Friday, September 28, 2012

A Day At The Fair

Beware the fury of a patient man.  
~John Dryden,Absolam and Achitophel, 1680

Yesterday morning I listened to the buzz of chain saws as a tree service created an ugly eyesore of our neighbors Mulberry tree.  It did need trimming but not the hatchet job they did.  The company did protect the windows and asked for permission to enter my side yard for any fallen branches.  Little did I know the destruction that would take place to the plants and bushes on my side yard.  All of my hydrangea bushes ended up with several broken branches.  My camellia looks like someone put its branches through a buzz saw.  For the first time in my life, I did not take this quietly or wait for DH to come home and have to listen to my rants.  I marched outside and told the owner of the tree service what a crappy (excuse my language) job he did of protecting my plants.  Did it make things better?  No.  But guess what - that's what complaint forms are for on the Better Business Bureau website.  Okay, I'm through with my rant.   What are your plans for the weekend?




Don't you just love seeing all those tiny little lights in the sky?  Living in the middle of town we only see s few stars in the night sky.  There's just too much artificial lighting to see them well.  However, when we visit our DD#1 in Albuquerque, the night sky is full of sparkly jewels.  What a sight to behold!  Here are a few facts on stars:
There are more stars than all of the grains of sand on earth.
 *You can see stars from the bottom of a well even in day light.
*Stars with really strong gravity cause themselves to become smaller and smaller and eventually turn into black holes.
* Stars come in different colors; hot stars give off blue light, and the cooler stars give off red light.
* All of the stars comprising the Milky Way galaxy revolve around the center of the galaxy once every 200 million years or so.
* Our galaxy has approximately 250 billion stars and it is estimated by astronomers that there are 100 billion other galaxies in the universe 
* A Comet's tail always points away from the sun.
* The sun is the largest star
It might look like all the stars are out there, all by themselves, but many come in pairs.
The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri, located 4.2 light-years away. 



I decided to enter four quilts in the Kern County Fair this year.  Three of them earned ribbons!  While we were there last week, I took photos of some of the ones we liked the best.  Unfortunately, I didn't get the exhibitors names for all of them but some I remember.....

I just love this candy corn little quilt.  This won first place in the Holiday division and was created by Candace Meares.  Aren't the prairie points cute, too?

This cute quilt was created by my guild president Marilyn Smith and entered in the "Quilted Article - Wall Hanging".  She earned a 3rd place for her efforts.  The eyelashes and part of the hair are made with real hair from her nephew!

Isn't this little red and white quilt precious?  It was created by LaVerne Anderson and entered in the "Quilted Article - Miniature Quilt".  She called this "Seeing Red" and it earned a 2nd place.

This beauty was created by a group made up of five different ladies from around the country.  Marilyn Smith was one of the building creators and the quilter.  She said that this was the first show it was entered in.  It received 5 different awards including Best Of Show.  It will be leaving here and heading north to the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara.  (Sorry it's a bit blurry)

And you probably recognize this one - lol!  Yep, it's my Gardener's Journal quilt.  This time it earned a 3rd place!  I entered it under "Quilted Article - Misc".

I love the scrappy houses on this quilt.  It was entered in the "Professional - Hand Applique" category by Corey Starkey.  Corey always wins several ribbons wherever she shows her quilts and this one won a 1st place.

I just loved this little quilt and don't understand why it didn't receive an award.  Can you see the tape measure that was added as an embellishment and hangs down below the quilt's edge?  Nancy Dubie entered this quilt in the "Quilted Article - Wall Hanging"  category.

And I bet you recognize this little quilt too.  I entered this little quilt at the last moment in the "Bird Sewing Theme Contest".  Do you see that 2nd place ribbon?  I was all smiles.  When I returned home from the fair, I looked in the fair catalog and discovered that I won $45.00 for this entry!  I didn't even realize it had a larger payout than the regular quilted entries.

This quilt says California to me since it depicts our state bird, the quail, and our state flower, the poppy.  Alice Chitwood entered this in the "Bird Sewing Theme Contest" and earned an honorable mention for her creation.

Please ignore my reflection in the photo.  They put this little quilt in a display case and I couldn't keep myself or the glare off of it.  This beauty was also created by Alice Chitwood and earned her another honorable mention, this time in the "Quilted Article - Wall Hanging" category.

