Thursday, December 23, 2010

I won! I won!

I confess, I frequently leave comments on blog giveaways in the hopes of winning!  Then I finally did win Cindy Shake's patterns from Judy's Painted Threads blog.  Besides the patterns, there was a wonderful postcard of a portion of Judy's work.

Maybe one day I'll take the plunge and do a painted fabric quilt. 

Today I need to get busy on the Kyoto quilt, and get ready to head to CO.  I know, the Kyoto quilt doesn't need to be done, but it's what I'd rather do instead of getting ready!

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 20, 2010

What I've been working on...

What?  No sunrise or sunset pictures?  I was beginning to feel like The Little Prince who could just adjust his chair to see sunsets.  I'm afraid I'd get nothing else done.

But I have been in the sewing room during the daylight hours.  Got two more of the tops donated by someone who works with Dr. Kaufman finished up.  

In the interest of blogging about the process, here's what I'm working on now.  It's Pat's "Kyoto" quilt for a friend's daughter who has been working/living in Japan.  

I'm using Mandarin Garden, another new panto from my shopping spree at the NM longarm meeting.  It's quite dense, but easier than the Silly Snowmen.  I've learned that crossovers are where I tend to get lost following the design, and get turned around.

So far, so good, though I've only done one pass on it.  I still want to master the Snowmen, but I'll do it as a whole cloth.

I need to get all my longarming done this week.  It'll be a long while before I get back after Christmas, but I'm sure twins will be keep amply occupied.  Today's agenda includes holiday treat making with Lindsay.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I can't stop

I keep thinking I've taken enough pictures of the sunrise, but then I get another morning like this:

To the west there were lines of dark clouds.  I think the mountains aren't done with snow yet.  I just hope the weather cooperates for going to Colorado.  Dale hasn't driven much since his shoulder surgery, and that's fine as long as there's no snow on the roads. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

No colorful skies

We went from our colorful morning and evening skies to this:

 That's a lot of grayness, but we desperately need the moisture.  We bundled up and walked to the post office, and it wasn't too bad without any appreciable wind.

I'm sure we'll be back to spectacular winter sunrises and sunsets in a few days.  The advantages of not living in the northern states where once it starts, it lasts until the spring thaw.
Now back to the sewing room.  I'm waiting for my baseboard heater to get it a little warmer out there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New panto

I scored a lot of new pantos at the longarm meeting weekend before last.  I really wanted to try Silly Snowmen.  It looked challenging, and indeed it was.
I think if I had kept at it (like anything else) I would have gotten more comfortable.  I used a pinwale corduroy that was donated to Pat and I from an forum member, Marje.  It's great for backings, and no trouble at all to quilt through.

I may try again, using all of the different snowmen designs.  I wanted to get this last quilt done so that I could get it delivered today, so I just did the snowmen on the top and bottom, and filled in the middle with a much easier snowflake panto.  I still really like it, and like all things, it will probably just take practice to do the design justice.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Productive weekend

It's always great to having sewing company, and Pat is definitely good at getting stuff done.  When she was quilting, I was binding.  When she was piecing, I was quilting, and we were just rolling them off the production line!  We did take plenty of eating breaks, though I must confess to fixing store bought pasta on Sunday since we were too busy for me to stop and make raviolis.  We all survived.  Pat brought the most wonderful chocolates, that one of the AZ retreat hostess' husband makes.  I'm not easily impressed, but these were divine!

Pat took home three quilts which will go to her niece who volunteers with Susan G. Kommen for the Cure.  Two were very similar, and the third had a wonderful border with AZ cacti.  I "custom" quilted that one, and Pat did a panto on the other two.  "Custom" is a relative term when applied to my quilting though.  It's best viewed with a little perspective, and not scrutinized too closely.

