Sunday, April 29, 2012

Frustration and prom dresses!

Ha, ha ... and believe it or not the two don't have anything to do with each other!  Finished a quilt that I have had on the frame for the past few days.  I was cruising along doing great I changed bobbins when the second one ran out, and all of a sudden I couldn't get a good bobbin tension.  Flat line on the bottom and no amount of adjusting would work ... tried a different bobbin.  I think it is my bobbin case -- bent again?!  This is the second bobbin case I've been through in about 9 months.  I wonder if this is normal.  I do drop it on the ground occasionally because for some reason I just have a hard time holding onto it . .. maybe because of the oil that's around the case and the bobbin race!  Ordered some parts from my dealer and I thought they would have been here by Saturday at the latest ... got annoyed when they didn't show up yesterday, put a different bobbin in (instead of aluminum, tried the steel one), and it worked great.  Hmm .... I was originally using steel, then went to aluminum because I was having a problem with tension.  This is all sounding a little crazy!  Oh well ... I will go back to the aluminum bobbins and a new bobbin case when they arrive, and hope the issues are over!  Meanwhile, the quilt got finished and came out really nice.  I'll show you some pictures tomorrow.

Prom ... now without going into a long story, darling daughter's prom is the middle of May.  The prom dress is not in her hands ... long story short, today I took her and a friend of her's out to see if we could find a dress.  I found one that I loved on her at Macy's ... but she did not like it -- of course ... why should we agree now!  Ha, ha ... here's one of her favorites:
This is a dress that is on the David's Bridal website ... really beautiful ... pink with a real cinderella type feel to it ... the only one in her size from the store has to be sent from Hawaii!  Ha, ha ... So we are off tomorrow to try a few more places.  Who knows where it will take us and what she will wind up with ... there is a lot of talk about vintage dresses as the theme of the prom has something to do with classic Hollywood.  That's fine by me ... I really don't care ... I just want her to have a dress!  I want you to hear the restraint in my typing here ... because you can imagine the conversation that went on between mother and 17 year old daughter about why the prom dress that was supposed to be being MADE for you isn't going to be made ... but hey, I will not say "I TOLD YOU SO!"  Oh, I sure hope she doesn't decide today to read my blog!!!!   More tomorrow ....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday already?

How does this happen?  Well I will say I feel like I'm getting a lot done at least ... great news!  Okay, I just have to brag (and maybe motivate you) a little ... I went to the gym Monday and today ... and yesterday I did a small work out at home.  It makes me feel better, it really does ... and it is really so easy!  Why do I consistently talk myself out of it?  I joined a gym that's only about 5 minutes from my house; I did that years ago because I knew if it wasn't in my "path" I wouldn't go!  Now there was a time not too many years ago where I would go to the gym for two hours at a time ... an hour of cardio and an hour of weight training.  I also worked out with a trainer for YEARS ... it was something I did for myself, and I loved it, loved it!  I got to the point where I felt like working with the trainer was getting redundant, and I could spend that money elsewhere.  Fast forward a little bit and I decided that as much as I love the body I have when I'm working out two hours a day, five days a week, I am not willing to put in that amount of time anymore.  My life has changed and as long as I get to the gym three days a week, I am really happy with that.  But I haven't been ... I've been out of the habit and no matter how many years I have been exercising, it's never the first thing I think of doing during my day!!  Ha, ha ...
Okay, I promised you some pictures of the quilt I just finished for Judy ... here they are
The quilting design is a pantograph - Butterfly Swirls by Debra Geissler

Glide thread in top and bottom - the color is called Vegas Gold (love that name!)

Okay now something else really weird has been going on around here ... we have a moth invasion ... last week I found a GIGANTIC moth that was wounded in the garage it had beautiful wings, and I couldn't bear for Sophie to kill it, so I moved it to a part of the yard -- eewww ... I actually had to touch it!  We keep having these small little moths buzzing around, okay, I can deal with that.  But today when I came home from the gym there is a BIG (not gigantic) moth that just landed on the kitchen counter -- I scooped him up in a glass with a piece of paper on top of it and threw him outside.  Please stay out of my house!  What is going on around here?  I don't ever remember so many moths this time of year ... maybe all the rain we've been having has produced more -- Nala (the cat), at least got a little exercise -- and believe me when I tell you she needs exercise -- chasing a moth this morning ... it's funny to see a cat that should weigh about 6 pounds and weighs 12 pounds, jumping across the floor trying to catch this moth.  And just for the record so you don't think I'm a terrible pet owner ... Nala is on a very restricted diet because she will eat EVERYONE'S food ... she must be binging at night when I'm not looking because she is ginormous!  Okay ... off to pin another quilt on my frame ... I'm on a role!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beautiful weekend

