Sunday, July 29, 2012

Think Christmas Blog Hop Begins!

Actually lasts through Aug. 5th

I am participating in the Think Christmas Blog Hop, created by Madame Samm and hosted by Lesley,The Cuddle Quilter. My day is Thursday, August 2nd, when I'll reveal a couple of unique Christmas-related blocks, tutorials and a giveaway.

Meanwhile, please visit the other participating blogs each day. See you on Thursday!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday 7/25/2012

Every Seven Minutes Quilt Top

During the past week I sewed together the Every Seven Minutes quilt top.

Quilt top in diagonal rows

Quilt top in two large pieces

Main part of quilt top sewn together

Border added

I'm not entirely happy with the way the edges of the blue triangles meet the red border. I should have trimmed better before I attached the border. I'm thinking about taking a deeper seam. I should be able to just undo the corners, rather than removing the whole border. Now is the time to make the adjustment. Once I begin quilting, it will be too much trouble to re-do.

I hope to have the quilt finished by the end of the week.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday 7/18/2012

Every Seven Minutes Quilt - Laid out on design wall

I had been having a hard time getting back to work on Every Seven Minutes, a wallhanging inspired by the San Diego Trolley. I had made the scrappy strip sets seen below, but I wasn't happy about them.

Strip sets - original collection
Wasn't thrilled about these

I came up with the idea of going back to the palette in the Electric Quilt sketch, below.

Every Seven Minutes - Electric Quilt sketch

Fabrics chosen for the new strip sets - green is new but the rest are from stash/scraps

Strips sewn together, ready to cut

First four strip sets in the new palette
The colors make me happy!

All 16 strip sets

Calculating side and corner triangles for on-point layout

Red squares and triangles placed on design wall

Bright blue squares and triangles added
I like the graphic look.

It's good to be quilting again. This Saturday is the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I'd like to have a finished quilt to share at the meeting. At the very least I'll be able to bring the assembled quilt top.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday 7/11/2012

Railroad Crossing strip sets

I've made almost no progress in the Every Seven Minutes quilt. I moved a couple of strip sets around, but didn't take a photo of the current layout.

Electric Quilt Sketch

I'm wondering if one of the reasons I'm dragging my feet on this project is because I don't like the palette. Just seems sad and dull. I'm thinking of ditching the strip sets and going for a palette that is close to the EQ sketch. I might have done some sewing tonight but I got a new smartphone this evening and I've been playing with it ever since.

Hopefully I'll have accomplished something by this time next week.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

San Diego June 2012 - Days 5 and 6

Visions Art Quilt Gallery
Liberty Station, San Diego

Sign on the building. Apparently the area once was a naval station, now houses businesses.

One of many refurbished buildings

Tuesday, my last full day in San Diego. Since my daughter Lisa was at school much of the day, I had the rental car to myself. I drove to Liberty Station in the Point Loma area to visit Visions Art Quilt Gallery. I saw a lot of beautiful art quilts. I couldn't take any photos, but I made notes about techniques that I might try in the future in my own art quilts. The entry fee is $5 and well worth it. If you come to the area, be sure to visit. I know I'll be back.

Con Pane, an Italian bakery and cafe kitty corner from the gallery

I bought a cinnamon roll with raisins and a cappuccino to enjoy on the patio. I love to eat outside when I'm on vacation.

Pretty view from my table. The gallery is on the building on the left.

These windows are on the side of the gallery building. I wonder if they were pay stations in the naval days.

After I was finished at Liberty Station I found a nearby Jo-Ann's, where I picked up some navy thread to hem Lisa's scrub pants. It's a good thing I brought my little sewing machine!

Lock on a shopping cart at Jo-Ann's.

If you want a cart, it'll cost a quarter. I lucked out and found a loose cart. I'm guessing that particular Jo-Ann's has had problems with shopping carts walking away.

