Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas from Mr D ... and his entourage, including Beach Nana!

Holiday wrap-up coming up when we get home Friday!  Hope your holidays were merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Christmas Letter time!!

Christmas letters - the correspondence we love to hate!!  We've all received examples of what NOT to do.  And even people with the best of intention mess up.

For example, my DD was so excited when she sent out a yearly letter, hmmm, over 6 years ago!  The very special news of expecting the Divine Miss P was at the end.  The letter was long, but it  was chatty and very like sitting down and talking to her.  I was truly surprised by people I met that said they had gotten/enjoyed her letter but no mention of the news!!  We knew they had not read it to the end!!  LOL!  That baby was a surprise to many people who should have known!

I send out a Christmas letter every year, tucked into our Christmas cards.  It's a half page with a picture on the top.  So now - you're all on my Christmas card list!!  Merry Christmas everyone!!

Happy Holidays from the Boyds

It must be December – the winter storms have started in earnest at the coast.  We had over 12 inches of rain last week and a wind that makes Nebraska’s wind look like a gentle breeze!

Miss P started Kindergarten this year and is doing great. She’s the one reading the bedtime stories to me now. Mr M started a speech therapy class once a week.  Riding the bus to school is fun for both of them!!  Mr M  also loves to play electronic games; especially Angry Birds.  Mr D will be two next spring – needless to say, he’s busy, busy!!  He’s starting to put words together – “I you”  is “I love you” and is just as cute as cute can be.

Along with lots of golf, quilting, and time spent with good friends; we started walking portions of the Coastal Trail this year.  We’ve walked 10 miles by Hwy.  But the trail winds around quite a bit more!! A 3 mile trail jaunt took us ½ mile by hwy! But the trail takes your breath away in so many ways!!  We plan to continue on this quest after the rainy season.  I’m happy to report it was another wonderful year on the Oregon coast with kids and grandkids close by. 

Wishing you and yours the best in 2013

Here's some additional pix from Thanksgiving.  

Computer games with Beach Papa

A and M chilling out!

Dinner!  We were also celebrating Mr M's 4th birthday - Angry Birds theme.  Ironic when you're eating turkey, don'cha think!!

Mr M would not smile naturally for any pictures - and we had to wrestle him out of that new Angry Bird shirt!  Go Nana - good present!  PS - that's his robot PJ pants made by yours truly!!

No one gets Mr D to smile like his mom!  Or dad!  Most of the time!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ooops! I've been a bad, bad blogger!!

Believe you me, I mean it when I say where the Heck did November go??  Sorry I was so quiet - can't really put my finger on why!! But let's just move forward, shall we?

The whole month was a blur.  But we did have some nice sunsets!

We went up to my daughter's house in Portland for Thanksgiving.  Mr M has a November birthday.  So we celebrated that at the same time.  We ran into the worse traffic ever on our way to their house.  WORSE EVER!  So our thinking is instead of moving Mr M's birthday to Thanksgiving - why not move Thanksgiving to the weekend closest to Mr M's birthday???  We'll see - the people who still worked weren't as excited about it as we were!

Mr M is all about all things Angry Birds!!  So his birthday present from us was a bag of angry birds!!  There was a 24 piece puzzle and a coloring book [Dollar Tree]; a red short sleeve tee shirt [Fred Meyers]; the black hoodie and Angry Bird underwear being modeled on the outside of our PJs [WalMart].  It was a hoot, and may I add he didn't take this outfit off for hours, the t-shirt finally came off Saturday!!  He's giving you his best angry bird face here!

My condo is decorated for Christmas.  The threat of this big storm got me busy.  Our decorations are stored out in the deck closet.  We have a sliding glass door ... neither work well in a winter storm with rain and wind.  So-o on the last nice day scheduled I set up Christmas!  It was fun. Something about getting out decorations from years past really brings back the memories - good times come to mind. It's the only day spent cleaning with a smile on your face.

I've started the countdown to Christmas.  I have the felt/velcro advent calendar that my kids used growing up.  And yes, I put it up for me every year.  If I ever find one I like as well, I'll buy two. One for each household.  AND I'll still keep this poor raggedy one!!

My 'to-do' list for Christmas is legendary - as usual.  But I'm chipping away at it.  I belong to a small group here and we decided to exchange little somethings for the holiday.  I made the Chicken Pincushions.  At every group meeting I'm trimming mini-log cabins.  So what is more fitting than a log cabin project from me??

Of course, I've explained about the shopping available in our small town.  So what to stuff the pin cushions with?  I'm surrounded by sand here - so I certainly wasn't going to buy more to use.  And I know better than to use beach sand [what's that fishy smell???]  I headed to the quilt store, no walnut shells; so on to the pet store.  She didn't have any and got a little snippy with me about using them for pets.  I didn't bother to tell her I had no pets.

But then I was picking something up at Bi-Mart and wandered back to the pet section ... there was a bag of corn cob bits for bedding/litter.  Hmmm, chickens like corn!!  LOL!  So I bought it.  It was everything I hoped for!  It was cheap, easy to pour into the chickens, and it even makes a satisfying crunch sound!!  I'll let you know how it holds up on the wet west coast.  But I think it could be awesome anywhere in the country.

Bi-Mart doesn't really check for your membership card, in my experience, as long as you use credit or cash. You too can have corn-cob-chips for pin cushions, if you want.  I bought the $5 membership when they opened - mainly because you got $15 worth of food to join!!

So this weekend I am working on the next items on the 'to-do' list:

Yesterday I got the 4 PJ pants done for the grandkids.  Hooray!!  There was a fair bit of ripping though!  A 1 inch waistband elastic does NOT fit in a 1 inch prepared waistband!!  So, assembly line sewing was not my friend!!  Did assembly line ripping in front of DVR. Then put it in right.  SO MUCH easier!