**I wrote this post yesterday, and then couldn't find my camera with the pictures on it!  Ha, ha ...

This weekend was like summer ... it was beautiful!  Saturday was La Mesa clean up day which means you can bring all your junk that can't go out in the trash.  We didn't have too much of that -- just some old blacktop and cement from a major driveway project from last year.  We have been slowly getting rid of it.  The exciting part of the clean up day is the free mulch!  I wanted to just load it up in my son's truck bed, but hubby insisted we just put it in some big trashcans.  We got two loads -- not a ton, but at least it will make a nice addition to some areas in the yard that really need attention.
Oh no, I was NOT digging in the dirt!
There are two members of this household, furry members, that were also excited to see the mulch.  As soon as we brought it home and dumped it in a pile, Sophie was right over there finding some big pieces to gnaw on ... that dog is such a brat! 
Notice all the little paw prints

Hmm ... big paw prints too
You can't see the layer of mulch on the bottom of her chin!
Charlie is black so it doesn't show ... but you can see the dirt on the hardwood floor where he lays!

It is amazing what you can get done in a day when you get up early and get moving!  Usually on the weekends, I'm up early, but I sit and have my coffee and read.  By the time I get a shower and get working, it's usually noon.  Well Sunday I had coffee with my friends at 9, then went to Target and did some shopping.  By the time I got home, I had a late breakfast, then got to my longarm and did about half of the quilt I'm working on, put chili in the crockpot for dinner.  It was just one of those wonderful days when I actually feel like I got a lot done!  Here's a sneak peek at the quilt that's on my frame ... I'll show you more tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Grateful Heart

I've had a few personal things going on in my life lately, and just been overly stressed.  I know it will pass, but yesterday I spent the day with my friend who has been battling breast cancer for 8 years.  The cancer has moved to her spine, and she is in tremendous pain.  I took her to chemo where we spent an hour and a half having her drip.  We sat and visited, and spent time talking to some of the other patients there.  The lady next to her was there for a 5 hour treatment ... it really put my life in perspective.  I did not come home feeling sad (like I thought I would); I came home with a renewed sense of the strength and courage I saw in ordinary people.  My friend doesn't realize she is an inspiration, and one of my heros ... she just thinks she's an ordinary person.  I know different ... if you pray, please pray for my friend, Helen ... she certainly could use any help.  She is schedule for radiation again for the next couple weeks, and they'll be trying a different combination of chemo drugs, hoping to find that combination that will help shrink those tumors.

On a different note, the new class schedule is coming out on Sat., April 21 at The Country Loft.  Here is one of the classes I am teaching in the next couple months ... it's called All Squared Up ... it is an original Donna Yackey pattern, and she graciously allowed me to teach it since she is retired from teaching and quilt designing.

Also on Saturday, our very own quilt designer, Kathy Cardiff of The Cottage at Cardiff Farms is having a book signing!  This is her first book published by Leisure Arts ... the book is lovely!  We are so excited ... she will be doing a book signing from 9-10, and then having a class after that.  So please come by and have her autograph your book ... they did such a nice job with not only the pictures of her quilts, but the other photos in the book -- specifically of her yard and garden area.

Happy Friday ... it is waaaaayyyy past my bedtime and I am going to be sorry later this morning when I have to get up.  But I didn't want to ignore all my buddies out there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet quilts

The latest quilt I did on my Innova, is a really sweet little quilt.  One of the ladies that works at The Country Loft, is a very talented designer named, Jo Ann Mullaly and she has a company called J.A.M.  I've given you a link to her blog before, but if you want to see some of her amazing work, here is our store's website:

And Jo Ann's blog:

This quilt I quilted is one of Jo Ann's earlier quilts, an ABC sampler quilt (sorry, but I don't know the exact name).  The customer just wanted some simple quilting, something tight, and not to quilt over the stitching.  I did my little swirly loop, and just around the frames of each embroidered block, I just did a little wavy line.  I think it came out really cute and I love how simple it is.  It lets you see the embroidery on the quilt and just appreciate how sweet it is!
It's really hard to see the quilt because the camera is fighting with the embroidery.

