Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's (almost) summer!! Wahoo!!

This month has been very summer-y.  We're still low on rain; but we're having high beaches and the summer's usual very low tides.  Makes it such fun to walk the beach.  Always something interesting down there.

Look who's back!!  The Starfish!  Pardon moi!!  Sea Stars is now their official name. We haven't seen them for months. I don't know where they go in the winter here - but we don't see them hanging around on the rocks.  I suspect they either go deeper in the sand; or farther out in the surf. For more information about Sea Stars - go here

Then last weekend we found we'd been invaded by the Blue Sailors again.  Here is a close up of what we found - they are such a bright blue.

And here is the L*o*n*g view.  They were everywhere, they were everywhere! "By the wind sailors" are part of the jellyfish family.  They float about the ocean following currents until a wind or current drives them to the beach.  Here is a link to more information about them. Fascinating!  We love living by the ocean - full of surprises everyday.

Besides taking advantage of the Oregon great Outdoors; I've been quilting like a maniac!  The Brookings Quilt Show is this weekend during our Azalea Festival. Our guild is about 40 strong and we have a quilt show every year!  This year there will be at least 190 quilts in it!!  Yes, we are a busy group!

One of the fun things about moving to a new quilting community is that they haven't seen your work!  So every year I bring out an old favorite for the show.  Now - I've got 5 things in the show and only one of them is more than a year old! So I'm not cheating too much.

Button Basket was made while I was working at the University.  I sat in my favorite window seat during lunch and stitched away on the border!  Very relaxing!

In Art Quilts I've entered the R Family Portrait from last fall.  It was J&L's 10th anniversary.  L wanted a family portrait in counted cross stitch, but I thought that was too small for what she had in mind.  So I made this.  I'm happy to say it was a great success!  Artistic license was running rampant, but I think I recognize them!! Do you?

When I lived in Newport, a friend S and I fell in love with the Crabapple Hill pattern named "Over the River and Through the Woods".  I remarked I wouldn't want to do that much embroidery and S said she wouldn't tackle that much piecing ... so we agreed to do double duty on our favorite parts!  S does awesome embroidery.  P a friend here in Brookings was finishing a blue rendition. Another friend here in Brookings, C long-armed them and they are both in this year's show. I love when an  UFO bites the dust!!

The guild challenge this year was "Nautical".  I was convinced that I didn't have time to enter but I love challenges!  Then while clearing out the sewing space I found an old book of cool nautical designs that I had never taken the time to sew.  (I'm sure none of you have ever been in this position!!) I started this and finished it the same week!!  It's small, but I really do like it!! "Rain or Shine, the Weather's Fine!"

I also finished piecing a Quilt of Valor for this year.  I love this pattern.  Basically a Bento Box, but you can use any size half-square-triangle to start and any size strip for the "logs".  It looks very modern when viewed from afar!  An interesting and kind-of masculine look is my favorite quilt for men.  W, a good friend in Newport, has volunteered to quilt donation quilts for me as her contribution.  Win-win! AND it's done for our show and the annual deadline for donating the quilts. 

It's a free tutorial by Jean MaDan, a fellow Stashbusters quilter.  If you are interested you can find it here.

Thanks for joining me for a "monthly" report!  No promises of being more prolific, but I do feel guilty when I stay away this long!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Really? middle of April?

It's amazing how fast the last 5 weeks have gone!  Sorry I've been out of touch.  Had a quick trip to Nebraska to help handle Mom's move to a nursing home.  She'd been in the hospital or rehab since the middle of December!  And although our goal was to get her back to  'independent living' with a little more help - everytime we got close, she came down with pneumonia again.  So we kept her at the place she was recouping at and closed down her apartment.  Very hard to do, for everyone.

I have to admit that when I came back I hunkered down and did nothing but process the whole thing.  It was weeks before I felt like myself again - but I'm b*a*a*ck now!  Tee-hee!!

I've been pretty lax in doing postcards lately - but I love baskets so I had to join in this exchange.  I added the sweet little bird buttons and then sent them 'padded' with a FQ for my partners.

Last weekend we went to Medford for the boys' birthday(s) party.  D is now 4 and K is now 2!!  A&J are extremely busy!!  D is all about superheros!  He's got the books, the videos, the underwear and shirts to prove it.  So of course, J planned a superhero party! Here's the balloon committee, A and Papa, working hard.  Everytime I went to take a picture of them, they were blowing up the same color balloons!  Synchronized party machines!!

J2 found this awesome cape pattern online.  She cut out 16 capes and my job was to sew the velcro onto them.  She was busy making blueberry muffins for the morning party - in place of cake, but cake-like!  The capes were plain and at the end of the party the kids and their parents got to decorate theirs and take it home.  The felt decorations were just glued on, so we waited til the end to do that. It worked out so nicely - I'm not sure if the kids or the parents had the most fun designing them!

A friend of theirs found a little-kid bounce house cheap and bought it.  Now it travels from birthday party to birthday party.  We had it and Papa was the monitor!  The whole party went so smoothly - even though it was raining.  We had 11 kids, all under 4; and of course all the parents stayed too.  I got to hold the littlest guest when he woke up.  You forget how adorable and cuddle-ly 3 month olds are!

C has been hosting us for "Sewing Day" on Fridays this last month.  Her MIL is renting the house across the street from her, but won't move in until the end of May.  Let's just say, the quilters moved in right away!  It's an awesome sewing space and we've made the most of it.

This is C with her "Janet Bolton" project.  It's based on a picture of C, her sister and her mom one Easter.  It turned out adorable.  It's sewn onto the linen covered mat.  The frame shop even glued strips of the matt inside the frame edges.  This is mounted without any glass.  Very cool.

We've had a week of great weather and great low tides.  Just what I needed to get back down there walking.  Today I saw this cool driftwood stump.  You can see thru the center of it!  But it didn't look as interesting from the other side!

Hopefully, I'll be back sooner than later!  That's always my intention anyway! Thanks for stopping in.

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!?!