Saturday, March 15, 2014

Report from the whirlwind March!

And I was worried that April will be too busy!!  Got lots of practice this week being too busy!

We went over to Medford for a dentist appointment and got to see the boys.  Mr D will be 3 next month and Mr K will be ONE!  Good grief ... how does that happen?  It was great to be able to spend time with them and get to know them again.  It had been since Christmas - way too long!  But with icky weather, busy schedules and the dreaded flu popping up here and there - well, it sure went fast!

Mr K sat in his carseat and looked very seriously at me.  Finally there was a great big grin - oh, yeah, I remember you!  It's Beach Nana!!!  So fun to see him scoot around in very fast fashion.  I put him down in the livingroom and went to the bathroom.  Before I'd gotten the toothpaste on my brush, Mr Curious had scooted thru two rooms and pushed open the door to see what was going on!!

The FuNnIeSt ThInG happened as we were leaving.  A&J are raising the boys using "Physics of Love" philosophy.  It involves a great deal of "this is what is going to happen" forecasting.  So here's what happened:

"D, Daddy has to study and put Baby K down for nap.  After Nana and Papa leave, you can watch a tv show" [big treat for D!]  Immediately D told us to "Leave NOW!"  It was expected, part of the process.

Then when we finally got out the door, it was pouring rain.  We stood on the little porch pulling up hoods and finding the keys ... when BAM!!  the door slammed behind us!!  Well, we lost it - I was crying from laughing so hard!  A opened the door and whispered "Sorry!"  I guess we know where the expression "don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out!!"  No one lets you know what they are thinking like an almost 3 yr old!!

Home for a day, then up to Portland to see the other Grands.  Miss P had an Anthropology shower curtain that she wanted made into a comforter.  I had L wash it; and find a backing while I gathered up batting and all the tools I was going to need.  We got there Saturday afternoon and ended up going to JoAnns for the backing.  Let me say that everyone had a very strong opinion of what was appropriate for the back!!  We finally settled on a beautiful green.

Back home, after washing the back, and dinner we framed it in the living room.  The only space big enough and vacant enough to work in.  My daughter was a huge help!  She remembered helping me with this process earlier in life.  My kids often had to help me stretch quilts on the frame!  Then she helped me tie it and even tied the knots with me.  Next step, turning the front to the back for the binding.  I just hope it wears well enough.  I did tell my daughter when it started falling apart, we'd have to put a real binding on it. Sunday morning, Miss P asked me why Mommy and I built a fort in the livingroom last night!

Is there a cuter 7 year old around??

Answer to the question "Do you like the quilt???"  Wheeee!

The quilt looked wonderful on the bed and we were D*O*N*E in time to go to movies Sunday afternoon! Miss P and I went to Frozen ... really laugh out loud good!  Papa and Mr M went to Lego Movie, not as good but a good time was had by all.

Returned home on Monday.  By Thursday I was headed up to Newport for the guild meeting, to pick up some ordered thread and two boxes of quilting goodies from a friend that just closed up a house and her sewing room.  I also picked up a new laptop because both our very old desktop and our ancient laptop are biting the dust at the same time!!  YIKES!  Not looking forward to that learning curve!

Okay - let's talk about ongoing projects.  We all have them.  We're excited about them, but sometimes we just have to stop working on them to make way for something else.  It might be a deadline thing, or just a rest from it.  How do we keep it all together; neatly and remember where we are in the process??

One of my projects like that is a mini-log cabin.  3/4" finished logs and made from all my absolute favorite scraps - you know the ones.  The ones you have to keep no matter how small, you just can't bear to part with them.  Mine got moved from NE in a box marked "too small to use, too big to throw away!"  So glad I did keep them.  My face is smiling all the time I work on them.

There's these handy storage cubes found in the closet organizer section of stores.  They go on sale quite often too!  This holds 200 blocks, 400 other partial blocks and trays of lights, darks and reds!  Easy to put away and even easier to get back out and start immediately!  Voila!

The finished blocks are arranged 'artistically' in the bottom of the crate - for your benefit only!  The wooden trays were from a sale.  Originally to store microscope slides!  Very sturdy and hold quite a lot of fabric strips.  Wish I'd bought more now!


All tucked in for the duration!  Blocks needing trimming on top - within easy reach!

