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. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

World Peace

My middle son turned 30 on 3/3.  When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he responded, "World Peace."  This is the card I made for him.  (Quarter in the shot for size comparison.)

He said it was, "Best Card Ever!"
heh heh
Happy Birthday!!! 

**World Piece, for anyone who didn't catch it.  :)

Monday, February 27, 2017

One Dollar

I don't know about you, but I LOVE estate sales.  I don't know what it is about them, but maybe it's the chance to take a trip back in time.  You never know when you'll see toys you had when you were a toddler, or clothes that you wore in high school.  Other people's stuff triggers all kinds of memories.  And when some of those positive triggers are for sale?  Well, guess who grabs them up and takes them home?  That would be me.

I'm like a magpie.  When I see something I like, and the price is right?  I bring it home.  Doesn't matter if I need it like another hole in my head, I get it anyway.  I have a big house, right?  har har, not so much any more!!

Anyway, on Saturday, we swung by an estate sale.  They had all kinds of fabric items on a table in the garage.  There, in a grocery bag, were some wool blocks for a crazy quilt, all embroidered, and ready to piece together.  I flipped through them, and asked, "How much?"

Well, when she said, "$1?  For all of them, not a piece?"  I said, "Sold!"  and then found a second bag with another 5 or 6 blocks.  She threw them in for free.

They're a bit musty, so they're outside airing.

All of the fabrics are wool, with the exception of a strip of navy blue polyester put into two blocks.  I'm not sure why the maker did that...maybe she ran out of wool?

In other news, the first iris are thinking of blooming.  Stay tuned, because once one pops, the rest can not be far behind.
Not much sewing going on around here, but I have been trying to dig out a path to my sewing machine.  Goals are good, and all that!!

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!