Saturday, August 31, 2013

Miscellaneous Musings

Hello Everyone,
While I'm sequestered away at the cabin, writing my Quilting Math reference manual, I'm also stopping to eat.
Yesterday I made this oven pancake with fresh berries.  It was good! 

Oven Pancake with Berries

2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
powdered sugar, fresh berries, maple syrup (heated)

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in a 9" glass pie pan and melt in oven. 
-In a blender or food processor, combine milk, flour, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla and process until smooth.
-Remove pie pan from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Pour batter into pie pan and return to oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.
-Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.
-Invert on serving platter.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and berries.  Maple syrup is optional.

It was a little tricky inverting this whole pancake on to the serving platter.  I could have baked mine a little less.  I never know how my baking is going to turn out in the high altitudes.  I've had my share of complete failures.....however, this was NOT one of them!

This is what we see every morning, the smoke from the Rim fire.  We are about 50 miles away from the fire, but we have smoke every morning and ash on the deck.  This fire has now become the 5th largest fire in the history of California.  Thankfully no lives have been lost, and not too many structures have burned.  There are over 4,000 firefighters battling this blaze, along with countless air tankers and helicopters.

This is what one of our neighbors saw Wednesday about a block from our cabin.  I sent this picture to Quilt Sue yesterday and I could hear her hollers from across the pond!  Sue will be arriving from England on the 24th of September for a visit. We'll spend the first part of her visit in Livermore and the second part of her stay will be spent in the mountains.  I suggested we curtail our afternoon walks while she's with us at the cabin.  So folks, you had better sign up for Sue's class at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery while you can.  (I promise I'll take good care of her while she's under my wing.... I just need to be able to run faster!)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Great Moments in Life

Hello Everyone,
I have absolutely no quilting to display, but I have a great story to tell.  Here is a picture of our granddaughters, Kinsey and Emily in their costumes for the Cinderella play.
Now my story begins.
Back in February, Kinsey told us that Cinderella was going to be the play this summer, and she wanted to be Cinderella more than anything in the world.  The girls after school program has some very talented women who coordinate a wonderful program for the children which includes an elaborate production every summer.  Each year the girls have been in the summer play, and each year they have a larger role and have to memorize more and more lines.

While the girls were at our house in February telling us about Cinderella, I told them I had a prom dress in the cedar chest that my mother made in 1938 for her high school prom.....and would they like to try it on for size. (The dress was right next to my dad's Navy uniform from WWII.)  Except for the hem, it fit Kinsey perfectly. My mother had a 23" waist when she was 18 years old and so does Kinsey at age 10.  (I know you are thinking right about now that I'm a hoarder.  Why would anyone with a sane mind keep a dress made in 1938?) Well, I knew it would come in handy some day. 

Skipping ahead a few months, Kinsey got the role of Cinderella.  Emily said she wanted any role they would give her as long as it wasn't the evil step-mother or step-sister.  After all, they are real sisters!  Emily was delighted to be Gus, Gus the mouse and really hammed it up on stage!

Look at the detail on this little jacket.  The sleeves, the little hood, all made to perfection with my mothers tiny, almost invisible stitches.  While I was hemming the dress, I could see where my mom had to do some piecing in order to cut out the hood, facing, and part of the skirt.  I'm sure she was on a shoe-string budget and had to use whatever fabrics she had in their home in upstate New York in 1938.

My tears started to fall when Kinsey changed the lines in the play and said, "This dress was given to me by my great-grandmother and I want to wear it to the ball."  Well, the evil step sisters would have none of that and proceeded to dash her hopes.

The evil step mother had just told her in this picture that she couldn't go to the ball.....and Kinsey collapsed on the stage in sadness.

With a wave of a magic wand, Kinsey had a new ball gown and was in the carriage on her way to the ball.   I was stunned that this little kid who runs around in shorts and flip flops all summer took on the regal quality of Cinderella. Where did my Kinsey go?  Who was this young woman on the stage?

Here she is with the handsome prince busting into a few moves during the ball.

The kiss. They couldn't have been any farther apart!

The shoes fit and they lived happily ever after.

That's my story.....and the moral is.......never get rid of anything......especially a dress that is 75 years old!
P.S. Now I'm waiting for our little grandson to grow up and be in the play.  Maybe the school will do a production of South Pacific and he can wear my dad's Navy uniform! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Toyland Tree Class is in Session

Hello Everyone,
Yesterday was the Toyland Tree class at In Between Stitches.  The girls are determined to have their quilts done this year in time for Christmas.

