Saturday, June 30, 2018

Inspiration

If nothing else, the foggy June Gloom in Cambria inspired a new little quilt.
In October, I'm scheduled to teach a class at guild, on making my little seascapes.  It's all about the fabric.  Make IT do the work.  This little gem has 7 pieces, cut from 5 fabrics.  I am thrilled with the way it turned out. You can't see them, but there are some ripples of beading on the fabric with the white stripe-y lines.

And that's all she wrote...  :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Little o This, Bit o That

Hold the phone, I have been sewing!  Not much, but some, which is more than none, which is terrific.

I've finished the quilt that I began for our Valley Oak Quilt Guild 2017 Challenge, the theme of which was "Trees."  Okay, so I finished the quilting, blocked it, and trimmed it.  I still need to finish off the edges.  But here is photographic evidence of my claim to have sewn something:
The background was pieced and quilted before I added the palm trees.  I raw-edge added the fronds, and needle-turn appliqued the trunks.  I really like the way the fronds are shredding, just like real palm trees (that are dumping tree trash all over my backyard!)

I've been doing some handwork, which I haven't taken a picture of,  I'm also trying to make space in my string box, by sewing more string blocks.  I have 4 blocks to go before putting the top together.  I've tried a few settings, starting with my usual:
 I tried Fields & Furrows, but it didn't work for me.
 And then I tried this one, which I REALLY like.  (The houses up top are just up there, hanging out, not a part of anything.)
And in between all this sewing, we've been hitting the road.  Mid-June, it was a trip to the Bay Area, with a stop at Casa de Fruta.
 They have a field of hollyhocks, which are gorgeous.  I planted some in my yard, but they never came up.  I suspect the gardener spotted them and hit them with Roundup.
 Most people notice the rusty tractors at Casa de Fruta.  I am no exception.
 And the peacocks were noisy as ever.  There was even a peahen, nesting in the hollyhocks.
Last weekend, we went to Cambria.  Our days included visits to Morro Bay, Cayucos, and the Seven Sisters Quilt Show in San Luis Obispo.  My favorite, at least for photography, had to be kayaking in Morro Bay.

The otters were out in full force.  I must have taken 3 dozen pictures of the group, but it was the second image, of this lone individual, that came out the best of the bunch.
And I guess that's going to do it for now.  I'm continuing to try to get some sewing in as we endure the triple digits of summer.  Today is my husband's and my 37th wedding anniversary, so, wow, yeah, we're old!  ;)  Hope you're all getting some stitching done this summer, too!!  Happy Quilting!

Monday, June 11, 2018

A Quick Update

I pulled the baby quilt from the stack and took a picture.  I will now count it as DONE.
 I also bought a pillow form for the 25 cent needlepoint panel I turned into a pillow.
woohoo!  Love crossing things off of the ToDo List!!

Carry on!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Bit o This, A Bit o That

I'm scratching my head, trying to figure out where the time has gone.  Since I last posted, I finished another baby quilt, but did I take a picture?  If I did, I don't know what I did with it.  But I'm here now, so I'll just go with what I've got.

Block of the Month is going well.  Here are the Summer Houses blocks that were turned in on Thursday:
 For July, I've asked the participants to make at least two blocks:  one for the drawing, a second for a Quilt of Valor or whatever it is they are calling the quilts they honor veterans with at the county fair in September.  I'm hopeful that we will have a good response.
We spent the first weekend of June in Missouri, visiting my son and his wife.  We had a great couple of days, visiting the Missouri Botanical Gardens, hitting a couple of estate sales, and ending up at an Art Faire.  I should have taken pictures of the Art Faire, but I was busy enjoying it, rather than taking pictures of myself enjoying it.  We also enjoyed spending time on the porch, just hanging out, chatting, and watching the weather.

 I caught sight of these metal giraffes, and thought "What fun!!"  Then again, the neighbors might disagree if I brought one (or two) home with me.
 I saw more Mexican pottery in Missouri than I've ever seen in one place in California.  That had me scratching my head.
 The displays were quite entertaining.
 There were several Chihuly installations at the Botanical Gardens.  There was no mention of them, so I'm guessing they are permanent.
I haven't done a lot of sewing, but I've done some.  I finished a pillow, that took very little effort.
And I finished another little 6" square that was siting in the FinishMe! pile.
I also finished another pillow, but need to get the pillow form before I can mark it off the list.  Hopefully, between now and the next time I post, I will get something worthy of showing you.  But for now?  I'm just trying to keep up.  Getting things done?  Another story altogether. 

Happy Quilting!


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Maintaining Momentum

I'm not quilting as intensely as I was at the Mermaid Retreat, but I'm trying to keep moving forward.  The first thing I did was to finish the binding on an almost-finished-at-retreat baby quilt.
 Once that was done, I went to work on the footstool.  The fabric part was finished,
 but attaching it to the base?  Not as easy as a chair.  I made two trips to the hardware store for the proper size wood screws.  Turned out  my original purchase was correct.  oops.
 Once done, I brought it outside for a photo shoot. 
Someone say photo shoot?  Here we are!  Cheese!
 I like this angle best.  There is Scruffy, in the background, shuffling off in a sulk because I scolded him for getting too sniffy friendly with the furniture.  He thought it was for him.  Sorry, Scruffy!
Then, yesterday, I quilted a baby quilt.  I hope to trim and bind it today.  Goals are good, doncha know?

