2017 – Let’s have a terrific New Year

Well, it’s January which means time to get ready for Road to California Quilt show.  This is more than a show – it’s more like an explosion of fabric, classes, vendors and amazing teachers.  So if you are ever in the Ontario, CA area in January, please consider attending at least one day to view some terrific fabric art.

Craftsy star quilt.jpg

Summer Stars

This was a free project from Craftsy and designed by Kimberly Einmo who I met at Road and had as an instructor.  The top is not quilted when I took this picture but my long armer did an exquisite job.  Kimberly is one of the teachers that has also published books on Jelly Roll designs.  For non-quilters, a jelly roll is anywhere from 20-40 fabrics all precision cut into 2 1/2″ strips.  You can find her books at quilt stores or on Amazon.

Spanish tiles is a pattern I bought at a Road show, bought the fusible interface that went with the design but then put it away. Pattern is by Marin and Colusa (always give credit to the designer) and the tile design is already on the fusible interface.  Not sure why, but I put it away.  Well, in cleaning out some items, I found the pattern.  Then found the interfacing so that got me started.  After a nice “cuppa tea”, I read through and found out that it wasn’t that hard after all.  I tried a couple of squares with fabrics from my stash.

Spanish tiles.jpg

Spanish tiles

I really liked it and decided to go on with the pattern.  My lap size turned out to be 5′ X 5′ 1/2 ish.  I also say “ish” as one side is usually just a tad longer or wider.  To quilt this one, I will do hand quilting.   It would a nice change of pace even though I do love standing at the long arm and getting the quilt done in an hour or two (depending on the size and pattern).

Here is a picture of the completed quilt top that Elwood decided to check out.  As usual, my quilts are CTCA, Cat Tested-Cat Approved.  Again, this was done with stash fabric.spanish-tiles-3

Quilting is my hobby, my passion and my stress reliever.  However, when I want to rush through the pattern, that’s when little things will pop up – the tension gets askew, the thread breaks, one of my cats demands my attention, etc.  Plus I usually like to sew when there is day light.  However, since I wanted to get this top done to show at my guild meeting, I plowed through until 8 p.m. (Plus I wanted to watch NCIS).

So I am excited about attending Road to California again. http://www.road2ca.com.   New quilts to ogle, new tools, returning friends and new ones, returning vendors and so much more.  There are also lectures scheduled, late night mystery classes and how to design your own patterns electronically.

Thanks for reading.  I appreciate your time.  Have a terrific 2017!

 

 

Quilt Tours and why you should go

Ireland – you say it and tons of visions come to mind – green meadows, sheep grazing, nicely poured pint of Guinness, dancers, etc.  I have wanted to visit this island for many decades and once retired, it was number 1 on my bucket list.

I started researching tours as I didn’t want to drive myself.  What better way than to be driven by someone, someone who knows the country,  and someone who enjoys driving.  In my quilt magazines there are always tours listed – from being driven to cruises.  I Googled Quilt Tours Ireland and came up with a few names.  There were two that caught my eye.

I downloaded the itineraries for comparisons.  Both were around the same price and length of visit.  One guaranteed a small group – no more than 25 people.  The other said no more than 50.  So what do you do?  You ask your guild if anyone had taken either tour.  One guild member highly, and I mean, highly recommend Celtic Quilt Tours LLC.

This tour started off with Dublin, up to Northern Ireland around the west coast and back to Dublin.  The  places listed were all around the coast of Ireland.  I sent off an email explaining that this would be my first tour as well as my first trip overseas.  The American contact was so helpful.  For four months before the tour started, we received newsletters about the trip.  Everything from where we were to meet at Dublin Airport, how much money to bring over in Euros and pounds, the Horizon VAT cards, shopping trips, packing items, size of luggage etc.

Our first item was a tour of Dublin and then off to visit Malahide Castle.  The tour provided breakfast as most of us came in on red-eye flights from the States and Canada.  We could opt out for shopping or a tour of the castle.  The gardens were beautiful and the castle tour guide was extremely informative.

