Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Purple FANtastic Entry

I decided to take the plunge and enter a quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival this year.

I originally made this little quilt to enter in my guild's (Cotton Patch Quilters of Kern County) yearly challenge.  This year's challenge was to make a monochromatic quilt.  As you can see I went with purple - a color a don't normally work with.  I used the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool to make sure my fabric selections were all within the same color range.  Using Carol Doak's pattern, Jeweled Fans, this little creation was fun to foundation paper piece.  I call it "Purple FANtastic".

Blogger's Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures:  13 1/2" X 13 1/2"
Special Technique:  Foundation Paper Piecing
Quilted by: myself - simple stitch in the ditch
Best Category:  Favorite Doll/Mini Quilt, Favorite Wall Hanging

Starting tomorrow (November 1) you can make nominations and I hope you will consider mine as a possibility for one of the two categories listed above.


Friday, October 26, 2012

2 Finishes

Bittersweet October.  The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.  
~Carol Bishop Hipps

Fall has temporarily arrived.  There has been a nip in the air and we even had a spattering of rain the other night.  Would you believe northern California even had 5 tornadoes on Monday?  The last few mornings I've been able to wear jeans and a zip hoodie - with the hood up!  My morning time at the computer is spent with both dogs and my legs wrapped in a quilt.  I'm loving it and so are my furbabies!!!  Unfortunately, they are predicting that we will be back in the mid eighties next week :(  Hopefully it will be short lived and we will be back to those wonderful autumn mornings.  What's the weather like in your area?




I decided to keep with the spooky, creepy again - this time Tarantulas.  Do these fuzzy spiders make your skin crawl.  I'm usually not afraid of spiders, but this one is a bit over the top for me.  Here are a few interesting facts about this large, hairy creature:
* Tarantulas were named after Taranto, a town in Southern Italy
Tarantulas can only drink their food, meaning that they must liquefy anything before they try to eat it (the mouth is shaped like a straw)
Tarantulas can grow to be 1 foot long (that's including their legs)
The hairs on a tarantulas body have the power to kill small rodents
Tarantulas having a bite that is deadly to humans is a myth (in fact, scientists are still trying to discern the effects of a tarantula bite)
The oldest tarantula lived to be 49 years old
Female tarantulas can live 30 years or longer in the wild.
Tarantulas are quite docile and rarely bite people. And it wouldn't do a tarantula much good defensively to bite you, since its venom doesn't pack much of a punch. A tarantula bite is no worse than a bee sting in terms of toxicity.
Tarantulas have retractable claws on each leg, like cats.
Tarantulas can regenerate lost legs.



I made and turned in my latest little Loving Hands quilt last week.

I used the same pattern I've used before, Squares Upon Squares, but explored a bit with the quilting.  I did the normal anchor of stitching in the ditch and then added a large petal design.  This was quick and easy and helped me renew the feeling for free motion quilting.  The fabrics were some I had in my stash.  The green I've had for ages and it just happened to blend with the persimmon fabric from Connecting Threads that I bought awhile back.  It's hard to find a good place in my yard to take photos in the sunshine this time of year so please excuse the shadows.



I finished my big stitchery project!!  And in plenty of time to get it framed before Christmas.

This piece was fun to stitch with the challenge of different stitches and using some metallic threads.  I'm ready to start another Chatelaine Design pattern.  It will be another Christmas gift but this time for 2013.  I feel so good to be getting such a head start.  

Design:  Desert Mandala
Designer:  Martina Weber / Chatelaine Designs
Fabric:  Antique White Belfast (linen - for those of you who do not stitch)
Stitched:  2 strands of DMC floss over 2 threads
1 strand of Treasure Braid over 2 threads
Started April 2012 - Finished October 2012



Friday, October 19, 2012


For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.  For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.  
~Edwin Way Teale

Do you ever have days when you can never seem to get to where you want to be?  Every time I headed for the sewing room I remembered something else that needed to be done - forgot to look up a recipe, have to start another load of wash, time to empty the dishwasher, take a bit of time to chat with the guy from down the street that takes care of our front lawn, etc, etc, etc.  That's how my day went yesterday.  I never did get to sit in front of my sewing machine.  Hopefully today will be better.  Do you have any plans for the weekend?



With Halloween just around the corner, thoughts of scary things come to mind and one of those is Frankenstein.  Well, unless of course you remember the movie, Young Frankenstein, and then it is a memory of fun and laughter.  Here are a few interesting facts about the original Frankenstein:
Despite common depictions, the monster of the book was not green with bolts sticking out of his neck. Dr. Frankenstein carefully assemble his creature to be attractive; however, once the monster was alive, he was described as having yellowish eyes, long black hair, “shriveled complexion,” “straight black lips,” and yellow skin that “scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath.”
Victor Frankenstein was based on a real person – Johann Konrad Dippel. Born in Castle Frankenstein in Germany, he was a doctor who experimented with reanimating dead animals and corpses in hopes of achieving immortality.
The young Mary Godwin, later wed to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen.
Frankenstein is a German name meaning, "stone of the Franks".
Frankenstein was released anonymously in 1818, and was originally sub-titled: The Modern Prometheus
Frankenstein’s monster has appeared on the US postage stamp twice! In 1997 and in 2002.



