Sunday, September 18, 2016
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Fall for New Beginnings
I hope that you had a fun Labor Day Weekend. Sunday and Monday were cool and cloudy here and while Barb and I planned to both can some tomatoes and freeze fresh peaches, the peach-freezing didn’t happen until this afternoon as the peaches were not ripe enough. The whole process takes time, but there is just something about a taste of summer in December or January that is so special.
I think fall may be my favorite season of the year. After the obligatory cool and humid weather of last week, we have sunshine and 80 degrees. The reds and golds of autumn are right out my window and the nights are cool enough for good sleeping. Even though it’s been a while (and then some) since we had anyone in school, fall seems like a beginning, a time to get organized and possibly some new shoes.
I find that I’m in the mood to clean up and make a list of my UFO’s. It’s kind of like getting a new notebook and crayons for the first day of school. (Remember the smell of floor wax and new crayons?) When I’m deeply into a project, I rarely stop to put things away. The plan is to clean up after I finish the current project. What really happens is that I get distracted by 1) taking a class that has nothing to do with what I’m currently working on, 2) the season changes and I’m no longer interested in what I was working on, but want to start something new, or 3) the sun comes out and I go outside and ignore the mess. So every 2-3 months I need to haul my wandering mind into the present moment and create a neatness, which lowers the anxiety level and fools me into thinking I will get it all done. Mostly, it’s the simple things: throw away the empty starch can, put the rulers back in their assigned places, and refile the fabrics I took out to test and then didn’t use and didn’t put away. Today I put a new cover on my ironing table and put away/threw away a few things that appeared to be nesting there. It makes me feel tidy.
(The thread spools on the window ledge were customized by Toby when he was a pup. He managed to bite most of the way through so that there are few pieces that are longer than 12 inches.) Even the small things give me the illusion of control.
The Northwest Quilting Expo is just around the corner and I’m ready to be newly inspired. There is a lot of quilting talent in the Portland area and it’s fun to see what new things have been created. There’s also a whole boatload of vendors to tickle the imagination and empty the wallet. I can hardly wait.
Speaking of inspirations, the quilt I showed you last week needs just a couple more pieces appliquéd.
Since I’m doing it by hand, it takes a while. The colors in that quilt inspired me to go off on a little tangent of my own.
I really liked the oranges, yellows and purples and found that I had some batiks with varying degrees of all those colors and went for a gradation in the background. It’s made up of six-inch double square blocks and the pumpkin plant is fused on. The plan is to have the pattern ready by late next week. We can take pre-orders so it will go out as soon as possible. This pattern will be mailed so that the appliqué pieces will be accurate. We’ll send these first class (as opposed to mule train) so they’ll get to you fast.
All our Halloween patterns will be on sale through the 10th of October. It’s about now that I think I have plenty of time for Halloween projects, but these autumn weeks are pretty full and go so fast, it’s good to get started now.
My tomato crop is kind of puny this year, but there’s plenty of zucchini. Luckily, there are plenty of zucchini recipes out there: zucchini bread, chocolate chip zucchini bread, chocolate wave zucchini bread and of course all-chocolate zucchini bread. I’m even known to use it as a vegetable! Truly, about the only thing better than zucchini bread in all its variations is pumpkin bread. It’s a shame I don’t like to make salad nearly as much as I like to bake.
Someone brown and furry (not to mention freshly groomed and wearing her new collar) is telling me it’s time to get her some dinner. Just look at that cheesy smile. Ella is not terribly subtle at the best of times and comes on pretty strong when it’s meal time, so I’d better get with it.
I’ll work on the new pattern as fast as I can.
Quilt for fun!
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Last Sweet Days of Summer
How did you get away so fast? I’m still waiting for those lazy dog days of summer where I sit in the shade, sipping iced tea while doing a little appliqué. It’s such a cool fantasy and I dream it every year. Then life happens and school starts. Hey August! I want you back!
Okay, now for a little visit with reality. What actually happened during August was a day at the air show, a two day class with Sidnee Snell, (to see her wonderful work, go to sidneesnell.com, it’s really cool), a week with my mom in Southern Oregon and after a few days home, my son, daughter-in-law and their Labradoodle Finn, (age 8 months) came to visit for a few days. Sunday I canned salsa. Yesterday, I capped off the month by defrosting the freezer in the garage. It’s life, my friends and I can’t spend all my time in the studio.
With fall just around the corner, I want to show a couple of my favorite fall patterns.
Harry’s Halloween came about because of the cool pumpkin and broom theme fabric.
There are wonderful fall and Halloween fabrics out now, just waiting to be the theme of your quilt. All of the center is squares or half square triangles and can be a great stash buster.
Autumn Leaves is a 3, 6, 9 quilt which basically means that you make some blocks and put them together any way you like. It all fits together because the block sizes are all divisible by three and you put in coping blocks wherever you need them. The quilt above is bright and busy because I find fall to be those things. Use your favorite fall fabrics for a more serene look, if that pleases you.
