Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Scooting

Summer scooting is the best. Evening is my favorite. I love to meander lazily through town, scoot up and down every shady street in the neighborhood.

Here are a few of the things that make these scoots so special to me, like healing tonic to my soul...
Lavender and jasmine floating on the breeze
Laundry tumbling in the dryer
Dinner wafting through open windows
A warm breeze on my face
Gardens in full bloom
Kids playing in the yard
Folks walkin' their dogs
Smiles and waves exchanged

These things make me happy.
Hope you're having a happy summer too.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cure For A Headache?

Ah summer, I would know you even if you weren't scorching me... you give me headaches. Sinus headaches to be exact. Some days I can feel them even before i wake up. They stink.

Today was *that* kind of day, so I stayed home from work. It's just as well, I would have been useless...

Happily the day wasn't a total loss! Last night I harvested a bunch of zucchini from the garden, and today I made bread, lots and lots of zucchini bread. Three batches! The last two loaves are still in the oven. Suprisingly, my headache is almost gone too. Maybe making zucchini bread is the key to ridding sinus headaches, hehe (along with copius amounts of Advil Cold & Sinus).

I also got to work on my quilt a little. Just a small amount of piecing for the back, the top is complete! All thats left is the actual quilting (scary!) and the binding (for which I will be taking a class).
I'm pleased with it do far, here's another little peek!

What are y'all up to today? Hope it's something better than a headache!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swapin' Pin Up Girls

Say, have you heard about Swap-Bot? No? Well then I suggest you mosey on over and check it out. I was turned on to this nifty site by fellow blogger and embroidery rock star MafiosaGrrl. Seriously, she kicks some major floss booty! I mean look at this. She's brillz, I tell you, brillz.

Ok, so Swap-Bot is a site where you can go and peruse a data base of categories of things that people want to swap. You name it, quilting, ATC cards, coupons, post cards, clothing, tea, journals, movies, stickers, sewing notions, stamping & scrapbook supplies, comic books, etc. ad infinitum... Swaps can be both domestic and international. You find something you're interested in, say Embroidery for instance, hit search, and viola! Up pop all the swaps relating to that category. It's fun, give it a shot. Besides, look at that cute little envelope face! Who could not love that face?
MafiosaGrrl mentioned Swap-Bot on Facebook a few weeks ago, and I thought I'd have a look-see. I signed up immediately. There was a Pin Up Girl embroidery swap about to begin, va-va-vavoom!

There's a cool circular story happening here and I want to tell you about it. Moons ago, when I first surfed in to Jacquie's blog, she was having a giveaway for some embroidery patterns from Sew Lovely, Jacquie seemed like a pretty cool chick, and who doesn't love a giveaway right? I commented on her blog, and entered the giveaway. I didn't win... Fast forward a few days or weeks (I can't remember) and I get an email from Jacquie, it seems the winner of her giveaway already had the pattern that she'd won, and asked Jacquie to choose another winner. Jacquie chose me... I DID WIN! And guess what the pattern was... go on, guess... Pin Up Girls! It only seemed fitting that I would use one of the Pin Up patterns that I won from Jacquie, after all, it was she who piqued my interest in Swap-bot.

Here's what I stitched up and sent off to my swap partner in Ohio...
Oh, la, la!
Pucker up, buttercup!
Here she is in all her ginger glory. She had to be a redhead. Everything else was negotiable.
I picked up this pretty fat quarter at The Top Stitch while I was on vacation in Spokane a couple weeks ago. I loved this fabric and didn't exactly have a plan for it, but I thought the colors were nice and sorta matched the floss colors of my pin up, so I used it to wrap up my Pin Up girl and as an extra little bonus for my partner.

My partner received her package today so it's finally ok that I share here with you guys. She says she loves my ginger girl, yay! I can't wait to see what arrives on my doorstep! When it comes I'll totally share it with you all.

Thank you Jacquie for your constant inspiration, you have a fan in me.
Been missing your voice this last couple weeks, and can't wait to see you round in blog-land again soon.

p.s. Now go on over to Swap-Bot and sign up, shoo... Maybe I'll see some of you over there :o)

I received my swap partners Pin Up Girl, here she is!
(sorry for the crummy picture, it's getting dark outside...)
Isn't she a cutie-pie? I love her shoes! She now lives on my dresser, she looks at home in the boudoir.
Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Well, looks like I've been bitten by something... Sadly, not by Edward. No, no, but if made properly these could also live forever... Quilts!

If you're with me over on Facebook you may have seen me posting status updates on how my first quilt was coming together all weekend. This quilting stuff is easily addicting, folks! While perusing last night I came across somthing I just have to share, inspriational eye candy if you will. And a GIVEAWAY!
Sew Picture Perfect is a inspirational photography blog by Jodi at a Pleasant Home all about quilts and quilting and fabric and thread and so many lovely other things.

