It’s Always Something

It’s Always Something

My mother was right, especially this year. The west is kind of a mess right now and I find myself ready to spill online. If you want to skip a bit of whining, you are welcome to go to the next paragraph. 1) I’m pretty much over hearing ads that begin with how they feel our pain at this challenging time. I would be fine if they skipped that and went on to the usual shameless self promotion. 2) Playing tennis with a mask sucks. It’s too smokey for tennis today anyway, so never mind. 3) We’re at level 1 evacuation which basically means get you stuff together just in case. We did that yesterday and the house now looks like a goat exploded. Also, everything smells like smoke.

Sometimes it’s good to just get it out there. In actual fact, we’re in pretty good shape – the wind has stopped and we’re across the river from the bad stuff. While the sun is just a little orange ball above the smoke, it is there. Also, friends have checked in on us, which makes me feel good. The interesting thing about this is that it makes you think about what’s really important. I’m finding that photos from before the digital period are a thing and that I’d be really sad to leave 40 years of quilting and decorative painting behind. There is more help coming from out of state and on the federal level. We’re keeping evacuees and those who’ve lost everything in our prayers.

The cookie jar below was started about 20 years ago and put aside halfway finished for about 5 years. Once I got myself to just read one instruction at a time, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

The other really cool thing that happened was that the hole in the ceiling and one wall of the quilting studio got fixed and the whole room repainted. It made me get serious about thinning the herd and while there are a few things still stashed in another room, some will not make the cut to get back into the new room. Sweet Husband did all the painting.

One thing that happened as I was moving stuff and cleaning out – there are more UFO’s! I’m working on a couple, but stopped to make this little cutie:

I used the small Circle Magic template from Missouri Star and a stack of Halloween 5-inch squares. I wanted to try the technique without risking a lot of time and fabric. I think the bigger template would’ve been easier, but this little guy turned out pretty cute. It’ll look better when it’s well pressed. It was a pretty quick project, which I was really ready for.

I only have one more block to appliqué for my block of the month wool quilt. Well actually, there are four little appliqué blocks for the corners but finishing the larger blocks is a big deal. I’m only about a month behind and I’m pretty proud of that. I have the black printed fabric that goes between the blocks so the end is in sight.

I hope that this blog finds everyone home and safe. When I find out what we can all do to help after the smoke clears, I’ll pass it on with the Facebook page. Right now the news tells me that the best way to help is to stay out of the way.

Take care and stay safe,

Candy

P.S. Anybody want cucumbers? I only have one plant and it went nuts. There are only so many cukes two people can eat!

Summer in the PNW

Summer in the PNW

Still alive and well in the PNW. I remain masked at the store, which wigs me out a little bit here and there. The sun is out and summer is being really summery, which is always good. I transplanted, fed and watered the little rose I almost killed two years ago and apparently we’ve now made up.

And Ella is posing with more flowers.

The veggies are coming along. I’ve picked five zucchinis and one tomato with lots more coming on. Just so you know, this is what a tomato is supposed to look like on the inside.

There’s also been raspberry jam and raspberry vinegar.

The Cinderella Pumpkin plant is really going to town. We already have three little pumpkins and about 30 flowers. I also have about a seven-foot volunteer sweet pea. It smells absolutely heavenly and I’m so glad it made it.

There has also been quilting. I finally finished a Halloween project I started a couple of years ago. In 2018, I pieced it and last year I started to quilt it. Now the quilting is done and I finished binding it on Friday. And yes, I might have gotten a bit carried away as it’s enormous. It should keep me pretty cozy this fall.

And there’s the Block of the Month from Sew Creative in Ashland, Oregon. I’m only about a month behind, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.

It’s called “Flower Power” and has been quite the adventure. I’m on month eight of a twelve month project, so the end is in sight. I’ve never finished such a large wool project and I think it’s going to weigh a ton.

So when I was feeling overwhelmed with big projects, I made these:

I love watermelon fabrics and these bags were great for some little pieces I had. Over the last few years, I’ve bought zipper rolls in several colors. No waste as I cut just what I need and can put different colored pulls on.

These were a different pattern and I used a lot of what’s left of my Debbie Mumm Fall and Halloween fabrics. If ever a collection needed to be reprinted, it’s this. The prints are just so charming and fun. And curiously full of red haired witches!

