Sunday, July 29, 2012

Catching up ... yay!

It didn't take me very long to get behind ... something happened last week, and the two quilts I was supposed to do did not get done!  So this week I jammed and got four quilts done ... hurray!  Feels really good to get them all done and check them off my quilt calendar ... now I'm back on track ... yay!!

One of the quilts I did earlier in the week was a queen size churn dash quilt.  I've watched my friend work on this for a while, and when she gave it to me to quilt I was really excited.  She wanted a really tight stipple on the quilt, and I was a littile concerned about that since the quilt was so big.  Usually I would do a medium size stipple ... she was right on!  I love the tight stipple and it looks great (if I do say so myself!).

I used an Omni thread in the top and bobbin ... the color is Goose ... I love the name!
Didn't she do a good job?  It's so striking in just the couple of colors.  It was really fun to quilt!
She's lucky because I almost kept it for my bed!  I liked it so much ... heh, heh. 
I wanted to show the back of the quilt so you can see how she pieced it ... she just used what she had.  A lot of people really want the back of their quilts to look nice, and to them that means a beautiful piece of fabric.  I happen to love the look of a pieced back ... the scrappier the better ... I've seen some backs that are geometrically beautiful, but I never can put that much planning into my backs.  I do prefer to use whatever I have and in addition to it looking really cool, I feel virtuous in using up all my leftovers!
I loved this center strip ... I'm not sure what it started out as, but I thought it looked really neat!

While I was out on the back patio this evening enjoying the end of the day and the quilt I just finished, I went inside to get something, and then when I came back outside, this hawk was sitting on the fence about 20 yards away from me ...
It's hard to see him as I didn't want to get any closer and scare him away.  He must have sat there looking around for about 15 minutes.
I was wondering if he was looking at Sophie and wondering if he had any chance of scooping her up!  See him way over there on the right?  I don't even think Sophie paid any attention to him or knew he was there.  More likely he was looking for the baby bunnies that have been out and about in the neighbor's yard the last week or so ... they are so cute!  I hope they watch out for the hawks!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mystery Quilt

Last Friday night I taught a mystery quilt class.  This year the Country Loft did a Summer Nights class -- for the summer on most Friday nights, we had evening classes ... those Friday night classes are so fun because not only do you get to get together and sew, but dinner is provided ... yahoo!  I taught a Mystery Class last year and I taught someone else's pattern.  This year I wanted to do a mystery class, but teach my own pattern ... after a lot of hemming, hawing (procrastinating!!!!), and some help from a friend, I came up with this awesome quilt ...
Don't  you love it?!!  This is how it came to be ... months ago I was going to teach a beginning quilt class with the design of a sampler quilt.  I wanted a quilt with big blocks that would go together fairly quickly.  Large block quilts are great for beginners because the large pieces are more forgiving than smaller pieces.  I had a lot of the Hometown fabric that came out last year ... I started putting together blocks and had about three or four done.  I got stumped ... something wasn't right ... I loved the fabric, but it just wasn't meshing.  When I decided to do a mystery class I kicked a couple of ideas around and thought ... hey, I have these blocks that I haven't done anything with, how about these?  Well I needed some help ... so I took them to a good friend and she very quickly got me on the right track! 

The result I love ... it looks like there is a little frame around everything in the above picture because my son was holding the quilt and the sun is shining through the back of it.  What you see is just the seam allowances.  I barely got it finished just in time for the class (shh ... don't tell anyone!) ...what fun we had!  I think there were 7 ladies and they all made their quilts out of different fabrics.  It was so fun to see how different they all looked!  I was so busy sewing that I was struggling with what to make for dinner for everyone that night ... well one of my other good friends came through ...
What you can't see under all that aluminum foil is some of the best chicken enchiladas a white woman can make!  They were delicious and lucky for me, a whole large pan was left so I have been having leftovers all week ... yummy!  Her secret ingredient?????  Trader Joe's enchilada sauce ... it is seriously delicious!

