Saturday, September 15, 2007

Aloha!

We spent our vacation this year on the Big Island!
DH and I have wanted to get to Hawaii for a long time...this year we just said it's TIME and made the reservations! I desperately needed a bit of time off!

We drove down as close as you can get to the Kealakekua Bay that has Captain Cook's Monument -
DH wrote a children's book about Captain Cook so the subject fascinates him...we asked a bunch of the local folks if they had ever seen the actual plaque that's IN the water at where they think Captain Cook met his demise and they looked at us like we were nuts - but I have seen pictures of it on the Internet!!! The only way to get over there is by kayak...but we did not really realize that until it was too late to rent a set and paddle over there...there used to be a arduous trail, but it was not available - there was a landslide in that area after a recent earthquake that we think is why the trail is out of commission.

We watched a luau from our balcony at the hotel - it was a trip being able to wander in and out of the hotel room instead of having to sit there (captive) for several hours - we could see perfectly well!...the only thing we did NOT get out of that was tasting poi..which most people that have tasted say it tastes like you would imagine wallpaper paste tasting...not dreadfully high on my list of things I gotta do!! -
we did get to taste the kalua pig at a buffet though so we did not miss much as far as the food goes - it was interesting seeing the imu - I thought the room was on fire when they started the pit in the morning as the smoke wafted up to our windows - it wasn't until I saw the guys messing around in the dirt that I figured out what was going on!...We stayed at the Royal Kona
and since it was our anniversary, they upgraded the room and sent us a bottle of (alcohol free) bubbly..which we shared whilst watching the luau...the room was incredibly big...since it was on the corner, the balcony stretched around both sides...I brought some material and started a Hawaiian Applique block..it was pretty cool to work on that in Hawaii while listening to Hawaiian music!

We went on a flying tour of the Island...saw the 10 mile wide bubbling lava,
the macadamia groves, the eucalyptus groves, saw the waterfalls off the cliffs, and the ritzy resorts to the north of Kona...One is the Hilton at Waikaloa..the pilot pointed it out to us as we flew over it...we were so intrigued that after the flight, we drove up there and had one of the most wonderful buffet dinners (that's where we tasted the kalua pig)..
if you have never been there, it's a trip in itself - there are 5 huge hotel buildings connected by a monorail and a canal boat system!!!! Hammocks are strung between palm trees and the most incredible collection of oriental art...just sitting right out there to be enjoyed. There are waterfalls and lagoons - it's quite fascinating just to walk around there.

We drove out to the top of the Island to see if we could see Maui..and we could...then we drove thru Parker Ranch lands...zowsers is that awesomely gorgeous (if ever we moved to Hawaii, I think I would want to be up near Waimea...)...We made it all the way over to Hilo..but since it was already dark by then, there was not too much we could see - we did try hiking down the pathway to Akaka Falls..but the only flash lights we had were our cell phones!!

I got some 'interesting' flash shots of the vegetation! And the night sounds...pure heavenly music...I could listen to the frogs singing any day...

We went on a tour up Mauna Kea to see the observatories...they provide parkas since its below freezing (imagine that on a tropical isle!) We had dinner on the way up, watched the sun set on one side and the moon rise a few moments later on the other side...
saw the top of Mauna Loa in the clouds in the distance and on the way down we stopped to see the Space Station hurtle from one side of the sky to the other...then they put on a star show with telescopes so we could see some sights...that was the night of the total lunar eclipse so as soon as we got back down to Kona (it would have been even cooler if they had delayed bringing us back until AFTER the eclipse..but they have a 'schedule' to keep...) we hightailed it up the highway a bit so we could get away from the clouds and see the full show...it was pretty spectacular in itself!

We chartered a motor boat and tooled around in the ocean for a half a day...that was the only day I was out in the sun enough to get burned...just a scrap of the back of my arms where the sunscreen unfortunately got forgotten...but, owie!!! We did get a bit closer to the Captain Cook monument
..but you can't dock there, so it was not as satisfying as actually going there! It would have been better to have the boat for the whole day and to have another couple with us so that we could go snorkeling and exploring the lava tubes. We were a bit squeamish about tying down the boat and both of us being in the water without someone looking after the boat...

I bought a lava-lava (or sarong)...bright, bright green! I am finding its a rather effective wrap when we go to the movies and the AC gets to be a bit much...there I am, wrapped up in a bright green lava-lava....

We saw so many blooming trees and colorful bushes...and a gecko and oodles of myna birds, and a silversword plant, and coffee groves and spinner dolphins...the only things we didn't do that we thought we might have wanted to was to go on the helicopter tour that sets down in a meadow for lunch (mucho, mucho dinero!), see the Volcanoes monument, see more of the rainforest and I did not get to go into a Hawaiian quilt shop!!! I had some thought of bringing back some barkcloth...but I guess that's for the next trip...

