Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

grrrrrr. they flipped the photos again. And I was in such a good mood...

So I'll start here instead.

The yard was looking particularly green yesterday, so I went out to examine it.

Yikes! This flowerpatch has been invaded by Australian violets. good grief! I need to get them out before they choke everything in their path. I hadn't even noticed them...I also didn't notice the huge milkweed in the middle of the iris on the left, until I downloaded the photo. I'd better pull that before I leave!

This little beauty - a miniature rose - looks okay flipped. It's still beautiful. This is one of the last little pretties of the season. It rained overnight, and I'm glad I've got the picture to take me through the winter.

Finally, here is more proof that it's not easy being green. It's even queasy - cock your head to the right, there you go, yes, it's another Charlie. One of these days I'll figure out how to do eyes.

And on that, I'm off for a weekend quilting retreat. Have a great weekend! Hopefully I'll have something to post come Monday. Adios!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Quickies

I should have been doing paperwork and quilting-for-hire, but I haven't been. Instead, I decided to quickly quilt a baby quilt that I'd made from leftover double 4-patch blocks. I figured one of these days a little boy would be in need of it and I would be one ahead. haha, joke's on me.

I was sewing the binding on when my husband called. "Carlos & Julie's twins are being born today." Twins. And I didn't even know she was pregnant. Instead of one ahead, I am one behind. There is another baby (girl) due in November, and two more expected after the first of the year. The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get!!

But Ivan's quilt is ready. I guess I'll make one for his sister at the retreat this weekend...

Isn't the back cute? His daddy used to check cows with Pete. (Don't look too closely, there are only sheep, no cows on the fabric...)

Finally, the webmaster was challenged by the "art" I gave her to work with. I "whipped up" another possibility this afternoon. Maybe one of these will work? I don't know. She's the master, not I. One of these days I'll get to the work I'm SUPPOSED to be doing. Maybe tomorrow? sigh. Good intentions and all that...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Quick Update

Busy. I have been busy. My time has been filled with files and phone calls and planning. It doesn't look like it's going to let up much in the near future, but I have a goal. I'm hoping that the big push for resurrecting the show will be done by November 15. Goals are good.

One of my goals was to get art to the webdesigner over the weekend. Well, that didn't happen, but I did hit the "send" button a few minutes ago. yay. I can now work on something quilts-for-hire...

This is what I made over the weekend. I thought it was appropriate...

Here's a close-up of the "banner." I'm curious to see what our web designer can/will do with it.

Now that this is done, I've got plenty of other things to focus on.

On Friday (10/31) I head out of town again, this time for a weekend quilt retreat. Fun, fun, fun! I have no idea what project(s) I'll be taking with me, but I'm sure I'll think of something. I'm also scheduled to do a trunk show, perhaps this time I'll remember to take pictures? I plan to bring my camera, it's just remembering to use it that is the challenge.

And now, I'm back to the sewing cave. There is work to be done!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tempted by "The Darkside"

My sister knits. I used to knit, when our daughter was a wee lass. I loved making little sweaters for her, and she seemed to like to wear them. But when I caught the quilting bug, knitting became history.

I still love hand-knit items, and imagine myself making them. I don't, but I am tempted. My sister has tried to call me back "from the darkside," I in turn, try to lure her to quilting. But we're each smitten with our own calling. There's nothing I like more than something handmade, especially something made well.

Today was the annual Handweaver's Guild show and sale in Exeter. I heard the call and went. (I apologize for the poor quality pictures. You can click on them for a better view...)

The one thing about this show is that it is in a building that is VERY poorly lit. I couldn't tell colors to save my life. Is that blue or black? pink or red? Would that rug look good in my house or ghastly? There was no way to know, it was a guessing game. You can tell by the pictures how dark it was, oh well.

Did that stop my shopping? Heavens no, are you kidding? ;) I found some handwoven dish towels for my kitchen. I wanted green, there were none to be found. But since I've got grapes and cranberry accents in the drapes and wallpaper, I thought these might work.

And then there are toys for the kitties. These felted balls cost less than plastic cat toys from PetSmart. And they jingle! Such a deal, such a deal! (As I paid for them, someone complained that I had "taken all the cat toys." I didn't take them all, I just took the best ones. And I didn't take them right away. I looked at them, played with them, and then walked around the room twice before I went back and bought them. Same with the other goodies. If things were still there when I came back to the booth, well then surely I must need them!)

And finally, I was tempted once again by the promise of an "easy knit." This bag of reds looked luscious,
and the pattern is "simple knit and purl." Well, since I can do both, and she swears it's a "no brainer for when you're exhausted in front of the TV," I bought it hook, line, and sinker. Now I've just got to buy myself some knitting needles...

