Thursday, April 30, 2015


Have you guys been busy?  I guess if I had been reading your blogs I would know.  I barely got this post up today, it's been such a whirlwind around here.  My son left for 6 weeks in Cairns, Australia.  He's fulfilling 18 college credits by snorkeling with the sea turtles and studying plants. Such hardship.
The prep leading up to the trip, like shopping for a 70L backpack and all it's gear was eye opening(wallet opening) and time consuming.  I also had to shop for a new oven, my old one couldn't be saved.  I  have been cooking on just the stove top for over a month now.  I could do a whole blog post on the pursuit of a 36 inch, 6 burner, duel-fuel range that won't cost the same as a trip to Australia (all because my old oven has a broken $100 door latch that is no longer available and enables the oven to heat up properly), but I won't.  Just your average first world problems.
In the meantime I'm trying to stay off my butt, and work out in the yard.  That means less time to sew and crochet, and nothing much to blog about. This past weekend I was in a weekend warrior challenge with my sister and my girls, to see who could get the most steps on our Fitbit.
I came in second (yay), but my sister, who is a freaking competitive maniac, blew us all out of the water.  I usually try to hit 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day on average. Let me tell you the first week or so I was tired after reaching 12,000 steps.  Did you know Amish women average 14,000 steps per day?  That's because they're churning their own butter, hanging out the wash and working in the garden. This Kindle book really opened my eyes.  I thought I was pretty active already, but there's always room for improvement.   Anyway, sewing, knitting, crocheting and Pinterest browsing do not factor into this "keep moving" mentality because they are all sitting activities.  It's not a coincidence that since I started blogging, pinning and crocheting I have gained a few pounds.  Must rethink this somehow and find a better balance.
I did stop moving long enough to slowly piece together a wall hanging quilt of yellow churn dash blocks. I really love that tiny floral in the last picture.  I'm torn between saving it forever and adding it to everything.
Okay that's enough sitting for now. Gotta go churn some butter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


the sunflowers are from the grocery store
My goodness.  I wish we were having a wedding right now, because I could probably fill the church.  You would never think that we are in the midst of a drought here in California. Our yard is a mixture of David Austin blowzy English roses, Simplicity hedge roses, climbing roses, and some unidentifiable gargantuan red sprawling thing that threatens to take down the fence with it's leaning.  The pink ones are called Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I planted in honor of my grandmother Rose May Ames.  In the garden the honeysuckle has sneakily wound itself through the bushes, and I consider it a bonus to get a piece of it when I cut the blooms.  The house smells like a florist shop.

Happy Earth Day

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.