Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours......

Monday, December 02, 2013

Plodding Along - Celtic Solstice

Today is the first day of the link up for Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt-along. I got a delayed start due to Thanksgiving company that didn't leave until mid-day Saturday. However, I did manage to steal an hour or so on Friday to get started. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't happy with contrast between the browns and the wine reds. So, then I tried a couple test blocks with brighter reds. 

Brighter reds are on the left -- much better. However, DH had other ideas and wanted to finish up a series we had started watching on Netflix. So, this is all I managed to accomplish so far. I'm hoping I will be able to get them all completed by Friday when the next clue comes out. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Great Alaska Quilt Cruise - pt. 2

I apologize for the long delay in posting this so I will make it brief. Most of the draft was completed when I wrote part 1-- eek, 3 months ago. My dilemma was what I was going to say about the promoters of this cruise and why I will never, ever do another quilt related trip with them. Nor can I recommend them to others. 

Our time in Juneau was short because the rest if the day was spent cruising to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer glacier. Late in the afternoon we entered Tracy Arm, a twisting fjord with incredible granite hills on either side and at the very end, the breathtakingly beautiful Sawyer glacier.

This is just a taste of what Tracy Arm looked like. Nope, that isn't Sawyer this point in the cruise, they opened up the very bow of the ship and we layered up and headed out.

All along the way were waterfalls and small fields of snow. The water really was this amazing aqua/teal color. The further in we went, the more chunks of ice we saw too.

There was also another large cruise ship just ahead of us. Made for a few interesting moments as it turned to head out as we were coming in....

Eventually we rounded the last bend and there it was, Sawyer Glacier.

After Sawyer Glacier we cruised on to Skagway, Victoria and then on back to Seattle. We rode the train to the top of White Pass and back. There was yet more breathtaking scenery and lots of fog at top. Being the daughter of a rail fan, I enjoyed it, except when I looked down, wheee. 

Those first few hours after leaving Skagway were truly spectacular. Snow capped mountains, glaciers, picturesque towns like Haines and more unspoiled beauty, as far as the eye could see. I really did leave my heart in Alaska. Wow! I can't wait till we can go back and explore the interior of this beautiful state. 

 This quilting cruise was sponsored by Sew Many Places. We paid a premium  price for it, when you compared the price of the cruise per the cruise line's website we paid $700 for a class. For this we received a tote bag. That's it. Nothing else. When I asked the "facilitator" about a map for the first port of call she looked at me and said "why should I have that for you?" There's a whole lot more I won't go into here. But, suffice it to say, there's not a whole lot of value for your money with Sew Many Places. 

My friend and I went to QuiltMaker's Block Party in Portland back in March. 3 days, 3 classes with 3 different teachers. 3 trunk shows/lectures by famous quilters, 2 dinners, a swag bag that was stuffed with all kinds of goodies and more given out each day. And the price for all of this, $500 plus the cost of our hotel room.  Value, you bet! Had I known before I signed up for this cruise that Block Party was going to be doing a cruise in 2014 you can bet I would have waited. 

Several of us had discussions about this cruise versus other quilt cruises or tours and the consensus was all unanimous, other cruises and tours offered a whole lot more value for your money. When I arrived home I wrote to Jim West, the owner of Sew Many Places. I received a short note back saying that once he returned from Bali he would address my email. That was 3 months ago and I'm still awaiting his response.

The Great Alaska Quilt Cruise - pt. 1

So, what do you do when you hear that Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame will be doing a Quilt Cruise to Alaska? You convince one of your best quilting buds to go along. So, that's exactly what Janet and I did for a week.

We left Seattle on a beautiful, sunny day.

Unfortunately the seas got pretty rough overnight and made for a dreadful time trying to do any quilting Sunday. Not to mention the very cramped conditions we had available for sewing - not ideal for quilting.

Early Monday we pulled into Ketchikan under cloudy skies. Fortunately the quilt shop was directly opposite our dock and yes, it was open at 7:00 a.m. and yes, we were there at that hour (QB's take note!) What a great way to start the day and our first stop in Alaska. We definitely helped the local economy.

Eventually we met up with our excursion and headed out to see the Saxman Indian village where we watched the kids do some native dances and saw the totem poles and learned all about how they were made.

There were some pretty talented kids and the button blankets were beautiful.

