Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hooray for good friends and time to quilt!

Last week was the third annual "Finishing School".  A small quilting retreat that I organize.  Three years ago, I was trying to organize a guild retreat.  There wasn't much interest in changing anything up! But there were 8 of us who wanted to get together.  In Bandon, there's an awesome quilt store - with - wait for it! a retreat center above it!  Perfection!  Thank you Forget Me Knots!!

And so Finishing School started.  Every year it's full and every year we have a great time! This year, 9 of us went and it was very productive!

My first project was "Over the river and through the woods" by by Crabapple Hill.  A good friend in Newport did the embroidery for both of us and I did the piecing for both.  Unfortunately, we both just did each others!  So both of our projects languished for Y*E*A*R*S!!  So typical!  In middle of this I moved to Brookings, so I would hope we would have finished them faster if we were still neighbors.  But I'm glad to say, my top is done!  With my own little twist, of course!  Made enough blocks to create rows above and below the embroidered panels.  The scariest part of the whole project was cutting the embroideries to the correct size!

Next up was bringing out an "oldie-goldie" Courthouse steps and 54-40 stars.  I thought I would finish it as a couple of baby quilts.  I thought I had lost interest in it.  But when I laid it out on the design wall - it was love again!  I had paper pieced the stars, why, I have no idea!  So I spend a good amount of time removing the papers while being entertained by everyone around the table!  Good place to do it.  New plan - make more blocks!

In between quilting projects I made baby receiving blankies.  The cutting room was perfectly set up to trim and pin.  I made eight!!  Four of which went to my DDs house this week.  Her friends are having babies at an alarming rate!  LOL! And she made me promise to make these comfy square little quilts.  They are easy care, and great for tummy-time, swaddling and protecting against those really big burps!  I wrote up instructions here.

My last quilting project was a baby size I spy.  I was looking thru someone else's magazine and saw this pattern.  Sorry I don't remember which magazine.  I jotted down the measurements ... and was worried about sashing that was just cut 1 1/2".  But it came out wonderfully!  This will probably go to the next community baby shower.  But it's going to be a "go to" pattern for me!  Sorry, just noticed the picture was of blocks.  I'll post another one when it's quilted! Promise!

And here we are - the Finishing School Graduates!  Thanks ladies for such fun!  We've got next year already booked!  Can't wait.

Finishing School 2015 - Bandon Oregon

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Valentines Day to US!!

It's hard to remember it's February - we have a gorgeous weekend here.  It's actually in the 70s!!  We don't even get that in the summer.  AND we had an awesome low tide to walk.  S*C*O*R*E!

I shouldn't mention that we're grilling out salmon for dinner!  Don't be too jealous - we also had 10 days of storms this month too - with more to come, I'm sure!  But, for today, I'm just enjoying it!

My Valentine and I went to a movie and dinner last night.  I had picked up some coffee beans and some red wine for him last trip to Medford, which of course, he helped unload from the car that trip.  No surprises for him.  BUT I got a gorgeous coffee table book of Vivan Maier Photographs.  WOW! I've been fascinated by her story since we saw the film about her discovery.  The book was a perfect present and very unexpected.  Thanks, darling!

Now, sit down, because this may surprise you - the movie we saw was 50 Shades of Grey!  I know, we seem like the wrong demographic for it and perhaps we are! Neither of us liked it very much.

We both read the books, and were wondering how in the world they were going to make a movie.  When the release date was announced, well, this movie seemed odd for a Valentines Day debut!!!

The story, in the books, is all about Ana's inner dialog with her "inner goddess" and her sub-conscience.  Problematic for a movie.  So what they ended up with was many soulful looks and alot of naked scenes.  Sorry to say, it didn't live up to the book.

However, it was interesting how they adapted the book.  I was glad to see it for that.

We came home and watched "Gone Girl" on DVD.  Had heard it was as good as the book, but this weekend, neither was as good as the book! Oh well!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The calm after the storm!

Finally, the Oregon coast was included in our nation's crazy weather this year.  We got hit by the edge of the "pineapple express" storm from Hawaii.  Lots of wind and rain.  7+ inches over the 9 days and the wind!  I thought I was back in Nebraska!!

