Monday, June 27, 2011

Trip Preparations

Air travel means a little time for cross stitchery.
I'm a bit of a collector of Santa ornaments designed by Sandra Cozzolino. Each year she introduces a new series of three santas and this year her release is a Southwest Santa series. 

How appropriate for a trip to the Grand Canyon.

The third in the series is on back order...a Desert Santa with a donkey.  See you in a couple of cell phone coverage or electrical outlets where I'm going.

Design Wall Monday

It's one of those weeks...lots of work...not much to show for it.
I'm cutting out a king-sized quilt with paper piecing and I'm working with templates so it's a little time consuming.

I went through and marked on my templates where outside edges were  so I could line them up on the grain line. Since I need mirror images of each piece I am able to cut regular strips from my fabric length and wack away at the templates. 

I have 56 blocks to make that each have two paper pieced 112 paper piecing patterns.

I've also been playing on EQ7...trying to work out two new patterns.

I'll be absent from the blogging sphere for a couple of weeks. We are headed to Arizona for a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Can't wait for a some heat and sun. Typical summer here in Alaska...rainy and cool.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Walk Through My Garden

More blooms to check out...

Soapwart...Another ground cover that does so well for me. I'm definitely taking some of this to the new house.

My lilacs are starting to bloom. I have two of these variety...Blue Skies Lilac. They are struggling a little in this  extreme climate...which keeps their size down. They are something between a shrub and a tree. 

Centaurea - Montana Blue. These are lovely and bloom all summer. They spread like crazy...I could share these with everyone in the neighborhood.

Columbine...I've got lots of different colors.

I had to check out the tree that the black bears were climbing Sunday...momma bear has some sharp claws. I also wanted to see if there was any bear scat left behind...thankfully not or you might have had to see a picture of bear poop too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Henrietta and Friends

I am officially caught up on Henrietta Whiskers.

Block 5

Block 6

The first two rows. 
Thank you, Anne Sutton, for making this adorable pattern free through your website. I probably wouldn't have purchased the pattern since I don't do much applique and I already have a few projects started...but this one has opened a whole new method to me...wool applique. Love it. (Like I need another family of fabrics to's that whole hand-dyed part that pulls me in.)

Cross Stitch Corruption

In about a week I am going to be spending 12 days rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. While I am looking forward to the experience...I am a princess and sleeping on the ground as a choice makes no sense to me...but I digress.

One of the participants of the trip is Claire, a 12-year-old ballerina.

I think when she sees these cross stitch ornament kits she will want to learn more about cross stitch...I'm hoping to corrupt introduce her to a lifetime hobby. Now these ornaments are not for a beginner so I have planned accordingly.

I've put together an organized project bag with two simple projects. My favorite source for sewing/craft bags are make-up bags. Often you can find them at great sale prices...much cheaper and more cute than standard craft bags.

This is my make-up bag that has served as a notions kit for years. It matches my lime green sewing machine travel case. Claire lives in California so she's not close enough to teach sewing...darn.

I am officially calling my May UFO done.

I so wanted to get an outside photo but our weather is just not cooperating.

I tried my hand at "J" hooks for them.

Here's my favorite block. I used Puff polyester batting since I expect this to go on a guest bed someday (in the next house when the boys are gone.) so I wanted a more lofty look that non-quilters associate with comfortable quilts. I find filling small areas the greatest challenge in my quilting so I look for ways to avoid it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Short and sweet.

Still making decisions about salmon appliques.

Whip stitching the wool appliques for Henrietta Whiskers. I am just amazed by Anne Sutton's newest design. Raining Cats and Dogs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Booking for Bear Viewings

This morning I longed to blog but had nothing to really talk about...then I heard a dog bark, looked out the studio window and saw a black furry critter...BEAR ALERT!!!!! 

It's a baby bear! I heard you...he is so cute!

And there is his sibling.

Where there are babies...

there is a momma.

She decided to get a better view.

She rested on her rump and stayed a while.

Then it was time to round up the babies and go.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pat on the Back

This is too fun...

Tweeking more and more with EQ7.

And now it starts to become a reality.

Pieceful Times

Finally got to start working on the paper piecing of my next design.

I only have a quarter of the center done but I have confirmed my fabric choices work. Paper piecing really eats up fabric but I  have employed the tricks I have learned from Carol Doak and Judy Neimeyer.

From Carol Doak...the very useful "Add A Quarter" ruler. I also use her paper to print my's like newspaper...very easy to tear and remove at the end.

From Judy Neimeyer...making over-sized templates to aid in cutting pieces from strips with minimal fabric waste. This method also speeds up the cutting process greatly. Sometimes I even manage to get an outside edge on the straight of grain instead of the bias.

I have one suggestion for EQ7 software...maybe for the next version...allow me to write on the templates and the paper piecing patterns. I can only change numbers. I'd love to be able to write the color of fabric for each and do my own numbering system...I find EQ7's is limiting.

There are some new batik Hoffman prints out this summer with more Alaskan themed critters...otters and humpback whales...they are asking to come home with me. Of course I'm not going to refuse them. I'm feeling the need to design a quilt for Homer, Alaska. Just need some fabric with eagles...tons of eagles at Homer (and also Eagle River!).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Yesterday was pretty exciting in the studio...visitors outside my window. I found another photo on one of them while downloading my pics today.

