Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Visited the Vendors

I wish I could figure out Blogger. Sometimes the photos load perfectly. Sometimes they do not. Tonight was one of those times when most of my pictures ended up wacky. Now I'm growly. And I had a perfectly equitable day too...In fact, I had a most excellent day, thankyouverymuch.

I went here: the quilt show sponsored by the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild of Bakersfield, CA.

I had every intention of taking pictures, really I did, but I got distracted. There were so many beautiful quilts to see and so many vendors to visit, I just dragged my camera around with me for the exercise. I didn't take a single picture inside the show. oh well.

But I did go shopping.

I visited my favorite yarn vendor and asked her what I could make with this that I would finish. Can you believe everyone in her booth laughed at me? I was serious. ;) I already have 2 knitting projects in various stages of completion. I don't need a third. But I couldn't leave this rayon there, it was TALKING to me.

These little packets were also giving me an earful, so they also came home with me.

My favorite book vendor was there, so I bought a bit of reading material.

Okay, so it was more than a bit...

And Janet Farris was there, with her beautiful hand-sculpted jewelry. I bought these flower beads. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with them. They were talking to me!!! ;)

The last "booth" I visited was "Country Store." I guess it's a clean your closet booth sponsored by the guild? There were all kinds of abandoned craft materials behind the drapes. I chose these two bargains. On the left we have some yellow virgin wool for crewel. (I have a piece of crewel work that I did years- decades - ago. Moths ate some of the yellow. I'm hoping this will be enough to replace it. For 5 cents, it was worth chancing it.)

And who doesn't need a bag full of jingle bells? You never know. They always seem to come in handy. And they usually cost $1 for 6, not 75 cents for dozens.

And that's all I have for you from the show. The quilts were WONDERFUL. Bakersfield has some VERY talented quilters! Congratulations to all of my friends who found those lovely rosettes and ribbons hanging on their quilts. Awesome!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Promised Pictures...

Sorry I'm so late on posting. I've been doing the run-around, doncha know?

But the backyard is DONE, and it's BEAUTIFUL!!!

Here are some more before/during/after shots...

Southside of the yard before:

Southside during:

And southside after:

Many of the plants around the relocated sago are 1 gallon size. They should grow to a lush 2' diameter, filling the space with a lot of interest. There are two Rose of Sharon plants to either side of the sago, that will grow and add a LOT of height rather quickly. I look forward to that!

Next is the westside of the yard before:


and after:Isn't it so much better?!!!

Now to tackle the front yard.

I've got all kinds of bulbs that are popping up flowers here and there. These crocuses decided that now is the perfect time to bloom...

Those of you who like cat pictures might enjoy this shot of Charlie. He decided that my priority should be loving him, NOT focusing on the computer. My camera was right at my elbow. Is that a look of pure contentment or what?

Finally, lest you think that I am no longer quilting, I made this little birthday card on Wednesday. It measures 7" x 5". The leaves and flower center are steam-a-seamed in place (they were made from scraps from a project), the petals are raw-edge applique.

It was a gift for Gwen, seen here in Panera yesterday afternoon...

Today I've got a few errands to run, and then I've got 4 baby quilts and a wallhanging to baste. Tomorrow I'm off to the Bakersfield Quilt Show. Should be fun!! 'Til then...stay busy!!! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Transformation

For the past week, our backyard has been undergoing a serious transformation.

We've lived in this house for 15.5 years, and have not done much with it other than pull out what had been planted when we moved in. My husband and I do not see eye to eye when it comes to landscaping. That's putting it mildly. While I love things lush and exploding with color, he prefers nice and orderly. Extremely orderly. He does not like plants that "explode" in any way.

And so, for 15 years, I've watched him remove plants that require attention and replace them with...basically nothing. I've attempted to add color by planting bulbs that "mysteriously" sprout in the Springtime, and seeds that produce flowers if they're not hit by Round-up.

This year, I've decided it's my turn.

Actually, I gave him a heads up last year - I told him I was dreaming of hiring a professional landscaper to do the backyard. He thought I meant for him to do it. I did not. I most definitely did not.

Well, he finally agreed that the backyard had gotten to the point where it was devaluing the house. (And in these economic times, that's surely saying something!!) The landscaper drew up plans to my specifications, and his crew has been implementing them since last Wednesday.

Every day has been a great and glorious improvement. Today they are laying sod.