Isn't this a terrible picture of my little quilt.  It, too, was hung behind glass in a dark hallway and picked up all sorts of reflections.  You can't really see it but this earned a 1st place in the "Quilted Article - Miniature Quilt".  I'm totally smiling now :)

This was my DH's favorite entry in the quilts this year.  His love of batiks is obvious and he was charmed by the color combination.  Heather Burt created this 1st place quilt entered in the "Quilted Article - Top By One, Machine Quilted By Another" category.

Well, that's a quick trip through the quilts.  There were lots more entered but we don't think as many as last year.  We also checked out the landscaping and weaving entries.  We stopped in to see the 4-H entries and were glad to see that those entries had increased by quite a bit.  Of course we had to come home with our five bags of caramel corn - yum!  It was a fun day and made even better with free entry and free parking for seniors .... yep, that's us!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winner and Wins

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.  
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

What a whirlwind weekend we had.  Friday was a visit to the Kern County Fair and errand day.  Not much of a day off for my poor DH.  Saturday morning involved a quick run to the local Farmer's Market with a stop at the library to pick up a book on CD's.  Then a quick throw together of clothes for a trip down to Oceanside to help a niece celebrate her 40th birthday with 40 other family members and friends.  Going south close to the beach you automatically think of cool weather and soft breezes.  Not this last weekend!  I had on shorts and was still sweating (not just ladylike perspiring - lol) at 8:00 at night.  The same hot temps were around for Sunday and it felt like a sauna when we left just before noon.  After a four hour drive home we were greeted by 102 degrees and a broken tree limb on the front walk.  I'm glad the weekend is over!  Hopefully I will get a bit more sewing in this week than I did last week.  What are your plans for the week?




Yes, I know.  Gross!!!  Flies are everywhere.  It seems like every time the door opens we end up with a fly in the house.  Poor Weasley hates flies and will track their movement for long periods of time.  We sometimes get flies that never seem to land.  Other times the fly seems to be moving in slow motion.  And then there are those that circle constantly.  Here are some interesting facts of these pesky little insects:
There are over 300,000 species of different flies.
The average house fly has a lifespan of about 30 days (not if they end up in my house - haha!)
Within those 30 days, a fly can lay up to 3,000 eggs. Each one of these eggs will turn into a maggot, which will then turn into an adult fly.
During flight, a fly’s wings will beat up to 200 times per second. As soon as the fly’s feet hit solid ground, its wings will stop immediately
Flies only have two eyes, but each eye has over 4,000 lenses.
* Despite how highly equipped the fly’s eyes are, they still can barely see. However, they are especially adept at detecting movement. Because of this, you’ll be most effective at killing a fly if you swat at it, starting slowly, and then building up to forcefully smacking it.
* When a fly is ready to take off for flight it first jumps up, then backwards, then forward.
Fly DNA is 75% similar to human DNA
* Some male flies sing to female flies



First I would like to thank Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring my giveaway!  And, secondly, I would like to thank everyone who stopped by and entered the giveaway.  Did you all find some fabrics that you've added to your wish list?  I know I did.  Okay, okay, okay!  I will now announce the lucky winner.....

Kasey is the lucky winner!  
Kasey said:
"First of all, I love foxes! And then, how perfect that one of the Coming Soon bundles is Air Force- A Military Salute! I've been making a quilt commemorating all my runs this year, and just finished my first full marathon, which just happened to be the Air Force Marathon! I NEED that B2 Bomber that I can see in the fabric picture (it was this year's featured plane, and so is on our shirts and medals). 
Thanks for the chance to win! And, thanks for keeping your blog so fun and informative- I don't always comment, but know that I often laugh or have a who knew moment reading it!"

Congratulations, Kasey!  I have contacted her by email and she will be receiving her $25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop shortly.



And speaking of winning, I was a winner three times over during the Blog Hop hosted by Michele over at the  Quilting Gallery.  I previously shared one of those winnings, I also won...

These amazing batiks from Barbara over at Barbara Bieraugel Designs.  These are a wonderful addition to my growing batik collection.  Thank you, Barbara!


These two great blue and white fat quarters from Beth over at Words & Stitches.  You can never have enough blue fabrics as far as I'm concerned.  Thank you, Beth!



Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer Is Almost Over

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  
~Albert Camus

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn.  I sure wish it would show its face around here.  We have cooled off a bit - down to the low to mid 90's.  It will be awhile before the leaves start changing color and dotting our landscape with reds, oranges and yellows.  Autumn is my favorite time of year even though we don't go through the major color changes like you do in the east.  It usually means cooler weather (finally!) and I can start using the oven more and preparing slow cooker meals.  Which season is your favorite?