This was the momma black's more on the details of bear viewing from my studio window.

Back to quilting.
 I should be doing so many other things of course but here's what I have on the docket for this week...

 I have the top pieced for my Talkeetna River Trip quilt. I need to make fusible applique fish to put in the open area...I may change my mind on that and go with some quilted fish but I'm going to at least audition an applique.

I 'd really like to get started on the companion quilt to the above one, Chugach Mountain Hike. I just want to make a sample block of my paper piecing pattern. I'm still fusing with fabric choices.

Here's my June UFO loaded, and ready for quilting. It's supposed to be a little on the dreary side this week...very little sun in the forecast so I hope to finish it.

And then a few little projects to fill in with...binding...

and catching up with Henrietta Whiskers. I just love being in this group!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sewing Studio/Wildlife Viewing Station

I was just sewing away in my studio...putting the final borders on my super queen-sized top. I was feeling so guilty about being inside on such a lovely day...I was still in my pajamas at 11:30 a.m., when I popped over to my ironing board...looked out my studio window and saw a little black bear sitting in my back yard. 

I grabbed my son, Zack who was in the garage and he threw rocks and sprayed a hose at him but pretty much he was determined to stay and eat...garbage. Seems he had just walked by the front of the our house and grabbed a sack of garbage from our garage. Zack had been in the garage getting ready to ride his motorcycle when he popped back in the house for only a quickly it all happened. Forrest and Jenny were outside and barking like crazy and I had checked to see what they were barking at but that must have been when the bear was on the front side of the house. 

Our house sits in a neighborhood of about 200 homes. Our backyard adjoins state land that cushions the sides of Eagle River. We sit on a high bluff over the river. This bear is on the edge of our bluff so all of the land between us and the river is in it's natural wooded state. He hung out for about 20 minutes...wandered in two other backyards and went back down the bluff. No one was outside but me...all my immediate neighbors were off enjoying the pretty day.

Two hours later...I was still working on my borders...but I was dressed and had brushed my hair.  I popped over to the iron again and this time I saw another black bear...only this one was bigger.

See that head poking up? I know it was bigger because I saw the entire bear but digital cameras have this completely frustrating delay between pushing the button and snapping the picture!

I thought that was pretty exciting and from my basement studio window I taunted the bear as I tried to get a better photo...but she would have none of it. She gave me a look and determined I was completely non-threatening. She turned her back and looked for the garbage...which the first bear had pulled down the bluff a bit. Then I saw the best thing...two adorable cubs scampered up a very talk spruce tree.

This is the best photo I could of them headed down the tree. I watched the cubs for about 10 minutes in the tree...they climbed all the way to the top...hung out...played with each other and finally came down to tag along with mom. 

I completely expect to see brown bears next...that's the way today has been going! None of my men folk are home or my neighbors so I'm not picking up the garbage until someone else is around to attempt to rescue me. The garbage was very mundane kitchen garbage...nothing exciting like fish guts or raw spoiled meat. I guess the first bear did leave a lovely present in one of my neighbor's yards so they didn't miss out completely.

Green Time

Most of my Saturday was spent outside...dividing perennials. I'm very late getting to it but that's how it goes. Some more of my rock garden plants are starting to bloom.

Creeping a lavender color. It comes in various favorite ones are bright pink but it looks like they didn't survive this winter. They were beautiful for at least five years so I got my money's worth.

Rockfoil with a fern invasion. Ferns...they rarely cooperate. Every time I pull one I think how futile it is to battle a  prehistoric survivor.

This is the best reference book for perennial gardening in my is written for northern Canadian gardeners. You'd expect the extreme cold to affect our choices but it's the extreme swing in daylight hours that seem to limit us the most. Many plants don't have enough time to prepare for winter without getting the cues to shut down before the cold hits. I feel a lot like that too.

Plucking away on my May UFO...hand sewing the binding. Last night I watched "The Illusionist," while working. A good little movie...period romance type. I have the June UFO loaded on the longarm but there isn't a cloud in the sky so looks like there won't be any activity on it today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Computers Cause the Disappearance of Time

Yes...this is true...especially if you dabble in EQ7.
But what fun!
I can work with a pretty close rendition of the fabric by importing a photo image of my fabric selections.
I can create original blocks.
I can print up color samples of my blocks. 

I can print up foundation patterns for paper piecing.

I guess it's saving me time but sometimes it doesn't feel like it.
 I just want to get the point where I can actually sew a test block.
 I've been working on this design for over a month.

Will this be it? I'm feeling very close. Remember it all started with these fabrics. (Of course I've pulled in some new fabrics and pulled out two of these.)

There just aren't enough hours in the day.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Adorable and Clean!

This is what I got done today...

Jenny...I know you really don't like baths but you sure look and smell pretty.

Forrest...well he's very food motivated so baths go a little better with him...but I think it wears him out mentally and physically!

I thought Jenny was the only one blowing her winter coat but there was more fur after Forrest's bath. I'll be vacuuming daily for at least a week. We'll be having a little fur with our food too probably! That's definitely the downside of Bernese Mountain Dogs.