Next stop was Juneau. We crammed in whale watching and a quick trip to the Mendenhall Glacier. What a great morning. We saw 6 adult Humpback whales and 1 juvenile and then, along came 3 Orcas! We also managed to see both harbor & stellar seals and a couple bald eagles.

Stay tuned for part 2.....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Long Time....

It's been a long, hot summer filled with boxes and more boxes. When I last posted, way back in April we were counting down to our big move to central Washington. Well, the movers showed up right on schedule and with an efficiency I could only dream of possessing, had us packed and loaded into the moving van in two days.

Upon arrival at the new house they were none too pleased to see all the stairs they had to traverse to bring my fabric up to its new home in my lovely new studio, above somebody's ginormous garage. The guys decided they needed to start a new reality show, "Fabric Wars."

It has taken me most of the long, hot summer to get things unpacked and organized. There are still a few miscellaneous boxes left to sort through, but I'm getting there, ever so slowly.

In between all that I've been trying to get some plant life into our barren yard and make it look a little more inviting. Not an easy feat when the temps were over 90 for most of the summer. Now that fall is around the corner, we are looking at getting some trees planted. This black fabric was removed and we covered the yard in bark since its too steep to plant and tend grass. The rock from the terrace level is slowly being moved to the lowest part of the slope that is too steep for bark.

The Spotted One made the transition to the new house surprisingly well. Mr. Heat Lover actually discovered that the patio gets way too hot to sunbathe.....he also rediscovered his fear of thunderstorms. He's decided that any overcast after days of sunshine mean thunderstorms are on the way and he MUST climb onto my lap and pant and shake....

I've also thoroughly enjoyed the benefits of living smack dab in the center of fruit country. First we started with cherry season where I discovered sweet, dark cherries at a local farm stand, can you say yum....the better part of 20 lbs. were pitted and frozen. From cherries we moved on to apricots and now peaches and nectarines. I'm looking forward to apple season. My dehydrator has been humming along all summer.

A little quilting has been accomplished, but more just scattered sewing of rediscovered UFO's. I do believe I need to sit down and start tackling some of them.......

Thursday, June 27, 2013


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Just a quick post for Bloglovin so I can claim my blog....I will be back, soon....

Monday, April 01, 2013

Counting Down

Well, the countdown has begun. 3 weeks from today the movers will arrive to start packing us up. We're taking bets on how long it will take them to pack my sewing room, even though half of it is already still in boxes from our move to the rental.

We were scheduled to go over to talk to the landscaper on Saturday but, as luck would have it, the Bearded One ended up down for the count with the nasty stomach virus that had been going through his co-workers. So, I plugged in my trusty iPod, cranked up my audio book and headed over the mountains.

First thing on my list was checking out the new retaining walls and the fence, then we discussed landscaping and irrigation (nothing grows in central Washington unless you have irrigation -- average annual rainfall is about 9"!) Finally, I was able to go inside to see the cabinets, counters etc. Alas, the painters were finishing up the trim so everything was covered in paper or plastic. I was able to get a peek at the cabinets and backsplash while we discussed where I wanted the knobs and drawer pulls. Then there were the samples of blinds and sun shades to go through and decide upon. Sigh, yet more decisions. I never realized how many decisions you have to make when you build a house.

On the quilting front, my ADQD (Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder) is in full swing. I've started yet another new project along with finishing up one of my class projects from Block Party. Sadly, with no design wall and a sick quilt holder, there will be no pictures of the flimsy. But, I can show you these lovelies.

I've been collecting forest greens to make a green log cabin since there will be very little green on the other side of the mountains. The QB's supplemented my green stash for my birthday this year so what else is a girl to do but start cutting them up and sewing them back together again. Here's the tentative setting plan, only a mere 90 blocks, each with 23 pieces....yeah, go ahead and do the math, just don't tell me!

I'm toying with making that brown border out of string pieced triangles. We'll see how sick I am of little pieces when I get to that stage. I really do need to start concentrating on finishing up some UFO's--perhaps after I get all moved and settled in I will think about that.....

