Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Read All About It...

The first time I met Candy in real life, it felt kind of like a blind date. If you have had the wonderful opportunity to meet one of your blogging friends in person, then maybe you know what I'm talking about. A few butterflies...will I like her? Will she like me? Will we have anything in common? Will we run out of things to talk about and then have an awkward silence?

Candy's daughter is Jessica Jones, designer of fabulous fabric and the writer behind the uber popular blog, How About Orange.What first caught my eye, of course, was the very witty, usually very humorous conversation between mother and daughter that continues to take place in the comment section of Jess's blog. I asked myself, who was this Grandma G person anyway? So I clicked on her name, which took me to her blog, where I read that she lived in southern Minnesota, close to where Mark grew up. We started an email correspondence, and then three years ago, when we went back to Minnesota for Mark's high school reunion, we took the time to drive the relatively short distance to meet in person.

Fast forward three years, and we are now very good friends. So no trip to Minnesota would be complete without spending time together.

In April I had decided to make a quilt for her. Years ago, I had purchased some fabric of cats sitting on bare and snowy branches.

I have no clue why I purchased it--I'm not particularly a cat lover myself. But Candy is. And so I knew I had found the perfect person for this fabric. I used Elizabeth's "sliced coins" pattern (highly recommended, by the way) and went to work. The best thing? This quilt was made entirely from my stash, including "The Kitty Chronical," which kind of makes both of us crazy because the word "chronicle" is misspelled."
And this is one of the few quilts completed, from beginning to end, by me (with help from Mark for the basting part) --including the machine quilting.
It wasn't intended to be a surprise. I had kind of done a "teaser" post, actually hoping she would figure it out and enjoy watching the process. The funniest thing was when she said, "Well, it's a good thing that quilt isn't for me because that misspelling would drive me nuts!" Or something like that...When I read that, it occurred to me that she really did not think it was for her.

It was so  much fun to give the quilt to such a good friend. Neither of us enjoys having our pictures taken, but this momentous event could not go unphotographed!
I found the coolest fabric for the back, more kitty newspaper articles, but this time I think the words are all spelled correctly.
The sharing didn't end there, however. While I'm the quilter, she is the "bag lady." She does an absolutely impeccable job when it comes to making bags. And I got two of them!
See this cute little model? Candy and I both have granddaughters just a few months apart in age, with curly brown hair and brown eyes. This is Courtney:
Adorable. And I was lucky enough to meet her too!
We had to take a short break while our multi-tasking photographer answered a phone call.

If you have a chance to meet a blogging friend, my advice is do it! And run, don't walk!  We both tend to be introverted so the first time was really stepping out of the box for each of us. But if you take that step, you just might make a friend for life.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness...and let the Games begin!

Starting today, a lot of us will be focused on the Olympics, coming to us from London. 
A couple of weeks ago I shared some DS fabric from Joann's with some friends in the UK. I had plenty, and it's hard to find in the UK.

This arrived in my mailbox the other day, a total surprise. Some charms of what I am sure are Oakshott cottons, and the cutest little purse made from Flea Market Fancy. So sweet. Thank you so very  much, Charlotte

And this is from Lucy, who is just charming. Seriously. I've been collecting Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts like forever, to make a quilt. I need to stop collecting and start sewing! Anyway, Lucy sent the t-shirt and then included the mug in the best.tin.ever. I will be drinking my coffee out of this mug for the next couple of weeks.
Let the games begin!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Really Random Thursday: And the first linky party!

 I was going through my picture folders trying to find a specific picture. Wow, what disarray my photos are in! Do you have that problem too? Or are you completely organized and have a great system so you can locate a picture at the snap of a finger? If so, please share.

Since this is (hopefully) the first linky party, I'm concentrating more on hoping that it works than trying to have some quality random things to share. Besides that, in the last week the temp has hovered around 102 to 106 degrees. I've been inside, and nothing really random has been happening. Other than my sewing room going from disaster to clean back to disaster. But that's not actually so random...

So let's just go with this, in random order:

Quilty barn art seen in southern Minnesota.
Gabe turned nine months (already!). If you are new here, I'm spelling out his name over the course of his first year.

Ruby turned six months (already!). And check out the awesome selvage inserted on the front.

This is one of my favorite recent pictures.
Mark had a custom order for these two platters. Black glass framed with gorgeous squares of dichroic glass. I wish you could see them in person as they are just stunning.

Picture from the plane on the way home from Minnesota after our layover in Seattle.
This is the picture I was searching for. Huh? I pulled a flower vase out of the kitchen cabinet and the bobbin was inside. Why? No clue...how random.
Okay. You're up.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I have been working on Stash Trad bee blocks:

For Kati:
For Brioni:
and blocks for my newly named Kaffe'-O-Lait quilt.
 My design wall looks so pretty.
See the Oregon Duck pillow pet on the floor? He needs stitches so I think my sewing room has also turned into a vet clinic.
Adding this picture simply because he's cute.
And linking up here.

It's all in the name...

Years ago, when I first started collecting Kaffe Fassett fabric, and before I knew how to properly pronounce his name, I dreamed of making a series of quilts with names based on a play on words with his name. Because I love naming things.

So...I would have quilts with names like "DeKaffe" (because I still thought his name was pronounced like "calf"), "Kaffeinated," Kaffe Mocha." Seriously. "Kaffe and Cream." On and on it went...

But then I learned that his name actually rhymes with "safe asset."  And I never got any of those quilts made anyway.

Then I was lucky enough to join the Stash Trad bee on Flickr, which is really up my alley--traditional blocks, which I love, made from my own stash, which is ample. But I digress...

