2/22/17

Speedy Sewing

Before I get started, I wanted to say how much I'm appreciating reading all your comments for the book giveaway. It seems we all came to quilting in similar ways with just enough difference in the mix to make it thoroughly enjoyable. If you missed the giveaway, you can find it at that link I've given you back there. Be sure to read the comments!

Yesterday was an egg pick-up day and a grocery shopping day, and that left me pretty well wiped out by the time I got home. Also, it poured rain. Oregon in February...gotta love it. Anyway, the only sewing that was accomplished yesterday was to barely get started on the newest Hocuspocusville block. Of course, I started with the cat. And then the spider. And then the tree...in case the cat wanted to run up the tree...because of the spider. That's what I'd do.


That was as far as I got before I needed to quit and get on with my day. When I finished working on it this morning,the cat had a much more substantial tree to climb.


Today I'm getting my monthly pedicure and running a few errands. It's possible I'll have more time for sewing today, but just in case, I took some time for some speedy sewing this morning. The tenth block for the Solstice Challenge was released today. It's called "The Coffee Shop." Mine celebrates Black History month with a little nod to President's day too.


This "civil rights fabric" has been waiting its turn all month. For most of the quilt, I'm limiting myself to scraps from my stash. However, doing a "seasonal" quilt has meant purchasing a couple of fabrics. I found a fat quarter of this in somebody's Etsy shop, and I've been waiting for the right block to come along to use it. Since this is the last block for February, phew! Just in a nick of time.


With that finished, I had just enough time left to finish off the square-in-a-square blocks for Kathleen Tracy's Welcome Home Mystery Sewing Along.


These are 3 1/2 inches, and still need trimming. I was digging through my tiniest scraps for these yesterday. You might remember the beginnings of this quilt from yesterday's post. The square-in-a-square blocks are to be used later.


So that's all the sewing I've had time for today. There might be time left over in the day, but I'm usually tired after I've ventured out. The weather is much better today and we're even seeing sunshine on the hill. Sadly, I'm driving down into the valley where there is thick cloud cover.

Nearly all of the tomato seeds have sprouted now. They're sitting in the laundry room window, and since the catio was built, it doesn't allow in as much light. I'm going to set them up with a grow light this afternoon just to make sure the little buggers don't get sad and depressed.


Just before I took this picture, I turned them around so they're facing away from the window. You can see how they're all bent over reaching for the light.

Also, I'm going to get some more sourdough bread dough going again today to be baked tomorrow. You might remember my sad sourdough bread pancake from a couple of weeks ago. Since then I've become almost 100% certain that the dough was overproofed, and so I'm going to try it again. Glutton for punishment...that's me.

There are two starters in the refrigerator right now...one for white sourdough, one for whole wheat sourdough. I've been keeping them alive for about a month now, and when I want to bake bread, I use what I pour off at feeding time to make the starter for the next loaf. When I fed them yesterday, I used what I poured off for this starter. Yesterday morning, it filled only about 1/4 of the jar. When I checked it just how. Whoa, Nellie!

You cannot even begin to imagine how happy this makes me. Look at how frothy it is! That is one vigorous starter. So...it seems my success is assured, right? Well, as always with bread, my fingers are crossed. Wish me luck.

2/21/17

A Giveaway

Well, I promised you a giveaway yesterday, and here it is! Rhonda Cratty contacted me last week about a book she's written, entitled Our Family Quilt. Rhonda has generously agreed to sponsor a giveaway of her book.


The story is about Grace, a master quilter, sharing her creative gifts with her young granddaughter, Audrey. Together their lives unfold around their family quilt.  The love between grandmother and granddaughter keep a family’s generations turning despite minor setbacks, disappointments and celebrations of life. Friends and family of a charming mountain town in Colorado come together for life’s moments, creating an inspirational, heartwarming story.

Our Family Quilt immerses readers in:
Family Life
Contemporary Women
Quilting ideas
Creativity for everyday living
The secret world of Grandmothers and Granddaughters and the people they love

Rhonda explained to me that the inspiration for Our Family Quilt came alive when a friend first took her to a quilting class. She knew the journey she wanted to take the characters on, and she knew how to sew but not how to quilt. She also went to quilting shows, learning as she went. Eventually, she joined a quilting guild, listening to the inspiring speakers and meeting encouraging quilters. With each new friendship made, she became inspired to add a different dimension to both her quilting and her book. You can read more about Rhonda at her website right here. You can also read more about the inspiration for her book in this article that appeared in Summit Daily, based in Breckenridge and Summit County, Colorado.

