Thursday, June 30, 2011

Really Random Thursday

It rained yesterday in Fresno. Normally the rain stops in April and we don't see it again until November. But yesterday it was cool and rainy.

It is hard to photograph rain.

But it did make the yard look so cool and refreshing. And yes, we really do have a trombone as a water fountain.

We also have one that I use as a quilt rack.

Yesterday when I posted about the Weekender Bag finally being completed, I added a picture of Courtney, who is the granddaughter of my friend, Candy. She was posing with a bag that Candy had just completed and she looked so cute.
 So naturally I wanted a picture of Charlotte posing with the Weekender. Charlotte thinks it is sweet that I have a friend named Candy. (I think she may have actually said she thought it was "cool" but I think "sweet" is more appropriate.)

When our first grandchild, Caleb, was born and then passed away three days later, some verses kept running through my head. My father was a minister and often closed the service with these words:
"May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." I asked my dad what the scripture passage was and he said it was Numbers 6:22-26. When I looked it up in the Bible, I was shocked to read the verses immediately before, which were: The Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his sons...." Aaron is our son's name and I knew at that moment that it was no accident these verses were running through my head and giving me peace. My friends, Dave and Debbie, engrave words on rocks, and they made this for my keychain. Isn't it awesome?
The rain stopped by noon and the rest of the day was beautiful. We ate supper outside.

Played baseball.

And ate icecream.

And now the weather will get back to "normal" around here:
I leave for Minnesota a week from today for a quilting retreat. I'm taking my Featherweight, named Bonnie. Mark is used to my penchant for naming things, like quilts and his fused glass creations. For some reason he thinks naming my sewing machine is silly and never calls her by her proper name.
I don't think naming her is silly at all. Her case even has her name on it.
The other night when Mark and I were talking about the things I would need to take along for the retreat and the best way to pack them, I heard these words:

You're taking Bonnie along, right?

There was a moment of silence, and then he said:

I can't believe I just said that.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday #33: What I am and what I am not

What I am: a quilter. I love cutting fabric into little pieces and then sewing it all back together again.

(My second Supernova block--could have used a better pressing--sorry, Lee. I LOVE these blocks!)
What I am not: a bag lady.

That being said, the Amy Butler Weekender Bag is finally done. Finished. Complete. Never to be done again. At least not by me.
It looks like it is ready for a tropical vacation.
 I know I sure am ready for a vacation after making this bag.
Alternatively, I'll just take one of these.

(NOTE: I cut the tulip fabric straight. The crookedness at the bottom happened during the construction. At this point, I don't know how it happened, nor do I care. And it's not because I had ordered one of those special cafe mochas.)

What I love: The fabric. Jessica Jones' Outside Oslo is gorgeous. You can see the Weekender that her mother sewed here. She was my one-person texting support group throughout the whole process. Hers turned out perfectly. And here is why. She is not a quilter. She is a bag lady. In fact, she just finished this bag. See what I mean? She also knows who she is. Plus she has the perfect little model for her bag.

But I digress. I had one-yard cuts of the entire line (you can order from Marmalade Fabrics) so I ended up using four different fabrics--three for the outside and a different one for the lining.

What I wish I had done differently: other than not starting it in the first place (oops, did I really just say that?), I wish I had made the straps longer so I could use it as a shoulder bag.

I also wish I had done the piping differently. Rather than going to my dad's house and using his industrial sewing machine (he used to do upholstery), I would have used fusible interfacing to fuse the raw edges together, as someone suggested. Ultimately you end up with three lines of stitching, each one getting closer and closer to the cording. Because his machine sewed so closely to the cording itself the first time, it was really hard to cover up that stitching when I assembled the bag.

I previously posted pictures of binder clips needed to hold all the many layers together. Also be prepared for a pile of these totally misshapen pins.
The fun little "surprises" I added: In the picture on the front of the pattern, the bag has an Amy Butler tag. So I decided to do a little "branding" of my own. That's what selvages are for, right?

So, once again, just to be clear:

What I am: a quilter.
What I am not: a bag lady.

I think it's important to know these things about yourself.

Now go see what everyone else has accomplished this week!

Signs of the Times

Do you ever feel like this?

Or this? (If you have little ones around, start banking some extra money in your ATM. Seriously.)

This was in my fortune cookie yesterday. I think it's telling me that I will have a great time in Minnesota next week when I finally meet some of my friends in person at a quilting retreat in St. Cloud.

And The Weekender keeps taunting me. I should finish it. Then we'll both be happy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Name Game: During Quiet Time

I am so thrilled to have Amy from During Quiet Time here today playing The Name Game. She does the most amazing linocut designs, and then prints them onto fabric. I have enough of her wonderful designs that I consider myself an official collector. This will be a picture-heavy post, but you will soon understand why. Not only does she do amazing things with fabric, you will love her photography skills as well.
1. How did you choose During Quiet Time?

(wouldn't you just love to spend a little quiet time here, reading a book?)
I started my blog at my husband's insistence. I was pregnant with my now 2-year-old Penelope and was spending too much time analyzing my every twinge and pain of the first trimester and worrying about losing her. My husband thought I needed something to pour my energy into besides worry. He sat down at the computer and said, "OK, what do you want to call it?" During Quiet Time was the first thing that came to mind simply because I find time for my creative endeavors while my children rest in the afternoon and once they are asleep.
2. Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?
I am really terrible at catchy names. While I would have happily considered other names, none came to mind and this one wasn't taken so we went with it!
3. Now that you are recognized by During Quiet Time, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?

