Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hi and Bye Again...

Bad Blogger. I'm sorry. I've been busy.

I got back from Santa Barbara on Thursday, and have spent the past few days playing catch-up and preparing to leave again. Today (Wednesday) we are off to San Francisco. On Friday we'll leave SF for Monterey. It's all cow/vet business, I'm just along for the ride. Riding with me will be my Hoffman Challenge. I got a LOT of quilting done while I was in Santa Barbara, but I haven't touched it since. As I said, I've been busy.

The weather here has been HOT. Okay, so some of you are hotter. Yesterday was a mere 92, compared to the weekend's 111. The sky is ugly. We don't have any local fires, but I've heard that there are 800+ fires burning in CA at this time. Most were started by lightning in remote areas. Combine their inaccessibility with our current drought conditions, and you've got a recipe for local disaster and far-reaching dirty smoky air. ugh.

So rather than look to the sky, I look down. It's been too hot for most of my pretties to perform, but my miniature roses are doing their best. This is their second bloom of the season. Aren't they cute? Aren't they pretty? ooh aah. The best part is the lack of aphids, that had been so abundant during the first blooming period...

I was also thrilled to find that this fuchsia survived the winter. It has been in a pot, completely ignored, since last summer. I've never had a fuchsia live for more than 2 months under my care. Perhaps it lives because it has NOT been under my care. It has been hiding under the Rose of Sharon, under my radar. My grandmother used to have large fuchsia bushes in her backyard patio in Malibu, and when I see this, I smile. They are as tiny and dainty as she was. (4'11", 90 lbs)

And on that, I will wish you a happy weekend. Once we leave June, I should be in residence for the month of July. I trust that will translate into quilting time and quilting progress, and when it does, I'll be sure to share it with you! Adios, for now!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm Ba-ack!!

Did you miss me? I've spent the past several days in Santa Barbara, doing this, that and the other thing. I'd never been there for an extended period of time, so it was interesting to see the place that I've heard so much about. Upon my return, I had to tell #1 son that I was GLAD he'd chosen UCSC over UCSB - Santa Cruz wins hands down for cleanliness, beauty, and personality, at least in my opinion.

I was struck by a massive incongruity in SB. When I shopped, they were extremely aware of being green and environmentally friendly, trying to limit the use of paper and plastic. There is nothing wrong with that at all, it's just that if that is the prevailing sentiment, you'd think that it would apply to their local environs as well as the world at large.

When I went down to the beach, at 9am, this is what I saw:

What is this pool, and why don't they fix it?

Look at all the cigarette butts. There were also bums, and their sleeping bags were spread on the sand, but I didn't take pictures of them. They were congregated under the palm trees behind me.

The one thing that I thought did the least to impact the view was the oil platforms on the horizon. I doubt they are in use these days, but there they are, holding all the promise of homegrown oil. If the people of Santa Barbara don't care about the cigarettes and trash underfoot, why do they fuss about getting oil from out there, where you can barely see it?

I'm not asking that to make trouble, I seriously just don't get it. It seems to be contradictory. If they are truly fixated on fixing the environment, wouldn't they start right there on the beach? Then again, maybe they have. Maybe it used to be a lot worse. I don't have anything to compare it to, in its current condition, so who am I to judge?

But enough of Santa Barbara.

While there, I wandered into the Santa Barbara Consignment Shop. It is a huge warehouse, filled with furniture and your usual this and that home furnishing antique-y stuff. As I walked by, a quilt called out to me.

It's a hand-embroidered, hand-quilted beauty, with scalloped edges. I looked at it, I fondled it, I thought about it, and I took it home.

As I laid it out on my hotel bed, I made an interesting discovery. The quilter/embroiderer ran out of floss.

