Thinking Ahead

Thinking Ahead

After some cool and rainy weather, our usual fall is back.  We still have leaves on the trees (at least for a while) and the mums are about to bloom.  The tomatoes didn’t come up to expectations, but we’ll have some green ones to fry up.  If you’ve heard the old phrase about looking like (or feeling like) the last rose of summer, you likely have a good idea what my once lovely potted flowers look like.  In a couple of weeks, decorating for Halloween will be in full swing.  I have something new for the front yard that I’m dying to try out.

Toby and Ella are not really ready for cooler weather.  The problem is not the temperature outside on these chilly mornings, but having the door  closed so they can’t be both inside and out.  Here they are with cousin Finn, a young labradoodle,  who came for a visit with my son and daughter-in-law.  He’s such a cute little guy and everyone gets along.

Somebody mentioned on Facebook that there were only 92 days until Christmas.  And we wonder why people get stressed.  Barb tells me there are some Christmas trees up in the mall.  Seriously?  Internet gift shopping, here I come. So this is my one and only very early reminder.  Here are some pictures of our patterns that were designed with Christmas in mind.

“Santa Says Hi”

 

This is “Starshine Runner” in a different color combo than the one on the Shopping Page.  Just add or subtract blocks to fit your table. If you’re looking for a larger quilt, make the blocks bigger and go for a bigger project with same blocks.

Now, let’s get those imaginations in gear.  This is “Snapshots” suing some leftover Laurel Burch prints.  I’ll post again when it’s quilted .

And for a quick one, how about “Falling for Halloween” in Christmas fabrics.

Fall Into Halloween

This one would be REALLY easy if you have a Christmas or winter stripe.

 

Mother Goes Mod

How about “Mother Goes Mod” with a Holiday layer cake?

 

I just bet you have some Christmas, Holiday, or Winter fabrics that would work in these or other patterns.  Make them larger or smaller or out of snuggly flannel for the little ones.  We (especially Barb) often use patterns as just a jumping off place.  And don’t forget, we’d love to see what you make out of our patterns.

I’m also seeing some Thanksgiving themed fabrics.  There’s time for a runner or some placemats.

Don’t think that I’m giving Halloween short shrift this year.  It’s me, remember?  Those fabrics are about to go on sale!

For those of you in the Portland, OR area (sorry Portland, ME), the Quilting Expo is coming up this weekend and in a moment of shameless self-promotion, let me ask you to check out the quilts of Friends on the Edge.  It’s a collaboration between two small quilt groups and we had so much fun making our quilts.  I’m a huge fan of small quilt groups as we not only challenge each other and improve our skills and test our imaginations, but build the sweetest friendships.  The show is at the Portland Expo Center on September 28,29, and 30.  There will be lots of quilts and vendors.  Wear sensible shoes.

And don’t forget to quilt for fun!

Candy

 

And Then It Was Fall

And Then It Was Fall

Somehow it got to be mid September.  Apparently I wasn’t looking when that happened.  We’re looking at the first serious rain since about the end of June and I’m actually happy about it.  (Actually it rained a bit last Saturday when we went to the OSU football game, which was unexpected since it was 80 and sunny when we left the house.)  Usually I whine through the rainy season and dance through the sunny parts.  This year we’ve had lots of big and scary wildfires in Oregon and a good dump of rain would be marvelous.  Yesterday was one of the smokiest we’ve had and this whole smoke thing gets old pretty fast.  My son and daughter-in-law visited for about 10 days and we wanted to show off the beautiful view from  Mt. Hood.  The picture below was not what we had in mind.  Maybe next time.

Did get this the next day, in Central Oregon.  Now that’s more of what we had in mind.

 

I was gifted a bowl of tomatoes from a friend’s yard and since my peppers did really well this year, I got some salsa canned.

My tomatoes (except for the little ones) are just ripening now.  Not my best year.  For once, I actually wrote down what kind of tomatoes I planted where and will use that information to avoid the breed that produced 5 tomatoes.  That one’s so off the list for next  year.