My doll quilt arrived from my October swap partner, Vickie, last week and I love it!

Isn't it adorable!?!  The theme this month is "Spooky" and Vickie certainly did a wonderful job following it.  From the darling ghost to the spider he's holding to the fabric she used - I love it all!  Thank you so very much, Vickie!!



Recently I was contacted by ASF Lightware Solutions and asked to review their Beam N Read.  I can honestly say that I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who needs more light while stitching, sewing, or doing about any kind of hand work. 
Here are the pros:
* Light exactly what you are working on without causing distraction for anyone else in the room (my DH really liked this)
* Comfortable to wear around the neck - light weight 
*  Can angle the light in several different positions
* Totally hands free and doesn't get in the way
* Uses 4 standard AA batteries, not one of the fancy round batteries that are impossible to find
* This will be great to use while traveling in the car - I can even stitch when it's dark out now :)
* Not overly expensive

I really didn't have any cons other than the strap could use a clipping mechanism rather than just being stretchy.  I had to have the strap adjusted up enough that it messed my hair when I took it off - that's what happens when you don't have much of a bust for the light to sit on - lol!

Beam N Read lights offer a range of included and optional accessories not available with other personal 
lights. Accessories, depending on the model, include clip-on color filters to warm and soften the light 
and clip-on magnifiers.  AC and DC power adapters are optional accessories. The result is a product that 
is one of the most versatile and economical, hands free LED lights available.

I will be holding a sponsored giveaway for a Beam N Read next month.  However, if you would like to purchase this functional light before then, it is available from and Amazon.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Two More

Life's problems wouldn't be called "hurdles" if there wasn't a way to get over them.  
~Author Unknown

It has finally cooled down a bit here.  It has been cool enough the last couple of days to leave the windows open all day long!  Now keep in mind that I'm still wearing shorts but I have been wearing my zip hoodie the last few mornings.  It's so nice to be chilled for a change!  The powers that be are predicting high 80's for the end of next week so I better enjoy these days.  Fall is here but only for a little while.  We don't have any big plans this weekend - only a few errands and an ALS support group meeting.  What are your plans for the weekend?



Firefly / Lightning Bug

I have never seen a firefly.  They do live in the same part of the world that I do.  I would love the see their display some time.  Here are some fun facts about those little buggers:
Fireflies are not flies. Fireflies are not in the same group as houseflies. Rather, they are a type of beetle. They are in the insecta class, and in the order Coleoptera, which includes beetles. They are related to ladybugs.
Fireflies live for approximately two months, sometimes more, sometimes less. Their lifespan depends usually on how well they can hide from prey and the weather.
 * Fireflies are small insects that are never bigger than one inch. They are usually about 1/4 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch long.
Male fireflies use their blinking light to help them find a mate. They will fly around blinking their light in a certain pattern for signaling mating. If a female notices him, she will flash her light back until they reach each other.
Some types of fireflies will lay hundreds of eggs. Others will only lay about 40. The eggs take approximately one month to hatch and become larvae. Firefly eggs may give off a steady light.
You are most likely to find fireflies in damp areas. They live in fields, woods and of course, backyards. They are found over all of the US, however are not in some areas where it is very dry (and, thus the reason they do not live where I live)
Fireflies are the world's most efficient light producers.



I'm still Dancing (working with the blocks) but hope to have them completed next week.  Here are a couple more.....

This is Rumba.  The center blues are actually more purple than they appear.  "Rumba" is used as shorthand for Afro-Cuban rumba, a group of dances related to the rumba genre of Afro-Cuban music. The most common Afro-Cuban rumba is the guaguancó. The other Afro-Cuban rumbas are Yambu and Columbia.

This block is called Two Step.  The Two Step dance seems to refer to more than one kind of dance.  It is commonly just a dance move, and then there's the country two-step known as the Texas Two Step.  There is also a 'Nightclub Two Step' that is commonly known as the California Two Step.  There also appears to be a acrobatic maneuver used in break-dancing that is called the 2-Step.  At least this block was easy to maneuver with the foundation paper piecing pattern from Carol Doak.



Once again I have decided to enter Michele's Quilting Gallery Weekly Quilt Contest.  This time the theme is "Paper/Foundation Piecing" and I am entering...

Bubbles.  There are 28 wonderful quilts entered and you can go HERE to view them all.  I would certainly appreciate your vote if you should care to cast it my way.  You can vote until Monday at 8:00 am.  Thanks!



