Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ruby Tuesday

This is not about the Rolling Stones song from the '60s, or a restaurant review. Nope. This is about someone much more important.

This is a picture of our second son, Jason, and my husband, Mark. Mark always tells people you can tell they are related because their ears look just alike.
Several years ago, both Jason's stepfather and mother passed away. He has lots of extended family, but needed some parents. We have been happy to fill that role for him.

This is Jason and his wife, Jill. We have known Jill for a long time, as nearly every one of her cousins has spent Monday nights eating at our house and watching Monday Night Football. When they got married, we were thrilled to be honorary parents for Jason. He even ushered us down the aisle.

Over the course of the last few years, Jason and Jill have become "like family" friends with our son, Aaron, and daughter-in-law, Christa,  another aunt and uncle to our grandchildren. These two pictures are about  1 1/2 years old but still a couple of my very favorites.

A week ago Friday, Jason and Jill welcomed a new member to the family. Meet Ruby.
Jason holding his new daughter
Aaron holding his new niece
 This is already one of my new favorite pictures.

She is just beautiful.

And let's just say that this time I was happy for my procrastinator tendencies. Jason and Jill didn't know whether they were having a boy or a girl, so the nursery was decorated in aqua, grey and red. I was trying to decide what fabrics to use for a gender-neutral quilt. Nothing too flowery since the baby could easily be a boy. Several ideas ran through my head. I had already started a stack of fabric possibilities. But when beautiful Ruby was born, the answer was quite obvious: "Ruby" by Bonnie and Camille. I already had some in my stash, it is the perfect colors and the best part is the perfect name.
Now I know exactly what I'm going to do, and you can be sure that I will incorporate as many of these selvages as possible! 
Welcome, sweet Ruby. We love you so much already.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Name Game: In Color Order

Last fall, I received an invitation to join a new bee on Flickr. I had kind of sworn off bees for 2012, but when I realized who else was in the group, there was no way I was going to miss out on being part of this group. Each of us has been assigned a month where we get to make the decisions for the kind of quilt blocks we want. So I thought it would be fun to profile the each of the group members when it is "their" month. Which means that some time in August I will finally answer these same three questions myself.

The month of January belongs to Jeni, from In Color Order. It's exciting to have Jeni here today. I have been a fan of her blog for a really long time.

How did you choose the name for In Color Order?

I love, love, love having things organized in color order. My clothes, fabric, collectibles, pretty much everything! It's something I've done since I was young, and it seemed like a good fit when I started my blog a few years ago!

 Were there other nbames you considered, and can you share any of them with us?

 I can't honestly remember if there were any other major contenders. I won't leave you with nothing though, I've had journals and a website since I was in 6th grade, so I'll share a few of those (somewhat embarrassing!) names! Let's see, my very first blog was called Heartfelt, then it was Scream Out Loud, Tender Lie, and finally Hope Driven. Hehe.

 One of my favorite Single Girl quilts
Now that you are recognized by In Color Order, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?

Very happy with it! I think I got lucky, I feel like it really fits my personality and reflects my tastes and sewing style well! I don't think I would be happy with anything else right now!

Jeni's lined drawstring bag pattern--in all these sizes. It's amazing. You can find it here.

If you have read Jeni's blog at all, you are very familiar with George. So cute...

If you are a collector of vintage sheets, head over to Jeni's shop. It is very well stocked and you are sure to find something fabulous there.

If you have never been to Jeni's blog, plan on spending some quality time there. She has an amazing amount of valuable information . If you are feeling uncertain about fabric choices, color choices, organizing your fabric, or building a stash, you are sure to find an answer here.

Thanks for playing the Name Game, Jeni!

Jeni is being super generous and will give away her drawstring bag pattern to one lucky person. So let's find out a little bit about you--do you organize things in color order? Which is your favorite color? Let us know and Random Number Generator will choose a winner on Wednesday at noon PST. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It Takes a Village: I have a new neighbor!

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I moved into a new housing development?

I think it's fun to move to a new place. You can kind of reinvent yourself and how you want to live. I decided to go all "green" and "save the environment," so I bought a bike and started hanging my laundry on the line.

Well, yesterday, my friend, Dotty, moved next door. I'm so excited. We have been friends for a long time. We share a love of reading, and in fact, she even formally started me on my quilting journey.
I really like her new home. Dotty and her husband, Al, have four kids, all married, with lots of cool grandchildren. So when they moved next door, they decided to get a snazzy new sports car. And Al is a Master Gardener, so it looks like they are starting their landscaping project with wildflowers.

