Saturday, April 3, 2021

Happy Easter - Happy Spring

Hello Everyone,

I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter and Happy Spring.  I do get out of the cabin occasionally, and one of those trips was a visit to Ironstone Winery in Murphys.  The grounds provided a great photo shoot for Mazey, as well as a wonderful area for us to take a walk through the flowers.

Thousands of daffodils, of many different varieties fill the area and line the walkways around the winery and through the trees.

I was playing around with the camera settings on my new phone, and snapped a picture of Mazey staring up at Joe.  She is the perfect model.

In honor of Spring, I'm having a Spring Fling sale on my Etsy site.  All patterns are 20% off for a limited time.  This is Party in the Garden, the perfect quilt to put on display Spring through Summer.  Click HERE to go to my Etsy shop.  I made this one several years ago, in fact I made it twice.

I've spent the last two weeks knee deep, literally knee deep in the 86 yards of fabric sent to me from Marcus Fabrics.  I'm working on all of the blocks for the upcoming Block of the Month.  I'm working my way through my directions, and shop cutting guide for quilt shops who decide to carry the BOM.  This is a big undertaking and a BIG deal for me.  It has to be 100% correct and it is extremely detailed.

I've made many, many components for the blocks.  I can't show them to you for a couple more months.  When I can, I'm going to flood the airwaves with pictures of the new design.  I can only tell you the name of the quilt is.....A Ribbon Runs Through It.  Now I'll leave it up to your imagination.

Next week we are going to have our two teenage grandsons with us for Spring Break.  We want to cherish this visit for a couple of reasons.  We know as soon as they get into High School, we will not be able to spend this much time together.  They will get all caught up in sports, FFA, cars, and girlfriends...not necessarily in that order.  We feel so honored they want to be with us.  Our young neighbor said we must be cool grandparents to have teenager grandsons who want to spend time with us.  To that I said YES, we are!


Friday, March 19, 2021

Lovey Dovey Progress

Hello Everyone,

I'd forgotten just how relaxing it is to work on an applique project.  I had so much fun going through my stash of Betsy Chutchian fabrics, and finding the perfect fabric for each petal and ribbon.

The paisley fabric for the birds' wing couldn't have been any better.

Today is going to be a red-letter day.  I looked up the meaning of a red-letter day and it is; a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable.  Today is noteworthy because the FedEx truck is going to deliver my production samples from Marcus Fabrics. I will turn the production samples into the production of the new Block of the Month for the fabric company.  

The only problem is.....I can't show the fabrics to you yet.  Take my word for it, you will LOVE the new line from Judie Rothermel for Marcus Fabrics.

I'm going to clean up my quilting room this morning, and get ready to revel in the new fabrics.  I looked up the word revel and it is; to enjoy oneself in a lively and noisy way, especially with drinking and dancing.  So perhaps revel is not the appropriate word here.  How about I say that I am going to immensely enjoy working with the new fabrics, and make my new design come alive. Drinking and dancing will be optional.  Maybe I'll dance like no one is watching.  

The birthing process begins today.  It will be a labor of love.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Quilting Snow Day

Hello Everyone,

Mother Nature is keeping a tight grip on Winter in the Sierra Nevada range.  She doesn't want Spring to arrive just yet.  The best thing about snow, other than the fact that it fills our reservoirs, it makes the perfect day for quilting.

I made all of the first borders for Lovey Dovey. 

Remember all of the little 1-1/2" squares that I had on my butterfly board?  Well now they are all stitched together.  Mr. Joe calls this a butterfly board since I'm attaching all of the squares to cardboard with a pin, and have them on display like captured butterflies.  Ask you local quilt store if you can have an empty bolt, and then you can have a butterfly board too to wrangle all of the little squares.

I may work on the applique today.  I'll see what I feel like doing later on after breakfast.  I haven't appliqued in so long, I'm probably a bit rusty.

It was so snowy that I decided to move my sewing machine out of my sewing room, and set it up in the dining room.  Here I can have a 180 degree view of the snow.  An added benefit is that it is warmer too.