We live in a condo on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean.  See the bottom of this page for the view from our deck! We're on the second floor and in the middle of the building.  I rarely hear any weather.  I heard it this weekend!  In fact, the wind woke me up - it was whipping around our building, we were reminded of the Old Father Hall on the UNL campus.  You would be fighting the wind to get in the door on the West side of the bldg and see through the entry hall - someone fighting to get in the door on the East side!! It was strange but apparently not just in Nebraska!

While I was Christmas shopping last December, I received a coupon for $20 off at Shutterfly.  I squirreled it away, in the "I'll think about this later" file.  It was good through Jan 31!  Well, I found it January 30th!  I scrambled through favorite pictures on the computer and compiled a book.  It was so easy and the service was awesome.  They actually delivered the book on the day they said!!  Amazon says, 5 days but it's often 12-15!!  We ARE on the edge of the civilized world here.

I didn't really have time to put captions under the pictures.  It seemed like there was only one text box under multiple photos - that's a pain.  So I skipped it!  I figured if I needed explanations, there's always my Pigma pen!  And of course, I'm already thinking about the next collection!  Here are some of the photos I printed in no particular order:

Boyd family gathering. Lincoln NE

Mr M kissing Miss P

Nana and papa welcome Mr D

Granny meeting Mr D

Family picture with the Grandmas - Lincoln 

At A&J's wedding

Don't you love Mr M's face??

A&J's wedding

More next time - when I can find them again!  If you haven't looked at Shutterfly lately, I recommend you go and see what they can do now!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Home again, home again - jiggety jig!

I'm back from my 6 day "world tour".  I headed out Thursday to Medford.  Went to the dealership to have a headlight replaced.  I wish they were closer to us, the service was awesome!  I was in and out in a flash.  Next stop was the Dollar Store!  I'm not sure who loves the Dollar Store more, me or my grandkids!  You'll want to check out the boxed Valentines there.  What a selection!  I bought cell phone scratch offs for Miss P; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Mr M, and a selection of super heroes for Mr D!!  I thought we could make a little "Memory Game" with them.  But he had plenty of fun just looking at them and carrying them around.

 I spent the night with A&J&the boys.  Busy household, but I was able to read plenty of books to the kids and sit and talk with A!  He loved his "40 memories" for his 40th birthday! Since I packed for 3 places; including a quilt retreat - my car was full.  A asked me if I was running away from home!

The next morning it was ally-oop over the mountains and on to Portland.  Stopped at the Apple store to consult about a password that wasn't working; Holly Hill to have fun running amok with my Christmas present gift card!!!  Wheee!  Yep, it's gone, but oh what goodies I found!!!  To L&J's in time to go to the Intl Festival at the kids' school.  We ate pizza; did the crafts and then each child sang an Intl song with their class.  Fun and games.  Then J&L went to a movie and out to dinner whilst the kids and I did secret Valentine's Day art projects.  We had a blast! I've been sworn to secrecy until after V-day!  Cute pictures coming up!

Sunday am was time to go to the retreat center.  I had taken everything out of my car into J&L's to regroup and get ready for the retreat.  L asked me worriedly, "Mom, just how long are you staying??"

It was foggy Sunday morning and I was glad to just be an hour away.  But all was well, made it in good time.  The retreat was for the Newport Guild - 58 crazy quilters out amongst them!  We stayed at the Oregon Gardens Retreat in Silverton and it's a beautiful facility.  The meeting room held us all and all our stuff with room to walk around!  We had 5-6 flannel sheets hanging for design walls, the electricity worked wonderfully!  A good time was had by all!  And the food wasn't bad either!

First stop was to go to the quilt show.  There are no flash photos allowed, so the only photo I have is this one.  I did a sample wool candle mat for Wild Hare Fibers - it really turned out cute, don't you think??

If I was making it again; I'd make it bigger and possibly put a sun with rays reaching out to the ships.  But of course, you can't do that with the sample.  There's a cotton liner fused and stitched to the back.  No picture, but I put a cute fabric with whales on it!!!  It's what is under the boats, of course!

The main trouble with retreats is ... you NEVER get everything done that you take.  AND you see a few more projects that you want to start!  This retreat was like that!

