Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holiday Madness

And I mean mad. But, those who know me would be very proud of the fact that I kept my cool in spite of myself. Here I was, minding my own business, sitting in my car on a quiet Wailuku side street, getting ready to eat my slice of pizza and read a little of my library book on my lunch hour.

Then, from the front of my car arose such a clatter!

Turns out a guy in a 4WD Toyota Tacoma, who was turning right at the stop sign ahead (mind you, I am parked neatly at the curb an entire FOUR spaces away from said stop sign) ran over my front fender!

Thankfully he stopped, but only reluctantly gave me his insurance information. Apparently, according to his girlfriend she didn't like the tone I used as I was speaking to them. I was actually quite calm and cool about it since there didn't appear to be any serious damage that Bruce wouldn't be able to fix. But what kind of tone are you supposed to use when someone crashes into you as you are quietly eating your lunch? She just didn't want to let me see the insurance card, which I insisted upon and carefully wrote down in my date book - she was just mad because I wouldn't let her write it in MY BOOK herself. When I asked her for her phone number again SHE wanted to write it down. I told her that I wasn't illiterate and could do it myself. Really, that was my only snarky comment the entire time! I also refrained from calling them idiots for being, well, IDIOTS!

I'll take my car home and have Bruce take a look. I'm sure the tire treads will come off with a little rubbing compound.

Alls well that ends well. But seriously, be careful out there!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Honu goes to "Road"

I received my acceptance letter for "Honu" to go to Road to California on Saturday! I was getting a little worried since they said letters were going out the last week in November, and figured that maybe he wasn't going to get in, but he did after all.

He is packed in my California box waiting to go by FedEx tomorrow. Bruce and I are going to the mainland on December 21st for my Mom's 60th birthday, Christmas and New Year's! This is our first holiday season on the mainland since we moved to Maui.

The California box has most of the Christmas gifts, the "outlaw" toiletries not allowed in carry-on bags, and Honu in his pillowcase and plastic bag right on top. Turns out we will be driving right through Upland on our way to San Bernardino to visit my Uncle Jim, so he gets to be hand-delivered to the contest.

I have to admit I was shocked at the return shipping charges imposed by Road - either $55 or $125 depending on the size/weight of your box. I DO appreciate the fact that they send by FedEx (my carrier of choice), but if quilt shows keep imposing inflexible return shipping options (IQA Houston did this year - I think to the tune of $65?), there are going to be a lot less quilts available for shows. I sent Honu to NQA last June for about $24 - via FedEx. It should be the choice of the entrant how the quilt should be returned. You have to weigh the risks/benefits/costs on your choice of shipping and plan accordingly. Thankfully, for me, my Mom is picking him up at the end of the show and sending him home a less expensive way.

Now, I've never taken down a quilt show, nor had to ship hundreds of quilts in a short time frame, so I have no idea of the logistics of such, but maybe if you require the entrant to send the quilt with a pre-paid return method, maybe everyone can be happy?

Friday, December 08, 2006

New Blog Header

I finally got off my duff and personalized my blog header. In case you don't recognize the background, it's from my Honu quilt.

Thanks to Brenda for her Blog Banner Tutorial. I've had it bookmarked for months. It was informative and super easy to follow. She even had a few pointers to help correct any goofs.

I also recently purchased Adobe Photo Elements 5.0, so my pictures should start looking spiffier. I've been a long-time user of Photoshop, but really found it to be cumbersome since I don't use it all the time. Elements helped me tune things up quickly and easily. I can't wait to do more with it!

I'll be making more updates soon, with new links and a longer blog list. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa's Workshop

This is the version of the Amy Butler Swing Bag I made for my secret pal, Durlyn Finnie. It's the basic bag, but quilted with Superior glitter thread in a gorgeous aqua color and embellished with beads.

I've always loved beads and have a modest collection, but I've begun using them more and more lately. I especially love bead mixes like the ones I used on this bag. I got this particular mix from a booth at the 2005 Pacific International Quilt Festival. She had beautiful assortments, but my budget only allowed for one. I can't remember the name of the booth, but will post it later if it comes to me.

Hawaii Quilting Bloggers, Where Are You?

A thought crossed my mind today as I was skimming some blogs. Where are all the Hawaii quilting bloggers? I have a hard time believing that only Robin (Quilt Antics) and I are the only ones!

So, if you have a quilt-related blog and live in Hawaii (or know of someone who does) let me know and I'll link you on mine. If we get enough, maybe we can create our own ring. And if you don't have one, START ONE! They are free and easy. And FUN!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

Well, I had a bad cold, then fell in the parking lot - SPLAT - at Borders yesterday. But rather than bore you with all the sorry details, I will tell you that I have some quilt content coming! Between bouts of sneezing and pining for sympathy, I worked like a crazy woman in Santa's workshop last night to get things ready for tonight's guild meeting and Secret Pal Reveal.