I’m going to do a little research this week to find out how to help fellow quilters in Southern Texas and Florida.  I can only imagine how lost they must be feeling.  My studio is my happy place when life dumps some lemons on me.  If you know of something geared toward helping quilters, please let me know so I can pass it on.  The other issue that hasn’t gotten much press is the wildfires in Montana.  Again, looking for a way to help.

I also actually sat at the sewing machine here and there in the last couple of weeks.  My usually reliable machine spent some time in the shop but is back and sounding better than ever.  I made a few inroads into the Jaqueline DeJonge quilt which is getting put aside for a bit while I work on a block for my small quilt group round robin.

 

I’ll post pictures when we finish next spring.  The quilts stay a secret from the person who started it until the whole process is finished.  Then each person gets the center they made with added borders from each person in the group.  We did this the year we formed the group and decided to revisit it because it was so much fun.

I also put the finishing touches on this and hung it up even though it’s a bit early.

I wish I could tell you that this was original, but it was a pattern from a book I bought online.  I started doing decorative painting in 1975.  It’s been kind of an on and off thing.  I learned with oil paint and it got shelved when the kids were little.  I will tell you, however, that some of my favorite laughing times were in tole painting classes.  One was taught evenings in the front of a craft and floral shop.  The raucous laughter got us moved to the back of the store.  Good times!

So basically, I’ve been running around doing a bit of this and a bit of that.  Writing this down makes realize how scattered I’ve been.

I’m putting up fall decor and it reminds me, and now you, that it’s time to get on those fall and Halloween projects.  Actually it’s probably time to start Christmas.  These Halloween quilt patterns will be on special until October 10.

 

                                                                                                                  Snapshot

Starshine Runner                                                                                                                                        

 

Harrys Halloween

                  Harrys Halloween

Colors of Fall

Go to our shopping page to order these and other Fall and Halloween inspired patterns.

As always, Quilt for Fun and enjoy the season.

Candy

When Life Gets in the Way

When Life Gets in the Way

The saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men . . .”  This is especially true when I think I have a few days in a row to quilt.  Then my sewing machine goes back to the shop.  Third time’s a charm.  (I’ve borrowed Barb’s machine, which is identical to mine, but it’s just not the same.)  Or when the pharmacy didn’t get the message and I have to go back.  There’s almost always a load to go in the washer or I forgot something at the grocery store or the dust is becoming measurable and I have to do something about it.  We spent a few days at my mom’s last week, taking care of old-house issues.  It’s the little things that throw our plans out of whack.

I have been working on a Be Colourful quilt, which as I surely have mentioned before, is going to take a while.  I’m all the way up to part B.

This project is taking some organizing tools I don’t generally use.  There are 24 bright batiks in the kit, so keeping them in order is actually a thing,

Look at the baskets, not the crazy in the background!  I’ve found that I can use a sharpie to put numbers on flower-head pins which helps me quite a lot.  And any help is good help.

I have a non-quilting question that I hope someone can answer.  My salsa garden is not as coordinated as one would hope.  The tomatoes aren’t ready yet, but the Anaheim Peppers, Banana Peppers and Jalapeños are going crazy.  What does one do with way more peppers than one needs?  I’ve chopped and frozen some, but they just keep coming!  Any help would be SO appreciated.

And speaking of crazy, the bumblebees are crazy about my California poppies.  They’re too busy to bother us and they’re fun to watch. If I could harness that energy . . .

We blew off Monday morning watching the eclipse.  We had only 98% totality.  Barb drove south a few miles to get the whole experience.  I must say that an eclipse is a little creepy, but very cool.  Apparently the worst part was the traffic afterwards that took on nightmare proportions.  Three hours for a drive that normally takes 20 minutes is more than frustrating.

I’m finding it hard to deal with the fact that summer is almost over.  Feels like it just started.  Although it’s cool and cloudy today, it’s supposed to by 98 by Monday, so naturally, school starts on Tuesday.  I remember the feeling so well.  Who would my teacher be and who would be in my room.  My grade school class was fairly large and we were divided into two classrooms.  We didn’t find out until we got there on the first day of school who our teacher was.  It was a bit stressful.  By high school, I looked forward to all the activities and worried less about the teachers and more about what to wear and how much fun the football games would be.  Somehow, I survived it all.