This is the other fishy quilt from donated blocks.  I did Dave Hudson's Sea Turtles pantograph.  It's a great panto, and I've used it a number of times.  I was lucky to score a bunch of pantos from Dave at our last longarm meeting.  I'm looking forward to trying them all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Few more ready

I had finished this one before Pat arrived.  It's nice to have her to hold quilts up, since it's still a bit of work for Dale's recovering shoulder.  He's six weeks out from his rotator cuff repair and so sure, he must be cured!  Pat put together this quilt from a kit, and used the backing fabric to extend it.  It was supposed to be a wall hanging, but I'm sure some teenager would love it.

Carolyn donated this finished black and white beauty from a previous year's AZ retreat lotto blocks.  It's great to have generous friends! 

This is one of two "fishy" quilts I had finished quilting.  I put the donated blocks together at the last Bear Cabin retreat, and got the binding done while Pat was quilting.  The other is in the washer.  

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Winter skies

I just don't tire of looking at winter skies.  The little dot in the top picture is Venus.  We got a telescope, and with it some software that makes identifying things in the sky much easier.  

Pat is coming for a long weekend of quilting.  As usual I've procrastinated cleaning and cooking, and generally getting ready for company until the last minute.  Pat's not really company, she's more like family, and so is already familiar with my faults.  

I finished Lindsay's advent calendar and delivered it to her Saturday after the longarm meeting.  We'll see how many more I get done for this holiday season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wall hangings finished

I got some wall hangings prepped to finish in Colorado.  Thought Jackie would enjoy working on them since it was something she could do "bed resting."  The snowman was a pattern, and there is also a stuffed snowman that's supposed to go with it which I didn't get done.  Of course I used the pattern for a guideline, and didn't exactly follow all the instructions to the letter.  I appropriated a strip of flying geese for it that had been given to Pat for our kid quilts, and I hope whoever made them won't mind!  ;-)

 I also used this idea to create an advent calendar.  I thought making all the ornaments of felted wool would take more time than I had, so I used some of my milagros collection that Pat gave me.  

I thought Jackie could count down more days toward her goal of 36 weeks for the twins.  It would be good to keep them in at least that long--which is around December 20th.  

Now I have to get busy and make another calendar for Lindsay, and I want one too!  We don't put up a tree as often anymore, and this would be a good alternative.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooler temps

The temperatures have really dropped.  A few flakes fell on my way to shopping in Albuquerque yesterday, but today it is clear and sunny, albeit cold.  Good temperatures for spending most of the day cooking and dealing with all the groceries.  I baked muffins early, made a big pot of butternut squash soup, and another of red sauce.  I'm anticipating having company to help me eat the stuff that Dale can't.

I finished the baby quilt for my daughter's friend.  It's for a girl, though she chose the colors. I loaded it the standard way...and then realized that it made more sense to load it sideways in order to do the design I had decided on.  I decided it was worth it to take it off, and load it so I could do the design lengthwise on the quilt, horizontally on the table.  Thanks to Shelley for featuring a similar quilt on her blog.  It's one of the hardest things for me to do--come up with a viable all over quilting design.  

 I tried a new pantograph on this donation quilt, which is also from Shelley.  It's a dense design, but flows nicely.  I must admit I had my doubts about Shelley's claim that the foundation tissue paper that she had used would disappear in the wash, but I quilted without removing it.  Like magic it did disappear in the wash! 

Okay, back to the kitchen.  I still need to cook dinner and Dale is out of his cookies.  Baking those will warm up the house.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Fall colors hanging on

I started this post after we got back from a quick trip to Colorado and only got as far as the title.  Dale is on the mend after a surgery for his torn rotator cuff.  Much better than enduring the pain with no end in sight. 

We enjoyed some beautiful fall colors at the River Walk in Cañon City which was conveniently close to the surgery center. 

Fall colors seemed to be hanging on throughout the drive, though the aspens were all done.  We've had a few frosts at home, but the leaves haven't all dropped off yet.  Still enjoying warm days and cool nights, with too much consumption of baked goods on my part.  It's such a good way to warm up the house...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Plugging away slowly

 I finished another one in the pile of donation quilts.  Pat put this top together.  I backed it with a soft pinwale corduroy that I had.  It is a nice bigger quilt which will be great for a teenager.