Everyone was so excited when they left that evening to finish their quilt.  I was really excited for them ... one of the gals came into the Loft yesterday and had her top totally completed!
Look at Tamara's quilt!  I can't believe she got it done already ... she was so excited that she had most of it done when I saw her again on Saturday at the store.  She used some funky 50's type fabrics ... it's kind of hard to see it in the picture ... I love the contrast of some of her fabrics and she did a great job of putting several different styles of fabric together.  She is a pretty new quilter ... can you believe it?!  Now I have to get busy and plan the next Mystery Quilt class ... if I start on it now, I might have it done by next summer!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A drawing

Hi again ... I know, two posts from me in one day ... don't fall over!  I wanted to send you over to the Country Loft's store blog ... it hasn't been very active lately, but we are getting our act in gear at the store, and have a new plan to update it a couple of times a week, so keep checking back.

In the meantime, hop on over and check it out ... there's a giveaway going on now ...

Good luck!


Today was a great day ... I don't know about you, but I have this really bad habit of rating my days by how much I got done on a particular day.  I guess this can be a good thing ... it's a motivator; but it can also be a bad thing ... if you just relax for a day, you feel like you're a slug!  Today I had a work meeting at 8 a.m., and I knew that if I didn't go to the gym before the meeting, I wouldn't get there.  So I made myself roll out of bed at 6:30, go to the gym, then to the meeting.  I didn't look the greatest, but my friends didn't care (I should mention that my workplace, the Country Loft, in La Mesa, California, has their work meetings at Panera ... not something I have to dress up for) ... then I ran a couple of errands, came home, finished quilting a huge quilt I had on my frame and helped my son fix dinner!  Now that's a great day ... a couple things I was reminded of today ... I work in a great place ... how many other people can say they love the work they do.  I have met so many people through our store ... and we all know that quilters are some of the nicest people in the world! 

Through our store, I gained the confidence to start teaching classes, and have made some of the nicest friends!  Then there is the whole longarm thing ... a business that I wouldn't be nearly as successful at except for the fact that when you work in an awesome quilt store, you have built in longarm customers!

Here's a quilt I did earlier in the week ... it's just a cute little table runner.  Very simple ...

I didn't want to do too tight of a design .. I thought with all the detail in the stars, it just needed a little something to compliment them.  One of the things I have discovered I don't like is when I have a small quilt like a table runner, if I do a small tight design, the table runner is stiff, and I don't like that look.

I used a cream Superior King Tut on top and Glide in the bobbin.
I haven't made a lot of time lately for my own quilt projects ... with all my graduations in the family and visiting and vacations, there just didn't seem to be a lot of time.  Well I've been working on a block of the month and I went to a friend's house on Monday to visit and sew and look what I got done ...

I'm working on my April block, and in that block you make one for April and one for June; the one on the right is the April block ... the limbs on the trees are supposed to reach over onto the May block.  I am so excited to actually have something accomplished that isn't longarm quilting!  If I hadn't gone to my friend's house to play, I never would have got these cut out and put together.  So, like I said earlier about measuring my day by what I accomplish ... sometimes when you think you haven't accomplished much (like my day on Monday when I played most of the day), it turns around into something good ... it's all perspective, right?!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer quilting

I love summer ... I love the freedom from schedules, from school, from life.  I always think I am going to get so much done over the summer because we have no schedules to keep in my house.  What I forget is that all four people in my house are home over the summer ... my husband works for the school district and so he is out over summer.  What does this mean to me ... I have lots of people around wanting to do lots of things and that does not include listening to me say "I can't, I have to quilt!"  So please accept my apologies for being gone so long from posting.

I did a quilt last week for a lady ... it was an embroidered sampler quilt and I decided to resist the urge to do it simply, and challenge myself.

 The customer did not want quilting over the embroidery ... that is always a dilemma because any outlining you do around the block or the design is going to cause what is in the center to pop up.  So I just did a little squiggle around the outside of the embroidery block.

