Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Losing Steam

Good morning! Today is the last day of Asilomar, and I'm worn out. I haven't taken enough time to walk on the beach. Maybe this afternoon...

I continue to see "animals" in the trees. People give me strange looks, as I stop and take pictures of these creatures. Maybe it was watching the most recent Alice in Wonderland that made this one grab my attention.

Here he is from another angle. Do you see him? shhh! Don't disturb him. He looks like he could be scary if he started moving.

We've finished up with our technique portion of the class, and have moved on to making "quilts." I worked all afternoon, assembling my sweet pea rainbow. The colors play well together, at least I know that. But art quilt? It's just not in me. I fussed and fidgeted and moaned and groaned, and then finally took away my attempt at an "art" background and made the color run into a baby quilt.

I was much happier, and able to walk out of the room without a sense of disgust.

This morning is another day, and the baby quilt now looks more like a quilt back, but it makes me smile.

Today I will work with my scraps, and see where they take me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Technique Overload?

The past couple of days have been filled to overflowing with techniques. For the most part they were familiar, but others were new to me.

The first technique was origami. I have not yet folded my square of silk organza.

The second technique was weaving. "You can cut the strips with a rotary cutter or tear them. If you don't like raw edges, you can turn them under. You have 10 minutes." I don't like raw edges, but I couldn't even get my strips torn in 10 minutes. I finished my weaving about 3 hours after our 10 minutes were up. :)

Next up was taking tucks on cotton organdy.

Then we learned to inset circles. At this point I realized I had a hitchhiker along for my class. Apparently Charlotte came with me. I had planned to hand applique the circle, rather than machine stitch it as suggested by Jeannette. Suddenly Charlotte's voice piped up in my head and said, "You paid all that money for this class. You should at least TRY her way instead of doing what you usually do."

Charlotte's voice was right, and I got some lovely inset circles withOUT hand applique.

We learned pojagi, both by hand and by machine. I actually liked the look of machine pojagi better, imagine that!

We practiced free-cut straight lines and cut-throughs. In the hours since I took the picture, I've quilted this piece and have begun the process of binding it.

After the straight lines, we made free-cut curves.

Then it was back to inset angles...

After lunch the entire class hit the wall. It must have been the ribs and mac & cheese.

Jeannette explained reverse hand applique and reverse machine applique, but I've done the former and have no interest in the latter. (Again that issue with raw edges reared its head.)

After the applique explanation, Jeannette demonstrated foiling. We were set free to foil away, but I didn't. I do have my foil, in case I get the urge to foil later in the week. Or later in my lifetime.

And finally, today it was VERY windy, but the sun was shining. This is about as close as I got to the sea. I took the picture on my way to lunch.

Tomorrow we begin work on "our quilts."

I wasn't planning to make a quilt, I was planning to add tools to my tool box. It looks like I may end up with a Hoffman Challenge this year after all. go figure. I've taken all of my fabric up to my room, and tonight I plan to dig through it and decide what I will be working with tomorrow morning.,

I actually know EXACTLY what quilt I want to be working on, but everything to do with that quilt is at home. The idea will keep. It's been percolating for years, but now it's finally time to sew it out. I can hardly wait.

More From Asilomar

This place has the most unusual trees...

It's rained and been windy, and it is easy to imagine how the power of the elements have shaped the growth of the trees.

Not all of the trees are growing. This tree graveyard is one of many. It's been 2 years since my last visit, and the landscape has definitely changed.

ding, dong, breakfast bell! It rang 30 minutes ago, so I'd better get a wiggle-on if I'm going to grab a bite to eat. More pictures later!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Here I am, at beautiful Asilomar, fully immersed in Session V of Empty Spools Seminars. I've spent the day with Jeannette DiNicolis Meyer, practicing techniques. Most of them have been familiar: "origami" (remember biscuit quilts? This is the biscuit, without the filling.), tucks, pojagi, inset circles, free-cut straight lines, cut-away piecing. The inset circle technique she taught us is better than the one I've used.

What's that? You're not familiar with pojagi? Check this blog post for more information.

We've got more techniques in store for us tomorrow.

I've seen a racoon and a deer, but my camera was too slow. There are other animals that caught my eye, that were slow enough to also be caught on camera.

I walked on the beach after lunch. At 1pm, it was sunny. I was so warm I had to take off my sweat shirt. By 5:30 pm, it was raining. This is what the beach looked like just before dinner.

Did I tell you that I swung by Penelope's house to get in some baby time before driving to Asilomar? She was pretty tired. Either that, or I'm pretty comfortable. ;)

She didn't sleep the whole time. She woke up enough to visit for a while. Such a cutie pie!

And I guess that's about it.

I'll have more later, if I remember to take pictures of my processes.

Friday, May 27, 2011


No pictures this morning, I thought I'd spare you.

Charlie finally passed something last night at 8pm. I didn't see any thread or fabric, just a long ropey knot of cat hair. From Edgar. ;)

Now that he's done some business, I can relax and get on the road. Empty Spools, here I come! But first, I will stop and visit Penelope & Co for a couple of hours.