Autumn Leaves

Autumn!  A bit of coolness in the air.  Colorful leaves.  Thoughts of Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Shorter days.  What comes to mind when you think of autumn?  Here are a few interesting facts:
The first day of fall is also the second equinox of the year, when the Earth's axis is not pointed toward or away from the Sun. There will be approximately equal amounts of day and night today.
Until December 22, days will be getting shorter and nights will get longer. Trees will stop performing photosynthesis, which is what causes the leaves to lose their green color.
Modern Halloween has its origins in the Celtic holiday at the end of the annual harvest, similar to an ancient Thanksgiving. Carving pumpkins didn't become a part of the holiday until the 19th century.
Evergreen trees like pines, cedars, spruces, and firs, stay green all winter because their leaves are covered with a thick wax, and their insides hold materials that help them not to freeze
In order to know which way to go when they fly south, birds use a variety of techniques such as the position of the sun or the stars, and big landmarks like lakes, rivers, or mountains
Squirrels rely on a storage of nuts to eat during winter, so they collect and bury nuts all fall. Plus, the nuts they bury but don’t retrieve sprout into new trees
There are only two days of the year when you can stand an egg on end. One of these days falls on the first day of autumn.
The leave colors red, yellow & brown are in the leaves all year long & only become exposed when the green chlorophyll disappears in the fall.



The Bee block for September ended up being two blocks.

Robyn was the hostess this month for Let's Bee Together.  She sent some beautiful fabrics to work with.  These blocks weren't difficult to make as long as you follow the instructions.  And there were no Y seams!  Robyn asked us not to trim down the blocks so this is what she received from me.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she will be creating.



I received my September swap block from Nancy.

Isn't it adorable?  My request for my Block Swap Adventure swap partner is to 'think kids' and 'think happy'.  Nancy did a wonderful job of meeting both of those goals.  I just love the way Nancy fussy cut the Berenstain Bears and used them in this block.  Thank you, Nancy!!



Tuesday, September 18, 2012


If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.  
~Thomas Alva Edison

I'm sooooooooo tired of the heat!  102 degrees on Friday.  100 degrees on Saturday and Sunday!  Maybe today it will be a bit cooler.  This as should come as no surprise to me as we normally heat up for the opening of the Kern County Fair but usually not to 100.  I am trying to think cool and stay cool.  Ceiling fans are working day and night right along with the poor air conditioner.  I feel so sorry for those that have to work outside in the furnace we call the Central Valley.  I'll be staying inside doing some sewing and stitching this week.  What are your plans?




Do you remember when fox coats were popular?  These are beautiful creatures.  I think I've only seen one in the wild.  Here are some interesting facts about foxes:
Foxes are solitary animals that do not really prefer to live in packs. The fox belongs to the medium-sized canid group.
This animal is found in almost every kind of habitat. They also show an ability to adapt to the presence of humans.
The Fennec fox is the smallest fox seen amongst all the species. This tiny animal weighs a mere 3.5 pounds.
Foxes use various sounds and pitches to communicate between each other. 
Although foxes belong to the Canidae family along with dogs, they also display behavior patterns similar to cats. The vertically slit eyes are on similar lines of the feline cats, besides, they also have retractable claws.
Foxes feed on rodents, worms, insects, birds and all types of relatively smaller sized animals. They also store their food so that it can be consumed later on during the day.
Foxes are basically nocturnal animals and prefer to hunt at night.
* The fox is an excellent tree climber



Kim and I were Doll Quilt Swap partners for September.  We live just about as far apart as you get and still be in the continental US.  Kim lives in New York and I live in California.  The theme for September was Harvest but we both pretty much just went with a fall theme.

Kim made this beautiful quilt for me.  She created this little quilt using 1.5" sample pieces sent to her with an order from Keepsake Quilting.  Kim selected the perfect background fabric and then anchored the little squares with the quilting stitches.  This looks so nice out on my living room table.  Thank you so very much, Kim!

This is the quilt I made for Kim.  The browns are much richer than the photo depicts.  I had fun making the paper pieced maple leaves using some of the batiks I had plus another fall print.  It ended up measuring about 15.75" square.  I just might have to make one for myself.



Are you ready for a giveaway?  One of my all time favorite places to shop online is sponsoring this giveaway - Fat Quarter Shop!  How would you like to win a $25 gift certificate to spend any way you would like at their wonderful online store?  

