Catching Up

Before I tell you what's been going on here at the Three Cat's Ranch, I owe you a winner. Today's the day to choose a winner for the March NewFO Challenge. You have been such a busy bunch, and I so enjoyed looking at all of your new stuff. There can be only one winner per month, however, and so I generated a number at random and came up with:

#25--Dana @ Stormy Days

Congratulations, Dana! I've sent you an email, so check your inbox! And a big round of applause to all of you who entered. We'll party again next month when we'll be playing for the Bear Paw lapel pin. Plenty of time between now and then, so get busy!

And since I've been away from the blog spending time with my friend, Marei, I barely know where to start this morning. I have so much to tell you!

We have a fantastic day of weather this morning. Smitty has been in and out and in and out, and he's so happy to have dry fur for a change!

It's a poop outside kind of day! (In a cat's world, that's something worth celebrating.)

My friend Marei arrived on Thursday afternoon. I met up with her in the baggage claim area, and I was watching for her to come down the escalator, wondering if I would know her when I saw her. Keep in mind that Marei and I have not seen one another in around 40 years! When I saw her at the top of the escalator, she looked just the same as I remembered her. Oh my gosh! Let the fun begin!

We started our retail therapy right away. Some of our local quilt shops had some good sales going on this week...I'm thinking they got wind of Marei's visit. Since I don't get to the Portland side of town very often these days, we stopped off at one shop on the way home. We kind of relaxed and gabbed the rest of the afternoon, but then hit the ground running on Friday. We visited three of my favorite shops. Here, Marei is forcing me to buy fabrics we found at Boersma's. 

After that, we drove down to Salem to visit two of my favorite shops down there. I was on the hunt for jewel tones to use in some more stained glass applique quilts. I came away with these.

This next one is a little different, but I could see it being used for the stained glass applique or anything else, really. Wouldn't it make a pretty binding?

And I'm always in search of good fabrics to use for skies, so I picked up a little of these two levels of brightness:

And the rest, I just liked.

Many of these were on sale at 50% off, and it would be just crazy to try to resist, wouldn't it?

And, of course, one full bin of cat fabrics simply isn't enough.

And while I'm talking about cats, look at this cat panel Marei brought me! Too cute!

She brought some other pretties too. When she saw my chili rounder, she thought I would like this one.

That will make a great back for my next chili rounder since the current one is going to someone else.

Also...look at these beautiful kitchen towels she wove with her very own hands! Holy smokes! I didn't know Marei was a weaver. Aren't these beautiful? They're really soft too. I just love them.

Also, she brought this cute needle keeper, which I desperately need now that I'm such a gadabout at workshops, classes, and guilds...

And finally, this sweet little runner for Easter. Isn't this adorable? It's so much cuter in person with its sweet little embellishments. It's hard to see in this image, but she quilted it so that the eggs really pop out.

We let the weather tell us how we would spend our time, and in true Oregon fashion, it rained most of the time she was here. On Saturday, we decided our own personal little quilting retreat was in order, and so we spent most of the day in the sewing room. Marei helped me with a couple of my projects, and she wanted to try making one of the roses I learned to make at the workshop I attended in January. I think she did a great job!

She did what I did, which was to follow the suggested color values on the workshop handout, but she wasn't happy with the medium pink on the left side of that image above. She made hers a little differently, and so you can see her changes in the image below.

(Sorry, Marei. You blinked!) And I'm going on record right here and now to say that I think Marei's version is a big improvement.

I was working on sewing my three roses into some sort of table runner. I got this far, and things were going along pretty well.

When I started trying to free piece green strips around the outsides of my runner, things went a little haywire. I forgot to take a picture, and so I can't really show it to you just now, but I'll just say that the borders around the outside are so wavy that they're going to be unworkable. I got frustrated and quit after a while, and now I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. I have in mind to try just cutting it into a rectangle and then add straight borders, but we'll see. I'm just turning it over in my mind for now.

This was Smitty's contribution to the day:

And I just want to say right here and now that Miss Gracie showed uncharacteristic courage while Marei was here. At one point, she actually sat on Marei's lap. A cat knows a good friend when she sees one.

And so yesterday was our last day together. Purely by chance, I read on my "Google Alerts" that there was a small quilt show going on in Canby, which is southeast of Portland. You can read the little blurb I read right here. The show was at the Canby library, and consisted of about 30 quilts made by instructors and students of the Coffee Creek Quilters. Click on that link, and you can read their blog. 

Essentially, the Coffee Creek Quilters organization teaches quilting to women who are incarcerated at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. This is a program I continue to consider as a volunteer opportunity, but I want to be sure before I make the commitment. Seeing the show took me one step closer, but I'm still not ready to commit. It sounds fun working with the women. On the other hand, there are other opportunities...making up kits, working on fundraising, etc....that might be a better place to start.

I took pictures of some of the posted notes that give you a little snapshot of the work they do with the women. Be sure to click on the link to their blog if you want to know more.

My understanding is that the women make three quilts...the first is for learning, the second is for charity, and the third quilt is for them to take with them when they are released. Here are a few of the student-made quilts. They were hung up overhead, and so the pictures aren't as good as they might be.

Regarding their first quilt...

I loved reading these quotes from students:

Isn't this one cute?

Pretty fabrics in this one:

This next one was made by an instructor. I loved the colors and whimsy. There were several quilts made by instructors, and those were for sale to raise money for the program.

