Monday, March 23, 2009

How I Spent National Quilting Day

On Saturday, which was National Quilting Day, a group of my crafty friends got together to work on quilting (and knitting) projects..we had lots of fun..lots of good food and got a bunch done! We did not know it was National Quilting Day when we set the just worked out really well!
Three of us are quilters and one prefers knitting..she does really nice knitting!
This was a mystery quilt from Road to California's Lakeside Mystery that got sewn together into the center of the needs borders and then will get sent out to be quilted..I love how my friend put the calla lily in the black diamond (a 'design opportunity' as the teacher said)...I think this may be my favorite mystery quilt ever! It is so vibrant!
These are paperpieced arcs that another friend is working on... She took a Judy Neimyer class recently and learned how to do the curved arcs..I think they are turning out really beautiful.

This is one of the things I was working on...I am adding dogwood blossoms to the tree..This is a base that is being passed around in a Round Robin. I bought some felt ric-rac at the Coastal Shop Hop the prior weekend and its turning out quite nicely for the dogwood blossoms...I snip off two sets of two 'bumps' of the ric-rac, dab red Aquarelle crayon to make the pink, then the felt pieces are attached using crystal beads and lime green rayon thread...I need to do the other side of the tree and maybe add a few leaves..
The lady that is currently working on my base (the Tuscan Landscape) has put a vine with hundreds of silk ribbon roses on it coming out of one of the pots! It looks gorgeous!

I also added more seam treatments and some beads to 'Autumn in Turtle Valley' but it does not look that different yet! But..its getting there...I hope to get done with it by the end of the next month..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

and the answer is: Mulberry Trees!

We have identification of the mystery trees thanks to the guys on the Forestry forum...they are mulberry trees! Will have to see if we want to keep all of them as they can be invasive and the female trees which have the berries are kinda messy..BUT the fruit IS tasty! I remember a friend having a mulberry tree when I was growing up and we would come home with purple fingers and lips and drips all over our playclothes when the fruit was ripe.
I wonder if I should raise a couple of silkworms!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Autumn in Turtle Valley

Here's the progress so far..if you click on the picture it will open up bigger. I still need to stem stitch all the green leaves, add a bit more embroidery and some beads (clear ones in the river for bubbles)..not sure what else..maybe a bird in the of my GF's thinks I should accentuate the turtles in the green batik, but I am not sure what would look right...then I need to figure out how to quilt this!

Volunteer 'Trees' Are Blooming

There are little flowering buds on several of the volunteer 'trees'...I still do not know what these are...I was able to pull up one of the little ones without much effort... I am thinking I will have to take a branch to a nursery and see if they can tell me...Even if it is a weed, it's a nice looking weed..and unless it's poisonous, I think we might just let them grow...

Coastal Shop Hop

Yesterday, a group of us went on a 'creative crafting' shop hop - usually we just go to quilt shops on the big So Cal Quilter's Run..but this one had a bit of a different flair..there were a couple of quilt shops, a couple of bead shops, a couple of gifty type stores, a couple of yarn shops and one that had scrapbooking supplies too..

Most of the day we were hugging the coastline and it was quite overcast as it usually is at the coast in the was nice hopping weather! Not too cold, not too hot..and not too bright...

Starry Night Hollow...a very interesting Quilt a house! The gardens around the house were so pretty, I asked if I could snap some shots...

Notice the gate in the has a quilt attached to the gate!

The poppies are starting to really bloom out around the freeways - these two shots were taken thru the car window as we were going down a freeway ramp (which is why they are a bit blurry):

I think there is some blue lupine mixed in there too...

At one of the shops...I found wool roving in a vast array of colors..the lady asked me what I was going to make with the wool and I said I wanted to try making some felted animals - she said 'I have just the book for you!' and indeed, it had to come home with me:

if you follow the link to Amazon, you can see more of the pictures inside the book..the animals are sooooo cute!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

First Picnic of the Season

DH and I ate our dinner out in the back yard today..kind of a picnic of sorts! We had little hot dogs with mustard, diet soda and steamed broccoli... The back yard is very green and trees are starting to leaf out.. the lemon tree is full of blossoms (and lemons!):

We are trying to figure out what this tree/plant is..its a 'volunteer' along with about 20 more of them in the back yard..they lost their leaves during the winter and are the first of the trees(?) to leaf out..right now they are about 15 feet I don't think they are weeds (I hope not anyway)! Our best guess is some sort of oak..but if anyone knows for sure, please let me know...

They are directly under where the birds sit in the trees...
Neighbor's horse is enjoying the fresh air and has munched all of the grass he can reach from his stall...

The moonrise over the trees:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Arizona Retreat 2009 - Part 2

We had a grand time at there retreat..I worked on my string blocks for the Hearts Garden Quilt (its been in a few posts!)

Here are some sample blocks..

I THINK I am done with all of the blocks I need for the back and hopefully I can start working on putting the quilt together now..I need to design a quilting pattern and start tracing it, get some sashing strips cut (need to figure out if I have enough of the green fabric for the sashing left over), and lay out the back so I know which block goes where..

I also worked on the batik landscape that I made in a class at Road To California in 2008...I wanted to add a tree to the landscape..and that involved cutting the landscape..I have been putting off doing this for MONTHS! of the ladies at the retreat encouraged me to 'just do it'...and so I did...another of the ladies gave me a wonderful strip of fabric for the border, and another let me dig thru her bag of scraps, looking for fall colored batiks to make leaves for the tree...I appliqued most of the leaves on the trip home. I have been working on embroidering on the seams as well...

Some of the fun stuff we did:
  • learned how to make cathedral windows blocks
  • one of the ladies taught a class on how to maintain your Featherweight sewing machine - she brought one that she auctioned off and another of the retreaters went home with a real treasure!
  • Patrick Lose, a fabric and pattern designer that lives in Arizona, came to be our guest can read about his take on the retreat on his blog...
  • we had 'Secret Sisters' again this year...that was a blast again.. My SS gave me lots of wonderful goodies - including an organizer basket that I have wanted for a long time and lots of material and my very favorite tea (Stash Chai Spice)...I gave my SS (not the same person) batiks, a pink pincushion, a glass nail file, dark chocolates and a laser leveler (she said when she got home that she had to carefully explain to her DH that No, the leveler was NOT going to live in the garage, but in the 'forbidden room'!) In case you are wondering what possible use it could have for quilting, its used to square up large quilts...
  • Went shopping several times at the 3 Dudes Quilt Shop across the street
Here is what my workstation looked like..before the madness and flurry of activity started! It looked considerably less neat as time wore on!

Arizona Retreat 2009 - Part 1

Well..I am FINALLY getting around to starting to post about the was a couple of weeks ago now!

I went with another lady that lives a couple of hours north of me..its much easier packing when you don't have to worry about overweight bags, seperating out the liquids and just how much you can haul around! I took way too much, as usual, but I did find a use for most of it! Fortunately I took a couple of extra tote bags..judging from prior years experiences..I knew I would need them..and indeed, they came back stuffed to the brim!!

On the way over, we did not stop much..but did see some cool cactuses and wildflowers in bloom..I posted on the forum as we were driving that we had seen them and Sophie asked if I was going to blog about them, so..when the driver needed a break, we stopped at a rest stop and I went running around, looking very 'tourist-y', snapping pictures of cactuses, wildflowers and trees! We got a few more shots on the way home...

And, Old Glory, flying beautiful in the breeze!