Yesterday I spent a good deal of my day in my tiny sewing room, trying to straighten up and clean out.  The room is usually pretty tidy because the space is so small so I can't afford to have it be messy ... I just can't work when it's like that!  But occasionally I have little stacks of things that need to be taken care of.  I've mentioned before that after I'm done with a piece of fabric when I'm making a quilt, and only a little remains, I cut it into strips ranging anywhere from 1" to 3".  I have a bin for 1", 1 1/2", and so forth.  Well, I had a little stack of fabrics that needed to be cut into strips from a project I finished back in December.  So I spent a good deal of time yesterday ironing the fabric and then cutting and sorting the strips.  Whew ... that takes so much time, but now I'm caught up.  Then I decided to go through a couple of boxes and weed out some of my unfinished projects that I know I never will want to make.  There are a group of lovely women at our store that work all year long finishing other's projects, and using donated fabric to make quilts and other items for our yearly, Sew for the Cure sale.  If you go to our website, you can see the show from last year ... it is a great cause, and great fun!  I am always happy to donate my fabric, a quilt, or something ... but now that I have a longarm, I love to donate my quilting!  It's something I really enjoy.  Anyway, after looking through just a couple of boxes, I realized I have several finished tops that need to be quilted ... maybe they just needed one more thing done (or so I thought), but now that they've been sitting for so long, I don't care about that one little thing they need.  If they've been in a box for several years and they look done, then they are!  Here's the stack:

Now a couple of these had been hanging over a railing, just waiting for me to quilt them, but come on!  I have been so busy quilting for other people, that I've ignored my own.  I decided that on my schedule where I have other's names penciled in on the day I've assigned for their quilt, my name is going to be in there as well!  Next up is Judy's quilt ... it's actually on the frame right now.  The next person'a quilt is going to be one of mine!!!  I'll show you all these quilts as I get them done ... that way I'm committed to actually following exactly what I've just told you I'll do.  Okay, I'm off to my frame!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Before I know it days have passed ... how does this happen?  I know when you want life to slow down, it just takes off, and when you want it to hurry up, it drags and drags!  I seem to be stuck in a bit of a slump lately ... I'm trying to do too many things, and definitely have too much on my mind and lack the ability to tune things out!  It's a difficulty I've always had and I'm just continuing to work on it!  Sometimes I just need to hibernate, for lack of a better word.  I do the minimum I need to do, and really try and regroup and just focus on the things I need to focus on.  My family seems to need a lot of attention right now as well!  Oh to be a person that just goes through life focusing on the immediate thing that needs to be done, and not worrying about all the rest of the stuff ... I thought I could achieve this in my lifetime, but maybe it's just something you need to be born with ... ha, ha!!!  I'm going to keep reaching for that goal!!!

I put another quilt on my frame earlier in the week ... it was a large quilt and the pattern on it was so stunning, that I just didn't want to do too much in the quilting to detract from the quilt itself.

So I am quilting along and everything is going really well.  I have great tension, I'm loving the look of the Omni gold thread on top and the Glide in the bobbin, things are going along as planned and I'm thinking I'm even going to be done sooner than I thought.  I get to the bottom and I realize ... holy crap ... I am about 4 inches short on the backing!  One of the first things I do before I put a quilt on the frame is lay the quilt across the frame and take the measurements; then I lay the back on the frame and measure the backing to make sure the customer has given me enough.  This quilt was for a customer that I have done several quilts for ... I measured the sides, but I never measured the length ... I just got caught up in getting it done, and skipped that very important step.  So after I said a few bad words, I stopped to think about how to fix it.  I quilted down to approximately 10 inches from the bottom.  Unpinned the quilt and took it off the frame, trimmed the top and the sides, and took the little bit that was trimmed off the top, squared it up straight, took it all to my sewing machine, and sewed that little strip onto the bottom of the back.  It was just enough and was I ever grateful!  I measured the backing when I had it off the frame, and she had only given me about 2 extra inches.  This happens all the time when you measure, and you think you have the measurement right, but you just goof ... I knew without even calling her that she would want me to fix the problem and would feel terrible about it.  It took me about an hour to fix and then repin; I had done a pantograph on the quilt, so I just had to realign it, not too much trouble.  Got it done and it all looked great!

 The repair is the last about 4 inches at the bottom, and I don't even think you can see it here.  The pantograph I used was called Cotton Candy.

 It just put some dimension into the quilt, and with the Omni thread being a little lighter, it's very subtle.
 My customer felt really bad about shorting the fabric on the backing, did not mind the extra charge for my time, and was delighted with the end result.  Boy, I can't ask for more than that in a day!  What turned out to be a major headache, in the end really wasn't that bad and was a pretty easy fix.

