Saturday, December 31, 2011

Snow at last!

We finally had some snow in Central Oregon creating the winter wonderland look we love. It's a bit chilly outside, though, and icy, so I'm staying inside and watching from the warmth of the house! Just wanted to show you how gorgeous it gets here.

I have an odd shaped (triangular) window in my sewing room which affords a beautiful view of the trees as well as the snow on the roof!!

My family is here so I've done no sewing, which is fine. Yesterday it was a little rainy but not terribly cold so I got to take my darling grandson Ryan for a walk with the giant Max, who is wonderful walking alongside the stroller!

My latest leader-ender project, which I'd started last year, is the bow tie blocks which are 2" finished! They're great fun.

Lest you think I've forgotten: Happy New Year to everyone in blogland! It's been great fun and I'm loving it. I wish you a wonderful, healthy, happy 2012~

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scrapping my back

Having finished making my little cheddar/blue top using orphans blocks, I thought it only fitting that the back be pieced with orphans as well. I love doing that. It takes more time, of course, but I was able to use up scraps of fabrics I wasn't using and blocks which I was happy to put someplace.  It's not sexy but it's useful!!

All our kids are here in Sunriver, along with our darling grandson, Ryan, who is happy in my closet once again! It's not looking very white here, but I'm not unhappy because I can walk on the bikepaths without ice!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheddar/Blue quiltlet!!

Our little retreat was 3 of us: me, Claire and Lori. We went for daily walks and actually had a dusting of snow the first day.

Our last night of our retreat was spent having a lovely dinner at the Lodge up at the Sunriver Resort. Neither Claire nor Lori had ever been here at Christmas time and I wanted them to see the beautiful Christmas lights which adorn the trees outside the resort.  Here is a sample of some of the lights: a little train with gifts!

After finishing my toile top (which has a mistake, by the way!!), I decided to work on some orphan 4-patch blocks. Lori helped me come up with a design for this little quiltlet. It's blue and cheddar, which are just gorgeous together.'

My family has started arriving today, and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of SNOW!! I mean, seriously: I have that snowblower sitting idle in my garage!!! Speaking of which, did you ever know that garage door openers have LOCKS? Someone flipped the "lock" switch on our garage door opener and it effectively disabled the OPEN function. Did I feel stupid when my son just looked at it and flipped the switch?? Too funny.

Have a great Christmas weekend! It's the 4th night of Chanukah tonight and the menorah is starting to look beautiful with all the lights!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Toile be a happy camper!!

Our little retreat has been great fun. Lori cranks out the projects, making it look so easy. She brought her DJ quilt over to show us and it's very inspiring!! I don't know that I'd try to make the quilt but it is a stunner and she is rightly very proud of it.

I've moved on from the little mystery pieces to a project I wanted to make in Wisconsin but was stymied by the math. I figured it out, worked on it all day and VOILA--- finished.

This is made with a toile I'd bought in Paris when Bonnie and I went 2 years ago. I'd been looking for the right pattern to be able to utilize the gorgeous print. I mean, who wants to cut into this fabric?? Ultimately I cut the blocks down just a tiny bit. But, I'll tell ya: I barely had enough of the fabric left to go. I used a different blue for the little 9 patches but didn't bring more than a few strips with me so I was forced to cut into the leftover toile -- I used just about every single 1.75" square... I think I had about 3 or 4 little pieces leftover. NO SCRAPS left!!!

Today I'm playing with some orphan 4-patches which Lori and I configured into a simple setting. Hopefully I can show you that tomorrow.

It's been a fun week with my friends. We went for walks every afternoon when the temperature went all the way up into the 30s! We've been having 5* mornings, which is a little brisk when I've taken Max outside at 7 AM...

Hope everyone is having a great week.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mini retreat!!

Greetings from chilly Sunriver!! Did I mention that Lori, Claire and I were going to get together for a short retreat this week.  Claire and I drove up yesterday and Lori came over this afternoon (after we hit a couple of quilt shops in Bend first, of course).  We immediately went for a walk and you can see that we had a dusting of snow this morning. It's in the 30s with no snow on the ground, really.  It's still beautiful.