In the meantime, while we're away, the cat will play....

or nap where he is LEAST welcome. This would be on my pillow. After the flash, he glared at me then covered his eyes with his paw and wished me mal-intent.**

**interesting. I know I've heard that phrase/word before, but apparently it is not one? Perhaps I should just say that he gave me the evil eye and I could sense him simultaneously cursing me for disturbing him and gloating with the knowledge that since my pillow was already furry I'd leave him be. and so I did.

sigh. To be at the mercy of such a creature. Why do I allow it? Nevermind, I don't want to know. ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Nice Surprise

I walked to the mailbox yesterday and pulled out a thick pile of mail. When I opened one of the envelopes, look what I found! (The surprise was the card, not blogger's fiddling with my picture.)

I took more than one picture, trying to get the color and the quilting to show. Here's another surprise - this one published in the correct orientation!!

Thank you, Wendy! These little cards are addictive, aren't they?!! :) (This was in response to the "50" card I'd given her earlier this month.)

A while back, I posted an applique block of Charlie, hinting that there might be more in the works. I finished this one last night. Yes, I know. The eyes need work. But it still cracks me up, which is the point of it.

Finally, the best surprise is that the Best of the Valley quilt show website is visibly under construction. I haven't mentioned the show at all recently, but changes are in the air. And I've got a hand in them. Stay tuned. One of these days I'll show you my cards...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lovely Morning

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood... It's been like fall, only not. We're getting a brief detour to warmer temps (upper 80's) for a few days, then it will be back to our week-long fall before winter sets in. One of the sure signs of the end of summer is the end of the coxcomb. I've pulled out most of my crop, although a few hangers on are still in the garden. Most people who see these flowers ask about them. They've "never seen anything like them." They are a brilliant red, and so unusual that they are captivating. Here are two of the last lingerers...

Don't you love the ruffled effect of the bloom? I guess that's what you'd call it. It looks like ruching to me, and if I ever finish my Flower Fades quilt, it should resemble this photo. At least that's the goal. Goals are good.

I made another little birthday card yesterday and took pictures. Sigh. This one shows the color best, but Blogger tipped it.

This one shows the correct orientation as well as the quilting. But the color is washed out. One of these days maybe I'll figure out how to adjust the digital camera (and Blogger) to get the results I desire. Today is not that day.

Finally, here is the recipient of the birthday card. Happy Birthday, dear friend!!! (That's one of the covered journals in her other hand.) Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Something New Every Day

I got up this morning, got my things together and headed out the door for an 8:45 appointment. This is the scene that greeted me:

This is my driveway. My car was in the garage, on the side of the driveway completely blocked by the truck. interesting. I was able to squeeze out the space (only one tire went over the curb), and was on my way.

When I got back an hour later, the truck was still there. I was finishing my painting project when I heard a noise. I looked out the window to see another truck:

(That's my red car, nose to nose with the tow truck.) I watched for a few minutes, to be sure it was out of the way.

This is definitely not something that I see every day. And the funny thing was, the driver of the garbage truck said that this was the second truck that had broken down on him this morning. When I'd asked if he could move it, he couldn't even start it. Good thing the weather was nice, but that didn't seem to make him any happier...

I finished painting the ceiling, and put the furniture back in order. There are a few more details to take care of, but if anyone needs a bed for the night, there is now one available.

The quilt on the bed is the third quilt I made. I finished it in 1986 or 87. It's kind of like a Double Irish Chain, except that I didn't use a pattern and I graphed it wrong on the graph paper. (The chains don't chain the way they are supposed to. oops.) It's hand-quilted.

Finally, at the end of the day, Malcolm is sitting in the finished room, staring out the window. I'm not sure what he's looking for or looking at - all I know is that at least it's not a garbage truck!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'll Tell You a Story...

I told you about the quilt I made for the newlyweds last week. Look, I got Blogger to load a picture with the correct orientation - too bad it's not a very good picture. Anyway, this is the quilt of which I speak.

I bumped into the groom's dad on Sunday, and he said, "Wow, that was an awesome gift you gave the kids!" I smiled, "I'm glad they like it." He said, "Yeah! Micah opened it, and he and Krista were excited about it, and I asked him, 'What is it?' and he said, 'I don't know!' "


He really liked it, but he had no idea what it was! ;)

I saw them last night, and related the exchange with his dad about the gift. Micah said, "Well it's great! It's an awesome gift! We're going to hang it...but I still don't know what it is. What do I call it?"

I thought about it for a minute, (and those of you who know me will really crack up at my answer.)

