Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Trip done, Big Trip Ahead

All packed up and places to go. We've spent the week getting ready, watching weather reports.

I made a trip back to Turlock, visiting Lisa along the way, seeing all of her projects and the new arrangement of the quilting room. Had lunch with Grandma Pam, our version of Christmas. Then on the way out of town bumped into friend Dorothy, and caught up with her quilting projects. Much more to show and tell as we all vow to get together more and sew.

So off for our holiday trip we go.

Today's best....seeing friends.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One quilt leads to another

I moved out of the antique mall on Thursday...still trying to find places to put the stuff I brought back. At least the shelving unit is helping me organize the kitchen office wall.

It's been raining almost solid since then, so I have been at home sorting and sewing. One thing leads to another in the sewing department.

I pulled out a charity kit--what I call 16 Squared. It's made from 16 2 1/2" strips and 15 8 1/2" squares. The strips are sewn in 4 sets of 4, then made into 16 16 patch blocks. Alternate 15 of the patch blocks with the squares in a 5 x 6 layout.

Except that I had 20 strips, and only 15 squares, so I had sections leftover after making 15 blocks. I can't toss them, and don't need another UFO, so I must make another Patty Cakes variation. I used 2 sections together instead of a slice, and cut my 5"x9" slices down to 8 1/2" tall, and I had a nifty little quilt. I like how the little pieces look in their little columns. And it doesn't matter that the columns are a different width than the slices--it all still fits. I'll have to try this again with some other leftovers.
Trying to clean up the worktable, I didn't get very far. Some trimmings from the back of the purple City Girls quilt needed to be cut up and made into another little quilt. It is such a perfect background shade, I cut the scraps into spacer strips for a Patty Cakes. Then I pulled 5"x9" slices from the drawers, anything with purple. Every other row has the spacer on the right or left. And this time I didn't trim the rows so the spacer would be centered over the slice--I just let them be with a little jog. I like this variation, too--and how good the purples look together for total scraps. I know, I know, you purple people out there would just tell me--DUH, of course they look good together.

Today's best....watching the rain and finishing little quilts that I like.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Piece, Quilt, Bind

Just a little of everything today, including listing quilts for sale on the website and etsy. Last minute gifts anyone?

I bound one of Grandma Pam's that had been quilted for a while. This was made with Saturday sampler blocks from Cloth and Quilts. She set them with this wonderful Tree of Life center.

Quilted and bound this 5 and Dime wannabe that I had made out of one of my favorite groups--City Girl by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex.

Pieced, quilted and bound a charity quilt kit that Susan had made up out of my old fabric heaps. This is a fun little pattern called Cornerpost, from an old magazine, that we had used in classes past. The best part?--it uses 5" squares and 5"x 9 1/2" rectangles. I sense a variation coming...Today's best....start-to-finish little charity quilt.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Almost too cold to quilt. We got down to 24 last night--some record lows in our part of Central and Northern California. Frozen pond--worse, frozen dog water dish.

Lots of tea and typing for me. Uploading more quilts to sell.

And finishing things. Old card tricks and this wonderful Sunrise wallhanging designed by our friend Janice Skiles. Doesn't the shading look wonderful in photos--should look great on somebody's wall.

Today's best....finally warming up in the sun--all of 39, a Minnesota heat wave.

Monday, December 7, 2009

White Christmas

We've had our White Christmas here today. It's not often that it snows at our elevation, but today's storm went down low as predicted. So this is what we had this morning.

Five hours later it was gone, so we were glad we got photos and walked around in it, marveling at the cotton blossoms of snow on the oak trees. It was magical how it all appeared and disappeared in such a short time, almost as if staged.

Just to prove to myself that it had really snowed in our area, I drove 10 minutes and 1000 feet up the hill to where the snow line usually is, and sure enough it was full on winter wonderland there still. It's a California thing to be able to pick and choose our weather and scenery.

This past week has been Christmas in the foothills for us. It included my guild parties, the Cornish Christmas street fair in Grass Valley Friday night, and then today's snow. Wow--I can't remember doing this much since the kids' Holiday music programs.

The rest of the time we have been preparing for our trip to see kids in Minnesota and Texas--in less than 2 weeks, we realized.

Quilting wise, I have been finishing old, old projects and successfully using up old, old fabrics for backs and bindings--very, very pleased with that. I have the blocks done on the Christmas pinrail--90 of them. The decision now needs to be made--one big quilt or two or three small ones.

Taking a breather from all that Christmas fabric, I pulled and planned a little service quilt. The idea was to use a couple columns of a toile scrap from a back. I got all of the pieces sewn and laid out and discovered a goof in the calculations. So I subbed 2 more light rows for the toile space. And then I thought it needed to be one row longer. Much better--I like the finished product and effect, however far it was from the original plan. No computer programs or graph paper for me--I can sew and fix faster than I can design. That's also the beauty of making service quilts from old fabric--not a lot to lose, and it's stress free fun.

