Monday, December 28, 2009


Every year I find myself making the same resolutions...lose weight, exercise, get organized, blah, blah, blah.  I'm sure many of you do the same--its almost impossible not to.  I used to go to our local health club every morning for years and around this time of year, we'd always take a poll to see how many new people would show up in January and usually be gone by February.  Although, I was still there, I wasn't really accomplishing much.  I've not attended the club regularly for years now; initially due to my two back surgeries, but also because I allowed things to get in the way.

I have a forming plan for this year, however.  There is a new club in town that isn't filled with college kids, where the owners are very active and knowledgeable and actually help you rather than acting as if you're bothering them when you ask for assistance.  I want to join this club.  Unfortunately, before I do, I have to determine what's going on with my back this time.  I'm having the same pain as before, but down my left leg this time.  I've had x-rays and an MRI and will know the results on Wednesday.  Based on those results, I'll either be joining this club or visiting my back doctor. *fingers crossed that its the former*

What this all boils down to is Christine Kane's Blog.  If you're not familiar with it, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  She advocates a "Resolution Revolution."  Instead of addressing your resolution to what you're going to "do," you address what you're going to "be."  You choose a word and for the entire year, you remember the word, ponder the word and do things to help you accomplish it.  I'm choosing "health" for my word this year.  One other thing I plan to do is live my life by the punch method...another Kane idea.  I like it!  Instead of beating myself up at the end of the day for doing things I shouldn't have, or eating things I shouldn't have, or not doing something I should have, I'm going to "punch" that action from my day and replace it (mentally, of course) with something better/different/new or just edit it all together. 

Do you have a resolution?  What word will you choose??

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Quilt

When the yurt is finished, I'll be able to take full-sized photos of my customers' quilts.  This was a big quilt that I did for a new customer, Kim. It was made for her grandson.  Because it was for a boy, I wanted to keep the quilting simple, so there is a large, loopy meander in the body and tighter loops in the sashing.  The border had a plaid print in it, so I just improvised, keeping my spacing even, and "squiggled" my way to a checkerboard-type pattern.  It turned out really well and Kim loved it.

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Successful Reno Shopping

We headed for Reno and Christmas shopping last Friday.  The roads were relatively clear, the sun was out and the snow was glistening from the mountains.  We'd attempted this same trip on "Black Friday," but got about 20 miles from home before turning back...for the second time.  We left town later than expected, got about 10 miles from town when it started to snow those really, big beautiful flakes.  We knew it would only get worse the farther east we travelled, so we turned around and headed back to town.  As we got closer to Quincy, the weather cleared and the sun came out and we started second-guessing ourselves. bad can it be???  We turned around and started off again.  About 20 miles from town we got behind a group of cars going 35!  The roads had snow on them but really...35!!  So we opted to go another day.

That day came and this is the weather we had on the way was really pretty.

While in Reno we bought Christmas gifts for the family and did a little shopping for us.  It was actually fun to Christmas shop since it had started to snow lightly, made it feel like Christmas. We made a trip to R.C. Willey to look at their couches.  We'd decided on a leather couch, with a sleeper for company, since fabric just doesn't work.  Our dogs are often on the couch with us and fabric just doesn't stay clean.  So we bought this one...on sale!!!

The trip home was a bit more challenging.  We had left home late again because we opted to put the horses in before we left rather than when we got back.  This is what we drove through...  Red Rock is about 10 miles north of Reno, before CA and our cut off to Highway 70.

This picture is of the truck we followed through Sierra Valley.  The roads were actually a bit better by the time we left Portola and were headed for Quincy. 

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It was a successul day despite the weather.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Yurt Goes "Live"

What does this mean???  Well, unfortunately, it doesn't mean that its done.  However, it does mean that the electricity is working, the concrete-slab floor is now being heated via the radiant floor ducting (turned on just in time for the coldest night in was 2.8, yes, two-point-eight) and the wood stove is installed and burning.  The stove is so cute; its a tiny little thing and downright adorable.