We went back to the hotel and checked in.  Now by this time my eyes were rolling around in my head from being up so many hours.  First thought was – I need a nap.  But then my brain kicked in with “You are in Dublin – get out and explore”.  Splash some water on my face, grab a glass of water, brush my teeth and off I went.  Down Grafton Street, past Trinity College and in to a few stores.DSCN0369DSCN0368.JPG

 

We had on our schedule to visit the Book of Kells the first day but due to other circumstances, it was held off.  One thing about a tour is to be flexible.  Dinner at O’Callahan’s  was great.  But by 9:30 pm, I was done.  Plus we had to have our bags out in the hallway early the next morning for the porters as we were leaving Dublin by 8:30 am.

Off to Belfast in Northern Ireland.  The past problems have been resolved and restoration and revival has been started. This is a very passionate city.

More later on my trip as this was a 13 day tour and I took a lot of photos and notes.  But in a nutshell, great trip, great people on the tour, amazing tour driver, beautiful scenery, terrific people in every city and delicious food.  More later…….

 

 

 

Healing through Quilting

Sometimes you receive news that just hits you in the gut.  Well I had a wonderful co-worker tell me that not only had she gone through thyroid cancer, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  Knowing she loves Hawaii, I found the fabric and made this quilt.  I say had as I have retired – not that she passed away.Twist around Hawaii

This quilt, which is lap size, could keep her warm while she was going through chemo treatments.  As I was sewing it on my Bernina, quilting it on a long arm and then the binding, I would pray for her to have a complete healing.  She is not a Christian but it made me calm.  I tend to get very irritated when I hear of someone diagnosed with cancer.

Now I live in Southern California so we don’t have much cold weather.  But there are some nights that snuggling under a quilt just makes life so much better.  The fabric was purchased from Beyond The Reef at the Road to California show.  The fabulous staff assisted me with the colors for the Twists.

Another former co-worker is going through PTSD.  I never knew why she left the job but she did disclose later.  Sometimes, especially when they live in another state, you get frustrated as you can’t reach out and give them a hug.  So I quilt.  The last quilt I did arrived at this person’s house just after she heard that her former supervisor/mentor had died suddenly.  I got a picture of her under the quilt with her dog which made me very happy.

Fan DanceThis one is called fan dance.  I am a fan of this person so it seemed to be the right quilt to send.  So if you have a friend that is going through a rough time, consider a quilt.  You can sew blocks together, stitch in the ditch to hold the batting to the top and then add some yarn in each block.  Have friends tie a square knot while adding a prayer.  Prayers can be silent, or the person can write it out and attach the card for the recipient.  They will appreciate it.

So keep quilting.  It keeps your hands busy and your heart full.  At least it does for me.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Challenges

Challenges come with many faces – it could be not biting someone’s head off on Facebook for skewed political statements, song lyrics, etc.  I enjoy challenges – like doing the crossword puzzle with a pen, baking a new and somewhat complicated dessert or even trying to come up with a budget that works.

In one of the AQS brochures, there was a picture of two quilts looked like it was more than straight seams.  The quilts were designed by the Guilty Quilter in Portland Oregon.  And it had my favorite saying on it “No Y seams”.  For non-quilters think of putting another fabric in a 45 or 60 degree angle.  You stitch to 1/4″ from the edge, stop, pull the fabric out and start 1/4″ on the other side.  If not done correctly, you can get a pucker or a wavey mess.Labryinth purplr 2014

The first one I did was Labyrinth.  It is a wonderful 3-D effect,  One thing I found challenging on this was you need to cut two angles – top right and bottom left.  I should have quilted it first and then cut the corners off.  The challenge was getting it  placed on the long arm correctly.  The first try at it was so off, I had to rip out 4 rows of stitching and start over.

The next challenge from the same designer came out like this.  San Marcos  Once you break down the pattern, relax a little, you realize “I CAN DO THIS!”  So my goal was to get this top complete prior to my week up in Oregon.  To quote Rebel Wilson’s character in Perfect Pitch “Crushed it”.

