Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Peace and quiet

... this is what I am sitting with right now ... I feel like I have gotten so much done already in the last week, and as it is always my way to question ... wondering why??   Life is settling back down .. my hubby is back to work as he works for the school district, and school is back in session (as many of my friends are doing that end of summer dance that only moms do!) ... my son is busy working part-time, and continuing to work on full-time employment ... my daughter is adjusting to school and having a great time, a little homesick, but settling into her second week of college.

I'm adjusting too ... last week's craziness with getting ready for the Sew for the Cure sale at work ... it's done and it was a huge success (more on that later), but this week I just feel like I can breathe again!  For right now life is calm and I am thankful for that ... because tomorrow that could all change, right?   Ha, ha!!  I am a little behind on my "quilt schedule," but I'm not letting it bother me ... I don't know why, but I know that it all will get done, no matter ... in addition to the two Sew for the Cure quilts I quilted last week, I also quilted this beauty ...
Recognize this block?
How about now?  Yep, it's a string quilt!  Isn't it beautiful ... Kim made this quilt using a navy blue as her "string" and it is stunning!  It was really fun to quilt ... she wanted a tight stipple on it, and I think it was all that was needed!
I used a navy Permacore 40 wt. thread with Glide in the bobbin ... I love the combo of cotton or poly/cotton on top with Glide in the bobbin.  That Glide thread goes forever in the bobbin, and it makes such a nice stitch!
I also finally quilted my Mystery Quilt which is on the new schedule at the Country Loft ... it is now called Scrambled Sampler
This is the only picture that is on the store's website, and I forgot to take a picture when it was done.  I am still finishing the binding, so when I bring it home to finish, I'll take a better picture.

Yesterday I did this sweet quilt for my friend's daughter ... it's her first quilt ...
Isn't this quilt wonderful?  It's a block of the month and her stitchery is really amazing!  She wanted me to stipple over the embroidery ... I like that look because if you quilt around the stitchery, it puffs up in the center.
I was a little nervous about stitching over stitching ... if the embroidery is too loose, the foot of the machine will catch on the stitching, and that is just awful, but I didn't have that problem at all.
I used YLI on top and Glide in the bobbin ... free motion stipple.  I think she's going to love it ... she did such a wonderful job!
After I finished with that quilt yesterday, I even had time to do a little stitching of my own ... I've been working on the Heart to Hand block of the month ...
Isn't it cute??? All ready to stitch down!  I'm a little behind ... this is block 5 (May) ...
Here's what the first six blocks look like according to the pattern .. I just finished block 4, and have 6 all ready to put down on the block, but I wanted to get 5 done first so I could sew it to 4 ... see how the tree on 4 is sewn down onto 5?  I should have sewn both block #4 and #5 together and done the stitchery all at one time, but I didn't think of that!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sew for the Cure

Hi and happy Thursday ... I'm getting so excited and I'll tell you why!  This weekend on Saturday, from 10 to 5 our store is having it's annual Sew for the Cure sale and classroom show!  We have a group of ladies that work very hard all year long to organize this wonderful event.  People donate quilts, dolls, stitcheries, etc. and the proceeds from the sale go to support the Susan Komen Foundation.  Last year it was a little different, as the proceeds from the sale instead went to help our friend who has worked at the store for many years ... her daughter, Megan, was going through treatments to battle a rare form of cancer and the proceeds helped with some of their medical bills.

In the backyard is a chance for everyone to see all the beautiful things our customers and friends have made during the year ... it is such fun and if you go back and look on my blog from last year, you can see those pictures from last year's show.  http://quiltingunderthesun.blogspot.com/2011/08/grateful-heart.html  Try that link ...

Here's a peek at a couple of quilts I have done this week for the sale ... the Wednesday ladies at work put the quilts together and I was happy to contribute the longarm quilting.  Let me just say that this group of women is amazing and year after year they continue to dedicate so much time and energy to making this event what it has grown into ... last year we all raised over $11,000 ... what a blessing!  Quilters are such wonderful people and this day at the store is always so exciting to be a part of!

That one was a lot of fun to quilt ... it is the largest quilt in the show I believe and I was honored to be able to quilt it for my friends.
I know these are all the same cute little girls, but I thought it was a fun twist on them because the applique is really lovely!  I like how they are twisted different directions, like they are talking to each other ... it is such sweet fabric!
So that is just a small sampling of what is in store for you on Saturday ... come join us ..
The Country Loft, 4685 Date Avenue, La Mesa, California, (619) 466-5411, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  I will warn you that if you are interested in purchasing goodies in the frontyard to support "the cure," the people start lining up early, so get there early to save your spot!  If you've found our sale by reading my blog, I would love to meet you and say "hi."  Please find me during the day ... I'll be at the tables inside signing everyone up for the new fall and winter classes.  Oh I forgot to mention, as if all of this above wasn't enough reason to come by, our new class schedule is coming out so come see the samples of all the great classes.  We will also be decorated for fall and it is so cute (and scary!) at the store right now ... pop on over to our store's blog and see the fun pictures!   thecountryloft.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

College bound!!