These other two are another of the rail quilts with panel and Pam's sweet little baskets.

Today's best....SNOW!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Red Dirt Exposed

Our red dirt really shows when the grass is scraped away. So the orchard area is prepped, as is this nifty garden area that is bordered with the little red rock wall. All in a day's work yesterday.

I got most of the car unpacked and some of the inventory updated. Then back to the "finish old tops project." One Radiant 9 Patch, one class sample with the Interweave baby quilt, and a Double Nine Patch from an old Alex Anderson book, I believe.

Today's best....crisp early winter walk about the red dirt.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Take Two

A little earth was moved at our place with a little earth mover. Husband hired a local to grade out some areas on the property where the orchard will be, cleaned and smoothed and banked around the pond, and created a garden area with rock wall. Pretty good for a day's work in our red dirt.

Meanwhile, tonight I celebrated Christmas again with the Valley Quilt Guild this time. They had a great table full of quilts to give to local organizations, especially babies and foster kids. I also got to vend again. How is that for timing--didn't even have to unload my car from last night.

I got so into the Christmas and quilting spirit, even though I got home late, I had to work on a Christmas strip project. I got a box of Christmas fabric strips from a friend, mostly 2 1/2", but some 3" and 3 1/2". I have been sewing the 2 1/2" together in pairs--180 of them into 90 pairs. This part has taken days. But tonight I actually made some blocks, and they are busy fun.The plan is to make some these Spin Rail blocks from 4 4 1/2" cuts, make a Rainbow Strippy using 17" of each pair, and then cut 6 1/2" from the remainder of the strip for a Chinese Coins. Let's see how it goes.

Today's best....the Valley Quilt Guild party and the stack of quilts for kids.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Begins

The month of December started off with the first Christmas party--with the Pine Tree Quilt Guild tonight. It was a very nice potluck and I got to introduce some of my fabrics and quilts to them as a vendor.

I also spent the day finishing more of those long ago projects. My favorite of the lot, and the one that got the most attention tonight, is this Three Rail beginner quilt with a cat panel. The idea came from Mary Ellen Hopkins and her infinite variations. A couple things to remember if you try this at home--measure a few blocks sewn together to decide on the exact size of the panel. Also, it looks a little more arty with the diagonal path if the panel is placed off center.

Today's best....Pine Tree Quilt Guild's party.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Late Happy Thanksgiving

We had a great late Thanksgiving here with my family. The cousins got along well, as you can see on this sunny afternoon on the deck. Now I have a week ahead of Guild Christmas parties--two major holidays in less than a week.

For quilting, I am trying to finish some service quilts to hand off to the guilds in time to give away. I am concentrating on ufos, which are plentiful. In moving things around to clean out the guest room, I was forced to open a container that just happened to have some old small Christmas tops. Now is the time to finish these. One favorite is the old Garden Path table topper here. I raided Grandma Pam's stash for the back and some old Kona Bay for the binding.

Today's best....the pretty little Garden path and another sunny lunch outside.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Arbor Day

Because we don't have enough trees, the gardener is planting his first of many more trees. See the fall color on this red oak?

On this stunningly warm and sunny late November day, we also had another critter sighting--the great spotted sun squirrel.

The light and shadows have been so wonderful to watch around here, after a single dreary day Sunday, I can't seem to take myself away from simply watching out my windows or sitting on the sun on the deck. I've also felt the need to make a dent in the cleaning up and finding places for the heaps of stuff I have around here. I succeeded in getting rid of some piles and organizing some others, and feel I like a weight has been lifted. Plus, we can now at least accommodate one guest in the guest room.

As always, I still find time to quilt and sew. First, another variation on Patty Cakes using scraps of a decorator chintz and scrappy lights. This takes about an hour to sew--makes you feel like you really accomplished something.

Then, the Hawaiian Take 5, Scrap 5--where I subbed for my 5"squares and 5"x9 1/2" and 9 1/2" squares. While looking for something else, I came across a collection of Hawaiian print squares that I bought cheap online, and have used for other quilts. I added anything else I had that looked Hawaiian, African or just leafy to the mix. It came out busy and kooky--my kind of quilt.

Today's best....almost hot sunshine.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Clear Day

I spent yesterday afternoon in Roseville, mostly working on the antique mall booth. I have given notice there--it isn't working for me as I had hoped, though it is a great place. I'll have a sale these last couple weeks, so I had to pull out what I don't want to sell cheap and add things that I do want gone at any cost. It was a long afternoon in the rain to start with, but I did get to do some personal/Christmas shopping when I got done.