Claire and I sewed late into the night last night and I was busy working on my mystery. I finally got all the 5-1/2" string blocks done. They are all shades of purple. I had great fun doing them, although the pile of strips didn't seem to go down much.

I had to get my Ryan-fix before I left so my husband and I went to see my daughter's family on Saturday. Ryan turned 2 on Friday... Hard to believe.  Here he is in Golden Gate Park.

I will report in on our retreat progress. We are looking forward to having a great time (although it's not really complete with our Bonnie-girl, I'll tell ya!!). Have a great week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Chanukah

We are Jewish and celebrate all the holidays, including Chanukah.  It starts on Saturday night and goes for 8 nights.  We light a candle each night on our menorah, adding one each night. When the kids were little, we'd give them a small gift each night.  We belong to a synagogue nearby and they are having a Chanukah party.  I volunteered to make rice pilaf for maybe 50... I couldn't believe how much rice I had to buy!!

I will report back on Saturday with more details about our holiday.  One of my favorite foods for the holiday is a potato latke (potato pancake) with homemade applesauce. Y U M M Y !!

I'm heading up to Sunriver on Sunday for a small retreat with my dear friends Claire and Lori, kind of a pre-Christmas sewing fest! So you'll be hearing from us up there, probably snow blowing!! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Not a lot of sewing goin' on...

I have tried to keep up with Bonnie's steps but I'm still a little behind. Oh well. I finally figured out my colors: I'm doing PURPLE and NEON GREEN. Oh and the 3" strings are YELLOW! It's gonna be bright and I LOVE IT.

My son had a friend visiting from Chicago this week so I took her sightseeing on Monday along the coast, up towards Half Moon Bay.  We drove past a farm and saw this guy watching us very carefully!

I got to pick up our darling grandson Ryan (who turned TWO on Friday) on Tuesday and he was being a smarty-pants, pulling off his socks and putting them in his mouth. Thought it was hysterical. I have to admit it was funny...

Hope everyone has a great Thursday!! Back to sewing for me, as it's a rainy, cool day here in Northern California, although it's in the 50s so I'm not complaining!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Didn't make a dent?

I went to my friend Claire's house yesterday for a morning of sewing. I brought along my yellow strings and am proud to say that I finished all 72 blocks! But, guess what? I still had a huge pile of strips left!! OMG. I thought I'd make a dent in the pile, but NO....

Today's project is the quarter square triangles. I'm using greens, ranging from dark pine green to lime green! I like a lot of variety. Unfortunately I've only done about 50...quite a few more.

Off to the grocery store to get food for dinner and a walk with Max---then back to work! Loving this mystery!!

Hope everyone is having a great week. What is everyone working on??

Monday, December 5, 2011

I must be getting something done....

Recently, my friend Claire told me about find great deals on Never one to miss a bargain, I went online and happened upon a great backing fabric. I bought the rest of the bolt (15 yds!) at something like $2.50/yd with free shipping. Well, I must be getting something done because I've gone through the whole bolt...This is all that's left. And I love the fabric. It's been perfect for all kinds of quilts.

Recently I retreated with friends in Wisconsin. One of the women I met this time was a fabulous machine quilter, Marge West. I was anxious to have her quilt something for me and I wound up sending her a top I recently bought on ebay for about $75.  She just sent it back and did a beautiful job. I have to say the top looks much better now that it's got this gorgeous quilting. Isn't it fabulous? She does amazing work and I feel incredibly lucky to have found her.

Back to the mystery pieces.... Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eye candy...

Remember I was telling you about the wind storms we had this week, knocking out power (*UGH* no sewing**) and sending pine needles in piles all over my yard? We went out today to start to clean up the mess and I found this: a small patio table with its glass top lifted off the table and deposited in the planter adjacent to it...NO , it didn't break. But that sounds like tornado-type behavior...  DH and DS were outside fixing the kitty's little lean-to and the dogs' kennel, both of which were blown off!

The power is back on and I'm starting to sew, at last. I am a little behind on the mystery but did start the quarter-square triangles. I'm doing mine in green (my strings are yellow)...never the one to do what everyone else is doing, I had to try different colors.  It's going to be fun and I've enjoying getting reacquainted with the companion angle for these puppies. See next picture for samples.

