Thursday, June 25, 2009

Border Flowers

Dear Blossom of Friendship Followers,

I've sequestered myself away at the cabin this week to work on borders and border flower for Blossom of Friendship. This quilt is going to be exquisite! I've been taking pictures as I go to create a tutorial devoted solely to the creation of the sashing, and borders. I'll post it in the next couple of weeks.

The first thing did was sort all of the remaining fabric. As you can see, I have plenty of fabric left for the remaining border flowers. It helps to display it like this, so I can put colors together much easier than when it is stored in plastic bags.

Over the past eleven months, I've been making some flowers while I was doing the baskets. Each month, more and more beautiful fabric was delivered to the shop that I incorporated into the final blocks and border flowers. Not all of my flowers are going to be a carbon copy of each other. There is such a variety of colors in nature that I can't make the same flower the same way eight times over. You may choose to and that's fine....remember it's your quilt.

Here is a snapshot of one section of the border. This arrangement will most likely change as I place the border next to the blocks that I've sewn together. This is a dynamic process that will continue as I keep making more and more flowers.

The following Smilebox is a closeup of each of the flowers that I've done so far. Some of the flowers I have four of and some only one.....and then there's the reverse of each one too!

Sit back and enjoy the tranquility of the presentation. It's just a taste of the contentment and beauty that surrounds me while burning my fingers on my Hobbico applique iron!

Click to play this Smilebox postcard: Border Flowers
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As always,


Friday, June 19, 2009

Ten Days Before...........

Dear Blossom of Friendship Followers,

Yesterday, we bought a crate of peaches at Costco. (I could have said we bought them at our local Farmer's Market in downtown Livermore)...but Costco it was. Some friends are coming over for dinner tonight so I decided to make a fresh peach pie.

I turned to my extensive cookbook collection, (I need all the help I can get), and the first book I opened was The Modern Family Cookbook with a copyright date of 1947. The book belonged to my mom and I can remember seeing it in her house for years. I turned the cover over and saw that my father had given it to my mother and had written three little words, "Ten days before....." It's a good thing my mother had written in (wedding) so that I would know what my father was talking about 61 years later!
Yes, this was Harley's gift to his bride-to-be, Edith in 1948. I turned to page 624 to a recipe for Fresh Peach Pie. The page had been turned down and it was comforting to know that my mom had made this very same recipe....who knows how long ago.

So I started making the pie, first slicing the peaches, then rolling out the dough on the enamel top on my Hoosier. The top always stays cool and is an excellent surface for rolling cookies and pie crusts.

The whole time I was making the pie, I was thinking about my parents. Then I started thinking about how our lives and life stories are interwoven like the lattice on the pie.

While it was baking (wish you had smell-o-vision) I was writing this posting.

Today, I made a pie. Not just any pie, but a pie from of an old family cookbook given in love. I also felt that it was a gift from my father for me to enjoy 6 decades later.....even though it was just "Ten Days Before."

As always,


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Feathering Your Nest

While working on the border flowers for the Blossom of Friendship quilt the other evening at the cabin, I decided to turn on TV. We have basic cable and summer reruns were the only bill of fare available. I knew I’d been in the woods way too long when I found myself watching The Natural History of the Chicken. (I guess as opposed to the Un-Natural History of the Chicken?) If that’s not bad enough, I watched Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence. It wasn’t what I call riveting television, but the History of the Chicken was actually quite interesting. Did you know that a hen will pull out her own feathers to line the nest to make her chicks more comfortable?

So let me digress quickly. I keep a little journal of blogging ideas. Of course I scribbled down the names of the two shows on PBS…..I could never make that up! My journal also contained the words; bird nest, graduation, weddings and Relay for Life. Now how is she going to tie this altogether you ask?

A family of sparrows set up housekeeping in my wreath on the front door of the Livermore house and to our delight; we had four little blue eggs before we knew it. We guarded the four little eggs as vigilantly as the mother. We didn’t let the mailman deliver mail through the slot in the door. He put the mail in an In Between Stitches bag on the gate. We didn’t use our front door…we came and went through the garage. The four little eggs hatched on Mother’s Day and then the hatchlings flew the coop shortly after that. Now we have FIVE little blue eggs in the nest. I think this set will be born on Father’s Day.

At the cabin, also by our front door, we have a nest of Stellar Blue Jays. We’ve heard little chirps, so we know there are little ones in there, but we can’t see how many.

Just as the birds from the four little eggs left the safety of that nest, this is the time of year when graduating seniors are leaving the safety of high school and heading to college. College graduates are leaving their old stomping grounds for the work force. And yes, even my little twin granddaughter’s are leaving the safety of Kindergarten for 1st grade. How do we make this transition easier? We make quilts to “feather the nest.” We make T-shirt quilts to remind the recipients of their past accomplishments. We make quilts to adorn a new dorm room or apartment. We make quilts for the bride and groom and their new home. We make quilts for donation to Relay for Life. We make quilts for our friends and family to take with them to chemotherapy. We make quilts to be a constant reminder that we are wrapping our loved ones in our affection. We make quilts as a reminder of what is important in life. Home, Love, Friends and Family.

I always ask customers if the quilt they are making is for them. Nine times out of ten the answer is, “No, I’m giving it away.” What a wonderful, caring, group of people you are.

Here’s to you and “feathering your nest.”

