Tuesday, July 9, 2019

This and that.......

 I finally got a decent picture of the shawl that I blocked last week, the one that I spun the Inglenook Fibers 12 days of Christmas fibers for. Love how it turned out but in this heat won't be wearing it until fall or winter.

And here are the hexxie pieces hand stitched together so far. They're in sections with the flower and part of the white background. I was laying them out to see how many I'll need for an afghan size. I'm thinking 5 flowers across and 9 flowers down but will decide for sure after I get more stitched. Im undecided if I'll put half flowers on the edges or if it will all be white.....will decide that later too.  No stitching at the moment, finger is still sore but I'll be ready with the stick on thimble once it's recovered.  Don't ask me why pictures with the phone sometimes turn when I upload them to blogger - it's not this orientation on my computer. Technology...……

Monday, July 8, 2019

A relaxing 4th

 We spent the last 5 days on the coast, it was great to escape the heat although it's not horrible here in the valley at the moment, but still 70 with an ocean breeze does good for the soul. I finally finished warping the loom over there - a towel warp has been wound on the back beam for months. I got the heddles threaded, then sleyed the reed and tied on.

 I only wove 2 towels to get it started as I had other things I wanted to do - like reading and stitching hexxies…....and relaxing. I can't remember which draft this is other than it came from the Strickler book - my notes are over at the beach cottage. I'll have to get a picture of the hexxie sections I've sewn so far - great  handwork for while riding in the car. I do have a problem though - I can't seem to wear a thimble and I did so much stitching the pad of my middle finger on my right hand is irritated. Maybe I'll put a small bandaid on it for the next round of stitching......which won't be until my finger is no longer sore.

We went crabbing one day - how relaxing can it get just sitting out on a dock throwing the crab ring and pulling it out...……..well, having Sam throw the crab ring and pull it out...…….and put the stinky fish head baits on the hook while I watched birds diving for fish and watched the sea lions watching us throw out bait.....we did lose a bit of bait to them. We caught a ton of Dungeness crab but they were all just a bit too small so they had to go back but we did get to keep the red crab....which we ate for dinner. Being a smaller crab they are a pain to pick but they were yummy. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

12 Days of Christmas

This morning I blocked the shawl I spun and knit from the Inglenook Fibers 12 Days of Christmas spin-a-long. It's hard to see the colors sitting on the rubber squares plus the shadow of the house at the top of the picture but I'll get a better pictures on my mannequin once it's dried. It will be interesting to see how the asymmetrical shape works on the body.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

This and that......

Once again I've been missing in action - we had Sam's cousin Trish and her friend Ruth visiting from Virginia on their cross country adventure. On Friday we took them to Crater Lake (national park) with a stop at a quilt shop along the way.
This is a picture of the Rogue River Gorge which is in Union Creek on the way to Crater Lake. It's the only one I took which is unfortunate because the scenery is beautiful but then I can go up there anytime to see it.

Here is Crater Lake - look how blue that water is and yes, that's snow in the foreground. The entire drive around the lake isn't open yet due to snow - perhaps early July. It is the deepest lake in the US at 1949 feet and one of the most clear lakes in the world. It's volcanic caldera was formed 7700 years ago after the eruption of Mount Mazama. The elevation at the water is 6,178 ft, it's over 7000 ft where we were standing.

Here's a Clark's Nutcracker sitting on a tree in front of the lake - many thanks to birder friend Yvonne for identifying it for me, she used to work at the park so is very familiar with the birds there.

And what's a trip to Crater Lake, or anywhere out Rt 62 without a stop at Becky's Café for pie.

I'm going to be starting a long term project - a hexxie (hexagon) afghan quilt. And I'm going to use all fabrics in my stash - what a novel idea. I have tons of beachy fabrics. I'm using the same coral seahorse fabric for all the flower centers and I have 9 different fabrics in sea glass greens for the petals. The white background is a white on white design with all things beach related, can't see it in the photo. Originally I planned on doing two rows of flower petals but that would have meant I had to buy more fabric and my goal is to not buy anything other than more white quilting thread for this project - I even have a package of free batting won at the quilt show in May. Yesterday evening I decided to hand sew one section to see how it went before I start cutting out fabric and making up little kits for each section. This will be am on the go project for when riding in the car or waiting rooms, etc.

