Thursday, June 28, 2007

Operator Error

I don't know about you, but this isn't the first time I've done it. I wish I could blame Madame Olfa, but I can't.

I was working on the Doll Quilts yesterday and inadvertently whacked off the tip of one of my triangles. Normally, this would not be an issue as the fabrics I'm working with are plentiful in my stash........

But not this time......Noooooooooo.

I had to whack the very fabric that made its final appearance in this project. Nary a scrap to be had, and I even went dumpster diving in my trash can. Now I have to repair not one but four patches.

Note to self:
Get out rotary cutter.
Retract shield.
Slice and dice as usual.

My hubby will laugh himself silly over this. So will my friends and family who have seen my work area.

P.S. If I ever held my cutter as pictured with my finger extended, I would be in the emergency room within the first hour--having amputated said finger.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Doll Quilt Swap Started

The doll quilt has officially been started!

I decided on the fabric scheme and started the blocks today. Because of the nature of the block and how I've chosen to construct it, I'll get a "two-fer" and will actually be making 2 quilts at once. One for me and one for ????????

I've not often worked in miniature, so it is different and fun. I have a whole box of XYZ type fabrics out by the sewing machine and am playing to my hearts' content with same.

I'm hoping to have most of the blocks done by the weekend so I can get to the quilting.

I love a good secret!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Home Again

The Linda Ballard retreat in Trinidad was fabulous! Linda always shows us a great time and this time was no exception. We began the retreat Friday afternoon, though Kathy and I didn't arrive until almost 5:00 p.m., due to numerous stops at quilt shops along the way.

Quilter's Cottage in Ukiah. It didn't take us long to make our first stop--less than 60 miles! We had some fun, bought a couple of charm packs and a few cuts of fabric before hitting the road again.

The Fat Quail Quilt Shop in Laytonville was our second stop and we absolutely fell in love with a line of fabrics we'd not seen before, from the UK purveyor named Freedom Fabric. The line pictured at the link is amazingly beautiful and the pictures on the website do not do it justice. I bought an owl/quail panel and a couple of go-with fat quarters to make the Christmas pillows shown on the homepage of the website.

After lunch at a corner cafe in Garberville, we wandered down to In Stitches and managed to find a few things to take home with us.

Finally, we hit Eureka and visited Scottie Dog Quilts, where we really had to restrain ourselves because this shop had tons of fabrics that we loved--reproductions from the Civil War and the 1930's.

The retreat was held in the Trinidad Town Hall and we were joined by 23 other quilters from around NorCal and Oregon and even a gal from Washington who drove down to sew and hang out with her Mom. Linda's quilt was just wonderful and I actually got my top FINISHED!! I varied the fabrics a bit from what I'd chosen, but I'm very happy with the result. I'm planning to quilt it for my daughter Kate to present to her friend Gia in celebration of the birth of her daughter in August.

Trinidad is a lovely place and I believe we'll be back next year!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Doll Quilt Update

I got my assignment for the Doll Quilt Swap II and I'm delighted to report that she and I share loves of some types of fabrics. Of course, I can't tell you just what those fabrics are, but it will make the planning and execution of this little project much more fun!

I went by JoAnn's Fabrics today and found this lovely book just chock-full of great ideas for my little quiltlet too.

I just love Darlene Zimmerman's books. Her photos are so cheery and bright and her instructions are wonderful. Her method for joining the ends of quilt bindings from "The Quilter's Edge" are the best I've ever seen.

Finally, I'm cutting and packing up for a weekend retreat in Trinidad, California with my Sistah Kathy. This is our annual Linda Ballard Mystery Retreat, but we are late this year. We normally go to beautiful Williams, Calif. in February, but this year we decided to hold out for June and Trinidad (a much better destination than Williams--a whistlestop town on Interstate 5). The trip will take us a couple of hundred miles north of Santa Rosa on Highway 101 (the Redwood Highway) which becomes 2 lanes just a way up the road.

