Friday, December 30, 2011

Mysteries Abundant

Hello everyone...  it's been such a great week at the Quilting Professor's house...  My goal has been not to leave the house unless absolutely necessary - I'm not sure how long I would like this, but it has been great this week! 

I finished up the Pocket Full of Mysteries top, designed by Dorothy Young.... very bright and happy, I think.  When quilted, it will go to the BASICS charity quilt initiative. 

I spent some time today viewing the Sally Collins DVD on Precision Piecing - wonderful!!  I got better just sitting on the couch viewing it... I swear...

I have also been sandwiching some small charity kids quilts.  I love seeing them all stacked and ready to quilt. 

Here is my little comfortable den from which I write this afternoon - the late afternoon sun is trying to stream through the windows... You can see , very dimly, kitty George asleep on the foot of the recliner, on a blanket, covered with a dish towel - his favorite nap place...  Over on the right is the "covered with quilts" chair - the place quilts 'rest' during various phases of construction... and, of course, a quilt spread on the floor... yes, that's home...

Hope you are all preparing for a great new year!

Kate

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Bernina Design Flaw ?????

I HEART BERNINA.  I admit it.  I love my two machines.  I would like five or six more.

Even my Dear Hubby knows the 'make' and 'model' of my machines, except he pronounces it "Bernini", and I remind him that Bernini was an Italian opera composer.

I talk to them.

I wrap them up to stay warm when I 'm not there.

I make sure they get their cholesterol and blood pressure checked...

They are perfect.

I even heart the box they came in, and have kept those original boxes now through three moves. 

But recently I got some new machine oil, having used nearly my last drop....

It came in this adorable little container.

 As you can see, it's official BERNINA OIL - I'm sure it was made from a top-grade SWISS OIL,  from a well high in the Alps owned by Heidi herself , then refined in Zurich somewhere, and then painstakingly put in this tiny little container, because only a few precious drops exist in the western world...  and, like fine perfume, you only need a single drop of the pure essence.

The container is not clear, so you can not see the level of the secret potion inside - I'm sure this is to prevent theft by the cleaning lady, who might covet my priceless, official Bernina oil.
So - I take off the top, put the lovely point down where I want oil (here it looks like I am oiling my cutting mat, lol), and press on the white button...  seems like the thing to do - yes? 

AND NO OIL COMES OUT.  AGAIN AND AGAIN I TRY. 

Turns out it takes both hands, squeezing as hard as I can, to get one drop of oil out of this torture device...  Pressing the button NEVER works - I just squeeze the base of the container until some oil finally oozes out begrudgingly.

IS IT JUST MEEEEEEEEE?? or has anybody else bought this little cutie???
Is Bernina trying to slow global warming by limiting our use of oil??

I can NOT wait til I use it up... maybe I will just take the oil out and put it in another oil dispenser...

.......................... so glad this is all I have to be perturbed about today..

Kate




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Best Christmas Present

Wow, what a great Christmas present this was!!!  If you don't know Sally Collins, she is noted for small-scale, precision piecing that is just drop-dead gorgeous. 

I have long wanted to improve my piecing, so am taking a week-long class with Sally this spring - - I know I have mentioned it before, i am just excited like a kid going to camp for the first time..

So - I decided to do a little homework with her books and this great DVD.

Now, mind you, DVDs can be reaaaaally boring...  and I guess to a non-quilter, this might be so...

but to me, it was just the kind of things I needed to know to make my piecing more reliable and predictable...  yippee... I am gonna watch it again today... 

And then I am going shopping on the Jinny Beyer website for a piece of fabulous border fabric that is going to be my color inspiration for the workshop project.......
The disclaimer:  I am not related to Sally, nor do I receive any benefit from recommending this product...

My project today is to sew this top together, and make a decision about borders...  It will be a charity quilt for the BASICS quilt gathering led by Victoria Finlay-Wolfe in NYC.  You can read about it at    http://bumblebeansinc.blogspot.com.  A very worthy (and fun) project for families that have been homeless and now are moving back into independent housing. 

This is a Christmas Eve mystery from the Yahoo group "A Pocket Full of Mysteries"  - thanks, Dorothy, for the mystery... 
.

A happy quilting today to all of you..

Kate


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Something Serious to Discuss

Hello my friends...

During these quiet days after the festivities, I've been reflecting on things in my life that need a bit more order.............. like my sewing room - - - ha , not likely...and my closets .... fat chance.