We invite you to visit our Shopping page for a little, well . . . shopping.
The class with Sidnee Snell was really fun and a lot of info stuffed into two days. About three quarters of the time was spent learning how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to simplify and posterize a photo and then create a quilt out of it. We practiced on a pattern of Sidnee’s and I finished the top a few days ago.
This technique has a lot of potential. I’ll post a picture of the coffee cup after it’s quilted. I just hope my notes from the class make sense so I can do more.
Southern Oregon is a bit of a trip in the summer. Days in the 90’s and hundreds are the usual thing. I grew up there and keep telling myself I’m used to it. Here’s a little tip: 105 degrees, even if it’s a dry heat and you’re “used to it” is still awfully hot. I did get a couple of cool pictures.
I have to ask my mom the name of the flower on the left. It’s a good sized bush that’s climbed up a fence. The honey bee at the center top was too busy to come out and get his face in the picture. The hydrangea on the right is such a cool color. I’m not much into pink, but I love that shade.
My squash crop is going to town. I also planted two of the three kinds of peppers that go into my favorite salsa recipe as well as cucumber.
Sadly, my tomatoes are not ready, so I had to buy some at the farmer’s market to make salsa. It’s fun having lots of the ingredients come out of our garden. The only thing about salsa is that there’s a whole boat-load of chopping to make this much salsa.
Just one zucchini plant and one yellow squash make so much squash. Must be time for four kinds of zucchini bread!
I’m almost finished with the appliqué on this top. The piecing part went together quickly and the handwork isn’t hard, just a bit time-consuming as handwork tends to be. I found the pattern when I was cleaning out quilt patterns and inspirations that I’ve torn out of magazines over the last fifteen years or so. This was an insert in a magazine and I decided a few weeks ago to try it. ( I think it’s a Fons and Porter pattern, but it’s gone missing. It’s around here somewhere and when I find it, I’ll pass on the details.) I love the purples and oranges together and it’s a nice hanging for early fall.
I missed the year-end meeting of my small quilt group as I was at my mom’s, but I posted a picture on Facebook (Mother on a Broomstick Designs) to show them off. All of the blocks are from Tula Pink’s book “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.” Each of us was assigned a color group and provided five fabrics to the other members and chose five blocks from the book. Each of us made at least 60 blocks (several of us did more). What we wound up with was pretty diverse and totally beautiful. They’ll all be quilted this fall (some overachievers are already finished) and will be shown together early next year.
Finally, Toby and Ella had a great time with their houseguest, Finn. At eight months, Finn is full of energy and finds that he likes to run with the big dogs. Toby (who’s almost 13) doesn’t do a lot of chasing around. He prefers the basic bark-off. It’s noisy, but nothing gets knocked over. Ella, on the other hand played chase around the house and through the mud after the sprinklers went off. I was amazed at how much dirt came off those two during the obligatory hose off.
Toby’s taking the week to rest up.
Ella says she doesn’t need to rest up. She’s still looking for trouble.
Enjoy these last sweet days of summer and as always,
Quilt for Fun
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Friday, August 5, 2016
Last week I posted a picture of Lemonade Stand and put the pattern on sale.
I like how summery it is and it’s one of the few times I’ve ventured into the world of pink.
This week, well actually, this morning, I pieced a new version, in runner form, called Limeade. It’s not quilted or anything yet, but you get the idea. I made seven blocks which is just about right for a runner.
While I generally don’t do much with pastels, these feel like sherbet which seems just right for hot August days. The binding will be green and I may just quilt in some straws.
I was in Michael’s the other day and of course it’s wall to wall fall projects and decorations. While I hate to wish away summer sunshine, my intellectual side knows that new fall projects, including quilts, need to get underway now. I’ve got background done for an autumn hanging and now I’m working on some appliqué for it. I’m finding out that one piece of fabric for background, even if it’s really cool, just isn’t cutting it anymore. Keeping in mind that it is background, it still needs some interest on its own. It seems I’ve been leaning toward this for a while, but after a class with Rosalie Dace this summer, I’m recognizing it more. Funny how sometimes somebody has to point out to me what my subconscious has been trying to tell me for some time.
The background for the quilt below came from Gloria Loughman’s book, Radiant Landscapes. It was part of a class about working in a series and I started the day knowing just what I wanted it to look like. I finished the top the same afternoon. It’s called The Last Leaf.
The background is a piece of hand dyed fabric that I cut up and rearranged to get the look I wanted. It looks like I’ll be playing with backgrounds for a while.
Here’s a fall pattern that could be started now, so it’ll be ready for fall. It’s called Colors of Fall.
This was the first pattern Barbara and I created and it’s still a favorite of mine. It features both piecing and fused appliqué, and is really easy. Go to our Shopping Page to check it out.
I’m off to quilt my new runner and will show it off when it’s finished.
Have a safe and sunny weekend and don’t forget to quilt for fun.
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Saturday, July 30, 2016
Quilting in the Heart of Summer
Here we are in the heart of summer. I think it’s my favorite part of the year. The veggies and flowers are at their most beautiful and I even have a tomato ripening up. I think this is the earliest one I’ve ever had.
