Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quilting during blackouts

Last week, a big storm blew through and our lights (and everything else) went out on Monday afternoon and stayed out until Wednesday evening.  I had a one-burner propane camping stove, lots of flashlights and candles but with no heat it got very cold inside.  Whereas friends and family had fireplaces to keep them warm, I had to resort to sweaters, gloves and hats.  It got very boring by the second evening but I did hand-sew a block when I got tired of reading.  Had to sew in the daytime when I had natural light since sewing while holding a flashlight... or by candlelight... would have been tough.

Appliqué techniques continue to challenge me and the handles on these baskets look like a beginner did them.... but I'm still a beginner.... at least I feel like one.  My points are always a little too close to the 1/4 inch.  My stitching isn't the greatest.  But they look good when they're done and I'm not entering my quilts in any contests.  lol

So, after the lights came back on after 48 hours, I couldn't wait to cut out and finish up another block with my machine.

I paper-pieced the blue and yellow star points and the rest of the block was pretty simple cutting, measuring and seaming.

Jaik was sweet enough to help me.  haha!

 This doesn't look like a lot of snow but it turned into 4-6 inches over a three day period.  Because I don't put winter tires on my car (because we seldom get much snow in this area) I couldn't drive my car.  We have lots of hills on this island and I didn't want to go slipping and sliding down one of them or into other cars.
Because I couldn't cook, I cancelled my Thanksgiving dinner and invited myself over to my son and DIL's to spend the day with their guests and my grandsons.  The outage didn't seem to affect their house much at all.  Dinner was delicious.... Seafood Cassoulet with clams, shrimp and scallops.   Mmm, good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Call for Healing Hearts

Twenty-nine miners are trapped and feared dead in a New Zealand mine tragedy.  A quilter is requesting 6 1/2 inch heart blocks to be made into Healing Heart quilts by her for the families of those miners.

The instructions to make the blocks and where to send them is here.  Please help if you can.  I'm going to do as many heart blocks as I can today - Thanksgiving.   I'm staying in today because of icy roads.  This sounds like a project for a day on which we give thanks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Challenging blocks

If anyone wants a challenge, Sylvia's Bridal Sampler is the quilt that will challenge you.  There are things about the book that I would write differently eg: cutting instructions but the quilt is so pretty that it's worth the trouble to get used to how they're written.

And I've started on the next row.....
 This is the way it should turn out if I can get all those little basket handles sewn on by hand...
I should have been able to complete those four tiny blocks and got them sewn together today, but I became so tired that I could barely concentrate.  Well, a lot has been going on lately and I didn't push myself; I sat down with a New Yorker magazine and read and napped for a while.   I entertained my two daughters last night... not late, but I find hosting dinner a little stressful now for some reason.

Our weather has been getting down into the 30's at night, 40's in the daytime so it's been chilly and the forecasters are predicting snow on the weekend.  That would be the earliest we've had snow; it usually waits until December or January.  I'm prepared... winter clothing at the ready but if it's not raining outside, I prefer to wear a sweater until it gets colder in the daytime.

So, tomorrow the baskets block should be done and up on the wall.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here I Am...

Thought I would let you know that my brother's service was very comforting.  He loved the outdoors and spent a number of years fishing in Alaska during which he developed some strong friendships with the men he worked with.  Each of them had a story to tell about Doug.... some scary, like when he fell off the ship and the swells were huge.  But one of the guys grabbed his arm and held on until they could winch him back onboard.  Some of the stories were funny but every single one of those men had the deepest respect for my brother and his work ethic as well as what a great friend he was to everyone he met.  Very comforting stories for his family.

Even though it's been traumatic over the past couple of weeks, I still got some blocks done which I want ot share with you.  As you know I started a Sylvia's Bridal Quilt.... and I now have the full first row completed.

And I'm making the entire quilt with my 1950 Singer Featherweight machine, which I've finally decided is going to be a working machine, not just a collectible.  I love the beautiful stitches it makes.

I started soaking the fruit for my Christmas cakes on November 1st, a little late.... and they sat in that brandy for almost a week before I managed to add the other ingredients.  So it should be interesting to taste the cakes, which are in a cool place wrapped in brandy-soaked cheesecloth until I decide to gift one to someone.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and waiting until I got back.  And thank you, each and everyone, for the condolences...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Brother died

My brother didn't feel well Monday, November 1st and called for an ambulance.  He had a seizure after losing consciousness on the way to hospital and his heart stopped.  They brought him back and put him on life support - respirator etc.  I drove from WA to Canada to see him and his two daughters.

