Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Iron


So the new, inexpensive Sunbeam iron proved the adage "You get what you pay for." I haven't used it much, but for some reason, the teflon coating is wearing off. Can you see the edge? The iron does not move smoothly across a fabric surface. I thought perhaps it had something on it, and tried some iron cleaner. There's nothing on the plate's surface, the fabric hangs up on the iron's rough edge. arg.

As I walked through Costco, I saw a deal. I put it in my cart.

This has to be the strangest looking iron I've ever seen, but maybe it will do the job it's been hired to do. German engineering, perhaps?

Yep. Here we go's a merry-go-round...

Now back to quilting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Changing Seasons

There have been a lot of unusual bird noises around here lately. The seasons are changing, and so are our feathered friends. honk honk! The Canadian geese have been cruising through. peep peep! So have the hummingbirds. This one stopped for a sip on his way to warmer climes.

This morning it was 47 degrees. seriously. That's COLD for our neck of the woods this early in the year. What happened to fall? It was summer a mere 10 days ago.

In fact, my coxcomb plants are still sprouting, still bursting into color. Most of them look like this.

A few of them look like this...

One special one looks like this. Can you see it? It is staked to a pole, and stands more than 3 feet tall.

Mr. DeMille? My close-up...I think this is one of the most spectacular specimens I've ever raised. I plant them from seed every year.

The change of seasons and arrival of October mean it's time to make more birthday cards. I thought I'd show you the clear sleeves that I store cards in. I mail them in vellum envelopes.

Or I deliver them in person. Happy Birthday, Carletta!

That's it for today. Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Weekend Pictures

First, I've got a picture of us with our daughter and son-in-law. It was taken at Oxbow Market in Napa.

On Sunday, we stopped in this town on our way home.

We took our "little" boys to lunch. The gal behind the counter asked, "Are they your sons? They look just like you two!"

They have Dad's looks,

And my hair...

The picture doesn't do me justice. First of all, I've got a LOT of hair. Second, I'd just washed it with the hotel's supplied "volumizing shampoo," like I really needed it. Third, it was raining and raining and I had a massive case of frizzies. It was wild.

Finally, I've got a picture of a cat that lives in our boy's neighborhood. He says the cat is 20 years old. Seriously, 20 years old. She looks every day of those 20 years, and has the creepiest eyes I've ever seen on a live cat.

I know this is a random lot, but that's what I've got for today. Thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Getaway

My husband has a cow meeting in Napa this weekend. "Want to come along?" Sure, I'll come along. I've been to Napa before, it's lovely in the fall. I can always use the time away to quilt. I brought my river quilt and basket of beads.

Last night the vets and spouses were treated to dinner. Here is the menu. I forgot my camera, and although I really tried, I could not figure out how to take a picture of the food with my phone. (I only seem to be able to do that by accident.)

This morning was my complimentary spa treatment. My toes now sport "Ruby Red Pumps."

And now I sit in the lobby, with a fire at my back and rain out the window.

I'm not getting much beading done today, but there's always tomorrow...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy Morning

Today was our Best of the Valley mailing party. See this? It's two bins full of entry forms, sent to potential entrants. Now the waiting begins. The deadline for entry is February 24, 2011.

shoot. I just noticed that I put 2010 on the entry forms. *sigh* To err is human...

Entry forms will be posted online in November. Entry is open to everyone/anyone, it's a judged and juried show.

Mark your calendars for April 8-10, 2011...See you there...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Couple of Cards

One for a birthday,

One for a baby.
The needlepoint was purchased at a yard sale; Blogger flipped the baby. :(

Monday, October 18, 2010


Yesterday I showed you some quilt pictures. If you'd like to see more, you can check Loris' blog here.

I have no more quilt pictures. I just have pictures of my efforts to stimulate the economy. :)

King Tut Superior thread, silk ribbon, printing blocks, beads, bells, more beads, shells...

Books and hand-dyes (from two different dyers).

yep. These things should keep me busy for a while.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pacific International Quilt Show

Our plans to take an overnight trip to PIQF fell by the wayside, but by Saturday, Wendy and I were able to jump in the car and head to Santa Clara. zoom zoom! It was so worth the trip!

I love the chance to lose myself in endless aisles of amazing quilts, to be offered the chance to shop this or that vendor, and to make and renew quilting friendships. If I had goals in each category, I exceeded them all. It was wonderful.

I was asked to share pictures, so I tried to remember to take them.

At the beginning, I was careful to document quilt names and makers, but time grew short, and I did a lot of "snap and go" by the end of the day. If anyone knows who made these quilts, I will happily give credit where it is due!