I really don’t want this year to be the complete waste it’s trying to be. So more UFO’s will get finished and a couple of new techniques will be tried. Concentrating on making each day having some good things. Like chocolate zucchini bread and browned butter chocolate chip cookies. At least the taste buds are happy. And of course, I’m always happy in the quilt studio.

Enjoy the summer and happy quilting!

Candy

Notes From Home, Part 3

Notes From Home, Part 3

I’m finally back, as if I’ve actually been somewhere else. I don’t know what to say about the past few weeks except that I hope and pray that everyone will get the justice they deserve without any further wreckage of lives or livelihoods.

These last weeks have seemed, in many ways, to go quickly, and yet April seems miles away into the past. I can’t quite get my head around it. The last couple of weeks have been rainy and today has been like forty days and forty nights. June is always a bit iffy here. Some years it’s really hot and most years, it’s cloudy and chilly. You can’t really count on summer weather until July. The back yard is a practically a swamp and muddy dog feet are the newest look on our carpets. On the bright side, the lettuce I planted a few weeks ago loves it. Lettuce fresh out of the garden has its own sweet taste.

I’m sticking to my promise to myself to finish two UFO’s before starting anything new. This one is called “Chicken Joke” and was a round robin in my small, small quilt group. There were seven blocks including my original one (in the center) and then I made two more as seven blocks just didn’t work out. Finally got it quilted and bound.

The fabric for the back was given to me by one of our members who was cleaning out her stash and thought this would be a good backing. She was right!

“The Sewists” was pieced last year from fabric I bought in California in 1014. Given that quilters and sewists made about a bazillion masks in the last few months, it seemed appropriate to remind my future self of all they did in 2020 and finish this one.

The theme fabric is a little funky and I just love it. I bought more than I needed since I had no idea what I would eventually use it for and used some for the back. I must also confess, it’s not all gone.

Once these were finished, I allowed myself to start (and FINISH) a table runner that used a techniques I’d never seen. It’s called “Olive Tree” and is featured in the book “Table-Runner Roundup” compiled by Amelia Johanson. The pattern is from Annette Ornelas. It’s kind of a cool technique where inserts are sewn into straight line piecing and folded back to create curves.

For some reason the photographs made the quilting look raised. I’ve never had that happen before. In real life it just looks like regular quilting. It went really fast as I can quilt leaves night and day and afternoon. Leaves are my favorite as you really can’t screw them up. Leaves in nature aren’t all “perfect.” Some of them are wonky, just like some of mine.

It’s strawberry season here and they’re so yummy.

In the olden days, the kids and I picked locally grown strawberries. These days, Barbara doesn’t have time and my back says, “No way.” So we buy from local growers and make jam and pie.

We are all fine. The deck flower pots are all planted and the veggies are (I hope) going in next week. It’s a bit late, but even if I’d planted earlier, they’d just be sitting there shivering their leaves off. There will always be work to do in the garden. Right now the weeds are growing, oddly enough, like, well, weeds.

Ella Bella Poodlehound turned 13 a couple of weeks ago. She had a bit of non-serious surgery last week and is healing well. I found a new “cone of shame” that’s soft so it’s more comfortable for her and the plaster can stay on the walls. Wild Bill’s been pretty good about giving her some time off, thank heaven. Ella will be bossing him around again in no time.

The project from my big, small quilt group (as opposed to my small, small quilt group) will be ready to show you next week. Since there are ten of us who met every two months, this one’s been in progress for two years. I’m ready to be finished.

I hope this post finds all healthy and ready to enjoy summer. Just to sit in the sun and smell the sweet peas will be wonderful.

Until next time,

Candy

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.

Notes From Home

Notes From Home

So it appears that our social calendars are going to be looking a little blank for a while. Yet there are lots of things we can do. We can still get groceries (or have them delivered), smell the hyacinths, communicate by phone or FaceTime, sit in the sun, play games, watch a movie and snuggle with dogs. And, of course, as long as there are electricity, thread and fabric, I will never be bored.

I have about a zillion UFO’s and I’m currently working on a golden oldie. Given the fabric and subject matter, this one was probably started in the late 90’s. All that was left to quilt were the borders, which were about 6 inches wide.

After quilting three of the borders, I decided that those borders were too wide. They were overshadowing all the work that went into the compasses in the middle. So I’ve cut them down to 4 1/2 inches.