No, I'm thinking about things like my financial records, etc.  And my address lists..  which brings me to the subject of this blog - namely - online friends and how to 'stay in touch' in case of emergency. 

I belong to an online Yahoo Group (actually several).  Last year one of our beloved members and special friends passed away.  It was some time before the group could ascertain what had happened.  Several times, members have been out of touch for surgery, etc.  Fortunately, they usually pop back up...  Right now , one of my blog friends  (who is sick)  has not posted in a couple of weeks, and I genuinely fear that something is very wrong in her life, and I don't know how to check on her. 

In the old days, all our friends were 'physical', and usually our families knew them , too... or they fell into groups, like "friends from work",, or "friends from the volunteer group", or "friends I used to know when we lived in xxx"...

THE INTERNET HAS CHANGED IT ALL... now we have these 'virtual' but very real relationships...  and we don't always know our full names, our phone numbers, or our addresses.  And our families and partners don't have access to our online lives.

Nowhere do I have a list of "my internet friends'... 
And if something happened to me, no one would know how to get into my blog, etc.

Now, if 'something happens to me', well, frankly, I won't be worrying about it...

But, what if 'something happens to one of you'???? Well, I want to know, because I care.  Because my internet friends are closer friends than I ever expected through this medium.  And if you should be sick, or troubled, I want to try to help...  but I might not know.

Has anyone given this any thought? 

Yes, I know, serious thoughts for a Tuesday morning - but it is what's on my mind.

Kate











Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Mysterious Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to All...  I just finished reading my favorite blogs, and reflecting a moment on what good friends these blog-authors have become...  I never imagined that when I started reading and writing blogs...  a wonderful gift, especially to watch other quilters in their creativity... thank you all for your inspiration and your friendship!

It will be a quiet day at our house - DH has been experiencing some stomache problems, so even our meal will be simple...  which means I can spend more time in the sewing room - yippee!!!

I'm doing TWO - yes, nutty me, TWO mysteries... one by Bonnie Hunter, Orca Bay, which I'm sure those of you who are NOT doing it are getting sick of seeing - lol... but here's where I am so far...
At this point, I'm really worried about that electric blue -  but I know myself well enough to know that those surprising color choices often come out better in the end than along the way...  so stay tuned...

The second mystery is by Dorothy, on the Yahoo Group called A Pocket Full of Mysteries...
and here are some blocks from that in progress...  lots more work to do, but so far it seems a great way to bust some stash!  I'm making this one as a donation quilt for Victoria's charity cause, BASICS, so I hope it is happy and bright, and I think it's headed in that direction, with blues, yellows, and oranges!!

Well, DH just said the breakfast cinnamon rolls are nearly ready -  so it's time for me to do some eating to garner strength for all this sewing!!

Hugs to everyone - have a wonderful day - hug everyone you care about.

...............and find a bit of time for some 'happy quilting'...

Kate

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Was a Delivery Day Around Here !!

Hello Hello All -

In keeping with a little bit more relaxed time at the office, I took this afternoon off and came home...  oh how nice... 
The UPS man delivered these:  Books by Sally Collins - - I'm taking a class with Sally this May, so I need to read up.  If yolu have ever seen her quilts in person, they are just breathtaking - small, unbelievably precise... make my heart go pitter pat.  We will be making a personal version of the sampler shown on the middle book - - can you imagine how much we will learn doing that????    Yippee......  and then
the grocery man came and delivered a LOT of groceries to my house... oh boy I love grocery delivery.  The concept of having someone shop, bag, tote, drive, and then bring it into my kitchen - for 7 bucks !!! Oh boy, sign me up.  I buy all my heavy stuff when I have delivery - and then just pick up milk/bread, etc. in between having a delivery every two weeks - - I am a happy camper.





And then I spent some time delivering something myself - some blocks... namely Clue 6 of the Bonnie Hunter Quiltville.com mystery... here are some of my 'parts' from earlier clues:


 And here is how Clue Six came out...  I'm hoping it will turn out very Mediterranean looking - right now the blue sort of shocks you, and my instinct is to rip it out and put something more sedate in there, but I'm gonna leave it, and see if all plays off itself, and off those little string triangles above...  after all, that's what mysteries are for - surprises!!!!  I'll be working on these for the next few days - -  I decided to moderate the scrappiness by using a constant fabric in the center blocks and the corner blocks, and I think I will like it...  still enough variety in the other scrappy parts, I hope.
Right now I am doing the Happy Dance because these little beauties measure out perfectly at 6 1/2 inches -  I think I am finally becoming more predictable in my sewing.... perhaps it helps that I quit using that 1/4 inch foot!!!!  I seem to do better with a regular foot... oh well, we each have to use what works, now, don't we???
I hope everyone is finding some time to sew while still getting prepared for Christmas...  I'm probably nuts, but I'm going to do another mystery quilt on Christmas Eve - I'll post more about that tomorrow or Saturday !!!!

