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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blocks - Crazy, Sane and Mental

Well, the mental block is nothing new. If I want to focus on something, I have to write it down. Yesterday, I made up a list of things I wanted to get done and by golly, I did get most of them done. But sometimes I am unrealistic. In addition to cleaning 2 bathrooms, changing the catbox, cleaning the kitchen and mopping its floor, preparing and mailing my Etsy orders, doing 4 loads of laundry, doing a blog post (that I forgot to send until today), and writing long overdue letters (emails), I thought I could quilt the in-process baby quilt, cut out another one, and dye the last of the seaweed lace. Yeah, only if I went without sleep. So, Monday’s goals will probably spread out over the entire week. And maybe I should go with the flow instead of writing daily goals?

So I said a post or two back that I would share the work that the ladies in our recent Lace & Pearls Round Robin (for Crazy Quilting International) did on my blocks. Previously, I shared the work I did on their blocks, but this is the lusciousness that I got back.

Barbara W. always does amazing flowers!

This is Gayle’s lovely work. Wish I’d given her a bigger piece of lace - my bad.

Connie K did this gorgeous work.

Andrea did the lower right area and Connie finished up this block for her.

Liz R used the lace to make a peacock! Isn’t it amazing?

And this is the block that awaits my stitching.  

A few of my female relatives and I have started a Sunday Sewing Session. My cousins Carrie and Kim (who went to Arizona with us and are really my hubby`s nieces even though they are roughly my age), along with Carrie`s grown daughter Jenny (who has two kids that stay at home with their daddy) get together in my studio from 10am-ish to 2 or 3-ish on Sunday to sew.  Having a regular few hours to stitch has enabled me to get a lot done. I`ve been helping Carrie with our local quilt shop`s Block of the Month (BOM) blocks (which are red and black and white and I have no pictures of because I give them back to her).  And she has been helping me organize my stash of quilting fabric.

It`s not finished yet, but it is sure looking better. Thanks, Carrie! I love you!  :-)

Last year in January I started an online BOM and only got the very first one done. That’s because February’s block was awful - paper pieced center block with 8 sections, and I could not get it. I finally got smart and made the center plain. I figure the quilt police won`t show up and arrest me or anything, LOL.  That block is on the left, below.  The right block is the same line of fabric (Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry) plus some birdie fabric. That pattern is the one we have for March for our local BOM. I don’t like how those 2 strips came together to make that big oval in the lower left, but I am still undecided about fixing it.  What do you think?

So now I have 3 blocks done for this quilt, which will eventually be for me. But it is a long-term project to work on here and there.

Finally, I have another CQ block to finish by the end of June for a friend. I can`t really talk about it, but this is it`s start:

I am still in the idea-gathering stage. I`ve been researching and reading and pinning pictures on a private Pinterest board, collecting online pix, sketching ideas in a sketchbook, etc.  I have given myself another week (until the end of the month) for this phase before I gather all my possible supplies and begin piecing the block.  And then everything will probably change, or at least morph as I go along. It’s always a fluid process, isn’t it?  

Now can you see why I finally cut yesterday’s post short and published the first half this morning?  This second half was way long, and together - sheesh. I need to blog more often.  

By the way, I will have one more post either today or tomorrow. Subject: Lace Seaweed. It is all dyed up and just needs to be packaged and listed in my Etsy shop. That’s what I am doing this afternoon.  Oh, and for those of you who commented (or wrote to me) saying that 11 yards of seaweed lace isn`t very much, I neglected to mention that it is 13” wide. It really IS a lot. I’ve been dreaming seaweed. . .

Cathy maroon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Finishes, WIPs, and . . Hey! Where Did March Go??

I woke up this weekend (figuratively speaking) and realized that the number of my followers (over 350) on the old Google never seemed to be going up. Well, duh, Cathy. That`s because it is defunct. Now there is Google+, Bloglovin’, and other means. So I finally installed those options (I think) in my sidebar. Hopefully I haven`t lost too many followers along the way. No one likes the feeling that they are talking to themselves, right?