The funniest thing I took the time to do yesterday was clean ... a pin cushion!!!  YEP!  Out of that whole disaster area of sewing space I was aghast at my Fons & Porter 'daisy color wheel' pin cushion covered with thread and tiny dust bunnies!!  

So as I was pinning I used all the pins in 1/2 the sections.  It cleaned up nicely with masking tape to gather all the dust and threads!!  Transferred the pins to the clean sections and 'masking taped' the rest.  It's a thing of beauty now!!!  And I feel so much better?!?!

Last year I did the embroidery work for new stockings for us.  I made "Beach Nana", "Beach Papa" and the grandkids' names.  We had large knit stockings for us and our kids; back when we were the parents!  But I made quilted stockings for the kids and grandkids and the granddogs to be honest. [and possibly the rest of the world too]  The large knit ones can look greedy when we take them along for Christmas at their houses!!! 

Since I'm Lady-in-waiting #8 for UFO Queen at Stashbusters ... today is the day to finish those stockings and then sew the binding on the wedding quilt. 

But first I might just go in and admire that clean pin cushion!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Round-up time!

I just got back from a fall trip to Nebraska.  It feels so good to be back home, back on my usual schedule and in my own bed!!  Does that sound like I'm really old???  I AM!! or at least sometimes I feel that way.

I had so much fun in Nebraska.  A big thanks to J&L for their awesome B&B!  It comes with 'our own sewing room'!!!  I highly recommend a sewing room to use when you are on the road!  And J even let me - okay she was asleep, but I knew she wouldn't mind - raid her stash for some pinks!!  It was lovely.

Mom is 94 and still doing pretty darn good!  She had a 'honey-do' list and we got thru it.  I put away summer clothes; put in new waistbands on favorite pants; got out fall/winter clothes; washed shirts; cleaned out drawers; shred some old records; trouble-shot some financial/health care questions and we even had time to play a few hands of cards. Always busy and fun at mom's.

A great-great nephew was born when I was there.  The little squirt was in NICU for a week, but all is well and everyone is back home now.  Welcome to the family, Baby B - we're glad to have you.

I also packed some name banners out for presents.  R, B and I got together for lunch on a gorgeous fall day.  We walked around the acreage and enjoyed catching up with each other again.  These name banners are for R and BJ's grandchildren.

These are some of my favorite presents for the kiddos in the family.  Fun to make, and oh so very scrappy - my favorite kind!

I didn't seem to have as much time as usual in Nebraska [even though J pointed out I had more????] and there are some friends I missed seeing.  There are even some friends that didn't even know I was there!  Sorry, hopefully next time I will be better organized and able to see you all!!

At the end of my trip to Nebraska I got to go to the retreat I attended when I lived there.  Can I just say "Awesome"!!  It was truly a relaxing weekend and so much fun to get caught up with everyone.  Usually on my NE trips I manage to get to a meeting or two - now mind you, I'll keep doing that, but trying to keep up with 8 different conversations in the same room, not my strong point!!  There were 3 1/2 days to get caught up with everyone at retreat, sew and shop - very easy and enjoyable!

My time in NE was filled with making new baby receiving blankies; adding a border to a quilt I was leaving there for hand quilting and a surprise quilt that I can't talk about yet!!  All in good time, I promise!  When all that was done; I'm happy to say that I got to spend time finishing the top of THIS UFO!

Mine is the blue-ish one on the left.  Another good friend "J" brought her finished quilt for me to study while I was sewing mine together.  The pattern is Reminisce by Lori Smith of From My Heart to Your Hands.  Not for the faint of heart ...but with patience ... it goes together well. 

Six years ago my small quilting group "Scrap Happens" decided we NEEDED this quilt.  We studied the colors and had a block exchange for the outside [4th] border blocks. [which I used in my outside border too!] About that time my DH remarked that he was kind-of tired of brown quilts.  J's quilt is in the awesome original colors.  Okay, I thought, I can switch the filler borders and blocks from brown to blue - that will be easy enough!!  LOL!  

Well, it was taxing to get my mind to switch them - I told you I was old!!!  Hard on the confidence too! And so the project wasn't done by our deadline - I just have to mention that it wasn't the only one not done!!!  Then I moved to Oregon; took it out once or twice and worked on the little blocks in the 3rd border and put it back away.  It's a little bigger than J's - I floated my blocks and it's not quilted yet.  That's my excuse and I sticking to it!  I hope to have it machine quilted by Christmas.  Off to the local store this week to get some wool batting.  Has anyone machine quilted with wool???  Any tips???

I'm thrilled that the top is done and happy with the coloration.  It will go lovely in our coastal condo decorating!  My quilting plan is stitch in the ditch and possibly some hand quilting in the setting squares.  High hopes, you know, is the norm in my little world!

I flew back into Portland on Oct 30.  So we stayed for Halloween with Miss P and Mr M.  So much fun watching a bumble bee and dragon go out and collect the loot!  Our pictures didn't turn out ... so for now you'll have to be satisfied with pumpkin pictures.  L&J carved these!!!  Amazing! Trust me, L didn't grow up with jack o'lanterns that looked like this!!  WTG kid!!

Ta-ta for now.  I'm home and hopefully back on a regular blogging schedule ... time will tell!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

All the news on the coast ...

Life has been extra hectic this fall.  It seemed we just got back to normal after the big birthday party and zoom - almost a month has past!!  And you know, Christmas is just a slippery slope away after Halloween!

DH went to the Sisters area for golfing with some of the TIMMS golf group for a week.  [I know you remember the shoe trophy!! Who can forget that monstrosity! LOL!] He played 8 courses in 9 days ... and being the great guy he is, he even stopped by the Sisters Quilt Store to pick me up some wool thread I pre-ordered.  He walked in; announced he was picking up something for Doni Boyd ... they handed a white sack to him and he walked out!!  And it worked for both of us!!