The majority of blocks are embroidered thusly:

As I was looking block to block, I found this:

She was probably embroidering, thinking "Surely I'll have enough green..." And then the cat ate the rest of her floss, or the wind blew it away, or she realized that she used it in the cornerstone embroidery in the sashing, instead of doing all the blocks first. There is one block like this:

Yep. She definitely ran out of green...

This is the full shot of the quilt. The all-yellow block is on the right side, second row, the transition block is smack-dab in the middle of the top row. Apparently she didn't mind putting the problem right up front and dealing with it. I like her attitude. It's pretty spunky. :)

The quilting is beautifully done. I think that more than one person quilted on this quilt, but most of the quilting is as good as that pictured above. I wouldn't make this quilt for what I paid for it, even if I'd quilted it by machine. It's a lovely piece, and I intend to treasure it. Someone put a lot of time and effort into it, and it would have been a shame to leave it languishing in the shop, waiting for someone else to notice it.

And now, I am home. What a delight!! Two of our boys are home for the summer, and life just got more entertaining. It is a trade off, but when you consider empty nest vs. messy nest, I'll take the life and love of messy any day. My goal this summer is to just keep it less messy.

This is #2 son. His goal this summer is to master the ukulele. He bought it two days ago. He also wants to learn to walk the slack line. You can barely see it, it's red and strung between the trees behind him, behind his hat.

#3 son is still testing his environment. What happens if you put one handset on each ear when Dad calls? Wow! You get him in stereo, but the voice is not synchronized. cool!!!

Yep. You send them off to college to learn new things, but they also continue to learn them at home. I find it highly entertaining to see exactly how and what each one chooses to learn. #1 son is paint-balling today, and going hang-gliding tomorrow...never a dull moment!

And our daughter should be arriving momentarily, with pictures from her trip to Italy. ooh, aah, I'm looking forward to seeing her and them.

Finally, my Hoffman update is that I worked on it a LOT this past week, and have quilted at least 1/3 of it. I believe I will make the deadline, and my quilt will even be hand-quilted. I'll spare you the in-progress picture, and keep on working.

Enjoy your weekend, and stay cool!!! (Easier said than done around here, where it's supposed to hit 106...)

Monday, June 16, 2008

And she's off!

Just a note to tell you that I've been such a good blogger recently because I knew the second half of June would get here eventually. The only sewing/quilting the rest of the month holds will likely be that on my Hoffman.

Today I'm off to Santa Barbara, I'll be back at the end of the week. Have a good one!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Time Capsule

What do you do? I loaded LOTS of pictures this time, and Blogger had its way with them. hiss and spit, mutter and grumble. Do I delete them? Or make you turn on your ear? I'll figure it out as I work my way through...

Pete's Father's Day Quilt
Suzanne Kistler 2001

What better way to celebrate Dad than to capture him in a time capsule? How's this one for an historical archive?

Check out that computer. It's the latest thing in technology, at least it was, way back when...

Say "Ahhh..." I'm not sure what he's doing, tubing that cow. Maybe he's giving her a magnet? or? I could ask him, but then he'd know I was posting his pic for the world to see. :)

This one is more like it. He spends most of his days at this end of the cow. The first picture was a fluke. :)
And then there are the kids. I decided that you can check us out and see how young we were. And thin. wow. I believe we were less than 48 hours onto the parenthood scene when this picture was taken.

Here we are at Pete's vet school graduation, in June 1984. (He still had to attend classes through December, to finish his Master's.) Allison is almost 2, Andrew is due in 3 months.

Here he is, our first son. I think he was the least happy about leaving the womb. But he got used to it... ;)

Here's Daniel, I wonder why people refer to him as "the clone"? Actually, he's a third year Engineering student...

We don't have any pictures of Adam's birth - the camera over-exposed everything. (Yeah, right, blame the camera, not the operator!) :) There's a good picture of him in the last photo, in matching shirts with his dad...

