Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Day

Well, I knew you wouldn't believe it until you saw it! Even Bruce says he figures there aren't that many quilter/hunters out there.

On Christmas afternoon Jeff, Bruce's brother, took us pheasant hunting up on Haleakala, with my nephew, Keoni. It was a beautiful day - cool and a little cloudy, just perfect for the rough hiking.

Keoni took this picture of Bruce and me while we took a short break in one of the ravines we had to cross.




We only saw a total of four birds - two roosters and two hens - and Keoni was positioned to get the roosters. They were long shots but he got them like a pro.

Here is a picture of the guys with De-Man. He is an awesome dog and it was neat to watch him work. He was doing his job and having a great time.




Is this a picture of a happy dog, or what?


I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas.

Best wishes for a happy new year, too!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

DELISH!

We tried this Sparkling Ginger Cocktail for a dinner party on Tuesday, and it was great! It's featured in the December issue of Gourmet magazine.

I've never tried Prosecco before, so when I saw this I thought it would be fun. The ginger syrup adds a nice, refreshing zing to the drink. The recipe says it makes enough for 10 cocktails, but we actually came out around 8. So if you are making this for a party, plan accordingly.

Finding Prosecco on Maui was a challenge, because it's not available at any of the local grocery stores. Asking for it only resulted in blank stares. I lucked out, though, at Hawaii Liquor Superstore in Kahului! When a man approached me and asked if I needed help finding something, I asked him for it and I thought he said, "We have Port." I said, uh, no, "It's a sparkling Italian wine." He laughed and said, "Yes, I have four." Oh. I guess I need my hearing checked! He was very helpful and went on to explain the highlights of the four he had in stock. When I said it was for a cocktail, he said to go with the least expensive since the ginger would overpower some of the more delicate nuances.

I'm looking forward to trying them all by themselves in the future.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Paying it Forward

I caught this on Susie Monday's blog and the giving spirit is growing on me, so I'm offering this:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. (Actually, you will receive mine before the end of February!)

When you leave your comment, please also do one of two things: leave your post address or e-mail it to me.

I will send small textile hand-made-by-me gifts to the first 3 people that leave a comment requesting to receive the gift and are willing to continue the Pay it Forward tradition on their blog.

Christmas with All the Trimmings

I am going to make THIS for our tree next year. Scroll down Kristy's "Two Lime Leaves" blog and check out her peppermint yo-yo garland. I think it's darling. I KNEW I'd find a reason to buy that damn yo-yo maker after all.

Oh, right. In my spare time. Turns out there probably won't be much of that next year. Looks like 2008 is filling up already!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mischief Afoot

There are some interesting goings-on around here! I can't reveal them right now, but will in the next week or so.

Besides, what would the holidays be without a surprise to mull?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Quilting Arts Magazines for Sale

I'm taking a cue from Robin and selling my collection of Quilting Arts Magazines on eBay (click to take you to the listing).

Since I work in such a small area, I am constantly moving stuff around. Well, I'm tired of moving this stuff! I've got a collection of art, quilting and fiber books for sale on Amazon.com (see post below), and a fabric/fiber collection for sale, too (see previous post).

If you're interested in adding to your collection of Quilting Arts Magazine, this is a great way to do it!

Gorgeous Jewels for Your Next Project - SOLD


I am cleaning out my studio this weekend in preparation for the new year (be sure to see my other items for sale at Amazon.com in the previous post). This is the fabric and yarns/fibers I chose for my class with Carol Taylor, but I'm not in love with the project. The next best thing (I thought) would be to offer this grouping for sale. There are 18-9"x11" squares (approximate), three skeins of gorgeous hand dyed fibers, and a set of 1" strips in coordinating colors.

Penny, I see a fabulous project in your future!

Quilting Books for Sale

I cleaned out my studio this morning and have several things to sell. I've listed a huge pile of art, quilting and fiber related books on Amazon.com in my storefront:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/shops/index.html?ie=UTF8&sellerID=AAFONPXQR6Z6E

On most of the listings I am the lowest price seller. Check it out and see if there's something on YOUR wish list!!

Here's an alphabetical listing of titles:

  • Artists Journals & Sketchbooks (Perrella)
  • Beading on Fabric (Van Horn)
  • Collage for the Soul (Harrison & Grasdal)
  • Collage Sourcebook (Quarry)
  • Creative Correspondence (Jacobs)
  • Creative Habit (Tharp)
  • Diamond Quilts & Beyond (Krentz)
  • Everyday Matters (Gregory)
  • Fusing Fabric (Beal)
  • Mixed Media Explorations (Taylor)
  • Pieced Curves So Simple (Fleming)
  • Thinking Outside the Box (Cummings)
  • Thread Magic (Eddy - original Fiber Studio Press edition)
  • Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women (McMeekin)
  • When Quilters Gather (McDowell)
  • What Color is Your Slipcover (Daikeler)
Thanks for checking it out!