Here's the backside so one can see the paper pieces used to create the hexagons. As a piece gets surrounded I take out the pieces of cardstock as they can be reused. I saw a trick of punching a hole in the paper to make it easy to put a needle under to pull it out. Hand sewing this was very fun yesterday evening.

Friday, June 21, 2019


 I finally finished the gingko wall quilt.  It's fairly large - approx. 32" x 52" but once up on the wall it's looking small for that big wall....and only a portion of the wall is visible in this picture. I need to re-hang art on the left side so there's not quite as much blank space. Maybe eventually get some other small art to add. The quilt matches perfectly with the linen charcoal gray sectional.

 I agonized over making this quilt. I'm not an art quilter. I'm not even a quilter. I piece quilt tops and have someone with a long arm machine quilt them. And I had no pattern to work from - I got inspiration from all things gingko on the internet.

Rather than put a binding on the quilt I faced it. For hanging I got help from a neighbor who is an experienced quilter. She suggested putting fabric triangle pieces on the back in the corners and a sleeve in-between and use a metal slat (not sure what it's called) to slide in those sleeves & corners. Sam drilled a hole with a slot toward each edge to slide over screws in the wall. It worked perfectly.

 I used gingko stencils as my guide for the golden leaves. I drew them on paper, scanned them and then resized them on the computer to make patterns. It's hard to tell but the gold fabric is a batik printed with gingko leaves - that was from my stash, the background fabrics mostly bought from Jordan Fabrics but a few picked up elsewhere. If you don't know of Jordan Fabrics it's a great online and brick & mortar store. So many online tutorials and free patterns too. What a treasure to have just a few miles from home.

I free motion stitched the gingko leaves using variegated thread. Then using a gray thread I quilted gingkos in the background and in some places echo stitched. On a small sample this was easy - not so easy on my actual quilt as it was a lot to work with at my machine, a lot to be able to move around under the needle. So, my stitching is pretty wonky, I was distressed seeing the quality of my stitching but once up on the wall it looks fine.

Will I do free motion stitching again?  Yes, but only on small items - maybe small art quilts, placemats, table runners - anything larger is too much for me with my machine.

Now that I've finished this project which has held me up in my creative life I'll move back to the looms and some other quilt/sewing projects.

(afterthought - noticed in the picture that the quilt looks like it's hung crooked - Sam used a level......I might have to double check it for level, if it's right then it's the couch or the floor that's off!!!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Out of the heat.......

We escaped the heat for 5 days while the A/C was out - just over the coastal range 80 miles the temp was in the 60's with a breeze...…..rather a stiff wind.  It was a wonderful getaway and just what we needed.  The A/C was fixed as of yesterday, ice maker also working again and computer files retrieved from the beginning of time to August 2017, I can live with that.

In the next day or so I expect to get the hanging sleeve on my gingko quilt so it can be hung over the couch - photo to come once done.  I have some napkins to serge, a shawl finished while on the coast to block and then hopefully back to the looms.....also some yardwork/garden to be tended which I started on this morning.

Photo is of the labyrinth we walked Sunday morning while on the coast in Bandon. I didn't get a good pic of the entire thing. For those of you who get the AAA magazine there's a photo of one of Denny's labyrinths inside the back cover.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What the ??? I don't use profanity but you know what I mean......

This is how I'm feeling this morning.  105 degree temp yesterday and the A/C went out early evening, temp today predicted to be 103. This house gets no shade so it heats up. The A/C went out within the first month after we bought this house last summer but we had a one year home warranty compliments of our realtor so it was fixed - dual compacitor needed to be replaced.....that happened when the temps were well over 100 also.  Well here we go again. We did have the option to pay for another year of the home warranty so we did since the A/C and furnace are original to the house. Right now we're waiting for a call back to schedule a repairman. It would be great if it was the entire unit that needed replacing rather than just one more part. 

