Sunday, May 31, 2015

Many Projects

Our growing season is intense but short so the past week was all about getting all the planting done. Planters in the front of the house...check.

Planters on the the deck...all nine of them...check.

Visitors showing up regularly...a bull moose.

And a cow with her two babies running through my neighbor's yard.


I finished my top from Breakfast Club.

Roughly 55" x 74".
 I got the center completely pieced and diamonds top stitched while at Breakfast Club which lasts for five hours. But during that 5-hours, I also ate breakfast and lunch, shopped, did a test run on Bernina's latest longarm machine and spent time on show and tell. In other's a quick project!

I had two River Rock Bali Crackers that I used to pull the square colors I wanted. It is always a challenge for me to do these random placement quilts but I went into this expecting to create a simple lap quilt to have on hand as a gift...or to use in my looks great in my living room on my gray leather couch.

Our method for the top was the 10-minute block which you can google for a Youtube video. Our trick we discovered at Breakfast club was to press all the seams open for the center section blocks...otherwise there is quite a stack of fabric in the center of each diamond which might be a challenge when quilting. I'm very glad we figured this out in the first block we made. 

I created my borders at home...I wanted to bring more of the dark gray diamond fabric into the quilt which is why I added the two gray borders. One of the ladies was planing to embroider designs on the diamonds...hope she has time to get to that this summer.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Show and Tell

Breakfast Club May 2015 - Show and Tell

The first three are Kathy's. This is a the Cozy Quilt Designs' pattern, Drop Diamonds.

Kathy calls this the Ghastlies...because the fabric line she used features the Ghastlies. This was made as a gift so Kathy pretty much created blocks from the fabric motifs and put them together for this fun quilt.

And this is actually two small quilts next to each other. These are blocks from the store's Buck-a Block program. They will be table runner's for his and hers night stands.

Two projects from Joyce. A table runner....don't know the pattern for this one.

And I don't know the pattern for this striped design. I will try and find out on Tuesday when I go back to the shop for "Strip Club."

Three prjects from Jackie. First...a very simple runner...two fabrics.

Jackie's daughter just finished her nursing degree so here's the perfect graduation gift.

And the backside of the quilt which is very cute too!

And Jackie's version of the vertical pattern Joyce made...I really need to find out the name of this one.

Barb had a cute pumpkin...she created the lacy fabric with her machine...extremely adorable!

And Ronna made this oh-so-cute bag...

that is really a carrier for a tiny travel iron. My little travel iron was much too big for this bag.

The sun is shining so I must run to my lawn chair now!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Last Thursday of the Month!

I have been pecking away at lots of house projects but all that must be put aside because tomorrow is Breakfast first one for 2015. I have already seen many of my friends since arriving back in Alaska but it will be a real treat to spend the day with them tomorrow. 

Our project is very easy...maybe you have heard of Suzanne McNeill's 10-minute blocks? We are doing one from her Youtube this link.

It is a layer cake or charm pack pattern. Since I am uncontrollably drawn to large quilts I am going with the River Rock crackers (10-inch squares) from Hoffman. The gray dot will be my diamond center for the the blocks. I'm expecting to get a lap-sized quilt completely pieced tomorrow.

More progress on my French Santa ornament.

And hours of stitching has me to this point on a set of six Santa ornaments. Lots of detail in this Bucilla kit designed by Mary Engelbreit.


We do a potluck at Breakfast Club. I decided to take a pesto pasta salad I found on the Pioneer Woman's blog. I like the idea of the crisp romaine lettuce with the pasta. I'll let you know how it tastes...I will mix everything together on site so no tasting prior to the event!

I can't wait to share all the show and tell quilts the ladies bring tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flimsy Finish - Aurora Borealis

Started in Paris and finished in Alaska. 
This quilt was a kit from the Atlanta area quilt shop, Intown Quilts. The pattern, Blue Midnight, was designed by Taffy McLaughlin. The scrappy squares were pieced from 42, 10" squares. My version came up bigger...and I didn't realize until I finished it that I had added a row! I used every square pieced from the layer leftovers. The pattern called for 6 x 7 rows. The instructions were skimpy with room for personal other words...I had to do math and found the pattern was really just a guideline.

It reminds me of the northern lights.
Aurora Borealis
67 1/4"  x  86 3/4"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sweet...My Real Sewing Room

I am a happy camper...back home where I have a huge design wall. I finally got my head cleared enough with all my recent quilty purchases and moved into quilting action. These little log-cabinish blocks came in my suitcase back to Alaska and I bought the navy batik fabric while at the Paducah quilt show. 

It took a bit of time to trim the squares, cut the navy fabric and calculate the dimensions for the setting triangles and corner triangles. Seeing everything up on the design wall reminded me of how much I liked the quilt sample at the Atlanta shop where I picked up the 10" squares for the project...way back in February. Now to actually start sewing.

I also brought home all the cross stitch ornaments I made during my past "Paris Season." I didn't have the green wool felt in my Paris stash that I like to use as a backing to these ornaments. It doesn't take long at all to tack the ornaments to the's that getting started part that takes the longest.

Pecking away on more cross stitch ornaments. The German Santa nutcracker on the right is almost done. There is one more ornament in this series and I will wait until all three are pretty much done to add a few beads, mustaches and accessories.

  I have also pulled out a Bucilla ornament kit I started in Paris and had hiding in my suitcase. Time to get working on it too. (My suitcase was a lot like Mary Poppin's carpet bag...a bit surprising what popped out of it!)

We invested in a mosquito magnet...I'll let you know how it works. 

Moved the flowers out into some direct sunlight...time to do that for a week or so...because it's almost time to let them stay in their summer spots. Memorial Day is our traditional day to call it safe.