So...what do you need to do to win? Well, you know that always means leaving a comment. Any comment will do, but if you need an idea, tell me what inspired you to become a quilter. That's easy for me...I wanted to become a quilter when I saw my own grandmother's quilts. The opportunity to learn didn't come until later in life, but I always knew I'd get there some day. Please make sure I have a way to contact you. No-reply equals no chance to win. If you're not sure, please leave an email address.

I'll leave this giveaway open for comments until Friday at midnight and choose a winner at random on Saturday morning. But if you don't want to wait, you should know that Rhonda will make the eBook version available for just 99¢ beginning Wednesday morning. You can purchase the eBook version beginning tomorrow morning right here. But don't delay. The book price increases incrementally every 32 hours thereafter until it's back to its regular price on March 1st.

Okay then. Good luck!

Presidents Day Pleasures

It was a fairly productive day yesterday, and I managed to tick off most of the to-do's on my list. Unpacking the camper was highest priority, and that didn't take long. It helped that Mike kindly unpacked all of the food and cleaned out the refrigerator. That job is usually mine 100% of the time, and so it was a nice surprise. Once everything was put away, I could get to some of my sewing tasks. First, I needed to make up a new embroidery project. This was accomplished with the help of my cat and several cups of coffee.


That's a new Wafer Lightbox I purchased from Massdrop recently, and I love it. At 11 x 17 inches it's a nice size, very portable, and very bright. It'll be nice to have along when we're traveling because it takes up almost no space at all.

As for the stitchery, it's hooped up and ready to go now. It's almost impossible to see in this image, but I'm showing it anyway just so you'll know I'm not kidding around.


After that, I finished up the "On the Road" block for the Summer Holiday quilt. These are so cute. Lynette Anderson's drawings are charming.


The next time I work on this, I'll be doing a block called "At the Campsite." (I had forgotten about the trailer.)


Finally, I was able to put the half-square-triangle border around the house for the Welcome Home Mystery Quilt Sew Along from Kathleen Tracy. Cute, huh?


I'm in the process of making eight square-in-a-square blocks. The fabrics are selected and cut, but I was getting tired of sewing by that time. Those will get finished today if I have time.

2/20/17

To-Do List

We're back from our weekend away. We had a wonderful time. The weather was nice the first day and then got worse from there. Saturday was rainy most of the day, and that meant we stayed inside and kept ourselves entertained with things from home. By the end of the day we were so relaxed that further relaxation would have rendered us pulsating blobs of protoplasm. It was a welcome respite from our usually busy day-to-day schedule. We talked about this being one of the joys of living in a small space. The list of things to do is very short.

There was a stack of magazines to catch up on. Mike had some other reading he was enjoying, and of course, there's always hand-stitching. I finished up the "Road Trip" block.


It still needs trimming and two borders added, but that shouldn't take too long. And that means I've added something else to my to-do list, which is to make up the tenth block for Hocuspocusville. The next one is Hagatha's Dirty Laundry. It seems entirely appropriate since it's impossible to come home from a camping trip without a pile of laundry.


The kitties were glad to see us. Oh yes, the laps are back! I was more in the mood for sewing than I was for unpacking, and so I got straight to work on the ninth Solstice block. As you might guess, I had plenty of helpers. Smitty was at-the-ready to help me choose fabrics for my block.


Sadie was happy that someone turned on the fireplace so she could warm her furry self.


Sadie's life is all about staying warm, and so she's also happy to have someone at home to arrange her quilts for her.


As for the Solstice block, Block #9 is called "Among the Stars." Mine is marking Valentine's Day. That candy heart fabric has been in my stash for a long time, and so it was good to finally put it to use. This is a large block at 32 inches square. It would make a cute doll quilt all on its own.


Pat Sloan has two layouts for the quilt we're making, and I like her asymmetrical layout. This latest block will go in the center.


The to-do list is rather long for the day. First, I need to finish unpacking my clothes and food from the camper. Also, I need to make up a grocery shopping list. The shopping can wait until tomorrow. If I can get both of those things accomplished, I'll finish up the Summer Holiday block pictured above, and then get to work on the second clue for the Welcome Home Mystery Quilt Sew Along from Kathleen Tracy. You might remember that I made the little house block a couple of weeks ago. Mine didn't want to lay flat for its picture, but rest assured, the chimneys are straight.


When I add the second clue, the chimneys will behave a little better. The second clue is to add a border of half square triangles around the whole thing. 


There are also another dozen or so half square triangles to make, and those will be added at some point in the future.

That kind of takes care of today's to-do's, but look who decided to pop up while we were gone.


