Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Quick Update

Our college boy is visiting for the weekend. He came bearing a vanload of "gifts" for the Laundry Fairy.

This photograph does not do the load justice. That's a full-size van, FILLED with stinky boy clothes.

The Laundry Fairy has been busy. For the past few days she's been turning the stinky stuff into PILES of clean. *sniff, sniff* SO much better! :)

In between loads, I was able to finish up the Iris quilt for SIL Sharon. My goal today (I think the PO is still open...) is to box it and ship it. I may have missed my window. They may have closed at noon. I'd better call first.

Oh well. Even if I am delayed another couple of days, the quilt is DONE. Cross off #3, on my January Goals. Two down, three to go. Actually, #1 was bead twice a week. I'm falling behind on that goal, but I've exceeded #3 (which was to merely do the satin stitching). #2 (Finish the Flower Fades) is still possible, maybe, although the "enter in M-AQF fell by the wayside.

I am finding that setting monthly goals, rather than yearly or weekly, is proving to be quite productive. I definitely plan to do it again in February. Let's hope I have similar success!!

Gotta run!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Personal Victory

Applique. I love it. If I can do it by hand. Machine applique? Involving the "f" word (fusible)? Forgetaboutit! Ain't gonna happen.

Well, them's fightin' words, and my friend Sharon took me up on it.

You see, she writes patterns, and she asked me to test sew a few of them. "Sure, no problem!" until I realized they involved fusing. Had I purchased the patterns, I would have done them by hand. But to test sew? I had to follow the directions, and her directions include fusing.

The test sew took place last summer. I finished the fusing, but did not do the machine satin stitch to hold the pieces in place. I just couldn't face it.

Fast forward to January quilting goals. "#3 Do the machine satin stitch on SIL Sharon's quilt."

SIL Sharon is not Sharon the pattern designer. Yes, sometimes it does get confusing.

Anyway, I was supposed to be doing computer work today, but errands got in the way. By the time 3pm rolled around, all I wanted to do was sew. I have a particular project in mind. However, I'd put January Goal #3 on top of my machine, to prevent me from starting something else. groan.

I sat down, loaded the thread, and started stitching.

Believe it or not - I don't! - I'm done!! Tomorrow, I can baste, quilt, and bind this quilt, if I have the time. The mental roadblock, the satin stitch stumbling block, has been removed. I can't believe it!! Yay!! Happy dance!!

Not only is the satin stitch finished, it doesn't look half bad. And it didn't kill me.

Perhaps I was being a tad melodramatic.

Then again, I have yet another piece waiting in the wings for satin stitching, and I am NOT planning to work on it any time soon...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kitty Catch-Up

It's been a while since I've devoted an entire post to the cats, but the events of the past few days have brought them to the forefront.

You remember Charlie and his tail, right? It's nicely healed, although still a bit tender if you rub the bones. The fur is finally beginning to grow back. The funniest thing is that it almost looks like it's growing in grey. Maybe it's just the undercoat that I see. He's not much for posing.

But Charlie hasn't been the focus of attention these past few days. It's been Edgar. Yesterday I took him to the vet for pain and fever, and he was diagnosed with a cat bite. He got a mega-dose of antibiotic, but by this morning, the bite had begun forming into an abscess. ew.

I couldn't get a picture, but it's right there, on his sternum, between his front legs.

Here's Winter Edgar. He's once again sporting his amazing mane. He knows he looks good. He even winked at me!

I was on the floor, trying to get a good picture. Charlie was also there. He's not winking, he's falling asleep.

Malcolm was in the observation deck...

...until he realized I was taking pictures. Take my picture, not theirs!

Yep. He upstaged Edgar (who is still winking),

And Charlie (who is still napping).

Once Pete came home, we discussed Edgar's problem. I'd talked to the cat vet (Pete's a cow vet), and she'd given me the option of surgery or home treatment. Because it had grown bigger than a ping pong ball over the past several hours, we decided to compromise with a bit of kitchen table surgery.

We drugged Edgar and drained some of the fluid off the swelling. It didn't take long, and hopefully we've helped him. The biggest issue was to clip his fur away from the wound. I didn't take pictures. He'd be embarrassed for anyone to see the trimming of his gorgeous fur coat.