My dear friend DarLynn is a great fabric shopper, I'll tell ya. She was going to our friend Pat's shop in Janesville and I persuaded her to pick up a **few** fqs for me, since there was a sale. Well, that's not possible... "seriously?" DarLynn asked?? A few?? --heehee-- anyway, here are the adorable fqs she picked and I just LOVE the colors. Those reds are gorgeous. And, of course, I "needed" this fabric for sure!!! The colors didn't come out very well, but OH MAN... I'm chomping at the bit to cut into these guys. I did already cut a couple of strips of green for my mystery pieces.

Hope everyone is having a glorious weekend. Now that the wind has stopped, we are enjoying beautiful 60* weather. Gotta love California.  What's everyone working on?? I want to hear so I can get some ideas for my new fqs!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Flashlights are invaluable

Did you read about the terrible wind storms California has suffered the past day or so?  Well, we lost our power almost all day yesterday because of the ridiculously high winds. Flashlights, candles and lanterns were the hot items in our house.  It was really frustrating because I had planned to get lots of sewing done, but NO electricity. Pine needles are about 6-8" deep!!

I thought you'd appreciate seeing a tree that fell across the road around the corner from me. I took this while maneuvering around it, in my car, so it's not a great picture. But now do you believe me??

I'm going to sew tonight, though, and hopefully this weekend. Got to get caught up on the mystery. And work on some little gifts I want to get done.

have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Great holiday

Thanks for all the suggestions on how to avoid repeating the pumpkin pie debacle. The truth is that the home-made replacement was probably much better than the soggy store-bought one (before it got soggy).

I didn't get much sewing done this week, with the family being here. I also have been known to hog the darling grandson ...  I did get a bunch of strings done for Bonnie's mystery. I'm doing yellow instead of her blues. I still have quite a ways to go, though, but what fun.

Did I ever mention that Ryan sleeps in my closet? We have a pack n play in our somewhat spacious closet and he has slept quite well in it since he was first born... I think he finds it cozy and comfortable. It occurred to me that I'd never photographed these sleeping arrangements so I took a picture the other night after he'd gone to bed. Adorable or what??

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, whatever you did. I head back to California tomorrow...have an 8 hr drive to cover the 530 miles...Just me and Max. Everyone either flew home or drove back already. My house is empty and I'll be happy to be back home in California.   Have a great Monday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin pie is.....

Greetings from snowy Sunriver! It's perfectly appropriate for Thanksgiving for it to snow here. And, mind you, I'm watching Wisconsin's weather, and it's NOT snowing!

I love pumpkin pie but I guess I can live without it this year. OMG. I bought a fancy pie at a bakery in Bend a few days ago and didn't have room in the refrigerator to keep it cool so I put it in a cooler with ice in the garage. Well, the ice  melted and the pie wound up sitting in ice water... Soggy pie was not what the founding fathers (or my family) had in mind for Thanksgiving. That was a big waste of $$$. And no pumpkin pie for the cool whip!!

So we're actually going to make a pie from scratch. Fortunately our local store here is open until 4.
Anybody else have some unforeseen calamity occur? As they say in France, c'est pas grave. Life goes on. And the important thing is everyone is together.  RIGHT??? VBG

Hope everyone had a good one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Family's here

Greetings from Sunriver, where it has finally warmed up! The snow has melted and it's in the 40s...I know it's still colder than Wisconsin!@!!

I did put together a top before everyone arrived. I'm trying to decide if I should add a border or not. These are blocks that I originally made for an American Jane enormous quilt, which I abandoned.  The fabrics are all kid type themes and I fussy cut many of the centers in the Ohio stars.  I'm thinking of using the American Jane yardstick fabric for a border, which I had used in the center of the quilt, as a border between the stars. I'm curious about your opinions.

No border except the black one
With the American Jane yardstick fabric laid out...opinions??

So my daughter/son in law/darling grandson are here (as are my other 2 kids and husband). We HAD to get some new bath toys so I took him to the local toy store and found a duckie and fishie for the tub. But the best find was a little shopping basket, which he just couldn't put down. Here's a picture of my daughter Rachel with the darling boy, who turns 2 in about 2 weeks...Note the snow has almost melted.

