Saturday, April 18, 2015

Not a quilt

Almost a quilt but not quite.

But just as fun.

I worked in the yard again yesterday and I'm pooped.  It's been hot here and I was feeling lazy today so I took a nap with the ceiling fan twirling slowly above me, the curtains closed to the heat.  I had been trimming up some shrubs in the backyard near the patio (and cleaned the patio while I was at it), and found one of my good forks buried in the dirt.  I have no idea.  Must have been one helluva party.
 Anyway, I finished up these place mats inspired by the ones I saw here.  I really liked the way they turned out.  I used American Made cotton (light khaki) for the background and the yellow and red blocks.  The rest is stash.
I also ordered some low volume fabric from Sunny Day Supply Fabric shop.  I love getting packages in the mail wrapped up all cute like this...
That little bit on the top contained some ribbon and a couple of buttons. Such a nice touch.  Something you don't get when ordering from a major chain store.
My baseball scarf is crawling along.  I was changing colors every couple of rows and was not happy with my knitting(actually the knitting part was fine, the color changes sucked very hard)  I ripped it back and started over 3 different times, then decided I wasn't having any fun so I switched to crochet.  I'll put up a picture next time, after a few more games and color changes.
I haven't crocheted anything in a while and I miss it.  I have a couple of blankets that need finishing, but you know how that goes. Meh. I'd rather start something new.  Any ideas?

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Such a nice weekend.  Coffee outside in the early morning wearing a sweatshirt over my pajamas,  slippers damp from walking through the grass.  Then, after breakfast head out to the garden to clean up winter's leavings, the earth still cool, but the sun warm on the back of my neck. Clearing out more yard for more garden. Maybe grapes this year, or pumpkins and cantaloupes.
The door to the garden shed is flung wide, and I have to wave the handle of the rake in front of me to break up the spider webs before I step inside. Pots and tools and garden knick knacks I haven't seen since the fall are new to me again.
The roses are so lush, the bushes so heavy, that their blooms dip down toward the ground as if the scent and beauty are too much to bear. We work all afternoon, until someone runs to town for cheeseburgers, and we eat in the garden under the umbrella, admiring our progress.

My niece had her baby.  A beautiful little girl with pink skin and a rosebud mouth who came into the world with her eyes wide open.  That's the way to do it.  The labor was long, (2 days!) but calm and quiet, and we all went to bed that night happy that the waiting was over and everyone was fine.
The rest of the weekend was spent reading through gardening books, sewing yards of binding, and watching baseball on TV.  I made the mistake of starting this book on Saturday night, and the next thing I knew it was midnight and I was in very very deep. I am a sucker for historical anything, but especially if it involves the British monarchy.
I want to sew, and sew and sew.  There are so many things I want to make, so I write a list, then lose it, then make new lists. Gardening or sewing? How about sewing in the garden?  There just aren't enough hours in the weekend.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


This quilt top was finished way back here.  It's the first of four needing to be quilted, and I'm happy to say there are now only 3 left in the cupboard waiting their turn.  Inspired by the comforters over at S.O.T.A.K. Handmade, I ignored my stash of Warm and Natural batting, and went with polyester this time around.  I usually prefer wool batting over everything else out there, but it's pricier than cotton batting and has a definite poof factor, not always practical for some quilts.  This polyester batting (Soft n Crafty) has poof to spare.
my lilac bush back there just exploded a few days ago. it smells amazing.

Because it has a 3/4 inch loft, it's probably best to keep the quilting to a minimum, and I imagine it would be great for tying.  I kept flipping it over expecting to see lots of puckering, but it went quite smoothly.
Sorry about the blinding light colored fabrics.  The sun was either behind clouds and it was dark, or it would pop out and burn your eyeballs. My son spared me 5 minutes out of his busy couch schedule to hold it up and I had to take what I could get, when I could get it.

What I'm working on next.
 See ya.....

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On the drunkards path

No I haven't been hitting the sauce.  I'm just enjoying this Drunkards Path quilt piecing so much.  Really I'm so lucky to have such a deep and bottomless scrap bin from which to pull from.  You know, I have another quilt cut out from a fat quarter grouping of matchy-matchy fabrics waiting to be sewn together.  It's going to be pretty when it's done, but it just doesn't get me excited as a basket full of wrinkled mismatched cottons saved over the years.

I bought these templates from Amazon, thinking I could re-use them on a two color version in the future, something like this one.  I'm hand piecing the curvy parts, then sewing the straight seams together on the machine to make a block.
Now I just need to decide if I make the whole quilt like the picture above, or use them as a border around a medallion center or place them in the center with a different border around it, Or...just kidding, I'm done.
On a completely different note, my cute little Black and Decker retro looking iron caught on fire yesterday (not the Continental dry iron, in this post here.  That one committed suicide last year by leaping off the ironing board and smashing itself on the floor.) 
Anyway, I'm not talking about red hot flames and call the fire department kind of fire. More like a hot, smoking, smoldering "hey what's that smell?" pre-fire kind of a fire. 
I first turned it off by the dial but noticed it didn't cool down. Then after I unplugged it and it still didn't cool down, in fact it was even hotter, (I kept going in and out of the room at this point, doing lord knows what, until I finally realized - duh, the darn thing is burning! Do something woman!) I finally took it outside to the driveway and let it burn itself out. 
I'm just glad I was home. Despite the auto safety shut off feature, if it's burning internally, and the iron is surrounded by leaning piles of fabric, I think your kind of screwed.
Now, if you're a quilter, you understand how impossible it is to go even one single day without an iron.  So before my old one was done melting in the driveway, I quickly ran out and bought a T-Fal ultra glide.  It came in a pretty blue color with a longer cord than my old one and I love it.  I vow to unplug it every single time I leave the room.
And keep the fabric piles away from the pressing plate. Safety first. Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baseball and Yarn

At Scottsdale stadium
Buster Posey (catcher) and Tim Hudson (pitcher)
Brandon Belt signing autographs before the game
We're back from Spring Training in Arizona.  The weather was beautiful, the hot dogs plentiful and we had a great time (even though the Giants lost all 3 games. Pooh).
The hotel was amazing too!
We rented one of those cabanas for the day and hung out by the pool...

