Friday, November 30, 2012

I Promised Pictures

The new carpet has been in place for almost 3 months, and I'm STILL trying to "unpack" and find a place for everything...and put everything in its place.  The best thing I've done since getting the carpet, is to hire a maid service.  Two women come every other week for three hours, and it's the best decision I've made besides getting new carpet.  Just when I am falling behind, they come and clean up the messes.  They are FANTASTIC.  I hired Dustbusters, a local business in Visalia.  If you're looking for a cleaning service, I have been extremely impressed with both the quality of the work and the competitive pricing.

So.  Pictures.  I have pictures.  Shall I do before/during/after?  To give you the full effect?  I think I might just do that.

The living room:
(Christmas last year)
 during recarpetation
This afternoon.  
I still need to think about the walls (I want to paint).  The rags on the table legs are to prevent Pixel from gnawing any more gouges into them.
 Apparently I did not take "before" pictures of all the rooms, before I took the furniture out.  *sigh*  So I'll just give you the "after."
The quilt is called "The Hills Are Alive," and was made in 2003.  My daughter inked her face and hand, I pieced her body, a la Ruth McDowell's techniques.  
The buffet belonged to my Grandfather, the avocado wood quail was my mother's.
 The carpet in this room has now been uncovered, sort of.  I shoved most of the boxes into the closet.  The remaining things are Best of the Valley treasures, waiting to be sorted through and filed away.  I need to make a decision regarding the shelving unit on the right.  It's actually a TV stand, but I bought it for plants.
 Raggedy Ann has come out of storage for Penny.  I don't know if Penny will like her.  Penny HATES realistic baby dolls.  Raggedy Ann is more raggedy than realistic.
 Husband's gym bag, waiting to be used.  It waits a LONG time between gym visits, unfortunately.
 Back bedroom.  Yes, I see the bins under the bed and on the dresser.  There are also bins on the window seat and under the stack of quilts on the left.  Bag lady?  No, I'm a bin lady!
 And last, but not least, my Studio.  Everything that had been on the floor is now on the sewing table.  Bummer.  The sewing table had been empty enough to sew on until 10am this morning!
 So that's where it stands with the Great Carpet Replacement Project.  I LOVE the new carpet, and I'm actually liking the house.  When the maids left an hour ago, I loved them too!!  They've been oiling the woodwork, and the house is looking NICE.  We've been here almost 20 years, and I finally can say, "It's looking nice," AND, "I like it."  There is still a long way to go, but wow.  Sometimes you need to just sit back, take a look around, and enjoy what you've got.

And that's it for today's show and tell.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Well-Pressed Quilt

Is a beautiful thing...
 Look closer...
 Yes, indeed, this is the inside of the quilt/backside of the quilt top.
 I'm thinking of using this for the border.
And that's today's progress in a nutshell.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Log Cabin Blocks

One of the projects I started last month was a Log Cabin quilt.  Last year (2011), the Best of the Valley committee gifted me with floral fat quarters at the close of the show.  They've been in a basket since then, moving from one end of the studio to the other, as I've tried to decide how best to use them.  I didn't want to lose them in my stash.  They were rediscovered when we initiated the Great Carpet Replacement Project.

hmmm.  I thought I had a picture of the basket of fabric, but I can't seem to find it.  oh well.  They're no longer fat quarters.  They're cut and sewn.

I cut them in prep for the Hartland Retreat back in October, but didn't even touch them.  I took them to Avila Beach, and got started.
 hmm.  I thought I had a second picture, showing more piecing progress, but I can't seem to find it.

This weekend I made it to the design wall.  Should I put the darks in the center?
 Or the lights?
 If I'm careful to choose darker darks for the very center, and to disperse the lime green, it seems to balance quite nicely.

The only snag was discovering that I had a counting problem when I cut the blocks.  I know I'm short one (because I had a slipping scissors issue while piecing), but I thought I'd cut 56.  Apparently I cut 48.  hmmm.  I will be adding borders. 

The other thing I did this weekend was to read three (yes, three!) books by JoAnn Bassett, that were well-written and entertaining.  They're murder mysteries sans blood, gore, sex and swearing (all the things that seem to be key to the genre), and they're all set in and around Maui.  woohoo!  I recognize Cheeseburger in Paradise, Front St., Prison St., and the giant banyan tree!  If you're interested, start with Maui Widow Waltz.  You won't be disappointed.  :)  (And it was only $2.99 on my kindle app.  double woohoo!)

And that's all I've got for you today. My To Do list is growing by leaps and bounds, so I'd better see about getting myself OUT of vacation mode and on to the holidays.  Happy Prepping!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Work, Work, Work

The walnut harvest is done.  The nuts have been dehydrated and sent to the buyer.  All that remains is to find out what the price will be, and so we wait.  How many pounds of nuts can you get from 17 acres?  Try 85,840.  That's right.  There were almost 86,000 POUNDS of nuts hanging above our heads this summer.  That blows my mind.  It's craziness!!

That's the weight of the nuts in the shell.  They give about 50% edible yield, once the shell is off and the inedible nuts discarded.

When the harvest was finished, our farmer set about laser-leveling the checks.  These are the spaces between the rows of trees, down which the water flows when we irrigate.  The check needs to have a slight decline, to keep the water from pooling at the top of the check.

This side of the grove hadn't been done yet.  Aren't the trees looking lovely?

 Here you can see how nice and smooth the check is.
 They even rebuilt the road, between the halves of the grove.  In the above picture, you can see an air valve sticking up a bit in the lower right hand corner.  This allows air to escape the plumbing system, when the pump is running.   The water pools out from a sunken valve to the left, to water the thirsty trees.

Other things have been happening, besides the harvest.