I'm exceedingly grateful for my life and the people in it. Thank you for being a part of my world.  I wish everyone a wonderful day at Thanksgiving and hope you are spending it surrounded with people you love. I know we are all very thankful for the wonderful lives we have. I certainly am!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cold outside... but warm to sew inside

I promised more posts this week.  Here you go.
I moved my sewing machine upstairs to a "permanent" spot so I won't have to move it from the dining room table when the family starts arriving tomorrow. This is the view from the window. It's kind of distracting, don't ya think?? vbg

We've had quite a bit of snow in the past 2 days. I showed you my snow blowing prowess already...I had to do the driveway again this morning. Good thing no one was there with a camera as I'm not very adept...the blower would blow the snow off to the side, but then it blew right back onto my face, hat, scarf and gloves. I looked quite the sight.  Anyway, here is our backyard.  We have put some plastic chairs to cover the natural gas line:

Did I say how cold it is? It's in the 20s...and this is Oregon, NOT Wisconsin!!

I want to take Max for a walk but I'll wait until it warms up to 30! Oh and I'll have to put on my "chains" for my boots...those rubbery-things that fit over the soles so I don't slip on the ice!!

I will show you what I'm working on later...putting together some blocks I made for a project I abandoned. My favorite kind of sewing!!

have a great Saturday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's almost Thanksgiving...holy ****

Hi all,
I can't believe where this month has gone. You can see what a lousy blogger I am...sorry.
I am currently up at our house in Sunriver (where we retreat in the summer) and I can tell you it's NOT summer anymore here. This was me early this morning:

Figuring out how to start the darn thing was quite a challenge. My husband doesn't arrive until tomorrow so it was my issue! there I was, manual in hand, gloves on, trying to get the darn thing started. But, TADA...women CAN run snowblowers afterall!

I picked up 2 quilts from the machine quilter who does most all my quilts, Sandy Lachowski.  The 2 quilts are related. The first one, Licorice Allsorts (which I've shown you) was made in July using 30s fabrics with a black background.

When I made this quilt, I made bonus triangles (Bonnie's method) and had lots of extra strips.  So I made strings (another Bonnie idea...where would I be without Bonnie, seriously??), used the leftover bonus triangles and set them like this.  I like how it turned out. And the cool thing is that the second quilt is made entirely from leftovers from the first!!

This is my first string quilt and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with it.  I didn't quite come out as I'd planned but it's good enough.

I'll be up in Sunriver all through the holiday and hope to get lots of sewing done this weekend, during which, I promise, I'll post pictures and do some blogging.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Are you doing the mystery, btw???

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another small quilt

I spent all last weekend with the darling grandson who stayed with us all weekend. What a joy!! We loved every minute, even though I'm not a fan of getting up at 5 am!! Downside, if there is one, is that I got no sewing done.

Since then, this week I cleaned up a bit and worked on machine quilting a top I've had for a while. It's a small quilt I put together from blocks I did in a group project some years ago, which got put away.  Anyway, I just have to put on the binding:

I'm still salivating over the time we spent in Paris. I am happy to share a picture of a typical bakery where we purchased our baguettes each morning.

How do you resist those breads? Forget about the sweets, though.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! What are you working on? I'm getting ready for Bonnie's mystery. Anybody else going to tackle it? I'm sure it'll be awesome!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Only in Paris!!

I am finally over the jetlag and kind of caught up on my life.  I did finish the top I started in Wisconsin. It's a Lori Smith design, which I made totally scrappy.  I love it but wish it was bigger. Oh well.

I did promise more Paris pictures. I had to show you this picture I took walking by a cafe near our apartment. Dogs are very welcome in restaurants and cafes in Paris. This doggie may own the place, actually!! Note the basket of croissants on the counter. It was in the morning.

There was a small cafe where my husband and I enjoyed a cafe sitting outside watching the world go by. It's typical Paris!

I also promised to share more of Will's fabulous work.  Here are a couple; One is an irish chain she made. The story behind this is that she is hand quilting it (YES!!) for a friend and liked it so much she decided to copy it.

I think I told you she does amazing hand piecing. Here's an example of a small top she made...hexagons!

I hope she doesn't mind my sharing her quilts.