Last weekend was our annual Walk To Defeat ALS.  Here is a two minute report on of our local news channels did (neither me nor my team made the cut) .....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Bit Of Sewing

Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. 
~Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

Whew!  What a busy weekend.  Saturday was the annual Walk To Defeat ALS in Kern County.  My team was made up of family and friends and we all had a wonderful time.  The Walk started around 9:00 with over 500 people in attendance.  After lunch was served and devoured, we finally made it home around 1:30.  The rest of the afternoon was spent with our DD#2 and SIL and then expanded to include my BIL & SIL.  Soon after the rest of the family arrived and did the noise level ever increase - lol!  DH barbecued tri-tip and we served it with Santa Maria style beans, french bread, and salad with little eclairs and cream puffs for dessert.  I was totally exhausted by the time we were in bed at 9:30.  Sunday was dog wash day and laundry day.  I was glad to see Monday roll around so I could get back to some sewing and a bit of peace and quiet.  How was your weekend?




I probably gave you facts on these oranges fruits last year but this time of year always brings pumpkins to mind.  I just love pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins and, especially, pumpkin pie!  Here are some little facts about pumpkins:
Pumpkins originated in Central America.
* The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" – the Greek word for "large melon."
* Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
Pumpkins are fruit.
* Pumpkin flowers are edible.
* Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October. 
The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
* In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
* Colonists sliced off pumpkin tips; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
* The largest "official" pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,340 pounds.
Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

(okay, I don't know why Blogger kept changing the font and size on me - and I couldn't fix it either! FRUSTRATING!! )



I have already sent off this months Doll Quilt to my swap partner, Vickie, who lives in Utah.  Hopefully she has received it by the time this post hits cyberspace.

The orange is so much brighter than this photo depicts.  I found this foundation paper piece Witch pattern on Artisania, where you can find several wonderful free patterns.  I then added the two borders from scrap Halloween fabric I had.  Wouldn't you know, I forgot to measure the finished piece but I think it came out to around 14.5" X 16.5".  The theme for October was "Spooky" so I think this fits.



I also made and sent out the blocks for this month's Let's Bee Together hostess, Sara.  

And, of course, I through away the info before writing this post so I don't remember the name of the block.  I do remember that Sara got the pattern from Eleanor Burn's Quilt In A Day.  These were easy and fun blocks to make.  The green is the background fabric and she has each of us using different contrasting colors so it will be interesting to see what her quilt will look like.  



A little funny to brighten your day.......

Friday, October 5, 2012


Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.  
~Thomas Edison

Last Saturday was a day of shots - no, not the alcoholic kind.  First thing in the morning we took both pups in for their yearly booster for bordetella so they can be boarded at the "local pet spa" when we travel out of town.  Then we headed to the east part of town where both DH and I received our yearly flu shots.  Every year I react, but luckily mildly.  Sunday I was achy and had a scratchy throat and my upper arm and shoulder hurt like it had been punched (and no, I didn't tense up when the shot was given).  Did DH have any reaction?  Only for about 3 hours mid afternoon on Sunday!  Monday morning I woke up with a two inch welt on my arm about an inch below the injection site.  Each year it seems to be something new.  But I guess it's better than getting the full blown flu.  Have you had your flu shot yet?




Over the weekend I would have liked to turn the moon off.  It in full splendor, it was putting out tons of light and making my bedroom much to bright.  Here are a few facts about that white, smiling thing in the night sky:
The surface area of the moon is 14,658,000 square miles or 9.4 billion acres
* Only 59% of the moon's surface is visible from earth
* The moon rotates at 10 miles per hour compared to the earth's rotation of 1000 miles per hour. 
* When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon. Another definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in any season (quarter of year) containing 4 total full moons.
* The moon has no global magnetic field. 
* The moon is about 1/4 the size of the Earth.
The Moon is about 250,000 miles (384,400 kilometres) from Earth.
* The surface of the Moon has about the same area as the continent of Africa.
* There is no wind or weather on the moon.
* Footprints left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts will remain visible for at least 10 million years because there is no erosion on the Moon.



I'm still working on my Dancing With The Stars (pattern by Carol Doak) quilt blocks.  

This block is called Samba.  The Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin.  

This block is called Salsa.  Another hot dance with origins from the Cuban Son (circa 1920s) and Afro-Cuban dance (specifically Afro-Cuban rumba).  
I'm still loving foundation paper piecing and have been gathering books using this method.  Have you given paper piecing a try yet?



Recently I purchased the computer program BlockBase.  It is a CD -ROM version of  Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  I hadn't done much with it until yesterday.  The Electric Quilt Company has started a Sew Along using the software and I've decided to join in.  What better way to learn how to use the program and make something at the same time.

This is the first block they selected to use.  It is block #1336  and I've decided to make it up in the 8 inch size.  EQ gives excellent instructions on how to find the block and all the steps needed to get you started.  I selected to make it with foundation paper piecing (no surprise there - lol).  I am using fabric from a line I collected several years ago that has been waiting around in a plastic bag for me to use.  EQ will be doing a new block every two weeks.  At the end of the two week period they are providing a link up where we can see the blocks everyone has created.  I think this will be fun!



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