On Wednesday night, a nurse told us that he was brain dead.... in a vegetative state.  I don't know whether to be glad that I got to spend a couple of days with him while I thought he was still alive or be angry that they kept him alive for me to hold the hand of a dead man.  So, the respirator was removed and he passed away early the following day... the 5th at 3:34am.

He was the baby of the family and was much to young to die.  The service is on Friday so I'll leave here at 5am to get on the 8:20am ferry, then drive 2+ hours up island to the small town where he lived.  Sad.

I have been quilting off and on and will post pictures of the blocks when I get over this.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Went to CA!

Drove to Eureka CA on Friday, arrived at 11am on Saturday.  My granddaughter, M, has decided to live in that area with her new friend, A.  They are camping hippie-like and asked if we could bring them winter supplies because it's getting cold there at night, so her mother and I packed up clothing, tarps and sleeping bags and headed south.  We didn't stay long.... just a few hours but M and A seemed happy to see us and get 'stuff'.
Walking in the Avenue of the Giants
Hwy 101 lined with eucalyptus trees
Elk along Hwy 101
After assuring ourselves that 'the kids' were okay, we went a bit further on Hwy 101 to see the new baby.  She's so cute... really tiny.... and so quiet for a new baby.  But she's a preemie born 3 weeks early so she has some catching up to do.  The parents decided to keep the name Momoko.  I love the name so I'm happy.

We stayed Saturday and Sunday night and were back home Monday night at 10:30pm... so it's about a 14.5 hour drive from the Bay area to Bainbridge Island.

I began making the Sylvia's Bridal Quilt last week before I left for CA.  I completed one block each day for a total of two.   Today I got back to sewing and made one more block and am finishing up the appliqué on a fourth block.
I'm using yellow background in various shades of yellow Moda fabric and different colors from my stash to make the blocks.

 I had a difficult time choosing the right colors to use for this block.  I think I finally found some blues that look okay together.  Anyway, I'll live with it for a while and maybe do it over if I can't stand it.
Not being an expert appliqué-er, this will be good practice for me, making this quilt.  

So, it was a busy week.... but I did get some quilting done! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Momo has arrived!

My new grand daughter was born yesterday on 10/10/2010.  Her name is Momoko, which means 'peach child' in japanese.  She is very beautiful in the pictures I've received.  My son is so happy!

So, should I drive from WA to CA to see her?  Or should I leave the happy parents alone with their peachie baby for a few weeks?  If it snows in northern CA, it will be difficult to drive through so I'm thinking about that.  I do want to visit her within the next month, but how soon is the question?

Decisions, decisions....

Update:  the parents think that the name Momoko (moe-moe-koe) will be too difficult for people in the US to pronounce so they're researching different names.  Asako (Ah-suh-koe) likes Addison.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Art and cats

Almost forgot that it was Jaik and Jules birthdays on October 7th.  They turned 4 years old and sre still annoying little kittens.  Five o'clock this morning I woke to loud chewing noises but I was too tired to get up (went to sleep at 2am) but this morning, I found toy mice chewed up alongside my bed.  Now why couldn't they have chewed those up in another room?  But they're cute... and they do sleep a lot so only annoying at times.  I guess I'll keep them.
Jules, who loves to chew on things.  Here, he's shredding his new toy that someone brought him

Jules, looking sweet

Jaik, sleeping comfortably

New package of TP.... an example of their chewing ability
So, happy birthday boys!  Hopefully in the next few years, they'll learn not to chew up everything in sight.

SAM (Seattle Art Museum) has a Picasso exhibit which began yesterday and my son invited me to go along with he and his son, Hugo, who is 9.  So we had to leave at 5pm to get on the 5:30 ferry arriving in Seattle at 6:05.  Our reservations at SAM were for 6:20 so we thought we had plenty of time to walk the 6 or 7 blocks to SAM from the ferry dock, but it took a bit longer and we arrived there at 6:27pm.  Great paintings and lots of drawings so it was really interesting.  I've read the 3 (or is it 4?) volume biography of Picasso's life and it was nice to see his masterpieces in person.... coming directly from a museum in France.  Keep it up, SAM.... great exhibit!

