Friday, March 30, 2007

Harry Potter Quilt

This is a fundraiser quilt, commissioned by Joyce F., retired co-worker. Her son coaches a swim team, and the quilt will be auctioned to raise money for the team. I used Star of Spring blocks, along with Harry Potter fabric won at Ebay.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Memory Quilts

These two quilts are for the sons of a lady who died from cancer. They are made from fabrics from the lady's own clothing, although the background fabric is new. The quilts were commissioned by the lady's friend, Mimi J., one of my co-workers.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Everybody's Favorite

For Carla D., who is retiring.
I chose Everybody's Favorite block because she's so loved in the office.
We'll miss you, Carla.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Monterey, Day 3

This is my third and last day in Monterey. The Amtrak bus doesn't leave until afternoon, so I have time to do some exploring. I have breakfast at Old Monterey Cafe on Alvarado. The food is delicious. I catch Bus 1X, headed for Lover's Point in Pacfic Grove to look at the ocean. I sit on a bench and look at the water, rocks and birds. It's beautiful.

Back on the bus, I get off on Lighthouse to find Back Porch Fabric. On the way, I hear music coming from a park. In a gazebo, an older gentleman is playing jazz clarinet to recorded music. As a professional musician myself, it gets my attention. I talk to the man, Russ Guarino, who plays with the Monterey Lighthouse Jazz Band. I spend some time talking to him and listening to him play. Then I excuse myself to find the quilt store.

At Back Porch Fabric, I buy an office-themed fat quarter. It's a nice store, well worth visiting if you come to the Monterey area.

I get back on the bus and head back to the Transportation Center. I check out Turtle Bay Taqueria, which looks interesting, but decide not to eat there. I walk back to the motel, pick up my bag, then have lunch at El Palomar, where I ate on my first day.
Back to the Transportation Center, where I catch the Amtrak bus back to Merced. Luckily, the bus driver stops for a potty break about halfway through the three-hour trip. Once back in Merced, I catch the train for the short ride back home.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Monterey, Day 2

Most of my day today will be spent in a seminar. After a continental breakfast at my motel, I walk down to the Portola Hotel, where the seminar will take place. I find the room, and take a seat. There are about 30 of us taking the class. It is a very informative class, and I find out that I am an authentic leader--someone with the natural ability to lead, but without a formal title.

Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey

When we break for lunch, Hilda--a gal from Monterey sitting next to me--and I look for a place to eat at Fishermen's Wharf near the hotel. We eat at Isabella's on the wharf. Above is the view from our table.

When the seminar ends late afternoon, I decide to go to Carmel to see the sunset. I don't have time to go back to my motel to change my shoes. I catch Bus 5 to Carmel and get off as close to Carmel Beach as possible. I still have to walk a few steep blocks down to the beach, in my good shoes. I arrive just before sunset, and stand on a little slab of concrete while I watch the sun go down.

Sunset at Carmel State Beach
It's a long walk back up the hill to the bus stop. Back in Monterey, I rest for half an hour. I put on my walking shoes, and head out in search of dinner. I stop at the desk to make sure I can leave my bag with them in the morning while I do some running around. The Amtrak bus doesn't leave until afternoon, and I don't want to drag my suitcase around all day.


Everything's cool with the front desk, so I head out. I'm interested in Italian food, and I head to the wharf. I couldn't find any Italian that really interested me, so I stroll downtown. I settle on Rocine's on Alvarado. I had Chicken Castroville, which was really good. After dinner, I walk back to my motel, where I watch TV before going to sleep.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monterey, Day 1

I'm on my way to Monterey, California--the beautiful coastal town, and one of my favorite places. I'm headed there to take a Fred Pryor class, Creative Leadership Workshop, tomorrow. This will fulfill a wish I've had for several years. My government employer used to send employees to classes like this in the past, but money is tight nowadays, so I'm paying for the class myself and taking vacation time to attend. My dime, my time. But it's a dream come true, so I'm excited.