I thought I'd get all kinds of things done while he was gone ... but you never do as much as you expect to!!  Read a couple of books; started a couple of projects ...  I've been hooked on Downton Abbey.  We're reading "The Real Downton Abbey" for book club next month.  Netflix has the first season on demand.  But I had to borrow the 2nd season DVD because I was so-o hooked.  The 3rd season starts in January and I'm ready!! Look for it on PBS - assuming they're still there in January! That's a terrible thought!

Next week I head to Nebraska for a fall visit.  This week is full of quick appointments; lists of stuff to finish before then, lists of things to take with me ... I may have to start a list of my lists!!

The weather has been changeable - fog one day, bright sun the next.  I've been driving down to Crescent City for Water Aerobics 3x a week.  Add a few walks in the forest and you can see I've been busy!

Our Sept guild meeting here was a hoot!!  Our president issued a challenge to finish some UFOs before Christmas.  To sign up for the challenge, you had to bring the UFOs for a special Show N'Tell.  Let me just say that was the best show n'tell ever!!!  It was funny, it was energetic and we don't often get to see our 'starts'.  I loved the beloved baby blanket for a grandchild who was now 11!!! 

I'm a well-known "Queen of UFOs" and I took three projects:  1..My 'Birds of a Feather' quilt - still handquilting that one ... since 2007 apparently!  2.  My half pieced Reminisce by Lori Smith. and 3. The pile of charm squares collected from everyone last Newport Retreat to be made into something and presented at their December meeting.  The president muttered I'd better get started with that one and everyone laughed when I remarked her job is to write them down, not give advice as to order!!! 

Guilds take notice ... it's a great challenge and definitely make the show n'tell mandatory!!

Don't know how much I'll be posting from NE ... but know I'm having a blast and will have lots of stories to share when I get home!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The kindergarten quilt - the whole story!

I'm relieved to tell you Miss P and her mom liked the quilt!  ["wiping forehead with arm" relief]  and here's how it came about.

Miss P wasn't going to start kindergarten until she was almost 6 because of the birthday cut off being 2 weeks earlier than her birthday.  But I started talking to her about her kindergarten quilt early to involve her and let her know it was coming ... just like kindergarten.

She wanted a unicorn.  Now mind you, she won't get another bed quilt from me until she is 12!!  I was worried about unicorns 'lasting that long'!!  But then I thought, if it's too baby-ish in 7 years, she can just blame it on Nana!  My daughter actually took her kindergarten quilt to camp with her as a counselor!!

Next problem, I started looking around for unicorn fabric.  Nada!!  My DD and DGD do this to me ALL THE TIME!  They are months, if not years, ahead or behind the trend of fabric design.  Trust me - 2013 will be the year of the unicorn!!!  It's happened before.  I call to your attention which year the "Cat in the Hat" fabric came out again ... it was the year after DD asked me for a "Cat in the Hat" quilt!!

I put a notice out on Stashbusters that I needed unicorn fabric desperately!  And one gal responded and said she had a pillow panel and sent it along with a companion fabric that saved me!!  That companion fabric is the middle of the backing.

I saw a cute rail fence pattern with the rails zig-zagging across the quilt in colors.  Loved it!  It's a pattern, even though I didn't purchase it, I'm sure there is alot of information there that would have been helpful to me. Picture Cheech and Chong saying, "Pattern?? We don't need no stinking pattern!!!"  That's me on a mission!

I figured 6 inch blocks and the size I wanted and drew on graph paper [old school, I know]  what I thought would work, and then started going thru the stash to find pinks, blues, greens, reds, oranges, yellows and purples.  It was so-o much fun!!  Of course, you think you have holes in your stash.  I bought some more oranges, yellows and purples, borrowed some from friends, and dug deeper and found more. Pulling out the scraps was the easiest part - I have plenty of them!!  I needed white on white fabric for the 3rd log on every block - WOW is not a staple in my stash.  Found a polka dot WOW at JoAnn's and bought 'plenty'  HA, or so I thought!  I never was very good at math.

This summer when C&L came for their vacation on the coast, C saw the quilt plan, she loved it and she dug right in to my scraps and we made a smaller one for her granddaughter too! We went to the LQS on Fat Quarter Tuesday [$2 FQs] and purchased more assorted colors that we needed and some WOW for C - cuz my 'plenty' of WOW was now running out.  And I thought I would have enough for some on the back!!

On foggy days we would set up on one of the dining room tables and sew away - just like the old days when we were neighbors!  But then I discovered heavily patterned quilts and watching 8 hours of the Olympics wile sewing don't go together!!  Yep, I got a section turned around - and there was a mistake in the color order ... right smack dab in the middle, of course!!  But years and years of experience ripping saved me!!  I ripped out the switched blocks 'doughnut style' and after checking, double checking and triple checking ... sewed them back in correctly.  The top was officially done!

For the back I had the unicorn fabric [thanks to a stashbuster sister] some blue fabric and some fabric showing a Jack Russell type dog chewing on a sandal.  It looked just like Tonka, my DD's Jack Russell and I'd been saving it for years for a quilt for one of the kids.  I showed C how I was going to put it together and she vetoed it!!  No giant 4-patch for this quilt!  So I came up with this symmetrical design, which C approved.

Beginning of August I spray basted the quilt - the September deadline was hanging over me - and I started quilting in the ditch with my walking foot.  My Janome has a perfect quilting stitch - it takes a divot stitch ^ on the left of the ditch; a straight stitch; then a divot stitch on the right side of the ditch.  I like it because it anchors those seam allowances and makes me feel it's sturdier.

Sturdy is good because quilts are used to death at my DD's house - just the way I want them to be!  So it has to be strong enough for 7 years of washing and wearing!!  It needed more stitching. So I free motion quilted following the 'stairsteps' of color - Jill Schumacher style.  Well, needless to say, I won't be showing Jill my stitches anytime!!  The quilt was way too big for a beginner at this to get a good grip on the quilt and keep it steady ... but 90% passable will have to do.  Most of the time I sewed in the middle of the middle log - I say most of the time, cuz I kept getting lost in there!!  Never mind, keep quilting!!

