Monday, September 27, 2021

Let The Fun Begin!

 Hello Everyone,

Yesterday, the quilters migrated north to Snowflake Lodge in Arnold, CA for the beginning of my second Sew'n Wild Oaks Retreat of the year.

Many of the girls will walk around Snowflake Lake when they decide to take a quilting break.  As an added bonus, I provide the bear bells!

Set up began between 2-4 yesterday afternoon.  Many of the girls cranked up their machines, and the quilting began.

I have a little store available for some retail therapy.  Many thanks to Julie and Debbie for helping out with the set-up.  It takes a village to pull a successful retreat together.

At 6 o'clock, we gathered at my cabin for an appetizer dinner.  This group outdid themselves, and added a whole new meaning to the word delicious!

Appetizers were on one table, and desserts on another.

It was a beautiful early Fall evening out on the decks to enjoy a wonderful meal and conversation.  I found myself sitting back, and thoroughly enjoying the bursts of laughter.

New friendships began.

Here I am with my friend Bettie.  Our mothers started the first playschool in Paradise, California in the 1950's.  Bettie and I go waaaaaayyyyy back.  In fact, I learned how to ride a bicycle at her house.  At the time, there weren't many sidewalks in Paradise, so I learned how to coast her bicycle down her street.  I thought I was so daring!

Old friendships will be renewed and new friendships will blossom this week.  I have a feeling in my bones this group is going to be a great one!



Monday, September 20, 2021

Making Memories and Making an Heirloom

 Hello Everyone,

I added the directions to the tutorial showing you how to make  Double Flying Geese for A Ribbon Runs Through It.  You can see the expanded tutorial by clicking on A Ribbon Runs Through It Block #1 at the top of my blog.

I've become a firm believer in starching the fabrics first before cutting.  It makes the construction of this component so much easier, and it is flatter than a pancake.  There are (12) Double Flying Geese in each one of the blocks, and I make them (4) at a time.

The goal of the tutorial is to guide you through the process of making this heirloom quilt.  The quilt looks much more complex that it actually is.

The tutorial will break it down with manageable, step by step directions.  I always tell my students to take their time, and enjoy the process.

Speaking of enjoying the process......we've watched this little guy, our grandson Jess, play baseball since he started in T-ball over 8 years ago.

I love this picture of our eldest son, Chuck, with his son goofing around after a game.

Now Jess is in high school, and he will turn 14 this week.  We were in the Bay Area over the weekend, and we watched him play on Saturday.  I loved hearing the crack of the bat....watching the dust fly during a stolen base.....the smell of the grass.....the clanging of the chain on the flag pole.....and the rattle of a loose tin sign hitting the fence.  I loved it all, and soaked in everything going on around me.  These moments are precious and fleeting.

Jess pitched three innings, and totally took command of the game.  He pitched with so much accuracy,  control, and confidence.  We were amazed how much he's developed over the past few months. 

Here's father and son at the opening game for Alabama two weeks ago.  Attending a Crimson Tide game in person was on our son's bucket list......and he checked that of his list this month.  Father, son, and wife enjoying a sporting event together is such an pleasurable memory.  Our daughter-in-law took the picture.

For me, life is about making memories, and making heirlooms.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Let the Fall decorating begin!

Hello Everyone,

Do you have some days that are more productive than others?  Yesterday I was on a mission to change the quilts around, and decorate the cabin for Fall.

By the end of the afternoon, I logged over 10,000 steps on my Fitbit!  I love putting this quilt on display year after year. The quilt is called Scrappy Maple Leaves and the pattern was in a book by Ilene Bartos. I am playing with fire here because a squirrel, chickoree, or a mouse ate part of the last quilt I had on display.  I put my fake owl out on the front porch to discourage the critters from enjoying a midnight snack.  They chewed a hole in a quilt then literally sucked out the batting to line their nests.

I will take more pictures today as I finish up.  I didn't get everything quite done, but the lion's share of the task was completed.

