Friday, August 10, 2018

I took the summer off

Admittedly, I didn't take all of the summer off because there was working in between it all. I did take time to just do nothing. There was no heavy-duty quilting, no summer college course, no summer novel reading. When you "do nothing" there is also nothing to post for the internets, so even my blog suffered.  

Page view tallies intrigue me. I do know when I don't linkup with a certain quilt blogger, my page views plummet. That linkup blogger took the summer off too. Yet, a couple of days ago I was hovering around 50 page views per day and then it shot up to 400! I can never figure out what is going on. I assume someone has pointed others toward my blog or mentioned me somewhere. 

I could attribute my summer attitude to our never-ending heat along with the addition of smoke from the Northern California wildfires. Being an escape-to-the-outdoors type of person, I languish indoors protecting my lungs and other organs affected by PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers). Link to the Environmental Protection Agency's airnow.gov.

My newest passion is learning to cook Chinese food from the Joy of Chinese Cooking. My first attempt was cashew nut chicken (one of my favorites), didn't turn out stellar and it would have helped if I had all of the ingredients *guilty smirk*



There are no good Chinese food restaurants in my area so I decided to learn how to cook this type of cuisine. It was the same with Thai food - none of those restaurants in the rural county where I live. 

I did start free motion quilting this past weekend on the Indianapolis Colts lap quilt I should be able to post as a final in the next couple of weeks. Lots of quilting in store for me as I have that and another quilt sandwich in the queue. 

Have you been experiencing a lackadaisical summer too?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sewing Machine Block and I captured a cashmere

July color in the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge is yellow/green. I chose this print along with a Tami-revised sewing machine block. I somewhat followed the pattern posted at amyscreativeside, and linked up at inspiring-stitches.com. I made the block more difficult by adding the brown border. My first attempt reminded me of the puppet Ollie.


Updating post to linkup at patternsbyjen.blogspot.com for the July Color Challenge. 

I had hoped to make it in to the Fair awards ceremony but spent the morning feeling punk and having car trouble so it wasn't meant to happen.
I felt as undetermined as this painting

I also captured a cashmere and silk skirt at Goodwill. Very happy finds for me. 

Posting some summer Patterns of the Day
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
Marking quilting lines for the Indianapolis Colts lap quilt and listening to shuffled music on my laptop. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Piggy Bank Savings - Money for Quilting Challenge

While most of the time I post on how I spent my money, this time I am linking up with a challenge at Val's Quilting Studio on how much money I saved ... to spend on fabric. Such an ulterior motive! 
I am hoping by this time next year, I will have greatly reduced my remnant fabric stash. I want to retain laser focus on projects and do my best possible work. I don't want to crank out quilts just for quilt's sake. 

Thrifting update: newest find another quilt rack. This one, tall and narrow, holds a thrifted fan quilt and a Pendleton blanket. My lead crystal lamps hold court in the background.

I have also been tidying up my collection room. I was sort of embarrassed to find a vintage Christmas doll in the back of my curio cabinet. She will show up in my lead off post in the Countdown to Christmas. 
Crocheted Yosemite Sam
Heading back to the California State Fair tomorrow for the crafts division awards ceremony. Hope to have some fun fair pics to share. I am already planning my next year's submission. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I spent the morning at the California State Fair

And you know where you could find me - at the Craft and Fine Art exhibitions. With my media pass, I signed in and entered the fair via the media center. I was able to photograph these superior creations without having to battle the crowds.
So well organized!

This one I believe took a First Place.
Applique puppy in batik
Ethnic and dramatic
Americana
Jaw-dropping precision needlework on this piece
I knew there was a Steampunk category
so I was particularly interested in this exhibit
This piece you have to see in person
Done in counted cross-stitch
Whimsical and Wonderful
You can see why it took First Place - Applique Quilts

My piece is hanging in the display case to my right

The Sacramento summer heat is oppressive so I am wearing as little as possible. I know a gal isn't supposed to wear a hat inside but I am matching my creation's hat she is wearing. Thought I would look the "artist" part. *grins*
Award of Merit for this oil painting
Lots to see and do and there is something for everyone at the fair. What I didn't find was jalapeno jelly - so if anyone finds that type of vendor, let me know! I will be back at the Fair next week. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Could you do - just 2?