Jodi is having a Jellyroll giveaway to celebrate the start of Sew Picture Perfect, isn't that cool?
Pop on over to Pleasant Home for giveaway deets and to join in.

You never know, you might get bitten too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Before I take a swing...

Ok, little confession... Before I start the quilt that I mentioned in my previous post, I've decided to be a little bit of a chicken liver and make a practice quilt.

I guess it's not fair to just call it a "practice quilt", this is actually something I've wanted to make for a long time, but since this quilt is a good deal easier, I thought it would be smart to make this one first and get the feel of how the quilting process is going to work for me. Here's what I'm aiming for...
  • Smallish - enough to cover most of me and I'm tall, 5'10", did I ever tell you that before?
  • Simple - 4" squares. I picked up a few fat quarters and some plain white fabric for the infill
  • Lightweight - something light for cool summer evenings in the back yard, or on the couch
  • Pretty - like, duh!
Sew! I cut all my squares a couple of days ago, then I took a night off and went and saw Eclipse with a friend (IT WAS AMAZING!! - except for the bad wigs, oofa.)  then last night I hatched my plan and laid out all of the squares in a random kind of way (which actually isn't all that random and took some thought so I wouldn't end up with blocks of color), then got to sewing!

I like the laying out process, it reminds me of my childhood. I have one of those big, foldy, cardboard thingamajigs, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. It's white and has a blue 1" grid across the whole thing, folds up like an accordion? My mom had one of these when I was a kid and my brother and I used to breakdance on it, we could spin really fast... hey, it was the 80's. Mom was constantly after us to get off of it... poor woman, I don't know how she ever got anything done. I didn't have any kids dancing across my grid thingy, but I did have two dogs & two cats curiously fascinated as to why I was sitting on the floor moving bits of fabric to and fro. 

Ok, enough of the bla, bla, bla, I talk too much, don't I?
Wanna see my progress?? Cool!

The sewing part goes really fast! I think it took 2 or 3 times as long to cut all these squares as it did to sew them. Is that normal?
See, it's kind of long. When I hold it in front of myself it goes from about my shoulders to my ankles. Perfect! This is the first half, I'm going to sew the other half together tonight when I get home from work.

The hardest part was carrying squares from the living room to my sewing spot, the first 4 rows especially, because I kept forgetting what order I picked up the pieces in. I don't know why I always try to do things the hard way... sheesh. Starting with row five I made a key so I could scoop up several rows at a time.

I don't know if I'm doing any of this the right way, and I hope I'm doing a good job. I'm just sort of making it up as I go along, doing what feels right to me.

I'm so eager to start the other quilt too, I couldn't help myself, I made my first block last night as well. I just wanted to see if I could... and happily, I think I did ok!
A few of my corners don't match up exactly, but that's all right. I can live with it. I have 29 more blocks to make, so I'm sure I'll improve.

Thanks for letting me share with you guys, I think this quilting thing might be addictive! I can't wait to get home, get dinner made and cleaned up, just so I can get back to sewing!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Hooked On A Jellyroll!

It's not what you think... honestly! I don't even like jellyrolls, not the kind from the donut shop anyway. But I do like this new kind! You quilters know what I'm talking about, yeah?

After a couple months drooling over a quilt that I saw online... I've taken the plunge! I've bought myself a jellyroll of Moda fabric and I'm gonna make me a quilt!! I'm excited, the dabbling I did a few months ago in that 2 hour class at JoAnn's got me interested, but a quilt is a big chunk to bite off all at once, money wise and time wise. And I'll tell you a little secret... I doubt myself. I worry that I won't be able to do it, or that I'll mess it all up and it'll look awful.

So here's what I came up with..........screw it!

I'm making this quilt for myself for my 36th birthday (which is just about a month away, yipes!). If I mess it up, so what? It's a learning experience, right? Randomly, Sean came in last night and said something to me that encouraged me so much. I don't know where he heard it, but it's true.
"All artists start as amateurs."
Yeah! I like that.

So you wanna see my inspiration, the quilt that "made me do it"?
Sure you do!

Isn't it GORGEOUS?

Gosh, I love it so much. I've been following Aneela's blog Comfortstitching for a while, and everything she does is so pretty, go see for yourself, her work is beautiful. This quilt has a light and airy quality, without being overly girly. And I love what she says about the colors of this quilt, because I feel exactly the same way...

Aneela graciously allowed be to borrow a picture of her quilt from her blog so that I could share it with you all, thanks Aneela!