This photo was taken before sunrise and before we moved the ladder *bummer*.  I love how warm and cozy the yurt looks from the outside and it is surprisingly warm inside.  Even though the actual temperature may read 10 degrees less than the house, it feels 10 degrees warmer.  Must have to do with the radiant floor.

This one was taken this morning, after moving the ladder, and when it was starting to get light.  The lattice that you see looking through the door window is on the back wall.  The interior has lattice all the way around as well as support studs.  Its very light and airy inside.

Inside pictures will come after this weekend.  Currently, the inside is a major construction zone.  We need one more inspection, then we can button-up the walls, install the "kitchen" cabinet, clean the place up and start staining the floor.  I'm thinking I'll start in the bathroom, that way, if I don't like it, I won't be committed to finishing the whole thing.  I'm so excited...I can't wait to be inside working on my longarm!!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Does anyone really buy food with Per Diem?

As you know, I'm in Sacramento for training.  I couldn't let a trip to Sac go by without visiting a new quilt shop and, of course, buying fabric.  I found Bearpaws and Hollyhocks only about 15 minutes from my hotel.  Its in a smaller strip mall on El Camino.  Its a great shop with tons of fabric displayed so you can actually see it.  I dealt mostly with Elaine, who was a huge help in picking out fabric, and with Lindy, the owner, whose opinion we kept checking.  This is the fabric I ended up with--I'll be using it to make the Pioneer Sampler by Quilt-in-a-Day. 

Since I've been in Sac, I finished putting the blocks together from my retreat quilt.  The colors aren't true at all in this picture, its purple with yellows/orange.  It looks much better in person.  When I went to square the blocks before assembling the top, I realized I hadn't brought a ruler that was large enough.  No matter though, now I'm working on a red/white/black Turning 20! 

And in case you were worried, I am learning things at my training.  Today I learned how to interrogate people and better yet, I learned the tell-tale signs that broadcast when someone isn't telling the truth. 

So, back to the original question...Does anyone really use their per diem money to buy food?  I bought some food, but buying fabric is way more fun!  I can eat when I get home.....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Training Week or Piecing Week?

Thanksgiving is over; we spent the day with great friends and good food.  Today, I drove to Sacramento for a week-long training for my day job.  Got to the hotel where I'm staying and realized that the furniture arrangement wasn't working for me.  This is what I found when I got here:

This is what it looks like now.  Better, eh??

Now when I get back from class at 5, I can piece all evening while watching television, checking e-mail, etc.  The only good thing about being here for a week is the freedom to work on my stuff without any guilt.  Its not like I could bring my longarm with me!!!  The bad part...I'm already homesick!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Autumn Leaf Wallhangings

This last Saturday, our guild had a class wherein we were supposed to bring leaves and black fabric.  We discharged the black fabric using a solution of 50/50 bleach/water and a spray bottle.  The original leaves were placed on the fabric in whatever pattern we chose and held down with tiny rocks.  As soon as the fabric was sprayed, the leaves were removed and we watched the color leach from the fabric.  When satisfied, the fabric went into a "stop bath" (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 8 parts water) for a few minutes, then clear water rinse.

The next step was to iron the fabric until it was dry (if you were at home, you could just let it air dry) and then trace the leaves we'd used for discarging on Steam-a-Seam for a pattern.  That pattern goes on the fabric of choice--usually fall-colored batiks--and then you cut around the leaf.  Finally, you press the leaves onto the discharged fabric after deciding which way you want your shadow to go.

My first attempt was with this huge leaf.  I chose the easy way out and made two small "quilts."  This one used the large leaf...

And this one used several. 

Here's a close-up of the leaf so you can see how its supposed to appear to float above its shadow. 

I got home that afternoon, put a border around the black fabric, threw some muslin on the machine and did this really simple quilted design.  Feels good to actually have something so close to being done!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just in the Nick of Time...