After a extremely snowy morning, the clouds parted in the afternoon, and treated us to beautiful, crystal blue sky.  All of the trees looked like collapsed umbrellas just waiting to deploy.  When they do decide to deploy, you have to be on the lookout or you'll get a load of snow dumped on you.  It's 23 degrees at this writing at 7:30am, so the umbrellas/trees will not be deploying into a full-blown trees until it warms up!

This is my favorite time after a storm.  It is so quiet, crisp, clear, and every branch and twig has been painted with snowflakes sparkling in the sun.

Now we can go for walks after dinner with the start of daylight savings.  This is the lake were we spend a lot of time during the summer with the grandkids.  Just the though of putting my big toe in that lake sends shivers up my spine.

Here is that same spot earlier in the day.  Mazey and I took a spin around the block before lunch during the height of the storm.  Mazey was doing her best impression of an Iditarod dog while she pulled me along the trail.  It was quite an exhilarating walk! 

I'm not quite ready for Winter to be over. I love a good storm as long as I don't have to drive in it.

I'll leave you this morning with a picture of a Dr. Zhivago sun and a landscape caught in the grip of ice and snow.  Of course there wouldn't be power, cable, or telephone lines in Dr. Zhivago!   


Friday, March 12, 2021

Mountain Musings

 Hello Everyone,

The calendar, and my daffodils are telling me Spring is right around the corner, but Mother Nature begs to differ.  We received another 6-8" of snow on Wednesday which makes for perfect quilting weather.  Mazey loves to frolic in the snow.  Her fur attracts powdery snow like a magnet, and she ends up with little snow dingleberries hanging from tummy to tail.

On Tuesday we headed out for a hike along the Arnold Rim Trail and watched the snowstorm roll up the spine of the Sierra Nevada mountains.   It's quite thrilling to watch the clouds, listen to the wind, and feel the temperatures plummet like a stone.  It makes all of your senses come addition to keeping a lookout for bears along the trail.  The closest we came to a bear was a large pile of recent scat.   Mazie's senses were on overload as she pulled at the leash while investigating every inch of the trail.  For every one mile that we hike, she travels at least three times more crisscrossing back and forth across the trail investigating under every fallen tree, and around every rock.

During the snowstorm, I spent time in my quilting room cutting 204, 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" squares for a project.  These little squares didn't make a noticeable dent in my Betsy bin.

I want to do a remake of my Lovey Dovey wallhanging.  This time I'm going to be using fabrics by Betsy Chutchian.  I also think this will be a good project for my three retreats later on this year.  That means I also have to write the pattern.

Speaking of pattern writing, that's what I've been working on for days/weeks now.  There is an elevated level of effort working on a pattern for a block of the month program.  The pattern is turning into a sizeable book.  I can't show you my design, but I can tell you about it.  The center of the quilt has 16 blocks, which are the same design, but the fabric placement is unique to each block.  So, each block requires its own page in the pattern.

I've been in constant contact with Marcus Fabrics while we develop this BOM together.  Seeing what goes on behind the scenes to bring a BOM to fruition, has been quite educational.  Marcus Fabrics pays great attention to every detail, and so do I.  I should be receiving the fabrics by the end of the month, and I can't wait to dig in and follow along with my directions.

This has been a busy time of year with the completion of the dreaded taxes.  We have to drive to the neighboring town to visit with our accountant and sign on the dotted line.  Pulling everything together was a huge job off of my plate, and I have a giant sense of relief that they are done!

I hope you have a great weekend.  Most likely between time spent at the computer writing directions, we will be taking a hike in the snow with Mazey and her dingleberries.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Never Too Many Quilts

Hello Everyone,

I thought that Spring was in the air until I looked at the forecast telling me more snow is on the horizon for next week. 

Spring means that it is time to clear the cobwebs out of the house.  Whenever it gets cold, the spiders decide to head indoors.  Yesterday I shooed them all out the door!  Some of them have bodies the size of a dime.....and then add on all of those legs.