As always,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Creature Features

Dear Blossom of Friendship Followers,

It was a brisk 48 degrees this morning at 6am when Zinny and I walked out back to get the videos from last evening. What a surprise when I was reviewing the videos, to see not one but two bears feasting on the bird feeder. The time stamp on the video was 11:22pm.
Last year we had two cubs frolicking up on the patio furniture on the deck. So now we are wondering if the babies could have grown this much in a year.

To my untrained eye, the bear on the right is considerably larger and is a male. (I have more images to prove this, but this is a PG rated blog.) The bear on the left is approximately 50" tall when standing.

This evening, I'm not going to forget and leave the bird feeder out. See why I don't go out after dark!

As always,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Writing Your Autobiography

Dear Friends,

Is it true that we are all writing our own autobiography by the way we decorate our homes? I think so. When we make and give our quilts away, does that make us "ghost writers" in their story? I think so too. Is your home a good read? Are you always writing more chapters? Will your autobiography ever be finished?

This is the summer of weddings for our family. Our son was married in May. Our daughter is getting married in August. My sister is getting married at our home this Autumn. So my dear husband and I are looking at our home with a much more critical eye and making notes on what we need to update or "rewrite" before the bridal showers begin, and out of town company arrives. We are assessing our "autobiography" and we are wondering how others will read us.

We have two entirely different stories. The cabin is a cabin....'nuff said, other than the fact that the cabin is the recipient of the overflow from our house in the city since I can't stand the thoughts of getting rid of anything.

Each item that you have for decoration usually has a history or a story.
For instance, our friends Randy and his wife Barbara, a fellow quilter, were recent visitors to the cabin. They instantly knew of something they had in their possession they thought would look good at the cabin.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a brick with the word "snowball' stamped on it! This brick has a story. It is from England and was brought over from the Snowball brick plant and used as ballast in a sailing ship that was off-loaded in San Francisco.

Another item that we have is........

You guessed it.....a slipper bed pan filled with shampoo and soap for our guests. I'm not sure of the story behind this little treasure, but in hindsight, I think I know what the story is! We bought this in an antique mall in Nebraska on one of our cross country trips.

Now the good chapters! I have quilts hanging on anything that I can find that is suitable for display. Here is a single ox yoke from upstate New York that displays one of the first quilts I made and hand quilted from a Thimbleberries pattern.

A European rake that cost me $3.00,makes a wonderful hanger for the Christmas Windows quilt. It's Christmas year-round at our cabin.

Then there's the $10.00 harness with an old fishing pole that displays another quilt in the guest room.

I've run out of wall space inside so I have to hang quilts outside on an old Amish shovel suspended between a horse harness. I said I never get rid of anything and these vintage chairs are my proof! They've been in the family since the 1950's.

My autobiography will never be finished. It changes with the seasons and will never go out of print. It is dog-eared, dusty, well-worn yet loved. That's my story.....and I'm sticking to it. I'll let you, the reader, decide if it's a real "page-turner."

As always,


Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Bear That Ate The Bird Feeder Part II

Now I haven't matched any dental records.....but I do believe that this is the bear that ate the bird feeder. This picture was recorded on our "critter cam" at 8:22pm while we were sitting out on the deck.

I put the camera out before dark because I'm too afraid to go out in the back of the lot after 7:30....that's when the creatures start coming out.

Our fearless-four-month old puppy, Zinny, growled at something, but we had no idea that she was alerting us to the fact that we had a rather large bear not too far from where we were sitting. How can something so large be so quiet? Anyway, we were completely oblivious to the whole episode until we checked out the video early the next morning.

From now on, I'm going to pay closer attention to Zinny's growls.

Have a great weekend everyone. The hubby and I are busy stripping wallpaper and painting a bathroom......I'd rather be quilting!!

As always,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Month #8 Miss Belle

Good Afternoon Blossom of Friendship Followers,

I was looking back at my BOM notes and was surprised to see that I started this quilt on July 28, 2008. It seems hard to believe that was almost one year ago and I'm still working on it. But in my defense, I also have to mention that I've made five other quilts while working on this one. I get a little carried away and it seems that I'm always working on a couple of pieced projects at the same time.

Here we are already on month #8 for most of you. Some started the program two months ago and some of you are almost finished. In fact, I'm afraid some of you may finish before I complete my whole quilt! I can't get the blocks to you fast enough. If anyone is interested and wants their blocks sooner, they are all bundled and ready to go through block #12. I'll be cutting the fabric for the finishing kits in the next couple of weeks.

Miss Belle is a cute little block. She's cheerful and extremely dainty. The double handle on the basket is an interesting touch. I love the way the blue flowers turned out. I've made some blue flowers just like that for the border too.

As I was working on this month's mailing, I was thinking quite a bit about all of you as I addressed each and every envelope. Thirty of you live in California, two in Illinois, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. Those of you in California are spread all throughout the state. Only a couple of you live right in Livermore.

So now I'm going to ask all of you to do me a favor. Please send me digital images of your Blossom of Friendship blocks. I don't care if you send me one or ten pictures. I would love to see them and I'll make a Smilebox presentation of YOUR blocks. I've only had one person bring their blocks into the store (thank you Patty) and I want to see more, more, more. I want to see what changes you've made and how you put your own "style" into your blocks. So email your pictures to by the 18th of June. I can't wait to see what you've done! I know I'm going to be impressed.

As always,