I love the wool yarn that Azalia used for the giraffe's mane.  It added such a nice touch.

This little elephant seems snug as a bug in a stocking.

Judy added lots of personal touches to her little girl giraffe.

Another little elephant block is coming to life.

A cute little baby doll is going to be loved.

Saturday was a day well spent with the grand kids. Our day started at 7:45am on the soccer field. Jess said before the game he was going to score 100 goals for us.

After his third goal, only 97 more to go!  The coach had to take him out to give someone else a chance to score.....and they did.

In the afternoon, our granddaughter Kinsey, participated in her first cheer event for the Livermore Youth Football Jamboree.
Saturday was Americana at its best.  Blue skies, Boys Scouts, the American Flag, the National Anthem, 257 football players, 42 cheerleaders, so many little soccer players we couldn't count. It was a terrific and heartwarming way to spend our day.
P.S. Patterns are now available at In Between Stitches for Harvest of Hope.  You can call the shop at 925-371-7064 or email Melissa at   The pattern will be on the website soon. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Harvest of Hope Quilt Pattern

Hello Everyone,
I didn't leave the house all day long yesterday because I wanted to get the directions done for this quilt.  All of the pages are now in the hands of the proofreaders.  The pattern cover is finished too.  The picture of the quilt hanging from the back of the outhouse made the final cut.

All of the pumpkin labels arrived nicely packaged from Olde America Antiques.  A pumpkin label will be included in every pattern to be appliqued onto the barn. 

The applique sheets have returned from the printer.....all 1,000 of them!  They are waiting to be collated and put into the plastic pattern bag.  Once the final edits are done on the pattern, Mr. Joe and I will be printing and stuffing them.  The family that "stuffs" together, stays together is our motto.

The collage that so many of you liked is on the back of the pattern. 

A special thank you goes out to everyone that voted for In Between Stitches in the Major League Quilting competition.  The shop has advanced to the next bracket and will play again on Sept. 16th.

Next I have to turn my attention to Quilting in the Garden and the Patchwork Math class I'm teaching on Wednesday, September 25th.  But before that, I have to prepare for the quilt show in Georgetown on Saturday, September 21st.  The Needle Nellies have invited me back this year to be the featured artist again! 

There's never a dull moment at Sew'n Wild Oaks.  I'm always getting ready for the next event, quilt show or pattern roll out while still enjoying the family and all the little kids.  Our 5-year-old grandson has his first ever soccer game this Saturday.  I can't wait to watch him play.  All three of our children played high-comp soccer and traveled all over California and Nevada for years from the age of 8 to when they retired from soccer at 18.  It is fun for us to be back on the field cheering again......we are seasoned cheerleaders!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Make it count!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

All Things Christmas

Hello Everyone,
My friend Barbara, brought her finished Toyland Tree to the shop on Monday. It is a masterpiece combining Barbara's excellent fabric selection and applique skill, with her machine quilters vision and expertise.  It is so beautiful, we asked if we could keep it at the shop and put it on display until Barbara wants it back to decorate her home this season.

Christmas arrived at the shop on Monday and all of these fabrics followed me home.  The fabrics are all from Moda.  There's Christmas Countdown, Nature's Christmas, Wintergreen and Season's Greetings all combined into a wonderful assortment.

I loved the panel from Season's Greetings and knew I wanted to use it in my Nostalgic Pillow pattern.  I started by framing the centers after I modified my directions to fit the new centers.

 Then I made up a batch of flying geese and turned them into double flying geese.  The tutorial is located under my virtual classroom tab located HERE after the HST tutorial.

By the end of the day, I had three, pillow tops completed.

Last year I made pillows for everyone except for us!  Now we will have some for ourselves after they finish their job as shop samples.

Working on Christmas puts me in the holiday spirit.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my sewing room!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Major League Quilting

Hello Everyone,

It's voting time for Major League Quilting and In Between Stitches, the quilt shop where I work is up to bat today.  Starting in July, thirty Quilt Shops from around the country began to "play each other" and each shop competes for the most votes for their quilt. The winner of each competition will advance in play, and the final two competitors vie for the title of "Major League Quilting Champions".