I hung up The House on Edgewood Lane on the wall.  That quilt was my first design that started the Sew'n Wild Oaks company.  Little did I know what that design would lead to 13 years later.

Sallie's Quilt designed by Paula Barnes, is on the bed.  My Buttonwood design is above the bed.  Heartfire is at the base of the bed.

Right now, some of my favorite quilts are hanging in quilt shops.  I just move the quilts around the cabin that I have at home.

Some friends will be here for dinner tonight.  They are coming up from the city to look at homes in our area.  I'm anxious to hear how their day went with the realtor.  

Since the start of the pandemic, homes have been selling like hot cakes in our little mountain community.  People are working from home and fleeing the city in droves.  The demographics of our neighborhood/community have changed substantially.  We now hear children playing during the day.  Our community is so longer a retirement area, and is becoming younger and more vibrant.  The grocery store is no longer a sea of gray hair!




Friday, February 26, 2021

Covid Comfort Food

 Hello Everyone,

Since I can't show you what I'm working on, at least I can show you that we are eating.  The other night we had a couple of friends over who we have included in our social bubble for the past year.  Most of us have had one or both of the shots.  I decided to have a Covid Comfort Food Dinner.  Here is the finished product - stuffed meatloaf.

Stuffed Meat Loaf                      

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1 c. dry breadcrumbs

½ c. grated carrots

¼ c. finely chopped onion

2 eggs, beaten

½ c. milk

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

⅛ tsp. pepper

4 oz. mushrooms

2 tblsp. butter

1 tblsp. finely chopped onion

2 c. soft bread crumbs

1 tblsp. chopped fresh parsley

½ tsp. poultry seasoning

¼ tsp. salt

 bacon - optional

©      Mix together ground beef, ground pork, dry breadcrumbs, carrots, ¼ cup onion and eggs. 

©      Add milk, 2 tsp. salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.  Mix lightly, but well.

©      Place on a double-thick square of greased aluminum foil.  Shape into a 14” x 8” rectangle.

©      Sauté mushrooms, and 1 tblsp. onion in melted butter is small skillet over medium heat.  Combine with soft breadcrumbs, parsley, poultry seasoning and ¼ tsp. salt.

©      Spread stuffing over meat mixture; roll up, starting with the long side.  Press overlapping edge into roll to seal.  Bring foil edges together in a tight double fold on the top.  Fold ends up, using tight, double folds.  Place wrapped meat loaf on rack in shallow pan.

©      Bake in moderate oven (375ᴼ) 1 hour.  Open foil; continue baking for 15 minutes or until loaf browns. I put mine meatloaf under the boiler for a few minutes to brown the bacon.

©      Yield:  6 servings.

 This is what it looked like with the mushroom stuffing.

It rolls up quite easily.

An added bonus was the addition of the bacon.

Voila....dinner and meatloaf sandwiches the next day.

This recipe is from the first cookbook that I owned.  I figured the way to a man's heart was serving him meatloaf.  It seems to have worked over the past 48 years. Who said it wouldn't last?

Those of us of a certain age probably remember the book called The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan. I either read my mom's copy, or she gave me one, which most likely went immediately into the dumpster.  I think I stopped reading when I got to the part about a woman totally surrendering her life to her husband.  Or maybe it was the part about dressing up as a showgirl or cowgirl and meet your husband at the front door when he comes home from work. (Of course I did meet Mr. Joe over my cowboy boots.  Click HERE to read the story.)  Maybe there is something to this cowgirl thing? But really, gag me with a showgirl's fishnet stockings if I met Mr. Joe at the front door dressed as one.  Knowing my luck, it would be the UPS man, and he'd be scarred for life.  

Mr. Joe makes me hot cocoa when I'm machine quilting in the freezing garage, and I make stuffed meatloaf for him. This is truly a marriage made in heaven.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Yosemite Firefall February 2021

 Hello Everyone,

Tuesday morning at o-dark-hundred, we set off from the cabin for the 2-hour drive to the entrance of Yosemite National Park so we could witness this, the natural firefall.  You have to make a reservation first to get into the park....which we did, to see this phenomenon and Mother Nature at her very best.  It ranks up there with the many wonders of the world.