After the exhibit, we stopped at the museum's restaurant, Taste, for a glass of wine for us and clementine juice and pizza for Hugo.  Picasso viewing must have made him very hungry because he ate his little pepperoni pizza along with a bit of our frites and cheese plate.  He was very polite to everyone he met (and Hugo talks to everyone) and so was a great guy to have along.  We got on the 10:05pm ferry to go home so tired Hugo was in bed by 11pm.... full of lifesavers that he bought out of a vending machine on the ferry.

I did no quilting yesterday because the Picasso invitation came so suddenly.  I have no blocks to show you... but today I'll be home all day and will make up for it.  Well, my schedule is never set in stone so I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers that I'll get some quilting done today.  Can't make promises.  lol

Happy quilting!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Reading blogs, not blogging!

I've been doing too much running around and haven't found any time to sit down and post an entry.  Then there's the 'problem' of me spending my time reading too many of other people's blogs.  I can't help it; I find it supremely interesting to read blogs by people from other countries but also from the US.  I get caught up and forget to write anything myself.  haha  Because I don't think what I'm doing is very interesting, I suppose.

Anyway.... I found another blogger who is a member of the Dear Jane website where folks periodically post requests for assistance with quilts and 'Cindy' asked for members to send her the Hannah Lou's Hearts block (got the instructions from That Quilt blog) to put on the back of a quilt she's making for her mother.  She's making the quilt out of her recently-deceased brother's tshirts and thought the back of the quilt would look nice with pink heart blocks.  I think it will look fabulous, too, so I made one and will put it in the mail today.  Here's how I did it.

First, I traced the block pattern from the Dear Jane book onto freezer paper, cut out the hearts and used the fp pattern to audition the pink fabric I had in my stash (not much admittedly because I'm not a big fan of pink).  Then I chose the fabric that I thought looked best.






I chose #2.  The others were either too dull or the pattern was too large. 

This is the actual block from the original quilt made by Jane Stickle and it's nice, but I like the way it's been translated into 4 hearts in the pattern.

This the pattern I used to trace onto freezer paper.

Freezer paper ironed onto fabric, then the heart cut out with 1/4" seam and glued to the back

Back of the heart with 1/4" seam being folded to the back and lightly glued
Do the same treatment to all four hearts

Trace around the heart-shaped openings in the fp pattern onto the selected background, then lift fp off and apply hearts.  I basted the hearts into position so they wouldn't move during appliquéing.

Voilā .... hearts appliqued onto backing... washed, spritzed with a little sizing and ironed.

I removed the excess white fabric under the appliqued hearts leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  Now to walk over to the post office and send it off.  I see blue skies outside but rain is forecast for the next 3 days so I'll have to choose the right time to go out.  haha

Have a good day, everyone.  Hope you all have something fun to work on.  I'll be working on my yellow quilt - Sylvia's Bridal.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Quilter Has a Request

As I wandered through the internet looking for inspiration to make a baby quilt, I came across Lizzie's website.  She has a friend who is terminally ill and would like to make a quilt for her... not just any quilt, but a quilt with blocks from as many quilting sisters as will agree to send her one of their blocks.  Click on the link at the right at the top of the page and you'll be taken to Lizzie's blog page explaining how to get her address.

I think her idea is great and my two blocks will be in the mail tomorrow to her in Australia.  It's a long way to send them but quilters are world-wide sisters so I hope that others will send blocks also.

This block is one that I made for my Sylvia's Bridal Quilt but I've finally ordered more yellow fabric and I'll make another one when it arrives.  I love the bright cheery colors.

This block is one that was left over from a table runner I made.  I like the maple leaf pattern... and I was born in Canada so I think the maple leaf runs in my DNA.

My dd and I went to the state fair last week to see Willie Nelson, one of my very favorite entertainers and a very nice person as well.  We had a great time.

As you can see, we bought the program, making our contribution to the man who started FarmAid many, many years ago.  Like I said... a nice guy.

This little doggie didn't look too happy to be spending her time on a table at the fair but at least she was out of the rain... and look how cute she is... just had to take her picture.

The fair was fun although it did rain a little while we were there.  Luckily I had my cowboy boots and hat on to keep me dry. My dd went hatless.... a true northwesterner!