I ended up with a gigantic quilt that I had 'alligator wrestled' thru the harp of my DSM - twice!  It was a fight to the end!  But I wasn't happy - it was just too big - floor to floor on a twin size bed.  My DH put his finger on it - saying, "She's such a little gal, she won't be able to even carry that quilt!"  I had to make it smaller - I never said I was very bright!!  Someone else might have figured this out BEFORE alligator wrestling it thru the DSM harp!!!  BUT, of course, I had that symmetrical back to deal with too.  No two ways about it, I had to remove a row and a column - from each side!!  But once I took a big breath and started cutting ... well, it felt right!  And the quilt ended up being a perfect size for her twin bed.  That 12" really made a difference.  Now I had to rip that Jack Russell fabric off the back in case I wanted to add it to Mr M's next quilt.  I had used it all - and I wanted those scraps to reuse!!  Obsessive, I know!

At the beginning of the process I had suggested to Miss P that since I couldn't find unicorn fabrics; maybe she could draw one for me.  So NOW she called to tell me she had a unicorn for me - and boy did she!!  It melted my heart!!  It was so cute and so detailed, well, even though the quilt was 'finished' I had to add it.

I blew up the drawing at the copy store and found fabrics I liked in my stash.  The background of the block was perfect - there was no turquoise in the quilt, so this wouldn't blend with the rail fence blocks areoung it.  And it had different words for 'Nana's written on it.  Perfect!! I wonder-undered the parts and ironed it all back together.  Then I hand embroidered the face; arms and legs; blanket stitched the pieces down, appliqued it on the front of the quilt; machine free-hand quilted it in place.  She'll never know it was added at the last minute!!  I put it low enough on the quilt that she could make her bed [a Nana is ever hopeful that they will make their beds someday, right???] and the unicorn would be showing under the pillow.

So - ta-da!!  The new improved Kindergarten quilt!!  Incorporating her drawing into it was so-o much fun.  I hope to do that with each kindergarten quilt I make.

Oh - I forgot my favorite part!!  My conversation with Miss P after her first nap under the quilt.

Miss P:  You know, Nana, I told you you didn't have to include the little girl on the unicorn.
Me:  I know, but she was so-o cute I just had to!  Did you notice that on her dress there is a "P" for Miss P??? [hoping to distract her from the fact that I don't follow edicts!!]
Miss P:  Sigh.  And there are not just unicorns on the back.
Me:  I know - there are castles, wizards, and dragons with the unicorns. I couldn't find just unicorn fabric and I had to use all that fabric because I needed it that size.
Miss P:  Unicorns and dragons are not friends.
Me:  They're not???
Miss P:  Dragons forget and they 'fire' the unicorns.  So unicorns don't like them.
Me:  Oh.  Well, the dragon is pretty far away from the unicorn, I'm sure they'll be okay!
Miss P:  sigh!!!!

Oh dear, just what I need.  Someone else to tell me what's wrong with my quilts!!!  LOL!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Celebrate! Celebrate! It's a crazy party!!

Here we are in Portland for the B*I*G P*A*R*T*Y weekend!!  Miss P turns SIX and DH turns SIXTY!!

My DD is nothing if not adaptable!!  Here we came, Beach Nana, Beach Papa, A and Mr D who's 18 months and walking/running very fast!

Add a call from the City Rec to tell her two days before the party that the fountain they were planning to have the party at was going to be turned off the day before!!  The invites were out, RSVPs had come in.  After a quick panic, she decided to have the party at that park, just shift the activities over to the playground.

An hour before the party, DSIL had to be taken to Urgent Care ... muscle injury from soccer this morning! So now we had to transport 3 kiddos, 2 wagons, all the food and goodie bags 20 miles without the help of 2 adults!  We packed it up in 3 cars and caravaned down the highway.  Bought the balloons by the park and was all set up by the time the first guests arrived.  DSIL and Beach Papa arrived on time - DSIL on crutches!!

It was a beautiful day - and we played water balloon games. THEN the pinata didn't come ... more games thought up at the spur of the moment!!  But we all survived and a good time was generally had by all!  It was loud, crazy and exactly what a 6-year-old's party should be!

The cake was by Albertson's, decorations by DD!  It was delicious as well as gorgeous!!

DH made 75 water balloons - 25 for $1 at the dollar store and boy-o-boy, those balloons were so strong!!  They bounced, they rolled, they were picked up by pointy little fingers and didn't break!!  Mr D carried one around for 30 minutes and it never broke!!  We had to get rough with them - but they finally broke in the end!

There was male bonding, two brothers from our cul de sac entertained Mr M extensively.

Here are the happy birthday kids!!

Oh yes, one more exciting present ... Miss P had drawn me an unicorn picture and I incorporated it into her 'kindergarten' quilt.  BIG HIT!!  So glad!!  More about the quilt next time - but here's a tease.

Til next time!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dog Days of Summer!

I'd complain about it being September(!) but I suspect friends are guessing that doni lost her mind when she retired!  She can't even read a calendar!!  Ahh, but when you're retired, you don't need to read a calendar ... and that's why you keep being surprised by it!!  Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I'm "HOME ALONE" this weekend!!  Rick's playing a golf tournament down in Eureka with friends and I don't even mind that I didn't have a chance to say, "No, thank you for asking, but I don't want to go with you."  Cuz he didn't ask!!!  Probably because of that retired "mind meld" thingie!  LOL!  We have to be apart sometimes because we need things to tell each other!!

I had BIG plans, you know the kind - reinvent the universe or at least clean the sewing room ... but the first day is almost over and I've done - mostly nothing!!  And it feels great.  Just what I needed!

We just got back from Portland yesterday.  Felt the need to go up and see the kids one more time before school starts.  We drove up Tuesday (6 hours)  Picked up Popeye's for dinner - one of our favorite parts of heading for Portland - FOOD!