I have LOTS of before and after pictures, I'll break them down into more than one post. Here are today's treats:

First, we had this 2-headed sago palm in the front yard. I've always considered it an eyesore. It has now been relocated to the back, where it looks SO much better. You would be amazed by how small the root ball is. How does that thing stand up? It must have a VERY low center of gravity!!!

This is the "before" of the eastside of the yard:

Here is the "after":

Here is the "before" of the corner with the slide and pool filter:

Here is the "after":

The landscaper assures me that the plants may be small, but within two years they will grow up lush and green. I can hardly wait!!!

And while the crew has been busy outside, I've been inside working on the quilt show. And I've taken some time to piece some baby quilts. I hope to have pictures some time soon.

Stay tuned until tomorrow, when I'll have more transformation pictures...

P.S. We've converted the backyard from sprinklers to a drip system. Not only are we now looking good, we're also conserving even more water! yay!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Recipe...

Every once in a while I get asked how to remove pencil marks. I do not mark with pencil, since I had a VERY bad experience with our opportunity quilt in the early 90's. But some people still do, and others inherit quilts that have already been marked. If your quilt has marks, what can be done about it?

Back in the 90's, one of our older ladies had a magic potion that worked wonders for removing pencil. She swore by it, and shared her recipe with the rest of the guild. I've passed it along twice in the past year, and it worked for both quilters.

Rather than keep the recipe to myself, I'll post it here. Then, if you need it, you'll be able to find it in the sidebar, any time in the future.

Bette Beebe's Magic Pencil Mark Removing Potion

3 ounces rubbing alcohol

1 ounce water

4 DROPS liquid dishwashing soap (Bette used Palmolive)

Directions: Dip a CLEAN toothbrush in the solution and brush onto the fabric. Blot dry.

That's it.

I will give you the disclaimer that I've never used this myself. I don't know how it reacts with dyes or anything like that. Personally, I would wash the quilt after using the potion. But if you're anything like me, and you've run out of options, this might be just what you're looking for. Good luck!!!

Many thanks to Jeanne for the shout-out. I'm glad it worked for you!

Also thank you to Vicki, for calling "Foggy Day Cows" eye candy! See my BIG SMILE!! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Now You See Them

Now you don't

First you don't see them...

Then you do...

In between rainstorms, the landscapers have been very busy. Part of today's agenda included moving two large sago palms from our front yard to the back. As you can see, the lawn is gone, it was removed yesterday. Depending upon the weather, we may get the new lawn on Tuesday.

The landscapers are not the only ones who have been busy. Tonight I put together 30 Double 4-patch blocks (my specialty) for one of the babies due in the next few months.

This is the first time that I've made this block/quilt since I took Sally Collins' precision piecing class. oh. my. gosh. LOOK at that intersection. Is it gorgeous or what?!!! EVERY SINGLE 4-patch is PERFECT. I just want to sit back and admire their beauty. Outstanding!

And that's it for now. Enjoy your weekend!

Bad Cat, etc.

You've met Edgar before. He's beautiful...and he's bad.

For Christmas my sister knit me a BEAUTIFUL pair of mittens. I LOVE these mittens. I wore them to church on Sunday. Edgar found them Tuesday night. He loves them too. In fact, he loves them more than I do. Impossible? Not really. HE tried to eat them!

Not only did he eat a chunk out of the tree trunk, but on the reverse side he nibbled the hem and made another smaller hole. ARG!!

While I admire his taste in mittens, I do NOT admire his TASTING my mittens!!!

Thankfully my sister has volunteered to take a look to see what she can do. Dr. Carla to the rescue! I sent her a picture of Edgar (she's also a cat person). She responded that he is "magnificient!" (yes, he is) and that, btw, the mitten pattern is called "Deep in the Woods." She went on to ask if Edgar is deep in the doodoo. yeah, but it's hard to stay mad at him for long. He's the best specimen of cat that we have in our house, no offense to Charlie, Malcolm, or Hecate...

As with the rest of California, it's been wet around here. But it hasn't been as wet as we were warned it would be. In my opinion, our local storms have been quite orderly, taking turns and drying out in between.

Yesterday I drove east, then south, to Porterville for a meeting. I was the one who kept slowing down and picking up my camera. When I first turned onto Caldwell, I saw this:

The RR crossing and lines are distracting I know, but they give you a sense of how close we are to the Sierras. Ten miles south, and the power lines are now in a distance. The storm is coming in.