I've had a lot of fun with Secret Pal's this year. I had a good one to give to, and a very good one giving to ME. I'll find out who she is tonight.

So, stay (and more artsy fartsy stuff) are coming!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Going to AQT 2007

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I received a call from Judy at Art Quilt Tahoe letting me know that I won the 2007 AQT scholarship!

I've wanted to go to AQT or Asilomar for years but was never able to make it work with my schedule or budget. Then I saw that AQT offered a scholarship for one student each year and decided that I would apply.

As I partly explained in my essay, learning more advanced techniques and networking with other art quilters and teachers is virtually impossible in Hawaii. We get so few mainland teachers and there are only small numbers of quilters here who are interested in pursuing shows, lectures and events as a participant. That's not to say that there isn't interest in quilting here; after all, most of the islands have at least one guild and there is quite an active and involved community, just on a different level.

I am utterly thrilled that I have been given this opportunity to go next year! It seems like it will take forever for next November to get here, but I know it will be here before I know it. Who knows what other exciting things are in store for 2007?

I've signed up for Carol Taylor's class. Visit her website at I'm hoping to soak up more color sense, learn more improvisational piecing techniques (I love to piece the backgrounds for most of my quilts), and master facings. Plus have FUN FUN FUN! I'm sure I'll have more to post about this class as I prepare for it through the year. I can't wait!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Too Much To Do

Last weekend went by in a flash. We managed to get some housework and other chores done which was a relief considering nothing was done when we had company last week.

On Saturday we got down to the beach for three hours and it was heavenly. Cody loves his beach time, and so do we. Last year for Christmas we got two brand new beach chairs from Costco (thanks Dad and Karen!), and we more recently purchased beach umbrellas - now we can spend as long as we like even if we can't find a tree for shade. We never thought we'd be beach umbrella types, but since I've had two skin cancers removed we try to spend most of our time in the shade (slathered in sunscreen, of course!).

Bruce and I cooked a pre-Thanksgiving turkey on Sunday. I thought I'd get all kinds of things done while it was in the oven roasting, but we used a Cooks Illustrated recipe that requires you to turn the bird during cooking. So, between the clean up, prep for the gravy and turning the bird, it was a constant three-hour extravaganza. Definitely worth it, though, because the bird was gorgeous and the gravy was heavenly. FYI - cooking turkey is a scary deal these days, so to avoid those nasty food-borne illnesses cook your turkey unstuffed and buy yourself a good-quality (meaning it will probably cost between $15 and $20) instant-read thermometer so you know your poultry is at the correct temperature (165 for the breast, 175 for the thigh/leg).

Tonight I have to sit down and make a very serious to-do list for all the things that need to get done between now and Christmas, since, TA DA, we are going to the mainland for Christmas this year! This is the first year in the 15 years we've been in Hawaii that we will be celebrating the holidays on the mainland, and we are very excited.

The days are going to fly by before we know it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

GOOD Things Happen in Threes

My adrenalin hasn't slowed since last Thursday, when I found out about the coffee quilt. And, boy, does it leave you exhausted at the end of the day!

Thursday was the win at the Kona Coffee Quilt Contest. Then, on Saturday, I received a call from Coleen at Viewpoints Gallery with the news that I've again been invited to show at next year's Celebration of Hawaii multi-media art show in February.

Then, yesterday afternoon, I got the news that I am the 2007 scholarship award recipient for Art Quilt Tahoe! I almost fell out of my chair. How great is THAT?

I am still floating on cloud 9 and probably will be for awhile.

I haven't been posting recently because we've had company this week, but I'll be back soon. I'm thoroughly motivated to get back in the studio and get some things done.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Kona Winds Take the Blue!

I did it! Kona Winds took the Blue Ribbon at the Kona Coffee Festival Quilt Contest! I'm celebrating with family and friends this weekend, so I'll report more soon. Just had to share the good news.

You can see more information about the contest if you CLICK HERE.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Doing the Right Thing

I'm not much for going back and doing things over. If I'm working on a quilt and something isn't coming out just right, sometimes I will leave it. I guess that's why I prefer applique to piecing, since it doesn't have to be so precise.

However, there is a spot on the agapanthus quilt that is really bothering me, so I'm going to have to go back and fix it. My original intention with the black and white background was to start with the really light (mostly white) B&W's at the top, moving to the more saturated dark (mostly black) fabrics toward the plants for a shaded effect, but I'm finding that the blacks are too dark and competing with the plants.

