Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bee-utiful Day


I need a vacation. I wish I were going on a trip. The mess in this house is going to drive me over the cliff, if you know what I mean. I told you that I do not like anything about remodeling my house, and we have had a lot of projects. Ten years worth. This project, requires us to move everything out of every closet and bookcase and off of every table. The only things that don't have to be moved are in the kitchen and bathrooms, but my bathtubs are full of books and linens. My priceless (at least to me) quilts are wrapped in a sheet on the floor of my sewing room. All of my mothers embroidery pictures are tucked into nooks and crannies for safety.






Thank goodness today is Wednesday. Just when I really need to get away from this chaos, I am spending the afternoon with my friends at "Bee". I think a little tea and dessert and stitching with friends will calm me right down. I'm going to pack my applique threads and pins to spend my afternoon in a friends pretty house. I always love going to Bee, but now even more than usual.



Tomorrow the new floors start appearing. I wish it were with a snap of the fingers, but I'm afraid it will be with two or three days of pounding and banging and two nervous Golden Retrievers pacing in my sewing room with me. We still need an electrician, and someone to move a surround sound system and the list goes on... Why can't every day be Wednesday?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Birdsong Update


I've been stitching some colorful applique pieces again on the Birdsong quilt. I haven't touched it in so long. I want to have the top done so that I can hand quilt it this winter. It's warm and cozy to sit with a quilt on your lap when it's cold and snowy outside. Notice I'm hoping for snow. Who wouldn't? It's really hot, and we're surrounded by two big forest fires. Again... After last summer and the Rim fire, I'm even more afraid than I used to be of fires. It can't rain or snow too much for me, and the sooner the better.





Back to my quilt... There are twenty five squares in this quilt and I've completed fifteen. I can stitch one block a day, but that doesn't count drawing the shapes onto the freezer paper and ironing them to the fabric, and tracing around the shapes onto the fabric. Confused? I think if I stick to this one project, I should be able to finish the applique in about two weeks. I don't have any other big plans coming up and if I can keep from starting anything else I should get it done... Do you think I can do it? I have such a bad habit of skipping from one project to the next. I am also rather easily bored, so I have a lot of projects. I usually just skip around from one to the next. It takes me a very long time to finish anything with this very bad habit. I'm trying to not only stop, but to also finish my UFO's. (Unfinished Objects).




I have two other quilts that I want to start, but I'm not going to until the applique on this one is done. Di Fords book, Primarily Quilts is sitting on my sewing table, calling my name... Of course there is also the second Sugar Kisses quilt. I didn't even count that one. Right now I'm sort of tired of it. I hope I manage to make one for myself though, because I really do like it. My Granddaughter has the one I stitched for her hanging behind her headboard in her room. I think she likes it. A needle and thread are calling my name, so it's time to post this so that I can go do something useful.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Now What



Good morning. I'm winding down here for the next few days. Busy, busy, busy for the last week, but oh-so-fun. Four of my Grandchildren were here for almost five whole days. We saw two great movies ( Planes Fire and Rescue, and How To Train Your Dragon II). I recommend them highly, even if you don't have a child to be your excuse to see them. Fun and wonderful movies. We had movie marathons here at Nana's house too. We hiked among the giant redwoods with a picnic following. We visited with the giant gold nugget in a vault at a local winery. No scores were kept, but we played miniature golf. Root beer floats, ice cream sundaes and candy were so yummy. I'm going to miss those kidlets until I see them again.











This morning I'm going to the lake to swim with a friend, and then I'll get busy with the next project.  Sorry this is so short, but it's only summer for a little while...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Present






I've been looking forward to this day for more than a year. I finished the first of two Sugar Kisses quilts. This one is for my adorable granddaughter. She said that she loved this quilt when she saw it in its beginning stages, and I promised it to her. It's done, and all tied up with a ribbon. I can't wait to see it in her room. This pattern was designed by Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool. 








 Madi and her sisters and brother are spending the weekend and more with Papa and I. We are going to eat a LOT of candy, because we are going to see two movies this weekend. I have a puzzle to work on with Allison and we love playing the game of Life. I think we need to read the rules again though. We cheated last time we played it without knowing that we were doing it. It was too easy to play and we didn't use a whole stack of playing cards. That was a hint... We may go on a hike, and may go play miniature golf. In other words, instead of planning every minute, we are going to play it by ear.










I think I'm going to need a vacation... In fact, I'm sure of it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chevron Scarf

I finished knitting my Chevron scarf a few days ago, but yesterday finally got around to blocking and weaving the ends in. It is a very easy knit. It was a free pattern with purchase of the yarn from my local yarn shop, but you can find very similar patterns on Ravelry . Once you have knit the set-up rows, there are only two rows to knit. Over and over. There is only one row that requires counting and paying attention. I think that it's a really good way to learn how to do lace knitting. Some of my friends that have made this used stitch markers for that one row that you have to count.



I used a Noro sock weight yarn. Unfortunately I didn't save the band that came around the skein with the information, so I can't tell you the actual name of the yarn, but I will tell you this: I LOVE Noro yarn. The self striping is a fun surprise as you knit. It feels a little rough while knitting, but as soon as it is blocked it becomes super soft. I've knit with Noro on a few projects, and I have one more waiting in the wings. A fun wrap...



