Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm In

Remember this little quilt, "Tahitian Tradition: Ti Fai Fai"? It was my 2010 Hoffman Challenge. I love this quilt. It came home in October, the day of the Road to CA extended deadline. I couldn't help myself. I entered it.

My pictures were terrible, but apparently they were good enough. For the first time in what? Four years? I've broken through the Road barrier and I'm back in. wow. The quilt is hand appliqued, hand quilted, hand beaded. I have to say that it's one of my favorites, even though I've spent little time in its company.

ring, ring. oops. They need me to move some cars so they can get the cement truck in, to pour concrete. That means I need to track down keys. It's always something, and today it's a LOT of somethings. Gotta run. Happy Thanksgiving, if I don't check in before tomorrow!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simply Amazing

Exactly one week ago we started destruction of the second house. This morning, they poured the foundation for the new workroom. wow.

This method of applying concrete through a hose was new to me. I guess it's much simpler to fill the borders around the garage this way, rather than trying to maneuver an entire truck. This afternoon they groom the new concrete and prepare for tomorrow's pour. Tomorrow they pour the garage floors. Next week they pour the breezeway and sidewalk/patio.

I took a walk in what was #1 Son's 2010 garden. He allowed it to go to seed, and now he has an abundance of radishes. I picked some last week, and they were barely the size of pencils. One week of cooler weather and they went nuts. wow!

I can't wait to see what I find when I go out there tomorrow!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shopping and Stuff

There has been some interest expressed in wondering what I bought at Houston. A better question would be what DIDN'T I buy at Houston? I bought a lot. It would be safe to say that I was single-handedly trying to save the economy. If spending was the key, it would have been saved, believe you me. :)

I have never been able to pass the ArtFabrik booth without buying a yard or two of Laura Wasilowski hand dyes. I bought two. Plus a 1/4 yard of Laura's hand-dyed silk velvet and some of Frieda Anderson's hand-dyed silk ribbon. I also came home with this sampler pack of Kreinik threads. I read about them on Allie's blog all the time. I figured I should see what all the fuss is about. The two balls of perle cotton are variegated Valdani.

I found this hand-dyed velvet ribbon. Surely it will be useful for something? The hand-painted grape lace was from a different vendor.

Vintage trims? I need some of those. I need some modern day trim (right side of frame) as well, don't I?
How about charms? Bunnies come in charms and buttons. Too cute!

I really thought I would be able to make it past the bead vendors. I was unsuccessful on the last day. I smiled all the way to the register, and all the way home. I'm still smiling.

For some reason I thought I might need to start stamping on fabric. I bought some stamps, just in case. The blue foam surface was recommended as the perfect thing on which to stamp fabric. I was advised to use fabric paint, applied with a sponge, for perfect results. One of these days I will try them out.

Hand dyed silk ribbon? I need that too... (The variegated is from Frieda Anderson.)

And then there was the hand-dyed silk velvet. ooh! aah! I need LOTS of it, don't I?

It rained over the weekend, which meant this morning we woke up to fog. Can you see the two bicycle riders on the right? Driving in the fog is a learned art. I've been doing it for 25 years. So far, so good.

By this afternoon, the fog had burned off. Brilliant!

The rain and the cold spell knocked a lot of leaves off the trees. That's not all they knocked off.

Let's play "Where's Walnut?" Do you see?

He's hiding to the right of the bend in the stick, under some leaves.

Where's Walnut?

He's 8" from my toe!

I must say that as a child, my father believed in raising us to have "highly tuned visual detectors." For the lay person, that would mean LOOK CLOSELY! You might miss the treasure!

What did he consider treasure? ummm...Marlboro miles. He didn't smoke, but he collected miles and enlisted all of us in the pursuit of one man's trash. He redeemed them for tents, duffel bags, fishing rods, jackets...yep. Trash to treasure, in an amazing magic act.

I think I prefer picking up walnuts.

And that's it for today. Tomorrow they pour the footings, on Wednesday they pour the slab. woohoo! I think there will be more pictures for you in the not so distant future!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

Temperatures are dropping around here, and the garden is beginning to show signs of winter. The gingkoes are bigger than last year, and those closest to the house are turning bright yellow. lovely!

The first few leaves have fallen.

The volunteer coxcomb are just about done for the season. See you again, my lovelies. Same time, next year.

Oh wait. You thought I was talking about the walnut house, not the Visalia house. At the walnuts, the oranges are starting to turn orange.

If the persimmons turn black, what does that mean? I've never had this type of persimmon tree before. Anybody want some?

But really, when I said a day makes a difference, I was referring to the demolition. Already it's time to think of rebuilding. See the footprint? The dirt in the foreground, to the right and left, will be the new garage and workout room. It will include 3 car bays and a utility sink.