Last week was 'gotta finish baby quilts' week!!  I had finished these tops at retreat.  My hairdresser was having a baby by appointment on Monday!  So I also whipped up a doll quilt for the big sister.  The theme of the nursery was Owls and I just happened to have the owl fabric.  It was going to be for pj pants for Miss P.  It was just the right amount for the quilts!!  Wrapped and delivered before baby was a week old!!  That might be a new record!

Doll quilt

Baby Quilt

This quilt was the leftovers from making 2 community baby quilts last fall.  It was a needed UFO to finish, my name was headed for Queen of UFOs like a rocket.  I added 2 rows to make it a little bigger - and now it's waiting patiently for the next baby boy to be born!  Love the orange binding!

When you take pictures of your quilts, do you fold it to show the back too?  I'm thinking that would be a good idea for future reference.  Now to remember to do that before I give it away!!

Happy National Quilting day!  Hope you got some quilting in today!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's the rainy season ... we knew it was coming!!!

Hello-o-o-o from the wet and wild west coast!  Rain and grey today - yesterday was 'eat on the deck in the sun' day ... but hard to even remember that today!!  The weather - it's always "what have you done for me lately!!"  And the weather everywhere this year has been ... well, let's not go there!

Last weekend was the Finishing School 2014.  I organize this retreat and it's a blast!!  There's a retreat center above the Bandon Quilt Store: Forget Me Knots - you're already liking it, aren't you!!  The retreat center holds 8.  There are 3 bedrooms with twin beds - with quilts on each!!  An awesome workroom with  ceiling to floor windows and great lighting.  A full kitchen with another table to eat at.  AND it's AwEsOmE!!  We had such fun this year.  We stayed up late, got up early, made excellent meals for ourselves, shopped the store in our slippers and laughed as much as we possibly could.

Each year I SWEAR I will make the official pin cushion early ... I failed big time this year!  The night before the retreat I'm stuffing those little gems and slipstitching them closed.  And I'm pretty grumpy about it!!  But seeing their shining faces when they receive them ... well, next year again for sure!

The first year (this was our second annual Finishing School) the schoolhouses were red.  So this year they are a 'beachy' green.  Last year I ate a whole lot of Trader Joe's Frozen Birds Nests (not a problem, try them, they are delicious!!) and saved the trays they are frozen in.  Why??? Because the trays are perfect to set beside your sewing machine and put all those little tools you need into. The ripper, the empty bobbins, etc. It keeps them all together and keeps you from brushing them off the table with your elbow too!

I offered a prize to anyone who brought the last year's trays back this year ... would you believe 5 of the 7 from last year did!  Didn't expect that!  Headed down to the store and picked up sale FQs for the prizes.  Everyone else got a new tray for this year.  I put the pincushion; an emory board, a scissor fob with their name on it and set it on top of a hand-stamped stationary pad I made!!  Three people brought back their red schoolhouse pin cushion!!  You realize that they had to keep track of those items for a whole year!! No way that happens unless they are using them!  I'm so excited they found them useful!

This is A - she's a garage sale and thrift store queen!  She was designing a fall quilt with bits and pieces that she's picked up everywhere!  It was so fascinating watching this develop ... the retreat center has this entire design wall that we all used alot!!  

Okay - I have to admit - that's my sewing space front and center.  I am not a neat, organized quilter - hard to believe, I'm sure - [okay, I heard that snickering from friends!!  Stop it!]  I have the bow on my machine because my light that attaches, well the brackets that hold the cord up and out of the way keep peeling off.  I tie it in the bow and it seems to take the pressure off the remaining brackets.  That baggie full of stuff was a garage sale purchase that was being passed and oohed over.  We did decide that a good song for the Finishing School was the Theme from Jaws!  Overflowing stash and supplies sneaking up on you, ready to pounce on your sewing space!! Da da, da da da da!!!

The was one of the Quilts of Valor I worked on.  It's a disappearing 9patch but the setting is a variation.  It's a pattern card available at quilt shops.  Bandon gave us it in our welcome packet.  I, of course, have put it somewhere safe ... I don't have to say anything else, do I??  When I come across it - I'll let you know the name - it starts with T???

We also rented the AccuCut machine from the shop during our time there.  Oh my goodness!  Did we have fun with that!  We cut Jelly Rolls; Hawaiian Applique blocks; and lots and lots of wool applique goodies!!  Those machines are pretty slick and I can see renting it again!!