I could have stayed there for a couple more weeks, but it was not to be. At the luau...the announcer asked how many were there for the first time..he had a name for them that he said translated to something like 'first time visitors'...then he asked how many had been there more than once...he had another name and said it translated to 'Rich People'...it sure is expensive doing the 'touristy' stuff!..but we did find there were two WalMarts and at least 1 K-Mart..and the prices seemed pretty much in line with the mainland prices, at least on the stuff we looked at...

I am still incredibly busy at work with our massive conversion of the accounting system - it's not scheduled to be done until April next year...so it was kinda traumatic to them to have me gone for even a week! I did drag my laptop with me so I could keep up on emails and do emergency fixes...fortunately they did not plague me too much! Even though my laptop is pretty tiny and weighs hardly anything, the bag they gave me for toting it around was tooooo heavy...so I made a quilted slipcover for it and stuffed that inside my sewing tote! Not only was it much lighter, no one could tell it was a laptop in there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How I Spent My Lunch Hour...

...I spent it teaching Silk Ribbon Embroidery!

The craft club at work wanted a class on the ribbon embroidery and so about 10 gals from work got together in a conference room and I showed them the basics of ribbon embroidery. Like any group, there were those that 'got it' really easily and then there were the ones that had a harder time wrapping their minds around it, but in the end..I think every one was able to do most of the stitches..they left with a handout with stitch diagrams, a good sized chunk of wool to embroider on, a needle and some extra ribbon to do some more practicing. I had a white board available for this class since its a standard conference room and that seemed to make it easier to explain the stitches...what would be even better would be a video camera trained on my hands and projected up on the wall but that would have taken a bit more arranging (I think we probably could have come up with the stuff though! I have to remember that if we do another session.)

The gal that sits in the next cube over from me REALLY REALLY wants to be able to master that spiderweb rose...I may end up doing some private tutoring over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Twinkle, Twinkle

I finally finished my 12 x 12 x 4 Challenge piece that was supposed to be done by April!!! (Better late than UFO, I say!)

This is a 12 inch circle. The pattern is 'Seven Sisters' - a variant of the 'Baby Blocks' or 'Tumbling Blocks' patterns. There are only two pieces of each of the colored fabrics..I used one in the stars, and one in the border.

Hand pieced with yummy wool batting and hand quilted with gold thread. Beaded with gold and iridescent beads.
This was a joyful quiltlet to work on..the colors are cheerful and just looking at it makes me happy. I was a bit surprised at how long it actually took me to finish it..but it looks just as I imagined so it was worth the effort.

It's Been A While...

but..I have been REALLY, REALLY busy at work...hopefully it will slow down in a few days and I can catch my breath!


Last weekend I went on the Southern California Quilter's Run...a pretty much annual event for the group of quilters I hang out with...Most of us either used to work together or still do, a one lady used to go square dancing with the lady that does the organizing and we were introduced to a friend of hers from church this year.

34 shops, 900 miles, 7 ladies, hundreds of dollars and all that in only 2 days!!!
It was kinda close for the last couple of stores...we short changed them a bit - we had to run in, get our passports stamped and boogie right back out...hopefully next year they won't be in the tail end of the second day and we can visit longer. There was one I want to go back to and probably will as its close to family.

I have a stack of 4 inch fabric charms - each store gave us a packet of at least 4 squares..sometimes more...and three neck chains full of real pewter charms...only one charm was repeated in amongst the offerings...pretty cool. I will probably separate out the ones that are obviously quilting related and make a necklace with them..the rest may find homes on crazy quilts... or I might just make the whole thing into a bracelet...

The reason we were dashing into the last few stores was the miserable traffic on the worst freeway in the US..and probably the world...the dreaded 405 South...by the time we got to the store off that freeway (Sewing Arts Center in Santa Monica), we were pretty frazzled...and were grousing about having to go there at all...We all said "THIS had better be a terrific store!" and to our utter delight, it was! The theme of the Run was Movies and each store picked a particular movie - the store named Cotton and Chocolate had, obviously, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (complete with Willie Wonka serving up chocolate bars!) The rest were not quite so obvious...but some of the stores really got into their themes...Sewing Arts Center picked 'Superstar' - all the employees dressed up in Catholic school outfits - even Russell...the totally crazy quilting guy that works there...He turned his skirt so the zipper was in front and said that made it a 'man skirt'..He had us laughing so hard..and it was just what we needed to revive us enough to finish the rest of the run!

We had a marvelous time!

And..least you think that was actually a couple of days off from work...nah...I had my laptop with me and remote-ed into work from the road during the drive times. They got me an AT&T phone card and it worked pretty well..there were only a few spots that did not get good reception...I got a lot done...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cooking... Er...Make That Drying With Gas!


