Days of Gold

What have I really been doing? Well as we discussed I’m working on a pattern. I have finished it but now the hard part and that’s the part where I put myself out there and see if someone wants to buy it. Yup, just that silly part.

It’s also that time of year when the local girls all want to be in our traditional festival that celebrates our town discovering a 50 pound gold nugget back in the 1850’s. What do we call this celebration? Why Gold Nugget Days of course.

This year I was contacted by five girls and was almost arm twisted into another dress by another quilter friend. Yes I said 5 girls! One girl and her mother were so excited by the idea that they were willing to buy fabric before hand and return it if she didn’t get into the contest.

What I learned this year is that only 15 girls can participate and that if more than 15 sign up that they than have to do a lottery to pick the 15 from the group.

So this Mother went online on Black friday to buy 10 yards of fabric and we waited and crossed our fingers that her daughter’s number was picked and that she’d be in the contest. Now that’s some town spirit!

But back to that 5. I would have to be crazy to make that many dresses. Yes!

But what about 3?

Yup, that makes me crazy too! Specially when it’s working with teenage girls. My Daughter laughed when I said they are difficult to pin down like the equivalent of stapling Jello to a wall.  I have to agree with W.C. Fields when he said, “never work with animals or children”.

Anyhow I’m sure you are all curious about the the fabrics so let’s look at them.

This is dress number 1.  She chose a lovely alabaster taffeta embroidered with dots. This will be accented by an olive green taffeta and a 7 inch needle lace.
P1400977Dress number 2. This is the fabric that was bought before hand just to insure a great price. This dress will be my first bustle dress. I like a challenge and I’m looking forward to working on this one.
P1400982Dress number 3. Girl number 2’s best friend. They also bought their fabric online because she wanted this specific fabric. It took awhile to find it but we did finally. This dress is still in the thought process which is fine as I can only work on one dress at a time without confusing myself.P1400980I have my work cut out for me in the next few months! But as I said, I like to be challenged and I love to see these dresses take shape. It makes me look like a genius to create something that these girls see in their mind.

There will be more to report so stay tuned!

Take care my friends, Brandie

Long Winded

Last week I got the whole tourist treatment at my Daughter’s house. I never lifted a finger (though I did ask), my laundry was even done but not by me, I was wined and dined (in my case water) and chauffeured around to wherever I so desired.  I think you call that a vacation?

I saw and shopped in several fabric stores. Went to a huge Outlet Mall which is within walking distance of my Daughter’s house, but not recommended because of traffic and mostly because who wants to carry a million bags up the top of a hill!?

DD and her sweet boyfriend (the SWEETEST!) entertained me and gave me a great visit. I think I’ll go back!

There was an agenda made and adhered to. Without it I would have been lost. DD scouted out fabric stores for me before I got there. That is one sweet girl! In fact she even let me buy her some fabric because… she wants to sew! I did foresee this and give her a basic sewing machine for Christmas (so she could mend once in a blue moon). Boy was I surprised that she wants to make things like letter shaped pillows and kid things. So I started her off with a few instructions and a few quarters to make pillow cases. If she really likes it I’ll get her a better machine.

During this visit I also met some of Sweet Boyfriend’s family. I can I say I was terrified! We all want to make a good impression and we don’t want to scare people away right? Well that was my fear but I shouldn’t have been worried because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I met two of the sweetest ladies! I’m so happy that they are in my Daughter’s life and I hope to get to know they better. They made me feel so special and happy to meet them. I hope I can learn that trick of welcoming people and easing their silly worries.

Then the day arrived to visit the “#2 place to travel to Europe without leaving the USA” (according to Huffington Post).  DD wanted me to take a picture under a store front sign with my birth name on it. I was born a Rasmussen and according to Wikipedia it’s a Danish name. Looks like I need to brush up on my heritage. It also explains my lack of color within my own family.

