Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Great Scott!

It was bound to happen...that cold white stuff started falling yesterday. McKinley doesn't look thrilled about in this photo...

but by this morning when she went out to play in 4 inches of it...she was definitely happy about that funny white stuff!

I struggled to get my snow boots on and grab my iPhone for the camera. She was running between the back yard and our garage. She did a little bit of barking...which is unusual. When I finally got outside and into the back yard I looked left and saw what she was barking about. A bull moose in pursuit of a cow. 

This bull  moose is very familiar to me and has been in a few blog posts. This is Great Scott on the left, head down facing me! EEK! 

Just one more photo and I scooted back into the house. Kinley was in her dog run...quietly waiting for her crazy mom. She is so smart.

About 15 minutes later I was up in the laundry room, which is on the second floor of house and looks over the front yard. I saw Great Scott again!

That moose cow was over in those woods where he was heading.

And I thought the most exciting part of may day was going to be my drive into town. You just never know what is going to happen at any time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ready for the Next Step

Happy quilt is officially off the quilting frame and ready for the next step....binding!

Here's a peek at the quilting on a flower block. 

And a peek at the quilting of a border section.

I am spending a little bit of time each evening adding the sequins to the outer edge of the tree...almost halfway around.

A bit of "Alaskana" to share. 

In Alaska...locals have a saying...there are two seasons...Road Construction and Non-Road-Construction. For the past three Road Construction seasons...the main road I drive to and from my house has been getting a major upgrade. I spend a lot of time waiting for pilot cars. Yesterday this was my view...gorgeous!!!

I see lots of animals on my waits...moose, foxes and black bears have decided to make appearances. Yesterday was a first for me...look closely at the car in front of me. There is a pet is a very large CAT!

I must end on a doggy note. Kinley on one of our recent walks She is all legs now!

And I keep forgetting to comment on the recent renaming of Mount McKinley to Denali. It just figures it would happen a couple of months after we named our dog McKinley! Locals almost always refer to the mountain as Denali and our Senators have been trying to get the name officially changed for years but Obama makes it happen by waving his magic pen. Not to get too political here...but I don't really know anyone from Alaska who is unhappy about the name change.  We did consider the name "Denali" but I think the Scottish sound of McKinley is what won us over since Gordon Setters are a Scottish dog breed. We are not changing McKinley's name.

Just a bit of history about how the mountain got named (I researched it before I agreed to name our dog, McKinley). Native Alaskans called the mountain Denali but in 1896, a gold prospector named it McKinley in support of then senator, William McKinley, because he supported the gold standard as the U.S.'s economic system. The name didn't become official until 1917...and I think every since then residents of Alaska had been trying to get it changed to Denali because they never stopped calling it by that name.

We usually call our puppy, "Kinley." It is a cute name for such a cute girl!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Picture Posting Woes

I have been trying to figure out why...out of the iPhone photos will not load onto my laptop through my usb cord. I've been doing it that way forever...but all of the sudden my laptop won't talk to my iPhone. I finally pulled them through iCloud but I don't have that technique perfected yet so it is slow going. 

Friday morning I woke up to snow covered mountains. I just love it when the fall leaves are still on the trees and the snow covers the tops of the mountains...and it is sunny!

These are photos from different parts of my walks with Kinley around the mountain roads around our house.

It is stunning scenery that I never get tired of viewing.

I've been diligently working on my latest quilt. I was stumped on the green area around my flowers but after my first glass of wine last night, I came up with a plan. Tackled it today. Everything went great. I just have to turn the quilt in the frame and finish the two shorter side borders. It is possible I will have the binding on before Breakfast Club on Thursday. 

One more series of Nutcracker ornaments are ready for there green felt backings.

McKinley..keeping me company. This is normally my husband's chair but since he is out of the country...I guess Kinley thinks this is her space. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away

I don't like the current Seattle-ish weather hanging in our part of the world...but it does make for good quilting time. I'm making steady progress on my latest quilt. My goal is to finish the quilt in a week so I can show it off at Breakfast Club. 

I have finished all the flower petal stitching which involved a lot of thread color changes. Now I can go back to one outline around the flower petals.

I have the ornaments put together for my Nordic Tree Advent calendar.

So now it is time to get the tree made so I can hang the ornaments,

In our brief breaks from rain...the snow line is visibly creeping down the mountainsides.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Bleeding Quilt

Bleeding happens...especially when working with  batiks and lots of unwashed pre-cuts. But I recently had a quilt bleed on me that had never done that before....and I had washed it in my machine at least three previous times. It was a quilt I was using in Paris and when a corner of the quilt got some blood on it...I placed just that corner under cold water. The blood was gone but then I had a dark brown fabric bleeding into my creamy background. (Terribly sorry...once again I forgot to take the "before" picture.)

I was patiently waiting to get my king-sized quilt back to Alaska before washing it. There was no way I was going to tackle that in our Paris apartment. I had read a great article on Vicki Welsh's blog about how to take care of bleeding fabrics in a quilt and as luck would have it, Vicki had a button on her blog linking to her file on the subject which was just what I needed to get me into action. I've added her button on the left side for you to access her wonderfully detailed information.