Can you see what I'm talking about in this picture? It's the area on the lower right.

I think I'm going to replace those 6 or 7 pieces with something a little lighter. I know I will be happier. I want this quilt to come out just right!

Fabric for Landscapes

Every Thursday our group meets at the mall for lunch and a visit to the fabric shop. Yesterday we were treated to a preview of the new batch of Hoffman Balis that had just been delivered to the shop. They weren't even out of the wrappers yet! We were like kids at Christmas. Here are some of my selections:
The Greens

The Browns

The one at the bottom center reminds me of pheasant feathers.

You know you are really into fabric and quilting when you can't resist the new stock!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

ArtShare Meme

I'm joining up with Joanne for the ARTShare meme. The first FIVE bloggers who sign up on this post will get an actual piece of art from me. It could be a watercolor, postcard or something new. We'll exchange address info by email and the little gift of art will wing it's way to you. The only requirement: then you must post the ArtShare info on your blog and send art to five bloggers.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trying to Read

Reading goes in cycles for me. I use my library card religiously because, as my mom says, I “use them up too quickly.” “Them” being books. It’s true because if I’m reading something I like I can finish a novel in less than a week – less time if I don’t have to go to work. And these days, at the astounding non-sale price of $35 for a hardcover, that’s an expensive habit.

I recently read through the entire Henry VIII sagas of Phillipa Gregory, from Katherine of Aragon to Elizabeth. They were entertaining and interesting especially since all I knew about the period was that he beheaded Anne Boleyn. Now at least I know why. But by the time I got to Elizabeth (The Virgin’s Lover), I ran out of steam. Half way through the book I didn’t care about her or what happened at the end. So I took it back to the library.

The same holds true for Charles Frazier’s latest, “Thirteen Moons.” I don’t usually read books about male protagonists, but I loved “Cold Mountain” so I thought I would enjoy this one too. NOT. Barely one chapter into it, and I don’t care about this character at all, so it goes back to the library tomorrow.

That’s another nice thing about the library – no buyer’s remorse! I’ll continue to add books to my request list and see what happens. If you’ve read something lately that you liked, let me know. I’ve found some great reads on the QA ring. Here are some of my recent favorites, in no particular order:

The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
The Money Dragon, Pam Chun
Mistress of Spices, Chitra Divakaruni
Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl
Crazy with Curry, Amulya Malladi
The Other Boleyn Girl, Phillipa Gregory
Art of Mending, Elizabeth Berg

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Camping and Fishing

I mentioned that Bruce went camping and fishing last weekend on Lanai. So, for those camping and fish buffs, here's a couple of great shots from the weekend:

The beach at Hulopo`e bay where they camped:

View of Maui from the top of the 4x4 trail:

The fabulous boat "Kila Kila" that they fished on:

And the 200 lb Marlin they caught:

A good time was had by all!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mini Retreat Weekend

Bruce went camping and fishing on Lanai with the guys - left Sunday morning and comes back Tuesday. Since I worked on Saturday, I took Monday off in exchange and ended up with a nice two-day mini retreat weekend.

My big plan was to get a huge chunk of my agapanthus quilt done, which I've had set aside for a couple of months while I worked on quilts with closer deadlines. And I have to report that it was a success! this is a picture of the background I've completed so far.

As I worked on this quilt I fell in love with it all over again. And it's a good thing, too, since it requires very painstaking work. I'm piecing the entire background using Ruth McDowell's technique. Once it's done I'll move on to the hand applique of the flower blossoms. Here's a closeup of the lower left: I'm especially happy with the "dirt".

One "find" I have to report. I recently purchased the Clover glass head pins and they are wonderful! Super fine, long and SHARP! They are my new favorite. Pricey, but I found that I didn't really need more than one box, even for the longest seams.

Look how nice and flat the piece lays when pinned. Watch out for your finger tips, though, because these babies are super sharp (but isn't that what you want in a pin?).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Super Zig-Zag Redeemed

My Honu quilt arrived safe and sound at home yesterday along with the judge’s comments from PIQF:

  • Lovely fabric choices and beautiful colors
  • Satin stitch well executed and enhances design
  • Asymmetric frame adds interest

The one comment that I especially like is the one about the satin stitch. You might recall my chagrin regarding a comment awhile back (see my Judge’s Comments post). The intent of this stitch, which Sonji refers to as “super zig-zag,” is not to be the smooth, closed satin stitch, but something a bit more open and organic (Joan’s word – perfect!). This time they understood my intent and I’m glad.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Amusing Myself with Words

On one of the email forums I belong to someone posted a very offensive, definitely not-quilt-related (NQR) piece of spam to the list. The list is supposed to be used for quilt-related discussions only and stays pretty true with the occasional drift “down the tangent highway” as my friend Keri would say. Politics and religion are strictly forbidden.