The “Autumn Sunset” quilt pattern is on sale for a few more days.  The background block is easy so you can concentrate on the changing colors.  It was fun to do and we hope you’ll enjoy it, too.  You can get the pattern by going to our Shopping page.

Have you started your fall projects yet? Thinking of Christmas and other Holiday projects?  No pressure.

Here’s wishing you a happy and safe end-of-summer.

Quilt for fun!

Candy

 

 

Is It Dog Days Yet?

Is It Dog Days Yet?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already August.  Now that we’ve survived the great Northwest Heatwave, we are enjoying low 90’s and smoky  weather – warmer than average and cooler than last week   I’m not complaining, mostly because I whined all winter about how cold and snowy and rainy it was.  The only upside of the smoke is the colorful sunrises and sunsets it makes.

I’ve been dividing my hot afternoons between quilting “Snapshots,” piecing a Jacqueline de Jonge kit called “Enchanting Stars,” and painting a decoration for Halloween.

“Snapshots” won’t have fancy quilting as it would just disappear.  It just got kind of big so will take a bit of time to quilt.

I bought the “Enchanting Stars” kit when I went to the Quilt Show in Houston a couple (or was it three?) years ago.  When I got home and opened the kit and got a look at the instruction book, I kind of panicked and put it away.  Now that my calmer self is in charge (for the moment) I’m starting to cut and piece.  The trick is not to try to take it all in at once, but to go step by step and not hurry.  This is what I’ve done so far.

This is going to take a while, and I’m enjoying it.

Finally, I’ve spent time in my cool, cool basement working on this project.  It’s not quite finished, but you get the idea.

I’ve been doing decorative painting activities off and on for about 40 years and while I haven’t done original designs, I find it calming to work on projects like this.

Since the begonias live in the shade, they did pretty well in the heat.  One of them makes flowers that look like this.

I’d love to figure out how to piece a thing like this.  Maybe painting it on fabric would be the way to go.

The summer squashes, cucumbers and peppers are doing great.  The tomatoes are taking their sweet time.  Looks like the “farmette” will be active well into fall.  Naturally, the salsa garden ingredients ripen at different times.  The peppers will have to be chopped and frozen since I already have a bunch.

We’re only about ten days away from the solar eclipse.  Oregon is getting ready for a pretty big influx of sky watchers.  The total eclipse will be visible about 40 miles south of here for about two minutes.  Sweet Husband and I are probably going to sit on our front porch and make do with a not-quite-total eclipse.  I’ve only seen one before and it was a bit eerie and very cool.

I’m re-dedicating myself to a regular newsletter.  Among the things we’ll be talking about are tools ( I love gadgets and sometimes I actually use ’em), and the books, magazines, and techniques that I’m finding inspiring or helpful. Because the newsletter is emailed, you have to sign up for it.  Nobody wants unasked for email less than I.  It’s easy and free to sign up at the top right corner of this blog.

This quilt is one I just love for fall.  It’s actually easy to put together.  It’s on sale for the rest of August, so check it out on the shopping page.

And the dog days?  Apparently it has less to do with an actual dog, like Ella, peeking around the corner, below, than it does with the constellation Canis Major and the star Sirius, which marks his nose.  For our canines, late summer is more about laying around in air conditioning.  Also participating in the neighborhood twilight bark.  The dog friends are actually kind of a gossipy bunch.

 

Stay cool and keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

Deeply Into Summer

Deeply Into Summer

I walked into one of my favorite fabric stores today and right up front and center, what should I see?  Christmas Fabric.  And lots of it.  I’m not ready!  I get it.  If one is going to create some fabulous projects for Christmas (and I mean for 2017), one should probably start now.  I know that Christmas in July is a thing; it’s just not mine.  It kind of reminds me of back-to-school supplies on July 6 in the variety stores.  It’s just too soon.  There’s a fine line between WAY too early and a day late and a dollar short.

It did remind me, however, that it’s time to start Fall and Halloween projects.  The new fabric’s been out for weeks and I still have about a million yards from years gone by.  As I’ve said before, (at least I think so; okay, I’m pretty sure) the biggest problem with Fall and Halloween fabrics is that the prints are so cute, one (me) doesn’t want to cut them up into tiny pieces.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  So, how about this?