WHAT A GREAT FUN TIME OF YEAR...

Kate


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Clue 5..... in progress!

Hi everyone, on the Monday of the week before Christmas!!! 

Here are my "parts" so far for the Bonnie Hunter mystery - Clues 1,2,3,4,and 5... I just love the colors... I keep thinking there must be a lot more neutral to come in the next clue - cause so far the neutral (my yellow) is not very prominent... it will be interesting to see what comes next!  Clue 5 is taking a while - I have 200 done of the 350 needed.   To see what others are doing, visit http://quiltville.blogspot.com.  













Mr. George asked me to say Happy Holidays for him - he is napping in the sunshine, as you see.  He is a very very senior kitty now, 18 in kitty years, which at 6 years per human year is... let's see...  108!    He has been declining for a year now - I thought he wouldn't make it til Christmas, but here he is in his favorite spot, napping in the sun, ready for the holiday - way to go, George!





I have been playing with strip sets of scraps ... I have succeeded in the goal set 18 months ago not to fill any more bins with scraps...  all my scraps from the past year and a half have been sewn into strip sets and then made into something for a charity quilt, like a chinese coins oor something like that...  I like mixing the black with the scraps - we'll see how this one shakes out when it is complete. 

The next two weeks will be very quiet at my house - so, bring on the quilting... I can't wait!!

Happy quilting,

Kate



Holiday Spirit and Underwear

Well - you know how poem goes...  'the stockings were hung by the chimney with care'.........

NOT AT MY HOUSE!

No tree - no stockings...  no goodies...  and then I saw THIS::::

Now, mind  you, I could use some underwear........... but the point hit home...
So - I ordered up some goodies..........
First order was to a great little place called Southern Supreme - in North Carolina - 
They make this "fruitcake" - but it's really nutcake - oh my my is it good - not much of that candied 'stuff' - just loads of nuts............ yummy.  Southernsupreme.com.  You really should look at their website... it's a family business that went viral.

I also got some chocolate from them, too!

Next I ordered up some presents - DH is getting some new clothes - he wears clothes until , oh, well, you know... holes under the arms, etc....  and he has lost weight, so I found some yummy knit shirts and a very cute sweatshirt/hoodie for him...  can't buy him pants online or he would get some of those, too.  He also got some fun little stocking stuffers (I better find those stockings).

And, presents for people I won't see this year , too...  sisters, mom, etc. 

It was great fun until, suddenly, my holiday fun came to a slamming halt:

CREDIT CARD DECLINED!!!!

Eeks...  call VISA - what on earth is wrong............

And the absolutely insane response:::

YOU WERE MAKING AN UNUSUAL NUMBER OF PURCHASES.

GOOD GRIEF, VISA-LADY  - IT'S CHRISTMAS...........

LAUGHING, LAUGHING......

MAYBE THE VISA LADY WILL GET UNDERWEAR IN HER STOCKING.


Kate

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Mountain of Quilts

Hello everyone:

I had a great privilege this past weekend.  I belong to the Sunshine Yahoo Group - we make kids charity quilts that are sent with Rotary doctors who travel the world repairing facial disfigurations for children - children who have been outcasts because of a simple cleft palette.

We send quilts with them - each kid is wrapped in a colorful quilt during surgery, and sent home with the quilt...  a beautiful program started by my friend Terri, in Maine.

Last weekend, a local Rotary group collected a year's worth of donations from their members and gave them to us...  so I went over to my friend Gail's house to sew on labels... When I walked in I saw this great mountain of quilts................ aren't they fabulous!!!

 and that wasn't all of them.  All total, I think we labeled nearly 300 kids quilts that day - all bright, cheery, and snuggly...  here they are all boxed up and ready to be taken to the Rotary warehouse in San Francisco...
 I often wonder what "kind" of quilter I want to be when I 'grow up"...  Well, I'm not sure where my quilting obsession may lead,  but I do hope I am always a charity quilter - cause doing this kind of work just feels sooo very good..  and what a nice time of year to feel good about charity work...