And here we are in Pittsburgh. The kids are posing with Einstein, from Back to the Future. Doesn't everyone go to veterinary conventions for their vacations? They don't? Are you sure? Huh. I wonder why we do it... ;)

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Making Progress

The three for-hire quilts are now two. This one is done and will be delivered on Monday. yay!! Rather than start another one, I'm going to do my own thing from now week!!

Sunbonnet Sue
maker unknown (Utah)
owner: Suzanne Rozier

Doing my own thing could mean just about anything. But the item on the front burner is Mr. Hoffman. See, there really are some hand-quilting stitches, I'm no longer just talking about it. Quilt faster, quilt faster! Five weeks until the deadline. tick, tick, tick...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Visitors

Today they are predicting triple digits, and the weeds just love it. ugh. People don't enjoy it, and the flowers hate it, but the weeds? They thrive. Very little will bloom when it gets this hot, at least not in my yard. Moss rose (portulaca), gerberas and gazanias are going to have to suffice for the rest of the summer. And the Rose of Sharon. The Rose of Sharon is my delight during these blazing hot summer days. It attracts lots of visitors, and I heard some of them this morning as I was pulling weeds.

peep! peep peep!!! It was scolding me from across the lawn. It sure sounded like a hummer. By golly, there he is. What's he doing in the birch tree?

peep! peep! Another one? yep. This one didn't stay put, it took off as I tried to get a shot.

I tried and tried to get them in the Rose of Sharon, but as soon as I got the camera up, they'd dart behind the flowers or zoom back to the birch trees, scolding me and each other as they sipped and zipped. Gotcha!!!

One thing that fascinates me about these little guys is that they drink from BEHIND the flower. Can you see that? Bees roll in the pollen in the middle of the flower, and the birds sip from behind. Are they avoiding the messes left by the bees? Or just sharing the restaurant? It makes me wonder.

And for those of you wondering how I do my hand-quilting, I've finally gotten started on my Hoffman. I use a Q-snap frame, and here it is. I guess I should be grateful that Blogger only tipped this picture and not the birds, right? Right. (It's a free site. How picky can I be? ;)

That's it for today. Now I'm off to quilt something around SB Sue-for-hire. The sooner I get started, the sooner I will finish.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Trying to Keep Up

As the quilts for hire keep pouring in, I'm trying to keep up. Forget my own stuff, I've got business to take care of. :) This is the latest and greatest (size-wise) Sunbonnet Sue. Who knew a person could be so smitten? Surely not I!

Sunbonnet Sue
90" x 90"
Pat Lancaster

Here's a close-up of one of the blocks. Every one of them has this attention to detail. Wish me luck as I try not to knock off any of the 3-d additions!

I also dropped this off at FedEx, sending it on its way to Golden, CO, home of Quilter's Newsletter. hmmm. What could be in the box? I wonder... :)

Other than that, I've spent a couple of hours working on the Sue that you saw yesterday, and I'm getting ready to put the first quilting stitches into my Hoffman. Mostly it's been housework that's been keeping me busy.

Yep. That's about it...not much to talk about at all...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Has it been 8 years?

I made myself baste at least one quilt before sitting down to blog today. Two more quilts-for-hire to baste, one of them is another S. Sue...

But I haven't been thinking much about the work at hand, instead I'm thinking of Mother.

Marilyn Johnson
June 11, 1932 - May 31, 2000

Huh. I had to look that up. I thought she was born in 1933, but I've got 1932 in ink in my daughter's baby book. For some reason I thought this would have been Mother's 75th birthday, but I guess it would have been 76. She always wanted her age to be a mystery, "Let them guess!" and she didn't want to get old. She kind of got her wish, although not the way she'd wished it. She wanted to be young in spirit, but with length of years. I guess it's one of those "be careful what you wish for" just might get it.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her. I took it at the Lair of the Bear, the Cal Alumni camp in the Sierra Nevadas. She looks so relaxed and happy. She always looked like this when she was at the Lair. Usually she posed for pictures, but not this one. The only other picture I have in which she looks this relaxed and happy is one that was taken at our wedding reception. She was beaming. :) Good memories. :)

