you can see how bright and happy it looked, with the tables and new umbrellas and Adirondack chairs, etc.  It almost looked like a resort by the time everyone began to arrive.  My backyard is my happy place.  :)
And on that cheery note, I am sitting here looking at two gorgeous bouquets of roses from two of my children.  It's Mother's Day, a day that often leaves me melancholy.  The last time I saw my mother was Mother's Day 2000.  She passed away a few weeks later.  And now my dad is ailing.  Maybe the bright side is that he's left so much undone, we are busy from morning until night trying to put things in order.  Maybe.  But it's not easy, and I'm sure many of you know that.

Every day is a gift.  Treasure it!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Too Long

It's been so long since I've done any serious quilting/creative design, I don't think I remember how to do it.  I've been cleaning out this closet and that cupboard and dusting this and vacuuming that, and still.  I cannot find my mojo.

And so, I am string piecing, until maybe one day, a whisper of creativity will catch my attention and once again I'll be back to my passion.

And that's all I've got for you.  Well, that, and the color that I've added around the pool:
Watch out.  Here comes Summer!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Facing, Better Corners

One thing that I've had some trouble with is turning corners when facing my quilts.  When binding them?  No problemo.  But facing?  mucho problemo. 

When Charlotte saw one of my quilts, she cringed and said, "Remind me to tell you about the video that I saw on facings!"  Then she showed me her quilt, with corners so sharp I might cut myself.  oh my.

This is one of my corners, probably the worst on this particular quilt:
 The quilt was awarded a 3rd place at BOTV, but if I hope for recognition at a major major show?  I'd better do something about it.  The first quiltie thing I did once the show was over was to take the facing off of that quilt.  That meant I also had to take off the sleeve, and the label...not an undertaking for the faint of heart.

But it was oh, so, worth it!  Here is the new facing.  Look at that corner!  It's as sharp as Charlotte's!
 It's not BEAUTIFUL on the back, but it's not terrible either.  In fact, I think it's pretty doggone good, if I do say so myself. 
And that's all I've got for you, folks.  I've done the same thing to "The Early and Late Rains," in preparation for hopefully sending it to some show somewhere.  Most of the corners turned easily, but I had problems with the last one.  I may have to go back and see what I did wrong.   Translation:  I may have to pick it out again.  At least I haven't stitched the sleeve or the label back in place yet.

Everything seems to be a work in progress.  Even when I've declared it "finished!"

And on that, I am hopeful that I will sew...if I can get my desk under control.  I had my housekeeper dust the desk for me, once I'd taken everything off of it.  I've been trying to cull through the stuff, to organize.  It's a job that took 12 hours on Monday, 3 hours yesterday, and will swallow up probably at least another 3-6 hours.  oh well.  It will be worth it, right?  Doing it right usually is...

 Except for the laptop, all of this was on the desktop. 
Now.  Don't you feel SO much better about your own little bit of clutter?  I thought so!
Happy Spring Cleaning!  oh my.  oh. my. goodness.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Two Cards

I promised pictures of birthday cards.  Here is the first one.  It arrived at its destination today.
 This is the second one.  I found the little llama charm in an antique mall in San Carlos last month.  I chose it for my sister, who has a thing for llamas and alpacas.
 It went well with the herd I purchased last year from a local handweaver at the annual Handweaver's sale in Exeter.  Cuteness!  I couldn't resist.
 The other thing that I sewed recently is the facing on "Kelp."  I thought it might have placed better had the corners been sharper.  Now they are.  It's as good as it's going to get.
This weekend, I have plans for lots of handwork.  Let's hope that I have something to show for it by the time Sunday evening rolls around.  Goals are good!

Saturday, April 15, 2017


On Thursday, one of our new members at guild volunteered to do a trunk show.  I had no idea what to expect, as she's lived out of state for years.  I know her mother, Phyllis, better than I know Alleen.  But when you look at a person's quilts, I feel like you get to know the person.