Here it is on my design wall.  I guess I neglected to take a picture of the first iteration.  This is a definite improvement.
 And yes, you may have noticed, there's a lot more stacking and storing going on in the Studio than designing.  If I can sew my way out of this mess, maybe I'll have more to show you sometime soon.

Back to work!
Goals are good!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Mermaid Retreat

 I spent last weekend at Scicon, in the foothills of Tulare County, quilting, quilting, quilting. 

I made the most of my workspace, which consisted of an 8' table, my SewEzi table, and all the space above and beneath said tables.  I came ready to work, and work I did!!
 By retreat's end, I had completely finished a baby quilt, finished all but the last 12" of binding tacking on a second baby quilt, pieced a third baby quilt, finished the quilting on last year's unfinished challenge (it still lacks a tree), and quilted a piece of fabric to reupholster a footstool.

whew!
All three baby quilts had been started at the March Mermaid Retreat.  Thank you so much to Calico Mermaid for offering this opportunity to put my head down and sew until I couldn't see straight.  It was PERFECT.

Not only was the sewing space amazing, but there was nature everywhere.  (I wasn't very good at finding it, but I could most certainly hear it!)  The squirrels were chattering,
 the turkey was dancing,
 and gobbling,
 and puffing his chest,
 and doing everything in his power to impress the lady.
She was not impressed.
 Not.
 At.  All.
 I'm guessing that maybe this California Red Salamander cared more than she did.  Oh wait.  I don't think he cared either.  That turkey was making a turkey of himself.  ;)
All in all, it was a lovely weekend.  Relaxing, restful, restorative, and productive.  Now, if I can just keep some of that inspiration and tap into it.  Frequently.
Happy Quilting!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Busy With Babies

 This is why I have not been sewing.  Little Miss Granddaughter comes to visit several times a week, and we play until we are exhausted.  When she leaves (and while she's here) I've still got Pidge and Pudge, playing (often underfoot), until they are exhausted.
In my last post, I showed you the fabric I purchased at the quilt show.  What was I thinking?  I would have held back, if I'd considered the soaking and prewashing.  I've been soaking/prewashing and pressing for the past week, and I doubt I'm even halfway through the pile.  I need to get a better system, or add a few more buckets to soak in!

Block of the Month has been going well.  I thought I'd posted pictures, but apparently I've been remiss.  My apologies!  Here are the last few months' worth:
 The Pixie Sticks blocks above were turned in for April.  They weren't as popular as some of the previous blocks.  Sometimes new techniques/ideas can be scary.
 I decided to follow the modern block with something very old and traditional.  What could be more traditional than a string quilt?  I asked everyone to make two blocks, one with the blueberry center and one with the raspberry center.  I was quite surprised when we ended up with a blue quilt and a pink quilt, but apparently I was vague about the freedom to use any scraps one had on hand.
 For the June block, whose pattern I just passed out, I wanted something cute, simple, and beachy/summery, so I drafted a "Summer Houses" block.
 Once the roof is made, the building is a piece of cake.  SO simple!  I hope that it is enjoyable to all.
The green house above is the "Mud Hut."  The values are too close, and the door/window/wall all mush together like mud.  I've been trying to guide the participants to separating lights and darks, but it's always a challenge.  One or two mud huts in the group are fine, but if there are too many?  The pattern just disappears into the swamp.

I'm soon headed to retreat, so I am hopeful that I will have quilting photos for you in the not-too-distant future.  Until then?  The baby and puppies are keeping me busy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Shopping at the Quilt Show

I'm still busy putting the show to rest, though it's been a few weeks.  I've finally emptied the van, and transferred most everything to the storage unit.  My garage is still overly full, but I'm getting there.  Baby steps.  It's all baby steps.

On Day 1 of Best of the Valley, I made the bold statement that "I never buy fabric at quilt shows." 

Then again, I do have several quilts waiting in the wings that need to be organized and produced.  I have a few ideas in mind, and with that?  I pulled out the credit card.  oh my.
 Here are the results, viewed from both directions.  I have a lot of prewashing in my future!
 I bought these painted treasures from Rainbow Resources, and hope to use them soon.
 These twists of silk were from Tenaj.  I have a plan for them, too.
Lots of plans, just not so much quilting.

I made it to an estate sale last week.  There, I found a couple of inexpensive pieces of oak furniture.
 The chest is in great condition, and came lined with cedar and a non-closing hinge.  It's perfect for a toy chest!
 The oak end table needs a bit of TLC, but it's made in USA, so I'm sure it will quickly respond to a bit of sanding, staining and sealing.
And the final news from around here?  I was thinking of getting another cat (kitten) to take Charlie's place, but my son called two weeks ago from work.  "Mom?  Someone dumped two puppies in the orchard."

I put my foot down, but when he assured me, "They're not that big," I capitulated.  Pidge and Pudge are thriving, now that they are eating regularly.  I should take a newer picture, since they are no longer skin and bones.
 These pictures were taken within their first hour of arrival.
 After feeding them for a week, they officially weighed in at 5.6lbs and 4.6lbs.
And they are the sweetest little loves.  I might just have to keep them.

Quilt-wise?  We just posted the images of the top award winners at BOTV 2018.  You can see them here.