Thursday, October 27, 2022

Really Random Thursday, 10/27/22

 I can hardly believe it is the last Thursday of October. Only two months left in 2022!

Last Friday I went to a quilting retreat in the mountains, at Hartland Christian Camp. It is a really beautiful camp, in the heart of the California Sierras, about a two-hour drive from Fresno. I went to summer camp there a couple of times in grade school, and in fact two of my uncles were part of the group that started the camp back in the late 1940s.

Anyway, the number of quilters attending has grown to about 100, and we are spread out in six different buildings. 

In our building, Redwood, we had plenty of space to spread out and sew without feeling cramped. The lighting was great and we had lots of windows so we could enjoy the trees surrounding us. And we had a good view of the zipline, which several women tried. Not me, though! The food was amazing. And every day at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. they come in with snacks, just in case we would faint from starvation. Ha. 

My friend, Janice, worked on this fabulous flannel quilt, made with a jelly roll from a line called Woolies by Windham Fabrics. I think there might be an uptick in sales of this jelly roll because everyone who saw the quilt fell in love with it. Full disclosure: one of the first things I did when I came home was order the jelly roll to make my own. 

I worked on more pineapple blocks. Even though I sewed for two full days and part of another, all I finished was six blocks. They are super slow for me. I'm making a total of 30. I had miscounted and thought I finally made it to 16, just over the halfway point. But when I got home and counted, I have  made 20! Yippee. 
I took breaks to walk around the campground. The weather was just perfect--fall was definitely in the air. 

My uncles had built this little cabin back in the day and it is now owned by my cousin. Mark has been helping to rehab it. Most of the exterior is finished and now on to the interior. It will be a sweet cabin when it is finished.

It was such a fun time away with friends. And of course I didn't realize until I got home that none of us took a picture. :( But here is a group picture. Our group of five is in the upper left corner, and I'm the one you can barely see...
Mark made it in the local paper, the Fresno Bee. 

The other day I was picking the last of my favorite roses, Double Delight. I have never ever seen two buds on one stem before! Also, one of my favorite vases is a cool liquor bottle Aaron gave me--I love it because it says "The Botanist." 
We did another little bit of updating. We took down a ceiling fan in the family room and put up this cool light. I have wanted a "sputnik" type light for years but we really never had a spot for it. But after deciding to take down the ceiling fan, we are both so happy with how it turned out.

After years of collecting, I finally started working on my Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt quilt. I had put it off mostly because my collection is so large. When I decided to cut down some of the t-shirts into the name of the city only, mostly because they are all the same logo, I was able to get over 60 on the front. Now I have about 30 to put on the back and another project will be done, one that I have put off for years. When I received t-shirts from friends or family, I always wrote their name on the logo, so it has been fun to see where they all came from. I have some fun stories about some of them, and plan to document that on a label on the back.  Also I can finally stop collecting. Haha. 
And that's it for the last week in October.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Exciting News!

 A few months ago, I was approached by Michael Oakshott to collaborate on designing a pattern that used their new bundle of fabrics, Jett. Jett is a bundle of twelve fabrics with black as the weft. If you are not familiar with shot cottons, there are usually two different colors. The warp threads run parallel to the selvages, and the weft threads run perpendicular to the selvages. It gives a beautiful depth and luminosity to the fabrics, and they are definitely my very favorite fabrics to use in my quilts. This was an unbelievable opportunity for me. 

You can read the back story on Jettstream and its precursor, Color Commotion, here.

I knew the launch of the fabric bundle, pattern, and kit was soon, but I did not know it was going to be today!. What a fun surprise to open this up in my email. (Note: These links do not work because I just copied the email, but if you want to check it out, here is the link to the Oakshott website.)



Jett & Jettstream

A brand new palette and a stunning project to make.

Jettstream Quilt

Meet Jettstream, an exciting new design from Cindy Wiens that shows off to perfection the richness of our new Jett palette.

Jett Collection

Jett comprises 12 colours sharing a black weftSee how well they work together, so you never need worry about colour combining. Jett comes in Fat 8ths and Fat Quarter bundles.


For Jettstream, Cindy chose black for the lattice and binding. It beautifully complements the individual shades, enhancing their depth and 'movement' as they catch the light.

INTRO OFFERbuy before Sunday 30 October and get 10% OFF.




More from Cindy: 'Sunny Disposition'

We love hearing the back stories of your makes. Here's a classic:

Things about this quilt: (1) I never ever intended to make a yellow quilt. But that saturated color just worked with the gorgeous, luminous shot cottons.

(2) I don't think I've ever had to work so hard to make one border flow to the next... there were many times the quilt screamed "No!! Go back to the drawing board and try again!"

But once it worked, it worked well.

Read more on Cindy's blog and see her work in our Inspiration Gallery.

Thanks to Oakshott for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to making many more beautiful quilts from your fabric.