A brief pause for some home maintenance:

We replaced the belt on the dryer - Whoohoo! It only took about 45 minutes and a goodly chunk of that was trying to find enough chunks of wood to hold the dryer drum up so we could remove the front panel...The trickiest part was figuring out how the tensioner connected back to the bottom of the dryer - it fell off when the belt broke and the picture from the internet was not dreadfully detailed - thankfully it was not broken off! When I saw it was just laying there in the bottom, my heart kinda sank, thinking we would probably have to call the repairman after all... But...we have liftoff! Good thing too..the wind is whipping around today - way too windy to put clothes out to line dry - they would likely be found flying around in the next county if I tried!

Back to the o' grindstone...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Working on Overtime

Sorry to be mostly absent, but I am working on a massive project at work which is requiring oodles of overtime...I will probably not be posting much or even quilting much for the next couple of months until I get the coding for this project out of the way...

Update on the raccoons...my friend went to the rescue location last Sunday to get our two cages of raccoons only to find out that one of the yearlings gave birth to 4 babies the night before and a bunch of the remaining raccoons had mange...so they cancelled the release entirely as they did not want to disturb the new mamma plus they did not have the medication for the shot to cure the mange on hand. The next date for release is May 13th...I have no idea what possessed them to pick Mother's Day(!) for the release date, but both my friend and I cancelled...hopefully they have enough people that cancel and will reschedule for some other date...otherwise, we shall just have to try for next year's release.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

But Wait..There May Be Hope For The Raccoons Yet..




The raccoon rescue organizer is looking for another spot for us...so the Second Annual Great Raccoon Release may still be on for tomorrow...will update tomorrow.
There are not enough releasers so we may end up with SIX of the fat and sassy critters...hopefully in two cages or its gonna be a bit of a stretch for two middle aged ladies getting the cage out of the back of the car...hopefully the new spot will have a place we can drive up to for releasing.

The Demise of the Second Annual Great Raccoon Release

Tomorrow was supposed to be the Second Annual Great Raccoon Release...but its been called off for our location...

The new dryer belt did not get here until today and DH is working today, so I tried out the new line that I strung up between the two swing sets... unfortunately, the swing sets are not really heavy enough for laundry so I had to improvise and find some concrete blocks to weight the seats down enough to keep the lines from pulling the swing sets over.... was putting out the third load of the day an hour ago - it's very hot here today - 95 and very low humidity... stuff was not taking very long to dry - I pinned the sheets up first and by the time I had the towels on the line, the sheets were bone dry (that's faster than the dryer!)... I happened to glance over towards the neighbors and AGGGGHHH... there were billows of smoke rising up and then I heard the sirens and the helicopters...the riverbed, 2 miles from me, is on fire!

I had a load of recycling to take down to the recycle center by the grocery store - I had already loaded the bags in the car - so I went to checked out where the fire is burning (after getting the important papers box and the the cat carrier and putting them by the front door, just in case, yanno) and...dagnabit..it's just where we wanted to release the coons...

sigh..
By the way..the pin bag worked out great...
And for anyone that is interested in having a wooden drying rack - you still can get them...here is one place and WalMart is supposed to have a chrome one (that would be good for drying hand-dyes as it wouldn't stain the bars).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Laundry Update

I am pretty sure it's just the belt on the dryer...I popped the top open per the instructions I found by Googling and sure enough, the belt is just hanging...Sears wants 18 bucks for the replacement...found one on eBay for 3! So..just have to wait for it to be delivered...and find a time when both of us will be home to try the repair. If it doesn't work, then I guess we get a new set...but boy, howdy..we looked at the prices and our eyes about popped right out of our heads!

Meanwhile, til the repair is effected, I hauled out my old wooden drying rack (In my panic last weekend, I did not remember I had it!) and we purchased a clothesline that we can string between the two bench swing sets on the patio for sunny days (which it hasn't been for the last few days - we actually got some rain!!!)...and a couple packages of clothes pins...I remembered my Granny used clothes pins and she had a cute little pin bag...so I made me one out of a fat quarter that I would never ever use in a quilt - I won it and its just NOT my style for quilting - old fashioned looking turquoise, red and pink umbrellas...but it made a cute pin bag (and I shall not care if it self destructs...though with my luck the thing will be around for the next 20 years).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sideways, Just A Little Bit...

Well..I WAS doing laundry yesterday, as advertised - but when I went out to the garage to take the dry stuff out and put the last load into the dryer before heading to bed, I opened up the dryer door and ACKKKK...the contents were still SOAKING WET!!!...apparently the belt snapped (we have yet to actually look inside the machine, but we have pictures from the Internet on HOW to look) and the symptoms match a broken belt...

So...what do one DO with two large tubs of soaking wet laundry? DH bundled the stuff into the car and set out to see if there were any open laundromats...nothing doing...every one that we knew about, and a few from the phone book, were dark and locked up...so we thought about stringing up some rope in the kitchen...that didn't work either...so at 1 am, we gave up trying to figure it out and stuffed the laundry tubs back out in the cold garage and DH said he would take the clothes to the laundromat at 6 am...This did not leave much time for sleeping!

