Saturday, December 06, 2008

My Christmas Decorating

I had a few days off in a row for a change and have been enjoying decorating for the holidays. It is really fun to pull out the boxes and go through them, kind of like going through boxes of memories. All of them good! I used to try to display everything in the box, but apartment living has kind of put a damper on that so I have to pick and choose. It lets things be a little different each year. Wendy at Ivory Spring decorated her blue transfer ware display and I was so impressed with how well the green, red and blue went together. My transfer ware is all in my cupboard, but she has me thinking of bringing it out. I haven't done it yet, the wheels are still turning on that one. I did do something rather fun based on an idea that Heather gave me at work. She had the guys bring in a huge concrete pot to stick one of the big fake trees in as its base and it looked fabulous and sturdy as all get out. Well, my little stick tree is not that big and I have a large collection of empty pots since nothing plant wise wants to live at this apartment for some unknown reason. I washed out a pretty green one and put the base under the pot with the stem in the hole and it fit perfectly! Thanks Heather! Heather needs a blog to get all of her great ideas in, but with 2 kids and hockey and all the volunteering she does I don't think she has time.

I have sprinkled a few pictures of my collections that I have chosen to display this year in this post. Some things are really old and some I made, all are special to me some way. I painted the nutcracker here many years ago when I was really into tole painting, I took classes for about 2 years and still have a large stash of paint and supplies from that almost as large as my fabric stash. They still come in handy from time to time. I also painted this Santa. He is about 4 feet tall. He was a lot of fun to paint. I used a tool that makes a wood grain pattern for his outfit then embellished him with some roses and little sprigs of green, I'm not sure why his eyes are closed, but he does look happy.

I haven't had much time for sewing but, am hoping to squeeze some time in to work on making some Christmas cards. I had a blast at Michael's the other day when I found a dollar bin and lots of supplies to get creative with. If it all comes together as I would like I will do a post about it after I get them in the mail. I have scanned some scrap booking stickers to help cut down costs and with a little cut and pasting I am going to be able to make each card look different. I found some photo cards in the dollar bin that have Laura Ashley prints on them...that got me really excited and motivated. So... I must get to work on these so the recipients will receive them before Christmas.

Today we will be celebrating my youngest son's 23rd birthday. My how time flies! Birthdays have a way of making me reflect on the past. I was remembering the day he was born...he hadn't turned so we knew he would be a cesarean and the delivery date was set a few weeks before. I guess he agreed with the date because by the time I got to the hospital I was having contractions and within 2 hours he was born. He was not an easy baby because he was sick a lot, but as a toddler he was my sunshine! I loved raising my boys and we have some really great memories to cherish. Happy Birthday, Rob!

(Me and my boys! Rob is the tall one in this picture.)

Enjoy your holidays and all the memories that come with them!


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Bevy of Pincushions and more...

As I was taking pictures for this post I was looking around at all my sewing stuff and realized that I have actually made all 3 of the pincushions I currently have. The red one I set into a small wooden bowl I got in Hawaii. The heart I was making for a friend. fell in love with it and decided to keep it. I still have to make another one for her. The last one is the one I just made the other day. I have an even bigger collection of pin cushion patterns. I have been collecting a lot of sewing stuff lately. Maybe someday I will have time to use it all!

I have been really busy with work, but still making time to work on a few sewing projects. I would love to be able to make all my Christmas projects, but reality has set in and I know I won't be able to do it. The goal though is to maybe make my Christmas cards and I have a few ideas now I just have to find time to take a trip to Aaron Brothers and get a few supplies. to fit that in, I'll have to work on that one.

I have however managed to find a little time to make a few things. I made this little pincushion in just about an hour with a pattern I bought from Fig Tree & Co. I had to check out the site after seeing Joanna on The Quilt Show. It was a great episode. I just recently purchased a membership so that I could watch some of these shows and have been really enjoying it. The site was a little overwhelming at first because they offer so much, but now that I have it figured out I just can't stay away. I spent two whole evenings watching all the clips in Alex's Daily Blog. I haven't checked out Ricky's yet. I learned so many things from Alex, I had always thought of her as the person who interviewed quilters and didn't realize how much she actually knows about quilting.