If it seems like you can’t possibly do it, remember to break it down into small bites.  It can be done!  It may take awhile.  The blue quilt fabric was purchased in 2014 and it sat in my sewing room for over a year because the I froze reading the pattern.  Not the right time for this one.  Then I remembered a sign that I use to have in my office cubicle ‘Time to put on your Big Girl panties”.  Sat down with a cup of coffee and read the directions from first to last page.  Got it on the first try……

Challenge yourself and reward yourself.

Tips and Tools Part Deux

Bon jour and that is the extent of my French.  I hope you enjoyed Part one of Tips and Tools.  Let me throw out some more:

Tools DVDPattern Books and movies:  I will usually purchase the books from teachers when I take class at Road to California.  One reason is they get the money directly and two, they will autograph it for you.  I will take some of the books to have them spiral bound.  This makes it easy to make copies if you are doing paper piecing.  Now my DVD collection on the shelf is a cross between movies and quilting.  The Quilt Show, hosted by Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson are in box sets which is good and bad.  The good is you learn great techniques and get to new perspective.  The bad is you aren’t quilting because the show is so intriguing.  I have made quilts while West Side Story, Casablanca, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray and many others are playing on a small DVD player.  Again for two reasons – one is I have seen them so many times I don’t have to watch.  Two, it makes me stop if my favorite scene is on.  You need to take breaks for your back, eyes and mind.

Tools Iron Iron:  I love this Oliso iron as it lifts itself up off the fabric.  This helps eliminate the repetitive motion of lifting up the iron.  You can get less expensive irons but make sure it doesn’t leak.  The Oliso one also shuts itself off when not moved.  It takes regular water so you don’t end up buying distilled water.  You do have to empty out the reservoir after you are finished.  There are other portable irons that you can take to class but some places are adamant about too much power being used.  Some classes are even policed by the staff of the venue to check on the extra items.  Now some teachers say don’t iron until you have completed the top.  But when you need top press the seam to one side or press open, you want to use the steam iron as opposed to a dry  iron.  The steam causes the fibers of the thread to expand making the seam more strong.

Tools rulersRulers:  So many to have and you will need a lot of them.  There are many manufactures so it really depends on what appeals to you.  Do you want one that has a green background, clear acrylic, yellow lines, black lines, specialty (diamonds, triangles, etc).  Some teachers have had their own made for their patterns.  Kimberly Einmo created a ruler so it would be easier to cut diamonds for her patterns.  The 2 1/2″ line is marked in a different color.

You’ll want at least a 24″, 18″ and a 12″ length ruler.  This will accommodate almost every cutting mat that is out there. 12″ and 18″ are good for fat quarters but the longer rulers are better for the 42-44″ fabric. Do not leave these rulers in direct sunlight.  Along with the mats, they will warp – that’s when you put on Rocky Horror picture Show and do the Time Warp Dance”  But seriously, the mats can be reshaped but not perfectly.

Tools art bin lampCarry All:  Mine is an old art bin box that I have had for years.  It’s lightweight and has numerous levels.  My wood handled seam ripper and stiletto are on the top level along with hand sanitizer.  I also carry a highlighter, glue stick, buttons, extra thread, needles, extra bobbins, rotary cutter, breath mints, pens, pencils, and band-aids. To the right is an Ott light.  Some venues had almost adequate lighting.  The Ott light is a must for some classes.  The bulb is LED and gives natural illumination.  This way, you don’t have to carry your fabric outside to check the colors.  Next to the light is a small bottle of Mary Ellen’s Best Press.  You will want to use this when sewing half square triangles.  I know that mine have stretched just enough to make it impossible for the points to be perky. Best Press has a variety of aromas – Lavender, Peach, Fresh Breeze and Unscented.

So to conclude with just some other advice:

Never be afraid to try a new method .. Read all the directions before cutting (it will save you $$ and time) .. There are no stupid questions.. Be bold… Check out a teachers website… Contact them if you had a great time in the class…Send them a photo of the finished top (you might end up in their next book)..Just have fun.  Plus you do need a cat to test the fabric.Tools cat This is Jake.  He reminds me to stop and appreciate him.