So, I'm still thinking about it. For sure, I want to make a donation. What a great program for so many reasons.

On the way to the quilt show, we passed by this architectural salvage shop, and we went back to see what they had. We both agreed there is so much cool stuff here. If I had unlimited space and dollars, I could buy out the place. As it was, we just looked.

Marei planned a day on her own in downtown Portland today, and then she'll head home tomorrow. I thought I might go down, but the weather is so beautiful, and I really need to get out and do some work in the yard. One must make hay while the sun literally shines here in Oregon, and today is forecast to be the warmest day so far this year. I'm kind of itching to get out and get my hands dirty. Also, I need to run some errands. I need some groceries, and I need to buy some potting soil. The tomatoes are getting tall and leggy, and it's time to put them in larger pots, stake them, and move them out to the greenhouse. I'm going to buy the potting soil today, and then tomorrow I'll probably get to work repotting them. Also today is a Zumba day, so there's lots to do.

Before I go, however, I wanted to update you where I left off the last time I blogged. I finished the quilting for the Shine On quilt. I had decided to quilt vertical wavy lines in the vertical strips and horizontal wavy lines in the horizontal strips. 

Also, I did a sort of loopy, bubbly, ribbon motif in the border. I couldn't decide what to do there and so that's what I ended up with. Nothing fancy.

Then I finished up the last corner above the trees with the same horizontal wavy lines.

I did pebbling in the moon...thinking of the moon's craters.

On the left side of the quilt, there were three vertical columns side by side, and so I put a row of pebbles in the middle, just to break it up a little.

And then I was ready to sew the binding on. I used some of the leftover pieced strips from the quilt and made a pieced binding for it. You can see that in the image above. I just had a few short pieces, and so I had those on either side of the quilt, and then just used the rest of the fabrics from the quilt to make the binding long enough to stretch the entire perimeter of the quilt.

While Marei and I gabbed, I did the hand sewing and finished the quilt. And here it is!

Here's how it looks from the back. Put a quilt on the floor, and I'll show you where the cat is.

Also, I wanted to tell you that the Roasted Rhubarb and Ginger Streusel Tart recipe I tried turned out dee-lish. When I left you last week, I had all the component parts made. Then Thursday morning I assembled it and baked it off.

This is a really terrible picture of it. One of these days I'll consider my light sources when taking pictures, but I think you can get the idea:

It had a nice chewy crust with a layer of rhubarb goo, and the streusel was really delicious with bits of crystallized ginger that gave it a nice flavor and texture. What I really liked about the recipe, however, was the ability to make all the component parts ahead of time and then assemble it at the last minute. It would be a great dish to serve guests because you can do all of the work ahead of time. I would like to try this warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We ate it at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream. Yum. Mee.

So that's about it from me. Smitty's still considering his options for the day. Poultry? Or how about some red meat in the form of squirrels? Mousies? Gophers? It's a veritable cat smorgasbord on the Three Cats Ranch today.

"No more pictures, Mom."

"Talk to the paw."

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

What a full post! How wonderful to meet back up with a friend and it looks like you had a wonderful time.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Ooops - congratulations to Dana!

quiltzyx said...

Congrats to Dana on the win!

Sounds like you & Marei had a grand time!! Too bad she twisted your arm so hard to buy those fabrics. If you have any residual guilt about your purchases, you do have my address....

Shine On looks fabulous! Just enough quilting variety for interest.

Quilting Babcia said...

First, congratulations to Dana!!
You two certainly had a super shopping spree, and I do recognize that bolt Marei is holding - think some of it came home with me the day before! Marei's weaving is gorgeous, and there's nothing better than a handwoven dish towel or placemat. We still use the placemats I made 30 years ago, on a weekly basis. They last forever - like good friends!

Sher S. said...

I'm so glad you have had such a wonderful time with your friend. That is one of life's treasures...friends. I have so missed your postings, you seem to brighten my mornings with your posts. Love Smitty...he is so handsome, but don't let it go to his head. LOL!
Your quilt is beautiful. It gives me encouragement that I can do something like that. Glad you had some sunshine...we are expecting 88 degrees today with a breeze.

Lyndsey said...

Congratulations to Dana. It's great to hear about your lovely weekend with Marei, it sounds such good fun. I wish I'd been with you on your shopping trip as those fabrics are beautiful. Lots of lovely quilty things to be made in the future. As always your quilt is fabulous and the quilting looks great.

Kirsty said...

I'm so glad your visit went well. It seems that you have very creative friends but then they do say that like attracts like! Those tea towels were amazing. Love the pictures of the cats. I laughed out loud at 'talk to the paw' as this is exactly what mine do when I get a little snap happy with the camera. I can almost hear them "Jeez mum, enough already!" It makes me happy to think that cats are the same the world over. Have a lovely day.

Brown Family said...

Glad you had so much fun! Pretty fabrics you bought. Love the quilting on Shine On quilt!

Tami C said...

It's great to hear that you had a really nice visit with your friend. I had to laugh when you said that she FORCED you to buy some fabric! I wish they had an architectural salvage shop out here. Your Shine On quilt sure turned out nice. The moon looks great! Love all the pictures of Smitty!

Anonymous said...

I really like Marei's change to the rose. I'm glad that you had such a wonderful visit with her!

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm so glad it was a good visit, shopping, gabbing and sewing sounds perfect.

Kate said...

Wow, what a weekend! Glad you had a great time.