Ah yes, another slightly off post title. This one has me intrigued, whether I can pull it off or not is another question, but how about you? The American Patchwork & Quilting Two-Color Challenge has begun.  


Introducing the American Patchwork & Quilting Two-Color Quilt Challenge! For this challenge, participants are asked to create quilts with only two colors. Finished quilts can be any size, but they must use ONLY two colors.
Official category description: Eligible quilts must use only two colors in their construction. Prints may be used as long as they consist of ONLY two colors. Thread color and binding needs to match the two colors in the quilt. Backing can be any color.
  • Solids used with prints must match one of the colors in the print for a total of two colors.
  • Tone-on-tone patterns count as two colors.
  • Shades of the same color count as two colors.
  • Neutrals (white, gray, black, etc.) each count as one color.
The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2018 You can submit entries along with other QuiltCon submissions at quiltconentry.com

The challenge is posted at The Modern Quilt Guild

I may do a tone-on-tone print and then pair it with a color that matches the tone exactly. There are examples posted at the site linked above.  

Side note: I was granted my Media Access pass to the California State Fair so there will be at least two posts upcoming on that event beginning July 13th. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Destashing in the heat

What do you do when it hovers around 100 degrees? You Destash!
Some actually aren't fabric uglies - so what did I get rid of? 

Christmas yardage.  I have made a few Christmas quilts and may do another holiday-themed creation but only with the prettiest of fabric I've saved. 

Baby and kid-themed fabric. I don't have any small children in my life. I have one baby quilt in the pre-pin-basting stage for an expectant co-worker. (No one is expecting at this time so this one is on hold.)

Poor fabric choices. You can see one of those choices in the bag, a deep maroon with fly fishing lures. Bought secondhand but regretted a day later. 

The fabric stash is being winnowed down. I am moving more toward collections of higher quality fabric for certain projects. Here are a few: 

Asian-themed fabric - Bento box block
Black and white print fabric - Pineapple block
Black and pink print fabric - Perhaps a country pinwheel block

I have in mind a quilt centered around a retro print of blue and grey. I don't have the block in mind yet to highlight. A country classic block called Patches might be the one. I ordered some companion Kona solids, hoping to highlight some free motion quilting. This project is fast moving up in the queue. 

I am moving more and more toward completing kits or quilt tops that other quilters have left unfinished. I have a batch of Coastal Beacons blocks that will quickly assemble into a quilt top. Each block contains a batik lighthouse, very pretty. 

I am currently working on an Indianapolis Colts lap quilt for the Mr.'s daughter. The flimsy is done and the backing flannel washed. I am pleased with how this one is turning out, I had very little fabric to work with and scored the flannel backing at 1/2 off retail.

My machine is back from the shop so I can get some heavy duty quilting done on this current lap quilt and picnic quilt I have pin basted. 

I also have a retro fan quilt top I need to complete the backing. This one is being saved for a longarmer. I have a promotional interview at the State this Tuesday so if I score the job, I will reward myself with a quilt project sent to a professional.

On a side note, I am a YUGE fan of Mary Fons and Fons & Porter  tutorials. I just discovered Mary Fons has written quite a few articles on the subject of quilting. Link to one of those articles
the-quilt-scout but-is-is-art?  

Thrifting update was a couple of what I like to call "carry alongs" needlework projects, extra fun Halloween costume, and some tie downs for a truck. My son needs those, I soaked them in a bucket and then hung them up to dry. 
Finally, we escaped a California wildfire this weekend. People in the area were evacuated and we could hear the firefight continue into the night. We were able to return to our homes but couldn't leave the area after we arrived home.  

Stay cool, stay calm and Destash! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2018 Mid-year review

It is intriguing to look back at one's goals in the New Year to see what has been accomplished at this mid-point.  I did achieve one of my goals which was to create an art quilt for the twice yearly Art with Fabric Blog Hop.  Even outdid myself by entering it in the California State Fair and earning an honorable mention. I also queued up a hopeful finish to the Pantone Color of the Year quilt challenge but I never got off the ground with that one. I did a fabric pull and didn't have that color, couldn't find the right shade at the fabric store and failed a finding fabric that spoke to me while competing in the FabHopShop. 

