Monday, June 30, 2008

A little sewing

In spite of the heat I am getting a very small amount of sewing done. At first glance this quilt top doesn't look any farther along than it did the last time I showed it. Note, however, that I've finished the inner border of half-square triangle squares. I thought this would take a long time to finish, but it really didn't. I sewed the triangles yesterday as well as pressing and trimming some of them. Today I pressed and trimmed the rest, constructed the borders and attached them to the quilt. It was a slow process because using a hot iron in the heat we've been having is awful - hence the reason nothing else got done.

Beach Trip - 2

Monday morning we headed south down 101 - destination Florence, Oregon. South of Newport the wide sandy beaches of the coast disappear, replaced with craggy rocks and cliffs. This is the part of the coast I really love because the views are spectacular. Fred stopped at almost every turnout so I could take pictures. The sky was a beautiful blue, but the wind along the coast was brisk and chilly. The ocean, however, was calm with gentle waves. I've seen this stretch in a storm at high tide - what a site to see. No crashing breakers this time. As we approached Florence we first saw seals on the rocks - so far out I had to look very carefully to make sure that's what we were seeing. They were very quiet - just sunning themselves on the rocks - with only a rare movement now and then to let us know they were alive. A couple turnouts farther south we came upon a very noisy group of sea lions. No doubt at all what they were! What magnificent creatures - I never tire of seeing them.

Once we reached Florence we headed inland to I-5 and north to home. A short trip, but full of great memories nevertheless.
And believe it or not - we stopped at five quilt shops along the way and all I bought was one pattern!

Beach trip - 1

I have been so very negligent about posting since we got home. Our weather has been HOT - way too hot for us lifetime north westerners - at least those of us without air conditioning. It's too hot to sew, too hot to cook, too hot to sleep, too hot to read, too hot to think. I spend half the day in a half stupor just trying to last until the temperature drops to a tolerable level about 10:00 p.m. I know - we are wusses here when it comes to heat - we just aren't used to it.

A week ago Saturday we left home about 8:00 and headed to Tillamook Oregon. We visited the quilt shop and Latimer Textile Center, then had a delicious lunch and ice cream at the Tillamook cheese factory. They have a fascinating self guided tour which we've taken before. We'd have done it again but the line was too long. We did wander around in the gift shop for awhile, and I insisted Fred pose for some blog pictures. And no - I did NOT eat two ice cream cones. I had to hold Fred's so he could take the picture. Which one is mine? The chocolate one of course!

From Tillamook we headed south on Highway 101, following the Oregon Coast. At Lincoln City we stopped at the outlet stores and did a couple hours of heavy clothes shopping. At last I have some jeans, shorts, capris, t-shirts and tank tops that actually fit and don't look completely worn out. And would you believe Fred shopped longer than I did LOL! Very depressing to find I had to shop at Dress Barn Women's instead of Misses' store - that's not happened before. Even more depressing was seeing myself in the dressing room mirror - over and over again. Oh dear - I shouldn't have had that ice cream! The good thing is I've shocked myself into action, and I'm attending my first Weight Watchers meeting on Wednesday. Shopping is so much easier now that we can stay in touch with each other via cell phones!

From Lincoln City we went south to Newport, where we had reservations for two nights at the Best Western Agate Beach Inn. Wow - talk about ritzy! - this was by far the most elegant Best Western we've ever seen. We had a very nice room overlooking the ocean. They have a three star restaurant in the basement where we had an elegant meal to celebrate our 39th anniversary.
Fred had a beautiful top sirloin steak and I had macaroni and cheese. Of course it was like no macaroni and cheese I've ever had before - full of lobster meat, special cheeses and other luscious things. We finished the evening watching the Mariner game and the sunset out the window - marvelous!

On Sunday morning we visited the Newport Aquarium - what a marvelous place! It certainly is one of the top aquariums in the country. We spent three hours there - there was so very much to see. Every exhibit was perfectly done. Unfortunately I left the camera in the hotel room - I still can't believe I did that! - so I didn't get any pictures. After a good lunch at a little restaurant on the beach in historic Newport, we drove north to the Yaquina Head lighthouse - the tallest on the Oregon coast. We learned all about the light at the visitor center - fascinating! It cost $12,000 when it was made in the mid-1800's in France. It was assembled there, then disassembled for shipping to Panama where it was taken across the isthmus to the Pacific then loaded on a ship for California. To replace the light now would cost $2.5 million! We climbed the circular steps to the top - I still can't believe I did that with my fear of heights! What a view from the top. Of course my camera was still at the hotel so I didn't get any pictures there either!