On the computer/lost data front - we did have a ghost image of my old computer in the safe deposit box from August 2017.  So, I have everything up until that date, I think...... The hard drive is still being analyzed to see if we can recover everything which would include the past two years.  Yep, going to have back up drives to my back up drives in the future......since the back up external hard drive failed in addition to the one in the computer. When did life get so complicated???

This is a picture I took recently when we took family to Wildlife Safari. This guy was just inches from my camera. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Life can suck at times........

I've been absent from my blog as life has gotten in the way and I don't have too much to share.  We did have family visiting and had a great time with them doing some fun activities like jet boat rides on the river, going to Wildlife Safari, the coast and just catching up. Sunday I made 2 batches of strawberry jam and one of strawberry/blueberry jam. This is the only photo I have to share at the moment.....you'll see why below.

I have been working here and there on my gingko quilted wallhanging - only snippets of time but as of yesterday I've finally got the entire thing free motion quilted. Now I need to trim it up and add a facing onto it as I don't want a traditional quilt binding....then the hanging sleeve.

Disaster struck (why life sucks at times) Friday morning when my desktop computer wouldn't boot up - the computer that has my life on it. Long story short the hard drive failed...….automatic external  back-up drive also recently failed....and the power supply was going. So, I guess backing up my files on the external hard drive wasn't enough, I should have had a back up to that. This affects everything - personal files, business files & artwork, artwork, photographs, everything...….well, almost everything, I've got my weaving software files and embroidery machine files on the laptop that I back up on thumb drives. When something pops into my head that I may have lost tears come to my eyes, like all my photos of Bailey. So, new desktop computer bought but no files on it yet. IT guy at Sam's office worked on it but can't retrieve them off my old hard drive or back-up drive so they're now at a local computer store but no guarantee. We did have a ghost of the computer made 2 years ago in the safety deposit box so that's with Sam at work now with hopes he can pull files off that so then I will have only lost the last 2 years worth of files. Not good but way better than losing 25+ years worth. (No, my computer wasn't 25 years old, just files transferred from computer to computer over the years)

I did have some other pictures to share but they have been downloaded to the new desktop and that's at the office at the moment so I don't have access to them.

Maybe I'll get more time soon to create more that I'd like to share here but alas, more family coming to visit soon (a good thing) so it will be a while...….

Friday, May 17, 2019

Before and after.......

The kitchen remodel is almost finished.  I've got some before and after photos.....

BEFORE - Looking at the kitchen from the kitchen nook (computer nook). It's not evident in the photos but these cabinets were below builder grade quality, many of the drawers falling apart, shelves bowing and very short uppers. Countertops were granite tile - I hate grout in kitchens. The sink was scarred. We had already removed one light fixture - it was a sight to behold - a huge ornate dining room chandelier which we replaced with the fan - that light over the sink came down later. There's my sweet Bailey in this picture taken right before kitchen demo - brings tears to my eyes.

AFTER - Here's the after from the same angle.  The faucet isn't in yet as the epoxy or whatever it is needs to cure on the under mount sink - faucet, garbage disposal and dishwasher hookup be finished today by Sam. The new lighting over the sink is up. We kept all the same appliances as they are practically new. That horrible carpet will be going eventually - it's nasty.

BEFORE - Here's looking toward the fridge.

AFTER - So much better - the fridge now looks like it belongs. We haven't decided on a backsplash yet - I have a feeling it will take a while to figure that one out. I just know I want something relatively simple and not busy/fussy. Our new granite is mostly black with white running through it like a reverse marble - just a tiny bit of sparkle. What a pleasure to have knobs and drawer pulls - the old cabinets had none and were a pain to open.

BEFORE - Looking toward the sink.