Luckily, I only set the two quilting goals for myself this year. Oh, I have lots of WIPs and PIGs that I have organized in ziplocs. I have even posted my quilting hopes and dreams. No time like the present to revisit. 

I am now swimming in batiks, I love them, but have yet to make a quilt with them. 

I also have plaids, more plaids than I will ever need. Once I make the quilt I have in mind either Storm at Sea or a Plaid-half-hexagon.

The Art with Fabric Blog hop will take place some time in the fall and I have another art quilt in mind, this time I will piece it like a proper quilter! *grins* I will enter that one in the 2019 fair, trying for a top placing ribbon.  

Linking up with quiltingjetgirl for the:

Also linking up with lizzielenard-vintagesewing.blogspot.com.

As I have posted previously, I am participating in the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge, making quilt blocks associated with the color of the month. Also with that challenge, there are giveaways and I won for the month of June (birthday gal, uh huh, uh huh, woot woot).  And how appropriate, my love of art and fabric combines into a fat quarter bundle of Art Gallery Fabrics. 
I think this bundle is just begging to be made into a Modern Art quilt with lots of negative space and perhaps some matchstick quilting?  

What would you make with this fabric compilation? 

And my mid-year winnings continue with a $20 gift card win from Snowline Hospice Thrift. Time to buy a lottery ticket? 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Stupsi joins her sister and mystery box of fabric

This looks so Voodoo
The Stupsi doll in the center of the image of the unintentional voodo-like display had to be purchased since I found her sister the week before. Her old-fashioned costume and beaded bag make me think she is mambo. I am photographing inside and my thrift shop finds of paper tiki towers, the doll, summer print fabric, a batik kit and More Quick Watercolor Quilts, including a couple of CDs, totaled less than $10. 

Heading into 100+ degree heat this weekend. It is an energy zapper. I feel like I should be downstairs working in my studio creating quilt-related things but it just isn't happening. Think I'll cut fabric for some Bento box blocks. 

As promised, here are the contents of Mystery Box of Fabric I bought online for $30 as a birthday present to myself. 

This was a small quilter's stash from Wichita, Kansas. I bid on it sight unseen, I figured there would be some fabric uglies I couldn't use. 
Laundered and folded
Surprisingly, there were a number of batiks, yardage for both an Americana-themed quilt and a seafaring-themed one (I have been collecting fabric for the latter). Lots of fat quarters and about 1/3 of the box unusable to me. 

In addition to the fabric, there was this piece I can supplement for a backing. I try to incorporate mystery quilter's creations into my current project. It is a nod to them that their work will live on. 
Thank you mystery quilter
One of the CDs I brought home was a classic compilation of


Continuing my birthday gifts to myself. I frequent a certain hospice thrift shop because 1) it is open on Sunday; 2) the prices are reasonable; 3) there is a half off sale at the beginning of each month; and 4) I have acquired numerous pieces of original artwork from this location. It is almost criminal that I spent $4.25 for this one.
Acrylic on fabric, double matted
professionally framed
Al Paque 7-1990
I call it Delicate Summer Flowers. 28 years old this July. I won't let myself hang it up at home because then it will never make it in to work. I want to hang it in my cubicle and replace a framed print that is just too green (said with gritted teeth).

About my buying secondhand fabric, one tip - When you have things shipped to you from across the country, don't bring the cardboard box in the house. We believe we had a nasty assassin bug get into our house that way. Now we open boxes outside and store them flattened outside. Just. In. Case. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Happy birthday to Me

Hello internets - tooday is my birthday!
Inspecting the birthday cake
This is one of many 35mm slides I am scanning to my laptop. Preparing a slide show for my next mom visit.