My quilt holder is temporarily out of commission with a torn rotator cuff so I draped it over the couch.  Hopefully he'll be able to have surgery soon, and on the road to recovery.

The corduroy posed no problems with the quilting, and I have more to use for backings that was donated to us.  I used a pantograph, Quills, which is a design with good flow. 

I started on a top for my daughter's friend who is expecting a baby in December, using this great pattern.  


Monday, October 25, 2010

Early rising

I wake up too early.  Most mornings I'm up around 4:30 because I just can't sleep.  It's always more difficult for me to adjust to the time change in the fall because then I have to convince myself that I can't get up when I'm wide awake at 3!  

But getting up early has its rewards.  Especially at this time of the year, when the skies are rich with clouds and colors.  True, the sun is just barely rising at 6:30, but I'm ready to get out to the sewing room and finish the quilt on my longarm, after pausing to enjoy the sunrise.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winter feels just around the corner...

The temperatures have really cooled here, enough so that Dale cleaned our heat stove and lit the pilot.  In fact we already used it yesterday afternoon.

The full moon was visible through some virga.  We weren't too disappointed since we recently had over an inch of rain.

Today I'm warming up the house with baking.  I finally tried the pecan cranberry whole wheat bread recipe Dr. Kaufman gave me.  It's a wonderful bread that saved me when I was in the hospital for my total knee.  

We can still see the fall colors in the mountains.  I doubt they'll last much longer.  It's already been over a week since we drove up to see.  
 I'm not in a hurry for winter.  Fall could last longer than three months if it were up to me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quilt finishes

I finally got some quilts done.  Thanks to all the friends that have donated blocks, tops, and or fabric, I've had quite the queue of quilts to be quilted.  I had to finish the twins' quilts and bears, and have made a second chenille bear, as Jackie chose that one versus the wool bear, though she wants to keep the wool bear as well.  She first tried to get another of each bear!  I forgot to photograph the finished wool bear.  

 This quilt that Cathy made just needed the borders quilted.  I did a freehand feather design.  Still trying to stretch outside the pantograph box.

I first tried using the Gammill workstation on Sharon's stack and whack blocks, but it proved to be too much work.  I think it would be easier to do with two people, and maybe when Pat's here, we can use it together on an appropriate quilt.  After the first block, I just did a freehand design.  

I opted for a pantograph on this fall quilt also from Cathy, as I really couldn't think of a freehand design for it.  I still have a half dozen quilts left to quilt.  Back to the sewing room! 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Twin quilts done

I finished the twins' quilts, and the matching bear quilts with the leftover blocks.  I did a dinosaur pantograph on all of them.  The flannel backing features dinosaurs.

I made the first bear out of chenille from an old bedspread.  I wasn't really in love with it, but went ahead and finished it, but not before cutting out another from felted wool.  I think that one is going to have more body, but I will finish both of them and let Jackie decide which fabric she'd like for a second bear.

I didn't really read the pattern directions closely--just followed the pictures and sewed the back halves together the first time...not the way to do it.  You sew a back and front together, at the side seams then sew on the arms and legs on each half before closing it all the way around except for a small opening to turn it right side out, then stuff, and close all the openings that you stuff through.  I've made a number of these before--used to dress them with Route 66 tapestry fabric vests and sell them at the motel. 


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Twin tops finished

It's a wonderful weekend in Show Low again, and I've finished twin quilt tops.  They are going to be backed with green flannel with dinosaurs.  Jackie wanted "primitive" in the same colors and fabrics as her bed quilt.  The twins' first quilts will be what she wants...future quilts will be what grandma wants to make or of the boys' choosing.  (well maybe!)  I've already made the faux piping binding for these quilts. 

The weather has been perfect here.  Cool nights, warm days.  I didn't even have to drive through rain, as Tropical Depression Geraldine had already passed east when I left. 