I was working on Stacked Blocks - a blog tutorial by Jean MaDan.  I love it! The blocks are a Bento Box-like block.  And when you put them together - it really looks modern!

And other quilts in the room that I feel I must make include ... The Fig Tree pattern, Prairie Sweets Revisited.  It reminds me of my Pies and Tarts quilt.  But I might actually allow this one to be used!  The difference is - you make 6" pinwheel blocks.  And fat sashing all around.  Then applique a circle strategically!  I loved it!

And this lovely scrappy quilt "Simply Woven" found at Moda Bake Shop!  Too clever and I can't wait to try it!  

Well, coming home from an awesome retreat is quite the task!  Nonstop fun and quilting always takes a toll.  So I sat and read for a couple of days while doing wash, etc.  Then back to business!  My DH's nephew and his wife have a new baby girl.  Receiving blankets were made and I'm finishing up the 'Name Banner' for the package.  To be pictured later.

I made 4 fabric post card "tags" and now have to figure out how to poke a hole in them! because they are tags!

I also finished some darn cute (if I do say so myself) rows for a traveling row robin!  A quilter's work is never done -so let's get back to it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The one good thing about not feeling good ...

... is that you read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies!

Yes, I've had yet another relapse of this  'cold/flu/allergy/God only knows what' last week.  It all started the Saturday after Thanksgiving when one of our adorable little germ-bombs (aka grandchildren) gave me something over Thanksgiving.  Everytime I start feeling like myself - it comes back!

Let's just say, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!!  But on the plus side, I've read A LOT of books and watched A LOT of movies!!  Let's start with the Movies!

Begin Again - A delightful movie about musicians coming to NYC to make music.  There are actors that can sing! Singers that can act! and if you love NYC - there's alot of that to see too!  We got it thru Netflix.  It reminded me alittle of the movie Once - about Irish bar singers.  Both cheerful and fairly light!

Last Vegas - Oh my!  Much more fun that I thought it would be!  I love Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas!  But wait - there's more!!

At Middleton - a Romantic Comedy about two parents taking their respective children on a college visit.

Finding Vivian Maier - A documentary type movie about a nanny in NY / Chicago in the 50s-60s who took thousands of photographs.  They were discovered when someone bought boxes in a storage unit sale.  Really fascinating - I'm ready to look for the books made from the prints!!

All of the above movies passed the "but will it keep DH awake while watching it!!!"  PS - we won't say anything to him about that little litmus test!!

Besides reading, I have been updating my database of "Books Read".  I felt just good enough to piddle on the computer too!  I've been rating books I've read since 1985!!!  I wrote them down; rated them zero - four stars and kept track of how many books I read each year.  A disclaimer - I'm not reading "War and Peace"!  I love mysteries; science fiction; end of the earth tales ...  I'm not really into Historic fiction.  And I read fast.

My idea was to rate them, then look for the authors that got **** later to check if anything new by them was out!  Works like a charm!

As I worked through the database I was finding 'holes' in series.  If it's a library book, my system is to add it to my physical list the day I return it.  BUT if it's borrowed from someone, read on vacation, and now - if it's read on Kindle - sometimes I miss listing it.

So I made a list and went to the library and checked out the unlisted books by favorite authors!  So far, two thirds of that list haven't been read!  So I've been really enjoying dipping back into my favorite authors and characters.

Stephen King - I got Revival for Christmas.  Very good, so good that I went back and read Dr Sleep and Mr Mercedes! And Blaze by Richard Bachman! I smiled everytime there was a small reference to a past Stephen King book or TV miniseries in the stories.

Tony Hillerman - I love Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.  I hadn't read The Sinister Pig, The Skeleton Man or The Shape Shifter.  I'm sorry to report that Shape Shifter seems to be the last one.  I hate when a series ends and this was a great series!

J A Jance has three series that I've followed.  JoAnna Brady, Arizona sheriff; JP Beaumont, Seattle detective; and Ali Reynolds, TV journalist.  I had missed Dead Wrong in the Brady series. Others to be checked out later.

Dana Stabenow - I was sorry that I HAD read all of her books.  I love her Kate Shugak and Liam series.  And isn't it fun when they 'meet' on a case.  JA Jance does that too.

