Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bad blogger, no donuts

Somehow it has been months since I posted here last.  I offer no stellar excuses; I'm just finding my life has gotten busier than it has been since the shop closed in 2008.  It's mostly good things: family, travel, sewing, spinning, and oh yes, my latest big project, losing the weight I've gained since last fall.  It's an old story you're all sick of hearing about, so I won't go there.

False start
In June, I decided to tackle the Marcelle Medallion quilt pattern that's been a big thing in the quilting world these last months.  It's featured in Alexia Marcelle Abegg's great book, Liberty Love, an homage to the many fabulous Tana Lawn fabrics created by Liberty of London over the years.  It's a pattern that I would never have dreamed of tackling three years ago, when I started quilting, but felt ready to try this summer.  My quilting buddy, Terri, was here, and together we launched off into the unknown.

Better idea
First step:  find all possible candidate fabrics and stack them nicely on my desk (this looked this good for only about an hour).

Second step:  cut pattern shapes out of template plastic.  Note: make sure they're copied to correct size so you don't screw up like I did the first time.

Third: just start cutting and sewing.  First attempt looked OK, but was the wrong gauge, so I bagged it and started over. 

Finished top
One month later, I finally finished it.  I am tickled with how it came out; I learned a lot and am looking forward to time to tackle another.  Oh...and the false start ended up being well on its way to becoming a pillow cover.  Yay!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gypsy Kisses

Kisses in progress
A while back, I fell in love with another blogger's version of the Maple Leaf Rag quilt from the book Material Obsession 2.  I got the book, checked it out, and decided it was going to require too much design wall room and attention, when what I was really looking for was something easy to sew on in the evenings.

First Kiss
Then I flipped pages and found the Gypsy Kisses quilt.  Known by other names by other designers (I think Kaffe Fassett calls it Olive Dish in one of his books), I fell in love on the spot and began printing out the 96 paper templates on which to do my piecing.  Then, I raided my stash and cut a bazillion strips of fabrics and tossed them into a box, and started sewing.  There's no love like new love!

The only problem was that I was neck deep in the middle of the string quilt from my last posting, and I swore, when I started quilting three years ago, I wouldn't be the crazy lady with lots of quilts in progress and loads of tops waiting to be quilted.  Silly me; I should have known myself better than that. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One strip at a time

A couple of months ago I decided to start a strip quilt.  I thought it would be a fun project to work on in between other projects.  My plan was to make a block here and there until I had enough for the quilt.  I should have known better.

My compulsive personality had me sewing like a maniac on these for what seemed like weeks.  I really don't recall now how long the total project took, but it was a blast.  I have known, since the beginning of my fledgling quilting hobby, that I am a scrap quilter at heart. This one seals the deal.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I'm still here...

It has been a long time since I've posted.  I can blame it on my busy life, but all bloggers are busy people or they wouldn't have anything to blog about.  I can blame it on laziness, hibernation, and lack of interest, and these would all be a bit true.  Most of all, I think, I feel like it's time to take this blog in another direction.  I'm just not sure what it is right now.

Since fall, I have knitted a lot of donation hats, read a few books, done lots of quilting, started a new crocheted rug, and worked on an embroidery project.  Back in October, I was fortunate enough to take a quilt class with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, and it was just an amazing experience.  Two very different, incredibly talented, men who share and inspire and teach in the most positive of ways.  Everyone came away a winner that criticisms in that class.

Life has been quiet here in the mountains of northern NM this past week.  A small amount of snow, sunny days, and (alas) what appears to be the winds of spring starting their nastiness.  A few days ago, Ani harvested these tomatoes from the indoor garden and I cooked them into sauce.  Our friend Buddha is waiting patiently for the flowers in his garden to return.  Actually, I think we all are.