We haven't figured out if we want to try to fix the poor thing (a new belt is pretty cheap) or just get a new laundry pair...it's not like this pair are spring chickens - we bought them about a week after moving into this house 27 years ago and they have most definitely earned their keep...only one other time did we have to have a repair when the dryer thermostat broke. It would be nice to have a new set, but we are not sure we want to spend alot. We have to go shopping to see what the options are out there...any suggestions?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Only One More Round!

Almost done with the Seven Sisters! Last row will be the same white with gold dots as the center.

Then it just needs a bit of quilting and maybe a few beads...

It was a good day for hand stitching - it was cold and grey out (no rain, just clouds, though we need it desperately)...so I made a nice pot of tomato beef soup and stitched away in my rocking chair between loads of laundry.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

25 Questions Meme


Haven't done a meme in a long time. Have seen this one on a couple of blogs...


1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?
Someplace green.
2. What's your favorite article of clothing?
My Fair Isles sweater. It's getting a bit raggy since I wear it all the time...I need to find another one.
3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex?
Eyes.
4. What's the last CD that you bought?
DH buys the CDs...the last one I remember buying was several Christmases ago - one of the Mannheim Steamroller albums.
5. Where's your favorite place to be?
Someplace green.
6. Where is your least favorite place to be?
Sitting in a car in rush hour traffic.
7. What's your favorite place to be massaged?
Anywhere works for me.
8. Strong in mind or strong in body?
Mind.
9. What time do you wake up in the morning?
Whenever the #(*&%# alarm clock rings or 6-8 hours after I went to sleep, which ever comes first.
10. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?
Microwave.
11. What makes you really angry?
Hypocrisy. Massively invasive "Political Correctness".
12. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
Harp.
13. Favorite color?
Green... (you see a theme going here??)
14. Which do you prefer...sports car or SUV?
Neither. I'm a compact car gal.
15. Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes.
16. Favorite children's book?
Have too many favorites! I read all the time as a child. Still do.
17. What is your favorite season?
Spring when it's green or Fall when the leaves turn colors.
18. Your least favorite household chore?
It's hard to pick just one...they all are least favorites - but if I have to pick just one...cleaning out the litter boxes.
19. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
The ability to make everyone get along.
20. If you have a tattoo, what is it?
I have a temporary tat that says "Born to Quilt" that I have not had the guts to put on my skin yet. Can't see me voluntarily getting a tattoo.
21. Can you juggle?
Only one ball. Any more and I get confused. I can juggle lots of tasks at work at once though.
22. The one person from your past that you wish you could go back and talk to?
My grandmother.
23. What's your favorite day?
Depends on what I am doing that day!
24. What's in the trunk of your car?
Junk...lots 'o junk...
25. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?
Neither...give me a good piece of Prime Rib any day...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wednesday WIP

It's starting to look round.... finally!

Have to mark and cut out the 80 little triangles for the border next...I am thinking I will probably do them in batches so I can get started.

It's still (mostly) fitting on the scanner bed, but the next pass will not fit.

I need a good name for this piece so it fits in with my circle theme...so far one is eluding me...

Monday, April 09, 2007

More Seven Sisters Progress


Thank you all for your lovely comments.

Got a little further along - the center has one more pass around it..then comes the harder part of doing the ring.

I was playing around with some beads earlier and this may just end up with some beadwork before its done...

This still fits on the scanner bed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Seven Sisters Progress

Worked on my Seven Sisters block for a while today- got the center with the seven stars completed...its supposed to be finished for my 12x12x4 for this month, but its looking rather dim that its gonna get finished by the 12th...


First I completed all the stars, then sewed the white pieces around the center star, then was able to sew the rest of the stars and white pieces in one fell swoop around the center...only took two needles worth of thread too, since this is pretty small (The picture is a scan - it still fits on the scanner bed).

I still have the rest of the center to complete (it has to have white pieces around all the edges) and the diamond border which has oodles of tiny pieces...and which will turn it into a circle.


I am enjoying it though.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Foolishness


When I was growing up, my parents often invented elaborate April Fools Day jokes to play on each other...the best one, in my opinion, was one my Mom sprang on my Dad in 1965...Here's the way it went down, to my best recollection:

Back in those days, men would go to the barbershop every week to have a trim..my Dad's night to go was Thursday night...April First just happened to fall on Thursday that year...so...Mom and Sis and I headed out towards downtown and waited in the parking lot across the street from the barbershop.

We watched Dad arrive and head into the barbershop, with his little Renault car parked RIGHT IN FRONT of the barbershop...Mom executed step one of the joke by walking across the street, getting into the car, starting it up and driving it around the corner into the parking lot on the side of the barbershop - unnoticed by Dad and the barber. She then came back to the other car and there we sat waiting for Dad to be done with his trim.

A few minutes later, Dad comes out....The look on his face was priceless...he looked a the spot the car was 'supposed' to be and then up the street, down the street a couple of times...he ran in and got the barber and there ensued a series of wild gesticulations on the part of the two gentlemen...

