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

 

 

One of Those Weeks and Something New

One of Those Weeks and Something New

SOMETHING NEW

We’ve added a new page to our site.  It’s called “What We Found.”  When we take a break and mess around on the internet, we sometimes find some really cool things that we can share.  AQS has planning pages on its website that can be shared on sites like ours.  The September one is already on our Something New page which will go up as soon as possible.  Until then, try this:

2018 AQS Creative Organizer: September

 

Ever have one of those weeks?  Sweet Husband’s car battery died, as did his (still under warranty) printer, not to mention the sprinklers that wouldn’t turn off.  The last thing was just too weird.  I unplugged the system and the water just kept coming.  SH finally turned off the valve to the whole sprinkler system.  Now my sewing machine is making a really horrible noise, but just sometimes.  (Insert a giant sigh here.)  Some weeks are just like that.

Our neighborhood is very quiet this afternoon as school started her a couple of days ago.  After a record-setting string of days in the 90’s, it’s a fall-like 65 today and the wild fire smoke has pretty much cleared out.  Summer went by so fast, I feel like I missed half of it.  Fall is often really beautiful here and I love the colors.  AND I have more time for quilting.

I’m currently quilting this one:

With the exception of the flowers, which I quilted from the front, I’m quilting from the “wrong” side, using the backing as a pattern.  This method works well (with the right backing) and allows my mind to wander off to new projects I want to start.  The original pattern is called “Autumn Sunset” and has been updated to include “Summer Sunrise.”

I need more minutes to do all the things that are in my head, not to mention the UFO pile.  There is just so much to learn and try, and so much fabric to do it with.

At this time of year, the local and regional produce is wonderful.  Yesterday, Barb and I peeled, sliced and froze a whole bunch of peaches.  We put a little sugar and Fruit Fresh on them and then bag ’em up and freeze ’em.  Come December and January, the taste of fresh peaches is just fabulous.  The only thing left to can this year is salsa.  Sweet Husband really likes it so we try to make enough for the whole year.  Oh, and apple sauce.  Guess I’m not as nearly finished as I thought.

With Labor Day weekend coming up, we want to wish you a safe and fun holiday!

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

Ella’s Work

Ella’s Work

Ella is our eleven year old girl poodle.  She’s sweet and snuggly (especially with Barb) and a little bit pushy.  I’m told she was the boss of her litter and I believe it!  In colder weather, she sleeps on our bed, curled up at my feet, which is fabulous.  Also, any time is treat time and she’s not shy about reminding me of that.

However, it seems that when I spend too much time at the computer or sewing machine, she feels the need for a bigger statement.  Kind of like this:

Curiously, I don’t find this very amusing.  She’s also turned her teeth to my mother’s electric bill and a receipt from the vet.  The last one I get.  These are the times when she wonders if her last name might be dammit.  Ella is currently lying in the hall so that she can see in my office and down the front and back stairs.  Toby’s just sacked out next to me with his little piece of batting.  The Mother Goes Mod pattern has been reprinted and is ready to go.

Barb and I will be spending some days at my mother’s this week down in Southern Oregon.  We’re hoping that the recent cooler weather has helped with fires and smoke.  The climate there is significantly drier there than in the Willamette Valley so the fire danger is higher as is the chance of smoke inhalation.  I’ll sleep in my old bedroom and hang out where I grew up.  For Barb, it is the heart of the family since we moved a lot before she started middle school, but Nana and Jack were always in the same place.  The point of this is that if you order a pattern this week, it’ll go out next weekend.

This week I did some sewing, but also finished this:

:

I wish I could tell you that I drew it, but I’m not there yet.  I did, however, paint it.  I love the look of old pick-ups and this touched my heart.  When I win the lottery, I’ll get one.  I also confess that acrylic painting happens in my basement, mainly because if you splatter or spill, it stains for life.  Because it’s marvelously cool down there in the summer, it tends to call my name more than in the winter.

Our weather the last couple of days gave us a little taste of fall.  It really tried to rain, but Mother Nature just couldn’t quite do it.  A few misty little drops didn’t water the pots but managed to up the humidity.

This fall quilt will be on special for a couple of weeks.

AUTUMN LEAVES

One of the things that I like about this quilt is that it looks a lot more complex than it is.  If you don’t have a stash of fall fabrics, there’s lots to choose from right now.  If this picture looks too busy, it’s easy to tame it down with quieter fabric choices.  When you go to the Shopping page, it will automatically charge the sale price.

Whether you’d like summer to stretch out for a longer time or are eagerly awaiting the start of school and cooler weather, be sure to enjoy these last few weeks of Summer 2018.  Time flies by quickly, so enjoy the little moments.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy

 

 

 

To Plan and Replan

To Plan and Replan

Sometimes the best laid plans just get up and run away.  Last week was like that for me.  No matter how well I planned, things just happened.  Some things were wonderfully pleasant, like an overdue visit with a friend or a few hours on a boat floating around on the river.  I can always make room for stuff like that.  It’s getting to an appointment and hearing, “We’re running a little late today.”  Or, and this is my personal “favorite,””I know our email said your order would be here today, but actually it won’t be here until next Friday.”  In my mind I’m thinking, Thanks for the update.  That’s an hour I won’t get back. 

There were, however, some things I did get done.  The new Mother Goes Mod quilt, “Mod Halloween” is all pieced and the pattern has been updated.  I also made a couple of short help videos for the pattern that will be on the How To page.  Nothing in this pattern is actually complex, but I like to show as well as tell sometimes.