After a simple dinner of a Subway sandwich (Fred) and leftovers from the night before (me) we headed down to the beach. The Oregon beach from Newport north is wide and sandy - perfect for walking. It was a beautiful evening with very little wind. A perfect evening for beach walking! Then back to the hotel for more baseball, reading and sunset watching.

So far it's been a lovely trip!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Finally! Another finished quilt!

I will be back tomorrow with a report on our trip - including pictures. I have time tonight for just a short post. I'm happy to report that I have finally quilted, bound and labeled another flimsy! I've not had a finish since March, thanks to the knee problems I had. This last week the remaining knee pain has vanished, so today I quilted the flimsy I loaded last week. I used this as a practice piece for freehand feathers - among other things - so the quilting doesn't stand up to a close examination. That's OK - the only way to get better is to practice. In the meantime, done is better than perfect! The marking pencil still needs washing out - I'll do that tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A few days away

DH and I are heading out tomorrow morning for a short trip to the Oregon coast. Tomorrow is our 39th anniversary. We will head first to Tillamook where I will visit Jane's Fabric Patch, and then we'll head to the Tillamook cheese factory. A few years ago we took the full tour to see how the cheeses are made - absolutely fascinating! This time we're going for lunch and ice cream - Tillamook ice cream is some of the best! Then we'll head south. DH has agreed to stop at quilt shops along the way - what a guy! We have reservations for two nights in Newport - right on the beach with an ocean view. I'm so looking forward to the trip. It's been years and years since we've had a chance to do something like this - Shadow just wasn't healthy enough for us to take off and leave him.

I spent most of the last few days baby sitting - taking care of Joseph is so much fun! Rick's mom is currently battling a bad asthma attack so I did her Wednesday in addition to my Tuesday and Thursday. Our nice weather is back - finally! - so we walked to the park yesterday. They have a baby swing, and I was eager to see how he liked it. He just loved it, and laughed and laughed the entire time he was swinging. Next time I must take my camera!

Fred set up the camper in the driveway this week so we could get it cleaned out, the water tank drained of antifreeze, and the beds remade. Today I finally had a chance to wash the sheets and remake the beds with our new camping quilts. Don't they look great? I can hardly wait to sleep under them. It was so satisfying to put the filthy worn out 37 year old down sleeping bags into the garbage. We've been using them as blankets by opening them up and stretching them over the sheets, but the down was so lumped and clumped that they were mostly unsatisfactory. We'll put a couple more blankets in one of the storage benches for cold nights, but I imagine with the wool batting these quilts will be all we need for most nights.

Peg at Happy in Quilting has issued a UFO challenge. Anyone accepting the challenge is to change at least five unquilted tops - flimsies - into finished quilts by the end of July. I've thought about this challenge ever since she issued it - should I accept it or not? I've finally decided hey - what the heck - why not accept it. I certainly have enoughed finished flimsies! So, starting with the Irish chain I loaded onto Gandalf last Monday, I'm pushing myself to satisfy Peg's challenge. Hopefully this public acceptance will spur me on to success!

Once again I'm caught up on my blog reading. I just stopped commenting and started skimming so it wouldn't take another week or more. seems like I've said this before - I sure hope I can stay caught up this time! Now that I'm current I'll start commenting again. I really miss doing that! Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll "see" you when I return early next week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday report

I hope everyone had a good day yesterday with their favorite dad - whether that is your own father, your husband, your son or a combination of all three. Our day was quiet - most Father's day's are around here. Fred isn't one for much celebration. He couldn't play golf due to a tournament on the course so he worked out and then I took him to breakfast. Then he watched the US Open golf tournament while I finished the customer quilt. About 3:00 or so Rick, Rebecca, and Joseph came over and I fixed dinner for everyone. Crock pot roast beef - easy and delicious!