Here he is as he's trying to regain his bearings. Neither Malcolm nor Charlie is sure what happened, but they're going to keep an eye on him.

yep. Look at those eyes. He's still stoned.

That's been our excitement around here. I've moved him to the bathroom to sleep it off in peace. Hopefully he will be able to reach his boo-boo and keep it clean, just like Charlie. He is not very happy about being housebound. He'd much rather be outside climbing trees and raising a ruckus. Maybe by this time next week he'll be his old self.

I know he was feeling pretty perky this morning - he sat on my chest, purring, and licking my nose. Somehow I have the feeling that after the events of this evening, there won't be any nose-licking tomorrow morning. Poor little guy.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll have something quiltie to post. Until then...

Monday, January 24, 2011

No Dropping Allowed...

You've heard the phrase, "Shop 'til you drop," right? Well, I shopped this week, that's for sure. First stop, a little (ha! 9,000 sq ft of quilting pleasure is not exactly little) bit of Quilter's Paradise on the border between Escondido and San Marcos. I'd gone down to visit my dad, after the first visit to Road. I'd never heard of it, he was anxious to see if it lived up to its name. He declared that, "Indeed, it does!"

The only thing I dropped there was a pile of pretty pennies. :) I walked out with these hilarious Dr. Seuss prints. Love them, love them! For some reason the Thing 1/Thing 2 fabric reminded me of my youngest. He's just the kind of boy who might try to fly a kite indoors...

For those of you who might be interested, here's a picture of me with my dad. We're at the latest version of Estrada's restaurant. We've followed them around town and through the generations over the past 35+ years. Their food is always a favorite.

On Friday, I took the bus trip back to Road. This is what I was able to stuff into my tote bag. The bag wasn't overly big, but size isn't everything. It's what's inside that counts. If you click on the image, you might be able to see some of the beautious beads that I bought. I am particularly enamored by the red glass "vintage German" beads just below the King Tut thread color card. I already have a project in mind for them, if I can only find the time.

My last picture has been upended by Blogger. *sigh* Turn it 90 degrees counter-clockwise, and you will see a quiltlet I sent to my friend JPJOC. She's a judge in Tucson. I thought she could use a "Thinking of Moo" card. :) I'm guessing smiles have been few and far between in her neck of the woods over the past couple of weeks.

That's all I've got for today. I've been working on the quilt show and playing catch-up after so many days away. The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. Surely that is against the laws of Physics! If not, it definitely breaks all laws of Grammar.

And that's it for today. Gotta run...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Spy

Barbara's blog directed me to another blog, featuring quilts from Road to Ca. hmmm. Sew Cal Gal? That sounds really familiar. Ahhh, now I know why. I'd heard of her on Tuesday. She was a fly on the wall inside the judging room at Road. You can read her take on judging here. And in the last picture of the post? I spy moi! I'm in the background on the far left, right here.

Does this mean I'm famous? ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Road to CA

On the road again...yep. I caught a bus back to Ontario, CA, for another day of fun in the sun. Just look at that blue sky!! Hard to believe that the parking lot in Visalia was so foggy I did not see the bus sitting there, waiting for me, 100 yards away. (I wish that were not true. It is.)

Thankfully, the fog lifted and spirits were bright as we zoomed south to the quilt show.

While there, I met up with some friends. Oh my. I should have looked in a mirror before taking the picture!

Let me introduce you to Sherry Reynolds and Sharon L. Schlotzhauer. As you can see, they are both sporting blue ribbons. And big smiles.

Sherry's quilt, Christmas All Around, was selected for the Excellence in Machine Quilting award, and hung right up front.

Sharon's quilt, "Wild Flowers: Second Season," won First Place in the Innovative, Wall, Mixed Technique category.

I'd seen Sherry's quilt before, but I'd only seen pictures of Sharon's. The internet is handy that way. Although it is fun to view quilts online, it is much, much better to see them in the fabric. :)

"Peppermint Stars" was made by my online blogging friend Kathy Scheidt. You can check out her blog here. Oops. I didn't realize I'd chopped off the corners. Sorry about that!!!

Another quilt that I'd seen in progress online was this one. "Sunday Morning," by Dianna Grundhauser, was made using Ruth McDowell's techniques. The flowers of the agapanthus were appliqued, not pieced. whew! Had you worried for a minute there, didn't I?