Wednesday Rick went to Salem to play golf with the TIMMS group.  I'm happy to report that he did NOT win the shoe! [and the crowd goes wild!!]  L had to work and J had a work meeting ... left me alone with the kiddos.

You know I just had a birthday, and it has now been proven that 60 yr olds should not be in charge of TWO preschoolers!! I told Miss P I had a surprise.  The surprise was that we made melted crayon witches fingers.  I was told that under no circumstances is an activity considered a surprise.  I was told repeatedly!!

First we sorted all the broken crayons out of the crayon container.  Then we ripped the papers off of them. [this was when the 'activity is not a surprise' statement came up the most often!]  We then sorted the colors into a muffin tin.  Everyone got to pick colors to melt together. I made a cutting chamber out of a box - highly recommended unless you love seeing bits of crayons fly across the room.  If you slice those crayon pieces they will melt so much faster and that's a good thing.

I filled the little witches fingers baking pan with the crayon pieces and put it into a 250 degree oven.  They baked for 5 minutes. [set a timer]  I'm happy to report we did not spill wax in the oven, nor did it smell like crayons in there when we were done.  Fill the molds as high as you can - wax does not rise like cookie dough!  [ya think???] Each finger ended up concave; but it made it easier to hold and color with, so no harm done!  They were awesome to behold!!  And I didn't hear anymore about how an activity is NOT a surprise!

I took the baking sheet out of the oven, let it cool down to room temp and then put it in the freezer for a minute or two.  Flipped it upside down and those new crayons came out of the pan slicker than you'd think!

I also brought our electric pencil sharpener and we sharpened all the colored pencils.  Who's an awesome [and very tired] Nana?? 

Miss P also got out the shrinky dinks - what the heck, the oven was on!!  And we made 4 charms which we did NOT then put on the coin purse.  I suspect I was 'had'.  The coin purse was the draw - and mommy said she couldn't have it until she made the charms.  There was apparently a loop-hole that I fell into about the charms could be placed inside the coin purse for a few seconds; and then Miss P could do whatever she wanted with it!!!

Believe it or not, it was only 10:30 am when we were done!!!  So I walked everyone to the park to wear them out - er - let them play until lunch.  A nap was had by all after lunch!

Thursday Beach Papa and I took both kids to Newport for the day.  There is a theory - mostly during bad weather days - that we could possibly move to Portland.  And in order to keep our "Beach" papa and nana status, we could take the kids on day trips to the beach.  Thursday was when we tried this out!

Newport has a new special exhibit - the 'Sea and Me'.  Whereas we LOVED the first exhibit we saw there - Oddwater, this one is awesome for the kids.  Good luck getting them out of there!!  Luckily we first went to see the outside exhibits and the Passages of the Deep and the birds.  All great fun.

The first room of the 'Sea and Me' is a fishing boat with life preservers; magnetic fishing poles and lifesize fish with keyrings on their mouths.  There are buckets to carry your caught fish to the store.  There is a cash register with laminated play money in it.  And there was 10-20 kids doing all of it until they were positively dragged out by parental units!  Delightful utter chaos!

Then we had lunch at MacDonalds [play park] where Miss P was taught how to climb the cushioned pole by an older girl who must have been part monkey!!  The most fun was taking a picture of Miss P almost at the top of the pole and showing it to her mother!!  That shriek was by far the most fun part of that!!  But, no - we weren't banned from the house because of it!

After lunch and 'gymnastics' we headed to South Beach.  Mr M loves to throw rocks into the ocean.  It's gotta be a male thing!!!  And Miss P loves to collect rocks.  Papa was in charge of Mr M and I followed Miss P around 'oohing and ahhing' over her choices.

5 minutes after we'd hit the beach, Mr M had already tripped and been half submerged by a wave!!  It didn't discourage him at all.  Note to self - bring extra clothes next time!  Luckily it was warm enough it didn't even slow him down.  Of course, with wet jeans a LOT of sand adherred to his jeans.  More than you'd think!

After an hour or so, Miss P had some sand blow into her eye and it was time to load up and go home.  We were at the complex where we used to live, so we made a quick pit stop at T&Ls to wash faces and hands and use the potty. 

Thanks T&L for being so gracious about beachcombers invading your house!!  Got Miss P's eye washed out; Mr M's hands washed - we had already beat about his jeans with a sweatshirt to get the excess sand off.  He had to go potty.  And there was a 'ring of sand around his butt'!!  It couldn't have been too comfortable with all that sand on his skin going home.  We did the best we could ... but it wasn't much against the power of sand and wet body parts!

L kept each kid busy while I was in the bathroom with the other.  And I'm not saying she did anything out of spite ... but when I came out with Mr M; Miss P was already telling me that L said 'that Beach Nana could polish Miss P's rock collection!!'  LOL!  That was one little detail that she didn't forget!  Needless to say, there are rocks in our tumbler as we speak!!

First thing their mom did when we got home, was throw them in the bath.  Miss P complained that the tub was 'crumbly' and I'll bet it was!!

Friday we drove home down the I5 corridor.  We'd actually forgotten how gorgeous that route is through the mountains.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.

I'm happy to report that Miss P's kindergarten quilt is finished!  I'll do the big revel next post - I wasn't thinking and let DH leave town before he could hold it for me!  Until then ...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pies and Tarts have entered the building!!

Ta-Da!!!  My Pies and Tarts UFO is finished!! 

It was one of those patterns that is 'OUT of your BOX' ... but you have to have it anyway!! Pies & Tarts was offered as an English paper-piecing BOM at The Calico House in Lincoln NE just about the time I was moving to Oregon.  I passed - not my favorite method, I don't need another BOM making me feel guilty because it's not done and who has the time now?? [Listing excuses - a hobby in itself!!]

I didn't 'see' some results until a year later when I was back in NE visiting, and my friend showed me her blocks in progress. Loved, loved, loved them - but, seriously ... EPP?? I would never get it done!!

