Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wool, magazines and such

A rainy, cold Saturday here in sunny San Diego!  I worked today ... one of the great things about my job in the quilt store is that when one person needs a day off, it is usually easy to get someone else to work for you.  My friend needed the day off today, so I agreed to be her!  Next week when my husband and I take our daughter to look at colleges (again), my friend will work my Thursday!  Usually Saturdays are really busy at the store, but today was quite slow ... we had a class from 10-3, and they were making beautiful quilts.  It is always a treat when we have a class ... the classroom is right in the midst of the store, so it's enjoyable to listen to their stories, chattering and sewing machines whir!

Here is my February block for the block of the month I am participating in ... Heart and Home ... this is block 2, and I figured I better get it done before March was completely over ... trying to keep up is quite a juggling act. 
Isn't it cute ...I started putting it together last night while I was watching a movie with hubby, but realized I needed to piece the block ... darn ... so I just put the large branch on with the nest and leaves, fused that with steam a seam and the little bit of sewing on the nest I did last night.  Tonight when I came home after work, I pieced the flying geese on the right side of the block, sewed it to the left side, and then finished fusing down the wool pieces ... nothing like approaching it a little backwards!  Keeps life exciting.

After dinner tonight, hubby and I wandered through Barnes and Noble ... I hadn't looked at the quilting magazines in a while ... I picked up the newest issue of Quilt Mania ... have you seen this magazine?  It is so nice ... the magazine is printed in France and just has lovely pictures and I really like the way it is presented.  Usually if there are two patterns I like in a quilting magazine, I'll buy it ... well this magazine every pattern in there I love.  Most of them are on the primitive-side ... how refreshing ... a lot of the magazines feature art-type quilts, and that is not my style. 
Hard for you to see the cover clearly in this small picture, but the website is . . . and this issue is No. 87 January/February 2012.

And finally ... while in the store the other night, darling daughter asked for Sesame Street bandages ... they were so cute ... well she didn't have a boo boo, but she just had to use them ...
Elmo is on her wallet ... so cute!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Traveling Thursday

Happy almost-Friday!  In honor of being so near Easter, this blog I'm sending you to today is called The Raspberry Rabbits ... Michelle is a delightful lady that lives with two bunnies (I used to have two house rabbits, and loved them!).  She has a lovely blog and does beautiful work with wool, stitcheries, etc.  Check out her blog ...
I especially love her Friday posts ... they are usually written by the bunnies!  Hop on over ... (ha, ha, ha)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday in pictures

Finally got my rear in gear and made it to the gym today.  I have a workout friend that I used to meet once a week at the gym ... we worked out years ago together with the same trainer, and we inspired and urged each other on.  We've continued through the years, but I hadn't seen him in about a year ... he had some injuries and had to have surgery and then rehabilitation.  It was great to catch up and for me to get those endorphins going!

I got into my sewing room today and worked on my quilt a bit more ... I love the putting together and creating a quilt process, and I really haven't designed one in a while, and I forgot what a joy it can be to just lose yourself in the process.  Still trying to see what direction this one will go in ... my friends can usually tell when I've been sewing ...
My pants are always covered in thread, and I'm usually wearing a dark color!  Ha, ha

Spring is here, and my house has made the transition ...

This is one of the first quilts I made - a Donna Yackey original
Another early one -- a Donna Yackey original

A little collection I'm not sure what to do with!

P.S.  Can you tell I like bunnies?  =:)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


When I get overwhelmed with life, one of the first things I do is stop reading my email ... or rather, I give myself a break for a day, and then one day turns into two!  I hadn't read since Sunday, and when I sat down today to download the email, there were 350!  Now I do belong to a couple of Yahoo groups that have to do with quilting, and I get those messages sent in the form of emails, so that accounts for a great deal of them.  What I realize though, is that in all the messages I get every day, there are probably about 20 from different advertisers ... I normally just delete them.  Well today I was in the mood to UNSUBSCRIBE!  Such a great word, and very freeing ... there were at least 25 sites I unsubscribed from.  Every time I ask for a coupon from a place, or clicked on a "like" button on Facebook, I was put on some mailing list.  It was out of control ... I sure hope this helps with my email load.  I like reading the messages I get from the quilting boards ... they don't all pertain to me, so I delete the ones I'm not interested in.