I bet I have your interest now!  How can you enter?  Well, let's see.......

1.  Go to Fat Quarter Shop and look at their Coming Soon section.  Then in your comment tell me what you are going to be adding to your wish list for a future purchase.  For me?  I'm looking forward to the release of Backwood Batiks by Hoffman Fabrics due out the end of October.

2.  Spread the word of this giveaway by including it in a post on your blog.  Make sure you include a link back to this page.  (I will be checking!).  Include a link to the page where you posted it in your comment.

Easy enough, isn't it?  So you can have two chances to win the Fat Quarter Shop $25 gift certificate.

Fine Print:
- only two entries per person
- open to everyone, everywhere! Yes, Fat Quarter Shop ships everywhere!
- if you are a no-reply blogger, you must include an email address where I can contact you in your comment.  If I can't reach you, you CAN'T win!

This giveaway ends Monday, September 24, 2012, at 5:00 pm PDT.  I will announce the winner in my post on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.

Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for sponsoring this great giveaway!  I wish that I could be the winner.




Friday, September 14, 2012

A Little Bit Of This....

If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.  
~Flavia Weedn, Flavia and the Dream Maker

This week just flew by.  I had hoped to get a lot more completed than I did.  Summer has returned and will be visiting over the weekend, too.  The forecast is promising - they say we are to be in the high 80's next weekend.  I sure hope they are right!  This weekend seems to be a fairly normal one with a few errands to run.  Oh, and before I forget, don't forget to come back Tuesday because I'm having a Fat Quarter Shop sponsored giveaway you won't want to miss!  Woohoo!!!  Is your weekend a busy one?




Can you guess what is my favorite breed of dog?  And, no, those are not my pups.  I couldn't get a good photo of the two of them together.  We do have long haired miniatures and have had one that looked exactly like the short hair in the middle.  One day I would like to have a wired haired.  Here are some fun facts on dachshunds:
* The Dachshund belongs to the hound group. They have a very good sense of smell and are excellent at hunting.
The Dachshund came from Germany.
The Dachshund was bred to hunt badgers. The word dachshund means "Badger Dog".
It is pronounced "DACKS-hoont" not "Dash-hound" or, as one friend of mine  says, "Dat-sun." (No, the car was not named after them!)
Dachshunds were first found in Europe in the 15th Century. They have an acute sense of smell, can fit into tunnels, can dig quickly, and have lots of courage. The smaller-sized dogs were used to hunt foxes and rabbits. They have a temperament that closely matches terriers.
They look like hot dogs, and are often called wieners, but in fact, they precede the hot dog!



Recently I received two wonderful squishies in the mail.

Like most of you, I entered several of the giveaways during the blog hop that was hosted by Michele over at the Quilting Gallery.  I was the lucky winner of three of those giveaways!  This fun package of two quilting magazines and  beautiful fabrics is from Carly over at Faith, Family, and Frugality.  Thank you so much, Carly, I'm enjoying looking through the magazines and love the fabric.

And then I received this darling Doll Quilt from Merry.  Merry was my July swap partner for the Doll Quilter's Monthly hosted by Barbara.  Life got a bit in the way for Merry but the wait was well worth it.  Don't you just love all those yoyo's?  And did you notice the little patriotic bee on the right hand side.  I'm not waiting until next July to put this little quilt out on display.  Thank you, Merry!
It was a great mail week :)



I'm still working on the Dancing With The Stars block at a time.

This block is called Cha-Cha.  It reminds me of looking through a kaleidoscope where the pieces don't quit match up.  I don't care for this block by itself but I do like it mixed in with all the rest.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yellow and Gray

The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm. 
~Fred Dehner

I had a very quiet weekend.  There was no running errands and basically no meal preparation.  My DH was away on a boys racing weekend, something he has done for the last few years with his brother and best friend.  I'm glad that he is able to have this time away, some time with the guys - it gives him a break from taking care of me.  During my quiet time I was able to get in some sewing which I rarely do on the weekends.  And, of course, I did some stitching too.  The only downside was the dogs thinking every car they heard go down the street "Dad's home!".  There were many trips made to the front door and then the return of sad little faces when they realized he wasn't coming up the front step.  Needless to say, they were two over joyed pups when DH did walk in the door Sunday evening.  Even I had a big smile on my face.  How was your weekend?