Also, like Aneela, I will be using this tutorial. I need to stop over and say thanks to the lady who wrote it so that even a boob like me can understand. Woooohoooo, this is going to be fun! Challenging, but fun!

I bought my jellyroll of Moda fabric from eBay just a few days ago and it already came in the mail!
I'm giddy!

Sherberty, rainbow goodness!

Oh Lordy, please help me not to mess this quilt up!

I have to buy white fabric, I'm going to the fabric store tomorrow... I think I need 3 yards to have the same amount as the jellyroll... Do you guys know? I figured I have roughly 100" of fabric and that's a little less than 3 full yards...gulp...right? I might need some pointers girls.

Wish this newbie luck! I'll keep you updated at every turn.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Everybody's favorite... Vacation photos!!

Hello Lovies!
Thanks so much for all your kind comments on my toy drop! It was really a fun thing to do and I'm looking forward to doing more of them. I need to work on gender neutrality though... As cute as the Tea Time Teddy was, it was definitely girly. I want to make things for the toy drop that would be nice for either a boy or a girl to find.

So, I'm back! Bet'cha didn't even know I was gone, right? Sneaky~sneaky! Sean and I just returned from a vacation road trip, we went north and visited Oregon, Washington and a wee bit of northern Idaho. I thought I'd tell y'all a little about it and share some vacation photos, hope you don't mind too much. If you don't already know, please be warned, I am a very snap-happy person. Translation, I take a lot of pictures. On this vacation I think my camera said there were about 600. Hehe... yeah... In all fairness, I've deleted a lot of them for one reason or another, and I'll try to limit them here to only a few from each city. "Try" being the key word.

Settle in, lovies. This is the mother of all posts.

First place we visited was Ashland, Oregon. Beautiful, lots of hippies! I loved it.
This was the view from our hotel, good morning Oregon!
Mmm, breakfast in a park. A marion-berry muffin and a cuppa coffee overlooking a little stream right in the middle of town, lovely way to start the day.

Ashland is the home of the Shakespeare Festival, it's a terrific little town, wish we had more time to visit and see a play...
I liked this little statue. I couldn't get a very good picture of it, it was much more beautiful in person.
"Whoa, nelly! Let's go in here, ok hunny, ok? I won't be long, I promise!"... sound familiar?
What a great little store! Super friendly ladies at this store, I felt right at home. I found a few things I just hadda have.
Some very pretty variegated floss, and coordinating wool felt. I think I'm going to make myself a little pin cushion with these. And some silk ribbon so I can try my hand at ribbon embroidery. I've wanted to try it for a while, but I've never seen the silk ribbon in stores before. I'm excited to give it a go. And an oblong hoop. My local JoAnn's just has the usual round ones, I like the shape of this one and think I'll use it a lot.

Have slushie, will travel. Goodbye Ashland, helloooo Portland!

Our Portland stay was quite short as we were mostly just passing through, just one night and most of the following day. We stayed right in the heart of downtown Portland at The Benson Hotel, which is beautiful and has a history all it's own. We were however able to have a nice dinner and beers out at the Deschutes Brewery, which was only a few blocks from our hotel and a walking tour of "Underground Portland" the next afternoon. 
Here are a few snaps from our visit to Portland.
Beautiful arched windows, downtown.
The famous Oregon sign. Our tour guide told us that they put a red light on the deers nose at Christmas, isn't that cute?
Part of a memorial to the Japanese Americans inturned during WWII. It's such a beautiful, yet sad piece.
Voodoo Donuts. This isn't your average donut shop. Now, I love a good donut as much as the next person and I was all in for a donut from this place based only on the heavenly scent wafting from it's doors, but uh... it was like 4:00 in the afternoon, and you see that line? There were about 25 people waiting outside just to get inside... for a donut... at 4:00 in the afternoon... yeah.
Can you guess what this is? It's a VERY large acupuncture pin. No really, it is. And I think this pin was about 25 feet tall! This is actually an art installation piece  for the Portland Acupuncture Project and there are several of them placed strategically around the city in order to "heal" certain ailments within the community and the land. It's an interesting concept, and I hope that it has some effects. Without disparaging our host city, it's evident that Portland is in need of some healing.

As much as I want to say that I loved our time in Portland, after all this is the hometown of Alicia Paulson! Portland was not my favorite place, which was a bit disappointing. I had such fond memories of my long ago visit... I know that all big cities have their problems, and we were in the heart of downtown which is where those problems are most visible, just seemed a lot seedier than I recalled. I'd certainly like to visit again, I know I didn't see the best Portland has to offer. I only hope that the next time I visit, I have more time to explore and a local remind me of what makes that city so great.

