Thursday, March 31, 2011

Monochromatic Quilt... will she get 'er done?

Hmmm... I'm thinking not, since this is about all I have quilted.  But then again, I'm quilting!!!  My machine hasn't skipped a stitches ever since I got it all figured out!!!  This makes me so happy!!!

Gosh, I still haven't figured out that it just take about 10 or 100 more times the time I ever budget for getting the quilting part done.  That, with the fact that it took me a bit to get my new machine figured out, and the fact that I decided it was much more fun to go to the local brew pub tonight, instead of quilt, well, you get the picture.  I'll still work on it, but it looks like another deadline come and gone... Maybe next time!  Good luck to everyone else who entered!  I can't wait to see all of the pictures.

We'll be visiting the Tamastslikt Museum tomorrow, because it's "free Friday", and they have a visiting exhibit from OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) there starting tomorrow.  The kids have tomorrow off from school, and with the wonderful warm weather we've been having, I think it'll be a great week-end!  Hope the same's true for all of you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My new baby (sewing machine)!!!!

I just brought her home today!!!  I've been wanting a new machine for a long time now.  The stars have finally aligned for me!  I found this used beauty on Craig's List (I love that site!) for a fraction of the price of a new one.  I have been looking at new machines, and used ones on eBay, but the ole' budget has kept me from getting what I really wanted (new), and I just was too nervous to buy on eBay without being able to try it out in person.  I almost did.  But after narrowing down my choices, saving all of my Christmas, birthday, and tax refund money, when I saw this pop up on a Craig's list an hour away, I took her for a test drive then waited, hoping no one else would buy her. I'm still a little nervous about buying used, but spent a while tester her out, and have been sewing with her for a few hours today, and still think I got lucky!  The owner threw in a custom acrylic quilting platform, an open toe darning foot,  and a luggage tote in to boot!  The only thing I'm missing is a 1/4 inch foot with a guide.  I hope to get one soon!  I can't tell you how excited I am!!!  I feel like it's Christmas in March!!

Speaking of wonders, it's "rainbow season" here!  I saw this rainbow last night!  Enjoy!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Break pictures

We're at the tail end of our Spring Break here, and said good-bye to my mom yesterday.  We spent most of our time together exploring the area with a few day trips, as well as puttering around home.  I just thought I'd share a few pictures of our beautiful state, and some of the things we did locally!  From top to bottom, they are the Pendleton Wool Mill (here in Pendleton, OR), the Whitman Historic Mission, near Walla Walla, WA, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, near The Dalles, OR, views along the Columbia River Gorge, and pictures of the Wallowa Mountain Range, including Wallowa Lake, near Joseph, OR. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP Wed: Japanese Quilt

It's Wednesday again (so soon?!), so I'm joining in on Freshly Pieced WIP wed link party.  Come join us!!

I really shouldn't, but I started cutting out yet another quilt.  Part of it is because I'm hoping to get a NEW (to me) SEWING MACHINE later this week that I hope will greatly improve me FMQ-ing ability.  Part of it is due to the subject matter.  I'm still in shock about the Japanese earthquake and now the nuclear threat.  In our own family, I worry about my husband's cousin's wife, who is from Tokyo, and has family there.  It's affected me personally in many ways. 

As mentioned, before on my blog, I watched my own family flee from Hurricane Katrina, which filled their house with 2-3 feet of water, as well as my dad's church, a block away.  It took them years to reconstruct their house and the church, and the anxiety we all felt still is with us.  The devastation I see, on what little news I can bear to watch, is even too much to bear.  So this disaster has brought back all of those feelings and anxiety, and sadness.  I don't want to air dirty laundry, but I partially blame Katrina for my dad's death, due to the fact that even a few years after Katrina, in the city of New Orleans, there were no cardiologists or pulminologists to be found on-call the week-end my dad suffered from a pulmonary embolism.  Still there's insufficient medical personnel there, one reason I'm very glad that my family now lives in Dallas.  Short story long, I'm just sick with my own personal knowledge of what lays ahead for the people of Japan. 