Nevada Barr - again, I HAD read all of her books.  LOVE Anna Pigeon and 'visiting' all the National Parks in her books.

This week's books from the library include Lee Child, Michael McGarrity and Sue Miller.  I'm looking forward to feeling better - but have the books on the ready if I relapse again!

We're having some sunny days between rain storms.  Yesterday we walked down to the beach.  We had a surprise there!  There are some "new arrivals"!  We have so many sea stacks and rocks lining our coast the real mystery is how on earth did logs this big get up to our trail to the beach!  And eventually they will disappear again!!  The ocean has some tricks up it's sleeve!

That's me on the right!  You can see our path coming down to the beach. The logs must have banged around on the edge of the cliff because they were snugged up tight and lined up!

Hmmm, where did our path go??? And where to start?

DH standing in the middle - he's like a mountain goat climbing over these!  Very sure-footed.

The view from up on the little bridge.  That's about 20 feet up the path!

I love living on the coast, especially on sunny days, exploring the beach!  You never know what you're going to find down there!

I'm headed to the Oregon Gardens Quilt Show and the Newport Guild Retreat this weekend.  See you later with lots of stories to tell and pictures to post!?!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Creativity - what does it look like??

I think creativity looks like this! (image is from  I love stacks of quilts - what's not to like!

My DH thinks it looks more like this!! This was my beloved sewing room back in NE.  I think (hope) it was a "before" picture.  But I'm afraid this was probably pretty usual!  My DH used to say I would always have a sewing room, so he could have the rest of the house!!  LOL!

Of course, you have to work in/through DH's version to get to my "version".

Last year, in Stashbusters Online Group, we were challenged to a "Word of the Year" and I chose "reduce".  And I meant in all things - weight; angst; clutter; UFOs; etc.  

I'm sorry to say, I stayed about the same in weight - but that was a move forward!!  I didn't gain a few - which I had been doing.  But I feel a major shift in my brain is happening!  I'm only 62 (snicker) so I should be working on being an adult soon!

But angst; clutter and that "got to have" mentality made big - huge- strides forward!  And forward movement is about the only thing we can aim for.  After all, there is no control group!  To paraphrase the song Santa Baby - "think of all the fabric I didn't buy!!!!"

That brings us to this year.  The word that keeps attracting me is "Create".  Seriously, it's everywhere!  And by "create" I mean in all things again.  Create a healthier life-style, a more comfortable habitat - less clutter, just the things I love.  AND create a studio (sewing room doesn't work for me anymore!!) that inspired me, doesn't make me feel guilty about how much stuff is in the way, is piled around, is NOT being worked on!!

Another thing that is fascinating me is the concept of an "ART Journal".  I've always wanted to be able to draw.  I love drawing pictures with the Gkids - I'm almost as good as they are! They are 1,3,6,8 yrs old!

When we lived in Newport, I took a colored pencil drawing class.  I wasn't too good at it - and one week DH ate my assignment!! (an apple!)  Who knows if I would have stayed with it - we moved.  I do still have the pencils; they've been spared in everything 'clutter attack' here.

Product Details

I think it's going to be interesting to work through.  And what I hope to accomplish is adding drawing/doodling to my life.  By next year - clip-art on the blog just might be drawn by me!!

Want to join me?  Let me know.  I just read Chapter 1 - AND did the assignment!!  You'll laugh at that statement - it was really easy!

So far, I've added doodles to my day.  I'm using the Disney Creativity Studio (there's that word again!)  Why their copyright shows on my silly little beginning doodle is beyond me!

I mailed a package to Miss P and Mr M and drew all over the envelope! And I just learned to hide the mailing address in Photoshop!!  I have to quick add that to my Jan to do list and check it!!  LOL!  I think I might just spend the money and buy white envelopes for the next 'care packages!'  Whoa, Nana!

I did something different for our anniversary and our DD and DS's birthdays.  I wrote 43 memories for our 42nd anniversary; 36 memories for DD's 36th birthday and 40 memories for our DS's 40th!!  It was fun coming up with them.  My DH had fun reading them together.  My DD loved hers!!

So-o Valentine's Day is coming up ... or your own family holidays - try it, you might like it!  We did.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year - welcome 2015!!

Well, there's nothing like starting the year out with the best of intentions!! We'll just see how long that lasts!!  LOL!