Mom decided it was time to complete part two of the joke...she started driving towards the barbershop...Dad said he exclaimed to the barber 'Oh thank goodness, there's my wife, she can drive me to the police station (which was only a block or two up the street, mind you - this was a rather small town) so I can report my car being stolen."

He came up to the car and was explaining the situation to Mom and it was not until he happened to glance into the back seat where my Sis and I were desperately trying not to bust up laughing, that he realized what day it was and that he had been HAD! He swore he was going to tie a string to the steering wheel after that...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wednesday WIP

I actually have some quilty stuff to show this week! I started working on my tiny hand pieced Seven Sisters which I HOPE I will get done with in time for the next Quilt Studio reveal. The circle will finish out to 12 inches so these are really small pieces. And all of it is from my scrap bag!

I started working on these at the car repair shop last Saturday - I had to do my bi-annual 'smog certificate' and I knew the car was going to need some work so I got there when they opened at 8am, hoping that they would be able to fix whatever needed fixing, and get the results to the state so I could get my car re-registered, all in one day. The car did indeed have to get a bunch of stuff done - they had to change the check-engine light bulb which meant they had had to take the dash apart and then there was some fancy-smancy part that only comes in an assembly costing 180 bucks(!) that needed to be replaced...but..it got done and whilst I was waiting, I ensconced myself in the waiting room with my Seven Sisters stuff...I only had the scraps picked out and put into baggies...so I marked and trimmed and stitched and got lots of comments (interestingly, mostly from the guys, though there were a few ladies that brought vehicles in to be serviced). The service guys were cute about coming into the waiting room to keep me informed of the progress (the rest of them had to go up to the counter to talk with them) so I did not have to get up and mess up my sewing setup..And by 1pm they were done, I had 5 stars completed and I was headed over to the AAA to get my car tag. I just need two more stars, the joining diamonds and the circle of diamonds around the outside border.

On Sunday, I took a class with my friends (most of them are quilters, one is a rabid knitter and only tolerates quilting because the rest of us are quilters!) on 'Color Theory For The Fiber Artist'. This was a very interesting class on why some colors make quilts look blah and why some make them pop. Part of the class was the teacher giving the groups assignments on what colors or color schemes to find and we went out into the store and pulled bolts of fabric that matched the assignment using our handy dandy 3-in-1 Color Tools ....wow, that was exhausting! Sometimes we just had to 'make do' because that color wasn't IN the store (at least that we could find!). I came away with a new appreciation of color.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What to DO with braids...

Rian asked "What does one do with the braid? "

The one I am currently doing will probably end up long enough for a bracelet - since it is my learning piece, it really does not have to have a purpose, but I will find some way to use it. The round braids could make bracelets, necklaces, badge holders, shoelaces, key chain fobs, scissor fobs, napkin rings...the flat ones could be bookmarks, curtain ties, headbands, guitar straps - anything you would use a ribbon for could be replaced with a flat braid...You could braid around a core and make jump-ropes, or plant hangers...

I am sure there are hundreds of ways to use braids...of course I probably will find some way to incorporate braids into my crazy quilting...I am thinking of trying one with embroidery floss to get a really thin braid...

The Ultimate Gift

DH and I went to see 'The Ultimate Gift' movie over the weekend. It was wonderful - we both thought it was very inspiring and beautifully done! DH said as we walked out "That's one we HAVE to have on DVD when it comes out."

Synopsis:
"When his wealthy grandfather dies, trust fund baby Jason Stevens anticipates a big inheritance. Instead, his grandfather has devised a crash course on life with twelve tasks – or “gifts” – designed to challenge Jason in improbable ways, sending him on a journey of self-discovery and forcing him to determine what is most important in life: money or happiness."

The cast includes Abigail Breslin - the young lady nominated for an Academy Award for 'Little Miss Sunshine' - terrific! Other cast members are James Garner, Bill Combs, Brian Dennehy, Lee Merriweather, Ali Hillis and Drew Fuller...all excellent choices for the parts.

But...if you go, take a box of tissues - one just won't do! It's at least a 5 hanky tear-jerker.
(o jeeze..I just went and looked at the movie trailer again and I have to find another hanky...)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wednesday WIP - Kumihimo

Went to a craft fair last weekend with my quilting/crafting buddies and we were all drawn to this one booth where they were showing 'Kumihimo' - the art of Japanese thread braiding. The picture below is a disk made of three layers of fun foam with 32 slits cut in the edges and a hole in the center. By moving the threads from top to bottom in a specific order, you get a spiral braid out the center of the disk.

At the bottom of the braid, a fishing weight is hung to keep the tension right as the threads are coming thru the hole. I think the setup looks like a jellyfish!

By varying the order of which thread gets moved, you can produce a bunch of patterns.