When my good friend Kaaren moved away this Summer, she gave me a gorgeous set of nine Shaker Boxes. They are like a set of nested, Russian dolls.  I normally have them on display in a stack, but yesterday I decided to take all of them out of their nest, and put all nine across the mantle.  I have these wonderful, old Halloween characters which belonged to my Grandmother.  I don't know how long she had them, but my guess they are over 70 years old.

They are perfect atop the boxes.

Their faces are hand-painted.  Isn't she frightful?

This character has to have the original Princess Leah hair style!  But my little princess isn't packing "heat".

I finally stopped working late afternoon, and then got ready to go to dinner and music on the deck at our homeowner's association.  This is the same location where I have my retreats.

It was a wonderful evening under the moon and stars.  The entertainer was Grover Anderson from Murphys.  He's a local singer/songwriter, and his popularity is gaining momentum.  He has a very enjoyable voice, and really connected with the audience in this intimate setting.

It was a perfect day.  If you look closely at the wine glass, you will see the reflection of the Porta-Loo in the background by the tennis courts.  Just keeping it real here folks!


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Pictures Please

 Hello Everyone,

I love it when quilters send me pictures of the quilts they made from my patterns.  Rachel, from Pennsylvania sent me two pictures. I asked her if I could share the pictures on my blog, and was so pleased when she said yes.

Cute as a Button is perfectly displayed on this wall.  The combination of the fabrics in the quilt, and the color of the paint couldn't be better.

Rachel has been quilting for less than three years, and just look at what she's accomplished!  Here's her version of my Country Sampler pattern.  She changed up the sashing as she said her arthritis screamed at her when it came to the sashings!  I know the feeling, Rachel.  I didn't notice the sashings were changed since I was totally focused on her beautiful blocks.  Well done Rachel!

At this writing, I'm listening to the 911 - 20th anniversary tribute on TV.  The thousands of names of those who were lost are being read, with many tears being shed.  The tragedy seems like it happened only yesterday.

In reflecting back 20 years, I remember getting up early as I had the week off of work. I had a huge to-do list to prepare for our daughter's wedding on 9/14.  I turned on TV just after the plane crashed into the first tower.  I immediately woke up my husband.  My years working in counter terrorism as a GIS analyst at my job, instinctively told me this was a terrorist attack. I changed focus and immediately prepared to go to work, as I was on call during emergencies.  

When the second plane hit, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind we were under attack.  When the plane hit the Pentagon, I woke up my elderly father-in-law who was living with us at the time. During his career, he worked at the Pentagon.  We all watched in horror with the rest of the world.

As it turned out, I didn't have to go to work, but it was so hard to focus on our daughter's wedding.  We didn't know if we were going to go ahead with the wedding since everyone who was supposed to fly to California couldn't fly.  For many, it was too late to start driving. We had no flower girl or ring bearer which paled in comparison to the tremendous loss of life. It seemed disrespectful to proceed with a happy occasion.

We all sat down collectively and talked with our minister.  He suggested we proceed with the wedding as life goes on and is filled with happiness and sadness. He did an excellent job weaving the tragedy into the ceremony and there wasn't a dry eye to be found.

As it turned out, my 85 year old father-in-law became the world's oldest ring bearer while he pulled the flower girl, our 6-month old granddaughter, down the aisle in a red wagon.  Again, there wasn't a dry eye.

Our eldest son, who was living in Arizona, made it into town just as we sat down for the rehearsal dinner.  Having the family together meant the world to me.  To be able to hug our loved ones, and have them close, filled our hearts.

I'm at a loss for words on how to end this post.  Our lives have changed, the world has changed since 9/11.  Hold your cherished loved ones close to your hearts today and always.


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Looking Back

Hello Everyone,

Forty-nine years ago today, I said "Yes" to this man, Mr. Joe. They were the most intelligent words that I ever said.  We were just kids back then.  

I made my wedding dress from a Vogue pattern.  The entire dress cost me $35.00, a fortune back in the day.  I stitched hundreds of fake pearls on the collar and cuffs. Our entire wedding cost under $200.00.  