Our neighbors' house sold, and a new family moved in.  They must have some small pets or something, as there is now a huge flock of buzzards (?) living in the trees right behind them.  They circle around the neighborhood, and it's a bit unnerving to take Pixel out to do her business.  What if one of these comes swooping down for a bite to eat?

They remind me of the Snow White ride, at Disneyland, except that I know they are not vultures.  At least I don't think they are.

Pixel is growing, but not fast enough.  She likes to bite everything.  Well, she doesn't bite the cats.  She just likes to bark at and chase them.

 And she's crazy about socks.  It doesn't matter if they are on one's foot or not.
 Catching some air, there, Pixel?
And that's a wrap. 

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, filled with many things to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And Another One Done

This is the fourth and final quilt that I pieced at Hartland, in October.  All finished.  yay!

 It's hard to see the prints, but the blue is a 30's, and the pink has chickens on it.  The back is a purple plaid.

Good thing that one's done, as it's getting to be quilt weather.  Fog is here.  I guess winter is not far away?

Pixel seems to be quite content with her new home.  So much better than quivering & shivering, abandoned under a car, right, Puppy dog?

ahhhh.  So comfy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Buncha Babies

Check off another one done:
 This was the third baby quilt I pieced at Hartland in October.  It is finished.  Isn't the fabric cute?  I'm pleased with the results.
 I've also encased the new dog bed with a nylon mesh.  It was part of a baseball pitching backstop, that the boys have had for years.
Speaking of dogs, here they are:
 How would you like to come face to face with those two?  Apparently Pixel isn't too concerned.
 Or maybe she is.
 Or maybe she just likes the thrill of danger?
If you were her size (or any size), would you get this up close and personal with Roscoe?
 Nose to far, so good...
 sniff  SNIFF
 "Hey, Bud, will you hide me from Ms. Teeth over there?  Thankyousomuch!"
I couldn't take it.  Pixel's papasan had gone to help a friend with a car.  I was left in charge of Pixel.  I took her back to the other house, away from all the big teeth.  The boys have more trust in the big dogs than I do.  I continue to admit that the shepherd makes me quiver, especially when the tail stops wagging and she begins to give me the stare down.  "Sorry!  Gotta run!"
Pixel started on the floor on the passenger's side, then climbed to the passenger's seat, and eventually made her way to sanctuary.  I was NOT pleased, but I guess it was safer for everyone than had she gone under the seat and my feet.

Son, I think you might need to invest in a small dog carrier.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More From the Stitchfest

I'll tell you a secret.  I didn't get back from Avila Beach until yesterday afternoon.  I got so much done, I can hardly believe it.  I showed you two baby quilts in my last post.  I've quilted two more, and applied the bindings.  I just need to tack them down.  I'll show you when they are finished.

I cut the foundation pieces, to increase the size of my "challenge" crazy quilt.  I've been wanting to do that since mid-October.

I started sewing Log Cabin blocks, made from floral fat quarters gifted to me by my Best of the Valley committee after the show closed in 2011.  I found the stash of fabrics when I cleared out for carpet.  It was a delightful discovery.  By the time I left on Friday, had 14 rounds of the 17 logs completed...on 50+ blocks!

 I finally had the uninterrupted time to concentrate and cut the background for this Lone Star.  Do you recognize it?  I pieced it at Hartland in April 2011, I bought the background fabric in Paducah in April of this year.  How long does it take to make a quilt?  Sometimes 
F O R E V E R!!

 Once I'd finished insetting the blocks, I realized it needs more border to float it.  oh dear.  I cut the gradation in such a manner that I can't float the quilt in the same fabric.  I do have some of a perfect fabric - it's a very pale red-violet/purple with a crocus-type flower on it...but I don't have enough of it.  Does anyone have any of this in their stash?  It's probably 4-5 years old...

 Another project I brought along was a slab of 3" foam and some canvas.  My task was to build a dog bed that the dogs can't eat.  This is the base.  My current thought is to put some sort of nylon web/mesh over it, so that even if they sink their teeth into it, they can't tear it apart.

I know.  Stop laughing!!  ;)

I didn't spend the entire time indoors sewing, I did get out a bit.  Unfortunately I kept forgetting my camera!  But it was nearby, when Wednesday gifted me with this spectacular sunset:

Did you notice that even the ocean glows pink?

The next day, the postmistress told me that the reason it was so beautiful was that they'd done a "controlled" burn at Montana de Oro, and it got out of control.  Thanks, guys!  It was lovely!  (I doubt the same can be said for the park.)

And on that, I've got some binding to stitch down.  More pictures soon!  Goals are good!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Serious Stitchfest

I know I've been quite lax about posting this month.  It's hard to post, when you're on the go.  Go, go, go!

This time it's been a week in Avila Beach, on the Central Coast of CA.  Long story, but this solo retreat was planned long before the week in Maui.  I'm telling you, salt air, roar of the surf, sound of the gulls...I could get used to this!!
This is the view from my room.  This is the view IN my room:
 Sewing machine?  check.
 Ironing station?  check.  Cutting station?  (kitchen counter)  check.
Projects galore?  check, check, check!

oh, yeah.  With nothing to distract me, I've been a sewing fool.  I've even finished a few things, beginning with the baby quilts that I pieced in Hartland at the end of October.
 hmm.  I have no idea why this photo fllipped and wants to be on the left side.  The 4" patches have little stylized giraffes on them.

This quilt has the same back as baby quilt #1 (baby zoo animals), but it's got zebras and panda bears, in addition to giraffes on the front.

 ahh!  Isn't it cute?
 The workshop has been busy, busy, but I think I'll save the rest for later.  Happy quilting!!(Happy quilting, happy quilter!)