Finally, I blindly hit zoom and snapped. There were a couple of peaks in the background that were blinding white with snow. I could look at this every day...if I wanted to drive every day. I don't, and so I post my pics on the blog, where I can look at them whenever I want. (You can click on the pics to enlarge them.)

In the middle of all this rain, our Landscaper's crew has been coming each morning to work until it gets too wet. They've pulled out five trees and the majority of plant life. Yesterday they ripped out the lawn. NOW I can tell that they've done something. If the rain stops, I should have a whole new yard by the end of next week. Be prepared for pictures! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Something Old...

A couple of decades ago, our guild hosted a challenge. For my entry, I made a 4-block Mariner's Compass quilt. It was hand-pieced and hand-quilted.

My mother LOVED the quilt. At the time, I didn't want to give it to her (I gave it to her years later, for Mother's Day), so I asked her what colors she liked. She said, "Navy blue, sea green and pink.) ugh. They would not have been my choices to work with, but I used them to make this little hand-pieced, hand-quilted wallhanging for her birthday. Yesterday I stumbled across it as I was cleaning, and thought it would look dandy in the bathroom. What do you think? Do you like it?

Mother's Mariner's Compass
"9.5" x 18"
Suzanne Kistler 1991

I lessened the amount of work by cutting one of the blocks in half. I thought the move was brilliant. :)

The only thing new around here is rain. I took this picture yesterday, as the patio flooded 2" deep. fun, fun, fun. Hold onto your hats, folks, it's a wet one!!

Hope you enjoyed accompanying me on my little jaunt down Memory Lane...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Meet My Friend...


Today they ran an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette about my friend Sharon Schlotzhauer. The start of our friendship is a fun story: we met in the Denver airport, on the way home from Paducah. She and her husband were in the front of our plane; my friends, my husband and I were in the way-back. I saw her quilt in her arms as we boarded, but by the time we disembarked, the couple and the quilt were long gone.

We took advantage of our layover to grab a bite of lunch. Who should walk past our table but the mystery couple with the quilt. "Hey Quiltie Lady!!" The rest is history. We've been good friends for several years.

Anyway, I'd love to introduce her to the rest of you, so click here, if you're interested. She is an amazingly gifted quilter, whose work you have probably seen. In fact, if you were at Road to CA this weekend, you saw the quilt that is featured in shown in the article.

Good job Sharon!!! I hope I didn't embarrass you too much!!! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beautiful Boxes And Such

Oh, come on Blogger! WHY are you upending my photo?!! I think, perhaps, you are jealous. It is MY quilt box, and I'm not going to share.

I've been trying to sort and organize and make things look nice (story of my life) and today's efforts uncovered this beautiful end table. It was used in the living room of our last house, but shortly after we moved here (15 years ago) it was pushed into our bedroom. There, it held STACKS of things that I didn't put away. (I know. I'm not supposed to air my dirty laundry in public. But I just did. I'm a packrat. That's just the way it is. I'm trying to deal with it.)

Anyway, today was the day I pulled the quilt box out to the living room. It is filled primarily with quilts made by my friends. It has 2 or 3 that I made, but for the most part? It's filled with friendship.

Speaking of friendship, I have another beautiful box. This one has not been with me for years on end, this one is new. This one arrived at Christmas. Made by Mel Bell, Carpenter Extraordinaire, I've finally put it on display, right here, on top of my box of friendship quilts. Isn't it beautiful?

Here it is from another angle. ooh, baby, I like your lines!

In the quilting realm, I spent a few hours yesterday working on my pattern for my 2010 Hoffman. I'm going to ENJOY working on this year's quilt. I am NOT going to stress like I have in the past. This is a quilt I want to make, because I love the topic. It won't bother me in the least if no one else loves it. Okay, so maybe it will bother me, but I already love it, so it's fine. I want this year's quiltmaking to be making quilts I WANT to be making. Goals are good and all that.

When I put aside the pattern, I pondered what to work on.

I worked on a quilt back in October, at the Hartland Quilt Retreat, that turned into a warped mess of a mess. arg. I reworked it twice, then shoved it in the closet.

Yesterday I pulled it out of the closet, cut off the offending warpiness, and set to making it right. The top is now perfectly flat. I can't say that I am 100% pleased with the composition - it was better when the pine tree batik traveled the width of the quilt - but I'm 90% pleased. Quilting will improve it tremendously.