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A fun filled visit to the coast also meant a visit to see Solvang.
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Such a cute town! I helped keep it busy lots of retail therapy.
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Unfortunately I couldn’t indulge on these yummies but I was told they were delicious.
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So inviting!
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Aebleskiver, a MUST if you visit. I did have one bite and it was worth it!
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Even a Hotel gets a Danish face lift in this town.

 

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Wish I knew what these said!
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Made with a few fabric purchases. I was inspired by a quilt I saw in Betty’s Fabric store. Unfortunately they are not online, what a waste!
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The perfect flower eye, IMHO

And that’s my long winded post. I hoped you enjoyed it! I’ll be back soon with what’s really keeping me busy.

Take care my friends, Brandie

Madonna Inn

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The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo

If you are ever anywhere near SLO, I highly recommend you visit this beautiful landmark, you will not be disappointed. You may be shocked but not disappointed.

Every room in this Hotel is decorated in their own way, most very colorfully.

Even The restrooms in the Restaurants did not miss out. Really they need to be seen to be believed.


Don’t worry, your computer is just fine, this is really a pink dining room.

Go and enjoy, I did!

 

Take care my Friends!

Brandie

A Brave New Year

My word of the year is always in the back of my mind. No longer will I ignore it. So Today I’m giving you a glimpse of my finished pattern. Next step is to find a proof reader and perhaps a pattern tester. Anyone out there interested?

But first let us admire some of Mother Nature’s gorgeous winter color.


That branch fell from above, scared the dog and shook the earth. Right now I’m debating on whether to keep it intact or let Hubby cut it up and burn it.  Those greens are just so lovely!

So back to the tease. What do you think?

Are you like me and save old linen hankies but don’t know what to do with them? I think I just discovered a whimsical way to prolong their beauty. This is a great place to use them specially if they are partial damaged or stained.

What about those bits and pieces of old lace and tatting?

This wasn’t on my list day of things to do today but I grabbed a few minutes. Now I need to finish packing because I’m going to the coast!

DD invited me down to see her new house and to go shopping of course! Last night I was in a bit of a panic because I couldn’t fit my clothes in my suitcase.  If my clothes don’t fit, how was I to bring anything home?  I thought about just packing my undies and washing the same clothes every night, but I’m a girl who likes clothes and I need to accessorize. Than Hubby (who’s smarter than I) suggested a large suitcase instead of a carry on.  Yay! Know I can pack 4 pairs of shoes and buy fabric, Lush bombs, Danish do-dads and anything else I think I might need.

Let me know if I’ve quipped your interest. I’d love to hear what you think.

Take care my Friends!

I’ll be back soon with warm beach pictures!

Brandie

Bravery

With the start of a new year, most of us, myself included, want to make improvements on ourselves. We try to eat better, exercise more and we encourage ourselves to be better people.

Some of us have read other blogs where that person is going to focus on a one word goal to better themselves.  I like that idea and decided to adopt the same philosophy, I just needed to decide what that would be.   After avoiding what I didn’t want to be true, I decided this year to focus on the word “Bravery”.  Now we all know what this word means but I’m going to pin point it to me and my life. No this doesn’t mean I’m going sky diving or taking up extreme sports.  To me this means learning to be comfortable using the word “No”.  This also means I’m going to encourage myself to do things that are outside my comfort zone.  This year I want to push myself to be brave enough to pursue publishing a few quilt patterns.  Phhhew! I said it!   For some people this might seem an easy thing to do but I’m terrified of rejection!  Thank goodness Hubby has a level head on his shoulders and asked “What could be the worse thing that could happen? No one buy yours patterns? So what, you don’t need this to put food on the table so lighten up and just let it play out.”

So that’s my plan, I’m just going to let it play out.  I’m not going to push myself and make this a chore but I’m no longer going to hide those ideas in a folder telling myself that it’s a silly idea because what’s the worst thing that could happen?  I find that no out there likes what I like?  If that’s the case I would still be true to myself because I did something I enjoyed doing and that is all that matters.  Though it would be great to fund my fabric addition!

