Monday, March 28, 2016

My OMG Finish For March

 It's another long standing UFO finish for me and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. This one was a fun one to piece and then I got bogged down contemplating the quilting so it sat in that dreaded UFO pile for the longest time. You know how it is. You tell yourself, "I'll get to that next" but somehow that day just never comes. 
I decided to use large zigzag over all the long seams and suddenly this became a breeze to quilt and fun to do.
 Hopefully you can see how this looks in this photo. I can highly recommend this type of quilting for your more modern or utility quilts. Fast, fun and decorative!
This is the stitch setting on my Janome Memory Craft 6600 (love this machine). Play around with those fancy stitches that you paid for when you bought whichever wonder machine. Almost any sewing machine does a zigzag and you can lengthen and widen that to see what happens. I have some 12"x12" quilt sandwiches made up to test stitches out and then I use them as ironing pads too. They're a mess but they get the job done.
The finished quilt is a nice lap size made of about 40 2.5" strips from my stash and some orange squares for variety. It was sewn in the jelly roll race style. Let the strips fall where they may!
Pieced backing also from stash. I love a pieced backing and almost all my quilts use up large stash fabric pieces as long as they relate somehow to the fabrics in the quilt. 
This was going to be a donation quilt but as soon as my husband saw it he claimed it for his own. He really liked the colors in this one. I thought it was a little loud but not to him apparently.
Thanks to Heidi at Red Letter Quilts for the kick in the butt to get another 'almost quilt' finished and off the shelf. Linking to the OMG March link up.
It's also Design Wall Monday so you'll find me checking out everyone's design walls at Judy's.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Let's Take a Tour

 A tour around my house that is. I was looking around the place the other day and thinking that I haven't shared with you many of the pieces of art that I have around the place.
There's always a quilt on display in the living room. I made this on some time ago using a batik panel of tropical fish. The quilting by machine quilter Judy Hooper is really special and has to be seen close up to be appreciated. 
I bumped the contrast a lot to try to give you a look at the underwater sea creatures Judy put into the quilting. Here there's an anchor on the ocean floor along with sea shells and sea stars.
More sea stars and sea weed. There's even a sea chest filled with treasure and a mermaid peeking out.
 Everything we have hanging on the walls or displayed has a special meaning to us. Either it was made or given to us by friends or was purchased on a trip so they all provoke memories. 
This has been hanging in our home for more than 45 years and evokes memories of when my sons were so little.
Speaking of home - here's a fired clay tile we commissioned from an artist depicting our first home. We were so proud of that little place and happily raised our family there.
Our home is in Georgetown now and so we have this lovely photograph from photographer Stacy Pedri to remind us of home.
Both Chris and I have always had a love of nature and walking in the deep woods. This small watercolor hung on our wall for many, many years before we made the dream of moving to the woods a reality. I'm a big believer in making you dreams manifest.
As you can see nature is a big theme in the art around here. Chris bought this giclee print for me for my 60th birthday. I love it's rendering of oak leaves and acorns so reminiscent of the huge oaks on our property.
An artist friend, Alice Shaw, gave us this small water color of a pretty happy bear and his catch.
An oil painting in the California Impressionist style, a gift from our daughter-in-laws father, himself a gifted artist. He hasn't given us one of his own works yet, he thinks his style is too modern for us!
I love this painting of a windy laundry day by local artist Jesse Johnson. It hangs in our guest bedroom along with this sweet print purchased on a trip to Sisters, Oregon and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. My husband picked it out to commemorate the trip.

 Just a few of the treasures (to us at least) we have on view around the house. You can tell a lot about people by what they choose to keep around them don't you think? It's a pretty eclectic mix and wouldn't appeal to everyone I'm sure.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The wearing of the green has always been a big deal in my family. My mother's maiden name is Burns and her mother's maiden name was Roache. My family was proud of our Irish roots when I was growing up and described themselves as "lace curtain Irish." This was an important distinction in the minds of my elders.
Here's a definition of the term from Wikipedia:
Lace curtain Irish and shanty Irish are terms that were commonly used in the 19th and 20th centuries to categorize Irish people, particularly Irish Americans, by social class. The "lace curtain Irish" were those who were well off, while the "shanty Irish" were the poor, who were presumed to live in shanties, or roughly-built cabins.[1]
Neither term was complimentary. Aside from financial status, the term "lace curtain Irish" connoted pretentiousness and social climbing, while the "shanty Irish" were stereotyped as feckless and ignorant.[2] As lace curtains became commonplace in Irish-American working class homes, "lace curtain" was still used in a metaphorical, and often pejorative, sense. In the early 20th century, James Michael Curley, a famously populist Boston politician who was called "mayor of the poor", used the term "cut glass Irish" to mock the Irish-American middle class, but the term did not catch on.[3] Irish Americans who prospered or married well could go from "shanty Irish" to "lace curtain Irish", and wealthy socialites could have shanty Irish roots.[2] John F. Kennedy, for example, is considered "lace curtain" even though his grandparents were poor immigrants.[4]

What we have to remember is that my mom was born in 1909 and her family was not far removed from their immigrant past. Such distinctions mattered to a degree that we can hardly fathom now when everyone wants to claim to be Irish. The Irish immigrants were looked down upon and reviled so they struggled to be accepted.  Her father, my grandfather was a Naval Captain, a commander of men. The men and even women of the family were educated and distinguished in their chosen fields of medicine and law so they probably had the right to express some pride in their group accomplishment. 
 The Irish immigrant story is a fascinating one and one I'm happy to pass along to my children and grandchildren who are direct descendants of many immigrant groups - Chinese, Mexican and yes, Irish! Here's to all the branches of my family tree, the Ho, Garcia, Dowell, Johnson, Quinn legacy lives on!