Periodically we forget ourselves and post inappropriate things, which usually starts a literal firestorm of finger-shaking, heavy sighing, and even some nasty scolding. Although I usually restrain myself from commenting and delete those items I find irritating or offensive, today I got up the nerve to post a mildly scolding comment – which brings me to my amusement.

Those who know me well know that I am a word freak. I am an avid reader, newspaper devourer, and merciless Scrabble player. I am the person who finds the typo in every TV commercial (like the ROSS Christmas commercial that spelled “stationery” with an “ary”), restaurant menu (it’s “Caesar” salad, not Ceasar!), and billboard sign. I’ve also learned over the years that it’s not particularly good manners (or very nice) to point these things out when I find them. But I digress.

In thinking up a suitable word to describe spam (the email, not the food), the word “dreck” instantly came to mind. Now, being the word freak I am, I looked up the spelling at to make sure I got it right – and had a really good laugh at the definition:

dreck – noun, Slang:

1. excrement, dung.

2. worthless trash; junk

WOW! Now if that isn’t the perfect synonym for spam, I don’t know what is. I was especially amused at “worthless trash; junk.”

Another word that popped into my head was “drivel.” You don’t hear that word much these days unless, perhaps, you run with a very literary crowd, or someone who is British. Drivel’s definitions were also appropriate:

drivel – noun, verb (esp. British):

1. saliva flowing from the mouth or mucus from the nose; slaver (eeewwww!)

2. childish, silly or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle

Twaddle?! Bet you don’t hear that word everyday, or any day for that matter:

twaddle – noun

1. trivial, feeble, silly, or tedious talk or writing.

So the next time you are looking for an appropriate word to describe some spam, try dreck, drivel, or twaddle.

I’d better wrap this up before it slides down the twaddly slope. Is that a word? You bet it is!

Monday, October 16, 2006

"Shaken" Update

Bruce and I grew up in Southern California so we are no strangers to earthquakes. We've even had a couple mild ones here over the years - the most recent one centered off the island of Lana'i - that gave us a jiggle. Yesterday's shake, however, was much different.

It started off as a small rumble and I thought, "Oh, we're having an earthquake," as I stood at the counter ready to make breakfast. I even gripped the edge of the counter, because it was a little startling. But it continued, and the whole house began to sway and shake. Cody began to bark and I ran over to the doorway, and it still continued. It was actually over 20 seconds long at 6.6. Long enough and strong enough for you to work up a good fear that maybe the house wasn't going to stay standing. But it did. Thank God. Within the hour we felt what we thought was a good aftershock, yet turned out to be earthquake #2 at 5.8. We didn't feel #3, the 4-pointer, because we were on the road.

Our next concern was for Tsunami danger, even though we were safe Upcountry (at about 1,500 ft elevation), but we still waited for the siren warning which never came. It knocked out our electricity so we brought out the transistor radio, but many of our local radio stations were off the air due to the power outage. We kept flipping channels and listening and finally caught the news that no tsunami had been generated. Another sigh of relief.

Maui sustained minimal damage, some rockslides, etc. Our house is fine, but my nerves were frazzled for most of the day and my adrenalin didn't subside until about 3:00 p.m. I had a nice cocktail before dinner and that finally smoothed the rough edges. (I should have had the vodka in my orange juice at breakfast like Bruce suggested!)

The Big Island was hit hard and there is a lot of damage, but I don't know the specifics except what I see on the news. We made Good Morning America this morning, and of course it's all over our local news and newspapers. For more details, try:

KITV-4 News (our best station) at
Honolulu Advertiser at

They have the best websites for news and information.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends and family on the Big Island. Stay Safe!


We are OK - a very intense shake for us on Maui, but very little damage and none for us personally. Thank you all for asking and for your warm wishes, thoughts and prayers. I will post more details soon.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Judge's Choice!

My "Honu" quilt won a Judge's Choice ribbon at the Pacific International Quilt Festival this weekend! My friend, Keri, is at the show with her booth, Keri Designs, and called me to report on the award.

She says it's a beautiful show and, so far, very well attended. You can see a complete list of winners HERE. And congratulations to my next door QA blog ring neighbor, Judy Coates Perez, for her First Place win in the Innovative Division.

It's a weekend to celebrate!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Reducing and Reorganizing the Stash

I finally found a store on Maui that carries the IRIS wide chests in black!