The tomato seeds are growing! Yay! You're going to make a lovely pasta sauce in a few months. There are three seeds in each cup. Most cups have just two seeds germinated. A few cups have none, but we're off to a pretty good start. I expect the remaining seeds to germinate within the next day or two.

Oh yes, and I have to back way up to last Thursday and my visit to Boersma's with my friend Lenelda from Ft. Worth, Texas. I didn't have anything in mind for our fabric shopping trip, although Lenelda picked out some very pretty fabrics to go in a quilt she's making for her brother. We spent quite a bit of time figuring out the yardage for that. As for me, I love Boersma's because their whole basement is devoted to bolts of fabric on sale. I can always find something I like there for a good price. I picked up these two. The one on the left reminded me of bricks or board siding. I thought it might come in handy for the walls of a barn at some point.


The one on the right will probably end up in a binding or something. I just liked it. It occurs to me that the Hocuspocusville quilt has some orange and black nine patch blocks when I start sewing it together. That fabric would work well in one of the nine patches.

So that's my plan for the day. Plenty to do, and never enough time. Be sure to check back tomorrow. I have a fun giveaway planned, but I'll say more about it in tomorrow's post.

2/18/17

Nehalem Bay State Park

Okay, well...I told you I'd write if I had something to say, and well, I always have something to say. Whether it is going to be interesting is another question. You'll have to decide. Really, there isn't a whole lot to tell except that nothing has broken! Yay! We had a bit of a scare when a series of warning lights indicated that the motor on one of our slides had shorted out. The slide was working fine, and so we're not sure what that's all about. Mike will mention it to the dealer and see if they have any ideas. Otherwise, smooth sailing.

We stopped off at a scenic overlook on the way in. This is Neahkahnie Mountain. Our daughter's ashes are buried nearby. Below and left of center in the image is the little town of Manzanita, Oregon. We were about ten miles from the state park at this point.


We have a nice campsite, and while we can't see the ocean, we can hear it.


There has been nine inches of rainfall so far during the month of February, and the sites to the right of us are mostly flooded. We just barely managed to escape the flood zone where we are, which means the surrounding grass is very soggy and muddy. It was nice yesterday, and we got out for a walk on the beach. There is a grass-covered dune between us and the ocean.


Once you get across the dune, you can look to the north and see Manzanita again, and that's Neahkahnie Mountain there.


Look to the south, and you see this:


We saw this guy and some of his friends considering their options.


Here in Oregon, we're always talking about the possibility of tsunamis and the impending cataclysm when the Cascadia Subduction Zone decides to give way to the forces of nature. It could happen in another 500 years, or the next five minutes...or even sooner. One just never knows.


And I don't know about you, but I'm always wanting to keep abreast of the many ways that I might die when I'm out and about. For one thing...clams. 


There's one of those murderous buggers now. Any other time, I'd scoop it up and eat it on the spot. Not this time...you can't fool me, sitting there looking so innocent and tasty.


And then, there's all of this:


And don't forget this guy trying to run away from a tsunami. 


On a lighter note, there were these little tiny wildflowers...about the size of a dime.


And these little pine cones...about the size of your thumb.


Since the weather was so nice, we decided to sit outside and barbecue last night, and we were treated to a very pretty sunset.


It rained last night, but it's been dry so far today. There are "showers" in the forecast with rain increasing into tomorrow. We're heading home tomorrow, and so it doesn't really matter. We feel lucky to have been able to get out on the beach yesterday, and we'll probably take another walk today.

The bed is comfortable. We've taken showers. We've used pretty much anything that has an on-off switch. Last night we used the convection oven to bake some potatoes. This morning we used the cooktop to make French toast and the microwave to cook some bacon. All went off without a hitch. We've also tested out the napping capabilities of the theater-style chairs. Well within specifications, I'd say. Mike is snoring away as I write this.

So, there you have it...nothing earth-shattering, and sometimes that's a really good thing.

2/16/17

One Week, Two Small Finishes

There was time during the afternoon yesterday to finish off the little truck camper quilt. It started with the addition of a campfire to the little campsite, and then I got to work on the top-stitching. The batting was added first so that the top-stitching would also serve as quilting. Also, I like the little bit of puff it gives the applique when I top-stitch through the batting.


It didn't take long before it was all finished. Only then...facepalm! I realized I'd totally forgotten to add borders. Oh my. What to do? Several ideas went through my head at that point...you'll notice I didn't say "brain." You see, most people have a brain between their ears. If you look inside my head, you'll only see a few moths flying around.


The quilt back hadn't been added yet. Fortunately, I'd given myself enough excess batting around the edges to add some narrow borders. Since I was trying to keep the width down to 16 inches, it all worked out. First, I folded the batting back, and then trimmed the fabric to the width I wanted.


