Friday, March 31, 2017

A little culture is always a good thing

I frequently watch the grandkids on Fridays and today I had decided that I was going to take little Jack (3 yrs old) to a museum that has had a Monet exhibit in San Francisco that I didn't want to miss.  I'm happy to say that he found the objects in the paintings interesting, which is perfectly fine with me!  The collection of paintings is quite different in that it includes paintings I've never seen before in any of the larger museums.  I think there were many paintings from smaller facilities and maybe even private owners!

I find that looking at paintings  often inspires me to see different color combinations.  I wanted to share with you some of the Monets I saw today.  This is not a great representation of the exhibit since it was pretty crowded and I wasn't able to get in front of the more famous paintings.  But I figured that many of you would nevertheless be excited to see any Monet painting!  I certainly am!

One of my favorites.  What was so interesting about this painting was that apparently Renoir did the same picture at the same time.  They had a photograph of Renoir's version on the description.  

This is so clear  It really almost looks like a photograph.

I then took Jack into the porcelain room to see the china from Sèvres, which I just love.  Several years ago when Bonnie and I went to Paris together, we went to the museum in Sèvres with Caroline (Brussels) and Valerie (now near Chicago! She owns The Quilt Merchant, a fabulous quilt shop!).  I find the colors of their china to be so brilliant!

It's hard to believe that all these designs were hand painted!  But that blue is spectacular, in my mind's eye!

This fabulous little museum (The Legion of Honor) also has a great collection of Rodin sculptures.  This great one sits in front of the museum and I thought a picture of Jack in front would be adorable.  A wonderful woman asked me if I wanted her to take a picture of both of us.  Jack is actually quite excited, even though he looks like he's ready to cry. We were going to the fountains out front next!

I'm going to tell you a very personal story about this sculpture, going back 40 years when I traveled in Florence with my brother.  I think I was 21;  he was 18.  I have a vivid recollection of taking a picture of him, sitting next to this sculpture in a pose very similar to The Thinker.  What's so special about this to me is that my brother was killed in a small plane crash when he was 31.  I have the photograph somewhere but it's one that is etched in my memory.

Anyway, I don't mean to be melodramatic.  I wanted to share a personal story with you and explain why this sculpture is so special for me.

I hope you enjoy looking at these Monet paintings even though they aren't quilt related.  I certainly enjoy them and feel incredibly lucky to be in such close proximity to such amazing works of art.  I'm happy to share them with you and I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Small progress

My friend Claire came over today and I finally had a chance to get some sewing done.  I am feeling under the gun to get something done so I worked on the log cabin sew along being run from France. It's due by Monday (thank heavens they gave us a brief continuance!!).

I finally got it put together!  Now I just need to quilt it.  My plan is to do that on Sunday, after the grandkids go back home.

My project consists of four different groupings of four log cabin blocks.  I think we were supposed to do 2 a week, starting in January.  The quilting was for March.  I did mini blocks, each one measuring maybe 3".  I used French General fabrics only. (except for the setting triangles).

The center block is obviously not a log cabin.  Those were leftover blocks from the swap I did with Janet O. last year, which I didn't end up using as I didn't care for them.  They worked out perfectly in this little piece.

So I'm done! (well, almost).

The finishing instructions for the Goose in the Pond will be posted on Sunday, too.  You have a few extra days!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

And the winners are....

The winner of the Little House of Geese by Gail Garber is:

Ellie (elively).

Please email me your snail mail address!

And the winner of my Primitive Gatherings Penny Gatherings is...

Doni (donni @ Oregon Coast)
Send me your snail mail address, too, please.


Now I'm back from Hawaii after spending a fantastic week with two of our grandkids.  I have to show you a couple of pictures.  But first, just a little quilt related information.  Our kids met a family staying next to us and the kids played together all the time.  One little girl was wearing a fabulous little dress one evening and I had to snap a picture!  My very small quilt fix of the week!

half square triangles everywhere!

here my two getting ready to go swimming!

The sunsets in Hawaii are spectacular and every evening, it's quite the event to go down to the beach to watch the sunset, glass of wine in hand.  When it's cloudy, it's even more dramatic.

Amazing, don't you think?? And that beach?  fantastic!

Here was the sunset last night on the way home, from the plane.  Also pretty dramatic!

I love pictures like this.

So I have a couple of days to sew, before we have the kids for the weekend.  I'm hoping to get a lot done!

Thanks for the great ideas for my wool appliqué!  I think I'll add more leaves and maybe more birds!  How about a butterfly??

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A small update and off we go with 2 grandkids!! OH and another GIVEAWAY!!

Still not a lot of sewing going on in my house.  We had the grandkids this weekend (I still haven't gotten a chance to have the newest little one, since he's only 4 months and his parents will not release their hot little hands to let him stay with Nana and his cousins... I'm still hoping)...vbg,  His mother is going back to work for just one month and my son is being Mr Mom for a month so I'm hoping he'll drop Eli off so he can go bike riding or anything!!