Friday, December 07, 2007

More From Art Quilt Tahoe

One of the best things about taking a class from Carol Taylor is that you get to work a lot on value. This is an area that is so important, and one I don't think anyone can get too much of!

This is the start of one of our class projects, with my fabrics sorted out. I eventually added more of the very dark fabrics on the left and refined the other piles as I went. Not every fabric here made it into the quilt. I moved away from the blue accents (like the fabric at the bottom of the second pile from the left), and more into the purples, which I loved with the browns and blacks.

You basically work from light to dark as you go along. Here's a snapshot of the start with the lights into the medium lights.

I think I mentioned it in a previous post, but this whole process really makes me want to reorganize my fabric according to value. I know I have real gaps in the very lights and very darks (like most quilters do). And since my work requires good value emphasis to be effective, I think it would be helpful. The only real problem I face with the reorganization is that I really don't have the room to spread out and do a good job with it. That and the fact that it would probably take me at least 2 weeks of valuable studio time to do it.

More lights into mediums and medium-darks. Although this quilt is fairly small (about 18"x54") it is a long process to get the value placement correct. As a class, we took most of a day to get our pieces in place on the foundation.

Here's a look with the third and fourth pieces, nearly finished. After I had the four base pieces up, I went back and added a lot of accent pieces to further enhance the look of the quilt.

I started my couching in class on the last day, and have about half of it completed. I need to get it finished this month, since I am giving a PowerPoint presentation at our guild meeting next month on my experience at Art Quilt Tahoe and I want to have the projects there for everyone to see.

If you have a chance to take a class with Carol Taylor, grab it. She is an inspiring, patient and knowledgeable teacher who will encourage you to make your best effort!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stormy Weather

And I'm not kidding! We are getting some heavy rain and wind up to 60+ mph. We are huddled at work waiting for it to pass. Power is out on most of the island and ours has been flickering.

See the red? That's over our head right now. Looks like we have a flash flood warning in effect until 12:00 p.m. today.

We're waiting it out. Look out Big Island!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BINGO! Wins!

Remember when I posted about working with the book "On the Surface"? Well, this was the project I was working on at the time.

The theme for Art Quilt Tahoe's challenge this year was B-9, or Be Nine, or Benign, as it was their 9th anniversary. As soon as I heard the theme, I immediately thought of BINGO!

The title of this quilt is "B9=BINGO! Everybody Wins at Art Quilt Tahoe." The background checkerboard is woven and embellished with silver, black and red decorative threads. I stamped the BINGO card and the red markers are hand painted stainless steel washers. I couldn't find round clear glass or plastic markers, so I improvised based on a suggestion from my friend Joan. Thanks, Joan!

I had to Google BINGO to find out what the correct number layout was - in case you are wondering, it's 1-15, 16-30, 31-45, 45-60, and 61-75. Did you know that the mathematician who developed the bingo cards actually went crazy?

My quilt won first place and $100 in the challenge at AQT!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Art Quilt Tahoe - Three Things to Ponder


The sign outside our door at Art Quilt Tahoe. The freakish organized person inside me really liked the way everything was labeled so nicely! I thought about snatching the paper sign at the end of the program as a memento, but someone beat me to it.

Here are three things (there are more, of course) I learned while I was there:
  • Overheard from Libby Lehman, Thread Goddess: If you are a fan of Sewer's Aid for difficult threads, you'll really like Tri-Flow Bicycle Lubricant. It actually bonds to the thread and doesn't gum up your machine like Sewer's Aid can do.
  • From Carol Taylor, Color Goddess: To tame unruly couching threads, use a straw, taped to the top of your sewing machine, to feed the thread. It's hard to see in my picture, but the couching thread comes around the back of the pin where you pull your thread to wind your bobbin, then trails over the end (near your flywheel). This will free up your hands to guide the fabric under the foot. Make sure the tension on your couching thread stays loose - if it pulls tight you will get puckers. After much serious discussion in class (ha, ha, NOT!), we decided that the best straw to use is one of the fat Starbucks straws, the one you get with a Frappuccino. However, make sure you get a smaller one, too, so you can poke unruly threads through the straw easily.
  • Heard from one of the teachers and now I can't remember: Think about sorting your fabric by value instead of color. Hmmm...this might actually work for me, but is going to take a long time for me to reorganize my fabric. A long time ago I used to sort my fabric by type (solids, batiks, florals, etc.), then I mixed them all up and sorted them by color because I frequently intermix them in my work. But sorting them by value might even be better! I'll have to think on that one myself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What I've Been Up To

I'm home from Art Quilt Tahoe, which was FABULOUS. I will post more very soon about the experience. In the meantime, THIS is what I've been up to:


LOTS OF WORK!

