Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Left just in time

I left my Mom's on Monday morning. This is what her front yard looked like on Tuesday morning.
Nothing compared to some of the pictures I've seen from bloggers back east, but I'm really glad I didn't have to drive home in it...been there, done that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Told you so

I am a self described fabric addict. See, says so in the About Me section of this blog. I told you about going up to Eugene and stopping at quilt shops along the way, but I also stopped at Quiltz located in Ashland on my way home. The shop is in the process of moving to downtown Ashland and had all their fabric for 30% off. I was a bad girl

No, no, no, I did not buy two bolts of fabric, I did buy flannel backing fabric (which was in their clearance section and 50% off) and a whole bunch of Moda muslin. I asked for a couple of the cardboard bolt thingies, it makes it easier to store the fabric until I'm ready use it, especially the bulky flannel. I also picked up a Bali Pop and a coordinating batik (the green) to make up Raspberry Pops, a pattern I bought at the shop the last time I was there. The other fabrics I bought when I went up to Eugene. Don't ya love the wire basket, got that at the Goodwill.

So, are you thinking of making New Year's resolutions? I'm thinking I should not buy any more fabric or patterns.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The big reveal

I had a wonderful Christmas at my Mom's. It was so nice spending the holiday with my Mom, Ben and friends. I also got to see my niece, her boyfriend and their assorted girls. It was a very busy, very fun week. Now it's back to real life (isn't Christmas always a little surreal) and normal day to day chores and activities that I haven't had time for the last few weeks.

But before that begins I need to have the big reveal...what have I been making the past few months? To plagiarize myself:

So after making my prototype I went into production and made 5 more, still have one to go but it is not a gift. Bow Tuck Totes - by the 5th one these were a breeze.

I also made four of something else - these were really fast and easy, plus I got to practice more free motion quilting. Sewing mats - although one of them will be used as a laptop mat. I got the pattern from Jenny at Elefantz.
Along with all that I made a big one of this, A quilt for Ben. The pattern is Illusions in Neutrals, American Patchwork & Quilting December 2009 and the fabric is Northcott's Stonehenge.

and this cute thing. An apron for my Mom, made from a pre-printed panel.

Plus the three little girls skirts Pink, blue and red, got them fitted and shortened while the girls were there.
and three puppies. Pink, blue and red - the girls liked their puppies.

As wonderful as the holiday was it's nice to be home again, to sleep in my own bed and cuddle with my kitties.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Have Featherweight and wireless connection will travel

It's been quiet the last couple of days at my Mom's. I set up my little Featherweight, found my radio station on my laptop and put together 34 very large 9 patch blocks. The plan is to make a scrappy disappearing 9 patch quilt. I'm leaving for home tomorrow, so I'll finish the quilt when I get there.

Jayme made pork chile verde tonight for dinner tonight. OMG was it good. I, of course, ate way too much. She also made a pot of beans just for me (almost), I have a big container of them in my Mom's freezer to take home with me, plus some left over chile verde. I'm a happy camper.

This is my Mom's cat (hissy-face) Smokey hiding one last time under the Christmas tree before it gets taken down.
She is not the friendliest cat, unless you have food, she begs worse than any dog I've ever seen. She also has claws like razor blades. According to my Mother, her cat is perfect - we caught the perfect cat eating the turkey before it was cooked a couple of Christmas ago...perfect cat??

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Biggest quilt shop ever

Jayme and I took a little day trip to Eugene yesterday, neither of us had been up there before and we thought it would be fun getaway. It was definitely a beautiful drive. We stopped in Roseburg and Cottage Village on the way to check out a couple of quilt shops.

The quilt shop in Roseburg is one of the largest I've ever seen. The Country Lady Quilt Shop had two huge rooms, in one they had 3 very large Gammill long arm quilting machines.

This picture is from the entry way, what I didn't take a picture of is the Quilt in a Day display. The store had every pattern and book published.

This is a little side room they had with their 30's and 40's fabrics.

This is the second room with the long arms at the end. They had the largest selection of batiks I've ever seen.

There were kitchen cabinet doors painted with quilt designs. Very cute.

The second shop we went to was just the opposite. We were so distracted by the sign for Brothel Cafe that we didn't see the quilt shop. It also didn't help that there was no sign for the quilt shop. Turned out the cafe is now the quilt shop, it had lots of fabric, some new some I'd purchased 10 years ago, and not a book or pattern in sight. The shop was a little different, but the lady running the shop was very nice and helpful. Cottage Village itself was nice, looked like it had some interesting shops, but it was just too cold to walk around.

We also went to the 5th Street Market in Eugene. If you like needlework of any kind, there is a store there called Mindy's. Beautiful hand painted needle point canvas (painted by the owner), tons of ribbons, beads, buttons and cross stitch.

I bought a few "me" Christmas presents at each shop. Jayme even bought some fabric to make a little table topper.