I snapped a few pictures of quilts by "local" quilters. "Touching the Edge" was made by Paulette Landers of Springville. I saw her at the show and slipped a postcard with entry information for Best of the Valley into her tote bag. Yes, you can ship your entry ahead of time. It does not need to be delivered in person. Contact me and we'll work out the details.

I also found Debbie Van Fossen's "Blue Berry Wine." This was the first time I've seen this quilt.

Finally, I'm often asked, "Which quilts catch YOUR attention." Well, I thought I'd share three of them with you.

I am fascinated by quilters who are able to piece strips together in a manner that is both complex and "simple." I mean, look at it. It's all straight lines. The trick is knowing how to size the strips and place the fabrics and cut and piece and organize it so that it sings a melody instead of screeching chaos. All I can do is chaos. I am fascinated by those who don't.

Next up is this fascinating aboriginal piece. I say that, because the subject is Australian aboriginal art. The quilt artist is from...Norway!

Finally, this was my favorite piece in the show. The quilt was done in raw edge applique, and it reminded me of an oil painting. Actually, I was specifically reminded of Van Gogh, but don't ask me why. Maybe it was the dramatic way the fabrics were sewn together.

And there you go. That's a quick run-through of Road. I'm certain that others will be posting pictures on their blogs, and I'm guessing that Road will also post their winners some time in the near future.

I certainly enjoyed the show, I hope you did too!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Old Ice

Thank you all, so much, for the positive feedback on my little SAQA piece.

I am happy to report that it actually arrived at its destination, with ample time to spare. That's a first for me - to get something there without totally stressing the shipping deadline. It helped that when I addressed the box I discovered I was shipping it within CA. For some reason I thought it was headed to the East Coast.

I don't know if you missed me the past couple of days, but I've been out of town. I was in Ontario, where they were preparing for Road to CA, which opened today.

I was excited to see the Ice Storm already in place.

Remember my icicle? The one that inspired the recently completed SAQA piece? Here it is, on the left, in all its glory.

As you can see, the entire atrium is filled with icicles. You see them as you enter the convention center. The show is behind the wall with the "A" on it. Actually, when this picture was taken, the show was not yet hung.

The show opened today, and tomorrow morning I will board a bus at 6am, to return to Ontario and see ALL of the quilts and visit many of the vendors. I hope to remember to take pictures. There is one quilt in particular that mesmerized me, so I promise to take a picture of that one. And I will do my best to keep track of each and every maker.

That's all for now. I'd better get to bed, because if I have to get up, 5am is going to come earlier than usual...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cross Off #4

I am so excited! Seriously, I am THRILLED.

I finished my piece for the SAQA traveling exhibit, and I've written my statement. The next hurdle will be to get it shipped so that it arrives at its destination on or before Friday. I might just be able to do that. yay!!

This is my piece:

"This is a Quilt"
9.25" x 9.25"
Suzanne Kistler 2011

I don't know if you can tell, but there are plenty of beads and ribbons and prairie points and couching. If it looks familiar, it is because it is made from leftovers from the icicle finished back in November 2010.

I'm hoping to visit that icicle on Friday. I promise. I will take pictures. :)

There has been much comment regarding the color choices of these pieces. I must admit that they are not something I came up with on my own. I am smitten with the work of Deborah, and last year she posted a piece that had me marveling at the interest that can be created with minimal value change. When there is so little value, texture becomes critical. Therefore this piece is much more about the texture, than it is about the quilting or the piecework. The quilt itself has become a backdrop or a canvas for the embellishments. Thank you, Deborah! :)

hmm. That sounded kind of artsy there - I'd better watch out.

And that's it for now. I'm going to leave the computer and set my mind to accomplishing task #2 on my goals list. So far in 2011, Goals are Great! :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Few Animal Pics and a Goal Update

Yesterday, when I got together with the Itty Bitties, there was a lap bandit in residence. Hey! That's my lap! I don't share! She didn't believe me, until I took her picture. That's when she took off. She did not return. :)

I thought you might like some animal updates, with before and after pictures of the animals at the walnuts.

First we've got Chupa. On her first day at the house, this was how she looked. She wasn't sure she wanted to be there. Notice her ribs.