First, thank you to my dear cousin Annamaria Kover (Manya) in Romania (actually Szekely, the part-Hungarian region) for sending me a lovely pendant. She had a contest on Facebook, and we all got to comment on which one of four pendants that she showed was our favorite. My favorite was the daffodil pendant, and I was the lucky winner of it. I already had one of her beautiful rose pendants (I was her first customer when she began selling them). So, I snapped a picture of the two pendants together. I love wearing them!!

Manya has some great new egg-shaped pendants and as well as her gorgeous scissors keeps, compacts and eyeglass cases. Very drool-worthy eye candy!  You can visit her on her Facebook Page HERE.

Remember the pink dress I showed you in the last post that I finished for my DGD London? It was a ready-made dress, about 4 years old, that was given to me by a friend. The front embellishments were dirty and damaged beyond repair, so I took them off and made a new ribbon rose. I also added lace and ribbon and it came out very nicely. In fact, I did a double-take when the new Carter’s (children’s-wear store) ad booklet came in the mail.  Look at the cover and the inside picture.

It makes me feel good that these are so similar, even down to the tulle overlay.  So, London`s Easter dress is very in-style, and best of all (for me), it was free and a great way to rescue and recycle an old dress.  :-)

This is going to be a long post with a lot of pictures, by the way, LOL.

I finished the baby quilt for my grandson Bear.  My BSR foot for my Bernina 550QE sewing machine came in, so I could finish the stippling.  It is bright and the print is of pirate bears, so it will do. It`s not something that I would make for myself, LOL!

These 2 photos (above and below) were taken on the kitchen floor, under the skylight. 

This is the LAST of the grandkid quilts with Minkee on the back. Hallelujah!!

Below is the next quilt. The top is done and it is pin-basted to the batting and flannel back. I will quilt it later this week. It’s just a baby quilt that will be a gift for one of my daughter`s friends who is having a girl in May. Riley (the friend) will be welcoming Marlee.  Riley has always been special to us.

Well, I am going to close this post. I should`ve just published it yesterday. I have so much to talk about.  So, as soon as this is published, I`m starting on a new post!  :-)

Cathy maroon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Just a Teaser (if you like Seaweed)

I have spent waaaaay too much time dyeing laces lately.  Awhile back one of my suppliers offered me a deal on some vintage lace that looked to me like seaweed. To a seamstress, that would not be particularly appealing, but to a crazy quilter, WHAT A FIND!   I purchased all of it (11 yards) and now have a lifetime supply of lace seaweed, LOL.

The problem was that this (rayon per the supplier) lace is acting more like a rayon/poly blend and has been quite difficult to dye.  I have been playing with it for a couple weeks and finally found what works and what doesn`t.

There are a few more colors I want to get made up, like brighter oranges, some pinks, plus some greens that are more emerald.  Then I have to decide how to package them (by color? in assortments? with other lace sea growth? some undyed? all of the above?) and then price accordingly.  So, it will be another week before they are listed in my shop. And then we can all go crazy with our Under the Sea themed blocks!!

In the meantime, though, I do have a new Spring Woodland inspiration assortment of fabrics, trims, laces (and beads, buttons, a silkie print) available in my Etsy shop.

I am very close to having not one, but TWO baby quilts done to show off, so I will be back with that next week.  In the meantime, I will photograph and show you my Lace & Pearls blocks that I got back from the other ladies in our recent RR. You will recall that I’ve been showing my work on their blocks, one by one. Now it is time to show you the lovely work they did for me on my blocks.  Later this week.  :-)

Cathy maroon

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lace and Pearls RR Finish

Yesterday I finished Andrea’s  block in our Lace & Pearls round robin. She had pieced these blocks in browns and creams, and previous stitchers had added touches of oranges and reds. so, I happily followed suit because I love orange. Andrea lives in India, and included a lovely paisley fabric which I picked up on and added a lace paisley to the other laces on the block.

In all, I added 5 pieces of lace, two of them vintage.  As is my custom, I decided NOT to add a spider to the spiderweb lace.  :-)

I hope I didn’t overdo the embellishment of the lovely lace motif, above. It is intended to be one of the focal points of the block.

These are now on their way back home to Andrea in India. I know she will enjoy them!!

