Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Color Purple

I am in a block swap and July is my month to decide what kind of block I want the other members to make. After looking at swap blocks from other bees and changing my mind from day to day, I finally chose a variation of Red Pepper Quilts' scrappy quilt.

Instead of scrappy, I have decided to go with a "color wheel" theme. Each member of the swap picked a color, and going out in the mail today is a 6 1/2" square of white Kona cotton and a little stack of ten tone-on-tone prints in a specific color, and each person is encouraged to add some fabric from her own stash. (Yep, two people picked orange--hooray!)

I had made a sample block in purple, which I then tried to photograph. It turned out to be really difficult to get a true representation of purple. It kept photographing as blue. I'm sure it had to be fabric, not the photographer. So then I tried playing with the white balance settings on my camera. These are the crummy pictures I came up with.
I finally did something I hardly ever do: photograph with the flash on. Whew. The white really got bleached out, but the purple looks a little better.

I'm pretty happy with the block and I think the quilt will be awesome.

But is there someone out there with photography hints?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Driving...and other random thoughts

Some people really enjoy doing the driving. I am not one of those people. Mark does nearly 100 percent of the driving when we are traveling out of town. Since we became part of the owner group for Lakeview Cottages, we have made many trips up and down. The first time we took the "short cut," which saves us nearly half an hour, it involved a road that is mostly just wide enough for one car, with a steep drop-off. Freaked me out. Even with Mark driving, who is an excellent driver. In the length of 3.5 miles, it climbs from 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevation. Last year, a couple of the Lakeview cabins had not been rented and I wanted to spend some time up there, not working or managing, but just enjoying the beauty and serenity of Huntington Lake. It was midweek and that meant driving up there myself. Including that last four miles. Yikes!

Here is what I learned about myself. Driving slowly and steadily for 1 1/2 hours in mostly foothill and curvy mountain roads is something that I enjoy, something I even look forward to. For someone who has always had the car in "drive" and never learned how to drive a standard transmission, I now know when to shift to the lowest possible gear and when to use the other gears inbetween. Because it is necessary to drive more slowly and cautiously, it allows me to slow down in other ways as well. I rarely turn the radio on. Instead, I just enjoy the journey and with each passing mile, I feel myself relax.

So here's a question: how would you like this make this journey on a bicycle? Every June, bikers attempt the Climb to Kaiser, which is a 155-mile round trip that starts in Clovis, and ends at the top of Kaiser Pass, 9,200 feet elevation. It has been described as one of the toughtest rides in the United States, tougher even than any of the stages of the Tour de France. That 3.5 miles from Big Creek to Huntington Lake has an average grade of 10%, with some sections as steep as 20%. When we came down (very cautiously) from Lakeview yesterday, we passed over 100 bikers going up this road. Does this look like fun to you??

To  totally change gears (because I simply couldn't resist that one...), Amy from Diary of a Quilter  has recently returned from a trip to New York City and has started posting about some of the things she saw and places she went. As a quilter, of course the fabric destrict was high on her list. A few years ago, Mark and I went on an East Coast cruise and spent a couple of days in NYC.

We went on a walking tour of the garment district.

We did some shopping at Mood, where the Project Runway contestants get a lot of their supplies. Amy mentioned the high prices, which made me remember the most pricey thing I purchased in the garment district. I was looking for quilting cotton and didn't find a lot of that, although I was able to find a few pieces that I really liked. Our guide had cautioned us not to even ask about fat quarters because (a) the sales clerks probably wouldn't have a clue what we were talking about and (b) they usually didn't sell under yard-long cuts anyway. As I was walking around the store, I found the softest fake fur in a beautiful limey green color and when you ran your hand over it, it had turquoise undertones.

The problem: it was $75 a yard! I got the courage to ask the sales clerk if they ever did half-yard cuts and she said not usually, but in this case they could agree to sell me half a yard. It was 54" wide, but still, $37.50? And really. What do you do with a half yard of nearly-neon green fake fur?? I brought it home. And here is the answer to that question:
Worth every single penny.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Wrap

Last weekend, Mark and I went our separate ways. I went to a cabin near Yosemite National Park for nonstop quilting with three of my friends. It's always an adventure getting all our supplies and food from the car to the cabin. See the car up there on the road? It's quite a trek down to the entrance of the cabin. The first year, we chose a weekend in March and it had snowed. So....our trek involved carrying all our stuff in knee-deep snow, in the dark on a Friday night. We switched to a different month after that...

The first thing I worked on was finishing my Road to Spring quilt-along. I rarely actually "quilt along" with everyone else. I always intend to; I'm not quite sure where the system breaks down (I just had to photograph it with the Better Homes and Gardens because the colors were too perfect...)

Then I finished Baby Geniuses Grow Up. I hardly ever complete a quilt top using a single line of fabric, but I made an exception in this case. It is going to a blogging friend who works with stuff like DNA and this line had some fabrics that were actually based on DNA chains. And she just had a baby...who I am quite sure is a genius...

Next up: another quilt-along. I love the Oz line by Sanae and added a few others from my stash.

The white fabric really gives some breathing space to this quilt top.

We only have two meals each day. Don't worry. We don't starve. Because this is what our midday snack looks like. (In case you are wondering, the swirly thing is a marinated mozzarella cheese rope--yummy!)