Another nightmare producing creature from the depths of the ocean.  No, I don't know why I've been thinking about the ocean and what lives there.  Maybe it's the cool waters, maybe I am thirsty, who knows - lol!  Here are some interesting facts about sharks:
The first sharks lived more than 400 million years ago—200 million years before the first dinosaurs. They have changed very little over the eons.
Because sharks very rarely get cancer, scientists study their cartilage in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease.
The first written account of a shark attack is found in Herodotus’ (c. 484–425 B.C.) description of hordes of “monsters” devouring the shipwrecked sailors of the Persian fleet.
When a shark eats food that it can’t digest (like a turtle shell or tin can), it can vomit by thrusting its stomach out its mouth then pulling it back in (GROSS!)
Before sandpaper was invented, people used the rough skin of sharks, called shagreen, to smooth and polish wood. Japanese warriors wrapped the skin around the handles of their swords to keep the swords from slipping out of their hands.
*Sharks don’t get cavities probably because they are constantly shedding teeth. Sharks have 40-45 teeth, with up to seven rows of replacement teeth behind them. When a front tooth breaks or falls out, it takes only about one day for a replacement tooth to move forward to the front row. Sharks can go through more than 30,000 teeth in a lifetime.
As long as a shark’s back is mostly under water, it can swim easily. A nine-foot-long bull shark can swim in just two feet of water. About two-thirds of shark attacks on humans have taken place in water less than six feet deep
When it comes time to give birth, the female shark loses her appetite so she won’t be tempted to eat her own pups.



Last week I worked on a block for my September Block Swap Adventure swap partner, Nancy.  Nancy requested a star block, yellow and gray with yellow being the primary.

This block is called New Star.  This is where the "oops" comes in.  It ended up much larger than the 12" block it was supposed to be.  This was a great paper piecing project but I missed one thing.  I forgot to check the 1" square on the printout before I began.  I always check that and usually make sure that my printer is set at 'actual size' before printing any paper piecing project.  But, obviously, not this time! The block ended up being 13 1/4 inches square.  

So, to remedy my error, I made this eight point star.  I'm really happy with how all of my points met in the center - that's what's nice about the precision of paper piecing.  
Nancy will be receiving both blocks.  Maybe she can make a pillow or something out of the larger one.  I'm letting this be a lesson well learned.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012


There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them.  
~Charles D. Gill

It can't be Wednesday already!  We had a relaxing weekend and had friends over for barbecue one evening.     We were even able to enjoy a brief respite in the heat.  Saturday and Sunday mornings greeted us with temperatures down in the low 60's.  It was so nice to open the windows and let the house breath.  We were able to spend some leisurely time out in the backyard Sunday morning enjoying the cool while sipping coffee and reading the morning paper.  I did manage to squeeze in a bit of stitching but no sewing.  This week looks promising for sewing time.  How was your weekend?  Are you able to get some sewing time in this week?




Pears are one of my favorite fruits to eat but only if they are truly ripe.  I enjoy a salad at my favorite lunch spot that includes pears, but sometimes they are as hard as apples and don't have much flavor.  Here are a few pear facts:
There are over 3000 varieties of pears grown around the world.
Pears are native to Asia and Europe. The first pear tree was planted in the North America in 1620 in the Massachusetts Bay colony.
Asian pears were cultivated in China as early as 1134 B.C.
The Chinese considered the pear, which they call "li," to be a symbol of immortality. The destruction of a pear tree symbolized tragic or untimely death.
Before tobacco was introduced in Europe, pear leaves were smoked.
They were given the nickname "butter fruit" in the 1700s because of their soft, buttery texture.
Most pears (about 95%) sold in the U.S. are grown on the west coast, in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.
In Europe, the Bartlett is known as the Williams Bon Chrétien or the Williams. It got its American name when a Bostonian named Enoch Bartlett bought a pear orchard and, not knowing the pears already had a name, began distributing them as Bartlett pears.
Towns with an abundance of pear trees often included the word Perry in the name of the town.



I have been busy working on my counted cross stitch project.

This is the top left corner.  Just a touch of metallic gold thread added for sparkle.

Here is the center panel near the top.  I have seen similar vistas while traveling through Arizona and New Mexico.

And then, of course, this is the top right corner.

Here it is all together.  The piece is really moving along and I should have no problem completing it before my December 15 deadline (self imposed, of course).
Design:  Desert Mandala
Designer:  Martina Weber / Chatelaine Designs
Fabric:  Antique White Belfast 
Stitched:  2 strands of DMC floss over 2 threads
1 strand of Treasure Braid over 2 threads



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