The weather  report yesterday said that we were in for big winds and rain today.  So this morning, before the weather had started, we moved the horses from the pasture into the barn.  I know this doesn't sound like a big deal; however, for us it is.  We've been married nine years in February, together for almost eleven, and this is the first time we've moved the horses before the storm.  Yep, the very first time!!!

This is what the doppler shows.... (we're under the white; east of Redding and south of Alturas--our entire County is in white and we're pretty much directly under the pink area)

And this is what it looks like outside now....

I'm planning to spend the rest of my day quilting (while we have power) and sitting by the fire when it goes out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I forgot to share this with you...

It's Shannon...she's having a block of the month on her blog.  That girl is just a little too talented, if you ask me *vbg*  Click here to see the first block.  She's posting one every month on the second Monday.  I won't be doing this quilt right now, but I'm saving the instructions.  I know it will be beautiful when she's done! another blog, she was commenting on her iTouch and the fact that she found some quilting applications at iTunes.  Since I now am the proud owner of a Samsung Rogue, I had to look at Verizon to see if they have any apps that will work.  Guess what I found when I did a search for "quilt"?  Nothing...a big fat zero!!  *shrug*  Oh well, maybe they'll get something eventually....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally...Finished Two Quilts in ONE Weekend!

Although I usually have three days off every weekend, I rarely get two quilts entirely done.  This weekend was different in many ways.   I had a holiday on Wednesday, which was spent quilting.  But then I ended up working late on Thursday and working almost all day on Friday!  So Saturday and Sunday were spent quilting and doing housework too--and I still got them both done. 

This one was custom for a friend.  Billie did a great job on this quilt and I love purple and green together.  Have a look and remember, if you click the picture, you can see it bigger.

Close up... I used Quilter's Dream Puff batting; the interlocking design in the middle is supposed to be puffy and the edges will fray when its washed.  QD was the perfect batt for this one.

The back...multi-colored strips from the front, but the solid shows the quilting.

And I have to give a shout out to APQS...I adore my Millennium!  I have come to know him quite well, I know what threads he likes and which he doesn't.  With this quilt, I used my customer's thread in the small loops in the multi-colored borders around each block.  Mel handled it like a champ.  APQS makes the best machines!!!

The second quilt was a panto on a really nice batik quilt with maple leaves.  No pic yet, my customer still hasn't seen it, but it turned out great!  I used My Favorite Leaves by Judy Allen and Rainbows Brass Band thread by Superior Threads.  I hope my customer likes it as much as I.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gotta Love Uncle Sam!!!

Today I learned about blog etiquette; for example, if someone sends you something in the mail, you should take a picture and post it on your blog.  So far, I've received four things in the mail (one today) and I haven't posted any pictures...but I'm still new to this whole blogging bear with me.

First , I received a quilt from my friend, Shannon, in Georgia.  No the quilt isn't for me, exactly, its to be donated to NorCal Equine Rescue  for them to raffle.  I seized four severely emaciated horses last May and NorCal took them without charging the County anything.  Without NorCal, that part of my job would be really difficult.  (That's me standing behind the one of the other horses.) With NorCal, horses that look like this

end up looking like this (they've named her Daisy and she's on the left).  Amazing, isn't it??

It broke my heart to see these horses so neglected; but they are all fat and sassy now.  It truly is a happy ending.  If you have any spare cash, even $5, NorCal could use it, especially in this economy.

So, back to my gifts.  Shannon sent this quilt (pictures to follow...stay tuned) which will accompany the quilt that I will be putting together from the many women on the APQS chat that contributed blocks.  NorCal will have two quilts to raffle, which I hope will bring them lots of money!!

Then, on Shannon's tutorial page a few months ago, she demonstrated how to make a pin cushion that is made to look like and eyeball--isn't it great!  I'm dying to go to a class so I can "stick a needle in my eye"!!

