Sunday, May 28, 2006

Shake It Up!

Yesterday evening, at 6:07 p.m. we had a bit of an earthquake. Like 3.0 magnitude at 3.7 miles deep, epicentered approximately a half mile as the crow flies from our house.

We were sitting down doing some computer work when it hit and Greyhair said it felt like a large truck hit the house, an event not out of the realm of possibility as new homes are being built up the street that intersects our street right at our driveway and we are downhill from the construction. Yikes! Runaway skiploader!

Alas, it was our somewhat annual Memorial Day Weekend earthquake, the first annual (in family records) occurred on Memorial Day weekend in '03, the first year we were here.

That evening, about midnight, a group of the FQ girls were here celebrating my liberation into the great blue north of California (from the red, red Central Valley) and Greyhair bailed to Lake Tahoe to avoid being contaminated by quilters. =) We are pictured above, Randy, me, Vanessa, the late Sandy B., Kathy and Pam. I was in bed and that quake felt and sounded like a wrecking ball hit the wall just behind my headboard. We all got up and compared notes, I called the Greyman on his cell phone and we went back to bed. The casualties included a small crack in the billiard room wall and a knocked over bottle of olive oil in the kitchen. Nothing major.

After the to-do over the centennial of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, in which the flatland of Santa Rosa was severely damaged, hubby and I talked about getting an earthquake kit together and I guess this was just another reminder that that big one is out there and could happen anytime.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More Sew A Row

Another Sew-A-Row done, this one for Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County. I'm not a hugely active member, but my pal Phyllis from SRQG is and I love the Sew-A-Row program she started for us like the Moonlighter's, so I decided to participate.

I'll be gone in mid-June when this one is due so I finished my row early and handed it in today. My row is the starry sky. At the end of the year, I'll have a chance with the other participants to win this one.

Day guild (SRQG) met today and our speaker Diane Leighton's topic was "Finding More Time To Quilt," always an important thing for quilters. She suggested listing all of those UFOs, WIPs and PIGS on a separate sheet of paper--little does she know that uber-smart Fat Quarter members Nancy, NP (link above) and Moira have gone high-tech and are doing it on Excel spreadsheets. She suggested rating each project with an A, B or C rating with the C's being those projects one would bring and offer up on the guild's silent auction table. An example might be class projects for techniques that we just don't like. You tried, it wasn't your thing and now it is "finished" if only for the knowledge that it isn't a technique you will ever waste time on again. For "A" projects a note of what needs to be done to finish it will help hasten its completion. Finally, she suggested a shopping list of items needed to finish those projects in process for taking to quilt shows. Now there is a novel idea--rather than recreational shopping, planned shopping. Wow. Food for thought......

Friday, May 12, 2006


Today, Saturday, May 13th, is my beloved's birthday. Without telling his age, let's just say he's over 50, but not on the dark side of it. =)

Himself is pictured here in his favorite outfit (more on that to follow) sometime during his first year. Isn't he sweet?

Here he is in some Easter finery, not of his liking. When I first told my daughter, big-mouth Kate, that I thought he was good-looking after seeing him working in his yard when I dropped her at his house to visit Sarah, she replied, "You should see him when he's dressed up for work." She was right, of course, he did clean up really well, but his favorite outfit other than his birthday suit is shorts and a T shirt, and who can blame him?

Here he is at 17, all dressed up for Prom, 70's style. Don't you love the ruffled shirt? Wasn't he adorable? What a hunk--wish I had been his date, but better late than never, I suppose.

He is pictured here in 1992 at his mother's 60th birthday party with his children, Scott and Sarah, then almost 12 and 13. Hopefully, they will not be mad at me for posting this picture, but pictures of him with both kids are somewhat rare as he was usually behind the camera.

He loves his furry babies, too. He is hanging out here with Julie, the Miniature Schnauzer he acquired when his Mom moved to Carmel. Julie lived to be 16 years old and was very smart and sweet according to family lore.
Fast forward a few years and here is the birthday boy in 2002 with Sarah and Scott, now 24 and 23. He is at Lake Tahoe in December, where we celebrated our nearly annual alternative Thanksmas/Christgiving get together.

Finally, here we are last December, near the eleventh anniversary of our first date.

My husband is the most honest and accountable person I know. He always calls it like he sees it, and while it may not always be easy to hear, it is a very good thing. I waited almost a lifetime for you.

So, for you, my favorite person in the world to hang out with and my best friend, I wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY and MANY, MANY MORE !!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Another Good Read

Another page-turner done and I was sorry to see it end. The tome in question was Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. Set in the past and present, it follows the trail of a family and friends who hunt for Dracula who is presumed to be "alive" and practicing his vampirical skills.

Check out the review on (link above), for more details. Though I'm a die-hard reader and have been called a book slut by my beloved--he's wrong, I won't read anything, anytime, anywhere.

The trip takes the reader through the Balkan states during the 1930's, 1950's and early 1970's as our protagonists are called to search for the elusive Vlad Tepes aka Dracula. Along the way, we are treated to a virtual European travelogue and a picture of life in academia before the internet, when research took place in old libraries and in person. Kostova gives vivid descriptions of the local peoples and landmarks throughout the story. It is almost like being there, and I love that in a book.