With our boy, she's been fed and bathed and spayed and, well, this is what she now looks like.

Despite her kidney failure, she is probably feeling better than she's felt in years. We're off to the store to get some Science Diet k/d, which should help her continue to feel much better.

Today I noticed that she is missing all of her bottom teeth between her canines. No wonder food sprays in every direction when she eats.

Mr. Cat was in residence when we took possession. No one knew where he came from. He was lithe and lean and VERY attentive.

This is the same cat. He's looking a tad...plumper. He didn't get his breakfast this morning, so he had to catch a mouse. It's only the second one in 6 weeks. Now he catches just enough to keep in practice, rather than enough to stay alive.

Can you believe this? Mr. Cat thinks this is his house! He marches right in, as though he owns the place. Maybe he did. He's a sneaky one, and falls asleep in corners where he is easily overlooked.

The other thing this post title promises is a goal update.

1) Bead at least 2 sessions/week. I beaded last night, and have some beading I need to do tonight.
2) Finish "The Flower Fades." I quilted on this about an hour today, and am going to give it all I've got tomorrow. I hit a snag on this one, when I couldn't find my littlest thimble. My fingers shrink in the winter-time. I bought an interim thimble (not Roxanne's) so that I can get back to work.
3) machine satin stitch quilt...hasn't happened at all.
4) finish "this is a quilt" piece for SAQA. This is what I've been beading. It's quilted and bound and most of the embellishment is finished. I'm going to have to reread the rules. If there's no prohibition against publishing, I'll post a picture of the finished entry some time this weekend.
5) tidy up studio. haha. My husband came in and said, "Oh my goodness!! It's so CLEAN in here!!" He was grinning from ear to ear, until I told him that everything that had been relocated - to the twin bed in the bedroom across the hall. The grin disappeared from his face, and appeared on mine. :)

Actually, having everything in the other room has helped me to organize and the piles are diminishing. Goals are good. I'm really hoping that by the time I hit January 31, I will be able to say that I've accomplished, or attempted to accomplish all 5 on my list. yay!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beautiful Vistas

Yesterday was spent on the road, driving around and around the county. I started before 7am, and on my way to the walnuts, witnessed the sunrise. Very pretty.

Our task was to take Chupacabra (the 10 year old stray who is now ours) to the vet, to be spayed.

Upon leaving Tulare, the view was take-your-breath-away.

I love seeing the snow-covered Sierras! My next destination was McDermont Field House in Lindsay, to talk about the upcoming Best of the Valley quilt show. (That's a dairy, off to the left.)

I love the contrast of the groves of oranges trees, full of ripe oranges, with the mountains in the background.

Or how about palm trees, with mountains in the background?

Does this place look familiar? I hope so. If you've been to Best of the Valley, this is where it has been held for the past two years. This is where it will be held again, come April 8-10, 2011.

Upon leaving Lindsay, I went back by the walnut property, to see how Chupa was faring.

I'd never approached our property from the south or east. See those big trees? Those are ours. :)

This is the approach from the east. You can barely make out the house through the trees. I had someone behind me, who was not appreciating my minimal speed on a country road.

The more time I spend out there, the better I like it.

I'm still not fond of the wafting odor of calf ranch, floating in from next door, but the serenity of the acres of trees is more powerful.

This is Chupa, about 5 hours post-surgery. She was supposed to stay indoors, but it was 61 degrees for the first time in weeks. (It's been 41 and holding.) My son wanted to do a bit of yardwork, so she stood watch as he worked.

The bad news about her surgery was the results of the bloodwork. Apparently she's in kidney failure. *sigh* I'm not sure what that's going to entail. My understanding is she'll need a special diet. The vet wants to talk to cow-vet hubby, and clue him in. Hopefully that will happen today.

And finally, I'll wrap up with this morning's sunrise. Pink sky at morning? Sailors take warning? I think it's pink because the cloud cover is back and dropping. After 61 degrees and clear skies yesterday, today should have been filled with seriously dense fog. It didn't show up here, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is elsewhere. And tomorrow, we'll probably once again be enshrouded.

Hope you enjoyed the scenic tour. I may have spent hours driving back and forth yesterday, but the eye candy sure made it enjoyable!