We also live about 50 miles away from the Hanford Nuclear Site, the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States.  It was also the place where the nuclear material came from for the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.  We have here in Pendleton, 50 miles away, nuclear fall out shelter locations.  We all know what iodine tablets are.  So that threat is also a very real one to me.  It's overwhelming.  I cope partially by sewing and creating.  Just as I made my family a quilt after Katrina, I hope I can find a good family to give this one to in Japan eventually.  Until then, I'll send what help we can afford in the form of money, and encourage everyone else to do so.  If everyone sends a little, it adds up!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monochromatic quilt top done, and why I make quilts

I finished up the monochromatic quilt top for the Modern Quilt Guild challenge.  I must say that I'm really pleased with this!  My inspiration was a pieced leather Native American Robe that is in a local museum, and I think in my own way I captured it just a bit.  I'm out of batting, and my mom is coming to visit later this week for the kids spring break, so I have to put all of my sewing stuff away, but hope to get it all done in time for the contest this time around...  I'll be linking up with Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday too :).  Come see what else everyone is working on there!

I also got these thank you notes in the mail today from my nieces (thanks to my SIL too).  I made them all quilt for Christmas.  This pretty much sums up why I quilt!  ALMOST makes me want to try to have a girl of our own too ;-).  Priceless!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Broken Resolution, Monochromatic Quilt and Japan

After fighting with my machine quite a bit for the last few weeks, I finally gave up and broke my New Year's Resolution to finish 2 quilts for every 1 I start.  I literally couldn't do free-motion quilting on it for more than a few minutes at a time between problems.  It began skipping stitches a few weeks ago, and has been getting worse and worse.  I've been working her hard, and she's old and probably tired, and never really meant to do the jobs that I demand of her.  I've been looking for a new machine, after wanting one for a while.  We finally have the money, and I think I may have found her, but don't want to say anything for fear that I may jinx it.  So after the above picture, I put away the darning foot, and quilt, then started working on a new quilt.

When I saw the modern quilt challenge contest to create a monochromatic quilt, I knew immediately what I wanted to do.  We have a wonderful Native American Indian Museum close to us, the Tamastslikt Cultural Institue on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.  It's an amazing museum of their history, lifestyle, the natural history of the area, as well as recent European settler history and the way their lives and customs have changed.  There is some incredibly beautiful leather robes, clothing and bead work on display there, and one robe in particular is my favorite.  They do not allow pictures, so I drew a sketch one time then taped it into my "idea book" as a possible quilt to make.  The monochromatic challenge fits this well, as I wanted to make it look like the leather that it's sewn out of.  I've had the fabric and pattern all figured out for a while, now I'm getting going on it.  Here's the first block.

As I have been sewing today, I have been listening to the radio news channel about the devastating earthquake in Japan.  It's out of Portland, so I also have been listening to Tsunami warnings and emergency updates, school closures for the coast, shelter locations, traffic updates, instructions, press briefings and governor statements.  So far it seems like Oregon has been spared any severe damage, but my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people in Japan right now.  As I was digging out my brown fabric, I came across this piece that I bought a few months ago on a shop hop from a shop owned by a lady who spent part of her childhood in Japan.  I think this will be in my next quilt. 

After watching my family go through Katrina and its aftermath, I know all too well what some of the Japanese people are going through.  I know that there's a lot we don't know, and won't for a while.  I know that life boils down to such basic things afterwards... life, family, food, shelter, water, medicine, safety.  I know that so much work is ahead of them.  I know that much grief will be felt.  I know it will change people's lives in ways they never would dream of.  I know that recovery will take many many years.  I know that the tragedy will bring out the best and worst of people, but in the end that the best will prevail.  I know that finally there will be hope and that life will continue.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIP wed

It's Wednesday, so I'm linking up with "Freshly Pieced" blog's WIP wed.  Come to her blog party to see what folks are working on! I have my "Bliss Quilt" all pinned together and just started quilting it today!  I hope to get it finished fast, because I want to start a new project!  If I get it done soon, it'll be the earliest Christmas present I've ever had ready ;-).

I also won my first drawing on an Internet blog!!  I won a fat quarter of wonderful fabric from JAQS Studio!!  She's giving away fabric each week right now, so hop on over there to win some!
I've also been spending a bit of time starting our "gardening WIP"'s.  This week-end we bough 4 blueberry bushes and planted them in our yard.  The problem is that a previous owner of our house decided to landscape the back yard mostly with grass and gravel.  YUCK!  We have lots of deer, so want them to be inside of our yard, so we spent a great deal of time and effort removing rock and moving it so we can plant.  This will be a WIP for a long time!  We had 10 blueberry bushes at the house we owned when my 2nd son was born, in Southern Oregon, and we miss them dearly!  We're all excited about starting a new blueberry hedge!

