Coming Home

Coming Home

Sweet Husband and I just got home from a two-week trip to Eastern Europe.  We had a marvelous time and saw some sights I couldn’t have imagined.  Walked on a lot of cobblestones and took lots of pictures.  Yesterday was a 24 hour trip home.  If nothing I write this morning makes sense, you’ll know why.

We learned lots of history and have a new appreciation for those who’ve had a really hard time over the centuries and realize how fortunate we are to live where and when we do.

Fall really happened while we were gone.  The veggies are about done and I have some catch-up work to do.  We’ll be eating some fried green tomatoes.  Also, grocery shopping.  Am I beginning to wander?

I can hardly wait to get back to the sewing machine.  I get a little scary when I don’t get enough time with my fabric!

AUTUMN LEAVES

Remember this one?  It’s fun in both fall and Halloween fabrics.  Look for it on our Shopping page.

I’ll check back in when my brain is functioning in this time zone.

Keep quilting!

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

 

 

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!

Enter Spring

Enter Spring

Spring is officially here.  Here in the Northwest, spring weather means all the weather in one day.  Sun, rain, wind, maybe some thunder.  Because we’ve had such  record-breaking rainfall, many a back yard is pretty swampy, mine included.  However, the front yard is merely soaking wet and the tulips don’t seem to mind it much.  We’ll have plenty of color out there soon.  I’m fervently hoping the tulips will overshadow the weeds which have also loved the wet weather.

My quilt guild had a show last weekend and our small quilt group had a chance to show off the projects we’ve been working on for a year and a half.  We all had the same group of fabrics, though we could add some if we chose and the same blocks from the Tula Pink “100 Modern Blocks” book.  We each made at least 60 blocks although a few overachievers made more.  There are a few missing from the group below but you’ll get a taste of how different each quilt was.

It was such a fun project to work on and my fellow quilters are just the best.  It will be a while before I use lots of black again as it was a dust and thread magnet.  (Mine is the big X.)

I finished “Limeade Runner” (finally) and it’s perfect for the kitchen table during Easter time.

It’s just seven blocks from “Pink Lemonade” put together in a line.  And here it is at work already.

If you really look at the top right of the above picture, you might notice a furry photobomber.  She blends in so well with the couch, it’s easy to miss.

Here she is with her favorite toy.  She carried it around for about 20 minutes the other day.  That ball is  so far in there I’m not sure how she does it.

Ella’s not giving up her tennis ball for love or money.

Toby has perfected his “nobody loves me” look.  Trust me when I tell you, he’s our big sweetie.

Check our shopping page for a couple of specials.

Quilt for fun.

Candy

PS  Please share us with your quilting friends.  The more, the merrier.

Longing for Spring

Longing for Spring

How is meteorological spring looking for you?  I wouldn’t have known the difference from winter if I hadn’t been listening to the weather channel while I was quilting.  The fog, rain and occasional snow looks pretty much the same as it did two weeks ago.  So I put out Easter decorations just to brighten the house up a bit. I think it’ll help a little.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Outside

Inside

Confession time:  I’ve got more than a few UFO’s hanging around and it’s time to finish them.  Most are completed tops and many aren’t even very big.  Some are projects I started in classes and just never got around to finishing (which assumes that I can figure out how to pick up where I left off).  I’ll be working to finish or give away some of these projects over the next few months.  This does not mean that I won’t start anything new.  I will.  I’m still me.  I’m actually looking forward to finishing some of these quilts because I really still like them.  Since I won’t be working out in the yard anytime soon, I can concentrate on inside projects.

Actually the UFO thing sort of springs from a newfound need to simplify my life and thin the herd that has become “our stuff.” I was inspired by seeing a friend’s newly pared down closet.  In order for this not to be overwhelming, I just do a little bit a few days a week.  One drawer is so tidy that I open it daily just to inspire myself to keep going.  (Also, to admire my work.)

I’ve been working on a quilt from Karla Alexander’s book, “Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves.”  It’s a gift for some old friends who have recently redecorated.  The new look is very modern/contemporary with mostly neutral colors.  As you may have noticed, I’m not exactly the queen of neutral.  I think I’ve met the challenge.  Whether I was victorious is another question.  I like it more than I thought I would, but am ready for a project with color.

Since March weather can be dicey most everywhere, I’ve decided to put a few of our springier and brighter quilt patterns on sale.  If the flowers aren’t blooming in the garden, we can just make them bloom in fabric.

Tulip Field

Spring Sampler

Singing Tulips

In Full Bloom

All four quilt patterns can be found on our Shopping page.  They’re pretty much guaranteed to brighten up any space they occupy.

Please share us with your quilting friends; the more quilters, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

Teased by Spring

Teased by Spring

Last week we had a lovely, sunny day.  The kind of day that says, “Spring is just around the corner,” when it’s really not.  Mother Nature can be an awful tease.  Still, being outside in the sunshine is really refreshing.  Since then we’ve had a couple of nice days and lots of rainy ones, with more rain on the way.  Tell me, again, “how many more days until spring?”

We went to Utah to ski with friends week before last and managed to ski a bit before it rained.  This has been such an unusual winter for many of us.  The mountains of Utah were gorgeous as always and just getting out of Dodge for a few days makes the winter pass more quickly.

I finally finished my small quilt group project. All the blocks are from Tula Pink’s “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  All twelve quilts were made with the same blocks and colors.  To say they’re all different would

be the understatement of the year.  It was such good practice for very accurate cutting and sewing.  Each block finished 6 X 6-inches.  I made 67 Tula blocks (and parts of a couple more).  Everyone made at least 60 and at least one person made all 100!  There’s always at least one overachiever.  The quilting was a challenge as the quilt is kind of big, 72 X 76.  My next few projects will be decidedly smaller.

