Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tis the Season

In all the busyness of the season, it's hard to slow down long enough to enjoy all the beauty that surrounds us at this time of the year.  I'm no meteorologist, but it does seem like the sunrises and sunsets are the most stunning at this time of the year.  Perhaps it is that way to make us pause and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

The beaches are lovely as well - a great place for a walk and quiet time.  There is so much driftwood from the fires last year that has made its way down to the beaches.

The narcissus are blooming in the yard and in the amaryllis is blooming inside.

There has been lots of entertaining going on, but we managed to slip away for a couple of days to see Reba, Brooks and Dunn in Las Vegas with my sister, brother and their spouses.  It was such a great show.  The show was the night before Reba flew out to sing at the Bush funeral.  Now....that's a tight schedule!

We had little ones over the other night to help decorate the tree and go look at Christmas lights.  The top of the tree is pretty bare, but the bottom is loaded with ornaments!

There hasn't been a lot of stitching going on here.  I did get the final stitches in on the newest grandchild's Christmas stocking.

I'm way behind on my clues for the Quiltville Mystery, Good Fortune, but I am trying to sew a few each week.

Christmas cards are on the agenda for today so best get to them.....

I'll leave you with this cute lawn decoration we spotted on our trip to the desert.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Finished Stag

Back in the beginning of 2018 I started sewing along with others in a months long mystery designed by Gosia of Quilts My Way. The final clue was released and it was time to finish up our wonderful stags.

I really wanted to quilt it using the invisible threads, but I had so many issues with my thread breaking so ended up going with a salmon colored thread instead.  It seemed like a neutral color for both the light and dark fabric that the design contained.

Straight line quilting seemed like a good option, but then thought of adding the leaves considering the design needed a hint of nature.  If I had unlimited time to get this guy finished I would have done a more detailed FMQ in the stag himself.  I am still pleased with the way it turned out.  The E2E quilting design is called Split Leaf Line by Lana Corcoran.

Using the piped binding with this quilt just seemed to be the perfect frame for the piece.

I did a pieced backing using some wonderful antler fabric.  The colors of the cream and brown in the fabric were perfect for the design.

You can find many other elegant stags out there on Goaia's blog (, IG (#sodearlyqal), FB (Quilts My Way modern patterns) and various blogs.  They have all been beautiful as well as colorful.  There is even time to join in and do one with us.  All the information is on Gosia's blog.

Thanks so much to Gosia and the generous donors for helping to make this such a fun project.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Goodbye November

Wow....where did November go?  What a month it was!  The weather has definitely changed over to winter for many this month.  We are thankful to have the warm winds flaming the fires finally gone, but today we had cold winds and rain which, in turn, left us without power most of the day.  We go from one extreme to the other.

Of course, the end of November also means the start of the newest Quiltville Mystery.  I made myself promise to finish last year's On Ringo Lake before I started the newest one.  Quilting and binding were all that remained.

I decided to do the piped binding so I could finish it quickly on the machine and I am pleased with the way it turned out.

So...on to this year's Good Fortune.  As you can see, I am switching up the colors a bit, but they are done and ready for tomorrow's clue.

The last few weeks have been busy with Thanksgiving and enjoying the grandchildren home from college.  We always celebrate our Thanksgiving on the Saturday afterwards so the kids can go to in-laws or do their own Thanksgiving on Thursday.  Why is the timing of cooking a turkey always such am unknown?  DH smokes turkey breasts outside (as that is the favorite here) while I do one turkey in the oven inside.  Seems like the inside turkey is always done too early or too late.  Anyway, the food and the company were both great.  The house was wall to wall tables.  I wish I had photographed it, but the day got away from me.  We did manage to get most of us in for a drone photo, compliments of our grandson.

This is the time of the year when I'm ready to get back in the kitchen for some serious baking.  The smell of homemade bread is intoxicating.  My grandmother's egg bread is my favorite, hands down.

I also tried a new recipe from the Cooking Light magazine.  It was incredible and I am sure there are very few calories since it came from Cooking Light.  It has always been one of my favorite magazines, and unfortunately, it is stopping production.

It's time to add my final month marker to my Temperature Quilt.  I will post a picture of it on my next post as the day has been too dark to get a decent picture.

We have another large dinner party next week so it is back to cooking and decorating this week. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

So Dearly, Part 8

Today is my day to present the final part of my version of the So Dearly QAL hosted by Gosia from Quilts my Way.  I am sure that you will agree that she designed an amazing pattern.

The guessing game is now officially over as to what it will be.  Part Eight was the most complicated with many smaller sections needing to be placed in mirror image.  Paper piecing is really like a jigsaw puzzle to me.

Once all of the pieces were stitched together, it didn't look like much.

That all changed once all of the sections were sewn together.

The fill -in pieces were added and the full picture emerged.

Part 8 is free on Gosia's Craftsy site until December 3rd.  The other sections are still available at a minimum price. 

Although when I began this QAL and had no idea what the final design would become, I think the choice of using neutrals worked well for me.  However, I have seen some stunning and colorful bucks along the way.

This month is dedicated to quilting it.  I have NO IDEA where to go with that.  Anybody want to offer me suggestions? 

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Week That Was

Waking up last Monday morning was perfectly normal and gave us no hint of what was to become of the week ahead.  By the end of the week, we would be through more than we could have imagined.

Our community has suffered greatly.  A city that has consistently been voted in the top safest cities in the country saw the latest mass killing.  So many families have been affected.  One of the young men happened to be the son of one of the gals in my husband's office.

Before we even had a chance to grieve that horrific news, the fires broke out and sent people fleeing their homes.  The first of the fires broke out on the road between our home and my mother's.  The winds were pushing it towards her home.  My sister and I both rushed to her place, expecting evacuation was quickly coming.  With firefighters in her back yard, we watched the flames quickly approach.  Thanks to a grove of avocado trees behind her fence, the forward advance of the fire stopped just shy of her home.

By daylight you can see the blackened hills with a few hotspots.

When I returned home the next morning a second fire was approaching our home from the other direction.  The winds were so erratic and switched directions, sending it to the beach before it reached us.  So many have lost their homes and some even lost their lives.

Due to the fire, a cable tower was lost and we were left living in a different era - no phones, no internet and no television!  We finally had everything restored last night.  Whew.  Those domino games were getting pretty heated.

On the positive side, we had a new baby arrive in the middle of all the chaos.  Oldest grandson and his wife had a darling little girl.

With so many roads closed as well as many shops under evacuation orders, I was able to spend some time in my quiet space.

The Quiltville Mystery fabric selection is out.  I don't want to use orange again this year so this is my fabric pull for this quilt.

My Gridster Bee blocks for Allison (IG quiltstudio62) were so much fun to make.  I'm looking forward to seeing this one finished.

I promised a picture of the Rapunzel costume that my granddaughter and I made together.  She looked gorgeous in it.

I'm hoping for a quieter week this week.  I am looking forward to catching up on blogs and IG too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Minis and More

Another month of 2018 is coming to a close.  Time is moving too quickly.  The end of the month means it is time for the Minis and More Parade.  You can visit the parade at Michele and Sherri's blogs on November 1st.  They have both been great hosts month after month.

This month was a "choose your own" mini to make.  My choice, with Halloween, was to make Soma's (of Whims and Fancies) Witch's Hat paper pieced pattern.  Soma's detail to her designs is impeccable.

I always enjoyed doing dot to dot designs as a child and thought I would do the same on the cute background fabric, using the sewing machine.  It was definitely more challenging than with a pencil and more difficult to erase my mistakes.  lol

Our Sewing With Friends group is making table runners/toppers to swap this year.  Although this is a fall fabric with leaves and nuts, I do think it could also be used as a winter runner.  I found the pattern online somewhere, but I can't seem to locate it again.  That's the story of my life.

When we were back in Iowa, my cousin sent us home with a large bag of apples from their orchard to eat on the way home.  There were too many to eat so I prepped them and made apple pie filling to freeze.  I ended up with seven pie fillings.  We ate one and froze six.  The one we ate was delicious.  I wish we could grow good baking apples here.