Here is a funny true-life story. Years ago when they built their home, they were on the outskirts of Fresno, with lots of acreage around them. A nearby neighbor had peacocks. Al and Dotty hated the peacocks. The peacocks would come into their yard, make a big mess, eat the vegetables in their garden. Really. They are not fans of the peacock.

So imagine my surprise when they decided to build a fancy new fence on the side of their house and then decided to have a peacock as a pet!! Very odd...
Oh, and I think another new neighbor's house will be done today. The interesting things you find out about your friends when they move next door. Just like Dotty, she is making some "interesting" decisions...
And in case you were wondering...do you live in a neighborhood that has a lot of CC&R codes? Stuff like the color you are allowed to paint your front door, or how many cars you can park at your house? Well, this particular housing development has only one: it is a requirement that you wear a kerchief at all times...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday: The Brightest and Happiest Place on Earth (Take 2) and Partners

Last week, my sewing room was not the brightest and happiest place on earth, at least not once I attempted #43, Garden Path. Whew. Some of you made very kind comments. Apparently you failed to enlarge the photo, otherwise you would not have been so nice.

In case you forgot what it looked like, here is Take 1. See all the puckers? None of the burgundy strips match. Ugh. Y-seams galore.
The problem was that I wasn't sure how to correct the problems. I downloaded the paper piecing template, and saw that the construction was completely different than the exploded diagram in the book. I didn't paper piece this block, but I did follow a different "path" through this garden. Ultimately, it didn't lessen the number of Y seams, but I was able to make a block that is "good enough." And much better than last week's attempt.

#43, Garden Path. Take 2. The seams don't come together properly at the points on each side, but I figure they will be so close to the seam allowance when the blocks are sewn together that it won't be so obvious. Like I said--"good enough."
The other block from last week was #37, Flower Pot.

Oh, and before I forget. The farmer's wife from last week was from Oklahoma. She started by mentioning that "home economics have been put within the reach of every farm girl, so that even though a mother may be a poor cook or an indifferent housekeeper, her daughter need not be...courses include cooking, baking, canning, preserving and general household management." I think schools have made a big mistake by taking home economics classes out of the curriculum.
This week's letter writer is also from Oklahoma. And this farmer's wife was an independent and forward-thinking woman. "Born on a farm, I hated everything pertaining to farm life as I knew it as a child." And then she met a young farmer...and they came to an understanding, the first thing, that "she needs new modern implements as well as he. Also the 'chore' question should be settled early in the action. I have never milked a cow. Why? Because I told my husband I wouldn't and he doesn't expect it."

And he probably didn't want to argue with her! In any case, this farming couple worked together as partners, and planned their work schedule so they could spend time together as a family.

#11, Broken Dishes
#19, Checkerboard
I was really happy with the beach glass colors in this block

The blocks together from last week and this week:

And just a peak at all the blocks together:
Don't forget to see what Carla thinks about this week's letter and see her interpretation of these blocks.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Really Random, 1/26/12

How is that I just found Goodreads? It will be simple to keep track of all the books I'm planning to read this year.

It's good when random things find me, instead of the other way around. This truck was parked in front of the office building where I pick up my medical transcription. Coffee on wheels. This is the first cafe2u franchise in the United States. Right here in Fresno! The new owner saw it when he was in Australia (hi, Bob...). And it's very social media oriented. Call, email, tweet--Bob does it all. You can preorder and Bob will start making your order "straight away"--isn't that an Australian phrase? Love it. And he has pastries too.
My usual order at Starbucks is simple and boring: tall coffee, no room. Unless I'm there with my daughter-in-law. She always orders something yummy. In which case I say the classic line from my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally, (but without all the suggestive moaning in the background): "I'll have what she's having..."

But I went out on a limb and ordered a latte today. It was fun watching the milk frothing there in the back of the van, in Bob's state-of-the-art coffee machine. It's the first cafe2u in the United States. Did I already mention that? If you are here in Fresno, twitter @cafe2uclovis and add them for a FREE coffee.
I already have my loyalty card. Eight more to go and I get a free coffee!

My stash of crochet yarn. Just waiting for a refresher crochet course from my friend, Deborah.
Deborah made me this fabulous pillowcase.See the crocheted edging? It's almost too cute to put on my pillow.

We had dinner with these three little ones last night. Well, we had enchiladas. They have not yet expanded their menu options beyond milk.