This quilt that generated so many ideas while I was making it.  I though it would be a great kid’s quilt with children’s prints or sports prints.  It could also be a great Christmas or other holiday quilt.  I love it for prints that are too cute to cut into tiny pieces.

The warm weather has really encouraged the vegetable garden.  The one cucumber plant has gone crazy.  If anybody has some good ideas for cucumber recipes, I will be eternally grateful.  The dahlias got in a bit late, but are starting to bloom and look lovely, as always.

 It’s a bit smokey today, but not bad compared to lots of other places.  The West has been so dry this year and we’ve had lots of fires.

And now, since I haven’t sewn in about two days, I must get at it before my head explodes!

Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to Quilt For Fun

Candy

PS

Please recommend us to your quilting friends and let them know about our Facebook Page.  The more, the merrier!

 

Midsummer Quilting

Midsummer Quilting

Independence Day 2018

We hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday yesterday.  The fireworks smoke from last night has mostly blown away and it’s a lovely day.  We had a pretty noisy evening and luckily our dogs don’t really mind it.   Poodles are actually retrievers and a gun dog who doesn’t like loud noises doesn’t work so well.  I will never understand how they wound up in the non-sporting group, but I guess it’s just one of those things.

                    

                    “I can be sporting.”                                   ” I’m a good sport.”

I’ve been working on a Jaqueline DeJonge quilt, off and on, for several months.  The pattern is called “Enchanting Stars.”  I bought the kit from Jaqueline in Houston at the quilt show almost three years ago and it took me a good two years to open the instructions without wigging out.  I’m proud to say I’m just attaching section C to sections A and B.  Section J seems so far away.

I’m currently getting ready for a week of quilting and relaxation at the Quilter’s Affair in Sisters, OR.  Barb and I, along with three of my quilting buddies have rented a house for the week and everybody seems ready to “get outta Dodge.”  I’ve been going since 1993 and only missed a couple of years – once when I was on vacation and the other when my son got married.  I’m taking an art quilt class from Katie Pasquini Masopust and looking forward to it so much.  I’ve taken other classes from Katie and always had a good time and learned a lot.  I’ll post some results in a couple of weeks.

I’ve noticed a couple of ads for new Halloween fabric.  I can’t quite manage Christmas in July, but my love for fall and Halloween fabrics knows no season.  Actually, the last thing I need is more Halloween fabric, yet it calls to me.  Here’s the beginning of a new pattern that’s been in my head for a long time.  “Magic Pumpkin” will be finished and written as soon as I can get it done.

 

Watch our Facebook page for pics of the Quilter’s Affair next week.  The weather forecast looks perfect and the high desert at the edge of the Deschutes National Forest is beautiful.

Please pass us on to your quilting friends.  The more the merrier.  And do some quilting for fun.

Candy

Summer Sunrise

Summer Sunrise

“Autumn Sunset” has a new sister quilt.  It’s called “Summer Sunrise.”

Just so we’re clear, I’m rarely up in time to see a summer sunrise.  The poppy is a simplified version of one that grows in my garden.  It’s a pretty tough customer as it was unplanted, divided and replanted several years ago. It was one of the few perennials that survived the winter of 2016-17.   I have no idea what this particular flower is called and I haven’t seen another one.  I just love it.

Some details will be added with quilting and possibly paint.  There is also an outside chance of embroidery, but that’s pretty iffy. This imaginary sunrise is a bit smaller than “Autumn Sunset.”  Same number of blocks, just a bit smaller.  A few things I’ve learned will be added to the pattern, along with block and cutting measurements for the new quilt.

I have an idea for one more background that would involve colors closer to each other on the color wheel.  I hadn’t really planned for this to be a series, but these projects tend to take on a life of their own.  So much for the illusion of control.

In preparation for an eventual downsize, I’m trying to thin the herd a bit.  We’ve lived in this house for almost 29 years and it’s appalling how much stuff we’ve managed to accumulate.  Most of the kid’s stuff is gone.  They’ve long since moved out, but we stored things for them for years.  As I begin to go through things, it seems I have an emotional bond with books, and art and craft materials.  Those things I’m putting off until last.  Oh, and kitchen gadgets.  I love to bake, but don’t really love general cooking.  For that reason I’m a sucker for anything that purports to make cooking easier.  I won’t even bore you with the quilting gadgets.  As you’ve doubtlessly gathered, this is going to be an interesting project.

Now that Barb has quilting space in her home, she is 1) realizing how much stuff she borrowed from me, and 2) how challenging it is to wrangle all her quilting stuff.  And remembering what you already have in the heat of shopping is a whole other drama.  Barb is now using Evernote to keep track of what she has and I am (slowly) following her lead.  Evernote is an app that lets you keep lists right where you can always get to them (on your phone) and even allows you to scan in pictures.  This means that I can scan in the lists I already have and then add to them as needed.  Since I nearly always have my phone with me, it’s easy to check to find out if I really need that new fancy-pants ruler that a quilt shop is demonstrating.  I have, on occasion, bought the same ruler twice, not to mention the same book.  The book list will go into the app too.  The basic app is free and well worth having.

The sun is finally out after a dreary, rainy weekend.  We really needed the rain as the 0.04″ of rain we’ve gotten in the last month wasn’t really cutting it.  Oregon had a lot of bad fires last summer and fall and we could use a year off.  All I need now is for Toby to stop barking at the squirrels and we would have a sweet peaceful summer.

My goal for the summer is to keep this lovely little begonia alive and quilt SO much.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy