Saturday, December 31, 2016

Visions of Sugar Plums

Sunriver Lodge always hosts a gingerbread house competition over the holidays. Kids from the area make their versions of some gingerbread house interpretation.  I always enjoy looking at it and thought you'd enjoy seeing some of their creations to mark the end of the year.

To further put you in the mood for winter and year's end, here was a picture I took yesterday during a walk I took in the afternoon.  We have such beautiful scenery and I feel so lucky!

Now for a bit of humor (we have to laugh at ourselves, right??) about my memory and a senior moment:  I've been wearing a Fitbit Charge for the past couple of months, replacing my Fitbit Flex.  Because I've been up at the cabin and trying to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and (chilly) weather, I've taken lots of walks and my step total has been very high.  That's a good thing.

Last night I noticed my Fitbit was not on my wrist and I was positive that it felt off when we were at dinner in Bend.  I was very distressed and went this morning first thing to purchase myself a new one.  I was ready to set it up on my laptop and went into my sewing area to get the laptop only to find my Fitbit Charge, attaching to my laptop, charging.  I had absolutely NO recollection of having plugged it in!  NONE!!  That's what I call a senior moment! Fortunately my husband is so good natured that he just shrugged it off, saying he does the same thing all the time (which he does).

So, on this last night of 2016, let's be thankful for everything that we have.  The good times, and the bad, whether we remember them or not.  Our families, near and far, whether we see them a lot or not.  Our friends, who by definition will be there for you no matter what and at any time you ask.  Let's shed the negatives and look at what we have, rather than what we don't have or did have.  Let's let go of the things others may have done to us or things they haven't done that we expected.  Life's too short and we have so much to be thankful for.  Don't we??? 

I am so eternally grateful for every one of you and all that you have added to my life through my blog, which is a LOT.  I wish you all nothing but happiness, health and lots of time to sew!  

Sending you my love from snowy and chilly Sunriver, Oregon!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Another Quilt of Valor and a year-end GIVEAWAY

I've been able to do a little sewing in between family events and babysitting (YES!!  had the baby to myself for 3 days while everyone went skiing!!).
I think I mentioned that I was going to use up the left over strips.  I wound up having to cut lots more but really had fun with this.  It's almost done.

My plan is to actually put red in the 4 corners.  I just haven't made those blocks yet.  Fun, don't you think?  I saw this pattern on Pinterest, which I never look at! (well, obviously, I did once!).

Last summer, I bought the Sisters Quilt Show poster (which I never do, either) and had it framed.  I just loved the picture this year.

 Notice that it's still on the floor. I haven't hung it up yet.

My dh made an ingenious set up for me.  I have been watching Madam Secretary on Netflix (GREAT series, btw) on my little lap top.  We picked up a cable yesterday and he connected my laptop (11") to the tv and I'm now able to watch the show on my tv!  It's almost like IV tubes, I think!!

Maybe you've already thought of this.  I was excited.  My husband isn't the most handy kind of guy around, let me tell you! VBG  So this is an accomplishment!

We are coming to the end of 2016.  Hard to believe.  I'm going to have a GIVEAWAY to honor the end of the year.  

Tell me something that you consider the highlight of your last year, 2016.  What have you done that you are most proud of??  Or what have you experienced that was monumental?  Or what has someone you know or love done that stands out above all else??  Can you send me your comments by Sunday, Jan 1st and I'll draw a winner on Monday??  I'll need your email address, please.

I've got a book I'd love to give away, "The Creative Pattern Book" by Judy Martin.  It's new.. I've never opened it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Baby quilt WITH baby

My son/daughter in law are with us at the cabin in Oregon for the holidays.  They had a friend who does photography come by and take pictures of them with the baby, now almost 6 weeks old.  I was beyond delighted when my daughter in law pulled out the quilt I made to use in some of the pictures!

She dressed him in jeans and a plaid shirt and I thought he looked so cute (although when I went to take his clothes off, they were impossible to remove!  There you go--- comfort trumps looks, right??).  He barely lifts his head!  But who cares, right?? 