And as I was photographing the block, Alfalfa (Alfie) just HAD to try to get my attention. Here he is, trying to be cute in this basket of scraps.  He was moving around in it, chasing his tail, and this is the ONLY picture out of about a dozen where he wasn’t a blur of movement.

Hey Mom! Look! I fit in your Easter Basket!!

And I have another finish to show you.  I had wanted to do this last year, but the dress was too big for DGD London.  It was given to me by a former co-worker at Wheeler Farm.  The empire waistline was lined in pink roses that had fallen apart and been stepped on or something. Very dirty - black - and where a couple had come off, the glue had discolored the pink satin fabric.

I have a lot of luscious pink duchess satin in almost the same color.  In fact, I gave some of it to Susie Wolfe, who used it in her pink Christmas Tree Skirt that graced the front cover of Crazy Quilt Gatherings Magazine (Winter 2013).  That reminds me. I need to list it in my Etsy shop.  :-)

So anyway, I made a large central satin rose and a pair of leaves. Then I added pink polka dot grosgrain ribbon into this lovely white beading lace (also in my Etsy Shop, in the clearance section) to cover up the line of glue stains.  I think it turned out darling!  What do you think?

Today, I have to clean up my studio a bit after these two finishes. Then I’ll finish binding a quilt. I am still waiting for the BSR foot (Bernina Stitch Regulator) to be replaced for my new sewing machine. The foot is computerized and decided to die after only my second time using it, which was in the middle of quilting a baby quilt. The dealer said they have never seen a BSR go bad before, but they checked it out and sure enough, even their machines would not recognize it. It is confirmed: I have bad sewing machine karma.  The replacement foot was not in stock (which rather ticks me off), so I am binding the quilt before I finish the little bit of quilting that’s left.

Onward and upward!

Cathy maroon

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vacation in Arizona

Earlier this month we made our annual trek to Southern Arizona to visit family. This year we were really looking forward to it, because the Salt Lake weather has been cold, but even more than that is that the air quality has been horrible this winter. (Our legislators are asleep at the wheel and too afraid to regulate auto or factory emissions. But I digress). . .

So, off we set with our cousins Carrie and Kim. They are actually Bruce’s nieces (daughters of his oldest sister Faye) and are my age - late fifties. So picture this;  four of us in our Prius with all the Other Stuff crammed in back. Everyone was told to pack light, because we do have laundry facilities there in the Tubac Trailer Tether, which Bruce's brother Dennis owns.

We always stay in our family double-wide mobile home that belonged to Faye when she was still alive, so it is our home away from home.  And I pre-warned everyone that I intended to bring home another Mexican flower pot to add to my collection and that there needed to be room for that on the way home or else we would have to take turns being strapped to the roof!  :-)

We had a great time! The weather was sunny and warm.  Mid 70’s to mid 80’s the entire 9 days we were there.

We got there, as planned, for the last 2 days of the annual Tubac Arts Festival. It was really crowded this year, which the picture below doesn’t reflect (since I was more interested in the blue sky, LOL). I bought a summer top from one vendor and Bruce bought a CD collection of wonderful music and songs from a local Mexican artist who played every instrument on the collection- guitars, flute, piano, percussion, etc.

Our days were spent taking walks in the morning and doing some shopping. In the afternoon we would run errands or go places.  It was warmer in the afternoon, so most afternoons at least for a couple hours, we would relax with our beverage of choice and either nap (siesta) or stitch (me!) 

One of the areas we always check out is this huge area in town where a sculptor of bronze yard ornaments has his/their displays. It’s like a public area that you can walk through, and there were dozens, if not scores of large statues.  Most of these would be too large for an urban lot, but out here in the countryside (and there is a lot of money in Santa Cruz county), they would be stunning.

I took a lot of pictures, but decided to show you  my two favorites.

Shortly after taking these pictures, as we were walking to the local mercado to get a couple ingredients for dinner, I tripped (on air, I think). Nothing serious, and you should have seen me tuck and roll!  Unfortunately, my hands made fists and one of them socked me in the side of my right boob.  Ouch. It is still sore.

I think this is soooo beautiful. 

And here is Bruce, with his ukelele and beer, enjoying a siesta. He later emailed this picture to his workplace with the caption “Having a great time, wish you were here”, or something like that!

