Friday, January 27, 2012

Ursula the Bear Quilt is out of hibernation

Ursula the Teddy Bear Quilt is off to Texas to a repeat customer. This nice woman bought a quilt back in December as a gift and said she was tempted to keep it. I was hoping she would see another one she liked, and this was the one.

A new record for squared up, three quilts went out this week. My house looks like a fabric tornado came through. I've been sewing on the kitchen table because the Larkspur quilt was a big one. I was snipping inside because of the rain. My blog's byline is little snippets of my quilt making and other threads. The other threads invited their buddies and are having a party in the living room with Molly's hair. It's a Fuzz Fest.

We all need a break.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Larkspur, the Little Birdie Quilt

The Little Birdie Quilt is finding its wings. This was a beauty to put together, once we decided on the fabric. The inspiration fabric is called Larkspur by Alexander Henry Fabrics. I was under the impression that a larkspur is a bird, but alas, the bird is lark, the plant is larkspur, as is a town in California. Oh well, the Larkspur Quilt it is.

The Diana and the Larkspur quilts both go out today.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2012

Has the Internet killed the fabric store?

The Wacky Fabric - our original inspiration piece.

I was recently approached to do a custom quilt - with the client purchasing the fabric with my input. She went to work finding some great fabric on Etsy. We agreed on three prints, some polka dots, two florals and two solids. It would be so easy and I wouldn't even have to leave the house, except to go to the PO box to pick up all the coordinating fabric that she chose with an easy click of the mouse. All the choices looked fabulous together...on our computer monitors. But when they arrived it was an Ugh Moment. A large piece that looked like it matched online was just not happening in the light of day. Then the last piece arrived, a bright green not pictured that looked ghastly held up to the other choices. So much for the click of the mouse. These fabrics were just not all clicking together.

Not including the ghastly green, the B & W flowers were clashing big time.
The Internet is great for buying fabric. You can get just about anything, the sellers know their stuff and can help you pick out really cute coordinating fabrics. But there still is nothing like going to a good ol' brick and mortar store and choosing with your two eyes. My client and I met at JoAnn Fabrics in Folsom and went to work getting it right. She picked out the most adorable bird fabric before I even got there. We both squealed when we compared it to what we already had.

Besides the bird fabric, we picked out a pretty blue and off white print and the new addition of a soft pink geometric. There is a lot of color happening and it all looks wonderful. Bye bye black and white flowers and ghastly green solid. Hello Birdies! And hello good old fashioned fabric stores that let you pile up bolts of fabric in your cart, lay them out on a counter and get the project just right. We could have found the new fabric on the Internet somewhere, but we are so pleased how it flew into our laps at the fabric store.

Birds of a feather flocking together.

The fabric that got us tweeting again.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Ursula Quilt

The bear themed quilt is ready for posting on Etsy. It's a cute ensemble of fabric from hin and yon: The "how to make a bear" fabric was from the Assistance League thrift store, as was the blue corduroy and the pink print. The blue floral has been hanging around so long, I forgot where it came from. The bears are from a table runner I picked up the Goodwill along with the really pretty toile, which came from some drapery fabric. And lastly, my friend Sherri in Tahoe contributed a pretty summer top with a sweet red and white print. At least I think she gave it to me to sew and not to wear. Oh well, too late now.

This is how I feel when I finish a quilt

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The morning of ice and guilt

The dog lying on her new cedar bed, basking in the morning sun.

Close-up of dog basking.

Ice in the dog bowl after a very cold night.

Close-up of ice in the dog bowl.

The dog laying on the guilt, despite having fresh, warm water in her dog bowl and a heated dog house.

Close-up of dog laying on the guilt that was thicker than the ice.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cleaning the garage versus finishing a quilt - Garage Won

Finally, a nice whole day off to finish the Ursula quilt. I'm starting to doubt that name, it just doesn't seem like an Ursula, but I already used up Rosa and Teodora. A teddy bear quilt named Teodora, how cute would that have been? But for now, it is Ursula. Urs is bear in Latin. Ursul is the Bear in Romanian. Ursula: the girl bear. Get it? (A quilt that needs a dictionary might not be the best idea.)

What is happening today besides me-me-me sewing this thing up? The Great Garage Cleaning of 2012. This was supposed to be the Great Garage Cleaning of 2011 during the Big E's winter break. My water pump going out sort of got in the way. Today is the day. I should be thrilled. I should shout for joy. A clean garage equals a happy wife.

the layout before it was sewn
My sewing room is off the garage and it's a bit on the cold side today. Husband cleaning the garage equals door opening about 47,293 times. Brrrr!  But by the 47,294th door opening, the quilt was done. So cute! I love the shabby chic colors. I went out to the front porch to snip it and then was ready to whisk it into the washing machine. The washing machine that is full of nasty, greasy rags from the Great Garage Cleaning of 2012. So that Ursula is not the Grease-Covered Teddy Bear Quilt, it will have to wait.

I used new stitching for the Xs and the border

The fabric has instruction for making a teddy bear

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Power of our Jeans

After turning most of my jeans into a rag quilt, I was left with only two pairs - the ones that fit and the evil tight ones. Plus a pair of corduroys that are a bit too long and some summer pants. But those don't count, we all know it is jeans that rule the world of self-confidence and happiness.

Having been on another What is wrong with me - what is making me feel sick Elimination Diet, it appeared that I had lost a few pounds. After living on some pretty boring foods for two weeks, I was feeling pretty good, especially after seeing the scale react a smidgen. I even dared to wear a pair of tight exercise pants one day - around the house. The Keep California Beautiful people insisted I stay inside.

So imagine my dismay yesterday when I changed out of a skirt and into my jeans. Tight! Uncomfortably tight! Wow, what a way to ruin a perfectly good day. What will it take, you stubborn pudgy body? What sacrifices are you demanding? Is it asking too much to wear jeans and breathe?

End of the day, time to get in my very forgiving pajama bottoms. Hmm, these aren't the jeans that fit, these are the TIGHT JEANS! I was wearing the wrong trousers! The fact that I was able to hitch them up and button them was a miracle. From sadness to joy with one peek at a label. Size 8! Well of course they were tight! They were the evil tight ones. They were just doing their job. Maybe I'll go jean shopping and just sew smaller sizes into all the new pairs. Much easier than this crazy diet.

The Wrong Trousers

photo credit

Saturday, January 7, 2012

When Dogs Eat Alligator Pieces

After my last house cleaning rampage, I managed to keep the kitchen table clean and clear for almost 6 weeks. That must be a new record. This is what the "side table" in the dining area looked like, but at least the table was pretty.

Soon, in the space of a few lazy days, it started to clutter up again, becoming the office rather than the dining area. Time to take drastic measures.

One Hundred Alligators and a Purse
I picked up a really cute alligator themed puzzle at the thrift store, never even opened. The thought was, if the kitchen table is unusable as an eating space, at least covered in a puzzle it functions as a gathering and conversation area.

While not a puzzle addict, I love them. I love the strange disjointed bits of conversation they generate. And anything that may fight dementia can't be a waste of time.

"They don't feed me enough."

"I expected more flavor from a piece of reptile."

"When it's finished, they'll find out how many I ate."

"It tasted just like chicken."
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Putting our money where my mouth is

Dentistry has changed so much. At my appointment this week:

I filled out my "paperwork" on an ipad.
The x-rays were digital and immediately showed up on the giant monitor suspended in front of me.
They took up-close and very detailed photos of all my teeth with a camera on a stick, which then also showed up on the monitor right in front of me. TMI, I say.

Even through my poorest years B.E. (Before Ernst) I managed to get to the dentist and get things taken care of. I take reasonable care of my tea-stained not so pearly whites and I'm not afraid of the dentist, but for unknown reasons it had been awhile. Let's just say they had to numb me up and do some under the gum scraping. Under the gum scraping makes chalk board scratching sound and feel like a Mozart sonata. Never again, never again; I will go every 6 months like a good little patient. For Pete's sake, we even have very basic dental insurance, why did I wait so long?

On to the pocketbook draining part. My front teeth are fine, but as in the past, I have old fillings coming to haunt me. After they took the photos of my two latest renegade teeth, they left me to stare at the large monitor and the two pictures of these back teeth that I never look at because I don't have a periscope at home. Man amalgam fillings are scary looking. They look like melted nickles. Unfortunately, to replace them costs more than unmelted nickles. The dreaded word INLAY was proposed. Inlayed wood flooring. Inlayed counter tops. Not cheap. Inlayed tooth fillings? Not cheap either. And the worst part is that no one can see them!

Nothing I could have done now could have helped the outdated fillings. But, the dentist really recommended I stop flossing and start using a Waterpik. Nothing like some deep under the gum scraping to convince me to buy another appliance. But where in the world to put it? Our bathroom is so small. The sink has no room. On the back of the toilet? Gross. Can a person Waterpik in the garage on top of the washing machine? Out on the porch? We could get a puppy tip for Molly. Do they make car versions that plug into the cigarette lighter? Maybe there's a smart phone app. Oh right, I still have a dumb phone because we spent all our money on teeth no one sees without a periscope.

picture credits: and

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Fun Weekend in Yuba City

No, that is not a self-cancelling phrase.

We had our two day assembly in Yuba City this weekend. It's not too often we can eat outside at the picnic tables there in December/January, but we had two beautiful days. If it's not going to rain, it may as well be a lovely temperature.

Our congregation got to do the Bible highlights. For most, this was the very first time they answered in English, and it was in front of 1200 people. They were practicing up to the very last moment, trying to get their pronunciation and grammar just right. That meant for some nervous Moldovans before it was over. A friend who was watching from the stage said it looked like The Wave at a football game - as the microphone got passed down the row, shoulders were either tensing up or relaxing. I was last, but I was so worried about the others I didn't have a chance to get nervous. We were so proud of our brave friends who are learning their third language. Bravo!

Posted by Picasa