And I took this picture when the sun was setting!~  The forecast is for more snow tomorrow!

I hope everyone is enjoying the times.  I know that not everyone is with family or loved ones or gets the opportunity to do anything special for Christmas (or Hanukkah) and I'm sorry for that.  Know that you are loved nonetheless!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pin cushion redone!

I finished up another of the Primitive Gatherings wool appliqué blocks and I'm happy to report that this one at least has the right shape! No more footballs!

You might note the difference in the way I did the stems.  I forgot that I'm not supposed to do buttonhole so I figured, oh well!

And I trimmed the pin cushion down to about 2" and gave it to a friend, who was delighted!  I think this size is better.

I'm yearning for a project and wonder if you know about any quilt alongs that are starting where there are weekly/monthly blocks to make??  I really enjoyed the Temecula Circa 2016 and was sad when that ended.  I know the Moda neighborhood quilt just ended as well.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Left overs

We were invited to a neighbor's house last night for champagne tasting (!!) and I wanted to bring a hostess gift but agonized over what to bring.  Finally, literally 90 minutes before we were due to arrive, I decided to make pot holders using the left over blocks from my Quilt of Valor.

Fortunately I had plenty of that heat resistant stuff to put into the pot holder and I found that homespun for the binding.  I'd used it for a border last year and it's just perfect.  Okay so they weren't seasonal... July 4th will come in about 6 months!!  She was delighted regardless.  I did sweat the last few stitches, though, trying to get it done in time to be there at the appointed time! ;-)

I realized that I shortchanged you when I sent you the view from my sewing machine.  Here is the full view... sadly it was cloudy today but you get the idea. It faces East so the morning sun is glorious.  My design wall is on the right (check out the next picture) and I have another machine set up on the left wall. I put the cutting table right in front of the window.

Here is my progress on the log cabin blocks using the leftover strips from the Quilt of Valor.  Okay, I'm cutting more and I think I'll keep going and make another QOV top using the strips. I'm on a roll.  I hate having to decide on a new project, being in between projects!

Several months ago, Temecula Quilts had a monthly pin cushion offer, which I signed up for.  Of course.  I love their things.  So far, I've made most of them (last month's was a little too tiny for my taste).  So I started this month's today.  I think it's too deep and I'm tempted to trim it.  You can't even tell it's a pin cushion.  This is the bottom.  I bought more walnut shells today but I still think it's too deep.  What do you think?  I've never done something like this.  Can't say I'm loving it.  You wouldn't believe that the body of this is a cheater cloth!!  I'll show you what it looks like when I finish it tomorrow.

Baby arrives tonight!! YEAH!!

Monday, December 19, 2016

My sewing week begins

We drove up to our cabin yesterday to spend the next 2 weeks!  YEAH!  Our son is coming up tomorrow with their new baby -- my daughter in law's family is flying in from Germany tomorrow night and they'll see the new baby for the first time and spend 10 days visiting with all of us.  They are all big skiers so guess who will get to babysit!! WOOHOO!!!

Sadly,  the bigger  3 grandkids are spending Christmas with the other grandparents in Portland ( I really am not a great sharer of grandkids, I've gotta tell you!) so I should have more time to sew.  I'm trying to look at the bright side.

I want to show you a few things.  This is what we drove by just near the border between California and Oregon!!  This is the immense Mount Shasta.

It is a huge set of mountains set in the tiniest town of Weed, California! Spectacular!

Here is my almost finished quilt of valor-- I just need to add my navy blue border.  I'm happy with how it turned out.  I'm going to figure out who I can get to quilt it in order to gift it quickly!