I also had to try out the tutorial I found at Happy Zombie which Monica so generously shared for penny pockets. It is a beautifully written tutorial and the project is so fun and easy. Follow my link and try it out if you haven't already. I am making mine from some fabrics I had in burgundy and green because it will match my Christmas ornaments. I am thinking of making a string of 7 to fill with goodies or candy canes, for a 1 week till Christmas countdown ...more thinking to do on that.

I also spent a good deal of time on this 12" quilt block from the McCall's free patterns. It turned out to be quite complex so I doubt that I will be making any more besides I used a lot of the fabric to make my pennies so it will have to get put with other blocks in the future or maybe made into a pillow. I just loved the pattern and had to give it a try. I have decided that making just one block of something I find interesting is a great way to learn and decide if I want to go further with it. It is also a great way to use up some stash or at least transforms my stash of fabrics into a stash of blocks...

Enjoy creating!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Sharing Quilting Inspiration

I have stumble upon a great source of quilting information. I'm sure it was has been there for quite a while, but there is so much available out there that it is sometimes hard to take it all in. As you can see the blog roll on my left column is growing by leaps and bounds and I am loving this new Blogger feature where it lists blogs by the most recently updated. I find I check my own blog everyday just to see which of my favs has something new. Anyway, back to the new information. I wanted to share this just in case someone else may not have stumbled upon it yet and since this is the place to share...

McCalls Quilting website has a great list of free quilt block patterns. The directions are nicely done and easy to follow. I have ran my printer out of ink printing some that I just might need one day. I made a binder with all the different quilt things that 'I just might need someday' and it is getting quite full! After visiting their site for a few minutes I realized that I needed a subscription, of course.

Happy Quilting (or whatever makes your day)!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Spectacular Quilt Give Away

Dana at Old Red Barn is having a quilt give away. She is giving away 3 quilts and the picture above is just a sample of one, they are all just as beautiful. I would have a hard time parting with any of them. If you would like a chance to win check out Old Red Barn's Blog. She had over 1700 entries when I went there, but who knows, better chances than the lotto and the prize is beautiful. So take a chance!

I liked them all and the fabrics are from new lines by terrific designers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It Took a Wedding

I was totally pampered at my sisters wedding this past weekend. We drove to Pasadena and stayed at the Marriott. Several members of my family were also there so we had a little bit of a reunion and were able to spend several days together 'making memories' (as my brother put it). I really enjoyed this time together even with the stress that comes with wedding organizing. We found some great restaurants, went to 2 gardens, got a manicure and a pedicure with all the bridesmaids, and my hair done with the bride. Having my hands in the dirt much of the time I don't usually treat myself to manicures so this was a real treat and I loved every minute of it. I spent 4 days feeling pretty. Now I am trying to make the manicure last as long as I can.

This wedding felt a little different to me on many levels and brought tears to my eyes a few times because it was so special. There was a definite emphasis on family and friends. The focus was not all about the bride and groom. It made me realize that they need us and we need each other. I have spent about the last 10 years trying to prove to myself that I can take care of myself without anyone else's help and now I see that depending on others a little is not a bad thing, but can bring us all a little closer. It took a wedding to make a point!

Everyone looked so nice and the wedding went off almost perfect. I made a few mistakes, but none too noticeable except when I almost gave the ring to the bride instead of the preacher...well, she put her hand out so I started to give it to her what can I say??? It got quickly remedied and we all had a laugh and a memory was made. Andy and Rob were ushers and Nathan was the ring bearer, though he quickly pointed out that there were no rings on the pillow...someone forgot to give him fake rings and didn't really trust him with the real thing, but he was adorable! Craig's family sang and played piano as part of the ceremony and other friends read scripture for one part. It was all beautifully choreographed.