Took our sweet daughter to college on Friday ... finally the day came ... I was just dreading it on Thursday, wishing it was over with!  The last time I took a kid to college was four years ago and it was to Hawaii -- by myself, no hubby -- and it was just awful leaving him there, watching his face as I left and missing him all the long flight home to San Diego.  I knew this would be a little easier because she is only 1 1/2 hours away ... but still, she's my baby and my daughter ... and so special because of those things.

Her friend had come over several times to help her clean up her room and pack, so I had no idea what the packing was like nor what she was taking ... here's what my house looked like that morning as it all started to come downstairs ...

Hmm ... what is she taking?  When our son went to school it was a couple suitcases worth of stuff, and that was it!  Trust me ... even if we had driven in a car, nothing much else would have come with him.  I will give it to her that she was totally organized and had everything downstairs before I could even think about helping her.  Sheesh, I was hoping it was going to all fit in the car ... I have a Honda Pilot, so there is a ton of room in there!
Just barely ... good thing no one else was coming except for the three of us.  We got on the road as planned, and almost made it to the first exit before she realized we had left her comforter and pillows at home .... eeeeeerrrrkkkkkkkk .... off the freeway and back home ... so only 1/2 hour behind original schedule ... for our family, that's on time!

Got up to Irvine with plenty of time to get everything situated ... her roommate hadn't checked in yet, so after some scrambling because of confusion over tuition and how/where to pay (long story), we found a suite mate that shares the bathroom area with my daughter, and got into their room and started unpacking ...
This is daughter's back half of the suite ... her closet is what is behind her bed ... see all the stuffed animals looking down on her bed?  I thought that was a perfect spot for them ... the closet is awesome!  Whoever designed these rooms at Concordia University was a genius ... closet is 12' x 12' with wrap around shelving and lots of space to store things on floor under shelves ... there is also a long bar to hang the clothes on, and when you open the closet doors (both her's, and her roomate's) it creates a divider between their spaces so they have some privacy.
No her quilt is not made by me!  Have you seen a teenager's room?  Have you seen a college kid's dorm room after their parents leave .... no good quilt is going in a mess like that to wind up who knows where!  The sweet fleece quilt hanging at the end of the bed is one my son's girlfriend made for daughter to take to school ... it goes really well with what she had picked for bedding, and girlfriend didn't even know what my daugther had chosen.
I did make the green pillowcase in the back and the cute little coral pillows in the front ... she picked out the Grass Shack pillow to remind her of home and the beach!  It was so funny because all the girls beds in the dorms where done with all these cute throw pillows ... then you walked by the boys' rooms ... comforters were on their beds only because mom's had made up the beds for them ... nothing else though and certainly no decorations ... girls are funny!
This is the back half of her space ... dresser at the foot of her bed, window that looks over the parking lot with a pretty view of trees, grass, and a desk and chair.  The door on the right is the access to their bathroom that they only share with two other girls.  Where the trash bag is hanging there, forward of that is the sink for their room ... it's in my daughter's half of the room ...
Here you can see the roommate's closet -- it is identically opposite of the other closet.
Look at that cute little girl ... not quite ready (she thought) for college and her parents to leave her, but she's ready!  See the bed pillow on her right ... she was so excited to buy that!  I bet she almost never uses it ... ha ha!  We never did get picture frames for the Greece prints that are hanging above her bed, but they were beautiful and reminded her of her heritage and our amazing trip over the summer!
After an exhausting day full of moving and walking back and forth across campus countless times, activities for parents, activities with students ... a closing ceremony complete with a motivational speaker who was incredible and followed by a yummy root beer float party ... a walk around campus and lots of reassurances ... we took a picture ... proud parents with a beautiful daughter ... she was scared and sad, but I know she will have a wonderful time and I am just so proud of her ...  xoxoxo

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not doing what I'm supposed to!

