8/27/14

Link-ups Galore

If I don't have time for any other blogging today, at least I have some time to join in the parties. There are lots of parties going on in Blogville this week.

First up:


Val's Quilting Studio

The first of this week's archive categories is "Flying Geese". I'm sharing the True Hope quilt that I made for my cousin Rebecca. It was inspired by a quote from Shakespeare: "True hope is swift and flies with swallow's wings."


You can read the blog post I wrote when I finished this quilt right here.

The second category is "Flowers". Well, I have just the right quilt for this, and it's been a long time since I showed this quilt on my blog. Thanks for the opportunity, Val. It's the Checkerboard Flowers quilt, a favorite of Blogvillians:


This quilt was entered in the first International Quilt Festival of Ireland. You can read the post from many moons ago when this quilt was finished right here.

So I'm trying not to get tipsy from all the drinking I'm doing at these parties...nah, you know I'm kidding don't you? I'm not really trying. The next party is:



When I attend a party, I bring dessert:


You can read the post where I bake up this yummy peachy goodness right here.

And after all that partying, I think it's time to relax with a good book right here:


For this month's challenge, I worked with the fancy stitches on my sewing machine to make this "Red Sunflower" quilt.


From this book:


And you can read the post I wrote about the process of making the quilt right here.

So, that's all the partying I'm up for. Time's awastin', although to quote the famous Sigmund Freud, "Time spent with cats [and all of you] is never wasted." Nevertheless, the tomatoes are calling to me: Come and fulfill our life-long dreams of becoming salsa! When the tomato calls, one answers.

8/26/14

Oregon State Fair

My friend Sue and I met for lunch today, and then we headed down to the Oregon State Fair. We spent most of our time with the quilts, although we did wander around the animal pavilions for a little while too. Sue wanted to see the piglets. It doesn't seem possible to have a fair without piglets, but this one had none. Sue was terribly disappointed. We did see some fanciful critters, however. I'll say more about that in a bit. For now...on to the quilts.

Sue and I both liked this one really well. It is iconic images from our state capital of Salem, where the state fair is held. Sue lived in Salem for a while earlier in life, and so she recognized some of these images, while most were unfamiliar to me.


At the top is our state capitol building. Our state capitol building has a golden pioneer on top of its dome. Below that is the "old mill" as Sue put it. The details were wonderful in this quilt. In the image below is an osprey with a fish in its talons


and we liked the use of this doily on the church.


Would you believe this next one...approximately king sized...was hand cross-stitched and hand quilted?


Just so you know I'm not kidding, here is a close-up of one of the stars.


And what about this next one. Is this called a feathered star?


Beautiful quilting. It was machine quilted, but I thought it might have been done free hand.


This little owl was interesting...


with its 3-D tummy.


This next one was one of my favorites.


And who's old enough to remember the Purple People Eater? We happened to be standing next to a man about our age who was explaining the song to the younger woman (a daughter, perhaps?) with him. She hadn't ever heard of the Purple People Eater. Such a pity. The man and Sue and I sang a chorus for her.


Not old enough to remember the Purple People Eater? Shut up.

This next one is for you, Padsworth.



This next one was another of my favorites. Machine applique.


This next one is hand-applique and machine quilted.


Look at the details in the appliques.



And this next one is for you, Denise P., queen of cupcakes.


Cute quilting in the borders.


And look at those polka dot sprinkles.


Sue and I really loved the detail in this next one.



And if you can stand to see one more picture of my quilts, here you go. If not, just close your eyes, and keep scrolling.


It's so much fun to see my own quilts on display with the others. Winning some ribbons makes it taste even sweeter.

After that we wandered around a little bit. Of course, I had to take a picture of this counted cross-stitch cat.


The cakes always amaze me, but I often wonder if anyone would actually eat these cakes. And is there actually cake under all that frosting?


Here are some really cute cupcakes.



It's kind of hard not to reach in and grab one for a little snack, but we resisted.

After that, we wandered around the animal pavilions. When there were no piglets, we went and looked at the chickens. Some are so exotic. I'm thinking of this for my next hairstyle.