It's a short ride on Amtrak to Merced, then a 3-hour bus ride to Monterey. At the transfer station, I find out that I'm going to be riding in a small 12-person bus with no bathroom. This is not what I was expecting, as every other Amtrak bus I've been on has been full-size, with an on-board bathroom. I ask the driver if there will be a bathroom stop; he says no. I can't believe it. Okay, I guess I won't be drinking any water on the way.

In just a few minutes we're underway. About half an hour into the trip, we're on the highway, when the bus starts bouncing, like we're hitting potholes or something. The seats have all the padding of old card table chairs so the bumps are pretty unpleasant. After several minutes of this, I wonder if I've made a big mistake. I've waited years to return to Monterey, trying to come up with ways to get there without driving, and this "sounded" like such a good idea. I don't know if I'll try this again.

Thankfully after a while the ride becomes smoother. We stop several places before arriving in Monterey. The Amtrak bus stop is at the Transportation Center downtown. I verify with the driver that this is the place where I'll catch the bus to go home in a couple of days. Next, to find my motel, which is within walking distance of the Transportation Center, my class and Fisherman's Wharf. Armed with my map, I get my bearings and start walking. A couple of blocks later and I'm at my motel. I check in and set off to find some lunch. The guy at the desk recommends the Mexican restaurant across the street, so I head over there.
The restaurant, El Palomar, has great atmosphere. It's quite spacious but very quiet right now, because it's the middle of the afternoon. There's a patio outside where I'd love to eat, but I'm too embarrassed to ask. I take a seat and a few minutes later I order. I pull out my notes and begin to plan the rest of the day. I'd like to get to a quilt store in Pacific Grove this afternoon, if possible, and as I'm trying to figure out how to get a lady at the next table asks me if I'm eating alone. I say yes. She asks if I'd like to join her at her table. She looks nice, so I go ahead and move.
Cindy is having her car detailed a couple of blocks away, so she's having lunch here while she waits--something she's done many times. Turns out she's a Spanish teacher at local school, but actually lives in Santa Cruz, about an hour's drive up the coast. She and her little family are getting ready to move (back) here, and meanwhile she's commuting. After the move, her husband will continue to work in Santa Cruz and he'll commute.
I tell Cindy my story of why I'm here, and that I use public transportation when I visit cities. It's been 10 years since I've been here, and I'm somewhat familiar with the area. Cindy is from Monterey and gives me some great tips on places to eat and things to do. I pay for her lunch as thanks for all the wonderful information she's given me for the rest of my trip.

The Hand Maden

After lunch I make my way to Pacific Grove on Bus 1. I get off at Lighthouse and 17th and pay a visit to The Hand Maden, a quilt store on Lighthouse. It's a nice store and I buy a couple of fat quarters. Out on Lighthouse again, looking for Back Porch Fabric on Grand. After a couple of tries, I give up because it's getting late. Maybe on my last day I'll have more success.

Bratty Real Estate on Lighthouse in Pacific Grove. The name tickled me.

I find a bench on Lighthouse and wait for a bus to take me to Cannery Row where I may have dinner. I catch Bus 1, get off at David and Ocean View. The first place I visit at Cannery Row is American Tin Cannery at Ocean View and Eardley, a small mall where I remember a discount bookstore from years ago. Unfortunately the bookstore isn't here anymore. I look around the mall for a little bit, then head back out to the street.
Sign near Monterey Bay Aquarium
I walk past Monterey Bay Aquarium. I've been there a couple of times in the past, and it's a wonderful place to see, but it's not on my agenda for this trip. I keep my eyes peeled for a restaurant. Bubba Gump, a fun seafood chain restaurant based on the movie Forrest Gump, is on Cannery Row. I'm keeping it in mind, but I've eaten at several of those already and I'd like to eat somewhere new.

