Thursday, March 15, 2018


 Spring has come to the valley, and with it, come the blossoms.  These red blooms can be seen up and down the county, and beyond.  Spring also means rain, which we desperately need.  (Though not the blossoms so much, but the ground is dry, so all water is welcome.)

I found some free time to finish one of my UFO's.  I finished the piecing in January, and the quilting a couple of weekends ago.  I'm happy to call this one DONE, with the exception of a label.  In the meantime, I'm checking it off of my UFO list, and moving on to the next thing.
 Who says there are no quilt police?  Here she is, examining my work of yesteryear.
 oh, Grammie?  You call this piecing?
heheh.  Actually, she usually has a big grin.  I was trying to get her to nap.  The joke was on me.  ;)

I've also been popping in at estate sales and the like.  Last week, I found a beautiful original watercolor by Geri Loest, of Vacaville.  At least that's what the tag on the back said, along with the price of $300.

I don't know where it was before it appeared at the rummage sale for $5.  I scooped it up, took it out of the frame, cleaned it up and got new matboards.  It is PERFECT in my kitchen!
 "One man's trash is another man's treasure."  oh, baby, don't you know it?!!  Actually, in looking at the above image, the painting ($5), the vase ($3), the wooden coasters ($4), the little table ($15), and the chairs (4 cherry chairs and a table - $400) all came from estate sales or newspaper ads.  I am my mother's daughter, and boy, am I glad she taught me to look carefully at what others no longer want.

pinch the pennies and spend the dollars on quilting!  hahaha!  yep.

And that's all I've got for now, though I do hope that you, too, are saving your dollars to spend at Best of the Valley Quilt Show in April.  It's right around the corner!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Retreat With Calico Mermaid

First I need to thank all who took me to task and encouraged me to go.  It was fabulous.  It was the most fun, relaxing 48 hours I've had in a long time.  It was cold, it was very rainy, and it snowed.  But we were indoors, with picture windows with gorgeous views, large sewing stations, good light and snacks galore.  Could I have improved it?  Probably not.  It was just lovely.

I took over 200 pictures. 171 were good enough to keep.  Did I tell you that it was beautiful?  It was gorgeous!  This first shot was taken en route.  There had been snow the previous week.  I had no idea where I was going, so I was relieved when it wasn't up this snow-dusted mountain/hill.
 Once there, I was delighted by the creek that flowed through the conference grounds.
 Everything was lush and green.  It felt alive.  Like new growth and springtime, even though it was the second of March.
 Inside, we were toasty and warm.  Here is my work station, with my machine and 3/4 of an 8' table to call my own.  I brought my own chair.  That was important, because the chairs on campus are those stacking kiddie school chairs that you see in the background.  (You can almost see the Calico Mermaid traveling shop, also in the background.)
On Friday, I decided to work on quilting the baby quilt that I pieced in January.  I still need to finish the binding.  I'll try to give you a picture on my next post.  On Saturday, I finished the quilting, then pieced another baby quilt.  I'd cut the strips before packing for retreat.  Sewing them up went very quickly.
 uh oh.  I spy with my tired eye.  I'd finished all the blocks and laid them out for consolidation.  There was one that wasn't quite right.  When I flipped through the rest of the blocks, there were three!!  Had there only been one, I would have left it.  Had there been two, I would have ripped them.  But three?  It's a design choice and the ripper stayed in the box.
Here is the completed quilt top.  You, too, can play I spy with my little eye.  There are three oopsys in the quilt.  If the baby ever sees them, he/she can wonder if I did it on purpose, was careless, or, well, they can write their own story about the quilter who put this one together.  At least the points/corners look pretty good!
I got very distracted on the second evening, when snow began to fall from the sky.  I grew up in San Diego County, and I was 18 the first time I saw snow fall from the sky.  I was 20 before I saw it again, and probably close to 40 the third time.  I don't have much snow experience, at all.
 At one point the flakes were so big, they looked like feathers, drifting down from the sky.  It was amazing!  And the next morning?  When we woke up?  There was a dusting of snow everywhere.  It was magical.
 The walkways stayed clear, I guess because they were warm enough to melt the snow as it fell?
 Up in the parking lot, my red car had its share of the icy white stuff.  I hustled up to take the photo, before it all melted.  There was no snow or ice on the road, so that was not an issue.
 Back in the sewing center, I began another baby quilt.  I got the cute moo-moo, baa-baa overdye from a vendor at QuiltCon.  Yes, I went to QuiltCon.  I quickly discovered that it's not my thing.
Okay, well, this is getting overly long.  I'll leave you with two more pictures, of the sea turtle pincushion gifted to each of us by Georgia, our Calico Mermaid hostess.
 It now belongs to Addison, who loves the little thing!
Thank you, Georgia, for such a delightful weekend.  I've signed up for the next one, too, coming up in mid-May.  Between now and then?  Probably not a lot of quilting expected to happen around here.  The quilt show is April 13-15, and in quilt show terms, that's right around the corner.

Hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sleeves and Labels

 I finished "Charlie:  In Color and Black & White."  It was a lot of fun to write the narrative about our cat, who owns the neighborhood.  Every day he makes the rounds, from neighbor to neighbor, allowing/demanding attention from anyone caught outside.  This quilt was based on a photo taken when he was a teenager.  He went through a stage of feline angst.  or something. He's a great cat.

I've made and attached the sleeves to "Charlie" and to "Harvest Barns" (last post), so all they need are labels.  Today I will be setting up the embroidery machine to stitch them out.  Goals are good.

My #2 son turns 31 on Saturday.  I finished up this card and will be sending it on its way today.  Again, goals are good.
 Monday afternoons and Tuesday days are spent watching my #2 granddaughter.   Such a cutie pie!!  She's 5 months old, today.  Time has wings!!
This weekend, I have plans to attend a quilt retreat in the mountains.  This weekend, the weather has plans to dump lots of rain and "up to 3' of snow in the Sierras.'  oh my.  I don't do snow.  I don't have the proper attire.  I am considering staying home, turning up the heat, and sewing here.

Either way, I hope to have something to show from the weekend by early next week. 
Goals are good!!
Happy Quilting!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Where Does the Time Go?

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted.  I've been sewing up a storm, and haven't had time to blog.  Well, that, and the entry deadline for Best of the Valley Quilt Show was yesterday.  Not only was I trying to finish my own entry, I'm in charge of logging in all of the entries for the show, as they arrive.  So, yeah.  I'm claiming busy life right now.

I've been working on the Charlie quilt, and he's coming right along.
 I even got so far as to be quilting Charlie's whiskers.  He really was a mess, before I buried the threads!
He is not due until March 1, so I put him aside, in the hopes of finishing another quilt for the show.  The quilt I had in mind was Harvest Barns, a quilt top that I thought I'd finished in November.  Unfortunately, when I basted it for quilting, I discovered that it was a full 1/2" wider at the top than at the bottom.  Since it's not a very big quilt, the mismeasurement was blatantly obvious.  Last weekend I spent 5 hours picking it apart, replacing pieces, and stitching it back together again.  It didn't take much longer than that to quilt it.
I quilted it a lot.  I quilted so much, and in so many different directions, that by the time I was done, it didn't know which way to lay.  And so, it lay in waves, instead of flat.  ugh.  I plunged it in a bath and soaked it, then pinned it flat before adding the binding.  While it was drying, I looked for the perfect brown with which to bind it.
 When it dried, I stitched the binding on, using the nifty leather thimble that a friend made for me.  Thank you, Ann!!
 When it was finished, I took pictures to enter the quilt show.  This is a close up of the quilting:
And here is the whole quilt.  I am quite pleased with the way it turned out.  It was totally worth the effort to take apart one of the borders, replace pieces, and sew it back together again.
Tomorrow we select the quilts to display in the Featured Artist's booth at the show.  On Monday, we jury the quilts.  The closer we get to April, the closer we get to crunch time.  I can't promise to post much, but when I finish Charlie, I'll try to make a point to check in.

Happy quilting!!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Two Tops

I snuck into the Studio this weekend, and dug into my UFO piles.  The first thing I did was to pull out all of the boyish 8" blocks and slap them on the design wall.
 After a few adjustments, I stitched it together and put it aside.  I will baste it on another day.
 I then pulled my Charlie applique blocks out of a box they'd been in for TEN years.  Charlie now has his own quilt top.  I hope to quilt it this week.  Goals are good.
 I'm continuing to spruce up the house.  This wreath is my latest attempt to make it look happy.
 And I'm still hunting for estate sales, where I can find treasures.  I found this shell in Kingsburg on Friday.  It is approximately 9" long - the biggest murex (if that's indeed what it is) that I've ever seen.
And that's all I've got for you today.  Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you.  Happy Stitching!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Busy, Busy

I wish that I could report that I've been sewing up a storm.  That has not been the case, but I have been sewing a bit.  A wee little bit.

Several years ago, when I first downloaded some embroidery patterns - gosh, that's got to have been at least a decade ago!!! - I thought I would stitch out every one.  hahahaha!!  yep.  Then I discovered that it was about an hour/design, and that was just for the easy ones.  I stitched out a trio of neon tetras, and set them aside, thinking that I would use them in a quilt, some day.

There is a SAQA call for entry coming up, for a Spotlight Auction Quilt.  These are to be 6" x 8", and will be matted behind a mat with 4x6" opening.  The fishies are just the right size.  And so, I started quilting.
 Once they were quilted and faced, they called out for embellishment.

At the same time, a long involved chat began on the SAQA yahoo list.  It began with a lot of negative comments about people who enter quilt shows and "We Are Artists, not quilters" statements and just a lot of really super strong opinions that left me with a sour taste for the lot of them.

One of the first things I liked about SAQA was its presence at quilt shows.  They introduced a whole new world to me, when I saw their exhibit at the first IQF show in Long Beach years ago.  They opened my mind to possibilities that I never dreamed of.

And now, some of the loudest, most frequent voices, are not only unsupportive of quilt shows, they are openly hostile.

A request that the conversation draw to a close drew even more commentary.   Exhausting, that's what it is.