But, I had taken a paper-less PP class and the light dawned!! I think I can make this work!! I bought the template kit, and I set up 1/2 pies and 1/2 tarts templates on freezer paper and started piecing them. It worked!!

By now, of course,  the store's BOM is done, no fabric kits to be had!! So I had to scour my stash looking for just the right fabrics! Quite a few were found. But you know I didn't stop there!! Some shopping was involved! And a good selection of civil war fabrics was 'liberated from the tyranny of the retail outlet' and moved to my stash!! Doesn't that sound better than a multi-state shopping spree was under way??? Any excuse to buy Jo Morton fabrics works for me!  LOL!

BUT since this was years ago ... I can confess my evil ways and it still counts as an UFO!!! After that many years - I think it even counts as stash!!

I cut the triangle-ish pieces; paired them up, pinned them together and put them all in a gallon zip-lock bag. Then I decided on the background squares - shirtings mainly. And I was ready to roll.

Did I mention I'm NOT an applique person?!?! As one friend told me ... "well, you are NOW!!!" But I still don't feel like one ... yet! Does just one pattern count??

While I was back in Nebraska this spring, my friend offered her hand-quilting group to quilt this ... wowzer - talk about a plan coming together!! It was mailed back to me finished, in July. Some binding, some sleeves ... and it's ready to hang on my wall! At 53" x 62" it fits my 'quilt wall' perfectly.  Hip, hip hooray!!

Here's the quilt in process.  After they were done, I sent the mailing cost and a bonus.  They celebrated with a pie party!!  Clever gals!

Some things I learned working on this project:

1.  Don't tell a store that specialize in EPP that you didn't use that method!  They look at you like you just kidnapped their puppy!!  LOL!

2.  When you use a freezer paper template, they stop sticking after 4-5 times.  [At least at the cool, damp Oregon coast they only last that long.]  It also depends on how hot your iron is.  The point is - don't keep using it!!  It's not worth it - break out a new template, so much easier!!  Remember how wonderful it feels when you finally change the blade in your rotary cutter???  It's like that!

If you have an ink-jet printer [no heat involved] and you cut your freezer paper into paper-sized sheets, hand feed them thru your printer, you can copy a sheet of the templates as needed.  You don't actually have to hand-draw each and every one.  I didn't discover this until the last round, yep, I'm a slow learner!  But no need for you to be one!!

3.  If you leave the freezer paper on until the pie or tart is sewn together, you can iron the curved edge against the freezer paper and get a good line to guide your curved applique onto the background square.  IF you do it the same day.  That line doesn't last forever.

Tarts are not appliqued until the blocks are together.  So after 'rounding' them,  I basted the edges of my tarts down and set them aside until I was ready to sew them.  Put your beginning knot on top so you can take out the basting easily.

If I was to make another one of these gorgeous quilts ... I would cut a template for each size [pie or tart]; put a pin hole in the center and use that to iron my rounded edge.  I would pin thru the center of the pie or tart and start pressing. The edge would probably be less 'choppy' and easier to iron down.  [less 'owie' iron touches on your fingers.] You could even gather that edge before ironing to make it even smoother. 

I tend to be "Type A" [ya think???] and have to remind myself that it's folk art!!  Relax!!  Even now I don't  notice all those little bumps and dips that drove me crazy while I was working on it!

4. I starched my background squares within an inch of their lives!  I then pressed a center line on the edge of all sides, but not in the middle.  I used those marks to center my applique pies before sewing them down. 

Since I was a beginning applique gal, I tended to bunch up the background piece in my hand too much and unevenly at that!  The starch helped me fight that tendency.  I always wash my quilts - even my wall quilts - at the end so I don't worry about the starch.

5. I'd sew my pie appliques in groups, [don't you love to chain stitch?]  When it came time to applique them, I varied the backgrounds, light, medium, dark, each work session. 

I'd also deliberately line up the pies and tarts so sometimes the light was on the left and sometimes the dark was on the left.  It makes them dance alittle and not be static across the quilt. IMHO!

I appliqued at meetings, in front of the tv at nights. I was surprised how fast they piled up!

Finishing this quilt has made me a little more enthusiastic about finishing others!  I've even been hand quilting on my poor neglected "Birds of a Feather".  Hoping to report another finish in the fall!

We had two gorgeous days this week, but then it's back to grey, grey, grey.  Bummer!!  More time to quilt??  Let's hope I can look at it that way.  On the brighter side [pun intended!] it's not 103 degrees out there!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Happy August everyone!!  It's hard to imagine!  Our summer has been, well, foggy and cool, so cool that it's hard to imagine it's summer at all, let alone August!  I haven't accomplished ANYTHING that I thought I would over the summer.  Of course, my list was pretty much 'pie in the sky' to begin with!  Does anyone else do that??  Of course, you do!!

And, my birthday is this week ... I usually don't have any problems with birthdays ... beats the alternative!?!  But this is a really BIG number and I have little twinges of feelings about it.  But, if this is as bad as they get ... no problem!  I'll survive!

We'll be up in Portland for the big day.  What fun to spend it with 2 of our grandkids.  We haven't seen them for 6 weeks, so we've got lots to get caught up on.  Miss P (almost 6) taught Mr M (almost 4) to write his name and he thought that Beach Papa and Nana would be so-o proud of him.  Of course, always!!  We may need a special dessert to celebrate!  And Miss P thought that maybe Beach Papa could help her learn to ride her bike.  The last time she fell on it - clear to the ground, she got up and kicked it saying she'd never to ride it again unless 'Teacher L' told her she should!!!!  And Miss P and I may go see "Brave" if it's still around.  The bears are pretty scary in it so she said she might wait and go with me!!  We both do love movies and since I've seen it(!) I can warn her when the scary bits are coming up!