All of the places we went to were either in historic downtown districts or outdoor markets. We decided we need to make this trip again in the spring or summer, it was just too cold to walk around and window shop.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Whew! Got it all done

I finished up all my Christmas sewing this evening. Above are the last two puppies, they did get a little easier to make once I got to the third one but they are still a pain in the patootie to make. I made the little girls skirts and the puppies from a fat quarter bundle, I have so much fabric left over that I think I will make a disappearing 9-patch quilt from it. Actually I have so much left over I could probably make two.

So after making my prototype I went into production and made 5 more, still have one to go but it is not a gift. I also made four of something else - these were really fast and easy, plus I got to practice more free motion quilting. Along with all that I made a big one of this, and this cute thing. Plus the three little girls skirts and three puppies. Not bad, started in late October and finished four days before Christmas. I've taken some pictures, so after the holiday I can show you what I've been working on.

My car is all packed up with gifts, and my suitcase is almost full. Tomorrow I will head out to my Mom's in Oregon. It's suppose to snow, but less than an inch so I'm not too worried. There is only one part of the trip that I don't like - driving down from the top of the summit to Ashland - it's probably not even 10 miles, but it is steep curvy and almost always in the shade, which means it has the potential for ice. Hopefully there will be enough big rigs on the road that it won't have time to form. Where's my Willie Nelson... On the road again...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Carmel and Monterey

For the last couple of years Stephanie and I have gone down to Carmel-by-Sea and Monterey for a getaway day and a little Christmas shopping. We've had to reschedule a few times this year but finally got to go yesterday. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm.

We started in Carmel with a late breakfast / lunch at a little restaurant called The Cottage. Eating here is also becoming a tradition. We both had omelettes that were sooo good. I had fruit with mine and you would not believe all the berries - strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries - I was in heaven right there, I love all types of berries. I then dragged poor Stephanie into every shop on Ocean Street.

We went to Pacific Grove to check out Back Porch Fabrics then on to Monterey's Cannery Row. Yes, we played tourist the whole day. The picture above is the back of Cannery Row.

We headed for home after a little more shopping in Monterey with a stop for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We must of been very tired, neither of us got any cheesecake.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Worse tutorial ever

I finished making another puppy this afternoon. My plan was to make a puppy to match each of the little girl's skirts I made...that was the plan anyway, now I'm not so sure.

The puppy takes 88 2.5" squares, it makes a 14" high x 12" long x 2" wide puppy.

The body is 3 rows of 5 squares, the head is 2 rows of 3 squares, the feet are 1 row by 2 squares, you will need 2 bodies, 2 heads and 4 feet. You will also need 4 single squares that will be used for the tail and ear.

I put together the body parts first, then add the feet to the body it is the same for the front and back.

Next add the head, tail and ear. ***Important*** the front and back are reverse of each other (mirror each other??). I always forget this, to remember I make sure they can "kiss" - then I know I have the front and back correct.

When you are sewing the various items to the body, where ever there is an inside angle stop sewing 1/4" before you get to the end of the square (or start depending on the direction you are sewing). Example: When you attach the head to the body there are two inside angles, one along the back and the other is the chin, so you need to start a 1/4" in along the back and stop a 1/4" before you get to the end of the body under the chin.

After the front and back are made create a long strip with the rest of your squares, this will be the gusset - do NOT create a loop. I used smaller stitches putting it together so it wouldn't separate as I was sewing it on.

You can start sewing the gusset on anywhere - right sides together with one of the body pieces. I think it would be easiest to start at the bottom or center of the back foot (this is not what I did and it was a pain the patootie, I'll explain more in a minute).

When you are sewing on the gusset, you will have to stop sewing a 1/4" before any outside or inside angle. You have to stop at a 1/4" before the end of the square so you can turn the gusset around a corner, I normally back stitch here to re-enforce the seam. Then you have to pick up the needle and move to the other side of the corner and do the same thing - start a 1/4" in, re-enforce the seam by back stitching.

I pull the whole thing out from underneath the sewing foot so I can turn the fabric, match up the corners, pull excess fabric out of my way then place the needle down in the correct spot. It is a little like sewing the inside of a Y seam. If you do this, make sure your threads do not get looped on your sewing foot.

Gusset sewed on to one side.

You can't see it too well in this picture, but I pinned the gusset seam closed - do NOT sew it closed, this is where you will turn and stuff the puppy. I found it easier to sew the second body part on if this was pinned closed.

Sew the second body piece to the gusset - right sides together - following all the same 1/4" rules I mentioned above. Remove the pin connecting the gusset together. You should have a slit in the gusset, you can pull the puppy right side out through that slit. Make sure you "square up" the ear, tail, head and feet - you should have nice square corners if you followed the 1/4" rules.

Stuffing makes all the odd/bad sewing start and stops disappear. I stuff the ear and tail first, then the head. I like lots of stuffing so he looks like a fat little puppy. Stuffing tip: pull the stuffing apart in small pieces like it is cotton candy. This makes it easier to stuff and your puppy will not have lumps.

The pain in the patootie part: I tried to put the slit on the inside corner of one of the legs. I thought it would be easier to hid my slip stitching there. However that inside corner has four seams leading into it. As I was stuffing it all four seams started to separate.

