Thursday, April 27, 2017

Really Random Thursday, 4/27/17

What a week. Last Thursday I had the pleasure of being at my friend's cabin just outside Yosemite for a glorious weekend of sewing. This is the 18th year for me. It's a small group. At first it was just the three of us, Dotty (who has the cabin), Ruth (who now lives in Washington State near the Canadian border, but flies down each year), and me. Over the years, several friends have come and gone. Maggie has been with us for quite a few years, and for Vicki it was her third year.
Maggie, Dotty, Ruth, Vicki, me
We were completely without internet access, and cell phone reception was spotty at best. It's amazing how many more hours pop up in the day when there is no Instagram or Facebook to distract you.

The first evening, we saw eight deer eating at the cabin next door.
We certainly did our share of eating, although we never ever ate lunch. We always had a midday snack that looked like this,
but let me repeat, it was not lunch. So we tell ourselves each day...

We were able to accomplish a lot, and as is tradition, we hang finished projects over the stair railing.

I took these pictures the morning we had to pack up, and Dotty had already taken down her very major accomplishment--a wedding quilt for her grandson. That border took her most of the weekend. It's amazing! So many tiny pieces...
Maggie taking a picture of Dotty's quilt

There is nothing on the railing from me. I worked ahead on my Bella Skillbuilder block of the month for Fat Quarter Shop. I was able to complete all the months except for Month 8 because I needed template plastic. 

And then I started on a new project called Cumbry Crossing, based on a photo I took of the man standing in front of me in church one Sunday. He was wearing the most gorgeous shirt. :)

While all that was going on, things were getting ready for the estate sale of the things my parents left behind when they moved to assisted living. So strange to walk through their house and see so many familiar things.

I'm not sure that I even want to go to the sale on Saturday. So many memories, all up for sale.

So that takes care of the last week in April. It's hard to believe that May is already around the corner. I sometimes take for granted all the gorgeous flowers in bloom at businesses all around town. I quickly snapped a picture of these when I left the post office yesterday afternoon.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Really Random Thursday, 4/20/17

What a week it has been.

I mentioned a bit about my parents' pending move to an assisted living facility in Reedley, about 40 minutes from us. Days and days of going through boxes, papers, closets, everything...

We found this gem of a picture. Remember the "flip"? I think this is from 7th grade. Yikes.

It is always surprising to me how many of my hand crafted items have turned up--things they have saved and displayed all these years. Tole painting from the 1970s.
China painting from the 1980s--some of which is going with them, some staying for the estate sale.
My brother, Jeff, arrived on Saturday from Washington, D.C., to help with the move. It was such a nice treat for my parents to have him there.

We were all together as a family for Easter lunch
Mark always makes stacks of crepes.
And they are always so yummy.
When we were nearly done, Aaron decided it might be fun to make a list of all the available fillings, and then use the Random Item Generator and choose the top three fillings that popped up, no matter what they were.

The list included: sausage, bacon, sugar, brown sugar, butter, Cookie Butter, bananas, strawberries, avocados, spinach, cheddar cheese, Brie.

Here we have butter, bananas, and cheddar.
Charlotte is being adventurous with cookie butter, sugar, and avocado.
Butter, bacon, brown sugar--probably the best combo that popped up.
We took family pictures.

And then it was time for hunting Easter eggs.

Gabe made quite a haul.

Time to eat chocolate...
It was a wonderful afternoon together.

My father has been in memory care since August, and since that time had not been back to the house. My mother thought it might give him a little closure to see the house one more time.
They always have such beautiful flowers.

The next day, bright and early, it was time for the move.

First, things from the house were loaded up, then Mark went to where my father has been residing, and loaded things up there. Even though we had talked extensively about the move the day before, my father had no recollection about it at all and was so confused as to why we were there. We unloaded things into their room by early afternoon. Here he is, waiting and watching all the activity.

The next day, Mark and I went back and did some unpacking and hung pictures on the walls to make everything seem cozier. I can't even imagine moving from a three-bedroom house to one room, but all in all, their room seems like a miniature version of the home they have loved for many years.
We hope this new living situation will be a good one for them, and that the adjustment won't be too difficult.

I'm leaving for a few days of quilting with friends just outside Yosemite. As usual, I have probably overestimated how much I can actually accomplish, but it will be good to relax with friends, even if I don't get much done. There is no internet connection, and honestly I'm looking forward to being unplugged for awhile.

See you back here next week. Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bountiful Blog Tour: Bountiful Breeze

I have been following Sharon Holland, a designer for Art Gallery Fabrics, for awhile now, and in the process we have made a lovely connection via social media. She designs the most beautiful fabrics in soft and soothing colors. Her newest line, Bountiful, was inspired by the Midwest. Having lived in the Midwest (Oklahoma and Kansas) myself for quite a few years, these fabrics really speak to me, so when she invited me to participate in this blog tour and make something with this line, I said yes without hesitation.

I had a fat quarter stack of the entire line to play with, and then added some Pure Elements solids from my own stash.
Photo by Sharon Holland

I decided to use my Delta Breeze pattern, which is a modern take on the classic Bear Paw block.  Having only made it in solids, I was eager to see what it would look like in these pretty prints.

I'm so happy with how it turned out. I really like that some fabrics are bolder, and some are subtle and invite you in to take a closer look. 