Let me introduce you to Alleen Parker:

I love the way the red pops these blocks.  She said she helped her grandmother with the piecing, when she (Alleen) was 8 years old.  She's now retired, so it's been a while.  What a bold graphic quilt!  It makes me happy.
This quilt was made from her grandfather's clothes and pajamas.  She said nothing about the hands in the border, but they really personalize it and give it character.
This one is Delectable Mountains, made while she lived in Idaho.
 This one is string-pieced.  Makes me want to pull out my string box and once again begin stitching to muslin.
And that's all I've got for you today, folks.  I made a couple of birthday cards, but can't share them until next week.  I missed the mailman this morning, so I'll probably post them on Wednesday.

Until then, be inspired!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Time Flies!

whoosh!  The visible-to-the-public part of Best of the Valley Quilt Show has come and gone.  Now the behind-the-scenes-wrap up will consume my days in the coming week.  Yesterday quilts were shipped back to their owners.  Today's schedule should include a trip (or two) to our storage unit, to drop off the PVC pipe, sign boards, and other large, bulky quilt show paraphernalia.  The rest?  Hangs out in my garage year-round.

So, while I attend to this detail and that, I'll leave you with pictures of the quilts that I entered in BOTV 2017.  Enjoy!
 "Another Sunset" - Suzanne Kistler, 2017
"By The Sea" - Suzanne Kistler, 2015
 "Hanging By a Thread" - Suzanne Kistler, 2016
 "Wheel of Color" - Suzanne Kistler, 2016
"Kelp" - Suzanne Kistler, 2016

Those are the quilts I entered this year.  I was pleased to be mentioned, since I knew the competition would be competitive.  :)  Finally, I'll leave you with this shot of the surprise my husband sent to me on opening day:
Hope you're inspired to quilt.  I know I am!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

This n That

A few months ago, I brought home some exciting hand-embroidered pillowcases from an estate sale.  In the sale house, they had no odor.  But once I brought them into my house?  A musty smell was pretty apparent.  I spent a lot of time online, trying to find the "cure" for mustiness.  I tried several things, and in the end, it seemed to require a combination of treatments, the most important of which was boiling water, "to kill the mold spores."  Baking soda worked better than vinegar to remove odor.  And then I set the pillowcases flapping in the windy sunshine for a couple of days, to be sure it was gone.  So far, so good.  The mustiness seems to be gone.  Good to know that there is a cure, right?   Apparently they already knew that in "the olden days."  In modern times, with modern machinery, it never occurred to me that boiling water served a vital purpose.  Kind of a "duh" moment for this history major.

With the quilt show fast approaching, I've spent a LOT of time at my computer.  I've been organizing and typing and ordering and sorting, and with Quilt Week arriving on Monday?  I've needed to add some variety to my life.

Last week, my housekeeper - yes, I have one now, for 6 hours/week - helped me deep clean the china hutch and several kitchen cabinets.  When she left, I had dishes EVERYWHERE.  It took another 45 minutes or so, to put them all away.  (I shifted things from here to there and everywhere else.  It was a huge undertaking.)  But, wow.  I think this is Spring Cleaning, at its finest.  At least for me.  Look at all those nice orderly plates, bowls and glassware.  woohoo!
 See all of the hand-thrown pottery?  The blue/white, and brown bowls and casseroles were all made by my mom.  She passed away in 2000, so they're becoming vintage.  Some are chipped, some are cracked, but unless they end up in two pieces, I always return them to the cabinet.
Yesterday, I needed a sewing break.  I put together a card for a friend whose birthday isn't for another month.  But I had the little found treble clef, and didn't want to misplace it yet again.  I think I got it in a baggie of jewelry odds and ends from yet another estate sale.  It has a little rhinestone in the tail, which I think is adorable.
And, hmm.  yep.  Nothing to see here, folks.  It's just a typing extravaganza extraordinaire. 