I have spent all of today inside...time for that to change. As soon as I finish blogging I'm putting on some sunscreen and dragging a lawn chair onto the deck.

Early this morning I drove my husband to the airport...he was very unhappy to leave Alaska for Paris. We will see each other next in mid-June for a family reunion in Texas. I tried to fix his favorite American meals this last week before he left...grilled lamb chops, lasagna, enchiladas and barbecued chicken with potato salad...oh...and chocolate chip cookies. Lots of leftovers for one person!!! Less time cooking means more time for quilting.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Alaska Life

I am getting back to my Alaska routine. On Mother's Day my husband flew me to Talkeetna for breakfast. I had to get up early...which definitely doesn't fit with my idea of how Mother's Day should start but it was a beautiful day to take a little flying trip. Next time I will ask for lunch instead!

The big secret about Alaska is MAY is the month to be here. Lots of sunny days with temperatures right around 60 degrees.

Mountain view from our deck.

I have my deck planters hardening off...a process that helps ease them into the cooler temperatures after growing in a greenhouse and long days of sunlight. I cover them every night with the large plastic sheeting sitting behind the planters. I do that for at least two weeks.

The only needlework I have done for the past month is working on cross stitch ornaments. I have started a series of international nutcracker santas. I finished the first set...

Italian, Polish and Scottish Nutcracker Santas

and started the second set.

German and Irish Nutcracker Santa

I have been washing all my new fabric...I went a bit crazy with online orders in addition to my Paducah trip. I am anxious to get sewing and working with my midarm but too pretty to spend time inside. 

The critters have been showing up regularly in our yard. No bears yet but I know they are awake and wandering around.

The "quiet" is my favorite part of being stomping footsteps from the upstairs drunks yelling outside our window in the middle of the night...just lots of silence. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New York City Weekend

I love New York City in small segments. It was 13 years ago when I was last in the Big Apple...right after 9/11. I was very moved to see the Freedom Tower for the first time.

Day two, we headed down to the half price ticket seller at the South Street Seaport. Great view of the Brooklyn Bridge just a few feet from the ticket office.  We had fabulous weather the entire weekend.

We were able to snag tickets for the 11th row, center section for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was an incredible show.  A rock musical starring Darren Criss from Glee. No intermission...almost two straight hours of Criss on stage...singing...dancing and interplaying with the audience. Funny...moving...completely engrossing. The first 15 minutes are rather shocking...I'll leave it at that!!! I would love to see it again!

We walked around the NYU area and saw Washington Square Park.

And the Washington Square Arch which was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as president of the United States.

Oddly enough...on this gorgeous day there wasn't a line to hit the 86th floor of the Empire State Building so we promptly made our way for grand views. You can see the Freedom Tower above all the other buildings from this view.

The next day we headed to Ground Zero. There are two pools that cover the footprint of the original twin towers...these pools poor into these seemingly bottomless holes...remarkable memorials to the 9/11 attack on our country.

A view of the Freedom Tower from Ground Zero.

Our last night in NYC we had a lovely sunset view of Jersey...I know...that might be considered an oxymoron by some!

There was some bad in the weekend. One of our friends had her wallet stolen from her purse while we were walking through a very crowded Times Square on Sunday following the Broadway show. She had no idea it was missing until several hours later...and she had a small purse with a full zipper across the top. It was very hard to believe it was stolen without her realizing it immediately. 

Despite that horrible ending...I hope to make it back to NYC someday. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Paducah Quilt Photos

My life has been so wonderfully exciting for the past four weeks...starting with the chateau tour of the Loire valley in France, a week in Lanzarote of the Canary Islands, the quilt show in Paducah, a weekend trip to New York City and finally home in Alaska.

I have to share a few pictures of quilts from Paducah...even if you have seen some of them already through the blogging world. I was drawn mostly to machine quilting. If there is a dogwood ribbon..the quilt was a winner at the show.

Ricky and Lucy, 65" x 49" by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek. Click on this photo to see the incredible quilting. Bernina of America Best Home Machine Workmanship. The "purchase award" was $12,000. 

October Sky, 60" x 66" by Bethanne Nemesh, Allentown, PA. I couldn't even begin to get good photos of all the great machine quilting. I spent a lot of time looking at this one. This quilt received the Handi Quilter Best Wall Longarm Machine Workmanship, $3,000 purchase award. The fabric was a silk dupioni. All the flora and fauna were freehand, free-motion quilted.

Skyfall, 58" x 66", by Kathie Beltc and Mara Novak, Greenfield, NH. Honorable mention in the small wall quilts, longarm machine quilted.

This quilt was so fun...would love to have one like this just as a sampler of quilting stitch ideas.  Background  Noise, 57" x 49", by Lisa Techmann, Amherst, NH.

An interesting AQS factoid...there were 63 quilts in the Paducah show from Japanese quilters. The next two really caught my eye. Autumn Favor, 77" x 78", by Kiyoko Matsumoto from Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan. It won second place in the Large Wall Quilts, Pictorial.

An amazing quilt done entirely by hand. Thank You! Gratitude, 78" x 78", by Akiko Matsumura, Iida Nagano, Japan,  Purchase award of $12,000. I really wish I knew more details about this how long the entire process took.

And the big winner, Majestic Mosaic, 86" x 86", by Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin. The front was entirely machine appliqued by Buckley with the machine quilting by Haddadin.

It won the top prize, Best of Show with a purchase award of $20,000. Here is the looks like an entirely different quilt...I didn't see a single tension bauble.

A detail photo of the applique perfect!!!

It is fun to look at these pictures again. There were so many amazing quilts.