I have my fabric stored in these drawers (have for years) and I really like them. My stash was starting to outgrow the two drawer sets I had, so I wanted another set of 5. See how crammed it was? Every drawer was full to the brim.

Well, I think I've waited about 3 years, but now I have them. I spent the weekend sorting, purging and rearranging my fabric.

As I was doing this, Bruce said, "Now don't look at every single piece of fabric...just get it put away?" He smiled as he said this, of course, because he knew that was exactly what I intended to do!

I merged all of my batiks back into the regular population because I find myself using a mixture of all fabrics when I do my work and it's nice to know what colors I have or don't have. I have tons of green, but very little hot pink/fuschia. Purple and magenta share a drawer. Lots of brown, but less blue. Each drawer has its own color, and in the case of green three drawers. Here's a glance of how they look now, still full but not crammed and nice and NEAT!

And in this last picture you can see the bags of fabric I have sorted for my friends sitting on the top. The only thing I have to do now is sort the three green drawers by value and I'll be done.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Show Deadlines

I'm standing at the ironing board this morning ironing a shirt to wear to work. My mind is wandering. I look up at my bulletin board and see the PIQF entry information and think, "Hmm, sure would be nice to go to PIQF since it's on my birthday. Oh well, maybe next year." Then, I think, "Wow, I can't believe my birthday is next week already."


I look at the entry form and it says, "quilts should arrive between Thursday, October 5, and no later than Monday, October 9."

Good thing the quilt is ready to go. I rush to get my pillowcase, plastic bag and, wait, I don't have a box! Get dressed, leave for work and stop at Mailboxes Etc. to get a box. Said box costs $5.35 - hand Christine my credit card and she says, "Sorry, no charges under $10." YIKES! I show her I don't have any checks in my wallet and only $2 decrepit ones. She very nicely allows me to charge. Zip over to FedEx. Three choices: tomorrow am, tomorrow pm or Monday. Monday is $23.00 - half as much as tomorrow. I choose Monday even though I internally balk at having it get there on the last possible day.

Phew, just made it. I must have had my head in the clouds this week. What was I thinking? I obviously wasn't.

Better make sure the coffee quilt gets in the mail tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Poli Poli Afternoon

I had to drive up to Kula Lodge to pick up a donation from Curtis Wilson Cost for our upcoming Boys & Girls Club golf tournament. What a nice task!

I stopped at home and picked up Bruce and Cody, and after the task was done we decided to drive to Poli Poli State Park to let Cody have a little run.

The clouds were moving in and it was misty and cool - just like I imagine fall to be in certain places right now. Quite a difference from the 88 degree heat and humidty that keeps hanging on.

Of course, I was dressed for work and had totally inappropriate shoes on for hiking (Dansko slippers with 2 inch heels - see left), but happily trudged through the tall grass to get some pictures of our happy dog.

Cody flushed a ringneck pheasant (wish I had gotten that shot, but alas no), then ran around like the crazy happy dog he is.

Round Robin Unveiling

We had our round robin and "stash busters" unveiling last night at our guild meeting. We used the 3M sticky hooks and large binder clips to hang the quilts up. It brought us back to the early days when we had quilts displayed all over the room. After numerous contraptions this was relatively easy. All we have to do is remove the hook part at the end of the meeting. If the room manager ever gets tired of the brackets on the wall, they can be removed easily too. Hopefully, he won't though.

In the first view (top picture - from left) you can see Elyn's red and white stash quilt, then my round robin, then Joan's, then Melissa's.

From left, Penny's RR, then Shel's, then one of Shel's stash quilts.

It was a well-received presentation and Shel did a wonderful job pulling it all together. Now we're on to our next challenge to make a quilt using the fabrics we purchased at the party to end our stash diet. Those are due in February. Mine, a Turning 20 quilt using Kaffe Fasset fabrics, is ready to be quilted so I am ahead of the game for once.

The other fabulous news: Lura Schwarz-Smith is coming to Maui for a 3-day workshop at the end of May. Whoo-hoo! The guild also voted on approving contracts for Bonnie McCaffrey in April and another quilter in July. Looks like a fun year coming up!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Visitor 10,000!

Who are you? I know these few facts from SiteMeter:
      • You are an AOL subscriber
      • You live somewhere in the UTC-5:00 time zone (same as Chicago)
      • You spent 3 minutes on my site and viewed 5 pages (that's very flattering...thanks!)
      • I think it was about 11:30 a.m. my time this morning, which would be 5:30 p.m. your time?
If you recognize yourself here, email me at so I can send you a little prize. (I got this idea from Brenda at Serendipity Patchwork - thanks Brenda!)