I don't know if anyone noticed or not, but I've not being doing Sunday stash reports. They just don't seem to fit my quilting persona, as most everything I do is made from stash. I rarely buy fabric for a particular quilt, unless it's a kit. And since I do so much that is very scrappy, it's hard to measure what I've used. I do think I'm still behind however, as I just purchased three BOLTS of fabric last month LOL! A pre-1830's print for the back of my medallion, and both a Chinese red and amber (looks like cheddar) bolt of Kona cotton. That's 55 yards of fabric right there - whoops! I'm just not very good at this stashbusting stuff!

I'm still focusing at least some of my time on UFO's - the list is gradually going down. Remember this quilt? Since I'm totally out of handwork - not like me at all! - I started preparing the applique for the border of Heirloom Stitches. I need something to do at Tangled Threads meetings as well as during TV time. I also loaded the double Irish chain on Gandalf - that's the quilt in the first picture of this post. I've never tried machine quilting a quilt that's been partially hand quilted - I'm curious to see how this is going to work.

1. Fresh vegetables from the farmers' Saturday Market
2. A new pedicure
3. Sunny, warm weather is finally here!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thank you Anne!

Anne at Carpe quiltem has given me two awards. My goodness - thank you so much Anne! I am very touched you thought of me! Visit Anne to see what she is up to. You can learn a lot about The Netherlands by reading her blog. Don't you just love the little flying witch in her header?

Today seemed like Saturday all day. Fred was golfing and working out in the morning, but since he wasn't working it sure seemed like Saturday. Wednesday was his last day of school for this year. He will report back about August 15th to start preparing for next years classes. In the meantime he will get in a lot of golf - his passion. Hopefully we will also get to go camping a bunch. Sure gas is expensive, but with neither of us driving to work we can afford to pull the tent trailer to our choice of many, many campgrounds throughout Washington and Oregon.

Last night I loaded a customer quilt onto Gandalf, and today I reached the halfway point in the quilting. Still doing well with my knee - hooray! I have another customer quilt to do after this one, and then I hope to get back to quilting some of my own. I've not had a UFO finish since March - that's WAY too long!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still another finished flimsy!

I've done next to no sewing since my post last Sunday - until this evening. I've been working on catching up with my blog reading - I'm now on the "M's" in my Bloglines roll - as well as reading another couple books. I've been borrowing books from our son-in-law - thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I've not read any of theirs before, and I'm really enjoying them. I'm reading them in order - I don't know if it really matters but that's how I like to read just in case it does. I think I'm on book six now - "The Ice Limit".

Of course I spent two days with Joseph - this time Tuesday and Wednesday. I read a lot of blogs during two long naps on Tuesday - then he made up for it Wednesday by napping very little. It's so much fun to spend time with such a happy little guy!

My knee has improved enough that I spent today loading a huge king size customer quilt on Gandalf. This one is all stitch-in-the-ditch, so it will keep me very busy for the next few days. I didn't start the quilting tonight as I didn't want to push the knee too far, so I spent the time sewing borders on the red and white quilt. I decided in this case that simple was best, so I went for only one 5" border. I auditioned quite a few fabrics at the quilt store, fully expecting to choose a fairly dark red for the border. Much to my surprise I liked the brighter, medium tone red much better, and the folks in the shop agreed. So I bought three yards of this cherry red Moda Marble. I don't have a big enough place to spread out the whole top so these pictures were the best I could do. When I finish the two customer quilts I have waiting I will quilt this next. I'm so eager to have it finished. It's been a LONG time since I had a project that I felt as driven to complete as I did this one.

1. Warmer sunny weather is back - at least for a few days
2. A nice dinner with friends
3. A husband home now until he goes back to school in mid-August

Monday, June 9, 2008

Responding to tags - finally

Back early in May Mary at My Needle and Thread tagged me and asked me to answer the following questions. I bet she's given up the idea that I'd respond!

What was I doing 10 years ago? That's a long time ago to remember LOL! I was working at the credit union in a new to me position - managing training and staff development - which I did for the last ten years until I retired last January. We still had one child in college so I wasn't spending much money on my hobbies. I was doing some quilting, but also doing a lot of reading.

What are 5 things on my to do list for today? I'm not really a list keeper, and since I've retired I pretty much take each day as it comes. I slept in as I'd not had much sleep the previous night. I put away the dishes my wonderful DH had washed last night. I picked up a couple days of dirty clothes from the computer room floor - I keep my clothes in the closet in that room. I put away a bunch of clean laundry and recycled a bunch of junk mail - both of which had been covering the dining room table. I replied to many, many emails that have been in my Inbox for sometime. I took something out of the freezer for dinner. All in all a pretty boring sounding day so far!