American Grand Slam is the shop's quilt for the competition.  It was designed by Material Girlfriends and the pattern is available HERE.  Lisa, who works at the shop, is one of the Material Girlfriends.  You couldn't ask for a nicer, more talented, and fun co-worker!

In order to vote, you need to go HERE.  You can see a list of all of the participating shops and view their quilts.  The competition will continue until the World Series in October. 

So please readers, go and take a look at all the quilts, but when you go into the voting booth, In Between Stitches would really appreciate YOUR vote.  I can't say vote early and vote often because you are only allowed one vote.

I'm off to the shop to work this morning.  I can't wait to see what new goodies have arrived since my last workday.  Have a wonderful day and don't forget to vote!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Harvest of Hope Photo Shoot

Hello Everyone,
You know I'm getting close to the pattern finish line when it's time to take pictures for the pattern cover.  Mr. Joe and I headed out with quilt and camera in hand and drove around the Livermore wine country searching for an old barn.  It looks like it's going to be a good harvest this year.....a Harvest of Hope.
Sometimes, serendipity happens, and a horse drawn carriage comes into the scene just when you are snapping a picture......and poses for the camera.......right by the red geraniums AND the quilt!

Mr. Joe assures me this piece of farm equipment is a seed spreader.......I was afraid it was a manure spreader!

I would love to set this table with a bountiful harvest dinner in the vineyard.

This is about as close to a barn that I could find to display the quilt.  I guess I shouldn't tell you it's the back of an outhouse.  At least it's not a manure spreader!

The vines are heavy with grapes.

A harvest collage.

I felt like I played "quilting hooky" yesterday with minimal time spent at the keyboard or sewing machine.  It was such a gorgeous day to be out and about, enjoying the beauty of our own community.  I can work on the pattern tomorrow.....or the next day.....and the day after that.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sew'n Wild Oaks Class is in Session

Hello Everyone,
The classroom at In Between Stitches was buzzing with creativity yesterday with the Sew'n Wild Oaks girls.  The design walls and tables were covered in quilted beauty.
Karen drove all the way up from Los Banos and brought her beautiful Country Charmer blocks.  She had so much attention to detail with all of her fussy cutting.

She also displayed her border selections which are perfect for her quilt.

Kathy showed us her amazing little doll for Toyland Tree.

 Look at the smocking, the little rosebuds, the flowers.....all of her details were incredible.  Heirloom quality comes to mind.

Kathy was working on the giraffe for Toyland Tree cute.

Nancy is working on her very cute Holiday Treats table runner.  This is a fun pattern by Laura Nownes that I've taught for several years now.  I've made several of these as gifts and one for me too!

Paula showed us a portable block carrier that Isabelle made for her from a video she saw at the Fat Quarter Shop website.  There are four "pages" inside for lots of storage.

It rolls up and is so portable.  Click HERE for the YouTube tutorial.

Isabelle also made these storage containers for all of her scraps.  She's made quite a few so far and she said they look like a rainbow in her sewing room.  The tutorial is located HERE at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Kay is sewing her Summer's Blush blocks together.  Her hexie flowers are finished, her sashings are finished, her blocks are the fun part of putting it all together.  It's going to be so beautiful when she's completely done!

Gail has little baskets and more little baskets made for her For the Love of Baskets quilt.  She made extra copies of the block layout sheet included in the pattern, and she makes four baskets at a time.

Her baskets are multiplying like rabbits!

Gail is making HST 8 at a time.  To see how you do this, look at the tutorial HERE.  There's a chart at the end of the tutorial with a HST size list you use for easy reference. 

Cindy finished hand appliqueing all of her 14 swags for Toyland Tree.

Carol will be finished soon too.

Peggy is making a Nostalgic pillow for her mom.  Great family photo and I love the fabric selection.

Barbara very quietly stayed in her little corner of the classroom and got all of her Minglewood blocks sewn together and this beautiful heirloom quilt was her reward by the end of the day.  She said this quilt had a long gestational period equal to that of an elephant.....645 days!  She stuck with it, she learned a lot, and it's gorgeous!  She just needs to add some easy borders, and this quilt is ready to be quilted. 

So readers, that is how I spent my Tuesday, surrounded in quilted beauty with friends who gather together once a month for sharing, companionship, lunch, and a little bit of quilting!