Actually, this picture doesn't look as bad as it feels. Organized chaos, I guess.

More soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Art Quilt Tahoe - Day Two

First, a glimpse of last night's dinner. It was Libby Lehman's 60th birthday. She looks terrific, by the way, and is sporting a darling new short haircut. (Notice Honu III on display behind the podium - WOW - how did I luck out with that??)

Today was the first full day of work and I made good progress on the first project. It was fun learning how to couch various yarns and threads. I have a nice new SMALL collection of these yarns that I can use for various projects. I already have some ideas.

Here is a play-by-play of the piece I worked on today:


I'll post a picture of the finished project tomorrow. In the meantime, check out this jacket that Mary P. from Upland, California made (Aly, here's an idea for your fabric!!):




















More fun posted tomorrow!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tahoe!

I arrived at Lake Tahoe yesterday, a little tired from the red-eye flight, excited about the week ahead and a little nervous. This is the first time I've taken a trip like this by myself! It feels a little bit odd to be in such a beautiful place without Bruce, and he said it feels odd to be home by himself, too.

This is the view from my room, which is lovely. Snow on the mountains and a bit chilly outside - I don't think it got up to 50 degrees yesterday.

I settled into my room and had a massage, which was desperately needed after trying to sleep on the plane. They had a sanctuary room with comfortable couches, relaxing music, lemon water, tea and apples. I had two cups of this wonderful cinnamon tea, the scent of which reminded me of the fiery taste of cinnamon bear candy (one of my favorites), and an apple. I realized as I ate the apple that I'd had very little to eat and I was starving!

After the massage I felt relaxed and rejuvenated, but not perky enough to explore, so I ordered room service (I think for the second time in my life) and had a wonderful grilled chicken sandwich and a bowl of mixed fruit. It was funny, I was expecting a little side cup of fruit, but it actually came in a good-sized bowl which was filled with cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and pineapple which were all fresh and sweet. I was especially surprised with the pineapple, which was the best I've had outside of home (and better than some of that)!

This is the view this morning. It snowed last night!! There is a thin blanket of white covering everything and it is SO PRETTY. You have to walk outside to get from the building where the rooms are to the main building where the workshop and restaurants are which is neat because you get to experience the COLD air. I love it. I'm just thankful I have a good jacket, gloves and warm shoes. I might even take a walk outside later. There are trails everywhere. If I had warmer running clothes, I'd probably take a spin outside, but I'll be happy to workout in the fitness center which looks out on the valley. Who needs TV on the treadmill when you've got a view like that!

I am enjoying the peace and quiet and the ability to choose whatever I want to fill the day. I am reading a wonderful book that I borrowed from my friend Joan called "A Three Dog Life." It's a memoir about a woman whose husband is injured and suffers a traumatic brain injury. It's beautifully written, poignant and funny. I didn't think I would be able to relate to it, but I read the cover flap and was intrigued. Turns out there's something for everyone to take away from this book. I have to keep reminding myself as I read it that it is a true story - this woman is remarkable. A must-read!

Lastly, I have to show you the little bag I bought for traveling. I needed a small purse just to carry my ID, credit cards, phone and camera, plus my boarding pass. Who wants to dig through a huge bag at the airport? I looked everywhere on Maui, but could not find what I had in mind, and I had NO TIME to make one up. The I literally stumbled onto Linda Dunn's blog via the SAQA web ring (the link for the ring is on my sidebar - they are all Studio Art Quilt Associates members). She makes these FABULOUS bags from bits of recycled fabric. Here is a picture of mine:

It is beautifully made, opens at the top with a zipper, has a front pocket that fits a boarding pass (see the gold silk edge near the top), and a zipper pocket on the back that you can't see, which holds my camera and phone perfectly! To top it all off, all pockets are lined in silk. And, it is my current favorite color combination - brown and blue. What a great Christmas gift! Thanks, Linda, for having exactly what I needed!

That's all for now. I have to finish sewing the sleeve on my quilt for the challenge. I will post a picture of it after the exhibit opens. More later!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No Mo Plastic Bag

Check out this effort by the Paia, Maui merchants to become the first plastic-shopping-bag-free town in Hawaii: www.nomoplasticbag.com

I caught a press release about it in Maui No Ka Oi Magazine.