I posted this picture last week of a pile of fabric that I found inspiring.
So here’s what I have so far. Not all of it is sewn together, but I’m liking how it’s turning out.
I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed that it all came out of my stash. I wouldn’t have believed it ten years ago, but my stash contains plenty of purple. I’d like to think I’ve just learned the value of purple as opposed to being an older woman. I was warned and should have seen it coming.
The Pink Lemonade quilt is going on sale for the month. I like it because it’s easy, summery (I hope that’s an actual word) and it’s easy to alter the size without changing the look of the quilt. I’m thinking I might try it again in a different color way and put in a layer of flannel instead of batting. It should be just enough to ward off the chill of air-conditioning without roasting you out.
Stay cool and quilt for fun.
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Friday, July 22, 2016
I find I often ask where the time goes. I didn’t have a lot on the calendar this week, so I thought I’d get a lot of quilting done. I also thought maybe if I kept track of what I actually did, it would help me become more organized. I wrote myself some little notes on a calendar. Sadly, I not only wrote on next week’s pages, but half the stuff I wrote, I can’t read.
I did, however, come to a few conclusions. Going the grocery store every day is not all that efficient. I know people who make menus for the week and shop all at once. I may have to give that a shot. Explaining to an 80 pound poodle why I don’t want him to pee on the new hydrangeas might be an exercise in futility. It turns out he really doesn’t care, listens to the nice music in his head and gives me one of these.
There’s always a load to throw in the washer, some weeds to be pulled, pots to be watered and veggies to be picked (3 cucumbers and a yellow squash to be exact).
Apparently, the trick is to just do it and get back to the sewing machine as opposed to reading a new quilting catalog or trying to figure out if the avocado I bought last week is too far gone to make guac. I’ll be working on that.
Then there is the unexpected. Who knew I would have to go collect Sweet Husband after a trip to the dentist wound up being a bit of oral surgery and I needed to go pick up his slightly anesthetized self. And what are all these people doing on the freeway at one in the afternoon? Not to mention the fact that Google Maps sent me to the wrong address. These are the things that the best laid plans cannot factor in. Buck up, Sweetie, that’s life. BTW, Sweet Husband is fine. We went to pick up his car this morning and on the way home I stopped at Joann’s for a new pin cushion, and Starbuck’s, and what are all these people doing on the freeway at 10 in the morning? I think you see my problem.
Through all this nonsense, I actually did some quilting stuff. I finished quilting this Hawaiian quilt that was a Pacific Rim pattern. It’s hand appliquéd and machine quilted. It’s been worked on here and there for a few years and all it needs is binding.
Also worked on Calendula Patterdrip’s Cottage. It’s a Crab-Apple Hill pattern that I saw made up in a quilt shop in Bend, OR four or five years ago. It’s quite large and hand embroidered. I probably should have started with something smaller, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m excited to finish it.
I’ve just picked these fabrics for a fall quilt pattern. I didn’t used to like purple, but I love it now mixed in with fall colors.
Reading this post over, I now realize that I need someone to do my errands, do the wash, water the plants and treat the dogs (also, keep Toby out of the hydrangeas). Also, I could use some help staying on task. If you know anyone who will work for fabric, let me know.
Quilt for fun.
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Thursday, May 19, 2016
One of Those Days
Today is one of those restless days. You know the kind. (Right? I’m not the only one?) It started out sunny, but now, the clouds have rolled in and at first glance, it seems to be snowing outside. Since it’s in the low 70’s, it’s really just cottonwood trees doing their thing, causing allergies to flare and screens to get clogged up. Ella’s allergic to cottonwood and is not amused. I did a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing that made me feel like I’ve accomplished much.
I finished a Quilt of Valor top yesterday (yay!), and now I need to figure out a back so I can start quilting. Didn’t do that today.
I finished a little practice piece with paintstiks so now I’m only two weeks behind in my online class.
I have sixty 6-inch blocks for my small quilt group project. I’ve been playing with arrangements on Electric Quilt 7 for a chunk of the afternoon and maybe I have a clue how I want to do this. Or not.
It’s now late afternoon and I’m thawing some hamburger although I have no idea how I’m going to make it into dinner. Yes, THAT kind of a day.
You may now relax as the whining portion of this blog is over.
I finished the quilt I finally named “Nameless in Green.” I painted my idea first, which is a new direction for me. I like watercolors even though they’re pretty challenging sometimes.
Then I gave it a shot with fabric.
It’s more intense than I planned, but now I know better what I’m aiming for. Maybe a subtler fabric that doesn’t jump up and head slap me.
I am catching up in my Paintstiks class. Here’s my latest:
This is actually a lot of fun. Messy, but fun. I definitely want to make something out of this piece. It’s pretty small, so maybe a bag.
The good news is that if I live to be 110, I’ll never run out of stuff to do. There’s no bad news. Good to know.
Quilt for fun.