Now back to reading ... that's my escape right now.  My book group is reading "Sister" by Rosamunde Lupton.  Book group is Thursday, and I'm halfway done with the book ... yikes ... I better read fast!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Suffering in silence

Yesterday I just took it easy all day because I haven't been feeling well ... I still have this nasty tickle, cough, and I am just trying to take care of myself and make it go away.  But there was something that really needed doing around here, that hasn't been done for ... I can't even remember when ...
... they hate baths ... especially Sophie.  She is the easiest to bathe because I just do it in the sink, but the whole time she tries to crawl out.  She's getting better than she used to be.
She knows she's getting treats when she's done, so she suffers in silence!
Charlie looks the same wet as dry ... he gets bathed in the tub and moves as far to the back and away from the spray as possible.  It takes forever to bathe him because the water just rolls right off of him.  This is a picture of him right after he came back inside from running around after his bath ... he's turning away from me because ... can you see ... he has dirt all over his nose because he immediately went outside, and found his most recent hole, and dug his snout in it!
They're waiting for more treats after all that trauma ... at least they're clean ... for a short while ... well, all except Charlie's nose!!  Ha, ha ...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Better Day

Today the sun was shining and things looked a whole lot brighter.  I taught a very beginning quilting class at the store, where I had four new to quilting students (one of them a friend!) . . . it is always such a joy to teach people to quilt and convert someone into being a quilter!  It was a good distraction also from the last few days at home.

The other day I stopped at Trader Joe's to grocery shop and bought three bunches of their daffodils.  I bought them several times last year ... they are just in small bunches laying in a pile ... you cut about 1/2" off and put them in water and they open.  This is what mine looked like the next day ...

They died before they opened ... just shriveled right up.  I woke up that morning expecting to see beautiful, daffodil sunshine and instead ... I had to laugh because I thought maybe it was the karma in our house!!  Then I talked to a friend today, and she said she had bought a few bunches that did the same thing ... whew, it wasn't our karma!  That made me feel better ... ha, ha.

So I went outside this afternoon after I got home from teaching ...
Dumped the dead daffodils, and replaced them with these beauties that I cut from my own garden!  This is doubly exciting for me because I normally have not had much of a green thumb ... I am just tickled to actually have something blooming in my yard that I can cut! 

I've been working on a new quilt that I'm teaching in April ... I love to sit down and design a quilt.  I've missed designing and piecing because I've been spending so much time machine quilting.  I'm really looking forward to putting this new quilt together.  Hope to be able to show it to you soon!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Heavy hearts

I have mentioned that things around our house have been a little tense; our daughter had applied to 5 California state colleges -- 4 U.C. schools and 1 private university.  She started hearing back this last week ... the private university she was waitlisted; she got into UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara.  Neither one of those schools were her first or second choices.  The other schools were UC Los Angeles and UC Irvine ... she had originally said UCLA was her first choice, but lately decided UCI was her first choice.  She just found out tonight she did not get into UCLA (which was a longshot anyway), and is waitlisted for UCI.  She is really disappointed, and I sure understand why -- UCI is ranked a little lower (I mean as far as difficulty getting into) than UCSD or UCSB, so we were all thinking she should get into UCI.  I don't understand this whole waitlist thing ... they're going to let her know by May 15 whether they can give her a spot, but she has to let the other 2 schools she got into know by May 1 what her intention is -- nothing like making it difficult.  I feel for her ... she is such a great student and always has worked hard.  A 4+ grade point average and excellent scores on her SATs.  I think it is just the ratio of students to spots ... for instance, at UCLA they had 50,000 applications for 5,000 spots -- unbelievable!  If my kid with the scores, etc., that she has can't get in then where do the kids go that don't have those kind of scores?  I don't know ... it's all very discouraging.  So hard to see beyond her disappointment ... as much as I've told her wherever she gets into is where she needs to be, I don't exactly know how to help her with this.  Guess we'll have to research the whole waitlist thing and see what the options are ... my poor sweetie ... I hate to see her feel so disappointed.  Of course she doesn't focus on getting into those two wonderful schools (that are also hard to get into), she is only focusing on not getting into the school that was her first choice.  When I told her "you didn't really think this would be easy, did you?", I didn't realize how true that would prove to be.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Traveling Thursdays