When the moon is in the 7th house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars.....well not really, but many things need to be in alignment for this to be visible. There needs to be enough water in Horsetail Falls from rain and snowmelt.  The sun needs to be out so the rays can hit the water just at the right angle, and then the magic begins.  This photo shows just the beginning of the dazzling image which looks like lava flowing down the granite as the sun sets in the horizon.  This lasts for only about ten minutes, then the show is over, and the clapping begins. The photographer in front of us said, "Thank you God."  

I couldn't get The Age of Aquarius song out of my brain.  (Golden living dreams of vision, mystic crystal revelation, and the mind's true liberation).  You can thank me for the earworm I just planted which will be with you all day....sorry.

We parked at the Yosemite Falls parking lot, and walked, snoozed, and ate our lunch with this as our view of the lower falls.  The roar of the water was our lunchtime music. We stayed here all day until it was time to start our walk to Horsetail Falls around 3pm.

We trekked along the road for 1-1/2 miles with hundreds of people to witness this event.  I saw many masks, and wore mine along the way, but it was very hard to observe social distancing.  We put a blanket on the ground to stake out our territory, and a place for Mazey to enjoy.

The sky could not have been any bluer over Half Dome and our walk.  Being in nature clears all of the cobwebs from my brain, and opens it up to enjoy the beauty that surrounds me, and just soak it into every pore.

We walked back to the car by moonlight.  When the suns drops below the horizon, the temperature drops rapidly along with it.  It was cold, and I could see Mazey's breath while she walked back with us.  It had been a very long, satisfying day. It felt so good to get back to the car and SIT.  We ate our dinner which consisted of half a sandwich and apple slices leftover from lunch, and waited for the traffic to clear before we headed back to the cabin.

Love will steer the stars, and us home.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Decorating at the Cabin

Hello Everyone,

Bringing a new piece of furniture into the cabin started a lot of cleaning and rearranging.  I was so tired after cleaning and moving furniture, I wanted to curl up in the new/old baby bed.

No sewing going on here as I await the arrival of a box from Marcus Fabrics to begin making the block of the month I designed for them.  The fabric is coming straight from Korea to my doorstep.  I've learned so much about the fabric making process, and have been included in the final decision making.  It's pretty exciting when my contacts at Marcus Fabrics asks for my opinion on color, and they incorporate my suggestions.

I'm trying to get everything done and off my plate, like taxes, so I can devote every minute to the new design.  I've also been straightening my sewing room so I have a nice tidy space in which to work.  Right now, my sewing room appears as though a bomb was set off in the middle of it.  My sewing room doubles as my office, so it's not just fabric and sewing supplies.  The room holds all of my patterns waiting to be shipped, my printers, and all of my office supplies  Right now it's a mess!

My Etsy shop is going gangbusters, and that is my first order of business every morning.  I'm enjoying the connections that I make with the quilters placing orders.  Many send sweet emails with their orders.
There is a wonderful community of quilters across the nation and the world, and I'm so happy and honored to be part of that circle of creativity.

I'm off to fill orders and continue the cleaning and sorting process.  A lot of the sorting is paperwork that needs to be shredded.  Mazey comes in occasionally to check on me.  I have to make sure her tail doesn't get near the shredder!   

My heart goes out to everyone who is covered in ice and snow across the country.  After our blizzard a few weeks ago, I feel their pain.  Living here in the mountains we are prepared for such weather events with the generator, a stack of firewood, and a freezer full of food.  Even with all of those comforts, living in the mountains can be challenging.  Hopefully we will be up to that challenge for several more years.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day's

Hello Everyone,

Here is a picture of my Valentine's gift from Mr. Joe.  It's a big, red, enamel pot to hold some table runners.

It looks perfect on the dining room table on top of "Cute as a Button".  

I would love to know what is was used for, and who used it.  Mr. Joe decided it would make a good helmet for me to wear during a wind storm.  Isn't he a peach?