And we always always have lemon pie in a meringue crust. Dotty forgot to pack it this year, but did we say, "Oh well...we have enough other things to eat"? No way! We stopped by her house again to pick up that delicious pie.

(Ruth, Dotty and Maggie)

We usually have party favors. Ruth picked up these great scratch pads for each of us. Can you zoom in on that top left corner of the right pad? You can read what it says, right? No? "made with real poo." Really?

Uh, yeah...I plan on getting some of these for stocking stuffers at Christmas....

There is a spiral staircase from the main floor of the cabin to the sleeping quarters down below. So during the weekend, as we finish our projects, we hang them on the railing. By the end of the weekend, it is just a collage of color.

And what was Mark off doing? He was in Pebble Beach, in Carmel, California, at Round 2 of the U.S. Open with Aaron, Christa's father  Ron, and her brother Sheldon. Sheldon was able to score some free tickets as well as all-access passes.They had a great day there.

And Aaron and Mark had their picture taken with the winner's trophy.

This weekend I'm at Lakeview Cottages for a couple of days. I brought Denyse along for company. Well, her Hope Valley fabric and a pattern.

The view from my cabin window...
Hope your weekend is relaxing. I'm off to sew.
P.S. My signal strength is really low up here and I can't pull up the  links, but the Road to Spring quiltalong with was Randi at "I Have to Say" and the hexagon quiltalong was with Julie at Jaybird Quilts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Heather's having a party--with lots of party favors

Heather from alamodefabric is celebrating her birthday all month. And that girl really knows how to party! One giveaway after another. Starting today, four more of us brought gifts to Heather's party and she will pick the winners Sunday night at 9 p.m.

Up for grabs from Sewing on the Edge is this pincushion:

But there are a lot of other super things up for grabs as well. So go attend Heather's party, say hi, and maybe you'll go home with a party favor of your own!

And remember my Modify Tradition quilt swap? Well, my friend Jennifer received the quilt I made for her in the mail the other day and wrote the nicest things (blush). Thanks, Jennifer! I had the best time making that quilt for you and I'm so glad you like it.

And Amy has listed some of her favorite sewing notions and included a picture of the pincushion I made her, along with the link to my etsy shop (more blushing).

(Picture from Amy's Creative Side)

*sigh* It's a good day in Blogland...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where Bloggers Create: It's a studio tour

Don't you love to see where other creative people do their creating? Did you enjoy seeing all the fabulous quilts during Bloggers' Quilt Festival?  "Where Bloggers Create" is a tour of those places where creative people do amazing things. There are around 350 studios to tour and the list is posted here (or you can click on the button at the right).

So about where I create. It used to be our living room, the room where Aaron would often ask the question: "You mean the one we don't live in?" Yeah, that one.  I had all my sewing gear crammed in my office: sewing machine on a card table, ironing board. And I looked longingly at that big room that was probably the prettiest room in our house, the first room you saw when you entered our house....and the one we rarely ever used.

Mark was the one who suggested I take over that room. It has good natural light and a lot of space. Which I have had no trouble filling up. It is still the first room you see when you enter our house, and there are piles of fabric and projects in various stages. But I love this room. It is colorful and comfortable.

So let me give you a tour around the room.

The first thing Mark did was bring in two big tables which are in the center of the room:

The inspiration for the green paint on one wall was Anna Maria Horner's home dec line called Drawing Room. I took a swatch into Lowe's and had them match the green paint and then used the fabric for a lampshade:

At an auction a few years ago, we scored these great matinee seats, which have plenty of space underneath for fabric:

I have a little more storage and a few favorite things on top of the cabinet next to the matinee seats, including another lamp shade using AMH fabric:

A cabinet for book storage (and my "one in every color" clock):

Some button, thread and fabric scrap storage:

A repurposed diaper changing station for quilt storage:

Mark's high school trombone turned into a quilt rack (see that little sewing case to the right? The next time you peek into my sewing room it will probably be bright orange!):

A beautiful antique we picked up years ago at a super reasonable price: more fabric storage:

I use some colorful aluminum cups from my childhood for miscellaneous items:

And I write on my walls:

Hope you enjoyed a peek into where I love to spend my time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'll be right back...

I'm leaving in an hour for three glorious days of nonstop sewing with three of my friends at a cabin just outside Yosemite National Park. We have no contact with the outside world except for Dotty's telephone land line. Which means (gulp) I can't even check my email. (Is it bad that that makes me a little queasy?)

It's not rustic by any means. The cabin is beautiful and I think the technology break will do me a world of good.

I have more projects packed than I could possibly do even if we were up there for a month. We always have plenty of food and lots of sharing and laughter.

The view inside:

I was going to post a picture of the gorgeous scenery outside, but Blogger isn't cooperating this morning. Have a good weekend and happy sewing!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You've Got Mail


I participated in the Modify Tradition quilt swap and this came in the mail the other day, all the way from Massachusets, made by Erin. I love it! Soft and crinkly, beautiful colors.

More blocks on the back:
I already have it hanging on the wall in my sewing room.


Leslie got to choose the block for June in Block Swap 2 and chose the disappearing nine-patch. This is on its way to her in Nebraska (fabric: Oz by Senae--the colors are awesome).

My contribution to the Modify Tradition quilt swap 2010 is on its way to...... Oh, wait. I can't divulge that. It's still a surprise.

There is now a label on the back, but I snapped the picture before I sewed the label on. You know: shhhhhhh.

*sigh* I love mail.