We had $200 in our pocket when we left on our Honeymoon to Carmel, Monterey, and then Lake Tahoe.  Credit cards......none.  We had no credit.  Basically all we had was a 1967 Mustang Fastback and a motorcycle.  I can still envision my Dad rolling his eyes when Joe asked for my hand in marriage.  My Dad went along with the program, and he lived long enough to watch our marriage blossom and thrive.

Click HERE if you want to read the story of how we met.  It's pretty funny!

Here we are, still just a couple of kids who built a good life together.  Three children and six grandchildren later, we are still rather fond of each other.  




Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Pattern Stuffing

 Hello Everyone,

This is what old retired people do during the day......they fold, spindle, and stuff hundreds of patterns into plastics bags to get ready for shipping to quilt shops who signed up for the Marcus Fabrics BOM - A Ribbon Runs Through It.

I failed miserably at my retirement in 2008 from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  I'm making up for lost time while working three times as hard running my own little company.  I love the challenge and the rewards.

Our dining room has been transformed into a pattern collating and stuffing center.  Mr. Joe and I sit here by the hour listening to music, and each other while we stuff.

We unloaded the big boxes on the front porch.

Then we went to work pattern stuffing.

The finished product is then put back into the boxes to await shipment.  There are quite a few pattern orders, and I have to spread out the cost over several weeks.  As soon as one shipment comes in from the printer, I place another order.  It's a real juggling act.

On another note, we are heading out to visit our daughter today.  Last week she was dancing at a Guns N' Roses concert celebrating her anniversary.  While she was dancing, she did something to her ankle.  That was on Wednesday.  Over the next few days she kept up her normal work schedule, and then over the weekend she helped her daughter set up a pen for a new steer.  Her ankle and calf became very uncomfortable, swollen and black and blue, so she headed to urgent care on Sunday. They put on a temporary cast, and then referred her to a specialist yesterday.  Come to find out, she totally ruptured her Achilles tendon.  It rolled up like a window shade into her calf.  It's going to be a loooong 12 week recovery.  We have now suggested she only attend Yanni concerts.

So this "Sweet Child o' Mine" is "One in a Million" and was "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for the past few days.....just to name a few Guns N' Roses hits. 


Monday, September 6, 2021

Summer Endings

 Hello Everyone,

Now that my first retreat is over, I'm getting back to a little quilting for a few weeks before the second retreat begins at the end of the month.  I resurrected Lovey Dovey, and sewed on the Churn Dash block borders.  I may put a solid border on it too.....the verdict is still out.  I'm also finishing up the pattern.  I love this happy little wall hanging.

We went over to Sonora to Quail's Nest Quilt Company to deliver patterns and visit my Crossing the Pond quilt.  Susan, the owner, is in the process of making kits for this quilt.  Click HERE if you are interested in purchasing a complete kit for this quilt.  You will need to call the shop and talk with Susan to get on this list for this one.  All of the fabrics are identical to the original.

This is where I've been every morning Monday thru Friday throughout the entire summer.  Today is the last day of our organized water aerobics class.  Several of us will be meeting on our own, without the instructor, beginning tomorrow morning.  I absolutely LOVE water aerobics.  It's the least painful way to exercise, and is so beneficial.  I've suffered from sciatica for several years, and I'm so happy to say all of my symptoms have vanished, and I'm pain free.  I think I'm going to have to start a Polar Bear club to extend the benefits of water aerobics throughout the winter.  I'll get back to you on that one when we have several feet of snow on the ground!

I've been busy putting a tutorial together for A Ribbon Runs Through It HERE.  The tutorial will always be accessible at the top of my blog.  The shop kits will be shipping out by the 13th of September to the quilt shops around the world who've requested them, and want to make a shop sample prior to the release of the BOM in January.  

This has been a good way for me to re-test the pattern instructions.  I finished the first section yesterday, and I'll keep adding to it throughout the next few weeks to complete all of the blocks and the sashing.  I want this program to be successful, and this is one of the ways to help quilters put this heirloom quilt together.

I hope you all have a great Labor Day.  I'm getting ready to head to the pool, then my quilt guild has a meeting this morning at 10am.  I guess it would be a good idea to dry off first, and change my clothes before heading to the meeting.  I don't want to smell like chlorine all day!