The picture blocks finish at 5 X 7 inches, so it’s possible to use up some  smallish scraps of fun fabric.  It’s also layer cake friendly.  I’ve done some repeats on the quilt above, but if you stay in a somewhat limited palette, you could make all the pictures different.

And yes, it would be great with Christmas prints for the make-way-ahead crowd.

The plan is to have the pattern posted by Tuesday, August 1.

Today, I’ll pick my first tomatoes of the year.  The Sweet Million plant is really going to town.  There’s nothing like meaty, sweet tomatoes from your own yard.  Or Farmer’s Market tomatoes, fresh from someone else’s farm.

 

This is one of the top reasons I love summer.  Also, warm evenings, bare legs, the smell of newly cut hay, and fresh fruit.

So what’s on your quilting list for the week or the month?  Comment on the post, send us an email, include a picture.  We’d love to know what others are working on.  Share us with your quilting friends.  And, of course, keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Summer Quilting

Summer Quilting

Sunny days and warm evenings; what more could one want?  Add some quilting time and it sounds pretty perfect.  I can be in the studio during the heat of the day and enjoy relaxing time when it cools down in the evening.  I got a good mix of lobelia and nasturtiums  in the window boxes and so far the pots on the deck are holding up.  I even have a few tomatoes (still green) on the vines.  So, yes, it’s summer and I love it.

Our week in Sisters was both colorful and fun.  I took a one-day class with Laura Wasilowski.  We used Laura’s hand-dyed fabric and fused scraps and I came up with this:

 

The idea was to have no pattern, just an idea, some fused fabric and a pair of sharp scissors.  I’ve added a bit of embroidery for flower centers and leaf vein and will stitch a bit on the vase.  The oval was fused and then I used a decorative stitch around it with my machine.  My Pfaff has a whole bunch of stitches I haven’t used and I’m working on trying some out. This provided a nice finish to a really imperfect oval.  I’ll show it again when I’m finished with it.

I spent another two days with June Jaeger learning to paint on fabric with ink.  June is a wonderful artist and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  I started with this photo I took about five years ago of a peach-colored pansy.



And here’s the one I painted.

The plan is to appliqué it to some dark blue/purple fabric.  I can’t wait to try this on some other subjects.

Barb spent two days dyeing and a day making tote bags.  When she comes up for air after catching up at work, I’ll have her post pictures.

I just had a fun idea for a Halloween project.  As soon as I work it out, I’ll post it and get right on a pattern.

I’m close to finishing the top of a quilt that’s been “in progress” for five or six years.  It’s not a typo.  YEARS!  There was a lot of embroidery and a whole lot of distractions.  Now that I’m motivated to finish, I’m going for it.  Because the top has a lot going on and I don’t want to detract from that, the quilting will be simple.  Well, as simple as quilting a big project ever is.

 

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget to Quilt For Fun!

Also, share us with your quilting friends.

Candy

 

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Summer is here, the garden is in and my sewing machine is in the shop for its yearly checkup.  Apparently June is tune-up-your-sewing machine month as it’s been in the shop for two weeks and it’s just now ready to come home.  Since today is a Friday in the Summer, I’m not going to retrieve it until tomorrow.  I find that about 2 pm Friday afternoon, about half the population takes a stupid pill and hits the freeway.  It should be a lovely weekend so there will be lots of traveling to lakes and beaches.

Sunday, Barb and I head for the hills, (literally) when we drive up to Sisters, OR for a week of quilting topped off with the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  Sisters is located on the east side of the Cascades at the edge of Oregon’s high desert.  It’s a lovely setting for both Quilter’s Affair classes and the Outdoor Show.  I’ve been going since 1993 except for a year when we vacationed in Europe and the year my son got married.  This year I have four days of classes and a day to just hang around.  There’s a lot to be said for the relaxation of just hanging around.  In this day and age, people don’t do it so much and I think that’s a shame for both adults and kids.  Enjoying a day, taking it all in, is good for the soul.

On the left, the highway through town is closed on the day of the show.  On the right, quilts are hung on the outside of most of the buildings in town.  How can you not love this?  Also, being with friends and not cooking or cleaning is always good.