It's time for a 2014 wrap-up!  I love doing these - my year doesn't seem "finished" until after the wrap-up - so here we go!

Not a big year for reading!  Around 50 books and a lot of those were re-reading favorites.  Do you ever do that??  I did forget to add Kindle books to my list, so had to go looking for which ones I read that way ... not an exact count this year.  :(

Best books this year:

Bad Blood by Dana Stabenow.  Kate Shugak series is a real favorite of mine.  Gotta love spunky women!

Notorious 19 and Takedown 20 by Janet Evanovich.  Both of these Stephanie Plum books got 4 stars from me! And if you look up "spunky women" in the dictionary, surely Stephanie Plum is pictured!

The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer - great fun

Pure by Julianna Baggott - science fiction -  an unusual story line. First in series of three

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon  I can't believe I kept away from this series so long!  And I thought I wasn't interested in "Historical" books!!  We had Outlander Series on Starz parties too!

Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross  A book club selection that surprised me with how well I liked it!  Historic!  Who knows - maybe I'm NOT set in  my ways!!

Deadline - John Sandford  Featuring Virgil Flowers as a friend put it, "I love me a good cowboy!"  Made me reread all the other Flowers books.  This one was awesome!

The Arsonist - Sue Miller Small town under siege, loved the main characters

One Hundred Names - Cecelia Ahern  I loved this book, also out of my 'box' - contemporary Irish tale.  In the author's notes at the end she tells how she got the idea for the book! She was at a literary awards dinner; heard "one hundred names" and went off in her mind on the tangent of what that could be about.  She 'came back' to the present just as the award winner was saying, "and look for our movie out in March "The Hunger Games"!!!  I'd say that idea was pretty pushy about who was writing it!!

Year of Pleasures by Alice Berg I love her.  I get so much insight into me by reading her books! How does she do that??

Now to the fun part of my year - quilting!  I'm happ-happ-happy to say that "Birds of a Feather" a BOM offered at Gretna's Quilted Moose is finally done-done!!!  YEA!  Poor baby languished for years, but finally made it to the big times! You can read all about it here!

The other big finish I had was J's recovery quilt - My beloved SIL celebrated a year free of cancer around his birthday.  So this quilt was his present.  You know how those 'quiet' steady relatives usually don't get quilts - because they don't nag you about them???  I pieced the top the same time I made my Nephew's college graduation quilt - ummm, 2 years ago!  Thankfully, he felt it was well worth the wait!!

There were 4 QOV; baby charity quilts; Christmas stockings; fabric post cards and too many doll clothes to count! (apparently!)  But it all equaled a great deal of fun!

One more thing before I close today - you may know I have a Pinterest account :)  There are approximately 13,800 posts(!) and 1,400 followers(!)  A fact that amazes me and my daughter!!  But makes it a great deal of fun! If you want, there is a icon on the left side of the blog that will take you right there!

I'm not exactly sure why Pinterest is so-o much fun.  But for me, a list-maker; an idea keeper; a creative woman who thinks she can recreate anything that strikes her fancy!!  It's really nirvana!  And so easy to update when you're watching something on TV that doesn't need your undivided attention!

My idea is to go back into my boards and look at what I've pinned and figure out why? what attracted me to that pin and what it says about me??? Just a thought!

Today's board  I evaluated was "My Quilts Thru the Years"  I usually make a "word" copy of each year's blog entries; and check to see if the quilt pictures are on this page.  I like having them there - for quick access.  I don't know about you, but digital pix are hard to keep track of!  There's 1000s of them, in different places and mine really need a spruce up!!  Meanwhile, I need to look back on them to remember details or sizes ... well, here's where they are!

My first go at saving the quilts was early in my Pinterest 'career'.  I looked to see if they actually saved and each one had a 'pin' already.  Oh, gee - what did I do wrong?  But no - someone had actually created a board on their Pinterest featuring all my quilts!!  Was that admiration or stalkery???  It did make me think!!

Do you have favorite quilts that you've made?  They could be "standards" that you make for many people.  They could be a quilt that resonates within you; because of who it is for, because what was happening at the time; or just because.

That's all for now - this has been so much fun!  More of it in 2015, please!!