I bet you can guess where I am this week. Yup, Disneyland. All decorated for the holidays, the Magical Kingdom has gone all out with their festive decor. My husband and I are in Southern California for a few days, and had to make a visit to the park one of our stops.
I think in the future we need to agree not to come to Disneyland without a child, in particular, our favorite child. It just isn't the same. We made a day of it, regardless. In fact, we timed our stop there just before the worst storm the state has seen in years. Today it is pouring rain, but it won't stop my plans for finishing up my Christmas shopping.
Yesterday my husband and I needed to rest our old bones frequently, and made quite a lot of stops to refuel our flagging energy tanks. Isn't that pretzel adorable? I admit I did share it, but the lion's share was mine.
My husband was determined to stay for the Christmas light parade at the park, so as dusk fell, we killed some time by doing the Tea Cups ride. Isn't it magical looking, with those pretty colored lanterns?
I hope I never have to go to another parade in my entire life. I am saying it here, parades are completely over rated, even the spectacular ones Disneyland is known for. You stand around for ages waiting for the thing to start, you cannot see a thing if you are under six feet tall, strangers are pushed up against you (WAY too close), and none of your photos ever turn out properly. The entire experience takes far too long and is completley unsatisfactory. I hate parades. Never again, I swear.
My son arrives this weekend, and I am so darned excited to see him, and have him get all reacquainted with Eva. It has been two years since his last visit to the States, and that is a long time in the life of a three and a half year old. He is certain to be enchanted with her. We will sit around and drink tea together and have lovely long chats. We had a huge snow fall in the mountains near us, so I imagine some snow related recreation will also take place.
Hope you all have a great weekend and are staying dryer than we are!
Look! It's a Pumpkin Patch!
They had scary scarecrows. And witches and ghosts and all sorts of Halloween things.
Corn maze. We got lost. Nana was sure we weren't ever going to find our way out, but we did.
Then I picked out a green pumpkin.
And a white pumpkin...
In fact, we got a wagon and I filled it with all the pumpkins I could carry.
Then we had Fudgecicles and juice at a picnic table. I want to go there everyday after school.
Of course my friends and I went shopping while on the trip. There were several shops we throroughly enjoyed. One shop in particular, Charming Lulu seeemed to have a very clear idea of who they were and who their target customer was. The shop was full of bright color, spaciousness, and energy. The owner had a real knack for putting small fat quarter bundles together, and was so enthusiastic about her new business. The vibe in the shop was definitely young, current and bright. It was a real treat to stop in and discover something really unique.
Yesterday I finished putting the leaves on my first Idaho Lily block. Overall I am pretty happy with the block, and have to say I can barely see the machine applique stitches they are so invisible. I used a smoke colored Sulky invisible thread that is so fine, it is like sewing with a spider web thread. I could hardly see it to thread my needle! It truly disappears into the fabric.
THis new rotary cutter by Olfa has a cool feature. If you hate changing blades, you will love it. There are no screw and washer to fiddle with. You just push up the gold lever on the back side and the whole apparatus comes apart. The old blade drops off and you slide a new one on and push the lever closed again. I haven't tried it yet, so I will let you know how I like it.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend everyone!
Ah, wool applique...I love the look of sewing with wool and don't do it nearly enough. I was fortunate to be able to sign up for a class with Stacy West of Buttermilk Basin on my recent travels. Stacy is a person who holds the simple pleasures of hand stitching very dear to heart. Her appreciation of the past and those simpler times and simpler cares was very evident in her designs and methods.
Our class project was this adorable little sunflower mat. Stacy has a technique for doing wool applique that is innovative and very effective. Instead of pinning all those little pieces down, she had us fuse them to the background with fusible web. This method makes certain that those little pieces stay put, don't shift about and are easy to sew down. Her method also makes your project extremely portable, and who doesn't like that? I can take this little mat with me just about anywhere and be able to stitch away without worrying that I am going to lose any of my pieces or stick myself with a pin.
The Buttermilk Basin website has all of Stacy's patterns for sale, many of which could be Block of the Months. Her holiday themed patterns are especially fun. There is plenty of time to whip out a harvest or Halloween project!
In this class, I learned things not only from Stacy, but from some of the other attendees of the class as well. One woman had the neatest pressing board called Steady Betty, that she shared with some of us. The surface of this little portable pressing board is very firm, and just perfect for any sort of applique. I ordered one online and can't wait to show it to you when it arrives.
I am back from a wonderful week of catching up with good friends, sewing with some very talented instructors and doing some excellent shopping. It is wonderful to get away--a rare event for me--but even better to come home and start playing with the new ideas and materials I acquired on the trip.
I learned some terrific new machine applique techniques from Kim Diehl, a designer I have admired for years. She does not teach all that often, so I was thrilled to sign up for two classes with her. The photo above is my first effort using her methods, done in class.
Here is Kim, being introduced to the class. She was very sweet and fun, but also a good teacher. I have several of her books and have made one of her quilts, but having her right there in front of me was such an amazing learning experience. I am really looking forward to doing a lot more of her projects, both applique and piecework.
Here are some of the small quilts she brought with her to show to the class. Fatquartershop.com is offering a Block of the Month Club featuring Kim's projects. It is called Simple What Nots Club, and consists of six months of kits to make her mini quilts. If you are a fan of her work, you might love making these little quilts.
Technically, this photo shows what is NOT going on this week. No progress at all on Metro, Hold the Lattice. Not bogged down or bored with the project--no, no, far from it. The thing is, I am getting ready to go on a trip!