For the first year ever, all my quilting stuff is packed up and ready to for Sunday.  Clearly, that’s because the sewing machine is gone (although I could’ve borrowed Barb’s) and I found the need to clean the quilting studio.  Who saves tiny bits of fusible web?  Not to mention some weird junk that I have no idea what it does?  The good news is that it’ll be ready to roll when I get back.  This year I’m doing a fusing class, quilting with rulers and painting on fabric.  Barb will be dyeing fabric and making tote bags.  So much to learn, so little time.

         All packed up and ready to roll (left). Just a small mess in the background.       For me, this is neat.  Just a little more quilting to do on Submariner’s Compass.

I’m already thinking about fall.  I have a couple of ideas in my head and will get lots more inspiration this coming week.  Now I’ll go bake some cookies for my housemates.

If this post has issues, please know that I couldn’t preview it and hope to have the problem solved quickly.  I love the internet, but it’s always something.

Have a wonderfully fun and safe Independence Day weekend.

Keep quilting for Fun!

Relaxing Summer

Relaxing Summer

Just so you know, I’m aware that the two words in the above title are mutually exclusive.  Oh, there will be times when it’s possible to sit outside and sip iced tea or a margarita.  But on the whole, there is more gardening, more traveling, more cleaning (the dogs bring in lots of bark dust and little sticky things), and more daytime to do the things we want and need to do.  The good news for many of us is that we have more energy when we enjoy more sun.

My vegetable garden isn’t in yet, but will be soon.  I find it pointless to put in veggie starts in May and watch them  just sit there and shiver for a month.  Also, I don’t garden much when it’s 50 and raining.  I have standards.  Here’s a picture of what will be veggies next week.

The coral poppies really went to town.  I was afraid they’d be pretty seriously abused by the cold weather last winter, but I’m happily wrong.  The California poppies (aka “weeds” in my dad’s book) do just what I want:  provide color between tulip and veggie seasons and require no care.

Every once in a while I go through my stash and just re-stack the fabrics.  They get messy when I pick through them and creating a neatness makes me feel more organized.  It also reminds me of what is hiding in there.  A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered some fabric that I bought three years ago.  The collection is called Handmaids by J. Wecker Frisch.  These are funky and a bit steam punk and I bought several pieces.

I love the mix of color and black and white and the funkiness of it.  The problem is, what does one do with these pieces?  These squares measure about 7 ½ inches.  There was only one thing to do – update “Harry’s Halloween” and make a quilt.  The collection also includes some black and white rectangles to which I added a bit of color with sharpies.

This was a project that I couldn’t wait to get out of my head even though more than one top is waiting to be quilted.  The top is almost finished and here’s a peek at how it turned out.

It’s not all sewn together, but you can get the drift.  I’m planning to hang it in my studio.  Doing this reminded me that this sort of project needs some organization.  I will be posting some pictures and additional instruction on the How To page for those who want to make Harry’s Halloween and its relatives, Mother’s Halloween, Harry’s Alphabet and this quilt, Sewist’s Delight.  While some parts of the quilt get changed, the basic idea remains the same.  The Harry’s Halloween pattern will be specially priced until July 10.  As always, if you have questions about patterns and instructions, we are happy to help.  Email us at motheronabroomstick@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Ella just celebrated her 10th birthday.  She has absolutely no clue that she’s an “older dog.”  Actually, I’m not sure she thinks she’s a dog.  Perhaps an ever-youthful, furry person.  This picture was taken at Easter at Nana’s house. Ella and Toby love going to Nana’s house.  Nana scratches their ears and tells them how beautiful and smart they are and how she wishes they would stay longer.  Of course, they don’t get her up at six in the morning.  Funny how that works out.

I’m off to finish “Sewist’s” and clean up the big mess I made choosing background fabric.

Enjoy Summer and keep quilting for fun!

Summer in the Air

Summer in the Air

Almost the entire Northwest is dancing in the streets as the past couple of days have been sunny and warm AND there’s no rain in the ten-day forecast.  AND it looks like a sunny and warm holiday weekend.  We’ve set some records for rainfall this winter so the sun is ever so welcome.