I have mixed feelings about this one. Right now,"quiet time" in our household equals naptime but once my children are grown, I will still have a need for my own quiet time and I will continue to fill that time with sewing and printing fabric and making art. What I don't like about the name is that I feel like it labels me as a mother first because the name choice is so closely tied to the nature of my days while raising children. Honestly, in my day-to-day existence, my role as mother does come first. But I like to think that my blog is my place, someplace where I am not a mother of three but a creative person with a need to make things! I didn't pick up sewing as a hobby once I was home with my children. Rather, I found time to continue to nurture my creative side once I became a mother.

Thanks so much, Amy!

Be sure you take time to go to During Quiet Time and say hi.

Also head over to her etsy shop, so you can "look and see" what she has available. I bought this fabric to make something for my son, who is an optometrist. Perfect, isn't it?

I probably have never mentioned this before, but one place I have always wanted to visit is Ireland. I love Irish music and step dancing, have nearly ever CD recorded by the Chieftains, have seen Riverdance live twice and listened to my Riverdance CD so many times it's almost worn out. Unfortunately, actually visiting Ireland is not in my near travel plans. Instead, I have the next best thing--Sarah from  FairyFace Designs will be here next week, all the way from Cork, Ireland! You won't want to miss it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Farmer's Wife Friday: Living in God's Open Air

When Carla from Lollyquiltz and I decided to do the Farmer's Wife quiltalong together, we tossed around a couple of different ideas on what would work the best for each of us. We finally landed on the idea of just starting with the first letter in the book and go through the book sequentially, doing the two blocks pictured with each letter. I had started reading the letters and found them fascinating so it seemed like a good idea, and the blocks would essentially already be chosen for us.

6" blocks. I thought, "how tough could it be?" I've been making quilt blocks for over fifteen years. I started with Cut Glass Dish. Wow. 51 pieces in a 6" block.

I looked at all those 1" HSTs and tried to decide the best way to achieve some accuracy. I finally decided to make them oversize and cut them down to 1 1/2 inches unfinished. That turned out to be a good idea, for me at least.

The second block, Kitchen Woodbox, looked like a snap compared to Cut Glass Dish. But I'm here at Lakeview with a computer but no printer, and for some dumb reason, I didn't print out the template before coming up here. So I kind of had to wing it. And the sun had gone down so the picture is taken in a cabin with really bad light. (Hey,  Lakeview Cottages has an electrical system from about c. 1917 so we use 60w bulbs). Now that I think of it, these cottages are nearly the same age as the Farmer's Wife challenge.

I'll be making all my blocks using Kona snow and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons.

The first letter, "Living in God's Open Air," really resonated with me, because this was the view from my porch as I thought about the letter written all those years ago.

I chose the colors for my first two blocks based on the colors I saw today in God's open air, the blue of the water, the green and  brown of all the beautiful trees surrounding the cabins, and even the brown and green of the cabins themselves. It is all so beautiful. To answer the question, "Would you have your daughter marry a farmer," the writer says," I would have her marry a farmer because there she has the chance of living in God's open air, of living a pure life, away from the meanness of a rural town..."  That's what I was feeling today, the beauty of living in God's open air.

Check out Lollyquiltz and see how Carla interpreted these same two blocks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We're (finally!!) in business

After having to cancel our first two rental weeks here at Lakeview Cottages, and after shoving three weeks of work into three days, we are finally open for business and guests have arrived!

We had record snowpack this year. It went from this on June 2
to this, taken this morning (see that little snowdrift in the background?)
There isn't enough water in the lake yet to float our boats (that is kind of fun to say...), at least not the motorzized fleet. They are still resting on a snowbank.

But the kayaks, canoes, rowboat and paddle boat are ready to go. Here at LVC we like to name our nonmotorized fleet, so there is a kayak with my name on it, the "Cindy Lou." This year we named the paddle boat the  "Cheri Lynn." Cheri chose the paddleboat for her namesake because that is where George proposed to her.

Cleaning up the waterfront involved walking through snowdrifts to get to the shore.
We had some extra help, including Jill (putting the decal on the paddleboat) and Jason (being very helpful with many tasks throughout the weekend).

Don't get the wrong impression that it is all work and no play. We still take time out to enjoy the view.

Mark was able to capture these pictures, taken at the same time.

Cheri, raking:
George, snoozing contemplating what needs to be done next:

And then the guests started arriving. It doesn't take them long to get into the swing of things. Some of our long-time guests were spread out in four cabins, and at least over the weekend there were nine kids under the age of 12, eight boys and one girl.
Wondering if we actually rent to real pirates up here? Cal (aaaarrrrr....) probably wouldn't like me posting this picture of him, but you have to do something to keep the kids entertained, so they were having a pirate scavenger hunt.

Not only did the guests arrive this week, the fish decided to show up as well. Can you believe the size of these rainbow trout?

Mark and I went down to the valley on Sunday afternoon, and I came back up yesterday afternoon, and stopped to take a picture of Big Creek on the way.
I arrived just in time for this very excellent meal shared by the same "pirate" crew, only last night they had a Hawaiian luau theme going.
Believe me. I was glad to be back up here at 7,000 feet elevation where the high temp today is going to be a balmy 73 degrees. Tuesday night in Fresno, we decided to go to a Grizzlies game (the AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants). It was 105 when we got to the stadium! By the third inning, it was starting to cool down and there was a bit of a breeze, so by the end of the game it was very pleasant.

In a few minutes I will be setting up my sewing machine and starting on the Farmer's Wife blocks. Carla from Lollyquiltz and I will be doing a Farmer's Wife Friday series. We tossed around different ideas and finally decided to follow the book from start to finish, including some comments on the letters, which are really fascinating to me. So we'll each be making the same blocks each week. She is using prints, and I'm using....well, I guess you'll just have to come back tomorrow to find out!