A troll through the book reviews at Barnes and Noble shows some mixed reviews, but I had none. There was a small part in the middle that dragged a bit, but nothing too serious, so get out that library card and get reading!

Quilters Sweat Shop

We had a fine quilty day today. Instead of having our usual mini-group meeting for the UFO (UnFinished Objects), we met at Teddy Bear Quilts to have a work party. Our mini-group and the guild are making a memorial quilt for our friend and member Norma Viglienzone, who lost her son in Iraq when his Humvee was hit by an IED on February first. Caesar was an only child, and Norma and Dennis are obviously grieving. As quilters, we had to do something , so of course we decided to make a quilt. Doh!

Aided by Norma's sister and group member Vandy, we obtained a number of pictures of him from the slideshow presented at his memorial service. Vandy printed them on fabric and SR Quilt Guild members donated tons of patriotic fabric. I designed the quilt to be able to deal with the different sizes of the photos and today we got together to make the blocks.

Here is a shot of a few of the workers, Jackie in front on the left, Lynn in the yellow shirt, Carolynn and Angie are behind Lynn. On the right, in back, is Linda and Pat has her back to the camera. The gorgeous quilt top in the back of the room is owner Jim's block of the month program for 2006, and the blocks are gorgeous.
Heres a shot of Barbara, Phyllis (in red) and Vandy. Pat is peeking out from behind.

Heres a picture of Linda, hanging out in the back room where we had to overflow and stash the ironing board.

Finally, here is a picture of the blocks we finished in the workshop today. Pretty good work, don't you think?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Amazing myself....

with my productivity.

I finished friendship blocks for two members of my quilt guild. To the right is Marilyn's block. Marilyn requested that we use any method to create a block that shows our personal muse--that force driving us to make the quilts we do. My muse invades my brain in the wee hours and busies me with ideas for new projects. The same force also nags me about UFOs, WIPs and PIGs (Unfinished Objects, Works in Progress and Projects in Grocery Sacks to the uninformed.) I used MS Publisher to create the dream bubble and included some of my favorite quilt blocks and notions and on the left is my logo, a little girl stitching with patches flying all around her head. I titled it "My Muse is Moonlight Madness," and lest you think this is an ode to midlife insomnia, I'll have you know that I've been visited by this selfsame muse for most of the 30 years I've been a quilter. The embroidered saying is intentionally quirky as I used the swirls in the background fabric to help form my letters. It ended up a bit more primitive than I'd hoped, but I didn't want to fire up the embroidery machine at that point.

To the left is a block for Pat M., who requested blocks representing Sonoma County. Pat and her husband plan to retire to Oregon at some point in the future and she wants a block that represents her home and friends here in Sonoma County. I chose the Fountaingrove Round Barn, a relic left from Thomas Lake Harris' utopian community founded in 1875. We live in one of the subdivisions that dot the hills above the Round Barn, a neighborhood known as Fountaingrove, so I chose the barn as my representation. Rather than try to embroider the name of the barn, I took a digital picture of the sign and printed it on a treated fabric sheet as I did the eyes, dream bubble and clock in the "Muse" block.

Finally, here is the row I submitted to Phyllis in January for the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild's 2006 Sew-A-Row program. It is a mini-row, measuring perhaps 18" long and features Civil War reproduction fabrics.
That's it for today.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Getting Caught Up

I've been hopelessly behind in working on a few sewing projects and was actually able to do some catch-up over the last few days.

At the right, are four of the Eensy Weensy blocks (4 1/2 inch finished) that I'm exchanging with my pal Nancy, Near Philadelphia. My blocks are coming from Judy Hopkins' book Around the Block Again. The top two blocks, Grandmother's Pride on the left and Glacier Bay on the right are catch-ups for January. On the bottom row, Jack's Delight is for April and Mosaic is for May. Nosy Gretl is pictured in front. Sensibly, we've cut back to one block per month. Now that I've adjusted to working small (as in--I'm paper piecing them) things are going much faster. Now I have only to do my blocks!

The other project is the Sew-A-Row for 2006 masterminded by Phyllis. I added the top row of circle of life blocks, the middle row of checkerboard was started by Vandy and the bottom row as pieced by Pam. I'm still trying to decide if I want to add some tiny white heart buttons to the centers of each "flower." Two more people will work on this project between now and the end of October and we'll draw names among the participants to see who gets to keep it. I'm actually done early with this one, which is a shock.

Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting is one of my favorite quilting magazines ever. I've been quilting since 1975 and began subscribing to Quilter's Newsletter Monthly shortly thereafter. While QNM is a great magazine as well, you just can't beat the projects in Love of Quilting. Not only that, F & P gives our guild a rebate on each subscription the guild sends in as a group! You can't beat that kind of marketing, can you?????

On the nature front, hubby spotted a coyote meandering up our street this morning and I got outside in time to catch a glimpse of him. During the three years we've been here, we have seen a fair number of wild turkeys and deer, but never a coyote before. We live in a suburban subdivision in the hills above Santa Rosa, but with 80 or more homes, it is hardly rural. I hope the little guy was able to move out to the hills behind us safely....