The weekend was spent making a Rapunzel costume with my grand daughter.  I will share a photo of it when I can get one of her in it.  She is a perfect Rapunzel with blonde hair below her waist.  It turned out great and she loved it.  Our youngest grandbaby is going to be a bag of popcorn.  I loved this photo our daughter texted me  It looks like he is not quite sure about all of this.

Meanwhile, I have to share pictures of a Corn Hole game that our children gave me for my birthday.  It is fabulous and has details that are way over the top.  Our oldest son constructed it, but all participated in the process.  The kids collected lots of wine corks - many coming from our sommelier son in law.  All corks were cut in half!!  Do I detect a quilt pattern in the arrangement???  The wood was stained a Bordeaux color - very appropriate, I thought.

Not sure why the picture looks like a lopsided circle.  It is actually very round.  

I thought I had managed to get a shot with no glare so that must be a Halloween ghost I am seeing.  ;-)

He even included cup holders on the backside.....

See....round holes!

….and even a special compartment for the bean bags.

We are serious Corn Hole players here!!!

It seems like we get fewer and fewer trick or treaters each year.  I think we had six total - other than the grandchildren - last year.  How about you?

Happy Halloween.

Linking up with Mama Sparks World

Friday, October 26, 2018

On the Road Again....

 We've been on the road again.  We love to travel in the autumn months so we can enjoy the colors of the season.  Of course, the weather can prove to be challenging too.  This was a chilly trip with temps dipping into the teens and snow the first day out.  We travel the small highways so we can take in all the beauty around us, using interstates only when there is no other route.  Our country is so beautiful.
Can you help but sing.....OH BEAUTIFUL FOR SPACIOUS SKIES


Our final destination was my cousin's farm in Iowa, but we stopped in Kansas along the way to pick up three of our granddaughters to join us for their fall break.

One of the days in Iowa we headed to Dubuque and had a brisk walk on the Riverwalk.

We took the girls out to the Field of Dreams baseball field.  We should have taken our ball and mitts!

My cousin's farm happens to be in the middle of Amish country so a visit to their shops is always a must.  I always pick up my spices, nuts, pectins, grains and candies there.  Out of respect for the community, I will not include pictures, but it is great to see transactions made WITHOUT computers.  People can actually count out the change!

Harvesting of beans and corn was in full swing while we were there.  The farming techniques of the Amish are quite different from the large machinery used on my cousin's farm.

This is a photo of my grandparents home in town.  It is still a stunning looking home with the original leaded glass windows, wrap around porch and lovely bay windowed rooms.  My grandmother always had big pots of brilliant red geraniums on the pillars by the front entrances when the
weather allowed.   I wish I could pack the house up and move it to California. 

My grandparent's farm had a wooded area in it with the Wapsipinicon River running through it.  When my uncle took it over, he eliminated the farming land and planted various species of trees.  Each year he would plant 3-4,000 little sapplings.  I wish he could see how beautiful it has become.

He made sure to plant food for the wildlife too.  We saw turkey, deer and all sorts of birds when we visited.

This photo was taken just as the branch snapped.  Much laughter followed!
 The girls got to help with the harvest, even driving the combine for several hours.  It was payoff for getting up at 4:30 a.m to help feed the cattle!!

Look at these clouds over the farm! 

Coming home we headed across Nebraska and up into Wyoming.  While we did not encounter many cars, we did have to stop for these guys.  I wonder if they know Thanksgiving is quickly approaching.

While we traveled in a comfortable car, I could not help but think of the early settlers crossing in buggies.  We followed the Lewis and Clark trail for many miles and enjoyed seeing the spots we have read about.....Chimney Rock being one of them.

We stopped to visit Ft. Laramie and the Old Iron Bridge.  It proved to be a good spot for a photoshoot of my Seeing Stars quilt.  Guess I will have to name it Stars Over the Platte River.

I will be linking this post up with Soma's Wandering Camera series.  This was truly a wandering camera!