Really Random Thursday, 10/20/22

 We have been doing some cosmetic changes to our main bathroom in the last few weeks. New shower curtain and towels, took down a picture and added the two shelves. But the biggest upgrade was adding a frame to the builder-grade mirror that is original to the house (built in the late 1960s). I had seen multiple ads on Instagram from a company called Frame My Mirror. They made it look so simple. Lots of frame choices, glue the ends and hammer in little things to hold the frame together and then take off the industrial tape and just attach it to the mirror. 

So I chose a very simple black frame. Their website is very clear about measuring but I had a question about the brackets that were existing. Their customer service was excellent so I placed my order. Our mirror is 5' x 2' so we assembled it on the worktable in the garage. They include little cardboard place markers (not sure what to call them) that you attach to your mirror temporarily so you can make sure the frame is in the right place and level. Then remove the tape and voila. Instant upgrade. Not sure why it took me so long to hit the order button! The light fixture is also original and I have always really liked it--kind of retro. The base was originally chrome and the two round things (also not sure what to call them) were kind of rusty chrome. So I painted them both black and now I'm super happy with the light fixture as well. All that to say, if you are looking to do a mirror upgrade, I highly recommend Frame My Mirror!

Mark and I were watching TV the other night and guess who popped up on the screen. Charlotte! She is in the fall play that opens this weekend (she is the one on the right with the curlers). It's a murder mystery called "Just Like Gravy, the Plot Thickens." Haha.

Speaking from many years of experience. You can also add Costco to the same list.

So a little story about the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Our driver's licenses were both up for renewal this year, Mark's in August and mine next month. Mark received his notification first with the instructions to register online, pay the fee, and then come in for a written knowledge test. Ugh. It's really hard to navigate the website to get an appointment, and he ended up making a phone call instead. He was told that until the end of December, anyone 70+ does NOT have to come in to take a written test; just pay your fee online and you are good to go. Even though the paperwork said a test was required. Something to do with exposure to COVID.

When I received my notification, it all said the same thing. I went through the same drill. I registered online and paid my fee. Then I called to double check on not needing to come in to take the written test. I was told that since I didn't turn 70 until the day my license was scheduled to expire, I didn't fall under the 70+ exemption. My option was to come in and take the test, or wait until my actual birthday, come in and NOT take the test. Or something like that. It was really confusing. My birthday is the day after Thanksgiving, so no thanks.

I read the entire driver's manual. I took every sample test I could find. I spent hours getting ready for this test. Yesterday afternoon I went in. The person who checked me in said, "Why are you here? You don't need to take a test because you qualify for the 70+ exemption." I said, "I'm not 70 yet." She said, "I still think you don't have to take the test. But go ahead and wait until your number is called, get your vision test, take your photo and then come back to me." So I wait to be called. The guy who helped me was really nice.
Him: Why are you here?
Me: Because my paperwork said I needed to take a written test.
Him: Nope. You have already registered and paid online. You are done.
Me: No vision test?
Him: No.
Me: No photograph?
Him: No. Just wait for your license to arrive in the mail.
Me: Wow. You guys really make things confusing. But YAY that I don't have to take the test. 

Although I'm kind of bummed, because I spent so much time trying to memorize which way to turn my wheels going uphill and downhill, with a curb and without. I always get confused. I even had to make myself a mnemonic, you know, one of those nonsense words to help you remember. And then in the end I didn't even need to use it. But I think I will always remember which way to turn my wheels!

Do you watch Ted Lasso? We love that show! (although they could do with a few less  F bombs...). This quote really made me laugh. Although I don't think Aaron is nuts. Just saying...

We turned the corner in our neighborhood the other day and there was a vulture on someone's lawn!

Mark also took a picture of the vulture doing what vultures do--eating something dead, probably a squirrel. But I'll spare you that photo.

That's it for this week. I'm off to a quilting retreat in the mountains. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Really Random Thursday, 10/13/22

Most of the events of the last week involved Gabe's birthday. He turned 11. 

He is the only one of the four grandkids who has always shared a bedroom. During the summer, the kids had the big bedroom swap. He went into Charlotte's room (which incidentally she and I had just painted on New Year's Day), Charlotte went into Gabe's former room, which he had shared with Ella (because it was the larger of the two rooms and she is a teenager now), Ella went into Levi's room and Levi went into the fifth bedroom. Whew.

For his birthday present, Mark and I painted his room as a surprise. My only stipulation was that things be off the walls and the furniture moved away from the wall to give me room to paint. Mark helped tape the baseboards, I did all the painting (he had other obligations in the morning) and then he came back and cleaned up the brushes, roller, etc., which is a huge help! Gabe thought the room was getting painted on Saturday, so he was surprised when he came home from school to find it already done. I'm not sure this is an accurate representation of the color, but it's a really great sage-y green that he picked out.