Here's our intrepid class!  Thanks ladies - it was so-o much fun!  We're already booked for next year. We added an additional day and we're full!!  That must be a sign of a good time had by all!

Monday, back to reality.  We were all EXHAUSTED!  Sore from all the hauling up and down the stairs and nobody went to the guild's Fun Day!  7 of us went to the evening guild meeting, many of us didn't stay for the activity!!  I know I napped ALOT this week.  Didn't even sew for 5 days, but I'm back on track now!!

Stay tuned for the report from the "DH is away; Doni's sweat shoppe report!!  Wa-aahh-aahh!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day from the Wet - errr - West Coast!

I am busy getting back to 'normal' life.  It's amazing how many naps are required after a cruise!  I was doing fine until the travel day.  I, of course, woke up very early 5 am Florida time.  We visited a quilt store and then dropped me at the airport.  Where I was very well acquainted with a TSA lady!!  Seriously, I may need to add her to my Christmas card list - she knows me better than most of my friends! :)

I love the fact that the gates have 'electric plug-in bars' now.  And if yours doesn't, I'm sure there is one close by.  My phone was dead and with the long wait, I got it charged!

Back to my day, I don't sleep on planes.  or cars ... thank goodness I do sleep on ships, but by the time I got home to Portland, it was 1 am - 4 am Florida time!!  I'm way too old for 20+ hours awake!  I babysat Mr M the next day and I was mighty cranky by 3:30 pm!!  I'm blaming this nap cycle thingie on that!!

I do believe I promised you some pictures.  These are in no particular order, but I'm starting at the top and working my way down.

Mary and I having our first scrump-dilly-ious dinner in the dining room.  They take such good pictures of you on a cruise.  Is it the lighting? Are you relaxed? and of course, they charge a premium for them.

I'm reminded of a tax purposes photo that was taken of our family cabin.  When my parents protested the tax valuation, the clerk showed them the photo of the property.  My mom said she needed a copy of that photo - it had never looked so good!!

A Haitian boat for spear fishing. Ladies, these boats look like they should be on a small lake!  They ride the currents to fishing places and found they were having trouble getting back to the island.  So they developed a sail system.  The mast folds down and out of the way until needed.  AND the sails are patchwork made by the fishermen - or their wives!  They were fascinating, don't want to ride in one, but cool to look at!

Back aboard the ship - and what a ship it was.  This is one of two hot tubs that hang off the side on the 11th deck!  Very popular place.  There were 3-5 more hot tubs mixed in with the pools, but this one was great fun to sit in!

Independence of the Seas is YAR!!  Huge ship, very elegant.  3500 passengers; 1500 staff!!  On deck 12 they have a track for walking and jogging.  THREE times around equalled a mile!!!  It was awesome.  

We were in classes during the at sea days, but it never really felt crowded - after the muster drill.  And maybe when we had to be tendered in at Grand Cayman.  There were lines that day, but not when we disembarked back in Florida.  They did a fine job!!

Here's our intrepid group of quilting cruisers.  This was the luscious stairway off the promenade deck. It was a gorgeous ship!!

Home sweet home!  There was a love seat to the left.  Closet and bath on either side of the door.

It seemed spacious to us, considering we were in the 'cheap seats'.  And I was expecting an itty-bitty port hole!  This one was HUGE!!  And we loved our view, just one deck above the ocean.  We knew if we were moving or not!!!

More about the dream trip later ... this could take awhile!!  Good to be home, even in the rainy season!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

We're B*A*C*K!!!

What a great time - I highly recommend if you're looking for a quilt tour.  Join in "Sew Many Places" by Jim West.  They treat you like a rock star!!  So fun.  I did miss phone and wi-fi.  But managed to live without it ... although we all fired up standing outside our terminal!

I wrote a daily diary and when I get all the way home I'll post all the fun and pictures!!

Heading for a worksop this am with the fabulous Jinny Beyer.  We'll be working with her this weekend.

I head back to Oregon Monday night.  So 'talk' to you soon!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'm OFF part 2?

Wonderful flight to Ft Lauderdale (I wonder where my 2 yr old is, not on this flight either!)  Smooth sailing; both bags arrived.  Caught the shuttle to the Hotel.  Saw the STRANGEST sight in the van.  A guy hauling you-know-what on a motorcycle.  Instead(?) of a helmet he had a full body racoon hat on.  And trust me, this isn't the weather for fur!!  The tail and back legs were hanging off his shoulders.  The driver asked, "We're all seeing the same thing, right?"  Yep we were.