Happy Holidays -

Kate









Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday at the Quilting Professor's House


Wowee but I do LOVE Saturdays... especially when the grocery shopping got done earlier in the week.  I even have some food in the frig ready to eat without cooking - so it's time for quilting!!!!

Most of you will recognize these as the famous RED STRINGS everyone is working on for the Bonnie Hunter mystery.....

WHAT?  They aren't RED??? REALLY?????   oh, yes, my Red is really blue...  but aren't they cute??  I know, this isn't enough of them... still working on that.  DH is pulling off the paper - bless his little pea pickin' heart.

For a very scary day, I LOST CLUES ONE AND TWO .... I picked them up before the cleaning Lady came, and couldn't find them - thank goodness they showed up...  whew!

And look at my cactus go, blooming it's little heart out in the kitchen window...

Otherwise, DH and DK (dear Kitty) are both throwing up today (for various reasons) - so I shall just focus on sewing... 

Kate

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Men Who Came to Visit Today

    Hi hi everybody - what a fabulous day I had today - I got to work at home today on some big paperwork projects...  which means a fire in the fireplace, a cup of great hazelnut coffee, and best of all - SWEATPANTS!!!! yippee...

What I did not expect was all the wonderful MEN who visited me today...

Mr. USPS POST MAN put a box on my step - inside was  some lovely Essential threads from Connecting Threads - that were on 40% sale!!!  (I think they still are)  yummy.. yummy.
 Mr. Postman in a Truck brought a giant envelope full of Lotto Blocks from the Sunshine Yahoo Guild, from Tammy, who conducts the block Lotto - this was a set of fall colors - all snuggly and warm - can't wait to play with them...
And later this afternoon, DEAR HUBBY showed up with another box on the step - inside were these fabulous cute fabrics from the QUILTBUG shop in New York... a great sale, and free shipping!!!  Beautiful bright colors for great kids quilts...

What a fabulous fabulous day !!!!  Funny I didn't show you any of the paperwork I was supposed to be doing(grrrrr)... 

Tomorrow MR. FENCE REPAIR MEN come... ok, I'm not very excited about that...  ho hum..

Weekend on the way - yippee!

Happy quilting,
Kate


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quilting Stuff .... and that Tomato

Hello everyone -  I warn you, I have a bunch of weird stuff to put together tonight in this post...First off, it's my Clue 3 Orca Bay units - I swear they arranged themselves this way - - does anyone remember a weird bug movie where cockroaches arranged themselves on the walls in menacing messages??? oh good grief, why did I think of that????  This is much more pleasant...

 And, for all of you who are now living the "Snowy Woods" scenery, I'll share two photos from my back yard - yes - California in December... now , mind you - it IS winter here - and the natives think it is terribly cold - - 50s in the day, 40s at night... but my petunias seem happy enough...

And this amazing little tomato has ripened - it's been on the vine since September...  and its the only one this little plant grew - it was a strange little plant that someone left laying in the driveway to my surprise, so we planted it - it has weird curled up leaves - or maybe some sort of disease - but it grew one great Christmas tomato!!

I just finished up the very busy pre-holiday time at the University - finished my last banquet last night - so for the next few weeks, my work days will be normal length and much quieter than usual (I do mostly administration, rather than classroom teaching, so don't have the time off that faculty do)... but I shall enjoy these quiet weeks, and relatively short work days - - and do lots of quilting!!!!

Happy quilting to all, and to all a good 1/4 inch seam...

Kate

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Hexagon Quilt Progress Report - yippee!

Another month's work on the hexagon quilt has enabled me to finish one of the five interior borders...  and I love the interior border...  Soon I will be able to start on squaring up the corner on at least one corner - which will eventually make this a FOUR-sided piece instead of a FIVE -sided one... that will be great fun!

I am really struggling with those green diamonds - they are just huge, and take forever... three finished, one almost finished, one started, one yet to start!!!!

..........moving forward one tiny square at a time...

Happy Quilting,
Kate











YIKES !!!!

It was a heck of a night here - -

THE WIND BLEW -   20 - 45  WINDS, WITH GUSTS UP TO 90 mph  all around the San Francisco Bay, and especially up on the hills - (where I live)

AND THE EARTH SHOOK - a 2.3 earthquake in Berkeley...

AND IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL...............

MY FENCE CAME A'TUMBLING DOWN..

Kate
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