I'm taking a class with Jeanette DeNicolis Meyer, which will likely be outside my comfort zone. The weather is expected to reach a high of 50 all week, again, OUTSIDE my comfort zone. I hope I've packed enough warm clothes!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A New Pretty

I've finished an icy little quilt piece, that is just for me. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. It has a couple of beaded snowflakes, prairie points, some scattered beads and wispy yarn. And then there's the fringe. ooh la la, I LIKE the fringe. :)

"Glacier Ice"
11" x 11.5" (plus fringe)
Suzanne Kistler, May 2011

We're still waiting on Charlie to move his bowels. I gave him free run of the house overnight, locking up Malcolm instead. I figured that the more exercise for Charlie, the better, but it didn't seem to work. He doesn't act too uncomfortable, but he REALLY wants to go outside.

In the meantime, he's adjusted well to the new bedding. Here he is at 11pm last night. I think it's good to be home!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Charlie's Home!

After 3 days with the vet, Charlie is home for observation. I've seen the x-rays, he still has thread in his colon. The hope is that he'll relax in his own home and let loose. I have been given some tongue depressors, to examine anything he passes. The doctor wasn't sure I'd do it. He doesn't know me well, does he? I'm likely to take pictures!

Anyway, here is Charlie, patiently waiting to be let outside. Sorry, Charlie. It's going to be a while before you're let loose again. Unless you let loose, a lot.

Malcolm is having FITS now that Charlie is back. He's been glaring and staring and hissing at everyone and everything since Charlie walked in the door. Get over it, Malcolm.

While waiting to hear about Charlie, I finished this quilt-for-hire. It's not often that I love a quilt so much that I'm inclined to make a similar one for myself. This is the backside of a very simple quilt.

I quilted it on the diagonal, running leaves through the channels.

Here's a bit more of the quilt. It's made completely of batiks. As I said before, I love it!

As promised, here is a picture of Chupa. This is as interested as she got: she lifted her head. It went right back down, when she saw that I wasn't my son.

Here's a close-up. Did someone really think this dog would look good with teddy bear ears?

Well, that's what I've got for you today. I actually finished a small piece that I've been working on all month, but I'll save it for tomorrow. I think you will like it. It's got LOTS of beads.

Something Sunny

I just talked to the tech, the vet will call in a little bit. Charlie still won't eat (they've been force-feeding him), and he hasn't passed anything else. *sigh*

On a lighter note, here is a card I made for my SIL's birthday. Blogger thought tipping my pic would amuse me. It doesn't. I didn't focus on birthday, I just kind of went with the floral theme.

Yesterday a friend delivered a lovely gift. Love, love, love it!! I tried it on for the picture, but put it aside. I want to wear it at Asilomar! Thank you, Pat!!

And that's about it.

I'll be heading back to the walnuts today, to finish up my laundry. I have to give Sears kudos, for prompt delivery and set up. They were in and out, replacing washer AND dryer, in less than 20 minutes. That included haul-away and set up of the new appliances. Truly amazing.

While I'm out there, I'll try to get some pictures of Chupa for Diana. And I guess that's a wrap.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Charlie, Addendum

Here he is, last night, with his IV, waiting for transport to the Emergency Clinic. Poor kitty, I miss you.

This afternoon, I thought he might be coming home, but it was not to be. By 2:30, he'd gone more than 24 hours without passing stool, so the vet started giving him enemas. Poor kitty. Just before I arrived, he finally passed something. What did he pass? Was it barium along with the usual bowel contents? No, it was not. It was thread. A lot of thread. And fiber. A third set of xrays confirmed the first vet's original assessment: linear foreign object. Not good.

Where did he get this thread and fiber? He did not get it from my Studio or any of my projects. He got it from this quilt. It was purchased from an antique store, and I love the floral fabric. I've had it on my bed all winter, as it has a wool blanket for a batt.

The quilt top is a shredded mess, so it is never exposed.

Here's a close-up, to show you how badly it's shredded.

It never occurred to me that the floral side would be a problem, but apparently it is pretty tasty. Charlie ate the thread, and Charlie ate the wool. I suspect the wool kept the thread from destroying his intestines. So far.

All I can say is that if you have a cutter quilt in your possession, please, please, keep it away from your pets. You may not mind what the animals do to the quilt, but what the quilt can do to the animals? That is a completely different story. Ours has not yet ended. Charlie is on fluids through the night, hoping to keep him hyper-hydrated so that he will continue to pass the contents of his colon. His colon appears jam-packed, so I'm guessing that tomorrow he'll be once again visited by the enema tech. Poor baby. :(

It Just Keeps Coming

First, I need to give a plug to Sears, for their amazing warranty. My 5 year old front-loading washer needs a new drum, new tub, and new bearings...to the tune of $1300 in parts. Because of the warranty coverage, the cost to me will be $144 for the two service calls and labor. Not bad. Not bad at all.

In fact, so good that I went to Sears for replacement appliances for the walnuts. If Sears stands by their product that strongly, I'm sold.