For Christmas last year DH gave me tickets to Cirque [last April] and Jersey Boys [next Wednesday], I love musicals. He's babysitting the grandkids while DD and I go - what a guy!  It will so much fun! -girls' night out!

We had a fun-filled and ice cream filled two weeks when our friends were here. C&L were neighbors in Lincoln.  When they come out, they rent the condo next door - it's like being neighbors again!!  We're not admitting how many cartons of Tillamook Ice Cream we went thru ... but I may need a 'methadone' program to break the addiction!!  Sure was fun though!!

We all went to "Trees of Mystery" when L&K were here too.  It wasn't as 'hokie' as we feared and we really enjoyed riding the tram to the top of the mountain over the trees and ferns.  The young kids decided to walk down so us 'old folks' rode the tram again!!  There was no line when we came down and we wanted to sit the opposite way of our first trip!  We got the full experience, laughing all the way.

Between eating ice cream, watching the Olympics and laughing ... well the time went fast.  We filled it with a little of this - finding rock sculptures on the beach and

A LOT of this - finding the perfect 'perch' while walking the beach and

And even some of this - traveling the viewpoints, just to be sure they are still g-r-e-a-t!!

C liked Miss P's quilt pattern so well, that she made a smaller one for her granddaughter. I finished Miss P's quilt top while we sewed away the foggy parts of our days - and wouldn't you know it.  Held it up when it was totally done and right there - smack-dab in the center - two blocks were in the wrong place!!!  Arrrrgh!  10 hours of Olympics on DVR and a picky little quilt pattern do not work together!!  I put it in 'time-out' over night and decided I couldn't live with it ...

Years and years [and years] of experience ripping came to the rescue!  I ripped out the offending 3 blocks - doughnut style.  Carefully repinned, triple checked it was right and resewed it in a morning.  We were surprised how quickly it went.  And now that mistake won't hound me for years every time I see it on Miss P's bed!!!  The back is almost pieced - 2 more seams and then I just have to decide if I'm machine quilting it on my DSM or Longarm it at the shop.  Still mulling over that question.  Hope to have it done for the big birthday in September - Miss P will be SIX!

So long for now. Remember it's August - the perfect time to sit back and relax before the rest of the year zooms by us!!! [tee hee]

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quick catch-up note

Hello-o-o-o-o!!  From the unseasonably foggy Oregon coast!  The sun seems to be playing 'hard to get' this month.  At least at our house - maybe in town it's got a better record?!?!

We got back from Sisters and I was fired up to start on Miss P's kindergarten quilt.  Just so there's no mix-up ... kindergarten does not require a quilt for naps or anything.  I just make my kids [and grandkids] a baby quilt, a 'big boy or girl' quilt when they move out of their cribs, a quilt for their bed when they go into kindergarten.  Another one when they are 12 and a HS graduation quilt ... we'll see if I keep this schedule for GKs!  They're just so darn cute when they want one!!  LOL! 

A friend in Lincoln made 20 quilts for her first grandchild.  She said "DON'T DO THIS!"  There will be more grandchildren and their parents will expect the same treatment for all of them!!!  Good advice, well said!

I think Miss P's quilt is going to be adorable!!  Our friends C&L are here for their summer vacation and when C saw the pattern, she's making a smaller one for her GD too!!  But September is speeding up on me, I'm done with the blocks and am started to make the sections - 9 of them - not complicated, afterall, it's just a twin size quilt!!  It's just that the design zig-zags across the top and I don't have anyplace I can layout the entire quilt easily.  So-o-o I'm building sections of 5 or 6 blocks by 5 so I can keep the flow of colors correct.  Hopefully, picture soon!!!

We were lucky enough to stop and see Mr D on our way to Sisters - guess who's walking!!

Here's some pictures of Sisters - just for some eye candy! It was hot and breezy. And there was actually an afternoon thunderstorm that blew thru! A first, as far as I know!! A good time had by all!

We were early enough to see the firemen put up the quilts on the Stitching Post.

Met some fellow Stashbusters at the Library.  Here we are, sitting in the shade, near an indoor bathroom, comparing notes of what we "have to see"!!  Thanks gals!

Ahh, Sisters!  A little bit of hot weather and sun for us 'coasties'!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Use it up ... make it do ... feel triumphant!!

We moved from a large house in Nebraska - 4+ years ago - to a very small condo here on the Oregon coast.  I'm a quilter - and we have stuffed the condos to the max to get in my treasures!!!  Don't tell DH I admitted this!!

I was going thru quilt storage last month ... okay, I admit it - I was looking for a certain quilt and couldn't find it.  I had to unstack; sort thru and cuss a little [a lot] before I stumbled on the right pillowcase filled with summer wall quilts!  Yes, a pillow case STUFFED!  Too much!

So when I was putting them all away, trying to come up with a better storage system I made a pile of "I don't love you any mores."  What to do with them?  These are obviously not my favorites - and boy, are they in the way. 

My daughter always said she wanted all my quilts because 'I made her sit quietly during tv shows when I was working on them' LOL!!!  ... but seriously, with a 'thrifting hobby' in a house with little storage; a sweet husband, 2 adorable preschoolers and 2 rambunctious dogs ... I don't think she's interested in the ones I don't want ... we DO have the same tastes!!

The bulkiest were some old pillow shams I made to go with my sunflower quilt.  Here is the picture of this wonderful ensemble in our bedroom in Nebraska ...

I miss that bedroom.  But those shams were the project from Hades!!  Making ruffle; adding wide eyelet, coming up with my own pattern; with my attention span and retention!!!  Well, I admitted it was the 'Keystone Cops doing shams!!'  at the time. But lovely on the bed, nevertheless!!

We now have a lovely soft blue bed.  The yellows and olive greens do not look lovely on it.  I love the quilt - but it's the quilt under the bedspread now.  Those shams were never going to be used again!

And, man, were they weird-looking things off the bed!  They were king-sized and that double ruffle was awkward.  They looked like, well - coffin covers!  Enough to give you nightmares.  Nobody was going to want them - ever!

