Tuesday, November 27, 2018

a new quilt group

The winner of the cross-stitch giveaway is Sandie.  Please send me your snail mail address so I can send it out.  Not surprising was the fact that almost no  one does cross-stitch anymore.  I am keeping two cross-stitch patterns that I started decades ago that are almost finished...

I had the great opportunity recently to meet someone who lives near me who was a blog follower.  Brenda and I met at the LQS and then had coffee. What a treat!! A new quilting friend! During that get-together, she mentioned that she's active in a local group that makes quilts for kids.  So she invited me to come along, which was where I went today.  I dug out an I-Spy quilt I must have started maybe 10 years ago and worked on it...I don't even know where I got the pattern from nor where I got the very heavy-duty acrylic templates.

Here are some quilts that were done by members of this very productive group! I think this doggie quilt is adorable.  The woman on the left was the machine quilter and I thought she did such a beautiful job, I wanted to take a picture of some of the quilting. 

I loved this very bright one, too, which wasn't complex but so fun.

Of course, the quilter who was sharing this one made sure that we all noticed her little boo-boo... We are so critical of our own work, aren't we??  Who cares?  Definitely not the child who is lucky enough to receive it, right??

I have been collecting more fabric to take with me to Chico in mid-December for the quilters in Paradise, California, who lost everything in the fires.  Brenda gave me a pile and the All-Star Quilters (which is the name of the new group I went to visit today) is going to give me 10 quilts to deliver!  Quilters are so generous!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Donations and a GIVEAWAY

Our air here in Northern California finally cleared with the arrival of rain.  At last!  We've been anxiously awaiting the rains!  The air is clear;  my grandkids went back home yesterday and we are back to our lives. 

However, the people in Paradise are clearly not and I was motivated by Lori's (humblequilts) suggestion that we send fabric to the quilt store in Chico (Lori has graciously offered to drive to the quilt store to deliver things sent directly to her).  I went to work, pulled out fabrics I hadn't looked at in years and quickly made an enormous pile of fabric to send.  I wish I could say that it made a dent in my stash, but in all honesty, it did not.  

I bought a large box at FedEx and filled it up... then found it is TOO heavy to lift!!  Okay, I'm going to have to go to Plan B... I might deliver the fabric myself on our way up to Oregon in mid-December.

Then, in the spirit is giving, I sent off a quilt to the friend of a friend who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  I made this quilt a few years ago and have always loved it but sending it off for someone to cuddle under is the best.

It has a fun pieced back which I had to photograph before mailing.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons--not hot or cold and I just love the fall coors.  Even though we don't live where you get great fall colors, I have planted many trees over the years which are deciduous and I enjoy my splash of fall color.  This one is right outside my front door.  Japanese Maples are also one of my favorite trees.  Trimming trees is not my strong-suit, however!  VBG

We had our grandkids for the past week so my sewing had been put on hold.  I did want to show you something I've been working on in a class-This is one of 8 sections.  Any ideas?  It kind of looks like an ironing board cover...I've been collecting Kaffe Fassett and Tula Pink fabrics for a while and have been yearning for a project.  This seemed just purrfect.  (funny, right? )  But, again, hardly made a dent in the stash.  I will say that I was able to move that fabric into the cabinet space made available by my donations to the fire victims so I guess that's something. 

Now for the giveaway... I cleaned out a drawer and found a pile of cross-stitch patterns.  I used to do that but haven't in ages so I'm ready to pass them on to you if you enjoy that and have the time to do it.  There's also a pattern for fingertip towels (their words) and a large piece of beige Aida cloth for cross-stitching.

I'd like to mail these out by Wednesday to whoever feels they'll really sew them so please send me your email address along with one great Thanksgiving story. 

I was in such a good mood, feeling lucky beyond words... went to gas up my car yesterday (Black Friday), and started a conversation with a woman at the next pump, asking her how her Thanksgiving turned out-- she sure shocked me by telling me she had a terrible day, was all alone and really had wanted mashed potatoes and gravy.  What can you say to that?  

I do hope you all had a better day than she did, whether with family or friends.

Much love and thanks!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Much to be thankful for!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I wanted to post a quick check-in to make sure you know that I haven't forgotten you nor do I want you to think that I am not thankful for you.  I have made many friends through blogland, people I'd never have met but for the internet.  You are as special as the friends I see who live near me!

I also want to share how thankful we are to be safe from the fires in Northern California.  It's a good 150 miles north of us but we nevertheless felt the impact of the horrific fires.  The air in San Francisco was so unhealthy that everyone was wearing masks when walking around (and people had to line up to buy the masks, mind you).  The air was so bad that my daughter asked us to pick up her kids last week and keep them with us, where the air has been so much better.  Today it finally rained so the air should be much better!

bitter sweet!  We got to have our 3 grandkids for a week but only because they couldn't safely breathe the air where they lived.  Such a weird phenomenon. To me it's surreal.

So I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, whether you are celebrating with family or friends.

I have many pictures to post and since I won't be having any grandkids after Thursday night, I'll have lots of time to post pictures I've had forever!

Much love and thanks,

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Loved Aix en Provence, south of France- travel pictures!

We were recently touring the south of France and stayed in the charming ancient town of Aix en Provence. We took the TGV (which is the high speed train in France) from Paris to Aix;  the train reached speeds close to 200 mph (they post the speeds along with a map!)  It is one of those cities which has fabulous little cobble-stone streets barely wide enough for one car.  This was the main street in the old part of the town.  This was one of the wider streets!  I took this early one morning before it got filled up with people.  Immediately on the right is a bakery called Paul, which is everywhere in France...great breads and pastries.  I think I even saw one in London once.