Monterey Bay, Cannery Row
At Steinbeck Plaza I find a spot to sit and look at the bay. It's getting close to sunset, and when I'm by the ocean I try to be at the water when the sun goes down. After sitting on the bench for a little bit, I decide to go down the little stairway to get closer to the water. There are no benches here, but I find a rock to park myself on. This is much better, away from much of the street level chatter. I stay awhile, then go back up to the street to continue looking for a restaurant, and to check out the free trolley ride back to the wharf area in Monterey. I check out a couple of stores near the trolley stop, and I ask one shop employee when the trolley comes. The girl doesn't know anything about the trolley. Thanks a lot. I cross the street and check out the sign again.
Apparently the trolley doesn't run in the winter. Great. I decide to walk back to the wharf. I've done it before... a long time ago. I discover a path where others are walking, jogging and riding bikes and begin my trek. It takes longer than I remember, maybe half an hour, but it's quite pleasant.
The path leads me to Fishermen's Wharf. I check out the little stores and restaurants. Nothing really speaks to me for dinner. There's a farmer's market happening on Alvarado Street, where lots of food and goods being sold. I check out the Portola Hotel, where I'll take my class tomorrow. I want to get a good idea of where I'm supposed to go so I will be less stressed in the morning.

Osio Cinema

I'm interested in a movie tonight, and the Concierge at Portola Hotel recommends the Osio Cinema on Alvarado. I walk a couple of blocks there. The movie The Queen is showing. I don't go to the movies very often, but I've been wanting to see this one. I buy a ticket for a movie that won't start for a little while, then head out again to find something to eat.

Plumes Coffee
I'm having a hard time finding a restaurant that really calls to me, and I end up at Plumes Coffee at Alvarado and Franklin, a nice Starbucks-alternative coffee place near the Cinema. The food is really good. Then I head back to the Cinema to see my movie. I'm not disappointed in the film. I enjoy biographical movies, and I have to admit that I am a bit obsessive when it comes to the Princess of Wales.
After the movie I walk the few blocks back to my motel. Most of tomorrow will be filled by my class, so there isn't much planning to do. I watch TV, then to bed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Quilting Again

After a month-long hiatus, I'm quilting again. The hiatus was the result of several months of quilting without a break. I usually take off a week or so between quilts, but I had pushed on through and I needed a break badly. During my downtime I got caught up on bookkeeping, shredded a couple of years' worth of old records, and did some filing. Now that the paper tiger is more under control, I am feeling free to sew again.

I have three projects to tackle during the next few months. The first quilt is for my co-worker Carla, who is retiring in early February. I chose the block Everybody's Favorite because Carla is so well-loved in the office. I remember a Victorian theme in Carla's house when I visited a few years ago. Following that theme I found a beautiful large rose print with a black background, along with a medium pink tone-on-tone rose print, a sweet off-white with tiny roses, and a dark green with little gold paisleys. I'll start sewing Carla's quilt today.

The second project is a set of two wallhangings commissioned by another co-worker, Mimi. Mimi had a friend who died from breast cancer, and Mimi's idea is to take scraps of the friend's clothing to make quilts for the friend's two grown sons. I've come up with a few designs, which I need to let Mimi review.

The third project is a charity quilt commissioned by a former co-worker, Joyce, who retired from our office a few years ago. Nearly every year I make a fundraiser quilt for Joyce. Joyce's son is a swim coach at the local community college. The quilt will be raffled or auctioned as a fundraiser for the swim team this spring. Joyce suggested Harry Potter as a theme. I bid for and won a couple of yards of Harry Potter fabric on Ebay, which will arrive in the next week. I'm playing with some designs in my head right now. Once the fabric arrives, I may get a more solid direction.