The one on the left is Gabriel, our newest grandson, three months. He was 9 lbs 11 oz at birth. The middle one is Charlie. Would you believe he is only seven months? I think he was 11 lbs 6 oz at birth. And the cutie on the right is the newest (more details on her later): Ruby, five days old, 6 lbs and 10 ounces. (NOTE: Gabriel belongs to our son and daughter-in-law Christa, Charlie is the second son of good friends, John and Katie, and Ruby is the first child for Jason, whom we consider another son, and his wife, Jill. And Charlie and Ruby are first cousins. Got all that?)

I ordered some hard-to-find kerchief girl fabric from Ayumi. It arrived yesterday. From Japan! And I just placed the order on January 15! It takes twice that long to get things from Canada. Go figure.
Now my collection is complete:

Have you ever heard of Drinkify? Thanks to Jessica of How About Orange, who keeps up on all kinds of valuable and necessary information, you can make sure the adult beverage you are drinking and the music you are listening to are compatible: Lady Gaga. James Taylor. Rachmaninoff (my all-time favorite classical composer). Carrie Underwood. Linkin Park (I added that one for you, Terri...). Looks like they have everything covered--Rachmaninoff was the test, but they delivered.

Have you ever ordered fabric from Cherrywood? Hand dyed. Beautiful. It has kind of a suede-like finish. When I was at the Road2California quilt show last weekend (more on that later too), we spent some time in the Cherrywood booth. The owner comes from Minnesota and we have known her for quite a few years--she is good friends with Mark's cousins. I had a plan formulated for a new quilt, but needed an eight-step gradation, in four different colors. Cherrywood had exactly what I needed. I can hardly wait to get started.

I'm a bit of a thread geek--the whole process is kind of fascinating to me. And the colors. *sigh* Wouldn't you love to try some of this thread? You should stay tuned. Your wish could come true.

Most people read blogs 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. I read that little tidbit here. At 9 p.m.

Hmmm. I bet you just glanced at the clock.

And finally...

(photo from here)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Name Game: 13 Woodhouse Road

I'm thrilled to have Shruti Dandekar here from 13 Woodhouse Road. All the way from India! By way of introduction, I "borrowed" her profile bio. Get ready for a fascinating story. And LOTS of color!

Hi. I am Shruti. Born in India. Studied to be an Architect. Started my practice. Took a break. Got married. Started practice again. Took a break. Had a lovely kid - Aadi. Started job. Took a break. Learnt to quilt. And now nothing breaks except my thread..
How did you choose the name for your blog?
When I first started blogging I was on wordpress. I used another name. But I was not quite fond of it. Since most of my fellow quilters are not in India, but scattered across the globe, I wanted a name that would make me one with the crowd but yet, keep me different. That was the time I remembered an incident from the past.
I was newly married, mine was an arranged marriage, totally unsure, living with my in-laws like all the nice Daughters-in-law do... I had not yet started working (come on, it was barely a month since we had got married!) And I had so much of leisure time (oh! how I miss it) that I even read the phonebook! You want the proof, the name of my blog is the proof!!! I came across my MIL's name with this address and the home phone number listed in the phonebook. When I asked my FIL, he informed me that this was the old address of this place. Pre-independence! Wow!
I loved the address. 13 Woodhouse Road. 
The search for a name for my blog ended right there. I had found a perfect one. Something that had a touch of awe and oomph! Also, in the past things that were considered normally unlucky for others proved to be lucky for me. I decided to go on and use the "13" for me!

So, 13 Woodhouse Road - it was!
Were there other names you considered, and can you share any of them with us?

Actually, I thought of this one almost immediately after I started, so there were no others. My old blog on wordpress was called Shrutiz though.

Now that you are recognized by your blog name, are you happy with it, or do you wish you could change it to something else?
Oh no. I just love this name. I cannot even think of parting with it. I am even considering keeping the name for my fabric and pattern design company that I intend to start later on!

Please head over to Shruti's blog and say hi. She has a lot going on. She is currently running a series called the ABC of Quilting. Lots of valuable information there.

She has been a contributor twice to Fat Quarterly--the first was a really interesting article on color and the second was a tutorial on how to make those adorable samosa wristlets.
She is doing a twelve-month series where she will be making things designed by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! I was amazed when I read this: I had never even heard the word "quilt" (I live in a non-English speaking nation!) before January 2010! Shruti has gotten much inspiration from Elizabeth (as many of us have...) and it's amazing what she has accomplished in two years!
And...she belongs to the India Modern Quilt Guild! I'm impressed. We don't even have a chapter here in Fresno, California (although we are current working on that...)
Whew! Shruti has a lot going on. But I know she will have plenty of time to say hi, so please stop by. Thanks, Shruti. It has been awesome having you share your fascinating quilting life.