After Jo-Ann's I went to a nearby Von's supermarket in search of souvenirs for my granddaughters Reghan and Piper. I bought a couple of packs of zoo animal stickers which didn't cost much.

I headed back to the motel and waited for Lisa to arrive. For dinner we went to Panera not far from Lisa's house. Using a gift card from friend Ramin T., our dinner was almost free. We filled up the car with gas, then went back to the motel.

Panera - one of my favorite places to eat

I worked on Lisa's pants for a bit, then we drove to the airport to turn in the car. Shelli C., one of Lisa's friends, gave us a ride back to the motel. I finished Lisa's pants, then Lisa and I said good-bye. I shed a tear as Lisa rode away on her motorcycle. I knew it would be months before I'd see her again and I'd miss her.

After Lisa left I got to work on the Every Seven Minutes quilt. I finished the last eight strip sets, then called it a night.

Last eight strip sets for Every Seven Minutes quilt

Wednesday, going home. I ate the last motel breakfast, packed, checked out, then walked to the trolley stop. My GPS said it was a ten minute walk, but I think it took twice as long from dragging my suitcase through the wet grass part of the way.

Stopping to smell look at the roses

So pretty. Perhaps it will inspire a quilt.

Trolley - just missed it. Oh, well, another will come soon.

San Diego Trolley
I'm using the dimensions (three times as long as it is high) for the strips in the Every Seven Minutes quilt.

I used the elevator to get upstairs to the trolley platform. It would have been too hard to take the stairs. I bought my ticket and waited just a few minutes for the trolley to arrive.

Courtyard at Santa Fe Depot, downtown San Diego

Entrance to the train station

It was a short ride on the trolley to the train station. I checked my bag, then set off to find the French cafe where I had eaten a few years before.

St. Tropez Bakery and Bistro
In the America Plaza, across the street from the train station

The decor is an interesting blend of Provence, French Riviera and Paris

The owner and a couple of other staff have French accents. It was so fun to listen to them.

Berry Fruit Crepes - Yum!

After breakfast I went back to the train station to wait. In the waiting area I saw a family who looked like they might be Amish. I was curious to find out where they were from, where they were going and why they came to San Diego. I usually have no problem talking to strangers but I chickened out. I fought the urge to take a photo, as it seems that is a no-no.

Once on the train, I passed up a four-seater as there was only one person sitting there, and I didn't want to risk being kicked out. Basically I wanted a plug for my phone and the four-seaters have plugs. I sat in the two-seater ahead until a young woman sat down with the man. Then I decided to join, since our group couldn't be broken up with three people. I sat across from the man, Michael C., who was headed to L.A. to visit with his niece. Michael is an American living in Mexico, operating a care home for Americans recuperating from surgery that they had in Mexico. I also learned that he had been an artist and an art teacher. We talked about a good many things, all the way to Los Angeles, at which point he handed me his card and invited me (and my daughter) to stay at his place for free. He said he didn't usually do that kind of thing, but he could tell I was a nice lady. Wow!

I had a seat to myself on the bus from L.A. to Bakersfield. Back on the train in Bakersfield, I sat in a four-seater with a young man, but soon moved across the aisle to sit with a woman and her little girl, probably to avoid being kicked out, and because the lady seemed friendlier than the young man. I talked to Rosa D.T., who was returning from graduation ceremonies for her masters degree. I left for a short while to grab some dinner, and returned to talk with Rosa for a while more before she and her daughter got off the train at Fresno. Rosa and I have become Facebook friends, and I plan to look up Rosa the next time I visit Fresno.

For the remaining couple of hours I tried to read Peter Walsh's book Lighten Up. I took a few notes and tried to visualize making some changes in my home. I am a clutter bug, but I'm trying to declutter a bit at a time.

Finally the train arrived at my station, I got off the train, picked up my bag and drove home. It was a wonderful trip. I got to spend a lot of time with my daughter, had a few adventures, and met some new people. I had a great time.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

WIP Wednesday 7/4/2012

After a couple of weeks of low productivity, it seems I've gotten my mojo back.