I did finish the Primitive Gatherings freebie called A Penny Gathering.  I added birds and some more leaves on the outside border.  I think it could still use more.  Any suggestions?  My big question is what to do about the quilting??  My birds could probably use some feet but my embroidery is so poor, I'm not sure I could do it very well.

What's the giveaway??
I'm never going to make this pattern again.  It consists of 12 little 5" blocks; the center block; the instructions for the little (TINY!!) half square triangles and the outer border.  Anyone interested??  I'm looking for someone to pass this pattern on to... please leave me your email address.  I'll draw a winner in a week or so.
Why a week?

Read on!!

I did get caught up on the Triangle Gatherings little project!  Such fun blocks... and they go together so quickly.  Remember I'm using the bright and lively fabrics from the Farm Girl Vintage collection/quilt.  Plus some others!  Definitely loving the cherries!!  And polka dots!!

Spring has sprung here in California (definitely NOT in Oregon where our snow has just melted!) and the lilacs started blooming!  I had lilac bushes when I was growing up in NY and still just love them.  It's so sad that they are in bloom for about 1 week a year, though.

Our two oldest grandkids had a good time helping to pick them and put them in vases.

Maybe I'm overly partial but who can resist Miss Emma's smile??  Both of them have their own gardening gloves, which Emma still hasn't figured out how to put on (two fingers in one space?  no problem).

Ryan's two front teeth are just starting to poke through his gums!  Note my fitbit on his right hand?? He loves to put it on when he visits on the weekend!

Why must you wait a week to get my Primitive Gatherings pattern?  Well, we are taking Emma and Ryan with us to Hawaii for a week, tomorrow!! Are we ever lucky!!!!  I still can't believe our daughter agreed!  We are so excited.

So there will be no sewing this next week, although I might take a quick trip to the fabulous quilt store in Lihue, Kapaa Stitchery...

Oh, who's the winner of the paper pieced flying geese pattern?  Not a whole lot of people were interested which is fine!

Let me post this and I'll announce the winner later!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Goose in the Pond, Part II and a GIVEAWAY~~!!

I honestly cannot believe that it's been 10 days since my last post (sounds like a confession, doesn't it???!! And I'm not even Catholic!). VBG

We packed up everything before leaving the cabin, drove for a day to get home, recovered, had the grandkids, recovered and now we're getting ready to pick them up again tomorrow! So goes my life these days.  Very little sewing getting done, sadly.

Oh well, there's a time for everything, right??

anyway, the next step in the Goose in the Pond block is super-easy... we are doing the strips (kind of like a rail fence!) ...

You'll need 4 blocks that are going to finish at 3".  Each block will consist of two lights and one dark (although you can certainly switch it around!).

You can make long strips or individual units.  I did them separately.  I cut my strips 4" long and they are 1-1/2" wide (cut size).  They will be sized up to be
 3-1/2" unf. If you want to make them out of 3 strips, your strips will need to be 32" long (to allow for excess)--you'll need two lights and one dark.

Isn't this easy?  Next time (let's say March 30th!!) we'll do the 9-patch and then we'll be ready to assemble the block!!

I mentioned that when I was in Sunriver last week I worked on a project using a kit I had purchased last year.  Here it is laid out, waiting for the border to be sewn on... I'm going to use large strips and mix up the border, mostly because I don't have enough of any one fabric.

I don't think the colors are coming through well.  It is a brilliant red and grey.  Just gorgeous colors, which is why I bought the kit.  My blocks are 8" finished.  Great way to use up a large-scale print you don't want to cut up, don't you think?  I made a bunch of pieced blocks, just to mix up the setting, although you will notice that I didn't set them out very well. Oh well.

Now to the giveaway.  I'm still searching for the snowman blue work pattern in my sewing room (GRRRRR) and came across this pattern I purchased but have never, nor will I ever, sewn it.  So I'm offering it to someone who thinks they'll make it.  It is definitely paper-pieced.

Please leave a comment with your email address if you're interested.  I'll pick someone on Sunday.

Monday, March 6, 2017

And the winner is....

I was looking for someone to pass on the pin cushion pattern to and I drew a winner...


It's yours!  Send me your snail mail address, please!

Now that Lori is gone, I'm slowing down.  Of course.  The task master has left the premises!  Actually, I started working on something similar to my French General quilt, large squares with some pieced ones in between.  The fabric is a bright cherry red and grey!  GORGEOUS!

I was hoping to have it done tomorrow to hand off to my machine quilter in Bend, but I don't think that's going to happen. Oh well.

I'll show a picture tomorrow.

Are you working on your geese in the pond??? Get going!

Next installment is next Wednesday, March 15th!!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A real taskmaster that Lori is!! ;-))

My dear friend Lori (humblequilts) came to stay at the cabin for a couple of days this week now that the roads were safer for her to drive!  And it really was great fun.  I got so much done;  Lori, of course, put me to shame.