Thank you for reading me, everyone! I'll try to keep it interesting so you keep coming back.

Much aloha, Dianna

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cody Smiles for the Camera

Here's our big boy who just turned 1! He is a great dog, even though he recently chewed down our lemon tree.

He always has a cheerful disposition - never growls or snaps - good traits for a dog.

Happy Birthday, Cody! We love you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Round Robin Nearly Done.

Wow. It's been almost 3 years since we started this project and our group has grown so close! At next month's guild meeting we're going to unveil our completed RRs (quilted, bound and everything!), then share a bit about our "crazy eights" challenge (remember our fabric buying hiatus?).

I think I'm still going to name this quilt "electric Amish." It's gone through a couple of transformations since I got it back, but I think my group will like it! I'm trying to decide if I need to quilt more between the green vines in the background (maybe echo in black - I don't want too much more going on here).

I also need to finish the quilting in the flower centers, etc. I've got one week left. YIKES! Good thing it's small.

Going to PIQF

Honu is going to PIQF! I'm busy getting his entry ready for Road to California, too. Must send it tomorrow to get there in time for the October 1 deadline.

Here's a new closeup:

Hope he has a good trip!

Accepted - Kona Coffee Quilt Contest!

Kona Winds has been juried into the 2006 Kona Coffee Quilt Contest! I'm sending it off to the Big Island of Hawaii next week. It will be on display during the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, November 3-12. For more information on the quilt show, visit their website: Kona Coffee Quilt Contest. This year I think Bruce and I might get to go. It will be fun for him (coffee) and fun for me (quilts).

Bruce's New Quilt - Finished!

Finally! Quilt related pictures and a blog update. As you can see, I've been busy getting this quilt finished. It was easy in some respects (Log Cabin pattern), but sewing with flannels is an interesting challenge. Flannels aren't the flimsy cheap stuff they used to be. The new Bali flannels are thick and gorgeous, with minimal shrinkage (the ones I used are from Sew Batik and Equilter. They are difficult to cut, however, almost like cutting through Polar Fleece! On the advice of my friend, Shel, I used my walking foot for piecing which helped keep things smooth.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Call Me a Quitter

Yes, I meant quitter even though that is the commonly typo'ed word for quilter.

Today I quit soda, Starbuck's and junk food. I've done this before and, in combination with running, lost 20 lbs. Well, now I have 30lbs to lose, so the job will be a bit harder, but it all starts with just saying NO.

Cody and I took our first 40 minute walk this morning, with a little bit of running on the side. At the end he was panting heavily and I was sweating, so I know we worked it!

I am fiercely determined when I want to be, and I want to be back to my slim, healthy self. So, in the immortal words of Nike, I'm going to:

Just Do It.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Philosophy 101

Bruce and I took Cody up to the "forest" on Sunday for a nice afternoon walk. It was the perfect place to cool off after a hot and humid day.

While we were walking we were talking about this and that and various things we've seen or heard that completely amaze or perplex us. After one particular subject he said, "Sometimes you just have to look at something and say, 'that's really f***ed up!' and go on to the next thing."

It struck me as funny and quite smart, actually. Why dwell on the bad stuff? Just say that and move on to the next.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some Thoughts about Food

I saw this meme on Joanne's blog. I don't do this very often, but food is very close to my heart, SO:

  • How do you like your eggs? Over easy or poached. The yolks better be runny and the whites better be cooked, or else!
  • How do you take your coffee/tea? Tea: Lipton or Tazo Zen (green), straight, hot in winter and cold in summer. I've only recently started appreciating coffee and prefer the "sissy" drinks from Starbucks, but will have black with cream.
  • Favorite breakfast foods. Everything. I love breakfast. Eggs Benedict (original with ham), hash browns (the shredded kind, but only if cooked just right - crispy on the outside and tender on the inside), oatmeal in winter with or without fruit and nuts, orange juice, and CEREAL - I love cereal. If I'm feeling like a kid, then Lucky Charms, Coco Puffs or Corn Pops (which used to be called Sugar Corn Pops, remember?). If I feel like I need to be good, then Go Lean Crunch, Raisin Bran, etc. Donuts - but we don't have good cake donuts here. I miss Winchell's white cake with white icing or colored sprinkles or chocolate with chocolate icing and coconut. I can thank my Dad for that - he used to bring them home after work when I was little.
  • Peanut butter: smooth or crunchy? Skippy creamy. Best on anything toasted so the peanut butter melts and oozes off. And don't skimp, either!
  • What kind of dressing on your salad? Hidden Valley Ranch or Girard's White Balsamic.
  • Coke or Pepsi? Coke, definitely. And none of that unleaded crap, either! Preferably fountain soda. If it's canned, it has to be cold (in the can), then poured over ice, slowly, to keep the fizz.
  • You're feeling lazy. What do you make? Cereal.
  • You're feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? We go down to our new place, Serpico's and have a slice and and soda. Otherwise, we usually don't order pizza, we make it - normally Thai chicken pizza with goat cheese.
  • You feel like cooking. What do you make? The fanciest thing that looks or sounds good from Bon Appetit or Gourmet. Or something from Barefoot Contessa or the scads of cookbooks I have.
  • Do any foods bring back good memories? I always think of my great grandmother when I make pie, especially blueberry. Since I love to cook, I have mostly good memories surrounding food.
  • Do any foods bring back bad memories? Hawaiian Punch, strawberry soda, rum, or peach Snapple. I've puked them all and won't touch them.
  • Do any foods remind you of someone? Not particularly.
  • Is there a food you refuse to eat? Besides those in "bad memories" above, Brussells sprouts or lamb. I'll try most anything once.
  • What was your favorite food as a child? Ice cream. Still is one of my favorites.
  • Is there a food that you hated as a child but now love? Broccoli
  • Is there a food that you loved as a child but now hate? Hawaiian Punch
  • Favorite fruit & vegetable: Can't say I have an absolute favorite, because I like most.
  • Favorite junk food: Candy - but not chocolate, and cookies or pastry.
  • Favorite between meal snack: Trail mix bar or something like that.
  • Do you have any weird food habits? I generally won't eat anything past the date.
  • Red wine or white? Good red, great white. Current favorites are La Crema Pinot Noir and Louis Jadot Puilly Fuisse.
  • We only have beer: Any. Corona, Coors, Heineken, Sam Adams Light, Steinlager, Tsing Tao, Kirin. Only very, very cold will do.
  • Favorite dessert? Ice cream or creme brulee.
  • The perfect nightcap? Dessert!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Secret Pal Surprise

Last night was our monthly guild meeting and this is what my secret pal gave me!

It's three little cans stacked together and fits perfectly on the little shelf above my new sewing table.

I've already put my curved pins in one of the cans.
I wonder what will go in next?

Not only did I receive this, but there was a Macy's gift card tucked inside AND she writes fun poetry on her notes each month. It will be fun to find out who she is at our December meeting.

Thanks, Pal!

The Amy Butler Bag

Remember those bags I told you about? This is Amy Butler's "Smart Handbag."

It's much smaller than I thought it would be from the picture on the pattern but, surprisingly, it holds my #2 cell phone, PDA, wallet, keys and a lipstick!

It's lined with a Hoffman batik. I also added a piece of Timtex inside the bottom panel for support, so it stands up nicely all by itself.

I just love this fabric and I have a little more than a half-yard left for something else later on.

Time for Cody

Cody has commanded this chair as his very own. When I saw him sitting here like that, I couldn't resist from snapping his picture. Who does he think he is, anyway?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Very Productive Labor Day

Bruce worked on Monday, so I spent the whole day in my newly furnished studio, where I made:
  • A Turning 20 quilt top using my rather small stash of Kaffe Fasset fabrics
  • 16 blocks of Bruce's new quilt
  • 2 Amy Butler bags and started a third.
It all started with Margaret Hunt's blog. She's been whipping out Turning 20 quilts and using up her stash. It wasn't until she posted a picture of her Kaffe Fasset version that I got inspired. But where to get the pattern? Well, turns out as the Thursday Lunch Bunch (my fabulous "Crazy Eight" friends who meet for lunch every week at the mall's food court, then visit Sew Special) ventured into Sew Special what was in the window? A quilt using the very same pattern but taking advantage of Asian prints. The challenge was on!

I sent out an email to my friends challening them to complete a top before tonight's guild meeting. I was half-heartedly kidding, but the competitive person in me decided to whip one up. I think I made this top in about 4 hours!

Two things to remember when making this quilt: Rule #1: buy half yards instead of fat quarters, that way you'll have some left over for another project (I don't know if I could have sacrificed these gorgeous prints otherwise); Rule #2, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS TWICE BEFORE YOU CUT. The printed cutting guideline on the pattern isn't very clear: their fat quarter looks more like a square than a rectangle. If you cut the wrong side (as I did with a stack of 8 fats!), you've goofed up the whole thing. Another reason to follow my rule #1 above.

Then, I was off and running on the Amy Butler bags while I was washing the batik flannels for Bruce's quilt. I don't have a picture of the bags yet, but I'll post one soon.