The beautiful quilting was done by Darby Myers, a classic Baptist fan with "pearls" between some of the fans.

You can see find a recap of Week 1 of the blog tour here. Yesterday Katie from The Simple Life Pattern Company made the cutest dresses, and Monday you won't want to miss whatever it is that Maureen Cracknell, another Art Gallery artist,  has to show.

I hope you will take the time to check out all the fabulous designers in the line-up. 
Also, you can follow me on Instagram at @liveacolorfullife and Sharon at @sharonhollanddesigns. 

And finally, here are Bountiful Breeze and Delta Breeze side by side, "fraternal twins." 
Quilt Stats:
Name: Bountiful Breeze
Block size: 8" x 8"
Quilt size: 48" x 48"
Designed and made by: Cindy Wiens
Quilted by: Darby Myers

I'm also linking up today to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF,  and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Really Random Thursday, 4/13/17

It's been a busy week with a lot going on. Are you ready? 

Friday, I went to the Best of the Valley Quilt Show with my friend, Janice. It was a rainy day so gazing at lots of colorful quilts seemed like the perfect thing to do. My Swedish Ex quilt was in the Authorized Vac and Sew booth, and I hadn't been expecting that, so it was a fun surprise.
But the absolute best part of the show was turning the corner and seeing Janice's quilt, Rabbits Over the Moon, with a Judge's Choice ribbon on it! SO well deserved!
It was also MCC weekend--West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale, where money is raised for Third World Relief (this year over $185,000 was raised, with much of going to a tree planting project in Haiti).

We were there both Friday night and Saturday. I decided this year to take some pictures to show what a typical day looks like.

The sale is held on the campus of Fresno Pacific University. When I arrived at about 9 in the morning, not too many people were there yet.

 Remember this tent--I'll return to it later. You will notice that there are hardly any people around...
I always head straight to the coffee booth, where each cup is made while you wait. It takes a few minutes, but the coffee is so good.

Then it's off to the quilt auction. This was made by my friend, Jennifer.
A couple of cars were up for auction, including my dream car, this Ford Mustang. It sold for $12,500, just a bit above my budget.
Mark helped in the homemade ice cream booth this year. Even though it was cold and rainy off and on during the weekend, they served about 45 gallons of ice cream!
They make the ice cream in two five-gallon buckets with a gas-powered engine, a four-stroke Fairbanks Morris to be exact.
This has to be one of the cutest ice cream eaters ever.
Some of my favorite people were there too--I never get tired of seeing them.

Gabe even took a fairly decent picture of me.
Remember that white tent above? This is what it looked like around noon.
It was a fun day--quilts, good fun and lots of great conversation.

Now for a complete change of pace...

Charlotte collected on her birthday present from last September--we promised to paint her bedroom. True to form, there was a bit of procrastination (on our part), which turned out to work in our favor, as they moved to a different house about a month ago.

She chose two shades of beachy blue. The window wall is the darkest shade
and the other three walls are lighter. 
We had fun painting.

We also have big plans for this chest--we will paint the outside white, and then the drawers will be treated to an ombre' effect, with the bottom drawer a dark turquoise, getting lighter with each drawer, until the top drawer is white. 
While our kids have moved to a larger house, my parents downsizing from a house to a room as they move to an assisted living facility in Reedley, a town about 40 minutes from us. My father has been in memory care since August, about 10 minutes away. They will be able to share a room in the new place.

This move entails a lot of downsizing. They have been married nearly 70 years, and for 52 years, my mother has taught piano lessons on a beautiful baby grand piano. She will no longer be teaching, and the piano will be sold. This was a sad day for her, when her piano was wrapped up, and taken away to be sold.

Our daughter-in-law, Christa, posted this picture on Instagram the other day, and with her permission I wanted to include what she wrote:

"These are two of the luckiest kids in the world. They have had the privilege of having the most wonderful piano teacher for the past 4 and 6 years, respectively. Not only is she a gifted musician, a knowledgeable, patient, and encouraging teacher, but she also happens to be their great-grandmother, and after 52 years of teaching piano, these kids get to round out her career. I am forever grateful for the time these kids have had with Nana, the many afternoons that I spent in the living room with Papa and the babies and puzzles, watching him chase them around the house or play hide and seek, the mounds of change that he would leave beneath the recliner for them to find, at first on accident and then on purpose, the thousands of cookies they all ate in those years, and the donuts for special occasions. I am spoiled that my kids never complain about piano, never ask if they have to, but only look forward to their lessons. I hope and pray that the instrument that I love so dearly will forever be mixed for them with the memories of their time with Nana and the knowledge that they were loved so deeply." 
It makes me teary-eyed to read those words. She has had such an impact on so many piano students over the years.

Mark has been working at the house for hours and hours, going through boxes of papers with my mother, organizing things for the move and the estate sale afterwards. Yesterday I spent the afternoon labeling all their clothes and going through various drawers. I even found a sweater that I hand knitted for my father when I was in high school.
So many decisions to be made, what to keep, what to sell, and fairly often "why do we still have this?"

Their homes have always been lovely and beautifully decorated, with lots of pretty plants and flowers in the yard. Things look so different already, with boxes everywhere you look.

This will be a big change for all of us. We pray the transition is a smooth one.