I have my fabrics cut and am actually using from stash (gasp!). Several years ago, I ordered some Paris Flea Market fabrics for a class offered by a guild member and the fabric didn't arrive in time. So, it has been sitting in stash, waiting for its name to be called up for a project. All I had to do was order a fourth coordinating fabric for the outer border and that was no problem.

Naturally, we will have to stop at a few quilt shops along the way and Kathy is bringing her Quilters Travel Companion so we don't get lost!

Quilty Road Trip!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Birthday Goodness

We call each other "Sistah" because we feel that close.

We do fun quilty things together, we sew, we chat, we kvetch, we solve the problems of the world. I'm sure most of you have a friend with whom you formed an almost immediate bond. I feel especially lucky to have more than one of these special people.

Two of my Sistahs sent me wonderful birthday goodness and I was completely surprised by both!!

At right, Sistah Kathy sent me this wonderful Judy Rothermel book. I think she saw me salivating on it at Road to California in January and took pity on me. She also sent me these lovely half yard pieces of Civil War fabrics. I'm planning on making the cover quilt. Wonderful! I met Kathy via the "InterQuilt" group online when I got my first computer in 1996. We met in person at a get-together and have been good buddies ever since then. We get together whenever possible and she is an adopted Mom to my dogs Gator and Ace.

I met Becky not long after my move to Santa Rosa in 2003 at the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild. We joined at about the same time and it was friend at first sight. When we were approached to be on the Hospitality Committee for the next year, my recollection is that Becky kind of looked at me and said "Lets DO IT," and so we did. We had a great year of good fun and then she moved to Lompoc. Waaah. Thankfully, she still has a daughter, in-laws and her mom in the area, so she has to come back from time-to-time. Becky sent me this splendiferous half yard of forties fabric and a lovely Jelly Roll (my first!) from the Holly Jolly line. I already have a pattern picked out for it and just need to order from the Fat Quarter shop--a very dangerous place, especially if you are a lover of Moda fabrics like me.

On the sewing front, I have all of my Labor Day Madness blocks finished and have only to either assemble the leftover pieces into windmill blocks or more Labor Day Madness blocks that spin the other way. I'm trying to figure out if I want to keep this quilt or donate to American Hero and that will determine how big to make it (or them).

Am I lucky or what??? As if their friendship weren't enough.....

So, thanks to my're the greatest!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dudes Love Fire

Here are my guys last night getting ready to make "Dirty Steak." We found this recipe on Cooking with the Master Chefs with Julia Child on PBS. It consists of making a wood or natural charcoal (not compressed briquet) fire and laying slabs of meat directly on the hot coals. We've done it several times and decided to do it for the kid's visit this weekend. After the steaks get a good searing on both sides, they are finished in the oven to the desired degree of doneness. After the steaks came off, the grill went on and we grilled the first sweet corn of the season and it was like pure sugar!!!! Delicious!!! We do have a "real" gas grill, but when we do dirty steaks, we use this old three legged cast iron cauldron that was my parents. I'm not sure which of my grandparents owned it first, but my parents had it as long as I can remember.

Pop and Benjamin liked to watch the fish together and had a nature lesson on leaves--tiny big and gigantic while pond sitting.
Did I mention that Benjamin likes his guacamole?

Kate and Alex enjoyed a sit in the garden as well.

The Cates family is headed home to Fresno now and we'll miss them until next time.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Spill The Wine...

Thankfully, the carpet was removed from the closet where we store the yet-to-be bottled vino.

Thankfully, it was only one of seven jugs.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I Can't Be 55!!!

But, it beats hell out of the alternative! Fifty five is, like, closer to 60 than 50 from this day forth!

I told the history of the whole darned event last year, so I won't repeat all that.

At left is my 2nd birthday in 1954.

Below at left is my 8th birthday in 1960.