Hello again!  Today I am sending you to a very sweet blog written by Thelma ... it is called Cupcakes and Daisies ... in her description of the blog/herself, she says the blog is not about cupcakes or daisies!  I've been reading her blog for several months -- what amazes me the most about this sweet lady, is how quickly she cuts out a million pieces for a quilt, lays them out so carefully, and then puts them together ... I love the simplicity of her quilts, but they are also stunning.

Happy almost-Friday!

Wednesday's post!

This is Wednesday's post on Thursday morning ... just couldn't muster the energy last night to write on my blog.  I started taking a blood pressure medicine about a month or so ago.  Approximately 10 to 15 percent of people develop a cough as a side effect.  Well I started having this nagging cough, but I wasn't sure if it was a cold; then when the doctor doubled the dosage, the cough got worse.  I still was thinking it was an allergy or something else ... you know how you get busy and just forget about things or put making decisions off.  Well, that was not my smartest moment ... this cough is a nagging tickle that kind of starts in my chest ... it's weird ... anyway, it keeps waking me up at night.  The only thing that makes it go away is something like a Lifesaver candy ... that sugary warmth seems to soothe it.  So I have a roll of Lifesavers by the side of my bed ... great, my dentist will be happy to hear that!  Combined with my children making me crazy, not sleeping steadily is really starting to take it's toll!

I finished another quilt yesterday ... yay!  This is the third quilt for the same friend.  I was really pushing to get them finished because I've had them for quite some time.  She wasn't in a hurry, but I didn't want to give them back to her one at a time, so once I started them I was anxious to finish!  And, to top it off, they were all big!  I guess she doesn't make small quilts .. ha, ha!

This quilt had a lot of muted colors in it ... some greens, browns, plums, neutrals ... I auditioned probably 8 different colors of thread.  In the end I decided on a Glide thread, leather.  The color is a warm gold, brown .. it seemed to go well with all the colors.  When it came to the quilting I went around and around on what to do ... I knew it was going to be something simple ... so much pattern and color, the quilt just needed something to give it definition.  In the end I just did my "signature" swirl as one of my friend's has named it!  Ha, ha

I did use Glide in the top and bobbin ... the quilt was 75" x 75".  So glad I finished them all!
Back of the quilt; the camera doesn't show the purple flannel back very well

Have a great day ... I'm off to work today.  It is a sad day ... I've been working for about 8 months with my buddy at the quilt store.  It is usually just two people, and Thursday's are me and Kathy, the manager, whom I love!  But when my other friend started working on Thursday's with us so I could work on that Cotton Club quilt last year, we really bonded ... we work great together and get a lot done.  But they are moving her to Tuesday's to cover for one of our friends that is having knee surgery.  We are taking this hard ... I will sure miss working with her and I plan on enjoying our last day together!  We might have to really stir things up today ... mahem at the quilt store, watch out!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The joy of quilting

Let's see ... 17 year old child stressed out of her mind about going away to college; 21 year old child (adult) stressed out of his mind about graduating from college ... thank God for quilting!!!  Gathered around my longarm this weekend and sewed away.  Had the t.v. going, it was cold and rainy outside all weekend, and I even turned the heater on in the granny flat.  It was nice and cozy!  I made it a point to leave my cell phone in the other house.  I have really been aggravated about being disturbed when I'm trying to get a quilt done ... then I realized ... Colleen ... you don't need to have your phone with you at all times.  I think we are all so programmed to the fact that we need to be available all the time ... what if my husband needs me, or one of my kids?  So I am never alone and always being interrupted ... not a good way to operate as I start feeling resentful.  The compromise?  Leave the phone in the house and when I'm quilting, check it every hour or so when I take a break. 