You probably don't know this about her:  when she comes to sew, she brings along many projects, most of which are about 95% done!  Then she quickly finishes her projects and exclaims with glee that she has finished another project.!!  Don't you just hate when someone does that??!! ;-)

You know I'm kidding, of course.  Lori and I have been friends for about as long as I've known Bonnie (maybe 20 yrs!).  We are sometimes the Three Muskateers, truth be told.  So you know I'm telling you about Lori's successes out of total love and admiration!

Anyway, she got so much done and I kind of piddled along!  I did get another Triangle Gatherings block finished:

And I got into the binding mood and put on a few bindings:

This started as kit that I bought at Country Sampler in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  I added more fabrics and more pieced blocks to the French General theme.  I doubt you can tell that many of the fabrics are actually textured which adds to the overall interest in the quilt.

I got the binding sewn on and down (by machine) to my little snowman quilt.  This is a Bird Brain design, which took me several years to complete.  If you look closely, you'll see that my blue thread is not consistently the same throughout.  Story of my life!!

My friend Sandy Lachowski in Bend did a fabulous job on the quilting.  I took a close up so you could see the little snow flakes she quilted!  Don't look too closely at my embroidery.  It's pretty rudimentary!  Nonetheless, I love the little quilt.  It's perfect for our cabin in Oregon, where it snows for about 6 months!

Did I ask anyone if they wanted the pattern?  I'm definitely not going to make it again.  If you think you'd like to make it, let me know.  I'm assuming I can find it when I get back to California!

After sewing away for a couple of days and nights, Lori and I went into Bend for First Friday (a great way to get people into town and out to mingle!) which is always celebrated at Quilt Works, the quilt store I love in Bend.  You may remember that they have a different show every month.  This month, one side of their display area was devoted to New York Beauty quilts (they obviously didn't consult with Bill V, who could've filled the place to the rafters!).  The quilts were just wonderful.  

This was a Judy Neimeyer pattern sewn by Anna (I'm sorry that I didn't take a picture of her info).  I just love it.  And she was there so I was able to tell her how much I loved it!

Kevin H--how would this be for a quilt of valor??? Amazing!

The colors are so vibrant in this quilts!  If only I could perfect the art of curved piecing!!

My dh and I went into Bend for dinner after Lori went back in her direction home.  We went into a fabulous little shop that sold this adorable pillow.  I have made a quilt with the bullseye (as have many of you, via my sew alongs!).  What a great idea for a pillow. Don't you think??

I did buy a couple of pillows for my couch, which needed a little color.  This is one.  It's made of wool loops, and I'm sure it's all by hand.  Skiing is a big thing in this part of Oregon, even though we don't downhill ski.  I'm more of a snow-shoe kind of girl.

Hope you have a great weekend with lots of time for sewing!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Goose in the Pond, Part I, and a GIVEAWAY!!

Well, in typical fashion, I'm a day late (and a dollar short?? never quite understood that expression, actually!).

But better late than never!  Right??!!!

Here are the instructions for our Goose in the Pond, sew along, Part I.  This is what the quilt looks like, by the way, in case you forgot or need additional motivation!  I am giving instructions for a 15" block.
I recently saw a version of this with the colors reversed--with the dark as the background.  That works as well. Remember, you can do one block (could function as a doll quilt for an upcoming swap!! hint hint!!) or 4 (wallhanging) or a quilt.  So no need to feel like this is a big commitment, for those who are commitment-phobic! VBG

I'm starting with the half square triangles, of which there are 12 per block.  Since our block is 15" finished, each unit will measure 3" finished. 

I like to have my half square triangles larger so I can cut them down rather than worry about them being too small.  Easiest way is to use a 4" square, with a diagonal line across, sewing on both sides of the diagonal line.  If you have another favorite way to make your half square triangles, go for it.  They just need to finish at 3".

You sew on both sides of the line and then cut apart on the solid line.  You will have 12 half square triangles.

Press to the dark and then square up to 3-1/2".

Now you need to set them aside in a place you'll remember and be able to find when we are ready to put them together.  Next step will be the 9-patches.  We'll do that in two weeks, March 15th!

In case you are wanting to know how much fabric you'll need for each block, I played around with the math and have estimated that you'll need a piece that's atleast 8" x 31"--from that you will be able to cut all the pieces and strips you'll need for one block.  For instance, if you use my method for the half square triangles, you can do a grid that's 8" x 12" for 2 squares x 3 squares.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!
I subscribed to the Temecula pin cushion project last year and this was one which is kind of unusual.  I'm offering the instructions, along with the picture.

Leave a comment with your email address, please, and I'll draw a winner on Sunday!  It's just a photograph with the instructions.  It is not a pin cushion!!

Look who came to sew??!!! Lori! (humblequilts!).  You probably can't tell that there's snow in the background.  We are enjoying a couple of days of a private retreat here!  Sewing up a storm!  Catching up!  Walking (it's finally warmer!).  Just having a great time together! Life is good!

Have a great day!