Maybe I could put them together to make a wall quilt?  I ruthlessly cut the ruffled edges off - whack - with a rotary cutter.  But then, laying on our green kitchen table, I noticed it was a nice size for a table runner!!

So back to the drawing board ... prepare seam ripper!!  I ripped all those strips of ruffle apart.  I saved the eyelet for Miss P's kindergarten quilt's matching pillow!  And I un-ruffled yards of the green; ironed it flat, trimmed it and used it for the binding.  TaDa!  Two table runners.  One's on the kitchen table and one's on the coffee table - for now!  I remember how much I love those sunflowers - and I feel soooo triumphant getting them out of the closet and usable again!!

On the coffee table - had to be - it's just the right size for it!!

On the kitchen table - you can see our weather is still foggy and grey out there today!
Now if I can just figure out what to do with the rest of them!!!  Anyone interested in a 'doni original'??

On a side note - is anyone watching "Boss" on Starz??  Just read about it in a magazine FIVE days before it gets wiped off "On Demand".  There's only 8 episodes in the first season - easy peasy without commercials - if you're retired!!  The second season is starting next month.  It was pretty good!  If you have the technology - watch it!!

Just saying!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Baby Quilt on it's way!! Whoo-hoo!

We have a new great-nephew and I'm glad to say his gifts are on their way to him.

When we heard the great news, I went to Amazon and ordered our kids' and grandkids'favorite books. So along with the quilt and the name banner, there are books!  Yummers! and April Rabbits - old favorites of A & L .  Pout Pout Fish and The Giant Hug - favorites of Miss P and Mr M.  Mr D, being only 14 months hasn't really picked his favorites yet!!  I love adding our favorite books to baby gifts.  And Amazon makes it so-o easy to find the older books from private sellers.  If you don't mind 5 different packages coming to your house!!

And by the way ..., thank goodness for flat rate boxes at the post office!! Everything fit in the large flat rate, I did email them and tell them to be careful opening the box because there is a quilt STUFFED in it!! No sharp blades, please!

They have a jungle theme for his room and since I just made a jungle quilt for DGS; I knew what fabrics were available locally and picked them up.  Then I wiffle-waffled about what pattern to make - for 9 months, apparently!!

When I finally figured out the problem was the large patchwork animals fabric I'd bought for the front stripes was too big and uneven.  I simply moved it to the back and moved the back to the front for the stripes and it went together like a dream.

I used Maryquilts.com 'quick strippie' quilt pattern to make it. All her patterns are listed down the right edge of the website.  There are loads of good ones - check them out!   I did add borders because I wanted it a 'skootch' bigger.  I also put the narrow stripe on the top and bottom - mostly because I didn't notice I wasn't supposed to!  Sounds like me, doesn't it!!

The back is the large print and I think you'll see why I switched it!

These animals are adorable ... but, at least on my fabric, not printed exactly straight!  There was at least an inch drop in the lion's placement.   My DH joked that the monkey was a baby picture of him.  He did have those ears when young!!  So I wrote on the label, "Uncle R says the monkey is his baby picture ... he just wanted you to know!!!"

When I measured the border, the inside measurement was 37.5" x 59.25".  Hmmm, have I mentioned how much I HATE math???  But I remembered the old method of using adding machine tape for borders.  You get a roll of it [this is the hardest part!!!], roll out the length of your border.  Then simply fold it in half again and again until you have the size you're looking for.  No measuring or math!  If you have an even number of sections your border will start and end on the same side - /\/\/\/\ if it's odd you end up with /\/\/\/\/\/

I laid the tape down the middle of my border and then marked the segments with Washable Crayola Markers on the sides.  Then using the same washable marker I drew my lines with my ruler connecting the dots.  You can 'eyeball' it but I like the safety net of having the line marked.  When you're done - throw the paper away!!!  You've got plenty in reserve with the rest of the roll!!!

I LOVE ice cream cone shape borders because they are continuous!  When I get to a corner, I sew from the inner border to the corner and back up the same line.  Cheating a little, but then I don't have to start and stop with more knots to deal with.  And it frames any quilt so well!

The last thing for our new family member was a name banner.  I've made 4? of these and just love them.  Scrappy, bright and cheerful - what's not to love!  The parents can hang it on the baby's wall, door, on a wall with lots of pictures of the baby.  Or they can tack it to a pillow.  OR-R in my daughter's case, they can be in the doll drawer, used for doll blankies!!

I love this alphabet - it comes from an out-of-print book "Everything Quilts".  I sized it down to have the background squares be half of a nickel square.  So those background squares are 5" x 2.5"  You want your letter to pretty much fill the square.  Large letters, W and M for example can edge over into the next square too.  You just don't want the backgrounds too big or the letters are little islands and don't make a word!  Ask me how I know this!!  And by the way, did I have to learn it on lengthy names?? Yes, I did!

If one name is longer than the other; just fill in the extra space with a star or a toy shape.  Something simple and easily recognized.

I machine blanket stitch around each letter with a matching thread. Through all 3 layers so I'm quilting it at the same time.  And I love these little banners!  It's a fun and easy gift to give!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


This morning was all grey and misty and we almost decided not to walk the beach.  But there were dozens of pelicans fishing our bay.  Some were really close so we headed down to see them close-up-and-personal!

With the phone camera delay - very frustrating to try to catch them diving!!  You have to click the camera when the bird 'looks' like it's going to dive!!!  Beyond me!  So we just enjoyed them for awhile and then headed off down the beach to see what else we could see.

There was a great sunburst star fish.

They are so much fun to watch.

There were loads of regular star fish.

And then there was this ...

An Iced Tea bottle - Japanese label and 2011 date on the lid!!  There's ocean 'things' growing on it.  Could be from the tsunami - we'll never know for sure ... but so exciting to find!!

Guess we'll be walking the beach, whether it's grey and misty or sunny!!!  What fun!