Ipad doesn't want me to talk as much!  It cut me off mid-thought.  But my work around was to move my last paragraph to this post and continue on!!  Sounds like a "Carry On" poster.  "Carry On and start a new post!!!"

Getting punch-drunk here.  We'll 'talk' again soon!

And I'm OFF!!

The next few blogs will have few, if any, pictures in them.  I'm relying on my Ipad to post and I haven't found any easy tricks to add pictures!  I'll probably either update this entry later or do a photo heavy one next month! Yep, I won't be home until February!  But don't worry, DH is holding down the fort at home.  Soaking up that good weather we've been having all month.

I'm sitting at the airport gate in Portland and it's truly o'dark-thirty.  On my way to Ft Lauderdale and a quilters' cruise!!

As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted by the "get ready to board" announcement ... on my way to Ft Lauderdale via Houston to board The Independence of the Seas.  A Royal Caribbean ship.  I'm going on the 'Soul of a Quilter' cruise, a benefit for Libby Lehman.

This all came about because my good friend Mary won the cruise at the Des Moines AQS show last October.  Now really, can you imagine any cruise prize that would offer it for ONE???  I'm pretty sure that even "single" cruises offer 'for two' so you can take a buddy!  BUT, she won a cruise for one.

I've never been on a cruise before.  My niece was on one years ago, and she compared it to being in jail with chance of drowning!  Hope this cruise goes better than that!!

My DH thought a quilt cruise should be my dream vacation, and has been encouraging me to go on one for years. And of course, Mary is the perfect person to go with!!  She is a researcher by trade and we put her in charge of anything we want to know more about!  Don't tell her, but when we find a picture of a quilt that we want to figure out, we hand it off to Mary, saying, "I just don't get it.  Maybe you can figure it out." Within very little time we are presented with a EQ7 drawing, pattern, fabric requirements and even templates.  It's wonderful!

So I emailed her and asked if she had a roomie yet.  Lucky me, she does now!  We've managed to coordinate everything long distance.  Class supples, tour options, room choices, clothing options and of course, Mary is in charge of 'research'!!

My first challenge was getting to PDX at 4 AM!  I really have to talk to my 'travel agent' about that!! [DH!]  I drove up to Portland and stayed at my favorite Portland B&B - my DD's.  I had all the help I needed from Miss P and Mr M [7 & 5 yrs old respectively] and DSIL, after getting off work at 2 am - drove me to the airport at 3:30 am!!

That's 'other duties as assigned' in this family!!  Thanks J!!  This flight is going well, no screaming baby or 2 yr old behind me kicking the seat!  That's my usual flight experience!

Next challenge is Houston airport.  I'm in row 23; over the wing; it's a full flight and I'll have just under an hour to make my connection.  Last time I was in Houston I was doing my old "OJ Hertz Rent-a-car" commercial run to get to the gate.  You know you're in trouble when you come in at the very last gate in C and need to get to the very last gate in B!!  They were paging me for last call as I got off the airplane.  I did check in with my arrival gate, had them call and say I was here.  Then I took off - as only a 61 yr old water aerobics participant could!!!  It wasn't pretty, but I did make it!  Hoping for closer gates and a minute to use the bathroom this time!!  I'll let you know!

No time to update in Houston.  My gate connections were fairly close - 40 to 31.  I even had time to use a bathroom, and pick up a chicken salad wrap at Good Foods.  It was wonderful and if your airport has one of those ... it's a great choice!  After breakfast at 3 am - I was ready for food at 11 Pacific time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy New Year + 15 days!

Funny story (?)  I wasn't blogging because I felt guilty about not blogging!  Well, that wasn't going to get better any time soon!  So, I'm b*a*a*a*c*k!!  [Hopefully!]

I do believe it's time for the 2013 roundup!  I know I love looking back on hobby accomplishments for the year.

First of all, I lost 20 lbs this year.  Not as much as I'd hoped for :>  But on the other hand - it's still off!  I was sick and tired of being overweight even though fairly healthy (for 61).  So after seeing Garcinia Cambogia on the web - I ordered it.

