Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monkey Quilt Blocks Done

I finished the Monkey quilt blocks tonight. They look really good up on the design wall. After work I bought some backing that works well, a cute print with similar colors as the quilt top, but more muted. I am a beginner machine quilter, and I quilt in small sections at a time, which is more manageable than wrestling with a big quilt. Tomorrow I'll assemble the four vertical rows of blocks and begin machine quilting them. I do what I call Roller Coaster quilting--wide wavy lines that look like roller coasters. It's not fancy, but it's fine for now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monkey Quilt Blocks

I cut strips for the Monkey quilt blocks tonight, pieced together several strips, and cut those up into two- to three-square sets. The quilt is made of up two similar blocks, one having a Monkey Wrench in the large corner area, and the other having plain fabric there. I sewed together one of each type. They look soooo cute--pinks, white and deep turquoise. Tomorrow I'll get the rest of the blocks made.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monkey Wrench blocks done

I finished assembling the Monkey Wrench blocks last night. Tonight's goal is to begin the Patchwork Jungle blocks. In half of them the large spaces are filled with the Monkey Wrench blocks. Should be fast.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Little Monkey Progress

I've started working on my granddaughter's My Little Monkey quilt. A couple of days ago I was able to make a bunch of half square triangles in a hurry, thanks to having triangle paper on hand in the right size. Last night I started assembling the Monkey Wrench blocks, and I'll finish the rest tonight. The deep turquoise really pops against the white/polka dot background. The quilt is gonna be cute.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I found this cutie on a shopping trip with my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. She looks like Miss Piggy in a can-can outfit. I'm giving her to my granddaughter as a birthday present. This adorable pig will look great in Reghan's Paris-themed bedroom, but I sure was tempted to keep her for myself! I named her Mathilde.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pacifica 2009, Day 3

Today is my last day in beautiful Pacifica. I get up a little early, buy coffee and a pastry, and head to the beach to eat my breakfast. It's a gorgeous day. I don't stay out too long, because I want to get some sewing done before I have to check out.

Square in a Square blocks for the southwest quilt

Mock-up and a couple of views of a tic-tac-toe block
(I did a mock-up in blues and yellows, too, but forgot to take a pic.)

I sew as long as I can, but have to quit to get packed up and checked out by 11:00. As in the past, the manager agrees to hold my suitcase for a while, since I didn't bring a car. I appreciate that.
I sit by the ocean a little while, then walk out to the highway to catch Bus 112 to Serramonte Shopping Center, where I plan to have lunch and do some window shopping. I want to eat Mongolian BBQ and check out the Naturalizer shoe store.
On the bus, I double check with the bus driver that he stops at Rockaway on the return trip. Yeah (as in duh). This only my second time on this bus, and the first time was by accident. I don't want to get stranded or have to walk half a mile out of my way.
After a short ride, the bus pulls into Serramonte Shopping Center. The food court is close by and I survey it for the Mongolian BBQ. Not finding it, I check out the mall map. The restaurant should be near the doors where I came in. I check again. Still nothing. Weird. I look at the map again, then back to the food court. Then I see it...a walled off area where a restaurant should be. Oh... Posted on the wall is an eviction notice. That doesn't sound good. Okay, guess I won't be having Mongolian BBQ today. Darn it!
Nothing else in the food court really gets me excited, so it's out to the mall map, again, to see what other possibilities there are. Elephant Bar sounds really good, with its Asian-style cuisine. There's one close to my house, and I've been there several times. I order Shanghai Cashew Chicken. Man, is it good.
After lunch I find the Naturalizer store. I don't try on any shoes, but I know where the place is now, and I can stop on another trip to Pacifica.
I need to get back to Rockaway and collect my luggage. I catch Bus 112, and when I get a couple of blocks away from the bus stop, I pull the string to let the bus driver know I want to get off. Amazingly, he passes the stop. What the heck?? I look at him and he looks at me. At the next stop, I walk to the front of the bus and ask if he stops at Rockaway. He says yes but I waited too long, and he couldn't stop in time. Bullpuckey. There's no way I can walk back from the transportation center, which is the next major stop. It's half a mile, and over a big, steep hill. I ask if I can ride back with him (reading between the lines, without paying again). He says, sure, but there's a 20 minute layover. That's fine with me.
I wait at the bus shelter, and when Bus 112 pulls up for boarding, there's a different bus driver. I ask if there's another Bus 112 and he says no. I don't want to pay another $1.75 for a half mile ride, and I explain my situation to the new driver. He lets me on, but he's not very happy.
A short ride later and I'm off at Rockaway. I pick up my suitcase from the motel office and sit at the beach one last time. All too soon it's time to head toward the highway for the bus. I use the public restroom, because it's the last time I'll see a decent bathroom for the next hour and a half. Then I stop at Hoffmann's wine and snack shop to see owner Alice, who I met on last year's quilting trip. I chat with her for a few minutes, then out to bus 110. Bus, BART, then an hour's drive home.
Bye-bye, Pacifica! See you again soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pacifica 2009, Day 2

It's a little overcast in the morning, but eventually the sun comes out. Here's what I can see as I sew at my little table. The ocean is less than 50 steps away, on the other side of the parking lot.