Speaking of smaller, I’m in the midst of another teapot quilt.  This one is mostly wool.  The basic pattern is the same as the last Teapot Quilt, but it’s a little different look.  I’m putting in a few stitches I learned in a Sue Spargo class I took last summer, ably taught by Tonye Phillips.  The pot is still looking a little naked, but you get the idea.

I’m attempting to use materials I already have,  I have lots of little bits of wool and felted wool, which work well.  The beads in the center of the purple flower are 2mm seed beads.  For $2.59 you get a little vial with about 2000 tiny beads.  I bought them for a class where I used about five.  I have enough left to last for generations.  If anyone’s interested, I’m happy to share.

I’m thinking about a poppy quilt for this summer based on this picture:

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Poppies always take me back to the flower days of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I loved the bright colors and pink and orange together.  I also liked the clothes, although that’s a whole different story.

Time to get back to my teapot and maybe a cup of tea.

We’d love to hear your comments and follow us on Facebook.

Quilt for Fun.

Candy

 

 

Digging Out

Digging Out

We’re now back to weather that we  call normal.  The snow and ice are gone and it’s about 30 degrees warmer than it was a week ago.  The tulips are just starting to come up and we may survive winter.  The back of the house had lots of icicles.  One was 28 inches long!  Check out the bottom of this hanging basket:

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We’ve had wintry weather before, but icicles off the bottom of a hanging basket is a first for me.  Because we had such a lovely fall, I hadn’t taken old flowers out the the pots.  Of course, they’re all totaled except the pansies.  Those babies are tough.

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I finished Dancing Teapot today.  It came a long way from this

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to this

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And a close-up of the flowers and quilting.

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The teapot and decorations are fused, so it’s pretty quick to do.  I needed a little color to brighten up our rainy, winter days.  The pattern will be on the Shopping page tomorrow.

My next move is to make the teapot penny rug style.

Having some smaller projects that go quickly is really nice when there are some pretty big ones in the queue.  I have a couple of large quilts that “just” need to be bound.  As if that will take a half hour or something.  I also want to make some serious headway into my stack of unquilted tops.  (After all, it’s still January and we’re allowed to say stuff like this as if we have all the time in the world.)

I have one other project that’s been haunting me for many years.  Back in about 1983, I started a Christmas quilt.  I’m pretty sure the pattern was from Quilter’s Newsletter.  I finished the top and began hand quilting it.  I didn’t get very much quilting done, but vowed to finish the following year.  Cut to 2017.  That same unquilted piece has been hanging around all these years and I haven’t put one more stitch in it.  The backing is plain white and the batting is polyester and a bit fluffier than I like now.  So here’s the plan:  I take out the hand quilting (Luckily there isn’t much), and sandwich cotton batting and a more colorful backing and machine quilt it.  I really want to finish as I totally loved the fabrics and I want to use it at Christmas time.

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 I’m thinking my new mantra for the year will be “Fix it or fling it.”  This is not just about quilting, but about a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.  Because we haven’t moved in 27 years, we’ve tended to save stuff “just in case.”  I’ve decided that if I’m not using something, someone else should get a chance to.  So this will be my first “fix it.”

When I get to a “fling it” quilt top, I’ll post it here and on Facebook so that other quilters can get first dibs before I give it away.  Check us on Facebook and post any quilt top that you’d like to give away to a good home and we’ll see if we can put some “fix it” and “fling its” together.

As always, we ask you to share us with your fellow quilters.

Quilt for fun,

Candy

Happy 2017!

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year to all!  It’s time for new calendars, a resolution or two and a deep calming breath.  We made it through another year.  Was yours a bit of a roller coaster ride?  Life is like that.  Hope you finished some projects and have more in mind for the coming year.  I have bunches of ideas to work on this year and will share as I get them going.

I finished this on Dec. 30.

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It’s a kit I bought at a show 2 or 3 years ago.  This sort of project relaxes me.  It’ll get packed away in the next day or two, but did its job to bring a little serenity to a busy December.

About this time last year I posted about having a “Finished” list.  I actually hung in with it for a few months.  Then life got busy and I kind of forgot.  So, as with many good resolutions, I’m starting over.  I used to really beat myself up about not following through with resolutions.  Now I’m more into giving myself a little break.  The new plan is:  I didn’t mess up as much as I learned.  Now just do it a bit better.

This is a good time to go back and look at your first quilt.  Mine was made in 1976 from a pattern in a McCall’s Craft Magazine.  Some of the fabrics were cotton and others were blends. (In the mid 70’s 100% cotton fabric was a lot harder to find.)  It was machine appliquéd with a zig-zag satin stitch.  My little machine wasn’t really built for that and I had to stop regularly to let it cool down.  The quilting was done by hand, but there wasn’t much of it.  It was cute, not fabulous yet I was totally hooked.  How is yours?  Chances are that it’s not as good as your last one.  You didn’t quit; you learned a lot from that quilt and made the next one better (or different or more “you”).  You went on to learn new techniques, some of which you loved and some you decided were definitely not for you.  It’s how we work; it’s how life works.

So here’s a resolution that makes sense:  Take a risk, learn something new and have fun with it.  If it works, great!  If not, you learned something (even if it’s that you hate the new technique) and that’s great, too.

Here’s a picture of part of a quilt I finished earlier this year, apropos of nothing except that it’s very cheerful.

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For those of us getting an unusual blast of cold weather, stay warm.  (It was 16 here last night.  Might be setting a record.)  For those of you in milder climates, your friends in the cold may not want to hear the 70 degree details.  For everyone – check out our Facebook page.  There will be more postings this year and we’d love to hear from you.

Quilt For Fun!

From under three quilts,

Candy