I do not try to take pictures of winning quilts or famous quilts. I take pictures of quilts that set my pulse racing and heart to throbbing. Some won awards, but I'll have to admit, I don't always notice that. I'm too busy studying the quilt and trying to commit my favorite parts to memory.

The first quilt to stop me in my tracks also caught the judges' eye.

"Natural Wonders"
Kathy McNeil

The masterful use of fabrics is mind-blowing. She's included all sorts of embellishment treasures, such as shells and sea stuff, in and amongst the rocks.

The next quilt was entirely pieced, using a Ruth McDowell method. Again, the use of fabric gives me shivers, and everything about the quilt impresses me.

"Burlingame Fire"
Ruth Powers

I liked the fabric choices in this quilt, and the way it was effectively used as a background for the black line drawing. It reminded me of the pictures we used to make in elementary school. Did you ever do them? We would cover manila paper with wild crayon designs. Once the paper was covered, we'd cover the entire page a second time, only using black. Then we would scratch designs with our fingernails, revealing the beautiful colors underneath.

Okay, so this quilt isn't quite like that, but it triggered the memory.

I liked the simplicity of this red and white applique quilt. It had a very organic feel to it.

Barbara Frances

I seem to gravitate towards quilts that depict things I recognize, rather than traditional geometric patterns. At least that was the case yesterday, I guess it depends upon my mood. Yesterday's mood seems to have been one of landscapes and/or nature. I tried to get the narrative in the picture, but I can't read the information it contains. Sorry about that!

I loved the pieced borders and sashing, and the phenomenal use of multitudes of fabric. The birds are all paper-pieced, and quite lovely, but it was the background/sashing that really set them off in a spectacular manner.

"Birds in the Woods"
Nettie Smith & Linda Hibbert

I'm not quite sure why I took the next photo, but I'm guessing that there were a lot more fabrics used in this quilt than appear on my computer screen. Blending and combining everything so successfully is a delight to behold.

"Sunshine and Shadows"
Barbara Confer

*My thanks to Del, for supplying me with the name of the quilt and the quilter, as well as pictures that show some of the embellishment details.

I think the next one is by Ann Horton, but I can't be sure. I love her use of dozens of fabrics, and the way they are all blended yet distinct. You can't see the amazing beading in the red center. I'm thinking that it was lava flow? Around the border are machine-embroidered sea shells.

These leis were WONDERFUL. None of the makers were listed, they were simply made by the "Maui Art Quilters."

I immediately thought of my daughter and her husband when I saw the next quilt. They are huge fans of Cirque d'Soleil. Earlier this year, they treated us to our first. It was Alegria.

This quilt shows my favorite act from Alegria, and successfully captures the entire show. Beautiful!

"Cirque 2: Birds Eye View"
Mela McLean - Canada
Best of Country in the World Quilt Exhibit

Again, my thanks to Del, for the caption information.

Last but not least, I took this picture. I'm pretty sure it had beading on it. Many of the quilts had beading on them. Unfortunately, the detail is lost. *sigh*

The show was fabulous, and I hope you've enjoyed a small glimpse of the quilts that reminded me I had my camera with me. Next time, I will clear the memory and increase the file-size. I should have known better, in fact I do, but I thought it would be fine. oh well.

And on that, I'd better go get ready. Company comes in 2 hours!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Self Portrait: Laid Bare

When I showed my Self Portrait to our Art Group - one of these days I will say, "When I showed my Self Portrait to Sew Eclectic", but I haven't made the mental transition yet - they had some questions. "How did you do this? What was your process?"

hmm. I thought it was basic, but on second thought, maybe I should tell you the steps.

First, I drew the magnifying glass. Then I cut a gingerbread gal that fit inside its circle. I used the drawings as my pattern.

I chose a dark background, placed the pattern for the magnifying glass on it, and cut it to a size that would hold the entire verse. Then I pulled out a paint pen, and started writing on the fabric.

I used a DecoFabric pen, that I bought from Michaels.

Once I was sure the spelling was correct on the verse, I laid the pattern back on the background and decided where to put the reference (Psalm 139:23,24) I wrote it down, and walked over to my stash, to select fabrics for the magnifying glass and body.

While the paint was drying, I prepared the applique pieces.

I put the pattern for the magnifying glass down, then centered the body and hand-appliqued only the body in place. I then machine-quilted the entire quilt.

Once it was quilted, I appliqued the outside of the magnifying glass in place.

Then I slipped a circle of tule netting under the rim, and carefully turned under the inner edge of the magnifying glass.
I then machine-quilted around the magnifying glass as well as inside the circle on the tule. And there you go, I was done. It was time to attach binding, turn it to the back, and stitch it down. yay!!

On another note, a friend and I swung by an Estate Sale today. She found an old stained paper ice cream bag with a $5 price tag on it. I hadn't seen it at all. Inside were treasures. She gave me half. Here is a picture of my portion of the loot. wow. Thank you, Wendy!!!

Tomorrow it's off to PIQF...stay tuned!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guild Challenge

The first thing I need to do is apologize. I do not know the names of all of these quilts. If any of you know, please tell me and I will update this post accordingly.

I loved each and every entry. I particularly enjoyed hearing the narratives at the unveiling. I do wish we'd had some of the information before voting, but that's okay. Everyone came out a winner. My thanks go to Wendy, our Challenge Chairwoman. I thought the voting process was a great improvement, and I really liked that every participant got $5, just for bringing a quilt. It was a nice affirmation, and a complete surprise.

The theme was "Self Portrait." The overall winner, receiving the most votes, was Cowgirl Grandma. Okay, so I don't really know what the name of the quilt was, but here she is.

Self Portrait: Grammy is a Cowgirl
Betsy Peterson

She's cooking on a wood stove, and says she's still a cowgirl at heart.

Second place went to this quilt. Much of it has felt wool applique. I recommend that you click on each picture, to see some of the detail. The family on this one is quite precious. There is a lot of dimensional applique.

Self Portrait - surrounded by family and serving the Lord
Wendy Van Beek

The third place quilt was made by a Grandmother who spends all her time ferrying grandchildren or driving to watch their various activities.

Self Portrait: "I saw this year go by through the windshield of my car."
Barbara Daniel

This next quilt was interactive, you could lift up the shirt and see a new addition to Sallie's life. Many of the fabrics were collected during her travels.

Self Portrait
Sallie Holden

I'm not sure about the next one, but I think it was called something like "If you don't like your hair, wear a hat." The quilt was based on a photograph, taken by her husband.

Self Portrait- wear a hat!
Iva Gibbons

The next was done by a quilter who says she wanted to illustrate her colorful personality. I think she did a marvelous job.

Self Portrait
Randi Speckman

This Quilt Diva has a LOT of personality!

Self Portrait - Quilt Diva
Shirley Wright

The next quilt depicts the quilter's love of coffee, in mugs made of fabrics celebrating her passions. The symbol of her church is on the coffee pot, as it is an important part of her life. Again, click on the picture, to see detail.

Self Portrait
Paula McFarland

Last and least is my little quilt. It is called "Self Portrait: Laid Bare." On the label is Hebrews 4:13, "...all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."

Self Portrait: Laid Bare
Suzanne Kistler

And that's a wrap of this year's Valley Oak Quilt Guild Challenge.

P.S. I've added a photo of a birthday card that I delivered today. Better late then never? Happy birthday, Mrs. Van Beek!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coming Up For Air

No pictures today. I'll make up for it in the coming days. I've been working on a brown and white Tennessee Waltz quilt-for-hire. It's keeping me busy. I've got about 10 hours into it, and I just now finished the straight-line quilting. Next week I'll get to the fun part. That would be the free-motion portion of the quilting. My favorite.

Tomorrow is guild and the reveal of our challenge. The theme was/is Self Portrait.

This weekend is Pacific International. If I remember, I'll take pictures. It's the remembering that gets me every time.

And that's it for now. Just wanted to pop in and say "Hi!" Hope you all are doing well!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eeny Meeny Meiny...

Adam needs a head. Which one should I use? Or should I make another one? I think I'll go with the large pinky-orange verson. It might work.

His hair was not brown. It was quite bleachy blond, as it was every summer in his youth. Daily swimming turned the strawberry blond to white-blond. Let's add some color/texture.

Oh dear! He looks like a hedgehog. Let's add some more.

There. That gives him light hair, texture, and enough dark that it doesn't wash out in the background.

Here's the overall composition:

The original plan was to make multiple 14" blocks, and put them together in a quilt commemorating our trip to the UK. After 14 years, only 2 blocks saw the light of day. I turned one into its own wallhanging, but the other sat moldering in the box. I've added 4" of borders around three sides, and gave Adam a new head. Now I proclaim it ready to quilt and finish. yay! Goals are good. Maybe I can get it done in the next couple of weeks.

That's all for now, have a great weekend!