Until next time,

Monday, March 14, 2016

Foothill Quilters Guild Show

It's already been two weeks since this show so that tells you how far behind I am in my postings. Still, I didn't want to neglect to show you what I found at the Foothill Quilters Show. I don't have a lot of opportunities to attend quilt shows because of where I live so every show is exciting to me.
Best in Show!
Those of you who love applique will love this beauty. The detail was fantastic but what drew me to it was the Autumn theme - my favorite time of year.
Cute scarecrow face. WHo is ge supposed to frighten?
Look at the detail on this little squirrel, wonderful fabric choices throughout.
 More exquisite applique. Honestly I don't know how the judges choose a winner and as you can see this one has lots of ribbons too. The quilting here is also outstanding and makes everythingpop.
 Up close view of those grapes. Each one had it's own crystal which is hard to see in a photo but really made the wreathes sparkle.
Isn't this the cheeriest quilt you've seen in a long while? I just love it. Lots of kitties and small animals to keep this pup company.
Wonderful expressive faces.
Speaking of expressive faces how about this self portrait? It's all in the eyes isn't it? Done in 1" squares from the quilters photograph visible in the upper right hand corner.
 You know I'm always looking for embroidery quilts and I liked the way these old fashioned hand embroidered blocks were set with blue sashing and pinwheel cornerstones.
Another embroidery quilt with a cute setting. This time rick rack and a ball fringe on the binding.
Remember that I always share quilts from a show that catch my eye, that I think you might not have seen done before or that you might find interesting. They might not be everyone's cup of tea but they interested me at the time. And so with that in mind the last quilt in our virtual show is this little 3-D number.
Yep, this small quilt really pops! Right off the wall. I have no idea how the quilter achieved this affect but it certainly was striking.
No more quilt shows in my near future but I do have some sewing surprises coming up.

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

If You Don't Like The Weather

 There's a saying in the Sierras - "If you don't like the weather in the mountains just wait a minute." I have a few pictures for you to illustrate. Yesterday morning was so lovely I took a walk around the garden admiring all the new growth and budding trees. My magnolia tree putting on a show.
The plum tree along the fence is blooming too.
The air was so sweet. Don't you just love early spring when everything is waking up? True, it is a little early but we'll keep our fingers crossed that no frost spoils these blooms and maybe we'll get a good crop after our long four year drought.
Oh look, the rhubarb is poking up! Yummy rhubarb pie is in my future.
Rosemary attracts lots of bees enjoying the warm day. 
My goodness, even my tiny peach tree is making every effort to put on a show! Isn't that so cute? It always does my heart good to walk around the garden and get back in touch with everything that's going on.
That was yesterday.
And then this happened!
I woke up this morning to this! Completely unexpected low snow. I don't imagine it will stay around, in fact it's already turning to cold rain but it's enough to ruin all the beautiful magnolia blooms which are so fragile and who knows the fate of the fruit blossoms. Thank goodness I'm not trying to make a living at this gardening thing.
Like I said, if you don't like the weather just a minute or even if you do.

Until next time,

Monday, March 7, 2016

Playing With My Stash

After all what else does a quilter do on a rainy day? Take a look at these yummy flannels that I just couldn't leave in the LQS when I made a recent visit.
When I say local quilt shop you realize I mean 40 miles away but still. The colors are amazing and the softness is so comforting and cozy. These are not baby quilt material in my opinion but I had just the project in mind, a grown up project for a change. My quilt group was having sew day and we all decided to make infinity scarves as a fun and easy way to use up some of our fabric (stop laughing, I really did mean to use up some fabric) and get started on those Christmas gifts for next year.
My first attempt came out so pretty! I couldn't stop at just one.
Here I am modeling another scarf I made from a different pairing of flannels. These are so warm!
You can find all kinds of You Tube videos to help you figure out how to make these. Here's one that describes pretty well how I did it. She uses yardage but you can use fat quarters sewn end to end to get the length you like. I used a two half yard cuts width of fabric to make up my length. It ended up about 84" before joining. That seems long I know so I used a safety pin and pinned it together and wrapped it around my neck to test it before I joined it up and found that I liked the length/drape just fine.
I liked the two flannel scarves so much that I went through my stash and found some dramatic black and red Asian fabric and made a very nice cotton version for myself for an upcoming theater outing. These are so easy they could quickly become addictive.
Have a fun, just for you sew day and make it pretty.

Until next time,