Thanks for walking down Memory Road with me. I guess it's time to get back to work. Those quilts won't baste themselves...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We All Start Somewhere

This morning I was quilt blog-browsing, and I found one that had posts of the quilter's early works. How fun! I may not have anything new to show, but after 26 years of quilting, you can be sure I have plenty of OLD stuff, to wit:

This beauty is my first attempt at quilting. Although I'd seen quilts in pictures, I don't know that I'd ever seen any up close and personal, other than one that my friend Patrice was quilting. All I knew was that you sewed together pieces of fabric, and then you layered it with batting and a back and sewed the 3 layers together.

Isn't this lovely? It's made of kettle cloth.

Actually, the front is better than the back. Take a gander at this:

(yep, Blogger flipped it again. sigh) The back is 100% polyester, and I've "quilted" it with regular thread. I didn't use a hoop (I didn't know hoops were used for anything other than embroidery), and I did a stick n' stab method. Quite the mess, doncha think?

Just in case you weren't sure, here's the close-up. Yes, a mess. Definitely a mess.

But like I said, we all start somewhere. It's good to know our roots - it keeps us humble.

And on that, I'm off to continue the housework and hopefully! baste two or three quilts-for-hire. Enjoy your day!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Good Thing Is: It's Finished

Huh. The quilt doesn't look nearly as bad in the photo as it does in person. In person, it is a hideous clash of colors that jar the eyeballs and assault the senses. Apparently poor lighting and fuzzy focus are this quilt's best friend. Until I saw the above photo, I was convinced that the quilt had no redeeming qualities.

Over the weekend I had some free time, but I didn't feel like working on anything I HAD to work on. I admit it, sometimes I enjoy wasting time, doing something completely mindless. Obviously my brain was turned off when I began this project, there was no point in turning it on to complete it! The above shows a close-up (sort of) of the quilting. I put flowers in the Broken Dishes, and around the border.

When I asked Pete what he thought about the quilt, "Is there anything good about it?" He refused to answer. (He's learned the art of saying nothing, smart man!) He hemmed and hawed. "I like these two blocks here." (Third row down, third and fourth blocks.) "They look like Picasso meets Andrew Wyeth." yeah. LOTS of clashing going on in this quilt.

This block here - doggone it!! They flipped my picture again!!! Anyway, this block here is the reason I finished this quilt. I love this block. A couple of the fabrics were from a guild exchange, but the zebra and the philodendron fabrics were from maternity dresses I made in 1982. The green batik-y palm tree was from a dress I made in 1980. The hibiscus on the black background was from a sarong I made while in college, and the surfer dude was from my very first Hawaiian shirt that I made for myself in high school. We're talking mid-70's. I've been a fan of all things tropical for YEARS. And finally, the (what should be upper corner, but in this picture is lower right) palm tree on the aqua background was fabric that we bought on our honeymoon in Hawaii. I made Pete a shirt from it, as well as several shirts for the kids so they could wear Father/Child matching shirts until they were about 2 years old.

There are good memories in that block, so I guess that makes the quilt worth hanging on to, at least for now. My current plan is to throw it in the washing machine on Hot (it has cotton batting) and then toss it in the dryer. If it shrinks, maybe that will be just the thing to give it some character.

If not, there's always the dump...

And on that, I've got two quilts-for-hire that need basting, a Hoffman that needs quilting, and plenty of housework that is not getting itself done. Happy Monday!!!

P.S. ooh!!! I washed it, and now it looks like a much-loved family heirloom, without wear and tear. How cool is that? Not as cool as it would be to figure out WHY blogger tips my pictures and HOW I can undo their creativity!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ready for Basting!

Ta da!! I've got my Hoffman Challenge top finished and ready to quilt. groan. I forgot to crop the pictures. Sorry about that. Don't be distracted by the false starts pinned to the right of the top. Pretend they are not there.