Ha, ha ... I think I've mentioned before that the way I get stuff done is ignoring something I'm SUPPOSED to be doing and doing something else instead!  It doesn't have to be something I'd *rather* be doing, it is just called avoidance ... well, my sweet 18 year old daughter is going to college on Friday ... we are driving her a mere 1 1/2 hours north from here to Irvine, CA.  Not that far, but away nonetheless ... so I have been avoiding some of the more unpleasant feelings associated with all of this by sewing!

It all started the other day when I had the second part of my three week class ... the first week of this beginning quilting class I decided I really loved the quilt I was teaching so much (I made it back in 2006), that I needed to make another one out of halloween fabric (my favorite holiday and so I have more of this kind of fabric than anything else in my stash!) ...
I have all these charm packs like a lot of people ... it was easy to just put all of them together and make half square triangles ... then they get trimmed ...
See how cute they look all trimmed ... have you tried the Precision Trimmer?  That's the ruler on the left ... my FAVORITE ruler for half square triangles ... from 1 1/2 inches to 6 1/2 inches ...
 Look at how pretty the scraps are!

Not enough charm packs, so luckily I had a ton of stash to go to for more fabric!  The last step before they get sewn together ...

I'm going to alternate the broken dish blocks with these "solid" squares ... and wait until you see what I come up with ... I'm excited!  I don't know what it's going to look like.  This is my original quilt that I was working from

The quilt is the one in the background ... instead of making a broken dish block that has my background fabric in it, my blocks for the halloween quilt are going to be really scrappy.  I'm interested to see how it comes out!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Point #3 and Point #4

This is a continuation of a post I started the other day ... here's a refresher of what I wrote:
This is a thimble-ful of information of all I have done in the last week or so ... quilt four customer quilts; teach a class; work at The Country Loft; help a sweet friend finish a quilt she started two years ago for her mom; dorm marathon shop with my daughter (twice!); bake my brains out in the high heat from the last few days; help son work out heavy life issues ... on top of my normal life!

I was explaining how I choose to see all this ...

Point #3.  Working sometimes is a bad word ... even working at a place you love ... but ... I love my job!  Thank goodness I have a job ... a place that I can go and be myself, that I can create and that I get to meet interesting people that share the same passion I do.  The people I work with are wonderful ... my buddy Mindy and I have the joy of working together again as we are creating a new block of the month for next year!!  Would you like to know what it is?  It's Jan Patek's new block of the month, Pine Tree Ridge ...

How cute is that?  The Country Loft is offering it as a block of the month starting in January ... never done a B.O.M with the store before?  It's so much fun ... the beginning of every month you get the pattern and a kit containing all the fabric you need; every month you make a block and then by the end of the year you have a quilt!  A lot of stores carry blocks of the month, but something that our store has always done is try to keep our BOMs as economical as possible and pass the savings onto the customer.  Often you can see like this year ... our Cotton Club BOM we offered for $19.95 a month.  I know there were several other stores in the San Diego area that carried that BOM and they charged much more for it. 

If you're in the area, come into the store on a Thursday and see Mindy and I creating the Country Loft version ... I know you'll love it! 

We did a lot more talking than sewing, but it got done!
Point #4.  My son's best friend is a wonderful young woman named Alex ... two years ago she wanted to make a memory quilt for her mom for Christmas.  She had never sewed ... she gave the quilt to her without the last border on it because we ran out of time ... Alex was making the quilt over her breaks from college; whenever she could get away for the weekend, she drove down from Sacramento where she was attending school and snuck in some sewing time!

Isn't she cute sewing that last border on?

I just love her as she has become a member of our family, and to see how excited she was to make something so special for her mom ... what fun to be able to help her do that!  Her mom LOVED it of course ... even unfinished!  Well now the top is done and just waiting for me to quilt it!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lots of stuff

... hey, how is that for a great title of a post?  I am such a writer, aren't I ... ha ha!  Well here I am peeking my head in to say I have sure missed blogging!  Do you know I write to you all all the time in my head ... when I'm carrying on about my day I think "hey, this is how I would write this on my blog . . ." ... I guess that means I'm a frustrated writer!! 

This is a thimble-ful of information of all I have done in the last week or so ... quilt four customer quilts; teach a class; work at The Country Loft; help a sweet friend finish a quilt she started two years ago for her mom; dorm marathon shop with my daughter (twice!); bake my brains out in the high heat from the last few days; help son work out heavy life issues ... on top of my normal life!

Instead of looking at all of this like my life is a chore, I choose instead to see it this way ...
Point #1.  I have a longarm quilting machine that I absolutely love, love, love!  Every time I have the opportunity to quilt a quilt for a customer/friend I am thankful I made the decision to buy my Innova quilting machine!  I stand at that machine and work my magic and in the process, stitch by stitch, I pour my life and soul into every quilt I stitch.  Sound a little dramatic? ... well it is therapy for me ... and anyone that quilts in any form, knows what I'm talking about.