Not far from my door is this beautiful view.
After a couple of hours of sewing, I head out for some lunch. There is a great trail that ends up at Hwy. 1, near the restaurant where I plan to eat. Recently I have been reading Maria Peagler's Color Lessons at her website I've begun a color journal, collecting samples of colors and color combinations that I like. On this trip I am trying to pay attention to examples of those in nature. The following pics are some inspirations I found on the trail.

California Poppies--Brilliant orange!

Bright yellow--one of my favorite colors

This inspiration is not so much color, but design. The long line of the branch interested me.

Near the end of the trail (or the beginning, depending on your point of view) are several miniature landscapes. The color combinations were pretty.
More calla lilies

Here are some tall spiky red flowers.

Pink, red, white, yellow and green

Gorilla Barbecue, near Hwy. 1 and Reina del Mar. I heard about this place a few months ago while watching Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, hosted by Guy Fieri. When I mapquested it, I found out it was just around the corner from Guerrero's Taqueria, where I've eaten several times. I've passed this red train car many times on the bus, but never noticed it. How could I have missed it? Anyway, I'm here for lunch. Sorry, Guerrero's...maybe tomorrow.

Gorilla Barbecue doesn't have dine-in, but there is a nice little picnic spot up on the hill above it. That's where I ate my ribs lunch. Yummy! There's enough food for two, so I'm taking some back to my room.

View of Gorilla's from the picnic area

I know this doesn't look like much. On the way to lunch, I saw a beautiful black bird with a brilliant red on its chest perched on a wooden pole. Before I could get my camera ready, the bird flew away. On the way back, I saw "him" again (or one of his friends). He landed in this grassy area, and I tried to get a picture. Oh, well... I definitely want to make a quilt from his colors--mostly black with spots of bright red.

Here are a bunch of pigeons hanging out at the parking lot near the beach. They kind of looked like people standing around.
During the afternoon, I did more sewing for the southwest quilt. Here are a bunch of Square in a Square blocks that I knocked out today. For dinner I have cold leftover pizza and ribs. There's no microwave in my room, but I can deal with it. There's no sunset to be seen, because it's so overcast. It's freezing cold outside, and all I have is my light sweater to keep me warm. I wish I hadn't chosen to leave my wool coat in my car at the BART station--an hour away. It's hard to believe it's almost 100 degrees at home.

Tic-Tac-Toe block from Quilter's Playtime
In the evening I work on Tic-Tac-Toe blocks. I should have some time to sew again tomorrow morning before check-out.
In the background is the intersection of Hwy. 1 and Reina del Mar, where the trail ends.

Lots of different colors here, but the tall red flowers really caught my eye.

This pic is for my daughter-in-law, Laurie, who loves calla lilies.
She likes them so much, she had one tattooed on her foot!

Blues and yellows, another favorite combo

The globe clusters intrigued me.

Pinks, blues, red, yellow and green

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pacifica 2009, Day 1

Here I am again in Pacifica, California, just a few miles south of San Francisco. I'm here for my second annual quilting-by-the-sea trip. My birthday was just a few days ago, and I'm thinking of making this a yearly birthday tradition for myself. Since I was traveling here by BART and a city bus, I stuffed everything into one suitcase: fold-up cutting mat, iron, toaster-sized sewing machine, lots of fabric, my tools and notions...oh, and a little bit of clothes.

Here's my sewing machine station. I'll be working on a couple of projects while I'm here. I may have stayed in this room last year. The motel manager thinks so, and it took a lot less time to set up my stations, relocate the alarm clock, etc. I didn't have to finagle with the extension cord behind the headboard, either.

Here's my ironing and rotary cutting station. Each drawer holds the specifics for each project, just to be a little organized.

One of my projects is a southwest-themed quilt. Here are a few nine-patch blocks that I made for it. My design wall is a towel over the TV screen, weighted down with telephone books.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight. I saw about 15 minutes of it. The water was an exquisite turquoise, with golden highlights. I remember this same look from a sunset from last year's trip. Gorgeous! I think I need to make a quilt in those colors someday.

Another pretty view of the sunset.

Despite the near-100 degree weather at home, it was pleasantly cool in Pacifica. I wore a sweater much of the time. This man decided to go for a dip. Brrrrrr! For dinner I ordered a pizza from Round Table. My favorite!

My other project is working from the book Quilter's Playtime. Here is Hopscotch in progress. More sewing in store tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's My Birthday!

I'm 52 today. I love birthdays! I got lots of nice gifts and cards at work. In the afternoon my daughter-in-law and granddaughter came to my office to help celebrate. That's my cake above. I asked the bakery to design a quilt with thread on it. It turned out differently than what I had in mind. I guess I've watched too many episodes of Ace of Cakes. But it's still cute and colorful. I shared it with my unit, about 2 dozen co-workers, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. I also sent a piece home for my son, who was busy working.

After work I stopped and had a quick dinner with my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. We had take-out from La Morenita, our favorite Mexican restaurant, and I got several lovely gifts. I didn't get to stay long, because I had to get to my Thursday night orchestra rehearsal at church, where I play the piano. At rehearsal I got a couple of cards and many mentions of my birthday.

During the day most of my siblings called to wish me happy birthday. By late evening I still hadn't heard from my daughter, who lives in another state. I text messaged her, asking her what the date was. She answered that she was pretty mad at herself for forgetting my birthday...again. (She's not good at remembering dates. I usually have to remind her about those things.) She'll make it up to me.

It was a great day. I love birthdays!