Saturday, August 25, 2012

a fair-ly excellent day

Well, Dan made it home for a visit after driving a l-o-o-ng ways.  Over 1000 miles north from Mammoth Lakes, CA, towing a U-Haul trailer to Whitefish, MT.  Then 1000 miles east to us!  Just in time to attend the opening day of the MN State Fair with his sister, nephew and good ol' mom.  I couldn't shake the feeling that I had to keep checking where my kids were in the crowd so they wouldn't get lost, just like when they were little!  One place we stopped was the Miracle of Birth building, a great spot for kids and adults who aren't used to seeing live births of animals.  There is a full veterinarian staff on hand to watch over the animals and answer a gazillion questions.  

Right behind us is a newborn goat in the arms of a helper.  Ian, as usual, wants to have something to chew on.  I think he would have liked to chew on that goat's ear if we had given him the opportunity.  He was such a good little guy, riding his stroller all over the fairgrounds in the thick of the throng.  Great people watching!  Ian is such a sweet little roly-poly size right now, those thick little thighs are just getting stronger and stronger.

We get to have Ian stay with us over the weekend, so a whole load of his necessities came with him yesterday.  But it was a hot day, and he was ready to shed some clothes, so we obliged.

 Storytime with Grandpa was a great cool-down before bedtime.  He surprises me by intently watching the pages and listening to Bob's voice.  So often he needs a lot more distraction to stay content.  He likes us to sing little songs, we are digging into the memory banks for some of the ones we knew when our kids were little.  The Wheels On The Bus never goes out of style!

In my last post I mentioned my shopping trip to Britex in San Francisco, and here are the fabrics I brought home.
 I was very conservative, but love these quirky fabrics from Echino and Kokka.  I had used a similar one for the laptop cover that I made for Dan.  Not sure what these will go into, other than my stash.

I was very pleased to finish up the quilting on my hexagon quilt yesterday and get Debbie's Christmas quilt for the Easy As Pie class loaded and started.  Maybe during naps I will get going on it!  Those little guys don't leave much spare time, do they!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

a recap

Now that the Olympics are over life can settle back down to normal, right?  And now that I am settled back after a different sort of vacation in San Francisco, the machines can get back to full use.  Speaking of machines, this was a display in some trendy boutique in San Francisco near Union Square.  It is real close (maybe next door?) to Britex Fabrics.  I was staying with little sis Jan within walking distance of Union Square, Chinatown, the Ferry Building, Britex, etc.  So convenient!

 We were babysitting Ian for 2 days and nights while Mom and Dad took a much-deserved trip north of the city to a wedding.  Lucky for me, my son, Dan, was also able to be in the city!
Ian and Uncle Dan
 Ian was a good little traveller, for the most part, and when we got back to the MSP airport he was happy and contented.  His little rubber giraffe, Sophie, made the trip, too.  An excellent friend to chew on!

Last Friday Bob and I went to a local park for a walk and some reading.  These are some of the beautiful flowers we found there.  In spite of some dry spells, these plants were thriving.

Friday, August 17, 2012

closer to the finish line

Feeling so good about getting to this stage with this quilt!  It's a small quilt, about 38" x 44", but all the blocks are hand stitched using the English Paper Piecing method.  Last night I finished all the handwork and started on the borders.  Finished up the borders this morning and took it outside for a little fresh air on this beautiful morning.  This will be a class series that I will teach at Bear Patch starting in September and I hop to have the quilting and binding done by then.  Any bets on that?

The rest of this day is going to be spent sharing quality time with my husband, Bob, since we seem to have been lacking in days off together all summer long.  We have made a list of several things that we would like to get to do before the good weather runs out, so today we will cross something off that list! What is left on your summer bucket list?

Monday, August 6, 2012

my best pizza so far

One of our favorite meals is homemade pizza, and we usually have it as a go-to meal on weekends, most likely Sunday night.  So last night found Bob and I settling down with some slices and Olympics. We don't do real fancy, but have found success with a basic formula.  First, the pizza stone is a key element since we like a thin and crispy crust.  This stone has been well-tempered over quite a few years.  I think I bought it at a home party for some company, feeling a need to select something from the catalog offered by a friend or neighbor.  You might have found yourself in that spot sometime, not wanting to say "no" to the invite nor all of the products, but wanting something not purely decorative.  That's how I ended up with a lovely Longaberger wastebasket!  Which turned out to be a good choice, as well as the decision to buy the pizza stone.  We really don't use the stone for anything else, although I am told that it can be used for cookies, etc.  Anyway, back to the pizza!  I used to make dough from scratch, but now I pick up a tube of pizza crust in the refrigerated section at the store, and that works just fine.  Last night I even used store-bought pizza sauce, although we often use red sauce that Bob makes and freezes from our own tomatoes.  My half of the crust is vegie and soy, Bob's half is sausage, pepperoni and lots of mozzarella!  My usual ingredients are chopped red onion, black or kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, peppers and whatever else is handy!  Last night I had the inspiration to top it off with sweet corn cut from the cob, and it was fabulous!!  Toss on fresh basil from the garden and soy cheese, and yummo!

 I have been in a mood to experiment with some fabric and rulers this morning, and by cutting table is getting deep with inspiration!

I know that I have seen lots of patterns for quilts made from tumbler blocks lately, so thought I should jump on the bandwagon.  I already used a great Creative Grids ruler for tumbler block placemats.  Then I encountered the Marti Michel tumbler template and wanted to try that out.  The beauty of this template is that it is sized for 2 1/2" on up to 6 1/2".  The little piece on the left is cut from 2 1/2" leftover strips from quite awhile ago.  I'm playing around with ideas for what to make from it.  Right now it's looking like a tabletopper but that's open for discussion!
 Next I experimented with this odd-shaped ruler from Creative Grids, it's much like the TriRecs rulers that I have used before but with a twist.  This is all in one unit, and the sizing guidelines are very easy to read and understand.  It can be used for strips from 1 1/" to 6 1/2".

 There are numerous setting options for these shapes, but I was drawn to this one that looks sort of like a flower.  If a circle is appliqued to the center it looks even more flowerlike.  I made the large size, a 12" block, and then smaller and smaller--
 The littlest one is 2" square, and while it was a good thing to try, I'm not going to be whipping out any more of those!  There's more fabric in the seam allowances than what's showing in the finished block!  I did sit down with EQ6 (Electric Quilt) to play with some sizes and colors and layouts on paper, there could be some potential there.

Yesterday I finished quilting a sample quilt of Jelly Jive for the store, the fabrics have the kind of shabby chic look.  I have made this pattern before, it is perfect for a "jelly roll" (40 - 2 1/2" x 40" strips) plus binding and backing.

And making more progress on the hexagons--
 I have all the rows sewn together and started putting in the blocks around the edges.  I am writing this as I go so I can share and teach it for a class at the store.  I picked a light blue to fill in the outside blocks and then a brown floral for a border.  I am having to engineer the blue block shapes from the other basic shapes in the quilt.  I am doing this because I wanted to continue those light colored triangles that make star points around each hexagon, instead of just finishing off with a straight line at the last hexagon.

A fun week ahead with a trip to San Francisco with Ben, Brita and Ian!  B&B will be attending a wedding while Ian, myself and Jan hang out in the city.  I hope Ian is ready for some fun!  From this little video, it looks like he is learning some new moves!