AFTER: Now looking toward the sink - so much nicer. This house has high ceilings throughout except the kitchen nook where there's a dropped coffered ceiling - see it to the left in the photo. It's a monstrosity - it's horrible - it's going......it might be the next project, there's also the gas fireplace reno before next winter, it's very old and puts out no heat plus the mantle is weird made out of drywall - it's far in the background.

BEFORE - And here's the stove wall. So, why in the world didn't they extend those cabinets all the way to the top???  The builder was being cheap is my thought. And look at that cord coming from the back of the gas stove to plug it in. Why in the world wasn't there a plug behind the stove??? There is now.

AFTER - This picture is pretty dramatic. So much better........and no cord coming up from behind the stove. After we do all the other work involving drywall, the drop ceiling and fireplace, and walls will be painted a light gray, baseboards white. I hate painting anymore so not looking forward to that.

We generally do all reno work ourselves to save money but the kitchen was a place we had to rely on others like KA Designs for our locally made cabinets and Umpqua Stone for our granite. But Sam did do all the drywall repair work from where the old backsplash was removed and tore up the walls, he also did electrical and plumbing work and built up the floors to match the wood floor height underneath the cabinets as that wasn't done before which makes it impossible to remove/replace appliances. We'll do the backsplash ourselves once we have time to explore tile options and audition them.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

How does your garden grow.........

 My garden is doing great - we've been eating lettuce out of it for a few weeks now, I think I can pick kale and swiss chard this week - everything else is growing gangbusters but not ready to pick other than a few strawberries here and there.

 I think this is a lilac, does anyone know for sure?  it doesn't look like the lilacs I'm used to but does look like a variety of them. There were two scrawny bushes that I didn't want to get rid of last fall since the birds liked to sit in them while resting from feeding at the birdfeeders.  I'm so glad we didn't pull them up - two lilacs...or something similar to a lilac.

And does anyone know, is this a honeysuckle?  The flower looks like one but the honeysuckles I grew up with back east didn't have a cluster of flowers like this, they were just individual flowers on the vines. This was also a scrawny looking bush on the side yard, I cut it back this spring and it's doing incredible now, nice and full and loaded with flowers.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there whether it's to two legged or four legged critters.

Update - friends Teresa & Jon from the coast said that is a lilac and a lonicera honeysuckle - I'll be marking them with metal tags....many thanks

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Eye candy.....

 I decided to start knitting an asymmetrical shawl using the Inglenook Fibers 12 Days of Christmas fiber that I spun. You can check out the progress of the spinning starting Christmas day 2018 here on the blog. I'm now into knitting color #3, soon I'll be knitting color #4. The progression will be moving to golds, greens and even black. This ball will just get into the gold, then I have another huge ball that continues with the golds and others.

My roses are covered with hundreds & hundreds of buds, some blooming. Yesterday I cut a vase full to bring inside. I am so excited to have roses - never could have them at past homes as the deer loved to eat them. I snapped a few outside pix this morning......enjoy.

Thursday, May 2, 2019


I've been sampling with free motion quilting for the gingko wall hanging. I got pretty discouraged the other day thinking I bit off more than I can chew, not just thinking, knowing that it's beyond me without a lot of time spent getting over the learning curve. I'm not sure what I was thinking as everything takes time to learn.

So here are some samples (not the actual fabric) of free motion quilting, it's easier using small pieces and still looks bad. The wall hanging will be 38"x53" - not as easy to maneuver at the machine.  I've gotten a lot of advise from friends & quilters and think I'm going with quilter/spinner/weavers friend Diane from Idaho's advise......

.....I'm going to hand quilt it. Here's a sample where I did just a bit of hand quilting and I already like it better. I may go with gray thread in the gingko instead of gold like I was originally thinking - will stitch a few lines with gold thread before deciding. I'm going to quilt gingko silhouettes in the background - I started on one on the right hand side although it difficult to see in this photo. If I had ever thought I'd hand quilt this I wouldn't have fused down the gingkoes but too late now, will just be a bit harder to stitch on the leaves. So, this is now turning into a time consuming project but in the end I'll be happier......and now I need to go out and get myself a quilting frame, not a big expensive one, just one of those hoops on a stand. Next up I need to check if I have a piece of batting big enough, get to the fabric store for backing fabric and buy a thimble - I have a small thimble collection but they aren't the kind I'd actually use.