The quilting is done in a flip flop pattern
I had entertained the thought of doing a cubicle wall hanging just for summer but have two bedsized quilts queued up for quilting. Weekend thrifting gifted me this sweet summer wall hanging made by a First Tuesday group of quilters from Amador and Calaveras County. It has found its forever home.
Too bad it isn't dated, there were signatures
I cropped from the image

While I used to pass up linens on my commando thrift runs, it is on my list now. I look for unfinished quilt tops and blocks, finished quilted pieces and quilts. 

Dolls are another area I routinely check. A certain thrift shop has dropped gems such as boxed Madame Alexanders, a bag of Storybooks and this Stupsi with tag. 

For stuffed animals I am on the lookout for Steiff (found one earlier this year) and Ty beanie babies with tags. Peace bear is one of my favorites and I will buy him tagged or not.

Original art - oil and acrylic paintings on canvas are near the top of my thrift shop list. Like buying clothes secondhand, you can't be swayed by the price, you've got to LOVE it. On the other hand, if the piece is so inexpensive, why not buy it and enjoy it and then upgrade if you find a higher quality work of art? I have done that numerous times, I donate the other piece back to thrift. After my collection room went from framed prints to original art, it now looks like an art gallery!

Clothing is is all about the cashmere, sweaters that is. I will buy cashmere any time of year. January is the best time to find this type of high quality sweater. 

My favorite pie is strawberry/rhubarb. One is going in the oven later today.

Thanking my audience for visiting my blog, giving me the opportunity to share all of my finds and creations. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer Socials

Cameron Park Hospice Thrift held their Summer Solstice Event this weekend. There were Hawaiian shirts, beach items and kitsch galore. For just a few dollars, I picked up the flamingo tissue centerpiece, a souvenir ukelele, two strands of painted beads and a pink sarong. We have a summer social coming up next month at work and these items will jazz up one of the treat tables. 
 
The shopper checking out in front of me purchased over $100 of truly amazing party goods - one item I didn't think to snag was a large ceramic conch shell, you could fill it with anything. 

My birthday is on June 25, so I treated myself to a mystery box of fabric purchased from one of my favorite online retailers. Course, I tried to convince myself I didn't need more fabric but I have been showing restraint at the thrift shops, not purchasing everything quilting cotton. I will catalog the treasures inside the box. Hoping it isn't a box of uglies. 
A log cabin square done in pinks and blues peeks out
along with a hint of a purple batik and a batik firefly
SOLD me on this collection
Mystery box in lineup
In other news, I continue to participate in the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge with June's block being purple. I goofed up and didn't save the image on my iPhone. It posted to IG but I can't copy it. 
June color block.  Link to host and pinwheel pattern june-color-challenge.

Awaiting word on my media access pass to the California State Fair. I am interested in what all that entails. 

Suffering through 100+ degree heat this weekend, I am more in the mood for scanning rather than sewing. The scanning is the project of converting 35 mm photo slides to digital images. I've just scheduled a visit in July to see my 90 year old mother. 

How have you been beating the heat?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hippy jeans and media access

At $2.50 - who cares if it was mass produced?
Did my route of 4 secondhand shops and found yet another item on my thrift shop bucket list, a pair of embroidered-leg jeans. Coldwater Creek brand, reliable and well-made. Thrown in for good measure was a small painting, a Charter Club Hawaiian print shirt and some quilt blocks. Grand total spent - $12.
Thrifting treasures

I learned through another Sacramento blogger that, as bloggers, we could apply for media badges for early access and entrance into the California State Fair. I was all over that. I am more than curious to know where my quilted wall hanging the-encounter-abstract-in-fabric will be displayed.  

I have a long history with fairs - I can't hide the fact that I love them! I love the smells and the energy. Cotton candy and scones are my foodie downfalls. 
1962 Seattle World's Fair
My mom had this slide marked as "Poodle for Miss Peep Show"
I'm the little gal next petting the poodle, my brother next to me
I may have more of these retro fair images hiding in the next group  of slides I brought home on my last visit with my mom. 

Pattern of the Day is a 1960s Advance pattern.

The sleeveless version is my usual work look for summer days that reach 100 degrees. The forecast calls for heat and more heat in our Northern California climes.  

Are you a fan of the fairs?