So that’s my New Year’s resolution, 2016 will be the year of Bravery!

 

How many of you received coloring books for Christmas?

How many of you saw the great ideas for quilting?

Funny part?  I mocked these books when I first saw them months ago.  I was heard to say, “I’m too old to color”.

Well never say never because I was inspired and this is what came about.
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Now to wait for a grand baby, sigh
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Technically last years last finish
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The creative bug doesn’t always work with fabric

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The soft glow in a cold winter day.  Wish those candles produced heat!

Take care my Friends!

Brandie

Leftovers

Aren’t we all glad to be done with one Holiday, or is that just me?

I honestly don’t want to see another turkey for a year!  And I’m not ready for Christmas music yet!

But I do love spending time with family and friends, there is a bright spot in the frenzy of the Holidays and it’s not the food!

At our house Thanksgiving produces so many leftovers but these leftovers weren’t leftovers from a turkey, these were actually leftovers from a quilt that I know I’d never finish.  All I ever finished were these blocks. Lucky me that they ended up matching so well to become a small wall hanging.  This will be a perfect gift for a non-quilty friend who doesn’t how these are leftovers and won’t see my mistakes. Win-win!
P1400852While my DD was here enjoying the turkey Holiday, she mentions that she needed a new pillowcase, a Christmas one to be exact.
Before I started her Christmas pillowcase I had to finish up a class project which I then turned into a pillowcase.
This class was sew fun! Admittedly it was confusing but I stayed the course because I’ve always wanted to make a cathedral window quilt.
Now I just hope I can duplicate it for my own project!
P1400848A Christmas pillow was made, another place to use up leftover scraps and some leftover rhinestones.
This was a fun one too. I’ve forgotten how much fun a log cabin can be to make. I’m thinking there will be more of these in the future.
P1400843While I was pulling out all these leftovers, I found another start that stalled. I wasn’t happy with my previous color but hadn’t sewn in the replacement color. I’m still not thrilled with all this pink but maybe I’ll learn to love it.
P1400854If I had enough fabric I would switch out the darker pink for the light pink in the 9 patches but I just don’t have enough to make that work.
This is always the problem when you use stash fabrics, you just have to make it work and learn to love the results.
P1400855This isn’t the most user friendly pattern but I’m learning to make friends with the “Y” seam. Maybe by the time I finish my last seam I’ll be an expert, or smart enough to know better to avoid them next time!

Any suggestions on making “Y” seams?

Take care my Friends, Brandie

Seaside Village

My Seaside village quilt was finished in time to snuggle under and keep warm.
P1400820There is nothing like a quick finish to make you feel good. Not to mention keeping you warm on a cool California fall evening.
Even more special is the backing I used. This was given to me (6 yards) by my SIL several years ago. It has been just sitting on my shelf taking up space. I gave it a home and now it has a special memory for me as well.
Speaking of my SIL, my in-laws brought her to our local quilt show. She still lives in a nursing home but there are many improvements in her health.
She may not be able to walk yet but every day is better than the last.
I had to laugh at my MIL pushing my SIL in her wheel chair and my SIL reading the tags to my MIL. These two are a perfect pair! One can’t see very well and one can’t walk BUT last year she wasn’t even talking! Talk about a huge step! It was a touching a sweet moment to see these two woman work together, that’s why I love them so!
P1400821This box of solids is still full, maybe the lid closes easier but other than that I can’t see a change.
P1400796Today I’ve cut up 5″ squares to go with the two Kaffe charm packs I bought at the quilt show.
As I flutter from one chore to the next, I stop and sew together a few blocks. My Physical Therapist doesn’t like me sitting too much. I set my timer to 15 minutes, sew till it rings and flutter off to my next chore. Yesterday it was grouting the bathroom floor. Today I’m putting the room back to rights, without the heavy lifting! That what son’s are for, right?
Hopefully I’ll be back soon with another finish!