I was supposed to have a class yesterday at the Country Loft, but I just could not get my sample finished.  So instead of a class, I called my students from my last Saturday beginning class and invited them to come in and sew for a couple of hours and I would be happy to give them any help they needed ... no charge.  I decided to bring my sewing machine and then I could sit and sew on a project as well.  A couple of other friends joined me, and it was such an enjoyable day!  I finally took in my little Singer machine to sew on ... I was a little nervous because since I tuned it up in the maintenance class back in October, I haven't sewn on it at all.  I just haven't had a chance to take a class ... well it worked beautifully!  Was so much fun to use my little machine.

Have a great week and enjoy each day to its fullest!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back to the frame

Slowly getting my body back to the longarm and trying to catch up with my quilts that are waiting for special attention!  It always seems like I have a sample thrown in for The Country Loft ... I started the sample, and it totally boggled my mind.  I just could not wrap my head around it ... thank goodness my lovely friend, picked it up and finished it for the store, and did the kits that I started ... I just left it on her lap.  Some days are just like that ... thank goodness for great friends!!  =:)
This is a pattern out of the upcoming edition of Primitive Quilts ... should be out soon.  The quilt is really small, only about 30" x 30" ... I decided a small, close all over pattern was best, but I did do a little wavy cross hatching in each of the colored blocks in the border ... just a little something.  Used a 40 wt. cotton on top and Glide in the bobbin.
Isn't it cute?  My friend did a great job!!

I have had a small quilt for sometime ... it is a charity quilt.  So cute --
This is a stitchery block of the month that Susan decided to just make into a small quilt ... I just did a little curvy "s" type all over pattern.  Again I used 40 wt. cotton in the top and Glide in the bobbin.
I have a quilt up next that I decided I needed a trip to the thread store for the perfect color.  It's been a while since I've visited the thread store, and I did have a ball!  I bought a pantograph and four cones of thread ... the panto is Cotton Candy ...
The back left thread is a navy from Permacore ... I don't need a navy right now, but I thought it was a great color and a good one to have in my collection.  The middle one is an Omni by Superior, and is the color that I picked (with Sylvia from the thread store's help) for the next quilt.  Kind of a browny-gold.  The one on the right front is a Signature thread in a medium gray ... I have almost used an entire cone of King Tut variegated gray, so I was going to replace it with the same.  I saw this color in the Signature line, and decided to try it instead of the variegated.  The big cone of thread in the front is called Sew It All, and it is to replace the cone of thread on the left ... same color, and that's how big that color originally was, so I decided it was a great color and I needed to replenish it!  I drooled over the corals and pinks, greens and yellows ... I just don't have any quilts to use those colors on ... hmm, I think I have a new mission!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter ...

Hope you have a wonderful Easter and that there are some chocolate bunnies in your basket!

17 year olds still like Easter egg hunts (and mom's still love hiding the eggs!!)

It took her a long time to find this orange one ...

Tie dyed Easter eggs ... they were fun!

I even managed to finish my February block!!!  What a wonderful Easter ... hippity hop!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Computers -- acckkk!

Whew ... it is almost 11:30 p.m. and I have been trying for the last two days to get the McAfee Security to work on my computer -- it is a program that I downloaded through my internet provider.  It was working fine, and then in the last couple days I kept getting a blip on my screen every time I opened the computer that said "your computer is not protected."  Then I couldn't open the program ... after hours of troubleshooting, I finally decided to uninstall and reinstall the program.  Then I got a system error ... ugh!  Finally I got it to install and ran a scan, and now I feel okay to use the computer!  Sheesh ... I only like technology when it works.  I hate being a computer guru ... that, I am not!!

The last couple of days have been a blur ... we toured two colleges with our daughter on Wednesday, and then drove to Santa Barbara on Wednesday afternoon/evening.  To make a very long story short, we checked into a wonderful hotel on the beach in SB and toured the UC Santa Barbara campus on Thursday.  We drove around for about 2 1/2 hours Wed. night trying to find a hotel that accepted dogs ... I have a husband that likes to live on the edge, and we did not have reservations for Wed. night ... it is spring break, and so EVERYONE is traveling ... grrr ... I will not go there and bash my dear husband!  Ha, ha ... as things always do, it worked out ... somehow we arrived at the Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel ... a beautiful resort right across from the beach.  The room was amazing, and the price even more so!  I don't know how we got such a great rate, but I wish we could have stayed a couple of days.  We walked the dogs along the boardwalk Wednesday night after dinner, and I got up Thursday morning and took them for a long walk again ... lovely!  They had a ball!!