One last thing is a few pictures of wheat fields that are near Walla Walla, WA, a town hear us that's just as much fun to visit as it is to say.  Monika at "My Sweet Prairie" is making a beautiful fiber artwork based on a similar oat field picture.  I don't know what it is about these fields that we both find so beautiful, but they are!  Her blog post today made me want to find my own picture and post it!  There's a long shot that also has all of the wind turbines that are rapidly multiplying in our part of the world...Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras Quilt!!

 I finished binding my Mardi Gras Quilt just an hour ago, just in time for Mardi Gras day.  I'm really missing Mardi Gras this year, but at least I now have a fun quilt to hang up on our walls to celebrate in our own way.  I'm also linking up with "Quilt Story"'s Fabric (fat) Tuesday today.  Be sure to check them out!
I decided when I was quilting this that I wanted to try out using tracing paper to transfer a Fleur de lis design to each center square.  I found a design on the internet, sized it appropriately with our printer, which is also a copy machine, so I could enlarge the image.  I then traced it onto paper, pined it on, and sewed along the lines free motion style.  I absolutely LOVE the result!!  I did more free-motion quilting along the other batik prints as well, then did the binding, along with a sleeve on back to hang it with.
I find that as I get better and better at free motion quilting, I have gone from just trying to get a quilt done as fast as possible to not knowing when to stop!  I wanted to do some quilting in the black and white parts, but after doing the Fleur de lis, decided to stop there to keep that in focus.  I can always go back and quilt some more, but I doubt I will.  If anything, I'm tempted to sew on some "bling" in the way of bead crystals, or even rhinestones. Hmmm.

I set up my machine on the kitchen island / counter to do my free-motion quilting, and my family is so incredibly nice about letting me keep it there, but even I'm getting tired of it being there, so I need to make the next few quilts I'm going to do easy and fast.  It's funny how this small wall quilt took more time to make than the queen sized quilt on our bed!  I don't know why I thought a smaller project would take less time LOL!  But I'm so glad it's done, and hope you all have a happy Mardi Gras!  Laissez le bon temps roulez!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good things come to those who wait, and WIP's

It's Wednesday, so I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced blog's WIP wed party!!

Back in the fall, I started 2 quilts with "That Girl That Quilt-a-long".  One reason I only finished one, is that everything in my stash clashed horribly with the "Bliss Quilt", and I couldn't find a suitable back.  I put it away, planning on finishing it for next Christmas.  Well, sure enough, soon after Christmas, I found a bolt of the Bliss line on clearance at my LQS!!  Yipee!!!!  So of course I bought a few yards, happy that I waited, and that's next on my to-do list.  You can also see my work station in the back ground!

I also have my Mardi Gras Quilt pinned and ready to quilt.  I had this Mardi Gras colored fabric that I had bought about a year ago, also on clearance.  I bought it for another quilt back, but have enough to use on both quilts.

I also used some of the scraps from the Mardi Gras Quilt to make another Kindle cover for my Etsy shop, and made a few more as well.  I bought the Texas Longhorn fabric at a quilt store in the Dallas area when I was there visiting my family in August (ugh... something to think about when I'm freezing here).  But I ran out of velcro, so I included a WIP kindle cover so you can get an idea how I make them.  They're really easy to make, but I do spend a bit of time quilting them to make them special.

Here's a shot of this one this morning when the sun was coming up and shining through our east-facing dining room/kitchen window.  Pretty!

I made my son an ipod cover, complete with glow-in-the-dark thread.  I was going to include a picture of a WIP pair of pants that I made for my son also.  They're all done except for a snap I wanted to put on the waistband, but the local fabric store is sold out of big snaps right now.  But as I was dropping him off at school today I noticed THAT HE WAS WEARING THEM! LOL!  I sure hope they stayed up all day!  I'm getting such a chuckle out of that, and it's the ultimate compliment!  He's been in a "camo" kick for years now, and these pants were of course camo.  So sweet!  Hopefully I'll be able to put a picture up here soon! (still giggling)

Speaking of kids, my kids have scattered all of my big binder clips that I use for layering all of the quit together before pinning it.  I had to buy more today so that I can pin the bigger quilts.  How do you keep kids (and spouses / partners) out of your sewing stuff?  Or how do you get them to return them?