I found this baby bed from the 1900's at the one and only antique store in town.   I filled it full with quilts that have been tucked away in the armoire.  Now we get to enjoy looking at them, and the baby bed. The rocking chair belonged to my father-in-law.  It's an oldie but goodie.

So, bringing two new items into the cabin prompted me to rearrange, dust, and vacuum the great room.  When a new item comes in, an old item does not go out.  We are pretty much packed to the rafters.  It's a dusting nightmare.

My "Crossing the Pond" quilt, crossed the pond safely and arrived in France on Friday.  I always hold my breath until the quilts arrive.  Now I know she will be in the May/June edition of QuiltMania since she arrived in time for her photoshoot.  Would you believe I mailed it on a Monday via FedEx, and it arrived at the QuiltMania office on Friday.  I can't mail a first class letter and have it arrive on the East Coast that fast using the US post office!  

I mail many patterns out on a daily basis from my Etsy shop.  At least one or two patterns go astray on a weekly basis. What should take a few days, end up being a couple of weeks.....or not delivered at all. It's a constant frustration for me, and for my Etsy shoppers.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.  I have to get back to my rearranging the entire great room.  Picture Mr. Joe rolling his eyes at me, not in lust, but in doesn't she ever stop!


Monday, February 8, 2021

Crossing the Pond is Finished

Hello Everyone,

I took the last stitch in the label last night....and she's done!

I really put my heart and soul into the designing and making of this quilt from beginning to end.

I was attaching the binding and thought what a nice picture this would make.

My contact at QuiltMania magazine sent me the FedEx paperwork, and this quilt will start her journey of crossing the pond today.  She will return back to me in a few months after her photoshoot for her appearance in the May/June edition of the magazine.  I really think I should deliver her in person....don't you?

My Handi Quilter is not computerized.  I call it my riding lawn mower, and I drive it around the quilt.

Of course Mazey wanted to get in on the action.  She sees the camera and jumps right in the picture!

This is what we were dealing with on a daily basis.  Our driveway is under all of that snow.  When we returned back to the cabin after getting our Covid (Fauci Ouchie) shots, this is what welcomed us. This is just two days worth of snowfall.

I had a bonding experience with my shovel.

If you look closely into the messy garage, you can see my long arm.  I basically lived in that chilly garage for days while I was machine quilting.  Mr. Joe was bringing me hot cups of cocoa in the afternoon.  What a guy!  He was going to put a healthy dose of Baileys in it, but thought better, and didn't want me to have crooked stitches.  We ran a heavy duty extension cord from the cabin which was powered by the generator, to the garage.

We were without power, Internet, phone, and TV for eight days.  This is the longest we have been so isolated.  When we walked around our neighborhood, we realized how lucky we were that we didn't have a tree go through the cabin or garage.  There were wires and trees down throughout the entire area.  Many roads were impassable, and many homes are still uninhabitable.

See how slippery that driveway looks?  Well it is terribly slippery.  The area off our front porch looks about the same.  Last Wednesday night I took a terrible fall right off the front porch.  I slipped sideways and hit my head on the asphalt. I seem to have left many eyebrow hairs and skin on the walkway along with quite a bit of blood.  Somehow, I managed to get myself up, and got back into the house without slipping again.  I had a brand new buffalo check fleece vest on and I didn't want to bleed on it.....and I didn't!  I have my priorities.  Mr. Joe immediately prepared an ice bag, while I counted my blessings that I didn't knock myself out, and someone was here to take care of me.  I probably should have had a few stitches above my left eye.  The scar will just give me more character.  Butterfly band aids to the rescue.  

I have a very purple eye lid.  I refer to it as a new shade of eye shadow.  Do people still wear eye shadow?  I have quite the shiner now which is very slowly fading away. Just as the saying goes, you should see the other guy!

We are supposed to have four days of snow again later on this week.  I'm am going to enjoy this snowfall in my overstuffed chair by the fire, with a good book, and an adult beverage a bit stronger than cocoa.