Are YOU using reusable bags yet?

Trouble with Fabric Choices

This is the central fabric I picked for the last part of my class. I'm not sure I've done the right thing! I may scrap the whole bit and go with something completely different tonight after I talk with my friends at our guild meeting.

I'm just not sure I'm getting the pizzazz I want from the color choices. I've always wanted to do a brown/neutral quilt, but I'm not sure if this is the right combination.

Here are the other fabrics I've pulled so far:















What do you think?

Project Two

These are the fabrics I chose for the "sensuous lines and curves" part of my class next week.

It's a good thing to get everything prepped early. As I was getting these fabrics ready to go I realized that my central piece was only 18" wide (makes sense, since I usually buy half-yards) and I needed 22". I was lucky to find it at the fabric shop yesterday and bought another yard.

One more bummer - my Tutto tote is not the "crafter" model. It's the office model, so my sewing machine does not fit. ERG! I'm going to have to post it back on eBay. Thankfully, my mother-in-law has a variety of suitcases and one carry-on size just happens to fit my machine perfectly. Crisis averted.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Honu III

Here's a first peek at Honu III!

He's done, except for the sleeve, which I am going to stitch on tonight.

I finished this one with a facing instead of a binding, which I prefer for this quilt, because it gives it a more "open" look since it's not confined by a traditional binding. You can't see the detail in this shot, but I will take better (and more color-true) photos this weekend with my new photography set up.

Thanks to one of my blogging friends who referred to Kathy Loomis' article in the September 2007 issue of AQS magazine - who was it?? It's Kathy's instructions I followed for the facing - great job!

Secret Project

The other day I pulled out a book I haven't referred to in a long, long time: On the Surface, by Wendy Hill. I fell in love with this book when it came out, and it was one of the first titles I purchased for my old quilt shop.

I wanted a fun, thready background for a quilt I'm working on, and On the Surface was just the ticket. I wove the background, and here you can see how I've used every pin from my pincushion to secure the layers for quilting.

I first zig-zagged all of the raw edges to tack everything down, then went to town with several threads a la "on the surface." Here's a picture of the thread embellishment in progress.

My trusty 160 did well with most of the threads, but kicked up a fuss with the Superior Threads Hologram thread and one other decorative thread. I trudged on, though, and it finished up nicely.

I'll unveil this project and its purpose in a later post.

Getting Ready for AQT

I am going to Art Quilt Tahoe in just over a week! I have been slowly getting supplies together for my class with Carol Taylor. I am so excited about this trip I can hardly stand it! I've wanted to go to Art Quilt Tahoe or Asilomar for years and my dream came true in the form of a scholarship to AQT.

Here are the fabrics I've chosen for one of the segments of the class. I still have to add threads to this one. Finally a chance to use these finicky fabrics I've had for a long, long time. I threw in the packet of beads just because they "go."

I have to get out the suitcase(s) this weekend and figure out how I'm not going to freeze my tail off! I don't have any "winter" clothes, outside of a snowboarding jacket I bought last year for our trip to Lake Arrowhead. The average high temperature for Lake Tahoe in November is only 49! With lows as cold as 20. Oh boy. Let's keep in mind, however, that I won't be hiking in the woods or skiing. I will be going from airport to car to hotel. I'm mostly concerned with staying warm and comfortable in class.

I'll post the other two fabric packets I'm putting together so you can see the progress during the week. I can't wait!

By the way, if you are going to AQT, please drop me a note. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone and making new friends.

Long Overdue

Here is a picture of Janey with her "get well" quilt. She had hip replacement surgery so our little group got together and made her the quilt.

These quilts are fun, because they are kind of like a pot luck where you end up having all of the right dishes. We had minimal guidelines (flower theme, Bali fabrics, and one matching sashing strip). Ta - Da - this is what you get!

She was really surprised! She had no idea what we were up to even when I was getting it out of the bag to hand it to her.

And, of course, she's healing up fast, no doubt because of the quilt! :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bernina...BAH!

I purchased some new feet for my "old" 160 this year, in anticipation of my Art Quilt Tahoe class with Carol Taylor next week. One is a #21 couching/cording foot, which is the cause of my frustration.

I haven't had a need to use it this year, so it has been sitting in my sewing box, waiting for class. Last night I was working on my challenge quilt for AQT and, low and behold, I needed to couch something! I was so excited to use my new foot and clipped it on the machine. My excitement dimmed, however, when I realized it is not the correct foot for my model. ERG! Instead of the needle lining up with the zigzag hole, it lines up with the hole the couching thread goes through. Thankfully I noticed this BEFORE I began sewing and busted a needle.