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quilt maker Block Party Portland

Last fall, in the midst of putting the house on the market, starting the building of our new home, and who knows what else, I was talked into attending QuiltMaker's Block Party in Portland. At the time I had no idea where we might be living when March rolled around or if we might even be in the midst of moving but the lure of being able to attend one of Bonnie Hunter's classes led me to caving and attending. I am SO GLAD that I did!
Wednesday morning saw us literally stuffing the back of the Toyota with everything that two quilters would need for three days of classes. It was almost an embarrassing amount of stuff and neither one of us thought to take a picture. The weather going down was horrible. We went through several large cloudbursts with rain so heavy you couldn't see. Add to that, I was driving the Bearded One's car which I don't drive very often and the windshield wipers work completely opposite of my car! Needless to say, we finally arrived, managed to check in despite the fact they had lost our reservation and then braved Portland's rush hour traffic to make a quick stop at quilter's Mecca, Fabric Depot. Everything in the entire store was 30% off. EVERYTHING! I think the recent checks I have written for retaining walls and fencing had some influence on me. I only spent $36 -- a new record for me in that store. It probably helps that we only gave ourselves one hour as we had to get back for the evening lecture and trunk show which was Bonnie's.
I took classes from Julie Herman, Gudrun Erla and Bonnie Hunter . What fun they all were. Julie Herman's Hex N' More ruler is brilliant. You can cut 4 different shapes in 4 different sizes. I foresee using this ruler a lot. Gudrun's class was a lot of fun and wow! Between all her patterns, books and fabric lines, I have no idea how she does it all. Then there was Bonnie's class, what can I say? She is simply amazing. Such a fun teacher, so generous and helpful. I'm really looking forward to cruising to Alaska with her this summer.
All of the sponsors for Block Party were beyond generous. We started off with a tote bag full of goodies and each day we were gifted with yet more goodies. One of those fat quarter bundles are Kaffe Fassett. The other is Ty Pennington and all sorts of other fun stuff. I can't wait to cut into some of this...after the big move which is now scheduled for the week of April 22nd.

On Friday I saw something in the local Safeway grocery store that I just had to have. On Saturday I went back to get him and to my delight he was even on sale. I brought him into Bonnie's class, Winston Ways and he quickly became our mascot and block model. He was also dubbed Winston in honor of the quilt we were working on. Here he is at home meeting Arlo, a.k.a the other Spotted One.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Almost There

Well, the house is nearly complete. Here it is before the garage doors and front door have been painted. The garage doors will be the same lighter gray that's in the peaks. The front door will be a nice dark wine red. At least that's what the color chip looked like that I passed along to the builder.

The interior is being worked on now. We haven't been over to actually see the house in a few weeks but have been told the cabinets are in and the granite counters were supposed to be going in this week or next.

Our next big expense is outside. We had to have retaining walls built between our home and the property next door as the builder had to dig down more than he anticipated. This left a 5 ft. difference in elevation between the two lots. We needed the retaining walls before we could install the fence to contain a certain Spotted One.

The wall between our house and the neighbor to our north. The property line is above the wall.

The wall wraps around to the back with a second one helping out the steepest portion of the backyard slope. Between the retaining walls and the fence which is next up, we are now calling the Spotted One our $13k dog.

I'm eagerly looking forward to getting over there in a couple weeks to see everything for myself. The sewing room floor is done but the pictures that were sent to me aren't worth sharing.

Our actual move is scheduled for the week of April 22nd. I'm SO looking forward to finally being able to unpack and get settled for good.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Heart Day

Just a little mug rug for a quick gift to bring along tonite as we have been invited to dinner.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Playing with Blocks

ADQD (Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder) strikes again! It all started the other day when Cathi at Quilt Obsession showed a new block she was working on based on this beautiful quilt. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

After staring and staring and analyzing the quilt I decided to take a different approach than Cathi did. I decided there were three distinct diamond blocks. I decided it was based on larger diamonds which were made up of a 9 patch of diamonds. One had dark points on both ends, a second had light points on both ends and the third block had both a dark and a light point.

Here you can see the three different blocks. I raided my stash of 2" strips for pinks and purples and chose three constant fabrics for the points and center block along with a white for the background. This is where having an extensive stash really helps. 😀

I briefly toyed with strip piecing the sections for each block but, since I was working with some small leftover bits and pieces of strips I chose, instead, to use Darlene Zimmerman's 60o Diamond Ruler. I started playing with these after lunch and had these blocks done by dinner time.

Yes, there are eight blocks there and I know the one on the bottom right is not placed correctly. I really, really miss my design wall! It is now midnight and I have a total of 12 blocks completed with bits and pieces for a few more. I think this will be a baby quilt. Meanwhile, I'm also thinking it would be fun to make a QOV (Quilt of Valor) with slightly larger diamonds all in red, white and blue.

Sigh, so many quilts and not nealy enough time in this lifetime to make them all. And there will be no quilting for the next several days.......