So...I'll be back soon.  Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Friday, September 28, 2012


One of two gazebos down the road
My time here in Onsala has been very, very, restful.  I am not the person who measures a trip by sights seen, preferring, instead, to just observe how people live their day to day lives as best as I can.  There's also a little thing called jet lag I don't seem to be adjusting from.  Not so easy as when I was a lot younger, that's for sure.

My visits with my friend have included running errands and a visit to the local mall (yes, they're here, too).  I found that day particularly interesting, as I was able to see a nice variety of people, mostly women, out shopping.  One observation I made is that the primary color palette in the women's clothing stores appears to be neutrals, lots of grey and black, with colors being the accents and not the main feature.  It is a look that I see on the women, and it is, to my mind, quietly elegant...accent scarves, attention to hair and makeup, and an amazing assortment of boots topping it all off.  I must admit to feeling the slob, wearing my mommy jeans and no make up.  Something to think about for when I go home.

Another treat has been grocery shopping.  The store is very small, compared to our enormous grocery stores, but well stocked.  Many items are packaged in much smaller quantities than I see at home.  This could be one of the reasons why I have seen only a handful of people I would even consider calling overweight...that, and the local passion for walking.  I see my neighbors burning up the lane walking each day, sometimes twice a day.  (Note to file.)

I leave you with this picture of my new favorite yogurt.  It is a whopping 10g of fat per 4 oz. serving, but I'm pretending I can't read that and am happily slathering it all over Wasa crackers (one of few concessions to Weight Watchers).  I love this little lady on the carton...she just cracks me up, everything I open the refrigerator.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Far, far, away

I am in Sweden.

It seems so strange to say that, for some reason.  Maybe because I don't recall ever blogging from out of country, or because I haven't been here before, or maybe, just maybe, it's because I've been pretty firmly planted in the southwest the last good number of years.

At last, the spell has been broken and I am truly here, after years of plans made and cancelled.

Fall is here.  It was hot and sticky when I left San Diego last Friday.  Rain and autumn leaves are a nice change.  I am staying near the sea, which has that pungent odor I recall from my years as a child, visiting the beach at Santa Barbara.  Maybe it's the sea weed on the shore, or maybe it's that the air here is so fresh and brisk, things are more magnified.  It's lovely.  I wish I could share it with you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Not in the plans

When I sailed off for the summer at the beach, I envisioned it to be one very long stretch of very long days, enjoying the kids, sewing, reading, and resting.

Not quite! It has been very fun, but very busy.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got word that my little cat Larry was sinking, and sinking fast.  I had been watching him for months, taking note that he hadn't been grooming himself very well.  Last Wednesday found me flying back to NM to be with him during his last days.

It was beyond special.  I wish I could have had time like that with my loved ones I've lost in years past.  It made his leaving easier.  We had said all we had to say, confident in our feelings about each other, and when he was finally out of pain, I found myself happy for him.

I decided he couldn't just leave without some official notification to friends and family, and sent out the following obituary:

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that Lorenzo de Valdez, aka Larry the cat, left this lifetime on Monday, July 30, after suffering quietly with an undiagnosed malady the last month.  For those of you who knew him well, you will note that Larry was never quiet.  (This, alone, was cause for concern.)

He is survived by his humans, two Rottweilers, and his sometime companion and frequent sparring partner, Roberto del Gato, or Bob, as he is known to those in his inner circle.

Larry came to us from the local animal shelter in the fall of 1997.  He was a mere 1.3 lbs. and not in good health.  He spent most of his life battling inflammatory bowel disease, so he never really knew good health.  He was, as many chronically ill patients may be, loathe to see his doctors, and because of his behavior in their offices, he was not their favorite patient.  (In fact, his file had a notation that he was fractious.)

He will be remembered as quite a conversationalist.  While his favorite topics were issues relating to his existential angst, he was also able to hold his own when it came time to register complaints about household issues.  I imagine he might go on to be a great orator in his next life.

There will be a private service for immediate family members only on a future date.

Our family requests that you show your pets some extra love in his memory.