I also made him a pillow. I have a 24" "squishy" pillow on our couch that he loves! I told him I would make a pillow for him and asked what he wanted on it. He said "books." I used a pattern by Amy Friend of @duringquiettime and had fun customizing the books for him using selvages, including a hoarded Harry Potter label. My other favorite is the green one that says "games to play on a rainy day."  I also got out my fabric stamps and made a book called "all about Gabe." That would be interesting reading...

For the backing I used one of my favorite fabrics that looks like chalky graffiti. I only have a few scraps left. I'm going to be sorry when it is gone.
The "Grandma made it" label by Kylie and the Machine is the perfect touch (at least in my opinion--ha!)
Anyway, I think he really likes it.

Friday night, while the guys were reffing football games, we had pizza and ice cream, along with Jill, Ruby and Amelia. 

"Boo Batter" ice cream was a hit--I think because it turned their mouths black. Go figure...
On Sunday, he had the family birthday celebration. We all had hamburgers after church.

Even though all four grandparents bailed, the rest of them went to "Ghost Golf." Think indoor miniature golf with scary things jumping out at you as you play. Not too disappointed in missing that. 

He had gotten some money for his birthday and found the best game called Escape from the Grand Hotel by Professor Puzzle. Highly recommended. Seriously. Put it on your Christmas list! It's basically an escape room type game in a box. Lots of riddles and things to figure out before you can move on to the next step. The game estimated playing time of 1 1/2 hours. It took us two hours to complete. Actually Gabe said it was two of the best hours of his weekend. 

The next day after school the two of us went to Barnes and Noble. I had a coupon for a free birthday cookie for him and then we wandered around the store, one of our favorite pastimes since he has been little. 

I was trying to take a good picture of him but he kept crossing his eyes. And then he confiscated my phone and took a couple of selfies. So I leave you with the many faces of Gabe. Goofy kid. I could not love him more--he is the best company.

These are precious moments and I don't want to forget any of them. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Going Back in Time, Part 2: Color Commotion and Jettstream


 Anyone who knows me at all from a quilting perspective knows that my favorite fabric of all time is Oakshott shot cotton.

I have been privileged to correspond fairly frequently with the owner of Oakshott, Michael Oakshott himself, who is extremely generous. He gave me a deep discount when I made an MCC quilt one year using Oakshott, and when I place an order I will often find "surprises" that he has included. 

He contacted me earlier in the year about a possible collaboration using a bundle that is slated to be called Jett. 

He sent a bundle of 12 colors, with the color threads going one direction, woven with black in the other direction (the warp and weft). One thing I love about Oakshott fabrics is that their dimensions are all larger than the quilting cottons we buy here in the US. For example, we purchase fabric by the yard, which is anywhere from  40" to 44" wide, a fat quarter is about 18" x 22" and a fat eighth is 9" x 11". Oakshott is woven by the meter and is 54" wide. So their fat eighths are a generous 10" x 27" and fat quarters are 19.5" x 27".

I had decided that my Charm Parade pattern would once again work nicely with these fabrics. Each block would have four different colors, with a consistent "lattice" strip of black to tie everything together. 

I made quite a few blocks before I realized that Michael had sent me a generous amount of fabric. 

I sketched the layout to see what it would take to make 20 blocks, cutting the fabric to the exact dimension that would be sold as a fat eighth, and realized I was short the fabric needed to cut the center square. By the time I realized this dilemma, I had made all the blocks. What should I do? 

I decided that the easy solution was to remake all the blocks and use black in the center of each block. And I decided I liked this version much better anyway.

Then I decided to go all out and add a border to this one. I had this cool batik that had a lot of colors that were in the blocks. Ugh.

I switched it to black. much better. If you are wondering what the color is in the black border--I had Darby quilt with colorful variegated thread--just to add a little more "color commotion." 
I had some great fabric in my stash for the backing. Also, a cute label.

We took the quilt along on our trip to Oregon in July 2022, and in this small town of Point Arena we found this colorful mural.

It was a windy afternoon but we got some fun shots.

Title: Color Commotion
Pattern by: Me (a Charm Parade variation)
Date Completed: 2022
Size: 46" x 56"
Quilted by: Darby Myers


Jettstream is a collaboration with Oakshott Fabrics. I rewrote my Charm Parade pattern to specifically use a fat eighth bundle of Oakshott called Jett. 

It's "sister quilt," Color Commotion, uses the same fabric, but the center squares are each a different color rather than black. I actually like this version better as I think the black calms everything down a little.

The Charm Parade block is a simple one and gives you the opportunity to play around with color. It then creates a secondary design where the blocks come together.

I  put the extra blocks on the back, including a couple from Color Commotion. Also, notice the cute label.

When we were in Mendocino, California, in July 2022, we passed a temple and knew it was perfect as a backdrop.

Title: Jettstream
Pattern by: Me (Charm Parade variation)
Date Completed: 2022
Size: 40" x 50"
Quilted by: Darby Myers