And so, I tuned them out, and listened to the Three Little Fishies, who told me they wanted their world embellished to the edges, not just in a 4x6" window.
Aren't they cute?  I think they're cute.  I may or may not hang them from a piece of driftwood.  That might be a bit much.

The other quiltie thing I did was to entertain my quiltie friend Sharon and her husband, as they toured Central California after Road to CA, on their way back to Colorado.  We met on the way home from Paducah in 2006, and have been friends ever since.  This was her first time to see my house, so I was quite pleased to show her my newly painted abode, rather than the tired 80's wallpaper that was here for decades.
That's all I've got for now, but I do have plans and I do have goals.  There are still almost three weeks before the entry deadline for Best of the Valley Quilt Show.  I am hoping to finish at least one more quilt before then, so that I have something more than my itty bitty fishies to enter.

Goals are good, but sewing them out and finishing them is even better!
Hope to check in again soon, with some positive progress.  Happy Quilting!!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lots of Studio Time

Sorry my resolution to "post more!" kind of bit the dust so quickly.  I meant to write, really I did, but I was too busy sewing to tell you about it!

I finished my granddaughter's quilt, finally.  It was only 3.5 months late, so I guess that's not too awful.
 She seems to like it.  This was the first time she saw it.  Her hand is a bit of a blur, as she was trying to grab at it.
 Have you tried those red clips for binding?  I LOVE them.  I kept poking holes in my finger tip, and when I dug around in my bag of tricks, I discovered this unused tin of Poke a Dots.  I love them, too!  The rest of the binding went on without any more holes in my finger.
This year I am in charge of our guild's Block of the Month.  For January, I passed out patterns for a "Garden" Rail Fence block.  The response was quite invigorating, making me excited about the months to come.
 For February, we're making the Perkiomen Valley Block, being distributed by the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild.  They are collecting blocks for the fire/mudslide victims.  Our guild members have been asked to make one block for the victims for each block they make for the drawing.  It's a very speedy 12.5" block, and will make some wonderful comforters for hurting people.  I told my guild to "make it with HAPPY fabric."  I can't wait to see what they come up with.
Our primary philanthropic project is Komforters for Kids.  We supply police/sheriff's patrol cars (and other groups) with comforters for children in distress.  I usually make a number of tops or finish the quilts each year, but in 2017?  I did nothing.  In an effort to seek redemption, I made five tops this weekend, which I will turn in next month.
 This morning as I drove by the Farmer's Market, I saw the truck for the scissors sharpening man parked on the premises.  I went home and got three pairs of scissors which have been out of commission for a LONG time.  For $8/pair, I have what seem like new scissors.  Totally worth it, to have them working again.  yay!!  Can't wait to put them into action.
And that's what I've been up to this week.  I was so busy sewing, I missed our Blog Anniversary yesterday.  On January 12, this blog turned TEN.  wow.  I should go back and see what I was doing ten years ago.  I am certain that my life is very different today.

And I guess that's going to wrap it up for now.  I have three projects lined up for finishing, but I have no idea which one I will tackle first.  The goal is to tackle something.  And we all know that goals are good!

Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A New Year and a First Finish

Happy New Year!!  Happy Happy New Year!!  I was so ready to be done with 2017.  So much happened last year, it was enough to exhaust a person.  But here we are, safely into 2018, with a newly updated house and a blank calendar.  What could be better?  I can't think of a thing.

I tried to have a final finish for 2017, but I got as far as stitching on the facing before I had to put it aside.  My son and daughter-in-law came down with the flu, so I babysat for the bulk of New Year's Eve (6am-7pm).  We are all blessed that she is such a GOOD baby.  Even when she's a bit snuffly, she has a hard time complaining.  She gave me her snuffles, so we snuffled together.  kachoo!
Such a cutie pie!  She's always smiling!

We had our son and DIL from MO out for a week.  I spent time in the Studio with both DIL's.  The one from MO, put together an apron panel.
 She finished it just before they headed out to meet up with friends.
 My local DIL received a pattern for placemats.  After "shopping" in my stash, she set right to work.  She has never quilted before, but she's got two placemats ready for binding.  She'll be quilting on her own before we know it!
Just being in the Studio was enough to get me going.  Yesterday, I finished a birthday card, that should have been finished in October.  It went into the mail today.  The binding looks terrible in the photo.  It's not quite so awful in person.
 It took three days, but the facing eventually got stitched in place.
 And, ta da!!  Today I had my first quilt finish of 2018.  It feels fantastic!!
I am very excited about 2018.  I may have already said that.  My hope is that I will replicate what I did back in 2009, setting monthly quilting goals.  I hope to finish at least one UFO each month.  Goals are good, right?  Right!!

Who knows?  I was able to finish the first one on January 2nd.  I doubt I'll be finishing a quilt every 2 days, but hey, you never know.  The next one is pressed and waiting to be basted.
With the Best of the Valley entry deadline coming up on February 14, I don't want to be left behind.  I always feel like it's up to me to set a good example.  And with that, goals are good!

Happy Quilting!!