On the other hand, Charlie, my friendly, loving, narcoleptic favorite cat Charlie

spent the night at emergency. He's been under veterinary care since about 2:30 yesterday afternoon. The first vet suspected "linear foreign object" in his intestines. Quilters, this is VERY bad. If he ate a thread (string, fishing line, whatever) and it got to his intestines, it could slice and dice them and quickly kill him. Be sure that you do not leave long lengths of thread around the house. The quilt that he is napping on is a old, falling apart quilt that my sister gave me. Every once in a while I find large clumps of thread that have unstitched themselves. On Friday or Saturday, I saw a bit of thread at the edge of Charlie's mouth. When I went to pull it out, he got away and finished swallowing it. It could have been an inch, it could have been 15". I have no way of knowing.

Anyway, the vet did not have time to do surgery, but stressed the urgency of the situation, and sent us to the emergency clinic across town.

The vet there assessed Charlie, and was not convinced that it was a linear foreign object. His concern was that in the xray Charlie's heart seems displaced, and he shows signs of fluid in his lungs. He did a follow-up xray, with barium, to get a more accurate diagnosis. Three hours later, most of the barium had passed to the colon, so he was pretty sure that it's not a linear foreign object issue.

He did bloodwork, which ruled out infection, but slightly elevated liver enzymes indicate stress.

This morning he looked at the xray again, and found air in the muscle wall, indicating trauma. Charlie? Did you get hit by a car? Kicked by a neighbor? Rolled by a dog? Did you fall out of a tree?

He's been on fluids since 5:30pm, but has not passed any urine or fecal matter.

He's now back at the first vet, who still doesn't like the look of his intestines and the abnormal gas patterns shown in the xrays. Charlie will remain for observation until 5pm.

Pete, my cow vet hubby, has asked numerous times for a status report on his Charlie. All I can tell him is that Charlie seems to be feeling better, and REALLY wants to come home, and then tell him the latest.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 23, 2011


The washing machine at the walnuts started smoking. The one at home overloaded and stopped spinning. An irrigation valve sheared off. My car is 2000 miles past needing an oil change, and the pool's auto-fill function suddenly stopped working.

I need a vacation. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Such a Clown!

I "borrowed" this from Jeremy's blog. umm, Greg, you might want to raise your tripod a bit, as the angle may be flattering to Thimblina, but not to fleshed out clowns.

yeah, I posted it as incentive. Keep the cookies away from me, ya hear?!! ;)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shop Hop Weekend

First off, I'll admit, I'm not much for shop-hopping. Crowds are not my thing, even if they are super-excited quilt show crowds. I know. I chair a quilt show. Don't say anything, it's part of my enigmatic personality. ;)

Anyway, this weekend is the Central Valley Shop Hop Weekend. woohoo, party! When asked if I was going to participate, I assured my friends that I have done some serious shopping over the past month or so, and I really don't need to add any more personal stimulus to the economy.

I was urged to swing by Thimble Towne anyway, just to see what Jeremy had up his sleeve. hmmm. When I walked in the door, Greg was taking mug shots.

Okay, so maybe they're not mug shots, they're pictures taken with Thimblina, the store mascot. She was really clowning around today, yuck, yuck. ;)

Sales were steady, and I actually came back a second time. (And walked out with a bag each time. *sigh*)

Barbara was serving up frito boats, and it's been a long time since I've had one. mmm. MUCH better than the nacho cheese sauce at the ball park, these were made with real shredded cheese.

But the real thing that drew me back? The snowcones. I am a sucker for snowcones, red and red. I chose cherry/watermelon, and it was terrific!

What's that? What am I doing quilt-wise? I finished sewing on my labels, and this morning, I filled out and mailed my entry for Houston. Fingers crossed, notification comes out by late July.

And now I've got some quilts-for-hire, just waiting for my attention.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Little Sleep,

a little slumber...Charlie is the master.

I've been working on quilts-for-hire this week, although I took yesterday off to make labels. I was so behind, I stitched out eight, to add to the two in waiting. I sewed on eight last night. It feels good to be almost caught up on something, even if it's not a cat nap. ;)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Growing Food

With the craziness that has been 2011, it's literally been months since I've been out to the walnuts to look around. The men have been out there every weekend, taking advantage of daylight and good weather. Today I finally got over there and brought my camera. wow. Things are really looking good.

#1 Son put in his garden first. Unfortunately his paying job keeps him away from his plants. Weeds are encroaching, and all of the radishes have gone to seed. But there are carrots, turnips, beets, lettuce and spinach that look edible.

He's given me permission to harvest, the next time I get out there. I may pull a few weeds as well.

In contrast, his dad is big on order and control. This is his garden, on the other side of the yard. Whereas Son went for quantity, Dad went for variety. He's got a little bit of everything.

Son waters with a hose, Dad likes the drip system.

Mom likes the volunteer flowers that pop up here and there.

There was even a pink one.

This is the fruit on the mystery tree...we're guessing they're peaches.

We know for sure that THESE are peaches.

The monster grapevine is covered with grapes.

Aren't they cute?

And finally, the walnut trees are covered with leaves...

And walnuts!
wow. It is truly amazing to see the changes that have taken place since early April. Just think. A couple more months, and we'll be feasting. I can hardly wait!