Congratulations Philina and Craig! Your wedding was an event that we will remember in our hearts forever. Philina you were a beautiful bride and your makeup looked great in all of our pictures! Now you can both relax and enjoy this life that you are creating together with your family and friends around to enjoy it with you. We all love you and were honored to have shared this special day with you. Thanks for including us!

I will have to make another post about the Huntington Botanical Gardens. We loved it there and got about 100 pictures so I will have to post more of those on my garden blog. Now that this is all behind us and Christmas on its way (6 weeks), I hope I will be getting to some sewing soon and have things to post on this blog of a sewing nature soon!

Here I am with Nathan getting ready to leave for the wedding. Fun was had by all!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Trip to Simpler Times

We just got back from a week long trip to what felt like a simpler time. We went to Lewiston Lake which is near Lake Shasta. We rented a little cabin for 7 days and just took life easy. There was no TV, computer, microwave and even our cell phones wouldn't work (terrible thing since they were calling me from work to see when I was coming back). The cabin was a real trip back in time. All the furnishings looked like they were from the early 60's and in such great shape. I got to cook on a gas stove again, something I love and miss a lot. We fished and hiked everyday and only ate out once since we were having such a great time cooking and we did eat really well!

Michael wrote all about the fishing on his blog already, it is a really fun read if you are interested in fishing even just a little bit. He puts his sense of humor into his writing and adds a really fun touch to something that could be boring. I enjoyed the fishing, but really enjoyed the hiking and just observing nature. It always amazes me how much we miss in our every day lives because we don't take the time to just stop and look at nature and what is going on around us. It is so easy to just keep busy going through our daily routine. It was nice to get away from that.

One of things I just fell in love with at the cabin was these dishes and if I ever find them in a thrift store somewhere I will buy them all! They may even be from the 50's. They had such a nice feel to them and an odd shape that sort of scooped up on the sides keeping all the food on the plate. The coffee cups looked small, but held a lot more coffee than you would expect. If anyone knows any info on these dishes please leave me a comment.

There were native roses growing every where. Usually deer would eat them, but for some reason they didn't eat these and they were full of rose hips. I harvested quite a few and brought them home I am going to cook them up with some apples and make an apple rose hip jelly. I found several recipes on the internet for this so am taking it all in and trying my own version if it works out I will let you know. We also found a pear tree that had little tiny pears growing on it. Michael thinks it is a seckel pear. The bears had found it also and had already picked most of the pears in our reach, but we managed to shake down some more to bring home. They really had a special flavor to them I don't think I could describe. The apple tree was in the same area and the bears had found that too, but we came away with more than enough for ourselves and some to share.

Well, time to head off to work and back to the real life!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Favorite Plants at the Moment

I am really enjoying watching a few plants this fall as they seem to be looking their best at the moment. Most of them are frost tender so I thought I'd better document all this beauty before it's gone. There are 2 begonia baskets I planted in July and mixed with some impatiens and a few other things. I know that when they do go dormant I can just let them rest for a few months then fertilize and water in the Spring and wait for them to give me another show next year. Gotta love those begonias.

Then there is the Glory Bower vine or the Bleeding Hear vine. I love the little red heart at the center of each flower. Nature never ceases to amaze me with how perfect some flowers are formed without any help from the gardener.

This basket I planted with leaves of may colors and not much in the way of flowering plants. There is a beautiful red leafed coleus and a bronze leafed ipomea. My favorite part of this basket though is the trailing vine to the left of the basket I think it is some sort of lamiastrum, but I can't remember the name. Just goes to show that you can get lots of color without flowers if you just think outside the box!

My favorite plant of all this year has been the Porcelain Berry Vine. This one is growing in a pot on a small trellis and has been going gang busters all summer. Recently though the berries started to get some fabulous fall color on them and they are my favorite part of all. Each berry is so unique in its own way. I especially love the iridescent glow they have to them.