Once he's stuffed, whip stitch the slit closed.

I also glue a felt floppy ear to each side and tongue on the front.

Add a ribbon collar and he is ready for a walk.

I hope this doesn't sound too confusing, it is really very easy to make.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Lately I've been spending most of my days in my sewing room - my computer is also in my sewing room - so I spend the mornings and a bit of the afternoons job hunting, and the late afternoon and evening are spent sewing and blogging. I try not to leave the house too much because every time I do it seems my wallet comes out. Since I am unemployed that is not a good thing. Today I had to get out of my sewing room and the house or go nuts. Since I still have some Christmas shopping to do I took my annual trip to the mall. The mall wasn't very busy. I knew pretty much what I wanted but I cruised through a few of the stores for a look see. Huh. When did I turn into a cheap fuddy duddy?

I went into one store thinking I was going to the mall rest room - really, one entrance was marked men's and the other women's - what would you think? I lost my hearing and eye site after entering the store. The music was I was going in someone even warned me about how LOUD it was, but what she didn't mention was I would need a flash light to see the merchandise, there was only indirect lighting shining on the walls and ceiling, otherwise you could barely see your hands in front of you much less the merchandise. I didn't spend much time in that shop.

From there I went into Tiffany's. I'm ashamed to admit I drooled all over their counters, I'm cheap but I have good tastes - Santa, I want one of each please.

Then I went into a big name department store. Designer names, designer prices. $45 for a plain long sleeve cotton t-shirt, no decoration or design of any sort - pretty color - but that was about it. Found another t-shirt I liked, cute design, $30, but the fabric was so thin (flimsy thin, not sheer thin) you could see through it and it wouldn't have taken much to put my finger through it - thought about it, but controlled the evil impulse.

Alas, I bought the things I came for - on sale of course - and came back to my sewing room.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I live in sunny California - it's not suppose to snow here. Right? At least not where I live. Right? Last night we got an inch of snow here, here as in my front yard. The last time there was significant snow in the Sacramento area was in 1976. I remember it snowed the first year I lived here (1999) but it was just a few flakes that melted before they hit the ground. I went out at 7 a.m. to take pictures of the snow on my Aunt's car - sorry, no pictures, doesn't work if you forget to put the memory chip in the camera (picture me slapping my forehead). Oh did I mention it was COLD last night. Yes, I'm a wimp, there is a reason I live in (formally) sunny California.

Remember the fabric bundle I bought a few weeks ago? Saturday I made three of these...

My niece has a 4 year old daughter, she is dating a young man with daughter's who are 3 and 2 years old. I'm making them each a gathered skirt. I just love how they turned out. Each skirt took three fat quarters and they were so easy to make. I have a feeling they are going to be too big, so when I go up to Oregon this year for Christmas I'll bring my Featherweight with me to custom tailor each skirt. Cute, bright and sunny.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Busy Day

It was a busy day today, first off I had to rub this belly. Fred is just too funny, if he wants attention and you don't give it to him, he rolls over on his back for a belly rub...he knows I can't resist. Could you? He knows if I lean down to rub his belly I'll also scratch his ears, which is what he really wants.

Nancy came over to sew. She is working on a quilt call Eye Candy by Love Quilt Patterns.

When she started making this quilt she raided my stash. The dark blue is mine, the pastel one next to it is mine, the bright pink and a strawberry print are mine.

The red is mine, the green plaid in the corner...

This is the center, Nancy still has to add the pieced border...since all those fabrics are mine, shouldn't this quilt be mine also?

Then the mail game. I won another giveaway. I won a cute backpack from Melisa at Sweet Home Quilt Co. during one of her Friday Favorites giveaways. As always my picture doesn't do this justice, very cute very roomy. Thank you Melisa!

I did lots of sewing also - on some things I can show you - but they're not quite finished yet. I'll finish them tomorrow and post a picture...they are sooooo CUTE!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I am making some progress but not enough. It is amazing how much time can be lost blogging! ...oh I like this blog... that looks like an interesting link... how cute! and a tutorial to go with it... Next thing I know it's hours later and nothing is done except I have 10 more blog sites bookmarked. Yikes!

Remember my prototype from last month? Well I've moved into production. Its interesting how much faster each project is. I can't do them in assembly line fashion because I am using color coordinating threads. I am taking advantage of the little bit of machine quilting on each project to try out new free motion quilt designs.

Hmmm, maybe my thread coordinates too well, the above is an ocean wave design.

This one is an elongated loop. At least you can see my chalk line...jeez.

One thing I have learned is needles are cheap, taking out quilting is not. If a needle is bent or dull it will skip stitches when you are free motion quilting - not one or two stitches but an inch or more, acts like it is stitching but it doesn't catch the bobbin thread to create the stitch loop. You many not even see it until you are done quilting. I am now starting each project with a new needle.

My aunt had cataract surgery today, while waiting for her I got some binding sewn a little progress was made today.