Today I had to run more quilts over to Crafters Cottage--Julie keeps selling my little quilts.

I quilted and added more remnants and quilts to the website.

I finished this quilt that has been sitting with a back ready. It's the Take 5 done completely scrappy, instead of the 5 fabrics the pattern calls for. And I realized that I converted it to my favorite sizes--5" squares, 5"x 9 1/2" rectangles, and 9 1/2" squares. So the block finishes 13 1/2" instead of 12", and I made just 12 blocks. With borders it finished 58"x 70".
Now I want to hit the scrap bag and precut drawers and make another. (You all know of course that scrap bag is never a singular term).

Today's best....a beautiful clear day after the rain, perfect for sunning, sewing, and selling quilts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Quilts

My little quilts are selling well at Crafter's Cottage in PV. I needed to make another neutral baby quilt out of the Riley circus fabric. So I did--this afternoon, start to finish, quilted and bound.This time I did it in my Only One pattern, with the middle 2 blocks replaced with a little circus panel or medallion, as it were. This block is simply made up of one each, 3 1/2"x 3 1/2", 3 1/2"x 6 1/2", 6 1/2"x4 1/2" and 6 1/2"x 5 1/2" . The whole top is made only from a little bloom pack of 10 11"x 22".

Today's best....having to replace a quilt that sold.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Service Quilting

Most of the day was spent finishing community service quilts. I quilted the top I made yesterday from the 5x9 cake slices. This one is all of the homespun plaids in the drawers, alternated with blues in the middle, all plaid for the outside row. The plan was to give a denim and plaid look. The contrasts didn't show up well for the intended effect, but it is still another quilt done, another batch of fabric used up. Grandma Pam's stash supplied back and binding--2 more pieces used up. The 88 pieces--11 wide by 8 tall--made a nice 51"x68" size.

This second one was an orphan quilt top--unclaimed quilting work. A little quick quilting, some perky red binding from the 2 1/2" strip drawer, and another quilt is done and on the shelf ready to give.

I had fun with this last one. I pulled all of the 30's reproductions from the 5x9 and 5x9 1/2 drawers. I had plenty to make this charm quilt of 48 5"x9" slices, with 1 1/2" strips between.
I even had some 9" strips left from something--perfect to cut for the spacers. This one just worked all the way around, including how I envisioned it.Here are the numbers for this little Thirties quilt--it finished 42"x51"
48 5"x9" (or 5 x 9 1/2")
48 1 1/2"x 9" (or 1 1/2"x 9 1/2")
Add the little spacer strip to the right of each of the slices
Lay out the rows 8 across by 6 down
Sew the rows
To get the jog--cut 2 3/4" off the right side of rows 1,3,5--cut 2 3/4" off the left side of rows 2,4,6
Sew the rows together

Today's best....the charming little 30's quilt.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We got some rain this evening at last. Thank you Washington for sending some our way. Daytime it was nice and warm and sunny--how great was our timing.

Another great idea from Washington is another quilt using the panel squares in the Yellow Brick Road. This one is Christie's.

I got my green quilt finished. Don't know why this one intrigued me so, but I love how the fabrics worked.

Also I finished the binding on this service quilt. It's made from some orphan blocks that I surrounded with little blocks, borders, and binding made from binding scraps. I pulled mostly tone on tone blues to try to give the denim look. I felt very accomplished for making use of stuff from the scrap boxes. I even found a very cool back in Grandma Pam's old fabric--and it was 60" wide--perfect score.

Today's best....finishing my new favorite green quilt.

Monday, November 16, 2009


We've been marveling at how green our grass looks, even with just the least bit of rain. Plus we've got a bit of fall all around.

Meanwhile, inside the house, I am totally jazzed about my little green number here. It's my original Rosette pattern number 1, (to be renamed later) done with scrappy spacers. I started with a little Bloom pack of 10 green Kaffe Fassett and friends. My first thought was to use batik spacers, but my batiks were just a little too quiet. But wait---I have these wonderful bundles of light limey greens in Amy Butler's Midwest Modern and Daisy Chain! One nearly leaped onto the cutting table to go with the green Kaffes.Now to get it quilted and properly photographed.

Today's little green quilt top to go with my green landscape.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


What are The EDLOS? Talent, training and showmanship. I just saw this quartet's A Capella Broadway performance at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley. What a thoroughly entertaining show. I love voices, so it was a joy to listen to, but they also made it fun. I wouldn't miss them if they are your area.

I checked out a couple craft fairs on this sunny, crisp afternoon. I am afraid that I am not helping these folks out much--not feeling very spendy, and we don't need anymore stuff! We're in a panic now with all that we have left to sort out and get rid of after the move. We can only have the bravest of guests, because the guest room is a junk room.