I very nearly trimmed too close to the top part of the camper there, but when the flange was added, it could be fudged just a little. From there, I added the border fabric. 


Phew! And that was where I left it for the day. This morning I added the binding. It's the same fabric I used for the "Welcome." Now, it's all stitched down and the little quilt is finished. 


The top-stitching already served to hold the batting in place, but I always like to add a little bit of quilting when the back is added as well. In this case, I stitched a straight line border around "Welcome" and also stitched along the edges of some of the roads in the map background fabric. 

I'm calling this little quilt "Welcome Wagon." It finishes up at 16 x 18 inches. Here's how it looks from the back. 


So I might have finished the whole thing yesterday except that we went out for our After Valentines Day dinner. We went to the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon. Joel Palmer House has an interesting history. As it turns out, Joel Palmer was one of the original Oregon pioneers. You can read about him and his restaurant on a previous blog right here.  It was raining, and the front door looked very inviting in the darkness.


The last time we had dinner at the Joel Palmer House, we were celebrating 400 days until retirement. This time...71 days.


Mike has a four-day weekend for our camping trip. Monday is a holiday, and he's taking tomorrow off. That means that when he goes back to work on Tuesday, it will be 66 days until retirement. Not that we're counting or anything, but I knew you'd want to know.

Today I have a fun afternoon planned. You might remember my friend Lenelda. We were friends in high school, and we also swam on the city swim team together when we were kids. Then a couple of summers ago, we attended the Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon, together.


Lenelda lives in Texas, but her mother lives just south of me in Salem. She's here visiting her mother, but we're planning to meet up for lunch in McMinnville, followed by a trip to my current favorite quilt shop, Boersma's. Should be fun, no?

This weekend Mike and I are taking off on our "shakedown" cruise with the new camper, and we take the "shaking" part very seriously. The new camper is our fourth RV, and in our experience, there are always a few little bugaboos to take care of with a new rig. We've had plumbing and hot water problems in the past, and so we're hoping for the best, but expecting that something will go wrong for this first time out. That's a good reason to keep the trip short. Also, we're not taking the kitties this time around. They're okay at home for a couple of days, and we don't have their catio window ready yet.

With this post, I might be signing off until Sunday or Monday, but I honestly don't know if I'll blog over the weekend or not. Blogging is important for my sanity, and so I miss it when I don't write these letters to friends. Nevertheless, it could be a rather slow weekend. The weather is pretty iffy on the Oregon coast in February. Here's the forecast for the next few days.


It's raining today, but forecast cloudy tomorrow. Of course, we won't get there until fairly late in the day, so Friday is kind of irrelevant. Saturday's forecast is for "scattered showers" and so there's a good chance we'll be able to get outside for some hiking. And all of that to say that I'm taking along the laptop and I'll blog if I have something to talk about other than sitting inside and staying dry.

2/15/17

Solid Sewing

After two solid days of sewing, my "The Brighter the Better" project for Project Quilting is finished. Since I love bright colors, this was really fun. Here's the finished quilt.


It ended up at 15 x 18 inches. I'm calling it "Bright and Early" for a couple of reasons. "Bright" is fairly obvious, and "Early" because it makes me think of an early spring. We could certainly use one around here after all the cold weather and snow we've had this winter. Here's how it looks from the back. I love those bright polka dots...or circles...or whatever they are.


When I've made these stained glass quilts in the past, I've always used a solid backing so that the quilting would show. This time, I really wanted to use that bright fabric, and so I hoped for the best with the quilting. It shows up pretty well despite its busy-ness.


The quilting consists of a line of sewing on each edge of the black "leading." It went pretty fast on the larger sections.


Each petal was done individually, and it took several hours to finish the whole thing.


The outer sections made an outline on the black inner border, but I decided to add another line of stitching just at the edge of the flange.


Because the flowers were quilted from the outer edges toward the center, the flower centers puff out just a little bit. Also, the fabric was laid down in layers, and so there are four layers of fabric there, in addition to the batting.


So there it is...one finished quilt for this week's theme. With our camping trip coming up this weekend, I thought I might sit this one out. It was so much fun, now I'm glad to have followed through.


Today, I'll be linking up to


Since I've done almost nothing but sewing for the past two days, I need to catch up on a few tasks around the house and make some lists for our trip this weekend. (I can hardly do anything without making a list first.) The next block has been released for the Solstice Challenge. It's hard to decide whether to work on that first or whether to work on the Welcome wall hanging for the new camper. If there's time for sewing, I guess I'll do whatever mood strikes first.