The next thing Uncle Sam delivered is this beautiful quilt.  I won this quilt from the Sagebrush Quilters in Ely.  My friend, Kristina, sold me the tickets after she quilted this quilt for her guild.  The best part of winning this quilt is that not only did Kristina quilt it and sell me the winning ticket, but she left her guild after they treated her poorly.  Gotta love the irony!!

Finally, today, in my mailbox was this.

Its from Shannon, you think she knows I love horses and that since I work 40 hours a week and quilt for others all weekend and try to keep my new, green-broke mare ridden, I'm just a tad busy??  This is now hanging in my studio and will be proudly displayed in my yurt, when its finished...someday...

Thank you Shannon for everything!!! I wish you lived closer...but you will be coming out to visit and teach next summer...plan on it!  Imagine the fun that you, Kristina and I will have.

PS...just got an e-mail from Shannon.  This is what she pictured when she first saw this placque: "i have this mental picture of this bow legged cowboy holding the end of a rope that is limply hanging over, all frayed on the end. in the background there's a horse running off. the cowboy is standing there scratching his/her know how a seasoned rodeo cowboy can take his hat off and scratch his head at the same time....that's what i saw..."  Pretty funny!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Quilt...a bit late

Isn't this cute??  I'm not usually a huge fan of this style, but I really loved this quilt and had fun quilting it.  I did some things I don't normally do; however, I think they turned out. 

I did some "line dancing" in the outer border...I'm more of a cross-hatch person, but decided to challenge myself.  I like how it turned out...I even put a cute little folksy pumpkin in each cornerstone. The cat and pumpkin were more of a challenge to me, but with the help of my friends at APQS, I was able to muddle through...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meandering Feathers

I've been wanting to try these on a "real" quilt.  I tried the for the first time on my sister's quilt and learned two valuable lessons.  First, if you have to stop in the middle, be sure to complete the entire feathering on both sides of the spine...or you might forget! (I did!)  Second, if your lines are wavey and just go across the quilt, it looks like rows of feathers, not meandering...(rows aren't nearly as pretty)

This top I learned that if your thread matches too closely, its impossible to see where you're at without sticking your nose practically under the needle.  I meandered the entire top with feathers and made sure to not do any rows.  I'm happy with how it turned out and since the thread does match so nicely, where I wasn't perfect isn't noticeable.

and the back...which really doesn't show much. I used a So Fine! taupe thread.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Frame Friday

Its still Friday...although late, but at least I'm posting what's on my frame!  I've actually had two quilts on today.  I finshed this one and delivered it this afternoon.  My customer, Mona, is a new to quilting, but you'd never know it by her piecing.  She's very good and her quilts are a pleasure to work on.  I did a panto on this one, Blowing Leaves, as I didn't want to take away from her piecing.

I love how the back turned out...

The one on now is an unusually shaped table-topper.   It belongs to a new customer who didn't care what I put on it.  Perfect time to practice my meandering feathers...right?  Well, yes & no.  Can you see the feathers??  No...well, me neither.  Its making it awfully hard to quilt them, but then, I guess my mistakes won't show up either!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This might be fun...

Have you seen this?  This is the logo for the Cross Country Christmas Quilt Designer Shop Hop.  It gets underway next Monday, November 9; they will have free patterns, prizes and "loads of goodies for the good boys and girls."  There are 12 designers lined up to visit each day and each of them has designed a special project to share. The projects are all themed around gift giving, quick and easy to get done before Christmas. Click here to go to the first blog and to get more information.

And I have to share.  Buggy Barn just came out with these fabrics called Buggy Barn Basics...  I keep hearing Gollum in my head saying, "My precious," over and over.  Thank goodness its payday!  Here are just a few that I love:

Visitors in the Night

Dennis went down to feed yesterday morning (he does morning feedings while I shower) a bit groggy as usual. As he looked toward the pasture, he noticed that two horses appeared to be on the wrong side of the fence. Upon closer inspection, he realized that there were still four horses inside the fence...what?? Apparently, at some point last night, two of our neighbor's horses escaped. Bodie and Nova came for a visit.