One of the quilts I had the privilege of quilting was this scrappy star quilt.  I had a vision of what I wanted the quilting to look like ... dark blue thread, a little custom quilting and a swirl ... I did the first row and hated the way the swirl looked.  I ripped out the quilting on one of the backgrounds ... it took about 3 hours ... the row took about 20 min. to quilt, and ripping out two backgrounds on the stars took about 5 hours ... I decided to try something different.
I alternated the loopy swirl with an outline ... I liked the way it looked so I continued ... I got halfway done with the quilt and decided for some reason I didn't like it at all!  Dilemma!  Do I rip it all out?  Do I give it to the customer and ask her to pay for something that I don't think is my best work???
I stared at it some more ... and finally decided that I was being picky and indecisive.  I have a lot of things going on at home at the moment ... maybe that was clouding my thinking (it was definitely clouding my thinking) and that my customer was going to love the different stitching ... I hoped!

I used a navy Permacore thread on top and Glide in the bobbin ... when I pulled the quilt off the frame and turned it over onto the back I decided I liked the quilting ... that was what cemented my decision.  I figured if my customer did not like it (and I know her well enough to be able to tell if she didn't), I would offer her a discount or offer to fix the quilting.  The conclusion of the story is funny ... she just picked up the quilt today and called me at home to tell me how much she LOVED the quilting ... loved the detail and how different it was.  Does it matter if I loved it?? Nope ... it is not my quilt ... I was so excited that she was happy!  It's a little scary sometimes to know that you are putting your name on work that will be seen by many ... I always want it to be a representation of my best ... but I'm my worst critic ... enough said there!

Point #2:  How many people get to do what they love in life and make money from it?  I often fret about teaching because it is a lot of work ... there is the prep beforehand ... making the quilt, figuring out the supply requirements, writing a pattern, printing the pattern, etc., etc.  There is definitely not the monetary reward equal to the time ... BUT and this is a huge but ... when I teach other people what I love to do and the hobby that has really fulfilled me as a person, wife, mother, friend ... the rewards I get from teaching are much greater than any $$$ I could make ... and that is okay by me!  I had the privilege of teaching three people last week how to quilt ... that's three more converts ... wahoo!

I'm going to continue this post into another day ... after not hearing from me in over a week, I don't want to wear you out in one sitting!  I do hope you're enjoying the rest of your summer ... the long, hot days of August always remind me of being a kid and squeezing all the fun out of those last weeks of summer ... sun, water, fresh air, family ... enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jammin' and the races

Moving right along with my schedule ... yahoo ... here's a quilt I did last week.  It was so much fun as the colors really made the quilt shine.
This was a strip quilt and I thought a big pantograph pattern would really suit it. When the quilt has such definite lines, I usually try to soften those straight lines with something that has some curve in the pattern.  I just think it compliments the quilt.
I love when a customer says whatever color thread you want and whatever design you want.  I have a lot of the Glide thread in some very fun colors.
 I thought it would be pretty to pick up the green in this quilt so I used a new color that I recently ordered ... Prickly Pear (isn't that a great name?) ... in top and bobbin.
You can see the pattern on the back ...

Well you can kind of see the pattern ...

We went to the Del Mar horse races today and had a ball!  My hubby really likes to go once a year.  Our daughter didn't want to have family time today, so it was us, our son and a friend of his (she had never been to the races before).  We bet on six different races ...  I won $21 ... and our friend won $35!  It's always more fun when you win!!  It is funny how different people handle the betting strategy ... us women wanted to see the horses before each race, look at them, see how they walked, and see how their jockeys meshed with them when they got on.  Some of the more interesting comments ... "I don't like his head being so low, he doesn't look excited enough to win" ... "I don't like the way they tied his mane ... he looks too preppy" ... "I like that he's hyper because that means he's excited to win."  Then we would walk back inside where you could bet, always going to the same guy.  He was a little crazy (funny!), and we had a lot of fun betting with him and chatting him up.

The men did it totally different ... they only looked at the horses before the first race, then they preferred to look at the odds, and read a paper they had that gave insight into all the horses, how often they had run, jockey's history, etc., etc.  Very analytical!

Can I just point out that the girls were the ones with the wins today ... and not the men!  Ha, ha ... no matter, we all had a great time and are already planning next year's adventure where us girls have decided instead of placing $2 bets, we're going to bet larger, and win bigger ... $10 bets!!!  Wahoo!