The first block was called Crown of Thorns and looks like this.
I became totally obsessed with this block and didn't want to put it in the mail decided it was a pretty nice block.So I started going through my stash, because the swirly fabric, while quite old, has always been one of my favorites. I found a lot of colors. So I made myself a challenge: The center O would be the swirly fabric, and all the points would be Kaffe fabric, and had to all have circles or dots. And must come from my stash. Nice selection...
This is my progress so far:
And then I was searching my stash for some totally unrelated projects and guess what? I found more swirls! No way! I was sure I had already found them all.

More combinations:
It occurred to me that I should check my neutrals. Voila! Although I have been unsuccessful in finding KF fabric that will go with these. So Plan B will be required.
And today I was going through my scraps. And found two more colors! But not enough to make a complete center "O" out of each. Can you say "Plan C"?
So....want to know the name of this quilt? Sure you do...


Yeah...Mark rolled his eyes too.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Farmer's Wife Friday: Not really so much of an update...

Carla and I thought we should post a little progress report on Farmer's Wife Friday. You know--to keep us accountable...

So....having been gone for ten days, and then trying to get caught up, and trying spend as much time as possible with these three little people (because we were gone for ten days!...and sadly Ruby is at the coast and I haven't been able to see her yet...)...

I don't really have so much progress to report.

As you know, there is a total of 111 blocks. I don't want a ginormous quilt, so 21 blocks are going on the back. In fact, these are the 21 relegated to the back. Some of them I don't like at all. Some are okay, but I wouldn't make again if you paid me.

The rest are in piles on the floor, for a further update later on. Maybe next month...

Pathetic update, right? Yes, I think so too...

But I think Carla is going to bail me out and actually show you what our setting blocks will look like. Hopefully...if I were you, I would head over there now because there is not much going on here.

Oh, but something really important: the giveaway winner of this super cute pattern by Row House Creations

 is Anita, who said:

I would love to win a copy of her pattern! I was one of the followers to got lost in the move and still can't seem to reconnect somehow. Not sure why. Thanks for the chance to win this great pattern, love it!

Congratulations, Anita!

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Really Random Thursday: Back from Minnesota

It is indeed Really Random Thursday, but right off the bat let me say that I didn't figure out the Mr. Linky party thing. Hopefully by next week we will be up and running. So start looking around for all those really random things happening in your life so you can link up here. And thanks to the ever-fabulous Terri for designing the cool Really Random Thursday button. Thanks, Terri!

So...Mark and I were in Minnesota for a little over a week. First of all, let me be perfectly clear on this. I LOVE the state of Minnesota. It is a beautiful state. I am married to a man who has lived in California nearly twice as long as he ever lived in Minnesota. But his Minnesota roots are strong and deep. We did a lot of driving. First arriving in the Twin Cities, over to the St. Cloud area, up north to where my cousin, Cathy, and her husband, Terry (also a Minnesota guy with deep roots), are building a fabulous log cabin, then down to southern Minnesota and back to the Cities. Whew.

Along the way, we encountered various interesting, yet random, things.


You can ask Terri and Amanda Jean. When we went shopping before heading off to retreat, I nearly did a little happy dance because I had entered the "land of Old Dutch." If you have never had an Old Dutch potato chip, you haven't had the best potato chips ever.
Seen at a Chinese restaurant where we ate dinner the first night of the retreat. Now this is mainly amusing to me because of the thought of ketchup on fried rice. Mark has always told me that there are only three spices in Minnesota: salt, pepper and ketchup. Enough said.
Sunday buffet. It is hard to eat low-carb here.
Sunday night supper with Terry in Huntersville, which is so small it didn't even register on our GPS. But how many places can you eat where there are skunk pelts on the wall? 
BIG cheeseburger. Which is just like the name states: cheese and burger. If you want lettuce and tomato, you need to order a "California burger." Hah!

We always try to eat at the Bergen Bar in Bergen, population 16. Awesome food. Because the place is really small and there is nowhere to wait, you give them your cell phone number and they will call you when your table is ready.
Homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy when we stayed with our friends, Roger and Clarine. Yum.
This is great if you love ketchup by the gallon:
PJs is the place to eat if you want something like gizzards, or decide you want to make healthy cauliflower a little less healthy by deep frying it and serving it with Ranch dressing.
And really, Burger King? You are painting over a beautiful brick building? Who in the corporate office thought that was a good idea??

Cathy and Terry have electricity but no running water in their cabin. Yet. However...they have an awesome outdoor shower. Unfortunately (for me), the mosquitos are quite in love with this shower as well.

Nice outhouse, too. I'm not even kidding. I am not a camp out in the woods kind of person, but this really was quite nice.
And next time I want to stay at the Dragonfly--their little guest house right by the river:

I went to some quilt shops in southern Minnesota.
One was a former bowling alley, long and narrow, with hardwood floors:

And one is part feed store, part quilt store--and the feed store had just gotten in a new shipment of baby pheasants. Chirp chirp...

Which can change in the matter of minutes from sun to raining so hard we had to slow down because the windshield wipers couldn't keep up.

And to slow things down while driving, this guy pulled right out in front of us at the same time we were ready to make a left turn, and then just sat there until his light turned green.

And finally, interesting things to read along the way.

Gruber's Quilt Shop is at this intersection.
The license plate on our rental car:
 A towel in our friend's bathroom. Can't argue with this one!
 Loved the decal on Doris's car!

And finally this one, spotted on the way to the airport. Which was the whole reason we ended up in Minnesota at this particular time--so I could sew!