A little hay and they were enticed into our round pen. A call to our neighbor to let them know the pones were safe and off we went to work.

Got home last night and just before we went down to feed, our neighbor called--she'd been tied up all day and hadn't retrieved the horses yet. Poor guys had been in our round pen all day without much feed and no water, since we expected them to be leaving shortly. So we fed and watered them last night and again this morning. Hopefully, she'll be over to get them later today.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Catching up...

First and most important, is the new header for my blog.  Its a painting by Leslie Anne Webb.  I first saw her work in Truckee several years ago; since then, I've admired not only her art but the work she does.  She's a dedicated horse activest for whom I have the utmost respect.  I e-mailed her to ask permission to use this  work as my header and she couldn't have been nicer.  Please visit her website.

Saturday was spent all day in Reno...well, it felt like all day.  First we watched a friend for an hour at the World Championship Weight Lifting event at the Peppermill.  A good friend of mine had  a very apt comment: "Who decided that weight lifting was a spectator sport?"  I enjoyed the 30 seconds of watching our  friend; I did not enjoy the 59 minutes of watching the others!

Then it was off to my sister's in Carson to pick up a quilt from a new customer, Judy, and then back to Home Depot to buy fun stuff for the yurt.   Two hours later we left Home Depot with kitchen cabinets, a kitchen sink, a small refer, a toilet, wall sconces, a ceiling fan, stain for the concrete floor and wood to build the walls with.  

I worked on two quilts this weekend and was *this close* to finishing both of them.  Both had pantos and in my second to last row on the second quilt, I forgot to change my stitch length back after basting the sides and bottom.  I completed that whole row at 5 stitchs per inch instead of this afternoon was spent frogging....

Here's a photo of the one I finished...I used Shooting Stars panto on this Victory Quilt.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Draw a Pig

Yep, that's what I said...draw a pig!!  Click here and you can draw your very own pig which will then be analyzed to tell you specific personality traits...  Go ahead--I dare you!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Socks & Kate have Adventures & The Yurt has Walls

We ended up having four days off this weekend and decided to make Kate and the yurt our main goals.  First up...Kate.  We rode her three times this weekend and each time were more and more impressed with her.  Her third ride was our usual four-mile loop that is a pretty easy trek.  We do have to go past three neighbors houses on the way home.  The middle house has vehicles and wood and all sorts of scary things...she didn't even care.  In fact, the only "excitement" was when Emma and Bailey whinnied to us from across the meadow.  She was very excited, calling back and starting to trot.  Usually, trotting entails a bit of encouragement with a crop!

Kate was so great on Thursday and Friday, that I rode her on Saturday.  I really thought it would be weeks before I got on her, but she is the most solid, green-broke horse ever!  I can't wait until she's figured out the program; she's going to be phenomenal!

Here she is with her saddle on, ready to go.  Isn't she cute??

Friday morning we said a tentative goodby to Socks.  He is going to live with Jenny in Garden Valley; if things work out, that will be his new permanent home.  Jenny is looking for a horse to give her confidence, Socks needs a home where he'll be ridden and not have to do endurance rides. 

I thought I was fine with him leaving, until we turned the corner and Jenny came out clapping her hands together, excited to see us arriving with him.  I know that he and Jenny will do great together, but its still bittersweet.  Socks is such a great horse with a huge heart...I'll miss him.

The yurt insulation and walls went much faster than we'd anticipated.  This picture shoes how the insulation comes in pieces (wall piece, window piece, repeat). 

The yurt totally totally wrapped with insulation.

A photo from the inside.  The  "walls" are white and with the wood, it looks so clean and nice.  Hard to tell from the photo, but that window looks out on the pasture where the ponies are...a perfect view!

Almost finished.  The exterior is done, we just have a few screws to put in at the bottom. 

Hopefully, next weekend we'll make a quick trip to Reno and pick up supplies for staining the floor and the few items we need for the inside.