WHY DOES BERNINA DO THIS?

I've never liked the fact that their machines come with so few feet included, and each additional foot is SO EXPENSIVE! And why make feet that are so similar but aren't transferable? Think of the investment you make in feet over the years, then you get a new machine and WHAM - your feet are not transferable to the new machine. If you are changing the design, change the numbers so you don't think they all fit the same.

So, I am off to our Bernina dealer today to buy a NEW #21 for my 160 - hopefully they have it. Thankfully I discovered this error before going to class! I'll have to test my other feet tonight.

And I'll have to put my old #21 back on eBay where I got it. RATS!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lucky Number 35

A random fact: I have taken up the sport of trapshooting! Bruce and I have been going to the range regularly for the past six months or so and are progressing so well we will be shooting in a tournament at the end of November. In case you're curious, I shoot a Remington 11-87 semi-auto with a 28" barrel. :-)

Last night we were shooting trap doubles and I shot a 35! It's 35 out of a total of 50 targets, but I'd only been hitting about half up until now. Hopefully I can maintain that consistency and keep getting better. In the tournament you shoot 100 singles at 16 yards, 100 handicap singles (19 yards for the ladies, and up to 27 yards for the men), and 100 doubles.

Another 35 - that's about the number of readers I get on my blog each day. I don't know if they are the same 35 people, or a different 35 each time. Anyway, I appreciate the visits, especially since I haven't been posting regularly. Thanks for hanging in there!

Quilt-related news: Honu III is complete (except the sleeve, which goes on tonight). I will post photos ASAP. He is traveling with me to Art Quilt Tahoe in 2 weeks, along with "Night Light" and "Croton Chorus" for a special display of work by the scholarship recipient...ME! I'm also working on my challenge quilt based on the theme "Benign" or "Be Nine" aptly named for AQT's ninth year AND prepping my supplies for class. I will post photos of some of these things, too.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I MUST...

  • Do something creative today
  • Finish two baby quilts (before they grow up!)
  • Finish Honu III
  • Make my challenge quilt for Art Quilt Tahoe
  • Make another special small quilt for AQT
  • Get back to work on the agapanthus quilt
  • Start the Reef quilt

...and get back into the studio for some quiet creative time. Does someone have an extra two weeks I can borrow?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Postcard Update

HA HA! If I had a piece of clipart with a tongue sticking out, I would post it here. Despite the trouble at the post office, I know for a fact that 2 out of 3 of the postcards I mailed made it to their destinations unscathed!

Susanne in Switzerland
received hers on Wednesday (even though her website is in German, I still got the gist). Nellie in Michigan also received hers this week. Both went sans envelope! Nellie said it was the first one she received in that manner. The one to Switzerland arrived simply with an international postcard rate stamp.

The interesting thing is, I haven't heard from Postcard Recipient #3 - and she lives on Maui. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that one takes 3 weeks to arrive. :-)

What about the Quilting Content?

OK, I know. I've been surprisingly lax on the quilting front. The only thing I've done recently is get Honu III ready to quilt, which I plan to do this weekend.

I only have 6 weeks before Art Quilt Tahoe, so another thing I am going to do this weekend is tape up a piece of paper on the sliding glass door of the studio (my only available vertical surface) and write my TO DO list and schedule things as best as I can. I really do better with a visual!

I have been SO tied up with my day job and my new fitness regimen that I come home and drop at the end of the day. I work out in the morning, so it doesn't impact my creative time which is usually in the evening, but by the time I get home at night, do dinner, clean up and prep for the next day I am beat.

I am once again faced with the need to re-evaluate all of the areas of my life to try to omit and simplify some things. I just have too much on my plate.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Killer Cat Attack

Cody and I take our morning walk, usually before the sun comes up. I enjoy it because it's quiet, there are no cars, no barking dogs, etc. Cody enjoys it because, well, he's a dog. It's nice. Usually.

This morning we started out and, as we were cruising up the street minding our own business, we saw a cat stroll into the middle of the street about 200 ft in front of us. Then, out trot three kittens, probably about 7-8 weeks old. Momma is sitting in the middle of the street looking at us, then pops up and starts to stroll in our direction with kittens in tow. She's prancing along, tail up, like a friendly little kitty (a lot how Ginger acts).

Cody is in a sit, watching patiently. He's not a cat attacker (he's a Lab, for heaven sakes!), just curious, but he stays still better in a sit. I think to myself, "OK, let's not bother the kitties, we'll just go out and around them on the other side of the street." Right.

