Monday, February 29, 2016

Fashionably Late to the Party!

I almost missed my own house party but I slipped in at the last minute! I'm talking about the OMG (One Monthly Goal) party and who am I kidding, I'm always gonna be late to this shindig! It's the nature of the challenge I set for myself - finishing my oldest UFOs. By definition they're already LATE! This baby was started some time in the early 90's and is the absolute oldest UFO in my deep dark closet!
It is from an Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day pattern and I do think the house is super cute. I even still like the fabric I chose from way back in the day. Those sunflowers still speak to me. But... here comes the big BUTT. The reason I put it away was because the points don't match and I got all frustrated and just moved on. I joined a quilt guild right about then with some really judgy members who always had a snarky comment to make and I got intimidated.
 I pulled it out and decided points be damned! Found an equally vintage piece of yardage for the backing and binding and quilted it. 
This was going to be a donation quilt but I feel that donation quilts should reflect your best work just as surely as the quilts you keep so I think this will go into the play room as a fun quilt for the grand kids to use.
Thanks Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for the motivation to get this done and out of the closet of shame. Be sure to visit and see what everyone else is finishing and consider joining in.

It's also Design Wall Monday people!

Until next time,

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Milestone Almost Slips By

Something important happened the first part of this month and it almost slipped past unnoticed. My four year blog anniversary has come and gone without even a nod from me. How could I have let that happen without an acknowledgement?  In my defense I have had a lot going on some of which I have shared with all of you and a blog anniversary is a rather frivolous thing in the scheme of things. 
All the same I just want to say how happy I am that I decided four years ago to join the conversation here in the blogosphere in a more active way rather than only commenting on the blogs of others. Writing a blog of my own has certainly given me a fuller participation in a wider web world and introduced me to so many wonderful, interesting folks I never would have known otherwise. I do so appreciate those of you who follow what I do and leave comments so that we can have an active dialogue. I read and try to respond to each and every one of you and if you have a blog I visit you too.
Let's keep the conversation going shall we? 
My valentine to all of you!
Until next time,

Monday, February 22, 2016

More Butterflies and Houses

Two weeks ago at Val's Quilting Studio linky party I shared my butterfly quilt in the link up since the theme was butterflies. Nice how that dovetailed and I realized that while I had posts about how I embroidered the butterflies and made the decisions about the fabric choices I never actually posted the finished quilt.
Here it is proof positive that I did actually finish this little quilt binding and all and it's really hanging exactly where I envisioned it, in my guest bedroom.
I even included a first for me  - hot fix crystals on the butterfly wings although it turns out to be impossible to take a good picture of those little suckers. They do look really pretty when the light hits them just right.
On another note I'm still working away trying to meet my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for February of quilting and binding my sunflower houses UFO. It's coming along, honest! I'm almost ready for the binding and that's a good thing since I only have six days left to meet the challenge deadline!
How are your monthly goals coming along? No pressure, right?
I'll be linking my unfinished business up to Design Wall Monday how about you?

Until next time,

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Keeping Out the Winter Chill

Way back in October I shared with you our adventures picking, processing and putting up elderberries in these two posts - Adventures in Jelly and Elderberry Cordial
The elderberry jelly is so delicious I can't even describe the flavor to you and it's all the more marvelous because there is so little of it to go around. It's kind of like a very precious jewel rare and wonderful. But what about that cordial you may ask?
It's taken months and months of VERY patient waiting on my part but finally we have been able to try out this sweet elixir from the druids or whomever. The berries have been sitting in their vodka lemon bath for months in the pantry waiting for the exactly right moment to be strained and bottled (or until I just couldn't wait to try it whichever came first). The addition of some simple syrup was all it needed to take it from ick to wow! Too little sugar and you have cough medicine which would be OK and is a recipe some are going for but I was looking for an after dinner drink so a little more sugar and ahhhh. 
Perfect for sipping on a chill evening in front of the fire with a lap quilt and a good book. I pronounce this a success. 

 Linking up to Farm Girl Friday

Until next time,

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Miniature Orchard

All the time Chris and I were recovering from our medical stuff last week the weather was taunting us with perfect, sunny days. The temps were in the high 60s and we were wishing we felt well enough to be outside taking advantage of the sunshine to get some garden chores done.
 You can bet that the minute both of us felt up to it we headed outdoors shovels and pruners in hand. Well, Chris had the shovel and I had the pruners for pointing!
Fabulous garden soil! It's taken years of work to turn forest dirt into viable garden and I love this stuff!
Because of the four year drought here in California we lost our three mature peach trees, they just up and died. The only fruit trees we have left are two plums and they're hanging on by a leaf!

We decided to replace the dead trees with true dwarf trees. Just look at this little cutie! Our reasoning is that we really don't need all the much fruit coming ripe at once that a full size tree provides and dwarf trees will require a lot less water per tree.
Right now is bare root season and a perfect time to plant. Hopefully we'll get more winter rain (Please Lord) and they'll be well set in for the growing season when it warms up for real.
Two little peach trees into the ground.
Two nectarines in pots We'll see which does better as the summer progresses.
The garden is all ready for spring to arrive. I have straw bales set aside for my experiment in straw bale gardening this growing season but it's not time to start conditioning those yet.
These ladies got a chance to do some digging as well. They love to scratch around in the sunshine and are always VERY curious about whatever we're doing in their domain. We finished planting the trees just in time before another storm rolled in bringing sleet and fierce winds which blew down trees in the surrounding forest. We were tucked in on the couch watching a 

 marathon by that time and River was in her favorite winter spot.