One of the things I love to do when traveling in Europe is to go to 
the local markets.  I love seeing all the fresh veggies and fruits which are a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.  This was a squash/pumpkin vendor's creativity!

It's a typical site, and there were fountains everywhere in Aix.

These flowers smelled as gorgeous as they looked.  Those lillies?? Luscious! The prices in Euros were much less than we'd pay in the US for flowers.  Can you see the pillar in the back? Note the carving.  I am going to guess it's from the 1500s.  there's a fountain in the back of this market, below.

Look at the size of those leeks and cauliflower!!

My dh and I enjoyed great weather, good enough to dine outside by a fountain one night.  I thought it was just amazing to be able to do that.  What ambiance!!

We did not rent a car this time but instead opted for a couple of tours.  We went on a walking tour of the old part of the city and saw some great sites. This giant fountain is in the middle of Aix and was actually in the middle of being remodeled.  Our tour guide pointed out that the figures on the top were each facing different directions relating to the adjacent areas.  I'm sending you some of the more amazing things I saw for your opportunity to experience some of this history.

This is an organ in a church dating back to the 1400s!  Sadly we were not there when they were playing it.  Interestingly, they replicated the look of the organ on the opposite wall, making it seem like there were two.

any sewing?  Not a whole lot...trying to catch up on my Moda blockheads II!  And I am reposting the picture of the top I made for Lori's little sewalong, Sajou.

On another note, I am committed to paring down my sewing machine collection.  I'm trying to sell a Bernina 1130 that's in great shape.  If you know anyone interested, please let me know.  I'll sell it for $500 plus shipping.  It comes with everything (original accessory box, hard case, knee lift, extended sewing surface, extra feet).  If you've never sewn on one of the older Bernina machines, you're missing something.  They are solid, heavy and extremely reliable.

Many more travel pictures to follow!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Still alive, mostly

it's been a ridiculous several weeks in my life, jetting here and there.  I'm not complaining.  It's been great;  just has left me little to no time for myself.  Add to that babysitting (my daughter was between nannies so I stayed in SF for most of last week helping her, and then we had the kids this weekend).

Have I done any sewing?  Not a lot.
I did get the Sajou top that Lori (Humblequilts) organized but of course mine is not like the original design!  Once I realized that my center toile was going to be lopsided, I realized that I wanted to keep it straight. So I designed corners that allowed it to be upright!  For me, that was no small feat.

I love that toile;  and the pink outer triangle fabric is one of my favorite fabrics as well.  All in all, I'm happy with the result.  I just need to quilt it (one of these years).

And speaking of Sajou, did you know that it is a fabric/thread/supply store in Paris?

My husband and I had a trip to France in the past two weeks where I was lucky enough to spend the day with my dear friend Will.  She took me to the shop where I found some wonderful little things to buy.  I bought only a little bit of thread...but look at the choices!  This is just one portion of one wall.  I didn't take a picture of the wool threads... I bought a few spools of the thread that Will swears by for appliqué.

I was very tempted but resisted and didn't buy this adorable sewing machine cover pattern.  I figured I'd never do all that cross-stitch, realistically.  It sure was cute, though!

I had to take a picture of these marking pens that they had at the check out counter.  Can you read it? Hysterical.  Who would ever take a top off with their mouth??!! HAHAHA  Imagine that!!

Will and I usually meet for coffee near the metro (and her fabulous, charming neighborhood) and then amble our way back to her home for a little show and tell. This visit was just as I'd hoped.  She has been working on a most amazing hexagon quilt.  Here was her pile of hexies ready for assembly:

Here is one side of her project!

In the right corner, you can get a little glimpse of another small quilt she made from the Jane Lury book.  Fabulous!

The true masterpiece, in my opinion, was this quilt she showed me. (not that any of the others are less gorgeous by any means!

The photo does not do it justice.  Will is an amazing quilter!  She has such a fabulous eye for fabrics and choosing what fabric to put where.  She doesn't go into a local quilt store since there isn't one-- she buys old clothes or other items with fabrics. She fussy cuts.  But her hand quilting is fabulous.  You also cannot see but her embroidery skills are amazing (the corner basket stems!)... I had brought her some valdani threads a couple of years ago and she really used them beautifully.  And the appliqué?!  She's very inspiring!!  And one of the sweetest women I know!

It was another great visit and trip to Paris.  We also went to Provence, in the south of France, which is for another day's blog post.
I wanted to share with you a photo of the hotel where we stayed in Paris.  We stayed on the top floor, where there is a roof balcony on the right.  This is a typical building in Paris.

This is looking up the street from our hotel.  Let me point out a few things:  the iron railings are very typical. They are usually so intricate and one of the most beautiful parts of any building. And every building's railings are always so different!  The street sign is also typical of Paris;  the roof-top windows as well as the floor to ceiling windows on each floor are very typical.  This is a one-way street with two lanes; many are barely wide enough for one lane of traffic!

Flights always seem to arrive first thing in the morning in Paris (you fly through the night, from San Francisco) and I loved this view of the sunrise. FYI: it is about 11 hrs from SF to Paris! 

It's been a very busy and crazy month for me, between my trip to Singapore, babysitting, quick trip to Napa with friends, babysitting again, and a great vacation in France, then more babysitting.  I'm off for a business trip to Hawaii tomorrow, home for a couple of weeks and then my dh and I are returning to New Zealand after Thanksgiving.  Then THAT'S IT!!  Staying put (or in Oregon!!).  My fabric is missing me! And, I will admit, that I was longing for my sewing machines.  I did bring hand-work for the flights but still missed the hum of my machine! ;-))

I have so many pictures to share... thanks for standing by me in my absence.