Just about the time we become parallel with momma kitty, she freaks out, bares her teeth, and runs hissing and spitting at Cody and me. She's darting in and out, coming closer and closer, flattening herself on the ground, teeth bared, claws out. Then, she rushes Cody and jumps on his back, going absolutely crazy. I'm freaking out! This damn cat is attacking my dog! Cody yelps and sprints around me on the leash and finally the cat jumps off, which gives me just enough time and room for a squirt of pepper spray. I push the button and a tiny squirt, followed by *sigh*, and there's no more pepper spray, but she got just enough of a whiff to chase her off.

We trot up the street, then she comes back at us again and I have to throw the empty pepper spray can at her (and miss) and she scoots off into the bushes.

HOLY CRAP! Talk about a wake up call in the a.m.

I have never seen a cat attack like this unprovoked. She had kittens, so I understand her need to protect them, but this was unbelievable. We gave her a wide berth, but she had it planned all along. She was probably scoping us out before we even saw her coming.

Cody and I got away relatively unscathed - I was mostly worried for his face and eyes - but she didn't draw blood. Thank goodness for his thick coat!

I have a mind to find out who this cat belongs to and give them a piece of my mind. I would have done it this morning, but I was so afraid of being attacked myself, that I didn't go back. If she's a feral cat she needs to be picked up. She's a menace!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

*&@%^$ Post Office!

I have three very important postcards to mail and I got nothing but static from the post office. I should have known (and did, but decided to try anyway) that Kahului would be a nightmare.

I handed over one to the clerk and said, "I need a stamp to send this postcard to Switzerland." She said, "Don't you want an envelope?" I said, "No, thank you, it's a postcard." Mind you, it was only fabric - no beads or glitz of any kind - it was a POSTCARD, only it was made out of fabric. She turned around and asked another clerk if she could send it and they said, "only in an envelope." So I said, "Nevermind," and took it back from her. Then she says, "We have regulations, you know."

HMMPH. Tell me about it - AND IT'S OK TO SEND IT! I didn't have the time, energy or patience to explain to her about the number of people on the QuiltArt list who have researched this in the post office regulations and found it to be OK TO SEND A FRICKIN' FABRIC POSTCARD WITHOUT A DAMN ENVELOPE.

Can you tell I'm a little peeved? I wanted to say, "It's not like I'm sending a bomb or anything," but they probably wouldn't have been amused, called the cops and had me hauled out of there in handcuffs. Not worth it, so I did the next best thing.

I went to another post office, asked for the stamps I needed, stuck them on the POSTCARDS and mailed them from another post office.

My friend Robin actually mailed a postcard with a $20 bill attached to it. Believe it or not, it made it to it's destination intact.

I'm sure she was just jealous SHE wasn't getting one. And with that kind of attitude SHE WON'T!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Food Break

I've been on a fairly rigorous diet and exercise program for the last four months or so (more info on that HERE). I've lost nearly 20lbs and gained more stamina, optimism and energy than I could have ever imagined. I think it's been easy for me because I love to cook, so I've been open to trying all kinds of new, healthy things. So here's a peek at a couple of things I cooked this weekend.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic and Basil
(this is the healthy one)

Roast about 2lbs tomatoes (cut in half and squeeze the seeds out) and garlic cloves (unpeeled), drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for one hour. If you like more garlic, use more. Saute (in a soup pot - I use my lovely Le Creuset!) one whole onion in a couple of tablespoons of butter along with a good teaspoon full of dried oregano until the onion is translucent. Add 2-15oz cans of chicken broth to the onion, add the tomatoes and their juices from the pan, and squeeze out the garlic from the skin into the pot (discard the garlic skins). Bring to a boil, then simmer for a half hour or so.

Do you have a VitaMix blender? If so, puree the soup until it's smooth, then add 1/2 cup of milk for a little creaminess. (If you don't have one of these beauties, get one... in the meantime, use an immersion blender or your ancient Osterizer, but it probably won't be as smooth and you might need to strain it through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids).


Sprinkle with grated FRESH parmesan and chopped basil. If you think you don't like tomato soup, you haven't had this before. YUM!

For dessert:

Peach Cobbler
(definitely a special treat!)

You can find this recipe HERE from Paula Deen. With one KEY substitution (keep reading)...


Yummy ripe peaches with a bit of sugar in my favorite pot. The recipe calls for water, but you need to substitute the SECRET INGREDIENT....

HA! I was only going to use a quarter cup of Jack with a quarter cup of water, but my mom suggested using ALL Jack, which is fantastic! It lends a subtle, earthy, smoky flavor to the peaches as they simmer. YUM!

