Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

So happy and lucky to have our family with us this year. Lots of laughter and fun for all - wish everyone a happy new year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Back in Business

Thanks to my dear husband, am so excited that he was able to install a new belt on my Singer treadle sewing machine. It was thrilling to finally be able to use the machine that I purchased over 35 years ago from an elderly neighbor when I was a teenager. I had a brief moment of panic when the machine got stuck, but he patiently explained that you have to use the wheel on the machine to get it going again. He started cracking up when I told him how green the sewing will be since I won't have to use electricity, and I can get a little leg workout at the same time! I still need to clean and oil the machine and figure out what kind of needles to use. Thankfully, I still have the owner's manual, cute little oil can and a box full of neato attachments to try out.
My personal challenge during 2010 is to use the treadle to sew some little antique looking quilts from Remembering Adelia by Kathleen Tracy, and eventually the Gone to Texas quilt by Betsy Chutchian. Just love both of these books, and the stories that are included. Anyone else up for a treadle challenge? I would love some company on this adventure!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oak Leaves and a Pineapple

This week I received two more wonderful applique blocks - this time from Julie in Tennessee! Julie's blocks are so charming and will find their way into a sampler quilt that I will always treasure. The applique swap has been so much fun - now I need to get busy on Julie's block for November!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Hearse and a Haunted Mansion

Tonight we went to the old California Governor's Mansion for a special Halloween tour. The mansion was completely decorated for Halloween inside. The mansion was built in 1877 and was home to California Governors and their families throughout the 20th century. Governor Ronald Reagan and his family were the last to live in the mansion during the late 1960s. Also couldn't resist taking a picture of a cool hearse in front of a local costume shop. Hail Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Exchanges

This week I have been the lucky recipient of beautiful quilt blocks and a darling Halloween ornament. The gorgeous appliqued block is all the way from Ady in Israel, as it was my turn to receive a block from her this month. Ady's appliquing is just exquisite and I will include this beautiful block in a special piece - perhaps the center of a medallion quilt?
The sweet cake stand blocks are from a Jo Morton swap in which I participated. Just love that they come from all over the US and around the world. They are about 4 inches in size and are as cute as can be!
The darling owl ornament is from a Prairie Schooler cross stitch swap, and has surely got me in the mood for a little Halloween decorating. The ornament finishing on this piece is just lovely!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Christmas or Not?

Here is the Christmas or Not quilt all sewn together. I put it on my bed to see how big to make the borders. Thinking about what kind of borders to add... Suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quilts Amongst the Oaks

Today we visited Alder Lane Nursery in Livermore, California. They had the most amazing quilt show where they hung quilts from the heritage oaks in the nursery. Just love the pomegranate quilt made by Alex Anderson. The gnarly old, bent over oak really caught my eye and framed the little house behind it perfectly. We purchased raffle tickets for the red basket quilt - hope we win!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dancing Currants

This red and green appliqued block named "Dancing Currants" was made for a block swap and is on its way to Israel! There are six of us participating in the international swap and next month is my turn to receive appliqued blocks. Can't wait to see the beautiful blocks that fly my way!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lancaster Blocks and the Castle

Have been working on cake stand blocks for a block exchange using poison green, chrome yellow and turkey red (Lancaster colors). The first block was a total wreck as my seam allowances were off so I had to set the project aside a while due to excessive frustration. This morning I tackled the block again and paid closer attention to the sizes of each component. Success = paying attention to the perpetual 1/4 inch seam allowance!
Last week we visited Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The whole experience is quite surreal in that you get to experience a bit of the 1930s movie star era up close and personal. The state of California conducts the tours and our docent, Wayne, was great in that he knew so much history about the castle and Hearst himself and encouraged questions. We also visited the picturesque town of Cambria and found the antique looking lock (next to the basket block) which actually works.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fair Daffodil

The next batch of stars are finished using Jo Morton's method and Jo fabric. They are four inches finished which is a nice size, I think. This method of making stars is very accurate and there is no extra triangle to cut off, but I'm not sure I could cope with the math challenge of making a different size. Will have to experiment and see what happens.

Ah daffodils, the first sign of spring. The first beauty opened on February 4 this year which is a little earlier than usual due to unusually warm weather in January. Blue forget me nots are planted around the daffodils and some years when the timing is just right, they are blooming at the same time. Its really a lovely combination. Then there is also the ever present mint that creeps in amongst all the plantings, but its saving grace is the wonderful smell when walking across it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Little Something Useful

With all the rainy weather outside, it sure was a perfect day for some tea and knitting. The tea cup and saucer are part of our wedding dishes received in 1980. I still love them after all these years and they bring back such sweet memories. Free time is short lately so I have been indulging in some small instant gratification projects like these knitted washcloths made from cotton yarn. They can be finished in a few evenings and make a perfect gift along with a bar of nicely scented soap. This one is headed to my daughter.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stars in the House

The 20th star is finished and all were sent off to the swap hostess. Pretty pleased with how they turned out and looking forward to the stars in my future. These are large 8 1/2 inch blocks, and I just signed up for the Jo Morton mini sawtooth swap with 4 1/2 inch blocks. The blocks for the Jo Morton swap are made an entirely different way, so it will be interesting to see which method works best.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Seeing Stars

I am taking a break from the month of snowmen to work on sawtooth star blocks for a swap I am in. The others in the swap are accomplished quilting piecers, so my personal challenge is to try to perfect my piecing skills. The blocks have to be 8 1/2 finished in size, and much to my surprise and relief, they are measuring 8 1/2 inches. The blocks have to be made using reproduction fabrics and it is great fun to see where one block winds its way to the next when coming up with the next block idea. The blocks are due to be mailed by February 1 and I have 17 more to go. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Month of Snowmen

Was going to start a new project on January 1, but after looking outside at the cold, foggy weather, I decided to focus on existing snowman projects instead during January. I started the Winter Quilt out of Red Wagon's Snowbound book a few years ago and finished one lone snowman. The background fabric is a really old Marcus Brothers print from the 1990s that I just love. Tried the back basting applique technique on the snowman, but I really prefer needleturn so will try that on the next block. Also cross stitching some little snowman ornaments from a Prairie Schooler book for an exchange due by February 1. A pot of chicken noodle soup is bubbling away on the stove for dinner tonight, so we are looking forward to it to warm up in this cold weather.
Happy New Year's Day to all!