Fourth of July Wallhanging
Cracker quilt block, Fourth of July themed fabric
Quilt top had been in the closet for at least 9 years.
Original design
25" x 34"
Completed July 4, 2012


I really wanted to get the Fourth of July wallhanging finished. It had sat in my closet for way too long, so I'm glad it's done. I love the print and the Cracker blocks (which relate to the Fourth of July).

Mixed Media Quilt
Birthday gift for friend and co-worker Lola B., who loves games
Fabric, paper, buttons, beads
Original design
7.5" x 8.5"
Completed 7/1/2012

Some of the makings for Lola's quilt

I had a lot of fun making the quilted card for my friend Lola. She loves games and she loves to win. Years ago I made her a game-themed quilt called I Won! She loves that quilt and she loves her birthday quilt card.

Strip sets for Every Seven Minutes quilt

I actually made a little progress on Every Seven Minutes, the quilt inspired by the San Diego Trolley. I got the strip sets up on the design board tonight. They need to be re-arranged, and the light yellow strips seem to stick out a little. I'll play later.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

San Diego June 2012 - Days 3 and 4

Sunday morning in beautiful San Diego. Daughter Lisa and I had the motel breakfast, and later headed downtown to meet Lisa's friends Bridget and Jeff from Lisa's former city of Bellingham, Washington.

Chuck Jones Gallery
Gaslamp District

Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

After parking near the Hard Rock Cafe Lisa and I had a bit of time before lunch, so we walked several blocks to the Chuck Jones Gallery on 5th Street. (Chuck drew Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, etc.) Also on display at the gallery were works of Dr. Seuss. There was a big drawing of Cat in the Hat, very tall. My granddaughter Reghan is a big fan of the TV cartoon show The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That. I tried to sneak a photo with my camera, got caught and had my hand slapped just a little. Oh, well.

Hard Rock Cafe

After a quick look through the gallery Lisa and I hurried back to the Hard Rock Cafe to meet her friends for lunch. We had a nice, albeit noisy, lunch together.

Next we headed south to Imperial Beach, to pick up the sweater I had left behind the night before with Lisa's friends Tawna and Jimbo. Tawna wasn't home but we spent some time visiting with Jimbo. I made sure I had my sweater with me as we left.

Imperial Beach has special meaning to Lisa and to me, for different reasons. Lisa has lived there several times, and my parents lived here when I was born - something I didn't know until less than two years ago. One of my goals for this trip was to try to find the house where they were living, according to the address on my birth certificate.

The first place I ever lived

After stopping at CVS for some snacks for the motel, we drove to the address and lo and behold, there it was! I believe it was the same building, now 55+ years old. I was blown away and had this strange feeling of familiarity. The building, which houses maybe four units, is just a block and a half away from the beach. I was four years old when we moved away from San Diego, but I remember a couple of places we lived. While I don't remember going to that beach, I recall family photos and/or home movies of myself, my brother Wayne, and cousins playing at a beach. Being so close, it stands to reason that my mom would just pack us up and walk the block and a half. She's no longer here, so I can't verify.

Imperial Beach
Pier in the the background
On many occasions I've sat near the pier and enjoyed the ocean.

Lisa chilling to the sound of the waves

Having relaxed at the beach for a while, we headed back to the motel, ordered a pizza, and watched TV. Lisa stayed with me again.

Monday. Lisa's last day of work as a temp. She woke up with an aching back, saying the mattress was hurting her. She went off to work on her motorcycle, with a plan to get breakfast at the cafeteria there.

Rosie's Calico Cupboard in El Cajon

With most of the day to myself, I got a plate of motel breakfast and ate it in the room. I had use of the rental car so with the help of the talking GPS on my smartphone, I drove to my first destination: Rosie's Calico Cupboard in El Cajon, pronounced el ca-HOHN, unless you're the GPS lady, who amusingly pronounces it El Cajun. You're not from around here, are you lady? 