I looked at some housing, fun but not quite right. I squeezed in a little quilting, posted some great new 6 fat quarter packs of Kaffe Fassett and friends (more to come tomorrow), and worked on a couple quilt tops. I guess I got more done than I thought.

Today's best....The Edlos--A Cappella Broadway, bound to be a great show when started with the opening song from Cabaret.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tall Stack

I made this little Patty Cakes from a pack of Savon Bouquet. This time I cut them 5" x 10", to use every inch of the fabric and make the quilt a bit longer. I can't decide if I like it as well as the 5"x9". Maybe it is because I have made so many of the original 5x9, but this 10" feels just a little too long. Well, it is completely finished, along the with peaches and cream scrappy one and I do like it.

Today's easy, quiet day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catching Up

Taking trips always means prep and pack before, then regroup and unpack after. Last weekend was mostly making last minute packets of some favorite fabrics to take to King City. I took a little break with the gardener husband to consult on some plant buying, not that he needs my help to buy plants. I have accused him of acting like a quilter. We have 6 acres of trees, and what are we out buying? Trees--because he wants some different colors. So here we are, using the Utility function of our SUV. Oh, and I had to sit in the back seat, to make room for the tall trees.

This is the gardener's stash...our marshaling yard while he plans and grades the landscape for planting.

I had an easy drive down the King City--glad to find that it doesn't take too long to get down to the central coast area. Guild member Suzi offered her wonderful hospitality and lovely home. She has a fabulous sewing room added on to her house--a great place for her and the 8 grandkids to create and enjoy each other's company. Suzi, I enjoyed getting to know you. Thanks again, and I am looking forward to seeing you at some future event.

The Valley Heritage Guild gave me a very warm reception, with loads of help hauling my show and shop to and from the car. They were very generous with their thanks the ideas and patterns I passed along. What a wonderful community they have in King City.

Tuesday was my day to play in Monterey Peninsula. After lunch at my favorite Monterey restaurant, Rosine's, I had to walk it off by shopping. Pacific Grove is home to one of the best quilt shops, Back Porch Fabrics. I even bumped into customers from the valley there. It is such a great place to go, both Back Porch and the Monterey area in general, running into people I know has happened more than once.

The best thing about shopping this time of year, is that you can use Christmas shopping as an excuse. And I did. I honestly did get a great start on Christmas in all of my stops. It is so much better to shop for fun and just happen upon something perfect for somebody, rather than have to shop with a specific goal or item in mind. Is that the treasure hunter in us or just the love of discovery?

I cover a lot of ground when I am by myself. In total for the day, I went to downtown Monterey and Pacific Grove, drove along the ocean, shopped in Carmel, and stopped at the Gilroy outlets on the way home to Grandma Pam's in Turlock where I spent the night.

The best new find for me was Findings--a Sewing Emporium in Carmel. Nancy King-Monk has been there with this treasure of a shop for 8 years. I was there with my shop during half of that time--how shop-bound I was. This little shop is a wonder of a French-style sewing shop--a little of this, a little of that--trims, buttons, fabric, patterns, handmades--something new at every turn around the store.So I'm back home again, posting some new items on the web site, quilting and sewing. I made a Patty Cakes from the scrap drawer. This one alternates a common background fabric--I like this variation and I need to have a nice sample of it.I do think a couple new trees have been added to the staging area, but I can't be sure. He did admit to planting some wildflower seeds.

Today's best....recollecting my terrific trip.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rain, with Chance Sunflowers

We had wonderful misty weather today--it made everything so fresh and lush in the hills. I spent the day driving around looking at housing, dodging deer.

After pulling together more colorful packets, I felt the need for speed. I pulled a quick Pam Cakes from drawers of precut 5x9 drawers. The bird/sunflower print jumped out first, so along came anything sunflowery, yellow, green or black. It worked--I think it's fun for a one hour top.

Today's best....running around in our wet forest.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Space Station 2.0

Space Station Fryer has a second satellite connection. We finally got TV--with long nights ahead, we thought it time. Now to figure out how to program the darned thing. (Oh and note to self--close that open door on the right--that's where the last snake came into the house!)

We did some running around this afternoon, which included buying 15 oleanders to create a barrier between us and a neighbor's guest house.

I got one quilt finished, and I wrapped bundles of 6 Kaffe Fassett fat quarters. I had so many just sitting, doing nothing on my shelves. Six is a fun size to make--pretty easy to get 6 Kaffe fabrics to go together. They are all ready to take to King City next week. I can't do a color presentation without Kaffe Fassett fabrics.Today's best....with 6 you get Kaffe rolls.