After all this, I realized that one of the quilted compasses wasn’t quite finished. As you can see from the photo below, even some of the finished ones had stitches from two different sewing machines. And the last one will be finished with a third machine. I’m thinking that finished is better than perfect. In this case, that’s just the way it is.

I managed to finish the top of “Chicken Joke,” from a round robin my small quilt group did. The ladies did a great job.

I also finished knitting a sweater for my baby granddaughter. She’ll be needing a bit of time to grow into it.

In the middle of lovely, sunny, spring weather, we had a day of snow on Saturday. The daffodils and hyacinths were not amused, though they seem to have recovered. Three inches of snow in mid March is not unheard of, but is fairly rare. Sadly, it hasn’t slowed down the mole in my front yard.

Wild Bill thought the snow was hilarious.

The video I took doesn’t want to load here, which may be a blessing as videography is apparently not my forte. Almost all the footprints you see here are his.

This morning I sensed the primal scream of mothers of school age children when our governor announced that school would be closed until May. I’m thinking that many children will be learning other skills, like washing dishes, doing laundry, pet care, and perhaps even yard maintenance. Any kid who’d like to learn the ins and outs of weeding and pest control is welcome to apply here as I have both weeds and pests.

I thought for a bit that I might catch up on some housework. Just kidding. There will mostly be quilting.

Count your blessings and stay cool.

Candy

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

The Last Rose of Summer

The Last Rose of Summer

The Northwest has been gifted with very unseasonable sunny weather for the last couple of weeks. And it is glorious. We’ve also had a bit of wind so some of my favorite colorful trees are mostly naked now. There are some stubborn holdouts. The other great thing is that I can hear kids outside playing. Never mind that their parents probably shoved their post- Halloween sugar high selves out the door and locked it! Later today I’ll be doing the great Halloween put-away. As I was walking Billy the other day, I took this picture of the last rose of summer.

There are still a couple of buds that think they’re going to make it, but given that it really is November, they may not.

I love the colors of strawberry plants in the fall. The one below made strawberries this summer for the first time in years. Sadly, it didn’t really get enough sun and the berries were kind of terrible. And now it’s beautiful.

In a moment of possible insanity, I decided to make a list of my UFO’s that I couldn’t ignore. It’s totally terrifying. The things with red dates beside them have deadlines. The plan is to finish two before I start anything new. This may not help shorten the ongoing list too much, yet crossing something off a long list is incredibly satisfying. Sweet Husband has suggested that I sell a few quilts on Etsy and I may do that. The sheer numbers are getting a little out of hand.

Actually, I finished Rocking Horse II. I’ll post a picture next week. It’s kind of a surprise for this weekend. Most of these UFO’s are unquilted tops. Like a dog who sees a squirrel, I see a new cool thing and I’m off in another direction. What I wish most is that I had made the bindings for the finished tops before I put them away.

Now that Halloween is over, the big run-up to Christmas is in full swing. All I ask is that Thanksgiving get its due. I’m not ready for Christmas carols yet, mainly because I don’t want to be tired of them by Christmas. Also, I find that a little Alvin and the Chipmunks goes a long way.

The last weekend of October, I was in the Rogue Valley to visit my mom and stopped in at Sew Creative in Ashland. It’s a very fun shop with lots of Modern Quilting fabric and patterns. In a weak moment, I signed up for a Block of the Month. I brought home the first block and the second one already came in the mail today. Each month I get background fabric, wool, threads and directions. I can’t believe I started 10 days ago and I’m already behind. I’ll post pictures as I get the blocks finished. Guess you no longer wonder why I have a long UFO list.

Now I need to go sew. There’s so much to create and so little time!

Candy

Colorful Fall

Colorful Fall

We’re fixed and back! I must admit that while I love the quilting and writing and taking pictures, technical issues really wig me out. When I finally figured out who to ask for help, they fixed the issue in a hurry. Thank you Green Geeks! For the time being, I’ll post the blog both here and at motheronabroomstickcandy.blogspot.com. The blogs missing from this page are on the blogspot page. I’ve become a belt AND suspenders kind of gal. I like to think it’s an age and wisdom sort of thing.

We’re enjoying the most colorful fall in recent memory.

This has been kind of a weird fall, weatherwise. I grew these Jack Be Little pumpkins and love them with these perennials (whose name I have long forgotten).

The purples and oranges with the touches of blue just say “fall” to me.

The plant the pumpkins came from has not yet given up.

We’re supposed to have some sunny days coming up, but I don’t think it’ll be enough for these little guys.