"Fish Dance" - unquilted top
Suzanne Kistler 2010

I'm trying to get back into "show mode," and "Fish Dance" will be my submission to the West Coast Wonders Exhibit in Long Beach in July. Goals are good, doncha know?

Finally, I've got a half-way decent image of my 2008 Hoffman to submit to M-AQF. Finally, finally! If you've never tried to photograph a black quilt, you have no idea how difficult it is to get the colors to come out accurately. I took this photo outside. I threw white sheets over the fence and put the quilt on a stand in front of the sheets. The sun had been shining, but just as I was ready to shoot, clouds came in. They actually helped with the color accuracy. Finally. Now I just have to fill out the form and send it in. It isn't really warped at the bottom. A breeze kicked up. of course.

"Window of Tradition"
2008 Hoffman Challenge
Suzanne Kistler

And that's all for today, folks. Next week we are predicted to get a frightening amount of rain. 6-8" is frightening, when 8" is your yearly average. We've also made plans to completely redo our backyard, utilizing the skills of a professional landscaper. If I don't blog much next week, I'm either under water or freaking out about the yard...or blissfully sewing away in the Studio, oblivious to the chaos swirling around me...Goals are good...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Foggy Day in Paradise...

I don't need to add anything, do I? Except to say that the Foggy Day Cow quilt was finished and delivered to its new owner, and the weather cooperated perfectly. Can you see her eyes smiling?

Now that this is finished, what's next? How about some 2010 Hoffman Challenge? It's on the wall and I'm thinking...

LOVE this quilt

Good morning!

I don't have much to share today, there's nothing exciting about stitching on binding. I have one side left on the Foggy Day Cows. They should be finished before guild this morning.

In the meantime, I'll send you here. Take a look at the two most recent quilts by the Silly Boodilly. I LOVE these quilts, particularly the green one. I think I'm mad about the texture. To my mind, this is the most successful integration of machine and hand quilting that I've ever seen. I just want to reach out and touch it.

What do you think? Do you like it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zoom, Zoom

Well, Blogland, I missed a day with you, but wow. I have to say that I had a great time. There's nothing better than being a fly on the wall in a judging arena, especially if you are NOT in the competition. It's a chance to hear the judges think out loud, and see (and touch - with gloves) some amazing quilts. I cannot believe how blessed I am to have had the opportunity!!!

Where did I go? Well...

I got behind the wheel of my car and headed south..

This is the view to the west, as we approach the Grapevine. It was very clear in the valley, which is unusual for January. We enjoyed every minute of it.

We checked into the hotel and spent the night. The next morning, before 7am, this was the view out of our window. Everything is so clear. Where is the fog? I almost felt uncomfortable...isn't this supposed to be January? By the end of the day, it was almost 80!!

This is where we spent Tuesday. We weren't outside, we were inside, hidden behind a door of the building where magical mysteries were taking place.

Have you guessed yet? We were here. I can't tell you what I saw, but if you head to Ontario tomorrow, you can see for yourself. Wonders of wonders will be on display from Th-Sun, January 14-17. Enjoy!!! I keep toying with the idea of trying to squeeze in one more trip (4 hours, one way) on Friday. A girl can dream!

As I was leaving, I had to take this picture. Why would anyone live in Southern California? They don't have winter.

That must be it. They live there BECAUSE they don't have winter. (I was born in Santa Monica and spent the first 17 years of my life in Escondido.) The trees in the foreground may be pretending that it's January, but I didn't believe them. They were NOT cold.

As we drove back and headed back down into the valley, we wondered, "Will there or won't there be fog?" It was getting dark. It was 4pm. Was it the shadow of the mountains? Or the presence of lurking fog?

It was the mountains! You can see in the far distance that the sun is SHINING and visibility is excellent. There must be a storm on the way...

Finally, I asked my trip photographer to grab my camera and get a shot of the cropduster. We just missed having him fly over us. Can you see him? On the left, just above the green? He was coming right at us and had to clear the wires before flying over the freeway. My heart jumps in my throat every time I see them. They are fabulous. (For a bigger image, click on the picture.)

So. There you go. I've had a taste of this weekend's Road to CA show, and I want more.

Many thanks to Dyanne, for being a good sport and scrambling for my camera every time I said, "Oh! I need a picture of that!!" See, Barbara, I don't ALWAYS photograph while I'm driving. (There's a difference between 25 in the fog and 70 on the freeway!!!)

P.S. I took the pictures of Ontario. Dyanne took the rest.