Snacks I enjoy - anything either chocolate or salty. Lately it's been chocolate covered pretzels - killing two cravings with one food! Unfortunately I'm addicted to carbs - it would be so much better if I snacked on fruit and finger vegetables!

Things I would do if I were a billionaire - give away most all of it to my favorite causes, including The National Resources Defense Council and the National Parks Conservation Association. I would also set up a college scholarship program. With the small amount I'd keep for us I'd buy us a vacation house in either the mountains or at the beach. I'd also have a housecleaning service once a week.
Also early in May Ulla at Kotkarankki presented me with the Sweet Home blogger Award for sharing, beauty, love and joy. Thank you so much Ulla, I'm really touched that you felt I deserved this award! As always I can't possibly pass this along to only 5 people - there are so many dozens of bloggers who share beauty, love and joy with the rest of the world. So if you are reading this consider the award to be yours also.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A big thank you - and another top finished

I've spent very little time on the computer this past week. I checked my personal email and that was about it. I guess I just needed to retreat into myself for awhile to rest and recharge. Once again I'm terribly behind on my blog reading.
I was so very touched by the dozens of comments I received after my last post. Thank you so very much to each and every one of you who expressed condolences and sent prayers and cyber hugs. They really meant such a great deal to me. The last week has been so hard - I see Shadow everywhere I turn, and find myself listening for the patter of his feet. It is getting easier day by day. The kindness and caring of my online friends has helped a great deal.
I have been doing some sewing and a great deal of reading. I believe I'm on my fifth or sixth book now. I've had sinus issues with some dizziness - thanks to spring allergies - and reading has been the easiest thing to do.

After I posted the last picture of my red and white quilt I discovered - by looking at the post with the picture - that I sewed a light sashing where there should have been a dark sashing. thanks so much, Paula, for pointing that out and putting me on the right track! I've taken out the incorrect piece and substituted a dark piece. I wonder if anyone besides Paula noticed that in the picture. I've bought a piece of red Moda Marbles that I think is perfect for the border - hopefully I can get that sewn on sometime this week.

Most of the sewing I've been doing has been appliqué. I chose fabrics and cut out the pieces for the fall and winter borders on "It's a Wonderful Life". I redesigned the winter border, redrawing the pomegranates, changing the shape of most of the holly leaves, and adding additional berries and vines. I used felted wool for the tiny round seeds in the pomegranates so I didn't have to turn under the edges when stitching them on. I added the final touches - stem stitch embroidery to define the panes of the windows in the houses. I feel so good that this top has been completed - another UFO to the finished flimsy stage.

I'm happy to report that my knee has continued to feel better since the cortisone shot, and I'm hoping to start longarming again this week. A good thing too - as I have two customer quilts to complete and two more to baste. Looks like I won't be able to do one of my own for a little while. The first quilt has a deadline of June 17th, so I'm going to load that onto the machine tomorrow and get it started. Lots and lots of stitching in the ditch, so it is going to take some time.

I also hope to get back to blog reading tomorrow - I'm missing everyone and am eager to see what you've all been up to in the last week or two.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A sad time for us

The last few days have been hard. On Friday afternoon we made the decision to put our Shadow to sleep. He's been aging very rapidly the last couple months and the last few days it became evident that it was time. He's been mostly blind and deaf for some time but adjusted fine to that. However, when his back legs started to give out and he stopped eating anything but treats we knew. Thursday he got me up in the middle of the night to go outside, and he could hardly walk. Friday morning he was no better. When I got home from baby sitting Joseph on Friday I found he'd fallen off the bed and was unable to move. Even after picking him up and massaging his legs awake he still couldn't stand. He wouldn't drink any water either, or eat any treats, so we called the vet. The look in his eyes told us he was ready to go and that he trusted us to take care of him.

He lived a good long life considerably past his life expectancy - almost 17 years. He gave us much joy and love during that time, and we miss him so much. When we come home we have to remind ourselves that he's not there to greet us. We are trying to focus on all our happy memories. We know time will make it easier, but right now it's so very hard.