Best of the Valley Quilt Show opens to the public at 10am on Friday, April 7.  Please come, and bring your friends.  Guaranteed to be a highlight of your quilt show attendance for 2017, especially if you love to see exceptional quilts, up close and personal.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's Spring-ing!

 I love it when the flowers begin opening around the yard.  I only had a single daffodil this year, and two narcissus, but the iris?  They're promising a riot of color, and the tulips?  They're doing their part.
 Spring is in the yard!  That means that Best of the Valley Quilt Show is right around the corner.
 In the foreground is the first red-violet iris of the season.  In the background, is my van, already loaded with pvc pipe and drape for displaying quilts.  The clock is ticking, as show time will be here before you know it.  April 7-9, 2017, McDermont Field House, in Lindsay - that's where I'm going to be.
No sewing going on to speak of, other than a single quilted card, that was sent before I remembered that I should have taken photo documentation.  Oh well.  I know I made it, and I guess that's good enough for now.

Gotta run.  The quilt show prep continues to beckon...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Few Birthday Wishes

I don't even know how long it's been since I posted.  Time is FLYING.  The quilt show is right around the corner (April 7-9).  If you want details, you can find them on our website, as well as the link to "like" us on Facebook.  The most recent updates come through on Facebook.  There's even a working list of 2017 vendors there, in the "notes" section.

But enough of that.  You thought there would be birthday wishes, didn't you?

My granddaughter turned 6 last week.  We went up to visit, and I made her a card.
 I was particularly pleased with my "wrapping" job, of this box full of Barbies.  (The bunnies are in honor of her being born in the year of the rabbit.
The very next day, one of my Itty Bitty quiltie friends had a birthday.  She, too, needed a card.  So I made this one:
 It was so much fun, the next day I made a card for a friend whose birthday was in February.
 And then one, for a friend whose birthday was earliest in March.
You may think that I am on a roll, but I'm not.  I'm just procrastinating from the typing that has been filling the past couple of days. 

And on that note, I really should get back to it. 
Hope to see you at Best of the Valley Quilt Show!

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Finish!

Did I set any goals for February?  I think the only goal I set was to get my quilts entered in Best of the Valley.  Past that?  ohmygoodness!  My days are too full to set goals!  In fact, I'm taking a break from quilt show tasks right now, to post.  shame on me!  ;)

I was very excited about the theme for this year's BOTV Challenge, i.e., "Colors of the Valley."  But make a quilt?  I didn't have time for that.  But when the deadline for the show challenge arrived and there weren't many entries?  The deadline was extended for 5 days, so that those who ran out of time could finish their submissions. 

I looked around at my UFO's, and spotted the top that I'd put together last May in the Jean Wells class up in Sisters, OR.  The challenge quilts were to measure 18 x 24", my top was 20 x 26".  With some heavy quilting, I thought it might just shrink up to 18x24, and surely enough, it did!  (I trimmed off less that 1/4" in each direction.)

Here is my final piece, finished in time for the extended deadline:
 "The Early and Late Rain"  by Suzanne Kistler, March 2017

 "The Early and Late Rain" - detail

I'd been thinking that during this wet wet year, this quilt is the color that rain brings.  I had a working title of "The Color of Rain" as I quilted, but once it was finished?  I tried to recall a Bible verse that mentioned both early and late rain.  I found it through a search on Bible Gateway

In trying to keep with the deadline, I decided to "save time" by printing my label, rather than stitching it out on my embroidery machine.  In doing so, I could increase the amount of text.  Here is my final label - I need to play around some more, to figure out how to "pop" the text better - I put the text on a background of a recent photo from my backyard.  I am very pleased with the results.

And that's it.  wow.  I actually quilted for more than 5 minutes in a month, AND I finished something.  Big things are afoot!  woohoo!

P.S.  In other quiltie news, my quilt By The Sea was accepted into the Sacred Threads exhibit this July.  Stay tuned for more details.