The first step is soaking the quilt in hot water in a bathtub for 12 hours, using Dawn dish washing soap. What you see are plastic containers filled with water on top of the quilt to keep it submerged in the water. Vicki's great. There was also 15 minutes of acting as a human washing machine...agitating the water was a major workout! Hard to tell with the soap bubbles but the water was instantly brackish....yucky!!!

After 12 hours of soaking...this is what it looked like...very scary!!!

And another picture of the water draining. Double yuck!

I had to do a second 12 hour soak. I added less soap...the water hardly changed color.

The next day I did a third soaking for just 6 dyes present in the water so then I did two rinses in cold water. This was a lot of work over two days! I then threw it in my washing machine for a normal washing.

After tumbling it in the dryer it looks wonderfully clean! I do think some of the fabrics faded a bit...or maybe my quilt was really dirty after living in the big city of Paris for three years!

The area of bleeding was like new again!!! The brown star points were the previous offenders.

Now I would like to find the time and energy to wash all of my quilts using this method. Perhaps a good winter project!

Speaking of winter... 
We have had lots of rain and when the skies have cleared for a few hours our scenery has been spectacular...except for that new dusting of white stuff on the mountain tops. We Alaskans call that snow...Termination Dust. Our summer has definitely terminated and our autumn will be too brief.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

An Ideal Day

I had a great day yesterday. 
Four of the eight green borders are quilted. My machine was so happy to be tension issues! During my practice drawing on plexiglass, I morphed my design through several versions to get to this leaf and flower combo. I still like my original idea but it felt cramped in this particular situation. 

McKinley and I got a great walk in right before my quilting session. Fall is here. Each day the leaves are more brilliant. This is a mountain stream that is a nice hike above our house.

It's not easy to wear out a puppy! Once back home though, Kinley took a nice long puppy nap.

One of my son's came over for dinner so McKinley had someone new keeping her busy. After doing a few clean-up chores before bedtime I couldn't find Kinley. She wasn't in her doggie bed...after a search I found her in the dark living room, sound asleep in an oversized arm chair...on top of a quilt. Too cute...I had to turn on a light and take a picture. She didn't move. It didn't last long. I carried her upstairs to her crate in our was time for me to get some sleep. She does great most nights...sleeping in the crate until about 5:30 a.m.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Starting a New Week

My morning started with a bath for McKinley. Next time she might be too big to fit in the laundry room sink! She tolerates a bath pretty well.

No quilting...but I did work on fine tuning a border design. Maybe I'll quilt later today. Rain is in the forecast for several days so hopefully I will make good use of bad weather. I'm very messy when drawing a practice pattern! I'll practice more neatly before I begin the real thing.

No rain today but we had three rainy days prior to this morning. I am trying to keep myself on task...organizing the sewing studio. A little project for the last two evenings was to make a new Needlework Journal. I outgrew my last one I started in 2008. I used to note kits as I purchased when I finished I had to try and find my original entry. No more! Now I just write down the projects I complete. I like a spiral bound, hardcover journal. Then I can rip out pages easily if needed.

I also like to make tabs to easily flip to the pages I want to review. I pretty much filled the first 33 pages of the blue section in this notebook with my cross stitch completions...154 ornaments!


I have the red section of 33 pages left for future cross stitch projects. Soon the Ukraine Santa will make it into the journal.

I also keep track of my Bucilla projects in this notebook...the green pages. I just list the kit date of production and my date of completion. 

I finished the front side of all the ornaments for this Nordic Advent Calendar. Time to work on the body of the tree.

 I have finished 45 Bucilla stockings, 12 ornament kits and one other advent calendar. I am already thinking about how I am decorating for Christmas this year...bring it on!!! I have missed having a big Christmas for the last three years.

Just in case you are wondering...I do keep a much more detailed Quilting Journal. I am on my fourth notebook. I use those journals to make notes from start to finish. It is a great way to review what you've accomplished...especially if you give any of your projects away as gifts. It is much too easy to forget about them once they leave your home.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wins at the Fair

I made it to the Alaska state fair yesterday. My big entry, "Katchemak Baywatch," won second place for its division. I cannot remember the first place winner and I forgot to get a picture of it. There were lots of pretty quilts...many batiks! It looked like there was some pretty good competition in the large quilt division.

I threw in this small quilt just to see how it would do. It won first place for its division but since it was a cathedral window version...I put it in that category...I may not have had any competition. But I will take that blue ribbon. Can't win it you don't enter!

I wanted to get photos of all the gargantuan produce that is entered into the fair but that barn was closed for judging. There was a vendor selling gigantic zucchinis for $5 a piece.

Our fair grounds are full of wonderful flower beds. I really should have taken more photos of them. My friend and I both loved this red flower but have not idea what it is.

It was a fun day. I am anxious to get the comment sheets from the judges.