We are getting ready to take a little trip to Lewiston Lake and enjoy a little more nature so there are sure to be more pictures to come. Today the weather had a definite feeling of fall in the air so we packed up jeans and sweatshirts in preparation for even colder weather up there, but it won't stop us from going out and taking in fall in all its glory!

Be back soon refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle what ever life has in store for us!

Be on the look out for all the fall color coming your way!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Celebration of Impending Vows

Today is the much anticipated wedding shower for my sister, the bride to be. She has an amazing group of friends who have all pitched in and helped me make this shower special so I can't wait to see how it all turns out. They are all event planners so they know what they are doing. They should teach a class! I really appreciated their help and can't wait to meet them...we planned most of this over the internet, the emails have so many attachments it boggles my mind.

I have been enjoying blogging lately, when don't I? It seems as if getting ready for the holidays along with cooler weather brings out the creative ideas in everyone. I love to get creative and have a little fun with crafts at this time of year. I seem to have a lot going on this year though so I hope I will have time to finish up some things or at least enjoy trying.

I was following Pat Sloan's virtual quilt retreat last week and she was giving ideas for quilt labels. Well, the timing was perfect for me since I had just finished up a runner for Craig and Philina and really wanted to make a special label for it, but didn't know where to begin. I had fun designing this table runner with the special couple in mind. I used two friendship braid panels to represent their relationship. Then I used coffee colored and themed fabrics and added a hint of wine. They met through E-Harmony, but their first date was at a coffee shop. Craig proposed on a surprise weekend trip to Napa, thus the wine color.

The shower theme today is all about coffee and I think they are throwing it into the wedding theme also. Having a theme made it all very fun! So for the label on the table runner I drew a coffee cup, appliqued it and wrote their names and wedding date on it. I tried to embroider the names on it but I really need to work on my embroidery skills and the letters were so small I couldn't get it to look right so I just used a permanent marker. I think it all turned out well and I hope that they will use it for years to come!

Pictures of the shower later. The wedding is in a month and is going to be quite the celebration...more to come on that later, too.

I have also been enjoying checking out Holly's blog where several designers are making a quilt for charity and using the sweetest little paper doll dress pattern. Each designer is making a block in their own style using a really sweet new line of fabric. I am wishing I had a little girl to make this for...I could always make one to have waiting for the day when I do! Or make it just for myself! I need 48 hours in a day just to have time to work and fit in all my projects.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Simply Charming

I was playing around with a new discovery, Charm Packs ( 5X5 inch squares of a line of fabric), and having a lot of fun just laying them next to each other to see what looked good together. I had to make something with them so I got out some books and magazines and things I had printed off the internet. After looking through all this info and brainstorming for hours even in my sleep, I decided to make a little patchwork bag from a Tilda book by Tone Finnigan. It turns out that the bag is just the right size to hold my Charm packs. I hadn't planned it, but it sure is handy since they tend to get lost in my other stash. I am thinking of making the little bag to hold some sewing supplies so I made a pin cushion to match and am working on a plan for another such bag to have a pin cushion and needle book to go with it. I filled my heart pin cushion with a little recipe that I made up containing Ground walnut hulls, rice and lavender. It is just the right weigh and smells good too! More charming little bags and pin cushions to come I think.

While researching things for this project I also came across a fun blog called Hugs from Helen. Helen has brought together some fellow designer bloggers that have each designed a project with a free tutorial. She then posts a hint and a link to where you can visit the blog and print out the tutorial. I found some really cute projects that might make some fun little gifts just in time for the holidays! Several I will have to make for myself. There were 2 cute bags with some simple embroidery by May Britt and Cinderberry Stitches. Both of these ladies have wonderful blogs with lots of fun tutorials and great ideas. There are lots more too, so be sure to check it out if you are on the hunt for some great quick little gift items to make for someone else or just for you! I use the excuse that I am practicing to make a gift for me...I've been getting a lot of practice lately.