But first I'm going to put things away in my new upper kitchen cabinets. They've finally been installed and we're now awaiting granite installation on the 15th. I can load up the uppers but will wait on the lowers as granite dust may get into the lower cabinets during install day. We've been living many more weeks than anticipated without a kitchen. Before and after pictures once it's done.

The garden is growing - I picked my first lettuce yesterday, so exciting.  The rose bushes are covered with hundreds of buds, there are many very close to opening up. I've never had roses before so this is also exciting.

It's a beautiful day here in SW Oregon - hoping for many more before 'smoke season' aka fire season arrives. Keeping fingers crossed that it's not as bad this year and we aren't socked in by smoke all summer.

Now it's time to put on my current audio book and work on the kitchen - A Breath of Snow & Ashes - book #6 in the Outlander series.  It's a big commitment at something like 38 discs.....I had been away from it for almost 2 weeks until yesterday when I listened to 4 discs while stitching.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Lovely day......

It's been a lovely day - 70's with a stiff breeze...perfect for working outside and never feeling hot.  A lot of weeding happened today along the rose bushes, grapes, fruit trees and all the abundance of gravel we have in the side yards. We also hung old plates in the rose garden, and outside art on the house at the deck. Below is the garden as of this afternoon. Sam built the pvc structure recently to hold bird netting since I watched the birds eat every single seed and starter plant I put out there. Now they can't get them. We've got lettuces, strawberries and the tiny starts of radishes, beets, kale, spinach and green beans. There's space for tomato & pepper plants which I may pick up this week, maybe a cucumber, maybe not.......

Yesterday I was invited to ride up to the Umpqua Valley Quilt Show with 3 other fiber fans.  It's a much bigger quilt show than those down here - lovely exhibit, more vendors and they've even got full fledged classes over the 3 days.

Yes, this pic is turned sideways - not sure why when I take pictures with my camera if I don't hold it right the photos are sideways and there's nothing I can do about it.  I work on them in a photo editing program, they look correct but when they load onto the blog they're still sideways. Still kicking myself for not taking my camera. Always love a good Dresden plate...........

....and here's another......

....loved this, photo doesn't do it justice.....

....this was impressive, not sure how many pieces there are but they're teeny tiny......

....wool applique, something I want to learn......on a small scale......

Today I was sampling free motion quilting of gingkos for my wall quilt......very discouraged thinking I bit off more than I can chew since the only free motion quilting I've ever done was in a 1 1/2 hour beginner class. I'll do more sampling but I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull off the project - I may have to come up with a Plan B......

Sunday, April 21, 2019


 New toddlers behind us and are they ever vocal looking for their moms. We were on the coast for a few days and came back to find them yesterday. Older cows are being very patient and trying to show them the ropes but I did see what looked like a look of disgust from one at the constant moo'ing. One of the older cows did shoo away a tom turkey that was causing the toddlers distress - they haven't figured out yet that they're much bigger than the turkeys. I need to think up names for them - right now I just call them sweet boys when I talk to them - they are very interested in me talking to them but it only last for a minute or so before they're back to crying for momma.

 The gingko tree we planted last fall has leaves emerging - they're only around 1/4" right now, all over the tree, so glad it's doing so well, was worried about it during the winter.

I spotted this bleeding heart with thanks to another weaving for identifying it even without a photo. Around 2 weeks ago I almost pulled the plant out of the ground - it looked like a weed, only a few inches tall. I'm so glad I didn't pull it up, now it's around a foot tall and has many of these heart shaped blooms. From reading about them it sounds like it will go dormant come the heat of summer so I need to enjoy it now. I'll mark where it is so I don't accidently plant over top it.

Saturday, April 13, 2019