First quilt up was this big quilt ... this is one of three I have to quilt for a friend ... isn't this lovely and colorful?  I used a turquoise color of Glide in top and bobbin ... a swirly all over stitch.  You can't see the color of the thread very well, but it looks great!

The second quilt of her's was also on the large side ... she really just wanted a simple stipple ... I used Omni on top and So Fine in the bobbin.  Not sure I really like the lighter threads ... I like the definition of a heavier thread, and since I've been using a lot of Glide, I really like the definition it provides as well. 

 I think the color of the Omni was a perfect match, and even though I like the looks of the heavier thread, I think the lighter weight thread really just helped show the details off in this quilt ... the quilting blends more into the background and you see the pattern of the quilt more.  I like that.

I really love this quilt ... do you think she would give it to me?!  =:)  Tomorrow is another day, filled with quilting!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Really I'm here!!!

Hello!!!!  I'm finally back ... in addition to my other issues (ha, ha), then I was having computer trouble!  Think I got things back on track ... we'll see!  I finally got the pictures uploaded into the last post from 3/14, so if you wanted to check those out, they are posted!

Now where do I go from here, I'm so confused ... okay, the quilt store I work at has been around for about 26 years ... that is wonderful!  We have blocks of the month that we do every year, and we usually offer about three choices.  The way we have kept track of who signs up and if they've picked up their blocks is the old fashioned way ... it was written down on a list by names, telephone numbers, and then the months were listed and every time someone picked up their block, we made a check mark by that name in the appropriate box.  For years I have wanted to put it all on the computer and get the lists to be alphabetized by first name ... the way we do it now is the names are numbered in the order they sign up, and we just scan our fingers down the page looking for that particular person's name ... often people will memorize their number, and then they tell us that information and that saves us a lot of time.  Starting on Monday at work, I created a file on the computer and now the lists are alphabetized ... yay!!!  I won't bore you with all the details, but it did not go as smoothly as I hoped ... heh, heh ... I started to put it into Excel, and a little bird was standing over my shoulder and said "why are you using Excel, why not use Microsoft Word?"  I had no idea I could do a table in word ... well Susy showed me how!!  It seemed pretty simple .. yeah, right!  Honestly I am glad I took the time to learn how to do it, and I'm grateful that she showed me how ... then I was trying to finish it up at the store yesterday morning.  Another little bird came in and saw I was ready to pull my hair out adding the finishing touches (like sorting it by first name) ... Jayne helped me figure out several things, but then I just had to put it away and go home and finish.  Jayne and I started confusing each other ...  ha, ha, ha!!  I like to figure things out myself (translated: hard-headed!), and I usually spend entirely too much time figuring it out.  But this time it paid off ... and then when it does, you have such satisfaction!!!

I started the quilting on the colorful large quilt ... I haven't gotten more than about 14 inches, and I've already used two bobbins of Glide ... my bobbin winder fell on the floor the other day (yikes!!), and I have a feeling that I need to make a small adjustment to it, because I think it's not winding the bobbins all the way full.  At this rate it's going to take forever!!!

Looking forward to catching you up on last week's activities ... happy Friday.
Random Picture:  I was looking for some picture to put on the blog so you didn't have to just look at text; came across pictures from my sister's wedding in 2007 (has it really been that long?) ... me and my two brothers ... Michael (on top), and Steven to my right ... love my brothers!!!!  Aren't we cute?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking up!

Much better day today ... I did a little crying this morning and it seemed to cleanse my heart!  I made a decision that I was not going to let these problems consume me.  It was a beautiful day in San Diego - mid 60's.  On my way to coffee this morning, I noticed while driving through the neighborhoods I always pass the things I see every day.  We just get used to the same scenery, and take it for granted, not really paying attention.  But today I really stopped and paused ... the short grandpa that I see walking with a big stick every morning, sometimes with a little one by his side, and sometimes alone.  He is such a confident man ... he wears light pink sweatpants at times!!  The moms walking with their strollers after they have dropped their elementary kids off; taking the ones in the stroller for a walk so they can get a little exercise.  The lady with the small, beautifully groomed little dog ... that dog is so happy!  More people seem to be out walking in the mornings lately, and I think it is because spring is here.

I know that I get too busy thinking about what needs to be done, and focusing on all the things I should be doing, that I forget to take the time and SEE the things around me that I love.  The plants in my garden that are celebrating spring, the birds around the feeder after I put some food out for them.  They chirp away happily ... the fresh water that I put in the bird bath every day so it doesn't get gross looking ... these are not really chores ... they are things that I do that feed my soul.  What makes you happy?  Sometimes when I'm doing these routine things like feeding the dogs, I stop and really laugh at their antics ... the little dances they do, the bark, then the quiet sitting when I give them that look that means "calm down before I'll put the food in your bowl."  It's the same every day, and I don't tire of seeing it ...

Today I got the quilt loaded that is next up ... about 90 x 102, but her backing is really large, so it took some time getting it on the frame.  The back has many pieces, so I tried to be really careful in loading.  I decided today that I would just take my time as I was in no hurry ... remember I talked about how the process of quilting and/or being at my frame just relaxes me and allows me to relax, and put life in perspective.  I probably spent about an hour and a half loading the quilt, taking a little break here and there. 
Originally I intended to start quilting it today as well, but that just did not happen.  I'm okay with that ... it's ready to go and the loading part is one of the more tedious sides of longarming.  I picked the thread ... I talked to my customer and knowing her personality, and the brightness of the quilt, I suggested a couple of louder colors.  She picked the turquoise Glide thread ... it is going to look stunning!

As I write this this evening, I decided to sit outside on my patio and enjoy the end of the day ... it's a little chilly, but I'm enjoying the end of the sunset with both the dogs keeping me company. 

Enjoy the little things!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm here!

Did you miss me???  Well I sure missed you!!!  I cannot believe it's been over a week since I've been here in blog land.  What a crazy week ... I have lots of pictures to show, and stories to tell.  I'll break it up over a few days so I don't totally overwhelm you!  But that will have to start tomorrow.  I'm just done tonight.  We have a child graduating from high school this year and one graduating from college.  Our son goes to college in Hawaii, so we're trying to plan for him to come home and there are a few complications.  It's just waying heavy on my heart at the moment with both of our kids ... I know that parenting is the hardest job in the world, but what continues to surprise me is how difficult it still is the older they become.  Older means more complex problems ... I find myself unsure at times of what I'm actually doing and surprised because at this point, I didn't think I could feel that way anymore ... I'm an old hand at this.  :::::sigh::::::  Love my kids very much of course and I am so proud of them ... I know we'll work everything out, but right now everything is churning around in my head.  I think I'm going to start reading my new book and go soak in the bath ... that sounds like a good plan!  Thank goodness for quilting ... didn't get to do any sewing today, and maybe that's part of my problem.  Isn't it wonderful how we can either sit at our machines or stand at our longarms and just get lost in the joy of creating?  It takes so much concentration to quilt that before long we have eased some of our troubles, and worked our problems out.  Tomorrow, I'll start a quilt that's on my frame ... that will help. 
This is a photo I stole from my cousin's Facebook page ... it is just so perfect ... that's how I feel today!!  Be back tomorrow with more giddy up in my step!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beautiful Monday

We are surely blessed to live in this beautiful area ... yes, our gas is averaging about $4.40 a gallon for regular unleaded, and the water bills are sky high, but today it was in the 80's!  I needed to get some work done at my sewing machine ... I'm teaching the Cotton Club block of the month class tomorrrow and I needed to have my samples of the four blocks done.  But it was just too pretty to not spend some time outside!

While I was busy pulling weeds and pruning some plants ... look what I discovered on my tomato plants ...

 ... just the tomatoes, not the bunny!!  I know it's not tomato season, but I planted the plant a couple of months ago and at least its growing and green ... that was all I cared about.  I'll try one of the tomatoes tomorrow and see whether it tastes any good.  While I was making everything nice and neat in the yard, I turned around and the official Country Loft dog, had done this ...

. . . then he'll go in the house and lay down on the floor, and I wonder where all the piles of dirt come from inside ... it's like having a little kid around!

I did finish the quilt I had on the frame ... yahoo!  This is a quilt pattern that I've done before ... she just wanted something really simple and fast on it ...

YLI on top, Glide in the bobbin

After class tomorrow I'll come home and get another quilt on the frame ... and enjoy some more of that San Diego sunshine!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Hop begins!

No, not the Easter bunny hop ... the San Diego Cruisin' Quilters 2012 shop hop!!  All the stores are open extended hours from March 3 -11 ... Monday through Saturday from 9 to 7, and Sundays from 10 to 4.  I didn't have to go in until noon, so I enjoyed a beautiful morning ... had some coffee, read the paper and even had time to make the Country Loft's official cookie . . .
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies ... yummy!!!

My friends often give me a hard time because I say I don't like to cook ... I don't especially like cooking because everyone is so picky in my house.  I do love to bake though, and that started when I was a small girl.  My grandmother was a fabulous cook and baker ... I always feel closest to her when I'm in the kitchen.
Proof that I cook a lot ... see the cover!  This cookbook is at least 25 years old!
One of the sections I love the most in this cookbook is the "know your ingredients" ... it gives you measurement conversions and substitutions ... if you don't have baking chocolate, use "x" amount of cocoa powder ...
for those that can't remember how many teaspoons in a tablespoon, ounces in a cup, etc., etc.  Love that section!
this is part of the substitions section ... love it too ... it's amazing what you can substitute for certain things ... who would know???
... remember Charlie is never far from wherever I am ... he's keeping his eye on me ... or rather, he was probably keeping his eye on those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies ... I think he could be the official dog of the Country Loft ... since we have a cookie, why not a dog?
Doesn't it look like a beautiful day today?  It certainly was and this is how the store greets you as you come in.  See the quilt at the front door on the right?  Isn't that a great place for it?  The chalkboard sign says welcome to the shop hoppers ...
A close up of the quilt ... see how the tea dyeing really gives it the primitive flair?
This shed in the backyard is where we keep the larger antiques and pieces that we don't have room for in the store ... it's just out the back door and down a couple of steps ... don't you want to go in and visit?
When you come in the back gate, this is the view you see ... you could just sit in the yard and soak up all the goodies out there ... I was sitting at the picnic table eating my lunch this afternoon when I snapped this picture ... just a quick break to get some sustenance!

One of the things that people are always looking for at these shop hops is sale fabric ... we sold quite a bit today ... that's pretty much what I did all day today, cut sale fabric and fill this cubby ... our 1/2 yard cuts for the show are only $2.50 ... what a deal!  We straightened it all up today so it will be beautiful when all the shoppers come tomorrow morning ...
It won't look this beautiful for more than about 10 minutes!

The table right next to these house the sale fat quarters and fat eighths ...
Enjoy the rest of your weekend ... and if you're shop hopping, check out the Country Loft and tell them how you found out about the store!
The Country Loft
4685 Date Avenue
La Mesa, California 91942