Want to try it? There are some instructions here that are reasonable - she is showing using only eight strings where the one I have in the picture has sixteen. I want to try with eight and see if its a more bendable braid - the one with sixteen is quite stiff!

Also, if you want a longer braid, you have to plan ahead and wrap the excess length of ribbons/threads on bobbins (the embroidery thread kind) or tama (which look like spools).

There was also a hexagon shaped loom that uses only 5 threads but creates a cool looking shoelace! One of my friends got that one and I will see if I can borrow it sometime to try a pair of shoelaces.

The lady also had some really BIG looms made of wood called marudai that she was using to braid beaded strands into necklaces...same kind of philosophy on the hand movements but no handy notches to put the strands into, so you have to be really concentrated when you are working with that loom!

Also, you can make flat braids - the one I am showing is a round braid (kongo gumi) but here are some cool looking flat braids - I want to try that too but its a little different in how you set up the loom.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday WIP

Well..Wednesday is almost over, but I did want to post a bit about what I have been 'doing'- its not particularly QUILT related...but golly, is it ever FUN!!! Presenting.... my new grandbaby - Lily!She is ever so much fun to cuddle! She arrived in the wee hours of Sunday morning, weighing in at 8.15 lbs and is 21 inches long.
DS has learned to change diapers, swaddle baby and give a spit-bath. Miss Lily is amazingly calm except for diaper changes and bath time...Kid has an impressive set of lungs when disturbed!


I am scheduled to go to a craft show this weekend...I am looking for a couple of things - a wooden seam roller and I want to check out the lighted knitting needles and crochet hooks - those sound like a gas to have.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lily's Pad

As promised, here are some pictures of what I have been working on. A bit of backstory first: Any day now, my very first DGD will arrive. DDIL is looking rather 'ripe' and about to pop! DS and DDIL have named the baby 'Lily' (which I think is pretty darn cool as it's the translation of my first name - Susan being the English variant of the Hebrew name Shoshannah, which means Lily.) Anyway...while I was laying in bed one morning a few weeks ago, ruminating about the impending event, it struck me that a baby named Lily really aught to have a lilypad quilt...and I knew just the right fabric to make it out of - MINKEE! This was during Road to California and I knew one of the vendors had some bright green Minkee as I had seen it during my cruising thru the vendor mall areas. Unfortunately the day I decided to GET the Minkee was the day the winds were so horrible that the fire marshall closed the vendor tent..and guess where the vendor was that had the Minkee - in the tent...sigh..so no Minkee for me that day.


Fast forward two weeks to the Arizona Retreat. While on our shop hop, I saw some Minkee but not the bright green that I wanted. I DID however find THE MOST PERFECT backing fabric at one of the stores - green frogs on lilypads and I snapped that up. A piece of bright pink fleece was one of the fabrics on the sale table...that went home with me too. Once I got home, I had to hunt for the bright green Minkee...a lot of places had the mint green which is too light..but finally the bright green was located and purchased!


So...here is Lily's Pad:

Front is green Minkee. The lily is made of fleece. Its bound with spring green satin blanket binding. Quilted with varigated green thread.

And the back with the cute frogs on the lilypads:


And of course...Grammie must make other things for Baby too:

The pink stuffed toy is known as a 'Friend' (my DS was the one to name them when he was about 4). I whipped up a set of Bitty Booties using the pattern from HELLOMyNameIsHeather , a couple of white flannel bibs on which I used my 'fancy feather stitching' built into my machine for the very first time, and a stack of burpers made with flannel and fleece... I also got her a 'Boppy' pillow - which is a really cool invention - it's a horseshoe-shaped pillow that goes around Mamma's waist and helps support Baby while feeding, helps sit Baby up and can be used for 'tummy time' on a play mat...just a perfect use for the lilypad quilt!

So...I have been slaving over a hot sewing machine!

The baby shower was today (which is why I can post this now that DDIL has received the items!) We played a couple of games - the first had us totally grossed out - DDIL's sister had gotten 9 different candy bars and squished them into baby diapers and I think heated them a bit to melt the chocolate...and we had to guess which ones were which by LOOKING at them...eeewwwwwwwie...I did not do too well on this as I don't eat many candy bars and haven't for 20 years (most candy bars have corn syrup in them and being allergic to corn syrup puts the kibosh on eating them...). The other game was to guesstimate how big around DDIL's tummy is by cutting a piece of yarn the size that would fit around her. Mine was way off..DS was closer, but her Mom was right on!

It was quite amazing to see the amount of teeny clothes and other stuff this baby has now accumulated! She will not lack for binkys - I think she got at least 10 - one of which has a thermometer in it! I hope she will be able to even wear all the cute little outfits!

Lily's Pad was a big hit! The only thing Baby did not get was a tiny sweater...(I feel another project coming on)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Lent? It's a Piece o' Cake...

Literally...This year I am giving up eating orange cake. The cafeteria at work makes the most delish orange cake with orange frosting. I KNOW I should not be eating it at all, but it is almost irresistible. So..I shall drool, but not indulge...