"Micah, it's an art quilt."

end of story. ;)

(Charlotte, I can hear you laughing...)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pacific International Quilt Festival 2008

tired. Today was an up-and-back trip to Santa Clara to see the 2008 edition of PIQF. wow. What a show! It's been a few years since I've been to see it, and wow. The level of competition has skyrocketed - not that it wasn't high before, but this year? It was out of this world. I can't even tell you how many big names who have won BIG prizes had quilts hanging naked. We're talking quilts that won big at Houston hanging unadorned in Santa Clara. I'm sure more than one quilt-maker was stunned. Especially so if they didn't have the opportunity to see the show. It was STELLAR.

It was exciting to see quilts by a number of local friends, as well as quilts by bloggers whose blogs I lurk at. I thought it might be fun to show you a few.

This was one of the first quilts I saw - hey! I know the maker!!

"Milkweed in Autumn"
Kristin Eilers
Lemoore, CA

"Bourbon Street"
Kristin Eilers
Lemoore, CA

The quilt actually hung better than this. I couldn't back up far enough to get the proper angle. I struck up a conversation with a man examining both of Kristin's quilts closely. "I know her!" "Lemoore is far away." "Not that far." "It's southwest of Fresno isn't it?" "yes." "Well that's far!" "It's only about 4 hours..."

"Don't they have an Airforce base there?" "Yes, well, actually it's Navy." "Navy? In the desert?" "They do fighter pilot training there." "For aircraft carriers?" "Well, they do that part in Coronado..." He looked pretty skeptical. Navy? In the middle of a state? What is this woman thinking? I moved along...

This beauty was hanging on the opposite side of the hall. Quite a hike, but I found it! (Then I had to wait for the women examining it to move along. They were entranced.) :)

"Breit Beauty"
Debbie Van Fossen
Visalia, CA

And check out this next quilt. I heard a voice, turned around, and it was Lynn Drennen. She'd just arrived and was looking for her quilt. I told her I knew exactly where to find it. She was with Marilyn J. Smith, one of her co-quilters, the other quilter, Gina Perkes, couldn't make it. (Rumor has it she has to go to Houston in a week or so, and couldn't swing 2 weekends away...)

"Grape Harvest"
Gina Perkes, Lynn Drennen & Marilyn J. Smith
(internet friends)

Speaking of internet "friends," here are a couple of quilts made by quilters who have blogs that I have stumbled upon...
"Stay the Course"
Debra Spincic, Rian Ammerman & Deborah Geyer

"Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul"
Sarah Ann Smith
Camden, Maine

Finally, had I remembered to vote for Viewer's Choice - the ballot is still in my back pocket - this is the quilt I would have chosen. I LOVE this quilt!!! (For some reason the color is exceptionally poor.)

"Road to Po'ipu Point Kauai"
Susanne Rasmussen

And in keeping with the "small world" theme of this post, the above artist is going to be the guest speaker at the local guild next month. I guess I'll be going to see her lecture, especially if she's going to be bringing along more quilts like this!!

But the best part of the day was my lunch break.

The show was held 3 miles from where our oldest son works. When he found out I was going to be in town, he perked up. "Mom, let's do lunch!" You betcha I'll do lunch! And we did, his treat! wow. He was even willing to let me take our picture, twice!!

I tell you it was good to see that boy!!! It's been too long, and I've been having withdrawals.

All in all, it was a good day, and hurrah for CalTrans for FINALLY finishing that overpass on Hwy 152. It makes all the difference in the world!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Painting Bummer

No quilt news today, at least not yet. I've spent the morning painting, trying to finish the unfinished bedroom. I finally did finish the walls, despite my best efforts to ruin them.

What happens when you teeter on a ladder that is near a dresser on which a very full cup of coffee sits? Usually nothing. But this morning was not usual. Instead I teetered, the dresser bumped, and the coffee dumped. Not only did it dump, but it went flying.

I couldn't believe it.

It landed on the tarp - yay for the tarp - but the bottom of the cup broke OFF and coffee went EVERYWHERE. I'm talking mostly on the tarp, but also on the carpet, on the dresser, on the WALL, and IN THE PAINT. bummer.

It was at least 45 minutes before I was able to resume painting. I opened the second can of paint, since I'd mixed coffee with the remnants of the first can, and it appears that the second can is a slightly different color. or not. or different. It's hard to tell in the shadowy light of the afternoon. sigh. I'll know tomorrow.

At least all the dinge and the spackle-filled holes are covered, so it looks better than it did before I started.

But the coffee break was still a bummer.