Thanks for reading. Any feedback is appreciated.

So much has happened in one year!

Well, it has been one year since I retired from the Fire Authority.  Since that time I took an extended visit to see my mom in Oregon, had the house fixed up (popcorn ceiling removed, professionally painted, new flooring, new window treatments and new dual pane windows).

I also downsized quite a bit – all furniture got donated to Goodwill/Salvation Army, bags of gently used clothing and books donated to Goodwill, fabric was donated to my guild to either sell or raffle off and a few other things.  It’s great to clean up and start fresh.

Fan Dance With that said about starting fresh, this was the first quilt from Road to California 2015 class that I finished.  Some class projects get done in a year or two or just get shelved.  This one is called Fan Dance and the teacher was Nancy Mahoney.  Nancy has a great technique so the quilt was assembled quickly.  Since I purchased the fabric in La Mesa at Rosie’s Quilt, I named mine La Mesa Leslie.

It was quilted on the long arm, binding on in record time and then shipped to my friend Sharon Elsensohn.  Sharon and I had a fabulous friend named Leslie.  We have known each other for more than 25 years.  Well, that damn cancer took Leslie away from us.  Knowing that Sharon was feeling the loss, I sent it to her.  When she’s down, maybe she can think that Leslie is nearby watching over her.

So Leslie, farewell.  Sharon, enjoy the quilt.  Any quilt guilds, think about having Nancy as an instructor.  Quilters could also use this pattern and use the panels of the fans for signatures. When finished you could use it for a gift for a bride, a retiring member of your company or church or a family gift.

More later as I need to put some binding on another quilt.

Thanks for reading.

Internet, Tools, Quilting

First let me say that if any of you received an email from darcelona3@aol.com regarding a link taking you to a weight loss page, it wasn’t me. I purchased a new computer from Best Buy and while they had the computer to transfer data over, someone hacked my account. I have had to change the password about 7 times so hopefully, you won’t receive any more.

Tools – I have to say that I have become a scissor junkie. I start to salivate at a Kai display or a Gingher or Bohn. Since retiring from the Fire Authority, I have been rearranging and organizing my sewing room. Found numerous packets of needles – everything from quilting, crewel, tapestry, to multiple packets. But needles go dull so that is an absolute need. I also found about 10 pairs of scissors. Everything from embroidery, 6″, 8″ size and even pinking shears. Plain handles to floral. Just gotta have them.

There was a vendor at Road to California this year that sold wood handled seam rippers, stillettos (not shoes, sigh), hair picks and thimbles. Their work is so beautiful that I bought a stiletto and a seam ripper. Then I told them that I had seen a blurb on their product in one of Mark Lipinski’s magazines. To date, I had already purchased knitting needles, a thimble and a seam ripper/stiletto set. Check out Bella Cotton in Esty – she carries some beautiful items.

Quilt shows- big or small, please support them. I attend the Orange County Quilt Guild’s show in Anaheim last week and the quilts were beautiful. Many members participated and they had some great vendors. There was one vendor that had a plethora of hand crank sewing machines. Almost bought one but had to stop myself. I had purchased a hand crank, Lady Washington machine years ago just in case we lose power and I just have to finish up a seam.

That’s all for now. The new computer has been letting pop-ups appear and tells me that my browser, Media, Flash Drive, etc are all out of date and need to be updated. Why? Everything should have been done before I picked this up. Oh well, back to Best Buy. The nice thing is since retirement, I can go and be there first thing in the morning to get answers.

Thanks for reading.

Twist Around Hawaii

This is the name I gave my last quilt. As I have stated before, going to Road To California is the highlight of every January. Held in Ontario, it is a week of classes, shopping, meeting up with old friends and making new ones.

I have also previously blogged about Breast Cancer, Race for the Cure held in Newport Beach and the quilts I have raffled off to raise money. Some quilts I give away, but some are donated for a raffle.

Well a co-worker, who is so awesome, recently told me that not only had she just recently had her thyroid removed due to cancer, but her latest mammogram came back with signs of breast cancer. She had thanked me earlier because I sent out an email to our office staff that said when getting dental x-rays or mammograms, to ask for a neck guard. So to be told that she was facing potential cancer treatments, I did what I could do. I made a quilt.