I've been to Rosie's several times, including once on a very long trolley ride from Chula Vista. Rosie's is a big quilt store, and a must-visit place when you're in the area. I bought a music-themed fat quarter, with no specific project in mind. I was tempted by a few other fabrics, but maintained discipline with the limited funds that were available for a couple more days.
Next I found Joann's in Lemon Grove, where I picked up a little set of jewelry tools, specifically for working with chain that I was going to use on the motorcycle quilt.

Cotija's Mexican Food
Across the parking lot from Joann's
Had lunch here

I love to hang out at bookstores and I could have gone to a Barnes and Noble for a while, but I decided to go back to the motel to work on the motorcycle quilt. I got a text from Lisa that her back was really hurting her and that she was leaving work. She'd be at the motel in a while. Knowing that she's been laid up with a bad back before, I was quite concerned. Tomorrow would be her first day of school, and she didn't need to miss the class.

While I waited for Lisa to arrive, I finished up the quilt, attaching two double strands of chain, as well as a few more snaps and buttons. Below is the finished quilt.

Let's Ride Mixed Media Quilt

Close-up of chain

Close-up of map, which contains the words "Clarksburg" and "Washington". Both words are significant to Lisa and I made sure they were easily seen.

Back of the quilt
Love the print - in my stash for at least 9 years!

Lisa and her little birthday quilt
Read more on how I made the quilt here.

Mama Jamaica's Kitchen

Colorful decor, spicy food

I am a big fan of Food Network, and whenever possible I eat at restaurants that I see on TV. I like spicy food, and one of the restaurants featured on the San Diego episode of Heat Seekers was Mama Jamaica's Kitchen. So Lisa and I went there for dinner. As we were pulling up, I got this flash of a Jamaican restaurant in my own town, where I would eat now and then, but which has been closed for some time. I said to Lisa, "Wouldn't it be funny if this was the same place?" 

While we were looking at the menu, we struck up a conversation with the owner. I mentioned where I was from, and he said he and his wife used to have a couple of restaurants there. I laughed. He showed us newspaper clippings from the two locations, one which I'd forgotten about until that moment. His wife would be back in a while. Maybe she'd remember me.

We ordered the spicy pepper shrimp, the same dish that Chef hosts Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking had on Heat Seekers. Rather than the extra spicy version the chefs had, the owner could make the regular spice level for us, which is what we ordered. For an appetizer we ordered and split a meat pie, also featured on the Heat Seekers episode. I ate all of my spicy shrimp, as well as about half of Lisa's. It was good food.

After dinner we went back to the motel, then Lisa rode on her motorcycle to the apartment where she stays with a friend, and would be sleeping there for the rest of my trip to prevent further hurting her back. I followed with the car. The apartment building is in a nice neighborhood and looks to me like maybe an old hotel, with the double door entry and the pool in the center of the beautiful courtyard. Each apartment has a patio or balcony looking out to the pool. The place seems to have a 1940s vibe. The two-bedroom apartment is small but Lisa has her own room and pays low rent. I was really happy to see that Lisa was living in a nice place.

We parted ways for the night and I found my way back to the motel with my phone's GPS. I decided I'd might as well begin the quilt project I had selected for the trip. The quilt is called Every Seven Minutes. See the inspiration and design ideas for the quilt here.

Fabrics that may be used in the quilt

Red for the background refers to the red trolleys.
Blue is for the intersections and corners.
Light fabric is a gray pinstripe that somehow reminds me of engineer's overalls.

Cutting and sewing station
Sewing machine is the size of a toaster, weighs nothing. 18" x 24" cutting mat folds in half and fits nicely in my suitcase.

Ironing station
Iron and ironing board on loan from motel, which was nice.

Fabrics for first strip set

First four strip sets

First eight strip sets - halfway done!

After finishing the first eight strip sets I called it an evening as far as sewing, then watched TV before I went to sleep.