When you look to the west, the bay window will now be framed by a breezeway. You will be able to see walnut trees instead of the back of a nasty second house. To the right will be a "game room," complete with bathroom. It might also function as a workroom/studio some time in the future.

And while all this is going on, Chupa naps. This is one of her favorite spots, just behind the "beware of dog" sign. I think she has a sense of humor.

Tomorrow I teach a class in hand quilting.

Today I got a "so sorry" letter from Road to CA. My quilt got into Houston, but couldn't make the cut for Road. go figure. However I entered two quilts, and haven't heard anything regarding my 2010 Hoffman Challenge. Do you suppose that one got in? Or are they sending the "I'm sorrys" in waves? I suppose I'll know soon enough...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Coming DOWN!!

After weeks of planning and preparation, the permits were gathered and the equipment put in place. On Tuesday morning, the big guys rolled into town.

Our contractor worked quickly, as the sun came up. This entire electrical panel needed to be preserved. It supplies power to the Real House, the domestic well, and the ag pump/well.He worked on both sides of the wall, making sure that there was no wiring contained within. He said he'd never seen a house with three layers of wall board. Apparently each time it was damaged, they just added another layer.

By 9am, they were underway.

chomp, chomp, chomp

You're coming DOWN!!!

We'd been told there had been a fire at the house decades ago. As the roof came off, the contractor said that you could see the charred trusses. Nothing was repaired/replaced, they just roofed right on top of the mess. No wonder the roof was sagging!

By now you may be wondering about Chupa. She did well, until the big monster machine fired up. Then she hopped over the orange mesh fence, and headed for the hills. Actually, she just ran across the street and into the neighbor's orchard. I followed about 5 minutes later, called her, and she actually came running back to me. She had no problem going back in the yard. Then #3 son put up the metal fence, in addition to the orange plastic mesh, and she was fine.

She attracted a lot of attention. This worker wondered if she were a Scottish Wolfhound. hmm. Her fur looks a lot like those wolfhound/deerhound breeds. Who knows? She could be a little bit of anything.

Once she realized that the big machine was "okay," she settled down for the day.

In this picture, the house is half gone. The large truck in the foreground holds the debris. It only took two trips to the dump to remove the entire thing.

I had to leave, to run a few errands and do some computer work at home. I saw the sheepies as I drove to and from.

When I returned, the house was DOWN. Notice the electrical box, still standing on the corner. It was amazing that a machine that large could use such surgical precision when removing the bulk of the debris.

Here's another view.

I was working inside, on my laptop, when the contractor rushed in and asked, "PGE or Edison? Do you have PGE or Edison?"

That didn't sound good.

It wasn't. Somehow the underground cable got hooked, and the power box came crashing down.

Live wires on the ground are not a good thing, and the work came to a standstill. Edison arrived quickly, and unhooked the house from the line.

And walked away with the broken meter.

Today's agenda will be to (hopefully) get a permit, replace/repair the electric conduits, get an inspection from the county, and bring back Edison to restore power. Best case scenario doesn't give us power until Thursday. We don't have water either.

But the house is DOWN, and my son says this is the best it's looked since we bought it. :) From the master bedroom, one can now see trees, rather than the backside of a poorly constructed hovel.

It's a beautiful thing. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Retreat Wrap Up

Saturday brought beautiful blue skies. What a lovely day for a wedding! We weren't invited, but we were happy for the bride.

This is the room where we set up our workshop. Inside the machines hum nonstop. Well, that's probably not completely accurate. The room seemed to empty by 11pm. When I got there before 7am, there were usually 6 others already there. But for a group of 40 women...I thought there would be more sewing both into the wee hours and before the sun rose.

I stayed in the room on the left. It had a king-sized bed and a roomy bathroom. My only complaint was that it took about 10 minutes to get hot water into the shower. I wish I were exaggerating.

The walk between the workroom and my room was lovely.

The last of this year's roses were doing their best to go out with a splash of color.

The roses remind me of my childhood, when Daddy had 150 rosebushes growing in our backyard.

I try to guess the names of these beauties. Queen Elizabeth? Is it you?

Sterling Silver? Are you lavender enough to be her?

In addition to the roses blooming, leaves were falling. Look at this monster leaf. WOW.

The nights are coming early now. In Wonder Valley, it was gorgeous.

It was our 15 year retreat anniversary. In celebration, Julie made this cake from 9.5 yards of white on white fabric.

Looks like their friends were busy after the wedding. I saw the happy couple drive off, the morning after.

All too soon it was time to go.

The last sentinel bid me adieu.

This is the one peek of the river that can be glimpsed as one leaves.

And now I'm home. It's good to be back.