Moral of the story? Finish your coffee? Don't take coffee out of the kitchen? Don't drink and paint? I don't know if there is a moral, but there's got to be a lesson in here somewhere. ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Little "Art-sies"

Well that's just plain rude. Somebody, anybody, PLEASE tell me how to get Blogger to STOP TIPPING MY PICTURES!!! It's always when I have something that I LIKE that they load sideways....not that I don't like the pictures that are right side up, but really. Enough is enough. Did they have to tip three of the four?!!!

Here's the first. I showed it unembellished on September 27. I've since added some foofoo on the bottom. Is it done? I'm not sure. It seems to want a bit more, but I don't know exactly what more it wants. Speak quilt, or forever hold your peace.

We went to a wedding today. The lovely couple met in our living room, during a College/Career Bible study. I've been too busy to make them "a quilt," but I did find the time to make them a little piece of "art." Now it's really artsy, what with the tipping and everything. arg.

I had a bit of trouble keeping the writing from going uphill. After picking it out twice, I decided that it was going to have to do. When I showed it to my husband and asked, "What do you think?" his immediate response was, "The writing isn't very good..." Too late. It was already finished and in the frame. Here's a close-up. Yes, I usually do better, but I just couldn't seem to get it together this time...

Finally, I try to get pictures of the quilts (and cards) that I make with their recipients. For the past year, I've been doing an exceedingly poor job of photo-documenting. In fact, I've been doing a very poor job of even keeping track of what I've made lately. I already know what one of my 2009 resolutions is going to be.

Here is one photo of a quiltlet and its recipient. Since it actually loaded right-side up, I thought I'd share it with you. Happy bday, Wendy!!!

That's all for now folks. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thoughts on Pruning

So. I went on retreat over the weekend, and while I was gone, Pete was at a loose end. He had the perfect opportunity to do some "pruning," and he grabbed it. Those of you who know us, know that I tend to "lose it" when he prunes. He is always heavy-handed with the shears. Ironically enough, this time I didn't even notice his handiwork until Tuesday. wow.

This is one of the bushes that he didn't get to.

I would agree, it needs pruning. It's got some limbs reaching out-of-bounds, causing the bush to lose its bush shape. But my idea of pruning is to cut as little as possible. Pete's is not.

We were both outside when I said, "hmmm, looks like you did some pruning..." He reddened and said, "You know it will grow back!!!" Yes, I do know that it will grow 6 months to a year. I just really like having a living barrier between our house and the neighbors. Right now it looks like sticks in the ground. It's not pruned to grow to any particular shape, it's just cut back. period.

How glad I am that our Heavenly Father takes His time when He prunes us! He doesn't look at His watch and think, "I've got 2 hours, let's get it done!" Instead, He looks at us carefully, examining which branches to encourage and which to remove. The process can be painful. It can hurt. But we are being formed and shaped, into His image. He will lovingly nurture and restore that which He has allowed us to retain. In the end, we will be more firmly rooted in Him, and become more fruitful than we ever imagined possible. John 15.

And that's what I'm thinking about today...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Taking a Sewing Break

After being away for a few days, the work that needed to be done around here began to stack up. It always does, doncha know? ;) The bedroom is still half-painted, and I just realized that I never finished cleaning and papering the last few cupboards in the kitchen. Folks, that remodel was back in July. My biggest problem is that when I've seen a mess for too long, I stop seeing it. I HAVE to remember to look around here with new eyes - to see the mess as others see it - and yikes! There is much to do.

But deadlines have arrived, so I took the day off to spend in the sewing room. Item #1 was to box and ship "Cascading Crystal Kaweah" to Pacific International. Consider it done. whew!

I covered another journal, and am quite pleased with the results.

I have a lunch date with a friend tomorrow - friend, if you are reading the blog, cover your eyes! I needed to make her a card. Mark another item off the list.

Finally, we've been invited to the final adoption hearing on Friday for Relli Mitchell. The invitation included a cute picture of little Relli, and I thought it would be appropriate to "immortalize" her in fabric.

I am really enjoying our new printer and the quality transfers that it does onto Printed Treasures sheets. I love these front-opening shadow boxes. They are perfect for transforming little quilts into works of art. (I get the boxes at Michael's, usually at 40% off.)

Oh, and hey Charlotte! See that sea foam? It's cheesecloth!!! I cut a 1" strip of cheesecloth which I rolled in a 2" strip of tule. I then stitched it down with some free-motion foamy stitching. It almost looks like lace, but now you all know better.

And hey, there's one more to come. I haven't transferred the photo yet, but I need to give the gift on Sunday so there will be another post some time soon. Happy quilting!!!