It's been super hot and humid the last few days and while I do NOT like this melty miserableness, it does inspire me to get a lot of hand work done. It's just too hot to venture out. Last night it was too hot for dinner, but I managed to eat my strawberry ice cream that I'm currently obsessed with.  Plus if you know me, you know that I can not stand to have my house torn up, and we are mid-project upstairs. So, the dogs and I are in my sewing room stitching away and organizing the next projects in line.



 Four of my Grandchildren are coming for a visit this weekend, and I have a lot to do to get ready. I'm also going to give my Granddaughter her Sugar Kisses quilt, so please check back soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Before



We love our house in the mountains. It's just right where we want to be. It includes things that are hard to find in this charming little village. Like room for gardening, and a garage and a large sewing room for my addictions. I mean collections. You know, my stash of fabric and yarn.  But. We have been re-doing everything since we moved in ten years ago. From the roof, to the deck, to the bathroom. We didn't even have a heater. We tried to keep this house warm with a wood burning stove, but when it was near zero it didn't work. It was freezing! You get the idea... I don't think anything had been updated since it was built in the early eighties. Plus it wasn't at all my style. In fact it had a lot of turquoise and teal walls. There were roses hand painted on the master bedroom walls. The outside was green and wood toned shingles with a white front door. In a word ugly.







We are having our sunken living room-- with carpet ON the walls--raised to the same level as the rest of the floors. We are switching the family room to be the dining room, and making one large living room. Right now there is only seating for four people in the family room. AND we are replacing the carpet throughout the house.
In other words, my house is going to be a mess for the next three weeks. I don't like messes. I will be in my sewing room with my dogs until further notice. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Baking Day





We love dessert in my "Bee". It's always served at two thirty. On the button. It's okay if you are a minute or two early, but not late. I always pull out recipes and pretty cookbooks a few days before my turn to be hostess. It's hard to decide what to bake. I have to be sure it's something that I will be successful at baking. I've had a few failures. You know- the cake that sinks in the middle. Cakes thrown away and baked all over. A perfect Nutella loaf cake. It had so much butter and Nutella in it that it just wouldn't stay a cake. It kept collapsing, but my husband and I ate it any way. It was heavenly, but not pretty enough for company. Then there was a frozen dessert that couldn't be cut. The crust was glued to the pan and the frozen topping needed a chisel... So embarrassing.

Tomorrow my friends will be here for Bee. That means that today is baking day. Oh, and cleaning day. When you live with Golden Retrievers, every day is cleaning day. That's okay.




We will be having dark, dense brownies. They have beautiful pink strawberry buttercream AND a tiny little layer of chocolate ganache on top. To continue the theme, we will be having little servings of strawberry ice cream. It is summer, and everyone likes a little ice cream. I'm also baking very gingery cookies. They have powdered ginger in them, and lovely spicy little chunks of crystallized ginger.
We always have fruit, and I'm continuing the pink theme with little wedges of watermelon. Lemonade and iced tea will be perfect beverages to go along with our stitching. Oh, and our dessert...







Friday, July 4, 2014

Quilting


I am almost done with sixteen weeks of physical therapy on my repaired shoulder. In the beginning I asked my therapist when she thought I would be quilting again. I sure didn't like her answer, because she said August. August... I haven't quilted since the beginning of March, and she thinks I can wait until August? You see friends, I love to hand quilt. Just pulling that tiny little between needle through my almost finished quilt fills me with joy. I love hand work. I have ever since I did my first embroidery as a Girl Scout way back in the fourth grade.


So, I decided to give it a try even though it isn't August. Guess what? I can do it. It made my arm sore afterwards, but I probably shouldn't have quilted for four hours on the first day. Shhh... don't tell on me. I'm trying to finish Sugar Kisses to give to my Granddaughter. I'm working on the border. Just simple parallel lines, one inch apart. I think I can have it done in about a week, and then I only have the binding and label to go. Then I'm stitching another one just like it because I want one too. I do not like doing the same thing more than once, so we will see how long it takes me for the second quilt.




I still haven't tried to use the rotary cutter or my machine, so there are still more experiments to come, and apparently I need to try them myself rather than take any advice from the experts. I have a lot of quilting projects planned, and I need to stop wasting time. I'm off to start stitching.
 Happy Fourth Of July. I hope you have a sparkly day with family and friends.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Let's Color






I have always loved color. I think that is why my quilts are almost all scrap quilts. I get to play with color in fabric form. This post though isn't about my prime obsession, which is my love of quilting. No, this post is about drawing and coloring. Something that we all did as children. I certainly did. My coloring books were mine, and I learned to never let anyone else use them. Selfish? Maybe just an early example of my obsession. My brother colored in my book one time, and everything on the page was red.  ...and horror of horrors, he didn't stay in the lines. 

I took a lot of art classes in school, until I was in high school. I even sold some paintings when I was in eight grade. My freshman year in high school we had an art class with Sister Charolette Ann, and I loved her and her art. It was sort of folk art style. We learned how to use calligraphy. Then I became obsessed with sewing and tailoring. Quilting was not in the picture, as the art form was still buried in history and the resurgence hadn't started.

My art became buried in my history, and I'm trying to dig it up.









I write in a journal every night. Private thoughts as well as what I did in my day. I have wanted to use my journal to draw and color as well. Let's just say that my skills are very rusty. I have some new markers, and a black pen that I love. I'm trying...


One of the first lessons I have learned is that alcohol markers bleed through paper. See...? Next time I will use some sort of barrier under my page. 




My Mother was a wonderful artist. My Dad could draw anything. My darling Daughter-In-Law and her Mom are professional artists. I am a novice lover of color, and I'm having fun playing with my new markers.