Linking up to Farm Girl Friday
Until next time,

Monday, February 15, 2016

An Eventful Week But the Show is Over

 As promised I'm posting the last of our virtual tour of the Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild Show and then I'll tell you a bit about my less than stellar week. Looking at these quilts again really does cheer me up so I hope they brighten your day too.

How's this for a day brightener? All I can say is wow! I love the happy colors of these Dresden plate flowers and applique butterflies. It lifts the spirits just to look at it.
Gaze at this beauty for a moment and then realize that you are gazing at a miniature quilt! That's right every one of those pieces are less than an inch, just amazing.
Another miniature prize winner. I am in awe of the precision and all around talent on display here. Notice that the prize ribbon is almost larger than the quilt itself.
Here's a marvelous art quilt where the vegetables just seemed to jump off the plate. The thread work was the star of this piece and truly made it come alive. The shadow on the right hand side was all done with thread.
This small quilt was 3-D with the basket and vegetables spilling off the background. Lively and good enough to eat.
That's all I have for you from the quilt show I certainly hope you enjoyed the tour. 

Now on to my hectic and at times discouraging week. Look away now if you don't want to hear the details. I won't blame you.
Both Chris and I had multiple doctor appointments this week and that takes up a lot of time because we live so far from ordinary civilization. An hour and a half drive each way just to get to appointments takes a lot out of an ordinary day let me tell ya. Chris had a follow up a dermatology visit which resulted in an all clear which was very good news indeed and I had an unfortunate run in with an orthopedist who gave me a cortisone injection in my shoulder which went horribly wrong! Some of you may recall that more than a year ago I hurt my right shoulder resulting in a rotator cuff injury which has plagued me ever since. Physical therapy has helped a lot and surgery is out of the question. Only time will take care of this problem. I had a cortisone injection once before in the summer with no ill effects but this time, Oh My Goodness! I experienced something called a steroid flare which is right up there with one of the most painful things I have ever gone through. The worst part for me was the unexpectedness of the whole thing. I had no idea what was happening and no idea how long it would last. It lasted three days and was no picnic! Then on Friday it was back to the doctor's office again for a scheduled biopsy for Chris (a separate issue). Fun and games all around. Chris is in bed recovering and I am one of the walking wounded. Happy anniversary to us. At least we both know that this too shall pass. I told you to look away.
I wrote this post and deleted it three times. For the most part this blog is my happy place and I do my very best to keep it upbeat and positive. I always hesitate to share less than fabulous news on the blog because it can come across as whining or attention seeking. On the other hand if all we ever read is happy, happy, joy, joy we get the impression that we are the only ones in the universe going through hard things and we may not be handling it very well. After all no one else ever says anything about their troubles. Just know my intention is keep it real here. We are fine, I'm not whining (well maybe a little) and both of us are on the mend. 

What do you think? Should we keep it light all the time or occasionally tell the whole truth?

Until next time,

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day and Happy Anniversary to Me!

 Wishing all my friends near and far a very Happy Valentines Day!

And wishing my wonderful, amazing husband Chris a very Happy 48th Anniversary! 

Thank you sweet man for the best years of my life.

Until next time,

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More From The Folsom Quilt SHow

I promised you that I had more to show you from the Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild Show. If you live anywhere near the area you should make a point of attending this wonderful show next year. I'll get right to it with more quilts. Put on your beer goggles 'cuz some of these photos look like we spent a night on the town instead of the afternoon at the quilt show!!
I left off last time with this beauty. I was so impressed that I took quite a few close-ups of the hand work in this quilt. I don't applique myself but I have a keen appreciation for the skill involved.
This is wool applique on pieced backgrounds. I wish I knew how she got that lettering on the fabric. It appeared to be printed - maybe with her computer printer? She could have used pen and ink. Any ideas anyone?
The quilting in this quilt was also exceptional. This is also the only label I got a photo of - go figure. Congratulations Donna!

Looks like I really was impressed. Also my friend Jeannie is an avid applique enthusiast so I may have been documenting this for her - and now for you!
Best Hand Quilting in the show.
You don't see a lot of hand quilting these days in shows and there quite a few in the Folsom show. Wonderful to see a tradition continued. This was marvelous hand work.
I tried to get a close-up for you but again my husband's camera not the most cooperative. I think you can get an idea of the amazing precision of this prize winner.
Wildlife themed machine embroidery
If you go to a quilt show with me then you know that I'm going to be seeking out machine embroidery quilts. Some shows have zero/nada/zilch. This show actually had a few and they all were interesting. The setting of blocks in this was nice looking like old photographs in an album.
A tiny black flange around each block set them off and each embroidery had a trapunto effect to make them stand out from the background. The embroidery thread was very fine also so that these looked almost printed.
Another machine embroidery piece. Careful inspection shows that I would need at least a 8"x10" embroidery hoop to make this one, something not in the cards for me. Still, I love the graphic quality here.
The tape measure is an applique embellishment that ties the main elements together.
I'll finish up my quilt show tour in my next post and then I'll show you what we've been doing in the garden.

Until next time,