Hope you have a simply charming day!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Just for the Fun of it!

After a lot of ripping and resewing I finally got the 'Thyme to Water' quilt top finished. I learned a lot from this project about my sewing machine and about the importance of measuring accurately several times and sewing with a perfect 1/4 inch seam. It was the triangles that gave me the most trouble though. It seems that when you cut a square into fourths you get some part of the triangle that will be cut on the bias. I have seen a video by Eleanor Burns where she shows a great way to cut triangles in a strip so that you don't end up with any stretchy bias problems. I will have to put this into practice next time I cut triangles, but I am avoiding doing anything with triangles for a while. I decided that I didn't want to use the flower pot border on this quilt and used this adorable garden themed fabric I recently found instead. I think it all goes together pretty well and made a fun quilt with more attention to all the hard work I spent on the center. I have several seams that are still not matching exactly, but I am not stressing over them since this is just a fun throw for me. It is all a learning experience that I hope to put to use one day soon on a quilt for my bed.

I have several projects in the works, but still found time to start another. I was attracted to a fall quilt I saw on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork & Quilting. It has some great pumpkins and I had just got some fat quarters in some great fall colors so I did a little mixing up of things and am making a wide runner. I tried several different blocks before I came up with blocks between the pumpkins. The designer of the quilt, Avis Shirer of Joined at the Hip used a wonderful block with flying geese, but after trying my hand at just one I opted to use something a little simpler. I did throw my sample block in the center of my quilt though. I still have to work up a back for this and get creative with some quilting and a border.

These were fun projects that sort of represent the seasons of Spring and Fall to me. My favorite seasons of the year. I always wonder if other crafters make things with a specific purpose in mind or do you make things just because you think it would be fun to do. I do a little of both I guess. I made these two projects with no real purpose in mind, but I am thinking that they will look at home on my couch or over a small table. No matter what I use them for I am getting a lot of pleasure from just creating something that I enjoy looking at.

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Great Day!

Yesterday was a really great day. First I got to go to a quilt shop that I have heard a lot about, but never been to. Since it was on the way to our fishing spot of the day we stopped in and looked around. The shop was called In Between Stitches and it was really nice. They had so many great fabric lines and nice sale prices. The staff was very friendly and helpful and I was having way too much fun finding things that I might need someday. I first heard about this store on Pam Kitty Morning's blog and am so glad to have found it. I will be going back! Thanks Pam!

I found another blog today that was a really fun blog and so full of fun ideas. It is called Patchwork Pottery by Laurraine Yuyama designs a lot of quilt and fabric things. Laurraine also has an etsy shop where she sells a lot of the little teacup bags and other cute things she makes. I am loving all the coffee and tea things and the cute little trivets, one is a bee hive and the other is a nest. I am thinking I would like to try this and I think she is making a pattern so I will be checking back to see. This lady is so crafty with fabric that she makes pincushions that look like books and even cupcakes. There is no end to what a crafter will try to create!

Yesterday after the trip to the fabric store Michael and I went fishing at a favorite spot of ours Las Vaqueros where we made some great catches. First we caught a nice trout with a little tag which won us a free 1/2 day boat rental. Then we caught a 10 + pound stripper that took me about a half and hour to bring in. It really was exciting! We thought the stripper was so beautiful that he needed to live at least another day so we put him back in the lake.

I have become quite fascinated with the amount of 'jewelry' that fishermen carry in their tackle boxes. Michael even wears this necklace that has lots of little tools attached to it, I think I need something like this for sewing. Everything just pops off when he needs it. There is some real colorful stuff in his tool box. I have questioned whether or not the fish really care about all this colorful flashy stuff only to be told that, of course they do, it attracts them you see. Yesterday we caught our best catches on some pretty plain lures with no flashy things I have concluded that the jewelry is more for the fishermen than the fish, but I am also very attracted to it so maybe it is to help them catch a good fisher woman. Hmmm we will have to do a little more research on this topic I'm sure.