Pour the batter into the pan, then spoon the peaches on top, then pour the remaining juice gently over the top. The picture on the Food Network's recipe of the finished product is much nicer than mine, plus we ate some before I took the final photo, but here's a look:

Be sure to serve it warm with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Home Again

We're home, safe and sound, but dog tired! We arrived about 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening and, after a quick recap with Bruce's mom and lots of pets for Cody, dropped into bed.

I worked on Thursday, came home, ate dinner, then dropped at a little after 7:00. I'm feeling much peppier today and should be back to my regular routine by this weekend.

There is lots to share about our trip, but I'll parcel it off in small doses! Lots of quilt activity it coming soon - deadlines are looming and it won't be long until I'm off to Art Quilt Tahoe. Don't kid yourself, the holidays will be here before we know it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

We're in Jackson

We've been through Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks and seen tons of wildlife!

Bruce shot a picture of this buck as we were leaving Wind River Canyon on the way to Cody at the beginning of the trip. A beautiful 5-point, still in velvet.

We are having a good time although find Jackson to be a very stuffy and kind of obnoxious town as far as the people go. However, we did have dinner at a family restaurant called The Virginian last night, which was friendly and delicious and reasonable!

We're on our way back through Utah today, then on to Dad's in Bullhead.

Will post more soon.

Friday, August 03, 2007

No Pictures...YET!

We are in stunning Park City, Utah, tonight, staying at the Lodges at Deer Valley. What a terrific place! Our drive from Las Vegas was smooth and uneventful. Las Vegas was...well...Las Vegas. The hotel, Green Valley Resort, was very nice, but it would have been even better if there were no other people there. But that's a story for another day.

Park City is wonderful. We had dinner at Butcher's Chop House and ate on the outside patio in the fresh mountain air. Our room is great and has a king size sleigh bed.

We're leaving tomorrow morning for Cody after a quick stop for breakfast in Park City. Hopefully we can pick up lunch for the road...all there was today was McDonald's, Burger King and Dairy Queen at truck stops. Yuck. We ate a Clif Bar instead.

We're off to a great start. Will post more soon.

A hui hou!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Away We Go!

We leave tomorrow morning for our trip to the mainland. We'll be taking lots of pictures and will try to post as we go. Our trip will take us from Las Vegas through Utah, to Cody, Wyoming; then back down through Utah to Bullhead City, Arizona; then back home.

Two glorious weeks!

Aloha!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Profile Photo

Art Bag for our Trip

One of the reasons I've been so lax about posting is I have been busying planning our trip. We leave Thursday!

In the past couple of weeks I did manage to get one last Honu quilt ready for threadwork, but he will have to wait until I get home for finishing. But last weekend I worked on making a totebag to haul my drawing goodies as we travel. What kind of self-respecting quilt artist would I be if I used a store-bought tote bag? Besides, I had certain requirements for size, color, pockets, etc., so that demanded a custom made bag. And here it is:

Many thanks to Aly for loaning me the book (which I will have to post about later, because I can't remember the title!) that got me started! She also happened to be with me when I bought that luscious Bali fabric (background of bag and strap).

I needed it to hold my new colored pencils, a small sketchbook, a pad of watercolor post-cards, a couple of charcoal pencils, assorted paint brushes, my eraser and sporty new pencil sharpener. Not to mention my cell phone, sunglasses and small travel wallet, and maybe one magazine? OH, and my new copy of Danny Gregory's "Everyday Matters" for inspiration and an article torn out of either Cloth Paper Scissors or Quilting Arts (I can't remember which one) on sketching by Jane LaFazio. I love her stuff.

Sounds like a lot, but it will work in this bag. Here's an inside peek:


See all the room in the center on the inside? Plus it has two outside pockets.

It's nearly packed and ready to go - just like me. I can't wait!

About Beeswax

I was reminded about the benefits of beeswax when reading Caity's post the other day. She was talking about the new Clover Yo-Yo maker (which I want but have avoided buying - what on earth am I going to do with yo-yos? But that's another story.) and shared her tips for using beeswax.

I too, use beeswax for all of my handwork. A light drag through the wax keeps thread from tangling and makes it much easier to thread the needle. I also doesn't leave any residue or otherwise interfere with the fabric (unless, of course, you use too much).

I do have one strict rule about beeswax, however. You really should use the real thing. Years ago I started out with the nasty pale yellow stuff in the plastic case in the notions department, because that was all I could find. It was frustrating to use because it crumbled and broke and little bits leaked out of the plastic container all over my sewing box and elsewhere. YUCK. Do you know why it does that? Well, it contains very little beeswax - it's beeswax mixed with paraffin to extend it.