Take care my friends, Brandie

Something Fun and New

Now that our local quilt show is over, I can relax and play. I needed something fun instead of fancy.  First thing I did was take out my box of solids.  This box isn’t huge but it’s loaded with solid fabrics of every color.  Some are leftovers from my mini dresden,  a new bundle of jewel tones and the rest were given to me by a good friend!
P1400796I love to use solids but this will be a first to use only solids.  I found this pattern on Craftsy and saved it for a later date.  Today is that date.
P1400797I have plans to use more of these solids in another project after I finish this one.
P1400798There is even a backing that has been sitting on my shelf for years!  I love it when that happens.  Shopping your own stash can make you feel so efficient.

I’ve already sewn the bottom row and it’s 60″ long.  The pattern calls it a throw size, can’t wait to see how big it’s going to be.

A lot of color will be used in this quilt but I’m really looking forward to seeing them. I really need a less formal quilt to play with.  I’m even thinking this is another quilt that needs straight line quilting.  Hopefully this will be a quick and easy quilt because I already want to play with another quilt!

Surprising myself I bought 2 Kaffe Fasset charm packs in blues, turquoise, plum and violet.  I think a can do a controlled color palette of Kaffes this way, with a few solids thrown in.  If I can’t handle it, it’ll be a great gift for someone!

Take care my friends, Brandie

Expiration Date

You know that quilt I’ve been complaining about, the one that needs to be quilted for our up coming quilt show?  Well I think I’ve   f i n a l l y    gotten to the point of seeing the end of it.  I’m not even sure I can say this is a favorite quilt anymore.  I have been working on this sooooooo long that I kind of hate it.  After the show I’ll put it away, forgot about, find it in a pile while showing someone my quilts, and fall in love with it again.  But right now I’m actually calling it the butte county quilt after the county I live in (drop that “e” and you know what we really call our county and what I’m calling this quilt).
P1400746This has been such a hard quilt to capture the true colors of.  I’ve taken shots indoors and outdoors, sunny and cloudy but none have been the true colors.  This first shot may be the best for the leaves and dresden flowers but it make the black faded.
P1400745This shot makes the black look it’s blackest but washes out the colors.  But hopefully with all the pictures you can imagine it’s true colors.
P1400744This quilt has an expiration date on it so I better finish it up soon!

I’m not using this as an excuse but I’m now quilting around all the dresden flowers with metallic thread and it’s not going perfectly.  The thread breaks at least once on every flower.  Very frustrating and time consuming!
P1400736The backing shows off more of the quilting. Sometimes the backs become their own works of art, not that this is! What a pile of thread clippings I see in my future.
P1400699Is it any wonder that this quilt is covered in fur?! I take a bathroom break and this is what I came back to. Silly cat!
P1400726Don’t let this sweet little face fool you, he’s a terror!  Thank goodness he still sleeps a lot!

My Daughter asked for a baby quilt for a co-worker.  The only instructions she gave me were, the colors are pink and gray and she likes animals.

So with those requirements this is what I came up with, using one of my favorite subjects!
P1400733The retro kitty is velvet.  I thought it would feel nice so I used it but I’m looking for a better way to applique with it.  If you have any ideas, please tell me.

I backed my velvet shape with a thin cotton and tried to flip it inside out, tried.  I mostly ended up cutting an opening all the way through the shape.  But it helps keep the raw edges together so I slowly tucked everything under and sewed it down.  It’s mostly OK except for the area where the tail meets the back leg, that area just looks like the cat has a prolapsed rectum.  Did that get your attention? Anybody out there?
P1400730Eyelet lace, ric-rac and rhinestones can be a girls best friend. Velvet applique, fleece backing and satin binding make this a most touchable quilt. In fact I want to make one for myself! How else am I going to learn to applique with velvet?