Today we're going to the quilt show here, and doing some retail therapy.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sailors take warning?

We're supposed to have a 70% chance of rain today.  That would be most welcome since it's been a long time since we've had any.  This gorgeous sky photo is not photshopped.  Sometimes I enhance photos because what comes out of the camera just doesn't accurately reflect what I see, but this pretty much captured real life this morning. 
 I have so many pictures of sunrises and sunsets here.  Anymore I usually just enjoy them without photographing.  I love the way the light affects ordinary things in the yard.
Our stucco wall is actually white instead of the pink hue it's wearing.  Looks like my geranium needs a little work before I bring it in for the winter.  Fall is quickly approaching.  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When I'm not quilting...

Fall is in the air, and I'm ready for winter with all my canning done...unless of course I come across any great deals on more produce.  We brought back apples, pears, and plums from our trip to Colorado.  Our old neighbors have an orchard and it was a good year.  Then last Thursday we picked peaches in Embudo.  I love them fresh, but canned, not so much.  Dale eats all this fruit in the course of a year with his hot cereal--which I'm also not fond of.  

Yesterday was our longarm meeting.  I took an "emapdão," the large counterpart of "empadinha," small, muffin sized savory pies stuffed with chicken or shrimp found in just about every corner bar in Brazil.  I got this recipe from a friend's daughter and it's become a family favorite, especially with my son-in-law, who doesn't mind that I hide vegetables in the filling. 

Empada Pie Crust
3 cups flour 
7 oz. butter cut into pats (about 2 sticks)
8 teaspoons olive oil
1 egg 
salt to taste

Cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in beaten egg with olive oil with fork until mixture holds together, then mix with hands, until you can form a ball.  Use more flour if too moist, or more olive oil if too dry to hold together.  Let dough rest in refrigerator.

Divide in half.  Press half evenly into pie plate.  Fill with desired filling.  This is great for leftover chicken, vegetables, or a traditional Brazilian cream of shrimp and hearts of palm.  Olives are also included.

Roll out remaining dough between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap.  If you roll it out on a counter, it's impossible to lift off and place on the pie without it falling apart.  Bake in 350-375 degree oven until golden brown, about an hour.  (In Brazil they brush a beaten egg yolk over the top, but I figure the recipe is rich enough without it.)

This is the bakery within walking distance of our friend Cybelle's house.  You can get "empadinhas"  and all manner of treats, sweet and savory.  Food is cheap, delicious, and plentiful and cooking isn't a necessity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another kitty quilt

I've been working on taming the wild kitties outside, and quilting Pat's kitty quilt indoors.  Unlike our previous kitty quilts, these blocks are a bit more work.  

They need more quilting, and stitching in the ditch on the longarm is more work than a domestic machine.  I decided on rather dense quilting in the frames, and the black backgrounds.  But the kitties look a little puffy, since they're only outlined with a tail and whiskers added.  I'm going to take the quilt to the longarm meeting and see if the more experienced quilters among them have an idea for some kind of fill for the kitties.


I also decided to try the faux piping binding featured on this tutorial.  I liked the method, and will probably tweak the instructions a little because I like small binding.  I also worked the recipient's name in one of the kitty borders.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I made this bear for Jackie twenty some years ago.  I was rather proud of it.  For some reason she decided to pull apart the soles of his feet, and partially unstuff his legs.  She also ripped the tabs that kept his coat closed, and I don't know what happened to his original hat.  I used regular (read "cheap") felt for the coat and soles, and she had no trouble inflicting the damage.  I was not in the mood to repair him at the time.  
She kept him all these years.  When we were visiting I asked if I could bring him back to NM and repair him.  Reluctantly she let me take him.  Fortunately I still had the pattern.  I used felted wool to make him a new coat, hat, and repair his soles.  She intends to put Paddington on a shelf in the boys' room.  Apparently she's the only one who will be allowed to love it quite that hard!