One of our “must” places to visit is the Santa Cruz Spice Company, down the road a bit. The first picture in this post was taken in their parking lot looking across the street.  We stock up on our spices there every year. Over the years I have gotten a great collection of spices that I replenish here as needed. And we bring home special requests for our grown kids. This year we bought meat rubs, white pepper, nutmeg pods and nutmeg grater, chile powder, and assorted other things.  We had fun checking out the vintage equipment on display on the side of their store.

Another day, Kim and I walked around taking pictures of some of the shops and their displays.  Over the years I have shown lots of these pictures on my blog (see past posts of Tubac vacations here).  Here are a few from this year.

A pretty typical building downtown, plus trees
Some day, I’m going to get one of these sweet hammocks!

I love the street signs!
And lest you think that I had forgotten about my love of quilts and fiber things, check out this quilt hanging outside at the local Tubac quilt shop.  I included a picture of a quilt like in a blog post a few years ago, and actually thought this was the same one. But it’s not. This, to me, is such a great way to use up bits of those super-blingy (is that a word?) saris and costumes one comes across now and then.  My friends Bev and Susan and I buy them and then split up the bling - which includes beads, sequins and all manner of gold purl and thread. But I am tucking this idea away to try.

One day there was also a gathering of car enthusiasts doing a type of fun run in their Model A’s and Model T’s.  Some were even dressed in costume, although they looked more Victorian than Edwardian. The costuming would actually be more like Downton Abbey era.

So, we returned home and there was even enough room in the car for my annual flower pot purchase. And nobody had to ride on the roof.

My new pot. (I got a lot of mileage out of the “my pot” jokes, too)

I had to pause for lunch while writing this blog post, and when I came upstairs, I discovered that Alfie and Darla had discovered a ball of perle cotton thread in my stitching room and had brought it upstairs. It was on the stairs, in the living room, down the hall - and totally unwound.

Oh, this is YOUR thread, Mommy?

So I spent my lunchtime eating and rewinding thread, while the cats did their best to look cute and innocent.  Here they are in London’s car seat, which needs to be put back in the Prius now that we are home from vacation.  Darla is the dark one (“the girl with the polka dot tummy") and Alfie is the orange tabby with the white ascot.

So, now I am back downstairs finishing up this post in my office, and the cats are shut upstairs, hopefully napping.

Cathy maroon

Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Issue of CQ Gatherings is out!

The Spring 2014 issue of Crazy Quilt Gatherings is out!  And wow is it ever filled with great stuff! Lisa Boni’s block graces the cover (her blog is here).  There is also an article about using hankies in crazy quilts, authored by moi.  :-)

This is a great quarterly magazine, and if you haven’t checked it out (it is available digitally or in print) you can find it here.

Cathy maroon

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pantone Color of the Year 2014

This year I am way late (surprise, surprise) in sharing the color of the year. So this is not so much “news”, but just sharing my thoughts and the colors in case you missed the announcements.

Pantone is a world-renowned authority on color. They are the “go-to” people who set color definitions and standards that span across all industries.  By studying designers throughout the world in various industries, they discover trending colors that are emerging as new favorites.

Pantone is a fascinating site if you are interested in color.  You can visit them here, but beware; you could spend lots of time there, LOL!!

Here is the 2014 Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid:

These are the colors from the Spring 2014 Pantone Fashion Color Report:

For spring, Pantone describes the colors as “a modern twist on the traditional” because they "pair soft pastels with vivid brights to create a colorful equilibrium."

The fall color report was just unveiled last week during the New York Fashion Week.  

The Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman says, “This is a season of untypical colors - more reflective of the imagination and ingenuity, which makes for an artful collection of colors and combinations by the usual hues for fall”.

I think the spring colors are gorgeous, and just love Radiant Orchid.  When I was in Arizona  last week on vacation, I bought a paperweight for my collection that has the orchid, cayenne and orange in it.  And I see some of these colors in my sewing for summer!

You can download both color reports and read about the influencers (designers) who played parts in the color selections for this year.  And you can also vote for your favorite color in each palette.  

So, which colors do you like?

Cathy maroon
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