Every evening between 6 and 7 the bagpipes were played on the golf course.

There was shopping and restaurants all within walking distance, and if you ever find yourself in Scottsdale, I highly recommend you splurge on a dinner at Mastro's Ocean Club. At first I thought how can you dare call yourself "Ocean Club" in the middle of Arizona?  I should not have doubted.
 I had a delicious piece of blackened Halibut and they serve a decadent side dish of lobster mashed potatoes that will make you weep, it's that good. I wish I had some right now.
On the way out of town, the family was kind enough to indulge me in a brief stop at Jessica Knits, where I picked up some souvenirs.
These two skeins are produced by local Arizona artist Mary Gavan.  On the top is a lace weight raw silk, in the color Pewter and was made up in the store into this shawl.  The drape was beautiful. The bottom skein, which is actually more of a pink than it looks here, is a sport weight rayon/cotton in Sandcastle.
I'm also in a Ravelry group which is making a scarf using the colors of your favorite baseball team. The pattern is called Crackerjack, and these are the colors I bought for the San Francisco Giants.
The idea is to knit 2 rows using the color assigned to wins or losses.  For example a home win could be orange, and a road loss, white. There are 4 possibilities, therefore 4 colors are chosen.  The striping would be determined by the wins/losses of the season and you never know how it's going to turn out. Sounds like a fun project to work on all year long doesn't it?
I'm unpacking, washing clothes, grocery shopping, and cutting the grass this week.  Next time around I'll show you the hand pieced quilt blocks that are making me jump out of bed in the morning.
Until then, here's a little crochet and Charlie.  The dogs were very happy to see us come home.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Heirloom Needle Case

This is one of those items you don't realize you need until you actually get one and start using it.  I've been doing a lot of hand sewing lately, and it seems like I'm always looking for a needle.  I usually have to paw through the half dozen pin cushions laying around my sewing room, but this, this keeps everything contained in one spot.
The tutorial is from the Purl Bee, the rock star of beautiful handmades, and was easily sewn together in half and hour.  I had everything in my stash, which is always a bonus, and picked out my favorite piece of blue hand dyed wool( don't remember where I bought it, but I have a nice little stash of felted wool just waiting around for a project like this, so I was happy to use it).  I kind of wish I would have added an embroidered monogram or something to the outside, but I thought their example was beautiful in its simplicity and plainness.  Here are the directions if you want to make one.

We are headed out to watch the San Francisco Giants at Spring Training in Arizona.  I'm looking forward to getting away for a few days and enjoying some sun, baseball, hot dogs and a cold beer.
Of course I'm bringing some crochet for the plane, and I hear there is a good yarn shop in Scottsdale.
I hope to return tired but happy, with yarn and a sunburn.
Have a great weekend everybody.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Laundry and Lemonade

I know you're probably thinking, what the heck are these pictures of her laundry doing on here?  Where are the quilts and crochet? 
During the short dark days of winter, I dreamed about Spring, and ordered a new clothesline. I guess most people would be dreaming about what flowers and vegetables to plant in their gardens, but not me.  This year it was all about the laundry.
 Our current clothes line was the retractable kind that stretched across the length of the back porch.  It was easy access from the house, but the laundry was always on display from the windows, and you had to duck and swat your way out to the pool.  Not very convenient when my son and his friends were over, running back and forth through a curtain of damp clothes.
I waited patiently for the weather to change, and picked a day after a brief rain shower to dig the hole (Our soil is like clay. Once it gets hot and the ground hardens you can NOT dig even a teaspoon of dirt without some kind of motorized machinery or explosives).  I picked a spot between two young oak trees, thinking I would be needing some shade during the summer months to keep my clothes from fading.
I followed the instructions for the cement, setting the metal tube in the ground, back filling with rocks and dirt, and in a grand DIY moment, I sunk my pole.  The best part is, it twirls around in the breeze! Gosh, it doesn't take much to entertain me.  I didn't even get upset when I found bird poop on one of the pillow cases.
drunkards path blocks in progress.  i love the hand sewing.

I've been drinking copious amounts of lemonade from the lemons I picked off my tree.  Just combine water, lemon juice, and simple syrup (1 cup sugar and 1 cup water heated gently until the sugar is dissolved.  Store the syrup in the fridge until forever), pour into a tall mason jar over ice, and add a tuna sandwich and some potato chips (not in the jar silly, on a plate).
California "Ceanothus" a drought tolerant, native plant and one of my favorites

Anyway, I'm trying to make the most of these gorgeous Spring days, since it's going to be 100 and sweaty degrees in a couple of months.  I'll be back before the end of the week with a quick make from the Purl Bee, and then it's off to Arizona for a family getaway.