This co-worker loves Hawaii and visits there when she can. So while running around the vendor mall at 2014 Road To California, I had to stop by Beyond the Reef. They have the most extensive selection of Hawaiian/surf/turtle/palm tree fabric. There was a bolt of Hawaiian fabric with a pink background. I immediately bought 3 yards, came back the next day with a Judy Martin pattern book. Twist around the Garden was the perfect pattern. I’ve made it before so it would be snap to make. The next day (yes, I took 4 classes at Road this year) I went back, and their staff help me select 2 colors for the Twist part plus I bought 2 more yards of the pink background. Look, when the fabric speaks to you, purchase at least 4-6 yards.

This would be my next project – I put away the class projects and started cutting. Here it is:
Twist around Hawaii

Happy to say, she loved it. I would like to close with if someone tells you they have breast cancer, tell them they can beat it. By keeping a postive attitude, getting second opinions, talk to others that have gone through it. Another co-worker found that when going through treatment, she was often cold, thirsty, dry mouth, etc. So she put together bags for others that included a lap blanket, Jolly Rancher candies, water bottle, socks and positive affirmations.

This is one of my long writings but just be there for those going through cancer treatments. Look at them and think “THAT PERSON WILL BEAT THIS!”

Thanks for reading

New York Beauty Simplified

Image

Linda O’Riley Hahn, instructor

First let me apologize for the photo as I should have checked the phone to make sure the lens was clean or asked the lady to take a second one.  That being said, this quilt is called New York Beauty Simplified.  Linda O’Riley Hahn taught at the recent Road to California Quilt Conference.  Paper piecing made so easy.

Now I have taken numerous paper piecing classes where you would have to rip out the paper or I would use freezer paper.  Linda has a method where you leave the paper in.  No, it doesn’t make the quilt stiff or hard to use.  When you wash your finished quilt, the paper ends up being more like a stabilizer.

Linda is from New Jersey and has an engaging way of teaching.  Plus her books are easy to follow and they have some great color combinations.

I am currently finishing up the class I had at Road which was titled “New York Beauty Diversified”.  All I can say is if you want to try her method, you won’t be sorry.

I’ll try to post another picture when I can find my camera.  Every year I vow not to buy a lot of items from Road but end up with a basket full.  Then I need to find time to put items away, reduce my stash along with old magazines.  Now where does that stuff go?  To a local senior living facility where they have a small contingency of quilters.

Thanks for reading – now go get creative.

 

So how was your 2013?

We always hope that the new year will bring wonderful things.  Well, here is what I have:

  • a new radio station KOCI is in Orange County at 101.5 and they play regular music, some classics, some killer old stuff and it makes me smile.
  • Retirement is just down the road.  People ask what is the first thing I am going to do – well sleep in comes to mind if the cats will let me.  They are used to being fed quite early.
  • I had some terrific quilt classes at Road to California and can’t wait for the 2014 classes (I have 4)
  • Great weather – not too hot and not too cold. We could use a little more rain but if we have some nasty fires, OCFA has the best trained firefighters around. 
  • A wonderful holiday time with family
  • BB King in concert

Here’s what I didn’t receive:

  • winning Lotto, Power Ball or Mega ticket – but probably just well as the taxes would just annoy me

That’s about all on what I didn’t receive.  I have had a very blessed year. I work with some great people. No major catastrophes happened. My last year as Team Captain for Susan Komen Breast Cancer “Race for Cure” brought in my highest amount to donate. 

So for 2014, I will work on the house – time to remove the popcorn ceilings (really, that look is never coming back), new flooring and a new coat of paint done by a professional.

May 2014 bring you joy and happiness.  Try to make each day your best – listen to other people’s opinions without interrupting them – if you can’t agree with them, smile and walk away.  Drop the negative comments as it will do you more harm if you keep harping on it.

Smile more – drink more coffee – and adopt your next pet – don’t shop.

Thanks for reading.