Poodle Quilt

I made this quilt for my granddaughter Reghan, which I gave to her for Christmas. Her bedroom is done in poodles, and I fussy-cut poodles from a cute doggie print that I picked up at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley. Reghan's room also has Paris as a theme, and I think the poodles and the polka dots look rather French/Parisian.
My quilt designs usually have a story, and this one is no exception. There are 25 four-patch blocks, which is a play on Reghan's birthday, April 25. Also, the four-patch blocks are made up of 4" squares, a further play on April, the fourth month.

Enjoy your quilt, Reghan.
Love, Grandma Debbie

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Children's Shelter Quilts

Shortly before Christmas my friend and co-worker Judy B. and I delivered 10 quilts and 21 fleece blankets to a local children's shelter. The quilts were mostly made with quilt tops from my stash; one quilt top, fabric and charms, were donated by fellow on-line quilters years ago.

I couldn't afford to pay for the finishing supplies for so many quilts, so I posted a request for help on my office bulletin board. I received gift certificates and discount coupons for local fabric stores, as well as fabric and sheets. Many people donated cash, and after I purchased the quilting supplies, the leftover money was used to buy the fleece blankets. One friend contributed by tying knots in a quilt.

Fonda P.
Mary Jane M.
Sharon G.
Judy B.
Karen L.
Jennifer F.
Tina T.
Barbara W.
Jackie F.
Veronica B.
Cathy C.
Shelly A.
Becky R.
Carla D.
Donna P.
Carol H.

Stash quilt

The fleece that Tina T. donated made 2 of these blankets

Center is from stash; outer blocks from unknown donor

Blocks from Liberated Quiltmaking study

Stash quilt

Charms donated by Marsha Hunt

Stash quilt

19 fleece blankets purchased with cash donations

Karen L. and her aunt tied knots

Fabric donated by Connie Sue Greiner

Cat fabric purchased with donation from Judy B.

Quilt top donated by Linda Darrah

Sushi Quilt

I made this quilt for Alan D., another friend and co-worker, for his birthday last November. Alan loves sushi, and I found this great sushi print at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley; I used the sushi fabric as the border. I designed the nine inner blocks: the five red blocks represent bento boxes, divided trays often used in Japanese restaurants; the four striped blocks represent rice (white) with slices of fish (red and yellow).

Alan is going to hang the quilt in his office at work.

Here, Kitty, Kitty Quilt

This is a quilt I made for my friend and co-worker Judy B. for her birthday last October. Judy and her husband Larry have 10 cats. The theme fabric has lots of cute kitties, which I used for the centers of the Puss in the Corner blocks. Judy loves her quilt, and so do her cats, who all pile on while Judy is cuddled up under it watching TV.

R-O-B-C Quilt

Here's a quilt I gave to my brother, Rob C., last year around Father's Day. I had hoped to give it to him for his birthday in early April, but got delayed. The block I used came from a show I saw on Simply Quilts many years ago. The show's guest quilter, Raymond Houston, developed a system of 24 blocks, each consisting of a simple line drawn from one side of the block to another. Each block is named after a letter of the alphabet. You can choose several letters and combine all the lines into one block. I chose R,O,B and C to represent my brother's name. I colored the sections of the block in the colors of the Oakland A's, Rob's favorite baseball team. Below is the block.

Using Electric Quilt software I rotated and flipped sets of blocks around until I liked what I saw.
Rob's quilt is unlike any I've ever made. Rob's quilt has been a long time coming, as most of my family members have received their quilts years ago. Many of those quilts are in simple checkerboard patterns. I'm glad Rob's design was really special, and I hope he thinks it was worth the wait.
Enjoy your quilt, Rob!
P.S. Raymond Houston has a website called . As Raymond says, "these are not your Grandma's quilts". A few months after I finished Rob's quilt I took a class called Symmetry Play from Raymond at In the class Raymond goes into detail about his system and how to use symmetry to create unique blocks and quilts. I learned a lot, and plan to use the techniques in future projects. I told Raymond about my brother's quilt, and posted photos of the block and the quilt on the class website. That was fun.