Here is the start of Bruce's new quilt:

Pretty strips and 16 log cabin blocks. Only 40 more to go. I debated and debated over which layout to use and Bruce said he preferred random. I like it!

Much Labor on Labor Day

Last week, Bruce helped some friends pack their container for a move to the Big Island and he came home with a very cool present for me:

I had been asking him to build me a new table for my sewing machine because the folding table I was using vibrated every time I sewed fast (which I do most of the time). And, I wanted a table that I could drop my machine into. We did quite a dance getting this monster into the laundry room. If it was one inch bigger, it would have become a potting table in the yard. After a quick trip to Lowe's for a countertop, Bruce got to work:

One day when my mother-in-law was telling a friend about a project Bruce was doing for her, her friend said, "Everyone needs a Bruce." That's a fact! What would I do without him?

Presto! New sewing table! It still needs to be trimmed out and painted, but it is quite functional.

We had a party to go to on Sunday night, so I had to leave it ready and waiting. On Monday, Bruce worked, so I holed myself up in here and got busy. Thanks, Honey! You da best!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Spectacular Maui Sunset

We were at Jeff and Debbie's for dinner last weekend, and this is a picture of the sunset from that night with the reflection on their pool. Beautiful.
Then, I took a picture of the clouds right over head. This reminds me of a piece of fabric that Claudia Peterson sent me from Australia.

It was a beautiful summer night.

Kona Winds

I finished the quilt! This is the project I've been working on for the last month. It's for this year's Kona Coffee Quilt Contest. Sorry the picture isn't better quality.

I sent the entry for the juried show just in time for the deadline. I'll let you know if it gets in and post a better picture at that time.

I also sent off the turtle entry for PIQF. Will have the finish the Road to California paperwork soon. It's due on October 1.

But first, I need to catch up on some long-neglected items on my To-Do list that were set aside while I worked on this quilt.

Night Bloomer

It's night blooming cereus season again. There is a great bunch of it on the road near my brother-in-law's house, so we stopped and I snapped these pictures after dinner there the other night.

I'm thinking of making another quilt with this flower. But not until after several other projects are done.

Ginger the Gymnast

Ginger loves to chase the rats and mice that run in the hedge (on the right) at night. She has to do a pretty good balancing act to get over there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Head Hunted

I never thought I'd see the day, but I actually got a call from a head hunter last week. For those of you not in the HR-know, a head hunter is someone who calls people and tries to lure them away from their current job to work for their client. This service is usually reserved for those in very high-level positions...not something I'd ever consider for myself, but I AM flattered!

Turns out a very desirable employer wanted to talk to me about an open position. But, alas, I am very, very happy in my current job and not looking to change.


Unless, of course, someone wants to pay me full time + benefits to work in my quilt studio.

It's nice to be wanted, just the same.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Summer Shower

Our shower tree is blooming.

We thought it was going to die, but it tricked us. Just a few weeks ago it was nothing but sticks. Bruce took this picture yesterday - its now ablaze with color. I actually prefer the variegated variety (kind of peach/salmon/cream), but this is pretty, too.

I've been sick with a cold, hence the lack of posts this week. I've barely been able to keep up with the project I'm working on, which is due Sept. 1.

More posts coming soon!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Better than Wonder Under

aka How to Attach Chiffon to a Quilt Top.

I am creating "wind" with chiffon on a quilt I'm working on. It took me a little bit, but I figured out how to manage the swishy stuff and get the look I wanted.

First, lay the chiffon down on your ironing board/surface, then cover with a layer of Misty Fuse (I used white here). Cover the Misty Fuse with a layer of parchment paper (you can see all three layers in the picture below), then iron. When I fuse to cotton I use a very hot setting, but I was careful to use a cooler setting so I didn't wreck the chiffon. I think the parchment helps, too

Leave the parchment paper attached to the chiffon. The Misty Fuse has enough "stick" to stay on the paper for a little bit. Lay the chiffon "sandwich" down on top of your pattern with chiffon on top. You'll be able to see through the parchment paper - see my "swoop?" Trace your pattern. I used a fine tip Sharpie - FYI, you are going to need to cut off the pen or pencil marks, so trace just on the outside of your pattern piece, then trim just on the inside of your mark with your scissors.

Here are the completed "swoops." The parchment paper stayed attached while I cut out the pieces, then easily peeled off for placement on the quilt top.

I've already fused them down, but I'm not ready to show the quilt yet. I'm very happy with the Misty Fuse because it's invisible under the chiffon, has a nice hand, and isn't gummy like WU.