I asked my DH what he was giving up for Lent...he said 'Boiled frog legs'...I said 'You've never even tasted frog legs much less eaten boiled frog legs!'...He said 'That's why it will be easy to give them up for Lent'...Gotta love that logic!

Not Your Mama's AJAX

I have been busy quilting...and will have some eye candy to show after Saturday. Don't want to post pics right now just in case recipient of said eye candy decides to look at the blog!

The other thing I have been doing is having a blast at work. I have mentioned it a couple of times, but for anyone that hasn't read all the history posts, my day job is web application design/programming. For the last couple of days I have been learning a new-to-me tool: AJAX (and no...it isn't a powder in a can!)...and once I 'got' what the sample was doing, it's turning out to be really fun and useful. I do a demo tomorrow morning and I think my customer is going to have her sox knocked off!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Charming!

This is the charm we made in the Craft Club today at work. It was the first time I had used 'hatpins' to attach beads. Managed to rip one of the beads off as it was dangling from my purse (it's supposed to be dangling from my purse!) so I had to try to fix it at home...but the danged needle-nose pliers have gone missing! So...it's gonna stay home, looking cute, until I can find the pliers or buy new ones.


The Arizona Retreat went exceptionally well! We had SOOOO much fun. Lots of laughter, lots of sewing, lots of inspiration from the other quilters...and many memories!

Here is my Challenge piece - it did not win any prizes, but WAS the only one that was made entirely from the challenge fabric!


Here we are in the retreat room during my ribbon embroidery class. I had seven students...and it was so cool to hear the squeals of delight when they 'got it'!


And..here I am during my 'Show and Tell', demonstrating my lovely tiara (doing a 'princess wave') and wearing my new ribbon embroidered vest. That's my retreat spot there in the left side of the picture and behind me are the pressing stations.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday WIP

Kinda late in the day, but this IS what I worked on today!!!

I made a smaller sample of the ribbon embroidery with just a couple of the stitches. The craft club at work wants to do the ribbon embroidery but they only have 45 minutes during a lunch to do the craft so they asked for a much simplified version. I will probably do something really similar for the demo at the retreat, only I will be doing colonial knots and the french knot rose as well as the spiderweb rose, lazy daisy and stem stitching.

Heading out tomorrow am for the retreat...see y'all later!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ribbon Embroidery Sample


Here's what the silk ribbon embroidery class is going to work on. This can be turned into a needle-case or a cell phone caddy.
In a few minutes I will have all the kits made up - I kinda goofed on the number...I have 7 ladies that want a kit, I made 8 sets of ribbons, used 1 to make the sample...so I am going to have to use the stuff I have left over from the vest for doing the demo of the stitches...oh well...best laid plans of mice and men and all that!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What I 'Cooked Up' Tonight

This is what I 'cooked up' in my microwave tonight:

Silk ribbons, dyed with Tsukineko ink, and partially heat set by drying in the microwave . To finish the dye process, I need to iron them to set the ink and make it permanent.
I am giving a little demo on silk ribbon embroidery at the Arizona Retreat and some of the ladies wanted to play along, so I am making up little kits with ribbons and needles.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday Progress

I am home today with a horribly sore throat and have taken numerous mad dashes down the hall...ICK!!! Someone must have breathed on me at the show that had germs...sigh...one of the hazards of going out into a venue with thousands of people.

But..beading is one of those activities that does not take much energy or moving around, so I worked on the Kaleidoscope...and the beading is done! Now I just have to figure out what to put as the border for my wall hanging...I am toying with the notion of it being one of my Circles for the 12x12x4 Challenge - since its definitely a Circle!!! I have some lovely fabric with gold veins on it that may work great. I really like how this turned out!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Road Show and WIPS

More from the Road to California Quilt Show:

Saturday-

My class on Saturday was 'Garden of Eden' with Laura Wasilowski. Her style is similar to Melody's in that it uses fused hand-dyes, but the result is a little different. She is funny too like Melody - I wish I could have gone to the "Chicago School of Fusing' Luncheon...the ladies that went said it was very very funny!

I also attended a lecture by Gabrielle Swain on Creativity...I enjoyed listening to her very much! One of my girlfriends took Gabrielle's Leaf class and was quite inspired...I loved seeing the drawings of her design unfolding. Gabrielle was also one of the judges for the Quilt show.

Later Saturday night I attended Alex Anderson's trunk show...she is a hoot and a half to listen to. She's the kind of person I really wish I lived next door to - seems down to earth, sweet and really intelligent.

Sunday-

This is as far as I got on my Beaded Kaleidoscope in Nancy Eha's class. I was one of the faster beaders! I kept getting done with the rounds before she called time, so she would come by and show me how to do the next round...One thing almost tragic happened...in the process of setting up my bag the night before, somehow the prepared square to stitch on got misplaced...I was almost in a panic when the lady next to me said "I made two... one a little smaller than she asked for, but I brought it with me anyway and you can have it if you want" - Was I ever relieved!!!! A true 'Quilting Angel'. I gave her a nice fat quarter in exchange!