I know, you're looking at this wondering "what's so special? It looks just like a Dresden Plate." yeah. Funny, that. It didn't look like a Dresden Plate in my wee little brain when I envisioned it and drew the pattern. It is supposed to be a Rose Window. It needs something else...

How about this?

I pinned a few hexagons around the "window" and decided that they will do nicely.

Here is the finished top. I'm not sure how I'm going to quilt it, although I know I'm going to quilt it by hand. Perhaps some sort of feathery design in the black? After all, the focus fabric is peacocks...

I've got about a month in which to do the quilting, because I'd like to also wash it and block it before sending it to Colorado. tick, tick, that clock starting to tick faster? Or is it just me?

Thursday, June 5, 2008


This morning two friends and I were in the living room, having our weekly Bible study.

ding dong. It was the doorbell. I answered in time to see the FedEx man leave a box on the doorstep. What could it be? I'd been told to watch for a few packages this week, but the FedEx package was supposed to be a book. This box was NOT book-shaped.

We were winding up our study anyway, so I asked if they minded if I opened the box. They encouraged me, also wondering what it might be. ohmygoodness!!! I burst into tears.

"Suzie's Irises"
22" x 22"
Sharon L. Schlotzhauer, 2008

This beautiful wallhanging was enclosed with a note stating that it is NOT a birthday gift, it is "just because." ohmygoodness!!! Sharon, you are AMAZING!!!

Once I stopped crying, I called her. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

A few weeks ago she asked for permission to use one of my photos as a basis for a quilt, and I'd been quite honored with the request. I had no idea this was what she had in mind. Isn't it beautiful? Here's a close-up of her ink-work.

Once I got off the phone, I ran over to Thimble Towne to show my friends. "Look what came to my doorstep today!!!!" They were as thrilled as I am. :) It's GORGEOUS!!!

I finally came home, settled down, and got back to work on this quilt-for-hire. It's made of Harley Tshirts. I really like the Attic Windows setting, and I think the rust is an ideal accent color.

Harley Tshirt Quilt
Elaine Sitton

I really like her suggestion for the border quilting. It's the tire tread of the motorcycle. Pretty fun, eh? Now I'm off to deliver it, and to pick up another quilt-for-hire. This Sunbonnet Sue will be second in line to the Sunbonnet Sue quilt-for-hire I picked up yesterday. wow. Where is all this work coming from? More pressing is how am I going to get my Hoffman done?

Here's another clue to the Hoffman puzzle. It may be misleading - I am further along than this clue would suggest - but I'm still not quite ready for the unveiling...

That's all for today folks, I promise! :)

Quilting Bloggers

I'm still a novice at this blogging business, so I'm not clear on how to insert hot-link pictures. But there's a fun new website that I've discovered that you might also like. It's called "Quilting Bloggers," and it has a roster of blogs (I'm on it!) about quilting. Be warned, it's addictive! I've put the link on my sidebar as well. It's been fun to see that many of the blogs I regularly view are already linked/registered. Too much fun!!

I've bookmarked the site. When I have the time, I check it out. It's like going to the library. hmmm, maybe I'll like that one. Or that one. Or that one. There are hundreds to choose from, and more are being added each day. Fun, fun, fun!!!

Cat Fancy

Last month our #1 son got a job and moved to San Jose. Last weekend, he came back to collect a car load of possessions, including his bed. I knew it was his bed, he knew it was his bed, but Malcolm had been convinced it was his. When it disappeared, he went on the prowl, looking for a new place to nap. He found one.

I think this is MY bed. You can tell, by the poor job I did making it! I'd blame the wrinkles on Malcolm, trying to make himself comfortable, but that wouldn't be the truth. The truth was, I was more interested in sewing/quilting than in making my bed.

Apparently Malcolm doesn't mind..."I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille..."