Take care my friends! Brandie

Modern

What is modern quilting? As a traditional quilter I’ve never really gave it a second thought. Occasionally I see a quilt and I think “that’s modern”. The use of gray backgrounds or traditional blocks made with solid fabrics seem to be a clue. Though not all the blocks in a modern quilt are traditional. Many blocks are more organic in the style of a Gees Bend quilt. But how is a Gees Bend quilt modern? They weren’t even recently constructed. It all boggles the mind, yet I still feel the need to know and so I went looking for an answer to what modern is.

This is what the modern quilt guild has to say.
“Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”
P1400703So according to that little blurb, my latest baby quilt is just that, modern.

How did this happen?  I thought I was a traditionalist.  Am I still a traditionalist? I seem to have checked more that one of those modern boxes.  Bold colors, high contrast, expansive negative space and alternate grid work.
P1400709Gees Bend quilts influence the modern quilter.  They can influence any quilter!  How they used fabric to make a blanket to provide warmth.  I don’t think their first intention was to make art.  It was a necessity first.  But make art they did.  Or were they just being frugal? They say necessity is the mother of invention.  P1400708As a child I made up stories to go along with my village of stick people.  At the time I was unaware of my lack of toys, I just made do and I was happy.

As a teenager I became aware of those around me with fancier name brand clothes, newer cars and “normal” homes.  I was embarrassed of my Kmart clothes but once again necessity knocked and I learned to sew many of my own clothes, which several girls seemed to be impressed by.

My Grandparents car was big and old compared to the 80’s smaller cars.  Fast forward to today when my son tells me that their car was a muscle car and he would have loved to have it.

Then there was my Grandparents home.  A very small simple shack they bought in 1943.  Over the years my Grandfather added several additions to that shack.  Sure it will never be considered “normal” but it has it’s charm and it means a lot to me.

Isn’t it funny how our perceptions change?
P1400707When I first started quilting, I thought all quilts should be made from one line of fabric.  I thought they didn’t “match” unless all the fabrics were related.  Now I really have a hard time “not” using everything,  as long as it matches in color.

I used to think that a house with a matching couch, love seat and recliners were the ultimate in home interiors.  Now I couldn’t stand to be in such a sterile room.  Give me patterns, as long as they match in color.
P1400713But back to modern quilting, isn’t it a statement of being frugal?  Fewer fabrics and simple lines.  Doesn’t this all add up to making do and being frugal?  This is what the Gees Bend quilters did.  I did it too, with my binding.  Sure I could have bought more fabric but why not just use up the strips that were cut away?  This would have made my Grandmother so proud!  Once I made a doll and I glued the dress to her.  Yes I GLUED her dress to her!  My Grandmother learned me a lesson with that example.  I learned that that doll would forever have that dress and I couldn’t even change it even when it got dirty.  I learned that lesson real good!  Slipcovers became my new motto, for everything!

Scraps, even if I can’t see the use of them (at that moment) can later become the best piece for applique.  So now I ask, is it frugal or hoarding?
P1400705Today I can see the charm in all things old. I could literally go back in time and kick my teenage shelf for not seeing the beauty in things!

Gees bend quilts may not be my cup of tea but there is a beauty in them, a love that can be seen by the work they put into these quilts for their loved ones.  A quilt is a real work of love, be it of sewing, creating, for a family member or just the fabrics themselves.  That’s me to a “T”.
P1400701This quilt may not be my favorite but I learned something new and I did enjoy creating a new quilt for a soon to be arriving baby, there is nothing sweet than that!

(except maybe this!)
P1400695Every quilt is an expression of ourselves, it just can’t be helped. We put our love into a quilt and that shows every time someone admires it. But you and I know just how simple this quilt really is! But we will lie and tell everyone how long and hard we worked on it, at least I will so don’t give me away!
P1400712Sorry for the long post, these were just the thoughts that were going through my mind while I sewed a bunch of straight lines.
One thing I learned about myself in this process was that I will always think of modern quilting as frugal.  That and I will always enjoy quilting in any style.

Take care my friends, Brandie