Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A Different Twist on Christmas Ribbons

Hello Everyone,

One of the many perks of becoming a designer for Marcus Fabrics is the fabric they send to me. This beautiful selection of fabric arrived the other day along with so many other goodies.  The line is called Midnight Lace by Paula Barnes.

I have always wanted to see what my Christmas Ribbons pattern would look like made in a different colorway.  Here are all of the components placed on the block layout sheet which is included in the pattern.  The block really is quite easy to make.  It doesn't have a lot of pieces compared to some of my blocks.

Here's the original Christmas Ribbons in Christmas fabric.  I wanted the sashing to look like a ribbon with a little bow in the corner post.

Here is one block made with the new fabrics.  I really love the look!  I don't have enough fabric, or enough time to make a full-sized quilt, but I would like to make a 4-block table topper with it.

Life has been very busy for me here under the pines. There's my fabric line in the works, along with another block of the month, and several new designs utilizing my very own fabric line from Marcus Fabrics.  To add to my current state of mind and upheaval, after 35 years of having our home in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are cleaning it out so our eldest son and his family can have a larger house to live in.  Our youngest son has been living in the house for the past four years after he experienced a very nasty divorce.  After the divorce, he ended up with the children but little else.  He got the best end of a bad deal. We let them move to our house, and we moved to our cabin. Now, our youngest son is going to set up housekeeping with his love.

We have boxes in the house that we never unpacked when we moved there in 1987!  The cleaning out started in earnest yesterday.  Our daughter-in-law, son and grandson started helping us.  We had four piles, keepers, garbage, garage sale items, and give aways.  Our car is packed with boxes of "stuff" that I want to save and take to the cabin.  Over the last few weeks, I've been sorting through things at the cabin and have the same four piles going.

Our kids have an app on their phones where they can take a picture of something and find out how much it is worth on Etsy or Ebay sites.  They had so much fun checking on prices for some of our "stuff".  My daughter-in-law is very computer literate and is in charge of posting items for sale online.  Any proceeds will go to updating the house.

The average price of a home in our "city" area is $1.2 million.  How can young couples live here?  Our kids all have good jobs but buying a home in this area is completely out of the question.  So, in with the young, and out with the old.....Mr. Joe and me.  This was totally our decision as we LOVE living in the mountains.  When we make the 2-hour drive down to the flatlands, we can't wait to get back to the slower pace of mountain life.

The city house is large enough for us to still have a bedroom when we venture out of the mountains.  My DIL loves to entertain, so she will now be hosting all of the holiday festivities, and we will have a place to stay.  That was all part of the deal, and they agreed to it wholeheartedly. 

So, wish me luck over the next few weeks.  There will be a lot of driving back and forth with "stuff".  I still have to keep my business running and I need to get ready for the next three retreats.  It's going to be a very busy summer. It's a good thing I'm a Spring Chicken!



Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day

Hello Everyone,

This poem and its history tell the story of the fallen heroes in the first World War.  It references the red poppies that were growing on the battlefield in the early Spring of 1915 at the second battle at Yrpes, Belgium.  Lt. Col. John McCrae the author of this poem, and a surgeon, was walking through the battlefield assessing the carnage.  87,000 Allied soldiers lost their life in the battle.  McCrae noticed the tenacity of the poppies gracing the battlefield paying tribute to the fallen soldiers.  The poppy became the most recognized memorial symbol for soldiers who have died in conflict.



Thank you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Wooly Wednesday

 Hello Everyone,

I'm a bit excited to show you what I've been practicing on, as I venture into the world of wool applique.

I've been collecting Valdani threads to display in an old typesetter's drawer.  I can see what I have in an instant.  I'm practicing my stitching, and it's coming along. I feel very confident with the three stitches that I've been working on.  In looking at this picture, I think I may remove the chain stitch on the leaf.  It seems a little too bold for my liking.

My friend Debbie and I took a wool applique class from Lisa Van Groningen last week at Ladybugs quilt shop in Manteca.

It was an hour and a half drive for us, and Lisa's instruction was worth every mile of travel.  We left feeling so inspired and filled to the brim with knowledge, and my head was spinning with ideas.

Yesterday, a goodie box arrived from Marcus Fabrics with Lanacot Wools.

If wool can be just delicious.....then they are absolutely delicious.  I have many plans for these beauties!

On another note, I usually keep my political views to myself.  After the carnage that happened yesterday in Texas, I can no longer stay silent.  My heart aches with sadness for the families of those lost to another senseless shooting.  My heart aches for the lives ended before they had a chance to live. This has to end before another child is killed, before another family buries a loved one.  We need to vote out our leaders who are more interested in staying in office and having power than doing the right thing.  Exercise your right to vote at the midterms. Enough...period.  


Monday, May 23, 2022

Channeling My Inner Julia Child

 Hello Everyone,

I've been so busy lately that I haven't been spending much time in the kitchen.  That all changed this weekend.  When I was back in the Chicago area, I fell in love with deep dish pizza.  Lisa, one of the participants at the Pieceful Gathering retreat shared her recipe for deep dish pizza with me from this cookbook.

This is my version of the recipe.  I wish this computer could project smell-o-vision.  The pizza was heavenly.

The homemade crust is stuffed with mozzarella cheese, spinach, Italian sausage, mushrooms, and onions on the bottom crust.

Another thin crust covers all of the goodness inside, and a slit is made in the crust for the steam to escape.

Then this fabulous tomato sauce covers the top of the pizza.  There's fresh basil and oregano in the sauce.  I sprinkled a bit of Parmesan cheese on the top before it went into the 475-degree oven. 