I did NOT have the success that I read about on the web, nope, didn't lose a 100 lbs or 20 dress sizes in a week!  Shocking, I know.  But I did have more energy and I felt better.  The first couple of weeks can be a little grim - gastric, if you know what I mean!  But then life is normal again.

My cholesterol went down and my PA was happy!  And my body was changing shape enough to be noticed even when I'm just maintaining.  I've been on it 6 months.  I'm ordering another round - then reassess where I am.  I do NOT want to regain.  I'd love to lose 40 more.  But okay with where I am. - for now!!

Now for the good stuff!!

I read 64 books last year, with a lot of rereading old favorites.  Like ALL of the John Sandford series.  Don'cha just love Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers??  All are fun to reread.  My favorite new one was Silken Prey.

Recommended books include:

Room by Emma Donoghue.  Riveting and you would think it would be creepy to read but it really wasnt'.  Promise!

The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman  I love books about the Coast now,  contemporary or even historic, surprisingly enough.  Good Read.

Betrayal of Trust by JA Jance  It was very good, although I especially love it when she blends her two series.  JP Beaumont of Seattle and Joanna Brady from Arizona.

Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner  I lost Ms Gardner for a period of time, I'm glad that I have a few books to catch up with.

I had a 'medium' year of quilting.  [I honestly don't know where the time went, since there's proof I wasn't bloggin!!]  I finished 16 projects - most you saw pictured over the year here.  Four were UFOs which always feels awesome!  Many projects involved muliple items - like the 7 schoolhouse pin cushions for my "Finishing School" - good reminder, I need to get busy on this year's pin cushions!!  Finishing School is coming up at the end of February again.

Seven receiving blankies.
15 Christmas Stockings!!
A pennant banner 63 feet long!!
8 pj pants - the MOST fun to give to the grands!!
12 cute little wool house gift card holders to my small group and selected friends!
NOTE:  Gift card holders are great for containing a package of sewing machine needles!

My favorite finish this year was Mr D's "Big Boy Bed" quilt.  I'd started this back when Mr M needed a BBB quilt.  He had bunk beds, so I was going to make two, different, but kind of alike! By the time I had the first one done and the second one started ... the bunk beds were history!  All it took was a dog barking, walking into his room and finding him hanging upside down, thanks to a shoelace being caught!!

I can't find a picture of this right now.  I don't think I posted it on the blog.  My job is to find one, take another one and post it next time.  Promise!!

I was pretty active in the Post Card Exchange group I belong to.  NINE exchanges!  They were fun - especially "Chocolate"  You know that is my favorite!

Oh, I may have spent a little time on Pinterest this year!!  I have 9.1K pins and 1K followers!!  Quilting is VERY popular on Pinterest!!  In fact, I had to force myself to come back to the blog when I checked the numbers just now!!  LOL!

I went to Nebraska twice.  In the spring it was an usual visit.  But in the fall I piggy-backed it to a quick trip to Des Moines for the AQS Show there.  It was fabulous fun!!  And a wee bit of a spending spree!

Miss P got a Target "American Girl Doll" for Christmas.  Now the only other doll clothes I ever made were for a troll doll (Barbie's daughter!) when I was young.  It was a rectangle with armholes cut out of it and a matching belt!!  But NOW this Nana has been possessed by making doll clothes for her!!  Just look!


The pink dress is from Two Hour Doll Clothes by Anita Crane  But there is some tailoring involved (rats!)

The skirt in the middle was from a web site!  The original skirt wasn't hemmed and had tulle under it.  But since this is for a 7 year old and years of play (I hope) ahead of it, I changed it.  I hemmed the skirt and cut apart a new shower scrungy for the perfect underskirt!!  Turned out darling, trust me!!

The PJ bottoms on right are from Doll Fashion Studio by Joan Hinds.  These patterns are very well done, I recommend this book.  I made the leggings under the pink dress from it, the PJ pants and I have many more on my To-Do list!!

The teal t-shirt on the right is from a Liberty Jane pattern.  This may be the easiest item I made.  Their patterns are really well written and I got this one free registering on their site.  Check it out!  I may even break down and buy some of their patterns!!

Being addicted to doll clothes now, I have a board on Pinterest.  Follow me, I will try to pin every good and usually free pattern on the board. There's a link on the left side of the blog.

I'm going to close for now.  Lots more to tell you.  Can't promise when I'll be back, but I have high hopes!!

Happy New Year!!