Now paraffin won't hurt anything, but why go to all that trouble and mess? Natural beeswax has a gorgeous honey hue (see above - pure Maui beeswax!) and even has a light honey scent. When I had my quilt shop I bought a couple of pounds from the local beekeeper, melted it down and poured it into candy molds for easy (and pretty!) handling. I kept a big jar of it near the register and sold it by the piece. Now I have just a few pieces, but a piece like the one pictured above (approximately 2" across) will last you several years and won't break apart. It will just wear down to nothing, like a bar of soap.

Word of caution: if you buy your own beeswax and melt it down, be SURE to close your doors and windows! It will bring a HUGE swarm of bees who want their honey back. Ask me how I know. Despite that, it's fun to do and makes great gifts for your sewing friends.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Vacation Planning - Quilt Shops?

As we've been planning our trip, I've been searching for quilt-shop-stops along the way. I've found a few, but I'm considering not making some stops. Why?

Well, I'm not much of a quilt shop binger (is that even a word?). Usually, when I take trips (few and far between), I am working on a particular project, so I have specific purchases in mind. Mostly it will be a particular color of fabric I need and can't get at home. But right now, I don't need any project-specific fabric, and I certainly don't need any more fabric period. I've gotten away from book-buying, and have even sold a bunch at the amazon.com marketplace. I pretty much have all the notions, scissors, needles, pins, etc. I need.

So other than a stop at Superior Threads (in St. George, as we are passing through), because one can never have enough thread, I may not stop at all. Unless, of course, dear reader, you can give me a darn good reason why I should. And if you happen to know of any must-see good shops between Las Vegas and Cody, Wyoming, let me know.

P.S. This doesn't include the shop somewhere in Wyoming or Montana that my Uncle Jim has personally picked out for me to visit, of course! :-) How nice is that?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

UH-OH

I have a serious case of short-timer's disease. This mainly affects people who have given their two-week notice at work and are leaving their job (not me!), but has been known to infect those who are getting ready to go on vacation (me).

I have an extremely long to-do list at work, which I am trying to desperately stay focused on, but my mind keeps wandering to my extremely long "get ready to go on vacation" to do list at home. Another insidious side effect is the distinct craving for junk food, which was fueled by the distribution of glazed donuts to the kids at work this morning. I'm trying to quell that craving with a diet Coke and handful of nuts. Good friggin' luck!

It's exhausting driving all night (many nights, in my dreams!). I know all of this nocturnal activity will culminate in a dream about missing our flight (or something equally frustrating) the night before we leave. Do you ever dream stuff like that?

Anyway, it feels good to get this off my chest! Now, back to work...

Friday, July 13, 2007

More About Bags

Seems like the reusable bag trend is really taking off! I posted my rant about this a little while ago and, since then, have found two more links to share with you.

The first is Terry Grant's blog - Andsewitgoes - where she will share her pattern for her classy-looking bag.

The second is from the Whip Up blog - Proud to be a Bag Lady - which lead me over to...

Morsbags
and their Sociable. Guerilla. Bagging campaign. I think this is a FANTASTIC idea am going to try to coordinate something with my local groups toward this effort. Another little known fact is that I work for the Boys & Girls Club of Maui and I think making and distributing these bags would be a great community service project for our teen groups. I'll let you know if anything comes of it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Guilty Pleasure - Hell's Kitchen

I love to cook. I love cooking almost as much as I love quilting, so you can kind of get the picture.

I love cooking magazines and read Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Food & Wine regularly. I sometimes get Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times. I enjoy reading cooking fiction and non-fiction (my recent favs are Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, and The Apprentice: My Life In the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin). Cookbooks are wondrous things: all of the potential inside of one...mind-boggling! And a good one is worth its weight in truffles.

So, all of that being said, I'm addicted to Hell's Kitchen! Bruce and I are enjoying this season immensely - in all its screaming, crying, tantrum throwing glory. I was especially pleased that Melissa was voted off this week without a blink from Gordon. If I had to see her flying, crazy cavewoman hair for one more week I'd have to turn it off. What was the deal with that anyway?

My prediction is that it will come down to Jen and Rock at the end. We'll see!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gratuitous Pet Photos

It's been a long time since I've posted pictures of our pets, so here are a couple of good ones Bruce took:














Our darling boy, Cody. He'll be two next month!

Our rascal, Ginger, who just turned two. Our other kitty, Ruby, declined to be photographed for this entry.

More quilt content coming soon. It's been crazy around here!