This is what the project sample looks like:

And here is Princess Suze wearing her 'tiara' in class...


Tuesday night:
Here is the progress on the beading. I have a minor problem - some of the embellishment beads are missing from the kit...so I may have to improvise if I cannot get them sent to me. Shoulda checked the kit more carefully before I left the classroom!




In other news:
This is picture of some of the 'Ugly Fabric Challenge' quilts for the Arizona Retreat I am going to next week. Mine is the smallish placemat sized quilt on the end...it was made ENTIRELY of the 1/2 yard of challenge fabric - including the back. Its name is 'Arizona Fever' for a couple of reasons...first, I had a pretty high fever when I put it together...and...I am in a fever to go to the retreat! All the quilts shown in the picture have the challenge fabric in them! They are hanging in Sally's Fabrics, an LQS in Phoenix, Arizona...the patrons are voting on their favorites...if you are in the area, stop by and have a look!

Look at what we had to start from! The ladies at Sally's picked the fabric for this year. Next year we are going to do a challenge, but not an 'Ugly Fabric' challenge!



Oh...and if you check out Melody's post for Tuesday Jan 23 - there is a picture of my class doing the Bodacious Bloomers...I am kinda hidden behind the lady in the pinky-salmon sweater who has her back to the camera - but that is ME there in the green sweater, auditioning fabric!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Report from the Road - The Road To California, That Is!

Wednesday -
Went to help hang quilts at the Road to California Quilt Show. The preshow for the class participants usually starts at 7pm...At 4 there still were hundreds of quilts left to hang.
I was assigned to the $100,000 Quilt Challenge area - yes, I DID get to see (and touch) those magnificent quilts - up close and personal! Some incredible work...The crazy quilts are my personal favorites, but all of them are terrific. I can only dream of being that good!

It's usually sweaty business hanging quilts but this year since its been soooo cold here, we barely got warm. It took a couple of hours to hang the $100,000 Quilt Challenge display then they asked if we could hang some quilts out in this Quonset Hut tent that they put out at the south of the convention center - since it has been REALLY cold for So Cal and there is still a chance of rain, they moved all the eating areas inside which meant the second half of the Vendor Fair and some of the quilt collections had to move to the tent. Wednesday the heat was not on in the tent. We boogied into the tent, slapped the quilts onto poles, hung those puppies and boogied right back out o'there! Of course, we had a secondary reason for boogieing back out (besides frostbite!) - while they were taping the poles (that stabilizes them and keeps the patrons from fondling the quilts) one of the ladies helping leaned a weeee bit too hard on a pole...the Domino Effect worked quite nicely. We then had another 100 quilts to rehang - every available warm volunteer body was pressed into service to get the displays back up on the walls. This was a mere 10 minutes before the show was due to open...the natives were getting a little restless but we finally got the show open - just a little late!

The About.Com Quilting Forum has at least 3 members with quilts in the show. On Wednesday night we knew one of them had won one of the BIG prizes - the Judge's Special Merit Award -
November Fields by Gail: **

Here is that lovely ribbon! **

Here are the other forum member's quilts:
Kaleidoscope Twist by Birgit: **

Trinity by Birgit: **

And
Grace by Teri: - This was not a particularly good picture so I said I would go back and get a better one... **


Thursday -

I went back to take another picture of Teri's quilt and lo and behold...see the difference!!! There is a Blue First Place Ribbon on it now! **

This was the result of the first class that I took - Melody Johnson's Bodacious Bloomers class. I loved this class. She is a fun teacher! I used my new cordless iron and that was SOOO great to have no cord in the way. This entire piece is done by fusing - what looks like seams is fused too. Melody was so cute about that - she put two pieces of fabric on the ironing surface and told us to watch very, very carefully - she kind of tapped the iron onto the fabric then back off and said "That's a seam!" Mine is already fused to the Hobbs Heirloom batting - just needs a bit of quilting and the backing...and then its done!:


This is the beaded cell phone caddy from the second class that I took - its really magnificent in person! The ribbon gleams. I have to finish the fringe and the neck chain. I wore my 'tiara' and IT WORKS!!!! The teacher even joked about 'One not caring what one looks like as long as it works'....


Friday -
Today I took a class from Karen McTavish. She is a hoot! I had to go to the Vendor Fair and buy some Bottom Line thread so I can try out her technique. I actually drew a fairly close to McTavishing drawing (she recommends practicing on paper first). The class was a demo of her technique - they brought in a APQS Liberty Longarm and had a videographer focused on her quilting so we could all see on the overhead projection. I was surprised at how often she backtracks - way more than I thought...

More later...I have classes tomorrow and Sunday - right now I am taking a little time off to catch some more z's!

**pictures taken at Road to California Quilt Show