Since I never got the exact measurements from Primitive Gatherings for the strips, I just made them 2" and when the 5 strips were sewn together, I trimmed the block down to  7-1/2" unfinished.  So the blocks finish at 7"--on the diagonal, they are almost 10" so the quilt will be just the right size.  I had fun doing it and am now using the leftover strips to make some log cabin blocks.  Remember that great log cabin quilt I saw in Paris, that was basically red/white/blue?  I'm going to throw in some of the other colors used--yellows! maybe green!  Mix up the blues and reds and pinks.    I will show you the progress later this week.  The blocks are about 6"...much larger than the quilt I showed you.  Oh well.

On the drive up, I worked some more on my wool appliqué blocks.

It's not exactly round, but compared to the next one??  It looks perfect!

It kind of looks like a football!  Yup, it was supposed to be round.  That's what happens when you don't trace the pattern onto the fabric before sewing!! HA!  I'm ok with it.  I have only two more to do.  I saved the most complex ones for last.  I think I will trace the patterns this time. VBG   In case you're wondering, the centers of the flowers are not buttonholed.  They are just too small.  I stitched from one side to the other and then put a french knot in the middle.  Good enough.

Once they're done, I'll start the center as well as the borders.  They should take me a while!   Next trip back up to Oregon in January!!  And when they are done, I'm going to be giving away the entire pattern for all 12 blocks as well as the finished blocks (center and borders!). So keep an eye peeled!

I got the baby's quilt back from the machine quilter.  I love that she offered to do the binding by pulling the minky from the back to the front.

It's very soft and I suspect that the baby may spend more time on the minky side rather than the pieced side... but I don't care.  

Just wanted to share the view from my sewing room.  It looks like most of the snow that was on the trees has already come down but you can get an idea of how gorgeous (I think) my view is.  No mountains but I love the trees and the snow.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday miscellany

I think fall may be my most favorite season, truth be told.  I love the fall colors and have several deciduous trees in our California yard.  It's not Maine colors but it's acceptable nonetheless.  This is one of Japanese Maple trees in my front yard.

As you know, we were just in Paris and before we took off, the sun was just rising behind the control tower and I snapped a picture from inside the plane.  I thought it was pretty dramatic.

I did a little sewing last night, after our grandkids went back home and sewed down the half moons on my Mountmellick project.  I decided to try a buttonhole stitch on my Janome and I'm fairly happy with the results.
It is obviously not perfect but I think it looks pretty close to hand done so I'm happy with it.  Don't you love the background fabric I picked?  Did I tell you that I had chosen something else and tried to tea dye it?  Sadly it came out all mottled so it's being used as strips in the quilt of valor!

I came upon this in a gift store this afternoon and had to take a picture.  It's a Hanukkah Christmas tree ornament.  To me, that's an oxymoron.  But then I thought that maybe it's for a family with mixed parents, one being Jewish and the other not...kind of a compromise, I guess.  Both holidays almost coincide perfectly this year--Hanukkah starts on the 24th!  We will be lighting our menorah at our cabin in Oregon this year, surrounded by my son, their baby and his wife and her German family visiting from Dresden!  What a special time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A little more eye candy

I found some more pictures of some quilts that we saw from Will's friend's Charles'  collection that I thought you'd enjoy!  This is a portion of a feathered star quilt, which Will loved.  I thought the hand quilting was fascinating.

I think we saw this one last year. It's a pinwheel in a 9-patch.  

Here is Will closely examine the hexagon quilt.  Isn't it gorgeous??

This was one of my favorites.  Maybe it's the blues.  Or the stars??  I just loved this one.

here is a better view of that log cabin quilt.  Isn't it wonderful??

This was on another doorway.

Here's another log cabin!

When we went to Paris, I didn't want to carry a lot of threads or sewing projects so I brought along some yarn and made fingerless gloves.  I'm not sure you can see them very well but they are adorable.  They are going to be gifted to a friend.  I love to wear these instead of regular gloves.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A quick little getaway

My dh and I were lucky enough to have a chance to get away for a quick trip to Paris and we jumped at the opportunity.  Fortunately, my friend Will was available during our trip and her friend Charles was having his wonderful open house at his fabulous apartment overlooking the Seine, so we were able to see some of his collection of antique quilts. He has quite a collection!