In a little over a week, I am meeting up with two dear sewing friends for six days of visiting, sewing, and fun. We are taking some classes together and I have been busy cutting out the fabrics for the kits we will be using for our class projects.
The photo looks a bit of a mess, but trust me, I am all organized. I have ordered some zippered project bags from an Etsy seller, and hopefully my baggies will fit in them. A much better look, I must say. I will share a picture when they come.
Because of my busy schedule, my posting this month is going to be somewhat sparse, but once September rolls in, I should be back to more frequent blogging.
So, I completely forgot to share with you some things I picked up a couple of weeks ago when Fatquarter Shop had a mega sale. All Moda fabrics were 20% off! I needed backings for several UFOs so I can send them off to my favorite quilter and really took advantage of the savings.
I don't know about you, but I like my backings to really coordinate well with the quilt tops, but I hate to pay full price for backing fabric. This sale was awesome, and I picked up backing fabric for my All Wrapped Up Christmas quilt, my Ansonia tumbler quilt, my Urban Winter Quilt, and I forget what all else. That whole stack is mostly backings and a couple of backgrounds. Great sale. Thank you FQS!
I also picked up a few layer cakes recently, one collection being most notable.
This is Autumn Woods, by Kate and Birdie, who are known for their beautiful paper designs. This collection is in buttery yellows, muted oranges and dove greys. So so gorgeous. The group came out in May, and I am so happy to have gotten a layer cake. I need to get on the ball and order some border and backing fabric from the collection before it sells out. I don't think this designer is on a lot of shops' radars. I will be making something lovely with it, I promise!
Have a grand weekend everyone.
Well, due to my injury, typing is a bit of a struggle, still. Thank you for your expressions of sympathy, I appreciate it so much. Because of my bum finger I haven't been able to respond to each comment--it takes forever! It is such an ordeal to type.
My husband took pity on me and took me away to Lake Tahoe for the weekend, which was a lovely as I have ever seen it. We had a relaxing weekend, with me either reading, or staring at my finger, willing it to heal.
I have tried to sew a bit with my Quick Curve Ruler project, Metro Hoops, and am still sweating it a bit. I guess it is going better. Maybe I am over thinking things too much. Hopefully, I can show some pictures tomorrow.
Happy Monday! Happy 4th of July week!
My weekend was interesting to say the least. I was sent to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco as part of my job. Part of my part time job. Anyway, the boss thought I should go, so I travelled to the City and had quite the experience. I thought I'd share some of the photos with you of the incredible array of foods and products that were on display. Oh, and you can eat it all. Acres of olives, cheeses, cakes, candies, ice cream, pasta, drinks, prepared frozen foods. By the time I had been there two hours it was pretty much a given that I won't be eating again until maybe Friday.
Hope you enjoy the photos! They were taken with my camera, but came out pretty good.
The photo above is of marinated peppers, mushrooms and some beans.
Here we have assorted olives.
These are packages of cheese. Not in plastic, which doesn't allow the cheese to breathe, but in another material that is preferable for preserving the flavor of the cheese.
This is a tray of rice and seeds that have been arranged like one of those sand paintings you see in the Southwest. Beautiful, no??
A braided mozzarella. I wondered "Why?" I guess because they can!
One booth had the most incredible arrangements of produce, including these bouquets of enoki mushrooms.
This may not look impressive at first, but check out the weird thing on the lower right of the photo. It is a fruit called "The Hand of Buddha", and is a citrus of some kind. It is used to flavor Citron Vodka.
Check this out. $200,000 worth of saffron. And no armed guard in sight. If you didn't know, saffron is a spice made from the stigmas of teensy little crocus flowers. It takes gazillions of them to make the tiniest amount of saffron spice, hence the tremendous expense.
By the time I got to the dessert section I was pretty much done with the entire experience, and was wandering around in a food coma, so no pictures. But when I saw this mosaic of Mickey and Minnie made entirely out of Jelly Belly jelly beans, I had to snap a picture for Eva, who is a huge fan.
I was very happy to head for home over the new Bay Bridge. Back to chicken broth and mineral water for the next week.
Hope you enjoyed the photos, it was quite an experience to attend this event.
Seriously? Yes, this is the back of a quilt. The quilter used different colors of bobbin thread to be sure that a fabulous design was created on the back of the quilt as well as on the front. Incredible, isn't it?
Last week I went on a little quilting retreat with friends, and stayed in a condominium in Palm Desert, where it was 78 degrees the first few days we were there. That good luck changed on us though, and we had lots of rain the end of the week. It never rains in the desert, except when we were there. We didn't care though, and even though none of had umbrellas or appropriate outerwear, we had a blast.
We got plenty of sewing done, and I will show you what I accomplished in later posts this week. Our trip culminated with a drive up "The 10" to the Road to California Quilt Show in Ontario, where we saw some pretty amazing quilts. I have to say that my taste runs more towards the traditional style, so those tended to be my favorites. The work that goes into these pieces is truly mind boggling.
I am not sure why I was so taken with the backs of quilts, but here is a photo of another one that was pretty amazing:
I came home to a freezing cold house, as our thermostat went belly up last week. Supposedly it is an easy fix, and will be taken care of right away. Last night I burrowed under a heavy down comforter, which normally would be way too hot for me. I was snug as a bug. Unfortunately I have other things to do which are going to get in the way of me staying under the covers all day. What a pity.