Anyway, we have our darling grandson this weekend so no sewing for me. Sorry I'm so late in posting this. I promise to be better!!
have a great weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

And the winner is....

Thanks to everyone who guessed.  The first person to guess correctly was Linda Collins!  I have a special treat for Linda for being the first person to guess correctly. You were all great guessers. I loved coming up with the clues. Made for some fun times. Our trip was awesome. We love Paris. What's not to love?

When Bonnie and I went to Paris a couple of years ago, we met two wonderful quilters, Will and Valerie.  Each time I go, I try to meet up with them. I was able to see both of them this time again.  I was also able to see Will's husband as well. Will does the most beautiful, amazing quilts! Each time I see her, she invites me to her fabulous apartment in Montmartre and I am treated to a quilt show of her just gorgeous, inspiring work. Here is Will showing off her basket quilt. It's completely hand-pieced! And she used a rick-rack for the handles! I have many others to show you later this week.
In the background on the wall, you will notice a beautiful painting. Will's husband Soyland (sp?) is a fabulous artist who has an easel set up in the central part of Montmartre, where all the artists are. I remembered this time to get a picture of them together in front of his work. Montmartre is known as an artist's area. It's literally a mountain in Paris, with a most gorgeous church, Sacre Coeur, at the top. I was there on an absolutely sparkling day, as you can see.
Getting up to Montmartre involves walking some fairly steep tiny roadways up to the top. Here is a little staircase leading down, which is very typical of the area.

That's it for today's travelogue! I will post more photos, especially of Will's quilts, in the next couple of days. I"m trying to play catch-up, as well as beat the jet lag. It is 6,000 to Paris from San Francisco and takes a good 24 hrs travel time. That's not me complaining, mind you! Just sayin'

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Where in the world, Part II

Wow! Who knew you guys would google my clues? That's awesome!
Okay, I'm flying home tomorrow but wanted to give you all another chance to find me:
Clue #1: there is a river running through the city
Clue #2: there is a president as well as a prime minister
Clue #3: one in three households owns a dog
Clue #4: its latitude is similar to North Dakota and Maine (hi Bonnie!)
Clue #5: speaking of Bonnie, ( and this is a dead giveaway now) she and I came here 2 yes ago.

So what do you think?
Wait until I post some pictures on Monday!
Till then,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where in the world is Randy???

Hello my blogging friends
I've been quiet recently because I'm traveling and unable to upload pictures from my phone. But last night, during a period of sleeplessness, I had a brilliant idea to run a little contest for my friends to trynto figure out where I am. No fair entering if you are a personal friend or you were at the Wisconsin retreat and would have inside information.

Another rule: please submit your guesses to me by email so you don't spoil the fun for others:

Prizes? Oh of course! From my trip!

First clue: needed a passport
Second: English is not the first language
third: had to cross an ocean from California to get here
Fourth: (for the history buffs) city was conquered by the Romans in 55BC
Fifth: the food is fabulous;

Any ideas? More clues later! I fly home Sunday so we have to get this contest going!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

shopping, of course

Another great part of going some place new is the chance to see new areas. I think I showed you the pictures of the cows. But we stopped at 2 (well, really 3) different quilt stores. One was in Monticello, Wisconsin, which was an adorable town.  We actually went to dinner there a few nights later and had a fantastic meal.  I thought the buildings looked so cool.

We also went to Spring Green, which was our little excursion.  I had to stop a take a picture of this little farm stand selling tons of pumpkins. It was blowing like crazy that day, although I don't know if you can tell in the picture.

Here's the quilt store in Spring Green, which I think was adorable. Note the bikes just propped up against the store window.  These were a couple of girls' bikes getting ready for the bonfire for Homecoming that night!!

I have to tell you that one of my favorite things from Wisconsin is getting apples in the fall. OMG. They have the BEST apples I've ever tasted.  OF course we had to stop at Edwards Orchard and I HAD to bring home a couple of bags of apples (which were eaten in very short order).  This place is amazing!! I love going there.  Good thing I don't live closer!

Oh and lest you think I haven't seen the darling grandson, let me show you a recent picture. He was concentrating very hard on the back cover of one of his favorite books. Such a sweetheart!!

Hope everyone is having a great week!