Seattle! You are beautiful!
Not a lot to have to explain here, I'll let the photos do the talking (mostly).
A five minute walk from our hotel!
The cups say "Space Needle, A great place to chill" - I couldn't agree more.
(fyi - these day & night pictures were taken on different days, we didn't really camp out there all day long, hehe.)
The Experience Music Project, they were already closed when we visited (insert sad face here).
Can you believe that building? It's incredible. I took A LOT of pictures of it.
This was an amazing, happily accidental find. I wish I could share the sound with you guys. 1000 cast iron wind chimes hung in the trees in a small area at the Theater Commons. The sound, such a gentle tinkling... wonderful to sit still and close your eyes for just a few moments...
Our hotel in the Queen Ann district. Another hotel with a lot of history. Wonderful, except for the lack of elevator.
Too much luggage and too many stairs.
Ahh, this is what I needed. A good strong cuppa tea. Blackberry Ceylon. Yum.
Only bummer about this experience... the $43 parking ticket we got for parking at Safeway while I had a quick cuppa. Lame.

Need a tea break yourself?? I don't blame you, this is a long post... go on... I'll wait.


Near nature, near perfect. That's their slogan. Spot on if you ask me. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was kind of holding my breath for this leg of the journey. I did a lot of homework on this town, research for a life shift that Sean and I are starting to contemplate... What we found was a lively town full of friendly, down to earth people, good food, great coffee, beautiful scenery, gorgeous affordable housing, animal friendly, tons of parks. Yep, looks like a nice place to live.

Manito Park
Spokane River
River Park
4th of July
Gondola rides!
Look at that face! He's tryin' to scare me.
Now normally I'm not usually afraid of heights, but...
A little plastic cart dangling over this would be enough to frighten anyone, right?
Actually, it was not that scary, hehe... suUure.
Totally false advertising here, people. There was no tea party... just some old guy talking about taxes and other boring stuff. Sheesh, total rip off. I stamped my feet and whined like a baby.
We are everywhere.

We liked it here. I'm already planning another trip back. I'd like to see this city in all seasons, especially winter. I think that might be the hardest for this California girl.

Couer d'Alene!
In the early afternoon of the 4th of July we drove over an visited Couer d'Alene. It's a nice little town, reminds me of Lake Tahoe. There was a large parade downtown so we drove around the lake. It was cold and windy. There was almost no one in the water, and most of the folks on the beach were wearing jackets or wrapped in a blanket. Brr. Looked like most of the stores were closed due to the holiday, so I'll be honest, we never even stopped. We just poked around and looked from the windows of the truck.

Wowza, that place is gorgeous.
Whoa! That dude isn't wearing a helmet!
Neither is he!
This is such a foreign concept to me. Helmet laws have been in place in California since I was a kid.
It's weird for me to see someone without one.
Haven't seen this in a long while either! You can't do this in California, it's illegal.
De plane, de plane! We watched this plane land on the water, how neat!

Later that night back at our hotel, we watched the fireworks from our balcony...
The fireworks setting on my camera is trippy.

Baby, we're coming home!
We left Spokane the morning of July 5th and drove straight through until we got home, 860 miles.
This is along the Columbia River that seperates Washington & Oregon.
Oh look, a parasailer. Well, that was fun.
Then it mostly looked like this for a loooooooooong time.

We finally saw a sign for a little park and decided to stop, stretch and make a sandwich before we continued on. When we pulled in, we saw this sign...
Well that's a little disconserting.
Ooh, I get it now.
See those tiny dots on the upper left? That was a family of about 10 people, which would make this a very looong drop. Yes, doggies are best left in the vehicle, like the nice sign says.

Ok, back in the truck!
That there is Lake Kalamath in southern Oregon.
Not too long after we saw this,
Mount Shasta! Yes, we're almost back to California!
Home! Home! Home!

We arrived back home at about 12:30am, we left Spokane around 9am the previous morning...
That was a long drive.

Our dogs were almost as excited to see us as we were to see them. The cats were indifferent.
My mom stayed here at our place during our stay, she's the best housesitter/dog & cat watcher/garden waterer, ever!
Look what grew in my little garden while I was away!
These were tiny when I left! 10 days, a little heat and some faithful watering was all it took for veggies to blow up like balloons! Thanks Mom!

Ok boys and girls, that about wraps up my summer vacation! Was that the longest post in the history of posts, or what?? Only too about three hours to write, upload and link this baby, whew! I thought about breaking this post up into several, but I want to talk to you guys about other stuff, so I decided to make one giant vacation post and get it done. Hope you didn't mind, and that maybe you enjoyed it a little.

What are y'all doing this summer? Any vacation plans?? Remember to take lots of photos!

p.s. Vacationing far from home got me wondering where YOU all are from... Please leave a comment and tell me where you're reading this, I'd really love to know!