Happy Crafting, Fishing or Blogging...or all three!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Ferne's Favorite Blog of the Morning

Doing my morning blog hour that I don't seem to be able to get through a day with out, I stumbled upon a blog with the most beautiful crazy quilting. There are a lot of links to information along with some of Lisa's own tips and directions. So if you are interesting in trying your hand at crazy quilting or just looking at some really elegant work check out my link to her blog. Today she is showing some truly exquisite pin cushions.

Ivory Blush Roses

someday I will figure out how to copy pictures here, but since I didn't have her permission I will just send you to her blog.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Special Visit

I had a nice visit with my family last week. My brother came down from Portland and my Mom and Aunt from Sarasota, Florida. We had a great time and did a lot of eating out along with a trip to Los Gatos, Gilroy, and Chukchansi (for a little gambling). Maude even won a little money! I was so glad to see them. We keep in contact a lot thanks to the Internet, but I had not seen my Mom and Aunt for 9 that is a long time. Unfortunately when they got home hurricane Fay was about to strike and they were evacuated. They spent yet one more night in a hotel. The hurricane fizzled out and didn't leave them with any damage and they are home again safe and sound, but pretty tired! Just a note: the handsome young man each side of the ladies is my available brother...send all inquiries to me and I will forward them on after careful investigation.

While searching through the blogs of my sewing peeps I stumbled upon a post by Pam Kitty Morning that I found very entertaining. She was talking about how her corners don't always meet, I looked at the pictures for the longest time and just couldn't see it. I would hate for her to look that closely at any of my work. I strive to have corners as good as her worst. If I keep sewing at the pace I have been I will be there soon enough!

Keeping the corners together!

Therisa & Ferne

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fun in Blogland

I love to look at other people's blogs and I'm sure that there are many other creative people that are always searching for inspiration in Blogland so I thought I would occasionally share other fabric artists ideas that inspire me. Today inspiration came from Betz White's blog. She made her brother a cozy for his iBook. It is so adorable! It looks just like an Etch-A-Sketch. Gotta love it! I tried to share the picture, but couldn't get it on the screen so you'll have to use the link and go to her blog. Be sure to check out all the pictures of it and the wonderful little details she added. I have enjoyed Betz's site for a very long time. Her cupcake and coffee cups pincushions inspired me to thrift wool sweaters, shrink them and cut them up. What fun I had! My creations have not been as cute as hers, but it got me thinking and that is good exercise for my creative side.

Thanks for todays Creative Exercise Betz!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Projects

I have been working on a few small sewing projects this summer. I am keeping it simple and fun. This is a table runner that I made for a friend who recently got married. They are remodeling the house that they are going to live in with 'green' materials so I chose to use the color green along with an earthy brown and sea blue. I also used bamboo batting with it. I loved how soft the bamboo batting was and how smooth it was to sew. It is not very thick, but will work well for a table runner. Before I put this one together though I experimented with the blocks using by stash of Susan Branch's Tea Party. I had a lot of fun with it and modified a pattern from the book 'Jelly Roll Quilts' by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I am going to wash it tonight and see how it responds to washing. I am beginning to realize that I am creating projects with no particular use in mind, but I have having fun with whole process . Hopefully this is just giving me practice for some very useful projects in the future.

My next project will probably be a pin cushion, now that is something useful. I seem to be collecting pin cushion patterns lately. One of my favorites is on Heather Bailey's blog...she actually has several, but I am going to try her free pattern for the square one then I would like to purchase her fruit ones for later. So if you go to her site the link for the pdf file for the square pin cushion is down the page a bit. On your way down the page don't miss her velvety die for! What talented people we can find in blogland. I for one am so thankful that they share their ideas with people like me.

Well, I am going to have company for a few days so will be quite busy, but may have some more fun things to post about next week. Enjoy all your summer projects, big or small!