The dahlias took forever to get started this summer and are hanging in as if to prove a point. The bit of dark brown in one petal is a tiny snail and you can see his handiwork in several of the petals. If anyone knows the part they play in the ecological circle of life besides wholesale destruction of whatever I plant, I’d really like to know.

Sweet Husband cut this out for me several years ago and reattached her head after a windstorm. It’s rained quite a bit so her cauldron isn’t out in the yard yet.

Daytime isn’t really her thing, but she’s pretty cool backlit at night.

All except the last minute Halloween decor is up. I’m finding that I now have more Halloween quilts than wall space to hang them or furniture to hang them over. These three are pinned up on my office wall just to keep me company.

The two on the right are fused. Both are patterns I bought from catalogs or online. They were quick, easy and fun. The one on the left is from the 90’s and one of the first that I designed myself. The fabric is from a Debbie Mumm collection that I just fell in love with. I actually have a few scraps left. Because the images in the center of the stars were kind of an odd measurement, it meant I had to draft the pattern to fit them. The fabric collection remains one of my very favorites.

There’s just something about this fabric.

I’m working to finish two baby quilts, so some unfinished Halloween quilts will remain unfinished for a while longer. Given how tickled I am to become a grandmother, it’s not really a thing.

Billy, aka Wild Bill, returns for another session of dog obedience this evening. He’s still a goofy teenager as you can see below.

How does he even DO that?

He’s very flexible and a complete silly!

Apparently it’s time to ramp up for Christmas. The one fabric I had a hankering for is currently out of stock. Next year I’ll start Halloween in June and Christmas in August. Okay, maybe not actually quilting, but buying whatever fabric I might love before it’s sold out.

Keep quilting for fun.

Candy

News From Off the Beaten Path

News From Off the Beaten Path

I’m finding it hard to believe that July is almost over. Summer took a while to get started around here and has generally been not too hot or smoky which has been a big hit with most people. The vegetable plants would be the big exception. I have two big tomatoes and one cherry tomato starting to ripen up, but that’s about it. There is also one tiny little yellow summer squash starting. With luck, we’ll have a warm autumn and we’ll be picking fruits and veggies well into September.

I took a chance and cut the morning glories back almost to the dirt last fall. Luckily, they liked it.

I love these guys because they’re so easy care.

Sweet Husband and I have made several trips to Southern Oregon to get my mom’s house ready to hit the market. It’s a bit overwhelming what with opening drawers filled to the brim, finding some great old pictures and sending snaps to kids and nieces to see if they want anything. Then hauling their stuff home to hand over to them (not to mention finding a place for a few treasures of my own). This weekend will be the final sweep before the estate sale people take over. It’s bittersweet as I hate to see the place leave the family, and yet it’s too much for any of us to take care of.

There has also been quilting squeezed in between trips. Barb and I and three friends spent a quilt week at Sisters before the Outdoor Quilt Show. I took three classes and here’s the project I’m almost finished with. It’s called Under the Sea.

It’s from a class with Frieda Anderson which was quite fun and as always, I learned a bunch. There was also a painting with dye class with June Jaeger. I love this kind of class where you pay a fee to use someone else’s supplies before you buy $400 of supplies you’ll never use again. It was a fun class, but since I have about four kinds of fabric paint already, I won’t be investing in fabric dye.

The last class I took was from Sue Spargo. I do enjoy embroidery on wool and this class was both instructive and relaxing. The thing I love most is that her Eleganza threads are on colored spools according to thread size and the tubes her needles come in use the same colors. I can use all the help I can get and this is brilliant. Here’s the beginning of my sampler which will ultimately be a needle roll.

While in Central Oregon, Barb and I went fabric shopping (as if we don’t have enough fabric and patterns to last for life). It was so much fun and now we have even bigger stashes and more projects on deck.

Earlier in the summer I made this little quilt of some kind of invertebrate. (The book wasn’t too specific about this one.) The idea came from a Dover book of copyright free animal drawings. I got to use some of my favorite colors and try out a couple of techniques.

I also finished a top I did last fall. I’m determined to whittle down my pile of tops, most of which I really like and would like to finish. At this rate, it’ll take me a while. If I didn’t have to do grocery shopping and occasionally take a swipe at cleaning the house, it would go faster.

That kind of wraps up summer so far. Hope everyone is enjoying the season.

Candy