After our tour of UCSB, it was time for the fun to begin ... my favorite cousin (who is really more like my sister), lives in Santa Barbara ... when we get a chance to visit, it is like reliving all the years and great times we've spent together.  What a great visit we had!!  I got to meet her best friend that I've heard about for years, and it was just a beautiful day in Santa B.  I didn't want to leave!  We got home late last night, and I admit it was really nice to sleep in my own bed.

When you don't have a chance to get to your favorite candy store that the Easter Bunny shops at, you do the next best thing, and have it delivered (sometimes I can be so smart!) ... the See's candy came today ... I had to laugh because inside this big box was this ...
There was more packing than goodies ... really trying to restrain myself in the candy buying department this year -- I usually get way too carried away!
Ha, ha, ha!  I am so excited for Easter ... another one of my favorite times.  I love bunnies, and have always loved waking up on Easter morning and finding what the Easter bunny left!  Hidden eggs, Reese's peanut butter eggs, oh my!  So excited waiting for the Easter bunny to get here!

Okay tomorrow, we'll get back to quilting!  Oh how I've missed my quilting.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Traveling diaries

Good morning, well at least it's morning here!  We are in Irvine, CA which is only about 1 1/2 hours from San Diego looking at colleges with our sweet daughter.  We've already done this with her, but now that acceptances have started rolling in, it's time to narrow the choices.  We always travel with the two dogs, leaving a housesitter to tend to the cat and the home.  Charlie is usually sitting in the back of the car while I pack, just waiting ... he wants to be sure he's not left at home!  This time Sophie was in the back and was not letting anyone else in ... ha, ha!  The hotel we stayed at for the evening is in "Old Irvine" which looks like it consists of a block!  But part of the hotel building is in an old maybe train station, and that's the part we stayed in.  It is so cool ... the building is cement, and they left all the walls like that, so it has a great feel.  It's solid, so the only noise you can hear are the people trampling around upstairs.  The railroad tracks run right behind the building, so we've gotten to hear the trains all night ... I love it!  I'll post pictures later because I didn't take any last night ... we did a quick tour of the college campuses last evening after dinner, and at least we know where we're going this a.m.

A small problem I have sometimes ... I wake up in the wee hours of the morning and can't get back to sleep.  Usually when I'm at home, I get up, read for about 20 minutes, and then I'm tired enough to go back to sleep.  What do you do when you're in a small hotel room where the only door that closes also houses the toilet?  Well, you lay there and hope the time passes quickly!  I woke up at 5:00 a.m., the alarm was set for 7, and the dogs heard something at 6:45 so up and out we went.  That's okay by me ... I really love the early morning.  It's quiet and peaceful ... nice and cool out (yesterday inland San Diego where I live was 80!) ... that's the time that is usually all to me.  The dogs don't talk, so I love having them around, and no one is asking me questions, the phone isn't ringing, and I can just have some much needed quiet and rejuvenating time.

The dogs have been walked and fed ... they are so happy to be traveling they are a crack-up, just like kids!  They get to jump up on our beds and rest ... they think that's a huge treat!  I ran downstairs and got my coffee in a huge mug that I brought from home, and I grabbed a doughnut too (a real treat!).  Now I'll finish my little note to you all and be off to get ready for the rest of the day.  On the schedule is UC Irvine and Concordia University.  Then from there we leave for Santa Barbara where we'll stay overnight and then check out the UCSB campus tomorrow morning.  Have a great day friends!

P.S.  If you like chinese food and you haven't been to a PF Chang's lately, you need to go! We had dinner there last night; haven't eaten at one in a couple of years.  It was so delicious!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Beautiful Monday

Today in San Diego it was a beautiful 74 degrees ... a glimpse of spring/summer coming on fast!  In addition to the wool block of the month I've been stitching on, I got a couple other things done today.  I haven't been at my longarm for a couple of weeks now ... I loaded a small quilt, and it's all ready for quilting. 

That part will have to wait for now.  At least I have it loaded and ready to quilt!

I'm teaching the Cotton Club block of the month class tomorrow ... here's what my April blocks look like:
Aren't they cute?  This block of the month is through Bonnie Blue Quilts ... I love how they come out ... and much cuter in person because the colors just don't show as well in a picture.  These are 5 1/2" blocks and will finish at 5" ... love them.  The directions are awesome and they are such a pleasure to make every month!

I went to the post office today to mail my Easter packages.  I have two sets of nephews, and I love to send them packages with goodies in them for different occasions.  Have you done all your Easter bunny shopping?  The Easter bunny needs a little help, he can't do it all!

Gotta run ... we rented the last Muppet movie and I'm missing it!  I love the Muppets!