Below at right is my 10th birthday in 1962 at Mooney Grove Park in Visalia, CA. Since we got to have an actual party with friends every other year, I believe that this was my last birthday party. In 1964, when I turned 12, I was just out of 6th grade and getting ready for Junior High. My older sister had just married a month before at age 17 and was four months pregnant. My mother was not exactly in a partying spirit, spending many a summer night on the backyard lounge by the pool, smoking and weeping, but that's a whole 'nother story altogether. =)

Others in the picture are, left to right: Jo, my little sister, Diana, Kenda and Becky.

Today is a pretty quiet day. Hubby took me to breakfast and we are going to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner. I have a huge chicken in the crock pot so I can make a huge pan of chicken enchiladas for tomorrow night when my boys Benjamin and Alex (and their parents) come to help me extend the celebration!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's a Dogs Life


I finally finished the quilt I put together for the dog's groomer Alessandra, who is expecting her son (to be named Henry) in a few weeks.

I had the blocks from a "black and white" block swap a couple of years ago and when I saw the darling dog print at The Quilted Vine's grand opening, I couldn't resist. The red inner border and binding have all sorts of "doggy" terms written in black like "fetch" and "good dog" and such as that.

I'm going to run out to the dog salon tomorrow and deliver it since we won't be seeing her in person until August.

UPDATE: I went today to the groomers to deliver the quilt and Baby Henry made his appearance 10 days early on Sunday, June 10th. Mother and baby are doing fine.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bitten by the Doll Quilt Swap Bug

In my trolling of Blogland, I came across the Doll Quilt Swap blog and since they are having signups for a new round, I thought I ought to jump in.

Of course, I need a new project like I need a hole in the head, but I just couldn't resist swapping with some other bloggers, and a doll quilt seemed like the perfect choice.

I'll receive my assignment on June 20th and have until July 18th to deliver, so it shouldn't be too tough.


I'll be finishing a quickie quilt tonight for the dog's groomer who is expecting her first baby, a boy, in a couple of weeks. I'll post a picture tomorrow and deliver the quilt next week.

Friday, June 01, 2007

It Was Forty Years Ago Today

Sargeant Pepper taught the band to play.

What a fabulous album. What great memories.

In a serendipitous turn, tonight we are going to see Lindsey Buckingham in concert.

Many might say, "Who in the world is Lindsey Buckingham?" Well, he would be the man who was the soul and backbone of the rock group Fleetwood Mac. I remember well listening to their 1977 album Rumours, with its songs of broken hearts, relationships and dreams, pretty much ignorant of exactly what they were singing about.

Thirty years ago I was almost 25 years old, married 5 years to my first love and hoping to get pregnant soon (I did in July of that year). I had no idea what a broken heart was all about and no idea that in four short years and two babies later that I'd be on the receiving end of same. I've felt their pain. More than once.

I've said before that our favorite music is the soundtrack of our personal biographies and I still believe that. I love the music of my biography. I love rock and roll music. I love live music.

Tonight will be great.


What are the odds?

A small nail, left in a pocket could bring down an entire washing machine? Said nail lodged vertically in one of the holes in the basket and then proceeded to scratch a hole in the outer bucket. (Like an old record player).

Our favorite appliance technician Brenda came for a repair visit and declared the machine crumped. More money to fix than it is worth at 8 years old.


So, yesterday afternoon we went to Asien's (Brenda's bosses) and at her suggestion and with the help of Robert the wise-acre New Yorker salesman (who we really liked), we bought a Miele front loader. While I wasn't happy at spending the money (Happy Birthday to me!), but I'm really happy to have a machine that uses about half of the water to wash considerably bigger loads than my old machine.

It will be a bit of an adjustment to not be able to add stuff once the load has started, but I'm sure I'll adjust. =)

Not only that, sans agitator, it should make a huge difference when I pre-wash my fabric and I won't have tangled masses of strings from the raveling of the fat quarters!

She won't be delivered until Tuesday afternoon, and I'll be washing all day Wednesday to get caught up!

Beats heck out of a washboard!!