I finished the top of my Submariner’s Compass quilt using the RobinRuth books and rulers.  The smartest thing I’ve done for a while is to start working on it the day after I took the class.  There’s now a good chance I’ll remember how it works when I want to do other compass projects.  Robin’s books are very clear and there are videos on her website (robinruthdesign.com) which will be a big help.

My small quilt group is returning to a challenge we did some years ago for our first project.  We each made a medallion for the center of our quilt and included some fabrics and a few guidelines and sent it to make its rounds through the group and did not see it again until the top was finished.  (We could see all the other quilts as they progressed.)  The group was smaller then and not everyone knew each other well.  It’s a giant leap of faith to release control of something you’ve made to others and let them  add to and work on it.  Forget any vision you may have had when you made the center.  It’s like falling backwards and trusting that your friends and fellow quilters will catch you.  The new quilts started their journeys through the hands of dear quilter friends in April and we won’t see how ours turned out for a year.  I’ll work on part of every quilt, comment in the journal that accompanies each quilt while trying to imagine what will work best and what the owner will like.  The challenge is not in getting the quilt you want, but in letting go and receiving the gift of friendship that will be handed back to me next June.

Here’s my quilt from the original challenge:  I had no idea what to expect at the big reveal.  It’s one of my favorite possessions.

If you’re a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, you’ll recognize the appliqué on the bottom.  It’s both fun and a little scary when your friends know you this well.  I can hardly wait to see what they come up with this time!

We’re heading into Red, White and Blue season.  The “Blue Star Mother” pattern will be on sale until the end of June.  Check the Shopping Page and consider what some of the other patterns might look like in patriotic fabrics.   I enjoy working with the colors and the themes of this season.  There are lots of patriotic quilts and craft projects I’ve worked on over the years.  I love bringing them out and making new ones.  I’ll show off a couple in my next post.

Enjoy the upcoming long weekend and be safe!

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

Get Into Those Spring Colors

Get Into Those Spring Colors

Welcome May!  According to our weather person, spring will start tomorrow with some sunny and warm weather.  And may I say that it’s about time.  All the rain and cool weather have been tiresome, but everything here is the most gorgeous shade of vibrant green.  Sadly, this also includes the weeds, but I’ll get ’em over the next couple of (dry) days.

The tulips and hyacinths really went to town.  The hyacinths took kind of a beating during an unseasonable wind storm early in April.  They were listing pretty badly but continued to scent the front yard.

They’re about finished now, but the veggies and a few flowers will go in soon so the yard will still be busy.

I spent a chunk of April out of town.  As in 5 days gone, 3 days home, 5 days gone, 3 days home, 2 days gone.  I enjoyed every bit of my travels.  I am currently playing catch-up.  It seems that everything, including the dust just piles up while I’m gone.

Last week I spent a very fun day in a quilt class taught by Robin Long.  Robin teaches a really slick way to make Mariner’s Compass blocks.  She’s developed a ruler that makes the process both efficient and accurate with no paper piecing and very little waste.  Here’s the practice one I made in class:

Pretty nifty!  I was so encouraged that I started a quilt the next day.  Not  all the compasses have centers yet and aren’t sewn to the backgrounds, but you can get the gist.

I’ll post a picture when I finish.  If you’re interested in pursuing this technique, go to www.robinruthdesign.com and see her work, books, rulers and videos.

While I was going through the pots of snail mail that accumulated while I was gone, it came to me that I was looking at wonderful examples of color combinations in catalogs like Grandin Road.  The furniture, rugs and home dec items pictured give lots of hints about colors and how to use them together.  This resource has been hitting my mailbox regularly for years.  You probably have some, too.  You only have to buy one little thing to be engulfed in catalogs for life.  When you see a something you like, tear out the page for your inspiration file.  Then consider the colors, values and percentage of each color used.  If you don’t have an inspiration file, I really suggest starting one and checking it often.  You just never know what will light up a cool quilt idea.

Please keep our fellow quilters who are enduring severe weather in your thoughts and prayers.  Although I whine about the weather here, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be tornadoed or flooded.  I’m very grateful for this and send good thoughts to those whose lives are currently being upended.

We invite you to visit the rest of the site and sign up for our newsletter.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy