Notes From Home, Part 2

Notes From Home, Part 2

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the last three weeks have pretty much been a complete waste of makeup. It’s not that nothing got done. I finished an old (and I do mean OLD) UFO, made a bunch of medical masks, and ate more junk food than usual. It is, however, a pretty sad state of affairs to find myself standing in front of the closet wondering what I should choose to wear to the drive-up window at Starbuck’s. Especially when the choice turns out to be a sweater and vest to go with my bedroom slippers. Here’s the finished oldie:

New Directions

And another:

Autumn Blossom

Autumn Blossom was a pattern from a magazine. I chose to hand appliqué the borders although the pattern didn’t call for that. It was pretty easy and I like the way it turned out. Took awhile to learn how to get my machine to handle shiny thread. It’s hard to see until you’re close up. At least I learned some stuff.

Quilt groups will be meeting using Zoom. My first one is Monday. We are so lucky that we have all these electronic doodads to help us stay in touch. Chats with friends, family and especially Adorable Grandchild are really helpful. It’s my turn to host a small quilt group in a couple of weeks, so we’ll Zoom that one, too. I’ll let you know how it works out

Two weeks ago, the weather was lovely. Weeds got pulled and natural vitamin D was enjoyed. The last couple of weeks featured rain, wind, chilly temps and occasional hail. This, I find, is not particularly mood enhancing. On the brighter side, my early tulips are starting to bloom, the hyacinths are finishing up, and we are healthy. So really there’s just some restlessness and whining.

I’m proud to say that local quilters and other sewists have stepped up to make medical masks. A Facebook group was started a couple of weeks ago to set this in motion and help people get the supplies they need and know the rules and where to bring the masks. I believe the group now has several thousand members. It’s amazing what we can do when we need to. Someone gave me some elastic while I was waiting for mine to arrive and I’m giving away some fabric to those without a stash.

I found a super cute baby sweater in a quilt and knit shop about a month ago. They were out of the book, but I found it online and ordered it. The book (and yarn I then ordered) were from England, although the book was printed and sent from Germany. Check out this gorgeous yarn that came all nestled in a paper nest.

Wild Bill is about ready for the wintry weather to be over. While we had some sun, he went out to check the neighborhood from our little balcony. Ella doesn’t do that so much anymore. She’ll be 13 next month and is still in charge. Billy lets her pin him and make mauling sounds (it’s all about the sound effects). Then she lets him up and he teases her until she does it again.

And yes, last fall’s flowers are looking a little the worse for wear. If the weather stays sunny and warmer as the forecast says, I’ll put on my mask and replace them with summer colors.

Stay healthy, everyone. This too, will pass.

Candy

P.S. Have some great coping skills you’d like to pass on? How’s it going with kids at home? I’d love to hear from you.

I’m Back!

I’m Back!

I’ve been absent from this site for a few weeks now, but I’m finally back. After starting the year with a three-week cold that lasted from Christmas to mid January, I was just getting my energy back when my baby granddaughter decided to make the scene two weeks early! So I was off to Los Angeles for 12 days of snuggling.

It’s been a long time since I fed, burped and changed a newborn. Luckily, it’s one of those things that comes back pretty quickly. Baby Girl is a generally happy baby and seemed to like snuggling in with her new grandma.

As you might expect, there was some catching up to do when I got home, not to mention a couple of appointments that got moved and a trip to my mom’s. No rest for the weary and all that. I’m just happy that I can do all that and play tennis and quilt.

My first introduction to needlework came when I was about 7 or 8 from a neighbor whose passion was knitting . I come back to it every now and again and have especially enjoyed knitting for kids as it goes pretty quickly and if it’s a little big, they’ll grow into it. I started this one before I left for LA and I’m just finishing the collar. I had to learn a new stitch for the little puffs at the hem, cuffs and soon-to-be collar. Gotta keep those brain cells challenged. It’s a project I mostly work on in front of the TV in the evening. I’m hoping to find some little white bunny buttons to put on it. If anybody sees any, let me know. I’d like to get it to the Baby Girl before she outgrows it.

One of the things that happens when a planned trip gets moved up is that something I thought I would have a week to do needed to get done in a day. A white square was sent to me to make a block for a retirement quilt for a friend of over 40 years. After a few minutes of complete panic, I came up with this:

The bottle and label are fused and the rest of the picture, including bottle highlights and shadows are painted with craft acrylics. I saw the finished quilt yesterday at the retirement party and it turned out great. Lots of pictures and memories. Of course, now that I look at the block, I see some things I might’ve done better or differently. And I realize that perfection was not the point; sending some love to an old friend was the important thing.

The weather here during the last week has been quite sunny. It’s a false spring kind of thing. Even today, which started off stormy, has had quite a lot of sun. I did some weeding while getting whiffs of my neighbor’s daphne. That wonderful scent just seems to me to be the essence of spring.

The little daffodils are blooming and the tulips are giving it their best shot. The tops of many of the tulip leaves have been nibbled off by deer. Sweet husband caught them snacking one night last week. They might have chewed up some weeds, but NOOO. They certainly did not. Apparently tulips are tastier.

Now that I’m home for a bit, and mostly caught up, there will be quilting. I’m still planning to finish some UFO’s this year. They continue to mock me from the closet and need to be finished or rehomed.

Stay warm and quilt lots.

Candy

A New Day

A New Day

31 December 2019:

The year is almost over. The trees are bare; it’s cloudy and chilly. It’s the sleep before the morning that is early spring. This is not looking terribly exciting, but then neither are we when we’re sleeping. I seem to get more done during long spring and summer days. Dark winter days make me want to take a nap. Maybe I should just take one. We all need the down time that nature brings to her plants and animals.

1 January 2020:

My new year begins with a surprise of sunshine. I’m not much into omens and signs, but I’ll take this as the beginning of good things to come. It’s also showing me how much I need to wash windows. Not doing it today.

These little beauties are enjoying the sunshine in my front gardens. Apparently it hasn’t been cold enough to put them to sleep for the winter.

The “Wild Animals” quilt was safely delivered just before Christmas.

It will be a while before I sew black fabric with black thread. I love how it turned out and I hope our baby girl will love it, too.

I’m nearly finished quilting a top that I started a couple of years ago. I had some Laurel Burch Christmas fabric that made a really fun top. I abandoned it after the holidays last year as I was ready to move on from Christmas and now I want to just finish it. There are plenty of UFOs waiting. And they’ll wait a bit longer for the joy of a finished project.

I’m catching up on my Block of the Month project. In this project there are actually two blocks every month. I caught up with October (the purple flower), November (the green one) and the first December one. For the second December one I chose to appliqué with an Italian Knotted Edge Stitch. It’s not hard, but it is slow going. (Check the close-up.) The January stuff will be here soon so I want to get with the program.

We celebrated Billy’s first year with us on Sunday. He turned two the week before and while he’s officially an adult, there’s a lot of puppy in there. He made really good progress this year as he was pretty wild when we got him. There are still some challenges. We’ll be working through them as he continues to settle down. The good news is that he’s really sweet and a cuddler. Self control is our ongoing issue. He’s also kind of a goof.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Candy

Holiday Time

Holiday Time

It’s that very busy time of year again and I know this because I just searched for my cell phone and found it in my hand. I’m attempting to be organized and yet life continues to feel a bit out of control. My brain well knows that control is really an illusion. I still make a plan and hope for the best. Right on cue, there was an unexpected trip to the vet (Ella’s fine; the truth is that at 12 ½ she’s reached the place in life where it’s always something) and an unplanned trip to the shop for Sweet Husband’s car. So much for control.

It’s less than three weeks until the shortest day of the year. I really hate getting up in the dark and having it be almost dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. It’s not much of a mystery why our ancestors celebrated the shortest day and the fact that the days would begin getting longer. There’s always the outside chance that December 21st will find me dancing in the street.

I’m very tickled to have finished the quilt for my granddaughter. This one I made for love of the fabric and it also reminded me why I swore off black a couple of years ago. Hand sewing the binding on was a real trip. Now it’s ready for cuddling, drooling and maybe a little spit up. Clearly I don’t make baby quilts as heirlooms. If they wear out, they wear out and I’ll make another one.

Now I’m finishing a small group quilt. Each person in the group made three triangles for each of the other members. Because we used equilateral triangle rulers, we received perfect triangles, making them really easy to put together. Each of us is on our own to decide how to set them so it’ll be interesting to see what the different members came up with. I would love to have it be just this diamond, but that would be a real challenge to hang and since we’re entering them in a show, the diamond will be in a light gray rectangle.

The block of the month is going well. Two of the first four are completely finished and the other two are almost there. While I was in the Rogue Valley last weekend, I picked up my December blocks. I’m not letting myself start them until the Christmas decorations are up.

Sweet Husband put up the lights on a sunshiny day last week. I’ve already hung the Christmas quilts. Beyond that, I’ve done nothing. The plan is to be decorated by the end of the week. The one thing I did do was make bourbon balls yesterday so they’ll be tasty by Christmas. The hard part is staying out of them for a couple of weeks.

I’ve got one more Christmas top I’d like to finish, but that’s iffy, at best. Still, it could happen.

Packing a lot into the next three weeks? Don’t forget to give yourself a break to enjoy a hot coffee or tea and just be for awhile.

Got something cool you’re working on? Send a picture; I’d love to see.

Candy

Happy 2019!

Happy 2019!

Another new year begins and it gives most of us the feeling of starting over.  We want to do more or do less, start some new things or catch up on the undone.  I currently have 55 pounds of newness with more energy than sense.  His name is Billy and it’s a good thing for him that he’s so cute.  He looks so innocent in the picture, it’s hard to believe I’m calling him Wild Bill.

A one-year old, teenaged, bundle of energy wasn’t the original plan.  I called Toby’s breeder to get on a list for a puppy in the spring.  The breeder had recently decided to focus on miniature poodles, but Toby’s great, great nephew was for sale.  We took Ella to visit and Sweet Husband and I took a few days to think about it.  How could we not add him to our family?  We picked him up last Saturday.  Ella’s already taught him a few things and to be honest, she’s put up with a lot.  Billy will go anywhere Ella goes which is mostly handy.  We have some training to do and I think he’ll work out fine.

I’m currently (and slowly) putting away Christmas while organizing and thinning decorations.  The garland over the fireplace is officially crispy and went last night.  (Don’t worry, that chimney doesn’t draw worth 2 cents and we never have a fire there.)  It was supposed to make the house smell all woodsy and Christmasy, but it really didn’t do anything but look pretty.  Now I’m well on the way back to real life.

I have a few new things in my head and I’d like to finish a couple (ok, more than a couple) tops that were put on hold for various reasons.  Sometimes they were put aside for my skills to catch up with the quilting ideas in my head.  Other times, time-sensitive things just had to be finished first and I never went back.  A couple of times, tops didn’t please me enough to put more time into them.  That’s life.  My biggest problem is that I want to do it all, do it well and do a lot of it.  I think I’m going to have to get up earlier.

Sweet husband started work on the new (old Singer) sewing machine yesterday.  The wiring was pretty shot and he worked on that but it’s become apparent that there are some other issues.  I’ve been trying to research using the serial number of the machine and if the first two letters are correct, the machine was manufactured in 1928.  The problem is that I can’t match the rest of the numbers to the online data base.  I have a request in to Singer and we’ll see what happens.

        

My project of the week is to quilt a top that was a round robin in my small quilt group.  Our quilts will be shown at our guild quilt show in March and I’d like to be finished in plenty of time.

 


 

As always, this group did a fabulous job of making each addition an integral part of the quilt.

I keep reminding myself that each day is now longer than the last.  With that in mind, cozy up and quilt the winter away.  Just for fun.

Candy

 

Winter Sunshine

Winter Sunshine

Our little corner of the world is currently enjoying some winter sun.  And yes, it’s not officially winter for three more weeks.  Still, several days in a row of sunny weather anytime between the first of November and the end of March is a real thing here and I take advantage of it whenever I can.  This means I have more energy and there’s no excuse for not doing a couple of outdoor chores.  Yesterday it was mulching the hydrangeas that went in last spring.  The more mature ones are pretty hardy, but the first year plants don’t seem to care for a hard winter.  It will likely freeze overnight while we have sunny days, the price we pay for sunny winter days.

The last dahlia hangs in.

I’m working on two quilts for Christmas and while one will surely be finished on time, the one for Sweet Husband is giving me fits.  This never happens without a deadline.  The pattern was from a magazine and I cut the templates just right.  The only problem is that when the blocks go together, the lines don’t flow the way they’re shown in the pictures unless I take ½-inch seams.  This is why we get headaches. (Insert frustration scream here.)  The new plan is to finish the one I know I can get done, finish the blocks for the small quilt group that meets in two weeks and then hope to at least get the difficult top done before the big day.  This actually reminds me of my maternal grandmother who taught us to play gin rummy.  Grandma always reminded me that you have to be able to change your strategy in the middle of the game to win.  It turns out that Grandma was wiser than I used to think.  And yes, I should’ve started this earlier.

I’m sad to report that I sewed this many together before I realized the curved lines didn’t flow together!

I mentioned in my last blog that I had acquired something fun and here it is!

This machine was given to me by a friend who tells me that it belonged to her grandmother.  My friend no longer uses it and doesn’t really have room for it.  I wanted to buy it, but she was more concerned with the machine getting a good home.  All the cords need to be replaced and the cabinet needs a little love.  I haven’t had a chance to do any research on it and realistically, that might not happen until after the holidays.  The truth is that no matter what, I’m just tickled to own this older machine.

Ella is not above a photo bomb.

I’d love to see what others among you are sewing up this month.  You can respond on our Facebook page, Mother on a Broomstick or comment here.

Be sure to do some quilting for fun!

Candy

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not quite sure how it got to be almost Thanksgiving when it was just Halloween.  But here I am, wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  Sweet Husband and I will be spending the holiday with my mom.  I have to admit that mostly what I made for Thanksgiving was a reservation.  I’m taking a pie (whose crust is currently cooling in the fridge) and a fruit salad for snacking and letting the pros worry about dinner.

 I’ll take some handwork to do while I’m visiting and having a relaxing couple of days.  I do not plan to leave the house on Friday except maybe for a walk if it’s not raining.  I learned my lesson about black Friday years ago:

One Thanksgiving weekend in the early ’80’s, my mom wanted to see what the mall was like on black Friday.  So the two of us left the kids with Sweet Husband and my dad (aka Ironhand Jack) and ventured out to watch the crazy people shop.  Sadly, we spent 20 minutes driving around the parking lot never finding an empty space, called it a good lesson and went home.  To this day, neither of us has bought more than a quart of milk on the day after Thanksgiving.

Portland area (and beyond) sewers and makers are currently dealing with the closure of Fabric Depot, our iconic giant fabric store of many years.  I’ve actually met people from Alaska who fly down to do a major shopping there.  I will certainly miss the “acre of fabric” that engendered so many ideas.  FD was a local family business that we were happy to support.

We are enjoying a lovely fall.  The pansies still look great.  And actually, if I keep deadheading and we don’t have a long freeze, they’ll survive until spring.  However, the marigold in the picture below is a surprise.  I had them in the window boxes in the summer and allowed some to go to seed just to see what would happen.  The weather’s been so mild, some have come up and bloomed.  They will not last through the winter, but I could easily get some volunteers in the spring.  The forecast calls for rain starting tomorrow and lasting through the weekend.  It’s a good thing since we haven’t had much, but I will miss the energy of the sun.

                              

I’m in the middle of a couple of quilts that I want finished by Christmas.  This will take some dedication.   The last week has been filled with out-of-the-house commitments and December looks to be quieter.  My quilts can be done and the house ready for Christmas guests.

I know, no quilt pics this week but next week I’ll show off something I was given last week that’s really pretty cool.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Quilt when you can and enjoy the heck out of your weekend,

Candy

The Dog with the Cute Smile

The Dog with the Cute Smile

After a very foggy start, we have sunshine and blue sky.  And it’s a good thing – it’s been a tough week and and any cheerfulness is gratefully accepted.  If you follow us on Facebook, you know that our sweet Toby passed on Monday.  He was a very large poodle, 85 lbs in his prime and the gentlest of dogs.  He got to enjoy his last Halloween; Toby loved kids and he and Ella were always great with little trick or treaters.  He also had a really cute sense of humor and “beep in the nose” was his favorite game.  Today is the first day I haven’t spent in tears.  Dogs do take up residence in our hearts and are true friends.  Toby would’ve been 15 in two weeks, so it’s nice to know that he had a long and happy life.  He will always ride on the back of my broom.

Ella is feeling a little subdued as she’s never been an only dog.  There will be another companion in her future when we’re all ready.

I’m going to take some time to finish projects (and Christmas presents) and not worry about new patterns until the first of the year.  I need to do some upgrades on the website (or more likely find someone else to do them) and this will also take a little time.  And okay – a little destress time is in order.

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away.  Sweet Husband and I are spending it in Southern Oregon with my mom and since this week seemed kind of overwhelming, I made a dinner reservation for the big day.  Mother doesn’t cook anymore ( she just turned 89) and her kitchen drives me crazy.  There will just be the three of us and I’ll bring a pumpkin pie.  Luckily, everyone is fine with that.  It’s only taken me 65 years to figure out that it’s okay to give myself a break.  So let me pass this wisdom on to you:

IT’S OKAY TO GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

In the meantime, there will still be Facebook comment and of course some talking here.  Our Christmas runners come together pretty easily, so have a look on our shopping page.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

 

 

Enter Fall, Part II

Enter Fall, Part II

I just realized that the Fall Equinox is only two days away.  If someone knows how that happened so quickly, please let me know.  It feels like it was mid-summer about fifteen minutes ago.  With that in mind, it must be past time to make a Halloween quilt.  Or even a general Autumn quilt.  It’s time to snuggle under your favorite or create a new favorite.  Here are a few patterns we’ve created for this colorful time of year.

COLORS OF FALL

A little piecing and some fusing in your favorite fall colors and you have a small quilt that sets the tone for the season.

 

 

HARRY’S HALLOWEEN

Got a great print you don’t want to cut into little pieces?  “Harry” is the perfect solution.  We used a favorite Halloween print and lots of scraps.

 

 

AUTUMN LEAVES

AUTUMN LEAVES

Take some traditional blocks, a fall palette of colors and you’re ready for a bright and scrappy snuggler.  We’ve also made it Halloween style:

 

 

And here’s our newest:

THE MAGIC PUMPKIN

What magic is escaping from our favorite squash?  This pattern will be ready next week.

We have lots more that lend themselves to the season.  Just click on “Shop” at the top of this page in the purple banner to see them all.

Enjoy the last bits of summer and keep quilting for fun.

Candy

Enter Fall

Enter Fall

It suddenly feels like fall.  We had a little rain over the weekend and the air is clear and the sky blue.  The sun is out, but a little weaker and the evenings are cool.  I even put an extra quilt on the bed last night.  I’m hoping for some more warm sunny days to keep the tomatoes ripening up.

 We have one cucumber plant that must’ve produced more than 25 cucumbers.  I like cucumbers, but there is a limit to how much two people can eat.

Luckily, this one is still young enough to have very few seeds.  A couple that got away from me and I later found under the leaves were big enough to be classified as weaponry.  Given how dry the summer was and how fouled up our sprinkler system was for a while, I’m impressed.

I also have a bunch of dahlias.  I really love them because all you have to do is plant some bulbs in the spring and stake them up by midsummer.  And unless it’s a really harsh winter, they’ll come back bigger and better next year.  That’s my kind of low maintenance garden.

                                                                          

 

We’ve had one of those summers where the words, “Hi Honey, guess what broke today?” were too often spoken.  I’m glad to report that the refrigerator responded to a reboot, the sprinkler repair guy found the leak and got it fixed and the vacuum is working again.  My sewing machine is making a squeaking sound that makes my ears want to bleed.  I took it in last week and the tech tweaked a couple of things and sent it home with me.  It was not fixed.  Naturally, it didn’t make the sound when the tech was testing it.  This time, I’ve recorded the sound on my phone so he can hear it when I take it back tomorrow.  It’s this sort of stuff that makes me nuts.  Of course I have several tops I want to quilt this fall and I’m hoping we have a quick fix tomorrow.

This is one of my favorite quilts.  It’s called Pumpkin Blossom and came from a book called “Treats, No Tricks”  from Thimbleberries. I made it ten years ago and it still makes me smile.

The original in the book, didn’t call for such bright colors, but this is the perfect example of making a quilt from a pattern your own.  As you may have noticed, I tend to like livelier colors.  Making any quilt the way you want it to look is part of the joy and creativity of quilting.

I had a good time playing with my machine’s blanket stitch and some free-motion “seeds” in the flower centers.  Most of our machines have some cool stitches that we seldom, if ever, use.  I’m working on checking them out and using them when appropriate.

I rarely put up pictures of us, but I just got a kick out of this one of Barb and Ella.

Ella’s trying to convince Barb that nobody really loves her here.  That dog is really a piece of work, but she keeps my feet warm at night, so I guess we’ll keep her.

 

Please share us with your quilting buddies.  We’d love to hear from all of you.

Quilting for Fun,

Candy