Here's the pizza when it came out of the oven piping hot. When I make this again, I will decrease the backing time and probably lower the temperature a bit.  My son accuses me of using our fire alarm as my kitchen timer.  This has happened on more than one occasion, and my son is always here when the fire alarm starts blaring.

This was a very filling and delicious dinner.

On Sunday, I decided to make heart-shaped waffles outside on the Blackstone flat top using our Griswold waffle maker which we bought for our anniversary several years ago.  I've only used it a couple of times because when I use it indoors, our First Alert fire alarm goes off!  We decided to try it outside so the fire department wouldn't have a chance to stop by for breakfast.  I hear they like to eat a lot.

We had the flat-top on high, and got the waffle iron really, really hot.

This is the result of our outdoor cooking experiment.  No matter how hot it was, the batter didn't cook.

Pancakes were a good substitute.

So, while I was channeling my inner Julia Child, Mazey was channeling her inner coyote the other night.  We can always tell when the coyotes are circling because Mazey starts to howl.  She howls like a banshee!  It is just plain eerie! We don't want the coyotes to know there's a cute little girl in the cabin.  No matter how hard we try, Mazey is not going to be deterred from talking back to them.  Last month we saw three coyotes traveling through the neighborhood which is quite unusual.  They scare me more than the bears.

Speaking of bears.......since the weather has been so nice, we are spending more time outside on the deck.  Mazey alerted us to a bear that was traveling through the yard next door.  She definitely gets agitated when there's a bear around and we take her warnings very seriously.  She is a great early warning system.

Today I'm going to start making more project bag kits for my August retreat.  The kits were a hot item at the April retreat.

What are you going to channel today?


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

More Retreat Pictures

 Hello Everyone,

You've probably thought I've stopped blogging since I've been very quiet lately.  In fact, I've been the busiest person ever!  I failed to post more pictures from the April retreat and here it is the middle of May!

The group was so talented, and so much fun.

I mentioned on my last post that I was having a week-long sale in my Sew'n Wild Oaks Designs Etsy shop.  Well, I was filling orders for days, and Mr. Joe and Mazey were going to the post office twice a day with a carload of processed orders.  You certainly responded to my post!  Thank you, thank you.

Between filling order and enjoying family time over Mother's Day, I've been working on my fabric line for Marcus Fabrics.  I've been working my way through tutorials in Photoshop.  I've been working on accounting for my business. I've been working on my new Block of the Month using my fabric line. Sometimes at the end of the day I take a step back and wonder where the day went?  

I took a day off last week and we headed over to visit a nursery in the neighboring town of San Andreas.

We purchased two large baskets of flowers to decorate the deck.  The weather has been so nice you will find me out at the table with my computer every afternoon.  I'm at work, but it doesn't feel like work when I'm surrounded in so much beauty.  Mazey will be curled up at my feet while I pretend to be creative.  She has to be touching me....she's a Velcro dog and constant companion. 

While I'm out working on the deck, I'm always on the lookout for bears.  We had a big, BIG bear wander through the lot when the kids were here over Mother's Day.  Our granddaughter's 6'5" boyfriend refused to go for a walk in the woods later on in the afternoon.  Actually none of us went for a walk in the woods that afternoon!  It was one of the biggest bears I've seen here.

Now that my sale is over, I will try to be better at posting.  I still have a lot more pictures to post from the retreat.  Part of the paperwork that I've been working on is preparations for the next retreat in August.  It will be here before I know it!


Friday, May 6, 2022

Happy Mother's Day Sale

 Hello Everyone,

I'm having a B.I.Y. sale in my Etsy shop.  B.I.Y. means "Buy It Yourself" sale for Mother's Day.

Everything in my shop is 20% off.  I don't offer this very often, so now is your chance to get a Sew'n Wild Oaks pattern at a discount.  Click HERE to go to the sale.

Family arrived yesterday so I'll be with them over the next couple of days.  Our granddaughter returned home from Arizona State University for a short break before summer school starts.  She really wanted to enjoy the cooler temperatures, and fresh air in the mountains.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!



Monday, May 2, 2022

Retreat Show & Tell

 Hello Everyone,

Here are just some of the projects that the girls were working on during the retreat.  Some of the quilts were completely finished and were shared during show & tell each night after dinner.  Diana will be teaching her wool projects at Empty Spools Seminar next year at Asilomar. The level of detail is over the top gorgeous.

Paula got her Lil' Orphan Scrappy quilt all together at the retreat.  She pulled off the rick-rack border perfectly.

Taimi started making leaves for Leaf Peepers.  Her leaves have a wonderful Taimi spin to them!

Nancie completed this flimsy at the retreat.  Her daughter-in-law is going to be one lucky girl when she receives this quilt.

This is a Blackbird Design quilt.

Linda finished her Heartfire quilt.

This is a finished Peek-A-Boo Pumpkins.

I'm calling this grouping the "Bag Ladies".  They all finished making one or two vinyl project bags. 

Linda put her little paper-pieced house on the back of her bag.  This was another one of the classes I taught at the retreat.

The backdrop for some of the pictures was the Scholarship from the Independence Hall Quilters.  This quilt will be raffled off at our quilt show in October.  The design is my Country Courthouse.

The quilt was machine quilted by Dianne Schweickert of Livermore, CA.

The quilt provided a nice backdrop for the pictures of "tablemates".  

I still have a lot more pictures to post over the next few days.  There was beauty everywhere at the retreat.