The small frame around the embroidered block got some horizontal squiggle lines, then the outside frame got some big loopy "l's".  The outside border just had a loopy swirl.
I think the quilting really made the blocks pop, and I hope my customer liked the effect.  Especially when I go outside of what I usually do, there is always the question of whether your customer will like what you did.  I've said this before ... when a customer says "whatever you want to do is fine," their idea of whatever and my idea of whatever could be two different things.  In the end I just remind myself that if they weren't confident in my abilities, they would never say whatever you want.  And if they're confident in my abilities, then I sure better be!  Ha, ha ....  Always reminding myself that I am doing this because I love it and it's enjoyable ... so lighten up woman!!!

Enjoy your lazy days of summer!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Do You Like to Read?

While I was gone on vacation I didn't do too much playing around on my computer.  I loved the freedom of not feeling connected ... just the forced taking a break from everything in life.  I am a lucky woman ... my husband loves to travel and it has always been a huge part of our lives.  I don't know how people decompress if you don't get away on vacation ... it is necessary to escape everything and recharge those batteries!

Here is a picture of a church on the island of Mykonos.  The colors of that city are pretty much white and blue.  It is stunning and fresh, and light ... and it made me want to lighten the look of my house.
This is the hotel that we stayed at in Mykonos.  It was run by a nice couple and they certainly made us feel extremely comfortable and welcome ... something I noticed about that island was how incredibly friendly everyone was.  So I read magazines, books and did a lot of crossword puzzles on my Nook while we were gone.  I didn't take any sewing (I usually do), but the crosswork puzzle thing was fun because I got the rest of my family involved in it ... my 22 year old son especially caught the bug and it was fun to pass time doing puzzles with him.

These are windmills on the beach in Mykonos.  Everyone gathers at sunset in front of the windmills to see the sun go down over the beautiful Meditteranean sea.  The sea is so salty ... when you jump in it is effortless to just bob in the water ... I didn't go in the sea (I'm not really a ocean person), but my family all did.  When we were having lunch after a dip in the sea, my daughter's eyebrows were full of salt ... I had to brush it out for her!  Amazing!

This is a part of Mykonos called Little Venice ... around the corner where you can't see is a very happening area that lines the water where there is bar and nightclub after nightclub.  There is no railing along the sea and when you're walking along and so close to the edge, it made me wonder how many people take a tumble into the water nightly after a night in the bars!

Just some beautiful pictures ... just seeing them makes me relax!  I hope this summer you take the time to find relaxation ... whether that's a vacation, reading a good book, or just escaping to a quiet spot somewhere in your mind.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hello friends, I'm back!

Well finally home after an amazing trip ... that was probably one of the better ones we have taken.  I can tell you that if you ever get a chance you should definitely visit the Greek islands ... they are beautiful, the people are welcoming and lively, and you will most surely have a relaxing vacation.  We sure did.

I'll tell you about it as I go along over the next few weeks as things pop into my head ... I took about 40 pics or so ... my daughter took 500+!!  Ha, ha ... She has an awesome camera and loves to take pictures and that she did.  I just recently got an iPhone (I swore I never would!), so that was the only camera I used.  I have to say that I love that camera and I think it does at least as good a job as my Olympus.

My daughter's graduation was beautiful, exhausting and emotional!  My brother, sis in law and their two boys came from Chicago, and my dad and stepmother came from Florida.  I had set the week aside with nothing else to do except hang with the family, but the days went extremely fast and I was pooped!  A good kind of pooped though.  We did a lot of shopping with my dad and s-mom, and they spoiled us tremendously.  They haven't visited for a long time (we usually go visit them), so it was really exciting to have everyone here.  The only person that was missing from my family was my youngest brother and his family -- they live in Virginia, and I just haven't been able to get them out here ... at least not yet!

Here is my beautiful graduate ... my baby girl ... please allow me to brag a lot ... she graduated with honors
The boys brought her a lei for graduation and I thought that was really special because we had just been in Hawaii and everyone had leis for our son's grad.

The graduate with her oh so proud parents!
With Nana
With brother

me, stepmom, dad, son, hubby, grad, brother, mom; front row - twin nephews and sis in law
The graduate in her beautiful dress that was hiding under the gown!