Sue was naughty and opened the door of this rabbit's cage. He was kind of a dalmatian rabbit, and he had the cutest black spots over both eyes.


Oh, and our day couldn't have been complete without the two of us acting like goof balls. It sort of made up for the sting of being old enough to remember the Purple People Eater.


Sue wanted to be Farmer of the Year.



So that was our day. It was fun! When we left the exposition center, a woman in a golf cart came by and offered us a ride to the parking lot, which was very much appreciated. It was a hot day, and we were tired.

I made a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home to get a few things for dinner. Tomorrow will be a longer trip. Also tomorrow, I'm meeting with the woman who will be my lead instructor when I join the other instructors at the Coffee Creek Quilters next month. Also today I was signed up for the Department of Corrections training held the first Thursday of each month. I won't go until October, but in the meantime, they were kind enough to provide me with a 90-page pdf manual and pre-test that I need to complete before the training. Oy. In my spare time, right? I'll take it along on the trip and make my way through it during down time.

So with that, things are about to get ugly as we make last minute preparations for our Sunday departure. I still have two rounds to go with the canner. Tomorrow I'll be making one last batch of salsa, and if the plums ever ripen, I'm hoping to get in a batch of plum chutney. There's also laundry to do, including taking our big king-sized bedspread down to the laundromat where they have some heavy-duty washers that can accommodate something that large. And then there's packing! So I'm hoping to keep up with blogging the next couple of days, but it might be slim pickings if all I do is work on getting ready. In any case, the August NewFO Challenge and Giveaway will go live on August 31st (Sunday). Are you ready?


And if I don't blog before we leave, just know I'll be taking lots of pictures and blogging along the way while we're traveling. I hope you'll come along with us on this year's trip to the Great Lakes region.

8/25/14

Monday's Meanderings

It was a relaxing Monday morning for me. I sat watching the birds in the birdbath for the longest time. It's so much fun to watch them splashing around. We have a mister that runs full time. When we first put up our birdbath, the birds ignored it completely. When I mentioned this at our Backyard Bird Shop, they suggested adding the mister. They explained that birds must be able to see and hear the water to be attracted to it, and that the mister would make it more visible and audible. It worked like magic. The birds came in droves, and they were as excited as Smitty with catnip.


Even the hummingbirds enjoy flying into the shower from the mister.

So that was all well and good, but I pulled myself away. I had things to do, including making four more pints of salsa.


There are still enough tomatoes left to make more salsa or else some red tomato chutney. We both love this salsa so much that I am sorely tempted to make more of it. That will probably mean the end of the tomatoes. We ran out of salsa this spring, and so I'm feeling compelled to make more than I did last year. Better too much than not enough. Where salsa is concerned, that's my motto.

While I was waiting for that to cook down and to process, I was able to trace out my extra stitchery to take along on our trip. A few people asked about this pattern. This is the "Never Underestimate" hand embroidery pattern from Bobbie G. Designs. She has some very cute stuff on her website. 


My background piece is a Kona white, although it doesn't look white in this picture. I think it's the lighting in my sewing room that gives it that tinge of dinge.

So when the salsa was finished, and I'd done my tracing, I started on the "H" block for the Gardener's Journal quilt. The "H" block has these three stitcheries.


It went together fairly quickly.


Here's how it looks along with the rest of the quilt. You can see it in the upper right.


And now there are just two stitcheries left to piece together with the "I" block.


I think I'll have enought time to get that one finished and the blocks all sewn together before we leave on our trip. I was hoping to have the whole quilt top finished, but then I had second thoughts about the fabric I had selected for the narrow stop border. Look at the image below, and see what you think. (I'm soliciting your opinion here.)


The outer border will be from the blue floral. Originally, I was going to use that aqua fabric at the bottom of the narrow border. Now I'm thinking that it needs something brighter: either the turquoise at the top, or the royal blue in the middle. Which one do you like best? If I decide to use one of the darker fabrics, I can still use the lighter aqua on the back, and that will be very pretty. I would need to piece it together. I'm thinking the aqua and a scrappy stripe of the remaining scraps from the quilt would make a pretty back. (And I'm already plotting my entries in next year's Oregon State Fair. We're getting pretty bold around here, don't you think?)

I can order the Kona cottons online, and I usually do. There isn't enough time between now and Sunday, however, so I'll probably take a swatch along and see if I can find some along the way. Still, I'm wondering what you think. I'm still undecided about which one is the right one.

So that's my day. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with my friend Sue for lunch, and then she's going to accompany me to the fair. I'm excited to see all the quilts! That will take most of the day, I imagine, and so I'll probably can the rest of the tomatoes on Wednesday. The plums are still hard as little purple rocks. I'm really hoping they'll be ready before we leave. There is no rushing these things, I've learned.

8/24/14

A Day of Slow

Slow simmering, and slow stitching: that's how I spent my day. It was a nice change from yesterday when I was quite busy having a lot of fun.

The kids were over for dinner last night. I wouldn't say we were in a pensive mood; in fact, we were quite celebratory for lots of different reasons. You wouldn't know it from the pictures, however.


It's looking an awful lot as if someone received some very bad news. Truly, we did have fun together.

Matthew and Valerie came bearing gifts from their trip to Alaska last month. They brought something for everybody, but they chose wisely for me when they chose these nine fat quarters of Alaska regional prints. Absolutely perfect.


Thank you, my dears.

Mike grilled our favorite Oysters Rockaway, a recipe we cooked up on one of our trips to the Oregon coast. I've been dying to feed it to the kids ever since.




And to round out the our seafood fest, we had a Fire and Ice salad, and our favorite Seafood Pasta with Lemon-Saffron Herb Dressing. That last one is a family favorite. It always feels sort of luxurious to be using saffron. I was lucky enough to receive some from my dad when he and his wife took a round-the-world cruise a while back. They scored some while visiting some exotic place...Morocco, maybe. I've kept it hidden away under lock and key in a very dark place ever since.


And we finished off with the peach pie I baked yesterday. Yum.

So this morning I was feeling pretty darned lazy, but I finished off the last of the six smallest blocks for the Vintage Tin quilt.


I'll probably regret eating dessert first on this one. I still have the four largest blocks to go before I'll be ready to sew this quilt top together. Not sure which one I'll start with, but eventually I'll have to make a decision. You can see the largest ones across the top and down the middle in the image below.


Just looking at this, I'm guessing I'll work from the bottom up. That decision can wait until later, however, because now I need to make up a new stitchery. 

The Quilted Snowladies are up next. The next block is called "Just a Snowin', and a Sewin!" It's ready to start now. Do you see the cat?


And I'm making up another stitchery since this is the only sewing I'll have to do on my trip. Obviously, I don't want to run out of stuff to stitch. I chose one of my "short" projects, meaning one block and it's finished (as opposed to the quilt blocks I've been working on for my larger projects).


This is such a cute piece. The stitchery without the border will be trimmed to 22 x 15 inches, and so it's a rather large piece. Today I was able to pull together enough embroidery floss for the whole project, substituting colors for the ones suggested on the pattern. The background fabric is cut to size, but I still need to trace it. I considered using Sticky Fabri-Solvy, but decided against it. It isn't a terribly complicated design, and I'll enjoy stitching it more if I don't have to stitch through all that thickness. Besides, the Sticky Fabri-Solvy is expensive, and I want to save it for the more complicated designs that are harder to trace.

My 20 pounds of tomatoes have been reduced substantially, which accounts for the slow simmering part of the day. I canned another six quarts of pasta sauce, which makes me feel as if I've just won the lottery. We do love that burst of fresh tomato flavor in the darkest part of winter in Oregon. I still have plenty to make some more salsa tomorrow. If I have enough left over, I'm going to try a red tomato chutney or else a tomato jam. And I'm not forgetting about my plums either. There is still plenty to keep me busy in this final week at home.

It was a good weekend at the Three Cat's Ranch. I hope you had a good weekend too.