First, let me show you the view from his apartment:

From another window is a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance, but sadly there is construction going on and you see the great view with this enormous orange crane in the way.  I skipped that.  But I can never stop being amazed at his gorgeous view.

I met up with Will and we had a lovely little coffee in a cafe near her apartment in Montmartre, which is such a charming neighborhood where she knows everyone!  We then went to her apartment where she treated me to see some of her amazing work.  This little something was hanging on her wall.  Will makes quilts using tiny pieces which always go together so beautifully. Notice her blue border, which you'll see again in the next picture.  She has a great eye for color and how to put things together.  Would you think of using 3 different fabrics for borders, which are all so very different?  And repeating the blue in the center?

She showed me her Mountmellick quilt, which I had last seen in Nantes on display.  Now that I've started the quilt, it meant so much more.

The center is pretty challenging so I was happy to look at her hers carefully.

This is the next border but notice how artfully she mitered the corners of that blue squiggly fabric.  It almost looks like the thing is moving!  Will admitted to me that this was one of her FIRST appliqué quilts.  WOW!

This was something else she was recently working on, as a gift for one of her daughters. She told me that she was going to take the blocks apart and add that denim-like sashing, which you can see under the top in the front.

Now to the show.  Charles collects quilts that are so very varies.  This was one of my favorites.  I think I loved the use of the stripe fabrics.  I also just love this block and am threatening to make something following the pattern, one of these days.    I really wanted to take this one home with me, but it was out of my price range.  But so charming!

Here you can see one of the piles of quilts he had.  

I particularly liked the one on the side table.  Again, very simple but so striking.

Charles seems to prefer log cabins, I think.  here was the bedroom!

This little appliqué was hanging over a door. I love the edges of the baskets.

These two were hanging in the hallway, towards the front door.  When we stopped to look at them, he surprised us by showing us what he had underneath, hidden!!

Behind the pineapple:

Aside from the size of the triangles, the variety of fabrics was remarkable.  And the setting was so unique.  Kind of random but not entirely.

Do you like postage stamp quilts? This one was charming!

From another room, you can see even more piles.  When I say there were piles of quilts (and tops) everywhere, I was not exaggerating!  And he was happy to open them all up, one by one!

Don't overlook the gorgeous wood floors!  That is the back of Charles.

Here are Charles and Will admiring an Ohio Star quilt we saw, folded up.  I don't think you can see from this picture but on two sides, the stars were chopped off!  Just two sides!

This was another of my favorites.  Here's a better picture:

We called the blue on the border Prussian Blue.  Such a gorgeous color.  This one was extremely interesting.  Not sure can see that the 9-patches are uneven:  on two sides, there are two rows; on the other two sides, there are three!  Also, you can't tell but the center stars are actually made of 4 blocks, sewn together perfectly.

More piles!

The little throws on the couch are actually selvages sewn together!  that is a hexagon quilt hanging in the doorway, although I think they may have been elongated.

Here's another log cabin; this one, though, is very small!

Can you see some of the fabrics used here?  pinks?  yellows?  greens? even blacks? In a predominantly red/white/blue quilt? She mixed up the colors, too, which is awesome.  it's not perfect.  My style of quilt!

I really liked this one.  I'll bet you can't tell that it's appliquéd rather than pieced. This was a top (not quilted) so I did look at the back to verify that in fact it was all appliquéd onto light backgrounds.  I love the variety of fabrics!  Wait until you see the close up:

Will and I found this very simple rail fence so striking!

Then it was time for me to head back to our apartment to find my poor husband, who had to wander around Paris on his own all day.  He actually loves it (he's probably used to it by now, since I always ditch him to spend the day with Will!).  What a great sport.  And he doesn't speak French!  He does know how to ask for Deux croissants, for our breakfasts, though.  VBG

And what a fabulous view I was treated to, as I made my way to the bus.

That is Notre Dame Cathedral, in the center in the back.  What's not to love about Paris?  We are so very lucky.

Back to the real world tomorrow.