27 March, 2017

Dysfunctional Family Delights



The Camellias are awesome this year.

Is it ever gonna stop raining?


My mom and her niece.

My cousin died Saturday night. She was only 60, so this came as a surprise to many of us. I'll be 54 in May and if I still received a state newspaper, I'd be scanning those obituaries.


This cousin hails from my maternal relatives. Sunday, we got together for a family memorial service and the house was loud and joyful with many stories of said cousin floating around the rooms. 

You have the usual family problems in this room - alcoholism, autism, too conservative for nice words, etc. This side just steamrolls over all that. All are welcome. Good natured teasing is required and these relatives know how to laugh at themselves.


On my paternal side, we suffer from the usual as well; mental illness and depressions that cause family members not to talk to each other for decades, too conservative and too liberal. It's a much smaller clan. They are very sensitive.
No steam rolling here. Arguments fester in silence. Silent treatment is the preferred way of dealing with things.

I am fond of saying, "All you gotta do is be polite," and my kids were raised to "show up." It's a family obligation. You may not have much in common or get easily frustrated but, 'just be polite' handles most situations.

I loved this family get-together. I see these people every year or two, not that often. I can recognize them but my inability to remember names is laughingly put aside as everyone embraces and kisses and hugs and teases. I just love it.

Everyone knows the value of family, but how many know how to encourage it?
How does one embrace the better attitude?

Are you prone to laughing at your foibles or do you take it personally and get affronted when confronted with family?


I've been behind in writing letters - especially to my children who no longer live nearby. Older people, especially, love to receive letters. Have you written one this month?

I go in spurts but my serious overtime gets to me and I get bogged down in minutia. Grab a card from the dollar store and address the envelope. What stops me is thinking I need to write my life's story inside. Just sign your name and throw a stamp on and send.

Steam roll over your "too much thinking, not enough doing" inner voice and just do it.
Time's too short to hang on to festering family troubles. Move on.


Photo credit: Katrina in Sitka

Still no sewing. Busy dodging rain showers and working too much. And writing cards.

16 March, 2017

March Randoms

Lots of rain here in Oregon. We get a cold, snowy, icy winter about once every ten years. Our spring, which can be as long as five months, is getting off to a slow start. The occasional dry day yields awesome photos.

Today, we have a dry day, yet the rivers are all very close to flooding. Another two days of rain and there is a rumor that we will have two dry days in a row. Woot!


Spotted at my creative friend's shop, Retro Revival, here in Canbyland.
The best blue hat ever.

I can't help but wonder who wore this hat and who encouraged her to wear it.


Creative girl won't let me have this plane.

But I did find some airplane wrapping paper at the dollar store when I was scrounging for green gifts for St. Patrick's Day.

Busy with trying to get  my spring pruning done on the (so far) one dry day off I've had from work. Hopefully the long-range forecast for a dry Sunday will happen and I can get the grapes pruned. Maybe the sweet peas planted......

Up in Alaska, they are having a good snow year. Unfortunately the moose find foraging difficult when a snow year happens and they are quite cranky this year. Taken near where my daughter lives. I don't actually know who to acknowledge the video to.

I haven't made time to sew lately, too much on my plate, getting a little cranky myself.


09 March, 2017

SewExpo 2017


I am still processing this last weekend. At the literal last minute (6:43am), I was allowed time off work to attend SewExpo in Puyallup, Washington.

Pencil Girl had been up there since Tuesday and Kyle, from VacuumingTheLawn, was planning to attend. I wanted to go badly but someone else had the time off at work. Miracles do happen - even if the process is too tortuous to watch.

I watched serious sewing inspiration unfold before my eyes and I think I have the last puzzle piece to my future business plan. Since I came home, I have  been busy researching and figuring out how this puzzle piece will enable me to work from home and earn the income I need.


 I met Deb from Simplicity Patterns. She made this dress at the last hour before the show. You would never know how this pattern became this cutie-pie dress from looking at the pattern envelope. She added this denim pleated trim after making the dress and her discerning eye is apparently why she works for Simplicity patterns.

 Here she is holding that pattern up - pardon that lighting. Those were flutter sleeves on the envelope. It's always nice to meet someone shorter than myself who can fit for her figure. --- And then add the pizazz that makes it work.

 The McCall's Fashion Runway Show was amazing and inspirational. Gertie is another blogger who has made this industry work for her. She not only designs patterns and fabric, she is now rockin' the runway.

 Alongside her on the runway was a new to me blogger, Riva LaDiva (washington state). The runway patter was done by Melissa Watson (Oregon!). Her mom helped create the Palmer & Pletch Method of sewing (also Oregon).

These are all people who have made sewing create a living for themselves.

The trends this year are all about the sleeves. From Flutters to Cold Shoulders (shoulder cut-out), anything you do to make sleeves amazing is something to aspire to.

Next to her on the left is Kyle, from Vacuuming The Lawn, who is an amazing technical sewist  from the east coast who I specifically prayed to the gods of vacation to meet up ***in person***.


 Just loved this t shirt knit. I bought two lengths of knit for t-shirts because this show is evolving into garment sewing with vendors bringing those type of sewing materials. Quilting is still huge but it was nice to see some of the sewing notions available to learn about and buy that make sewing your own clothes successful.

I think we all agreed this booth, Style Maker Fabrics, was spot on with trendy fabrics.


 And, of course, the airplane spotting continues. This was in the ByAnnie booth with a ten dollar pattern. I already own this airplane block from numerous historical patterns. Her booth features her patterns and the supplies that make a bag better. Another person who has made sewing work for her.


 A little bit of cute irony. They did have the fabric available from which they fussy cut these little blocks. However, in a fat quarter of material, this was one of 20 sewing quotes.

Irony is the opposite of wrinkly. An embroidery project for the future.


 This piece was a bit overdone with the cut-outs. But I loved it for the inspiration when I make bags - having the under material peep out through cut-outs in the vinyl.


 Babylock's Embroidery machine. It can digitize your designs so you don't have to rely on someone elses designs and fonts. I'm thinking deep airplane thoughts here.

Just peeping out from under my arm is my big Pendleton shopping bag. It holds a million little purchases.



 In the same booth as the squirrel at the start of this post. If I ever quilted - I am in love with this strip applique method of adding texture and depth. 
Thankfully - I don't quilt.

Cuz - they sold kits.

Tempting - so tempting.



 Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) in a dragonfly motif.    Love.


My bag from Pacific Fabrics - with an airplane on it. You have to spend $50 to get the bag which is usually no trouble as this Washington fabric store understands marketing to sewists. They stocked pocket tissues with sewing machines on them. They often have airplane fabric, but also other cool fabrics that you must buy.

So, a funny story::: I went early on Saturday  morning before the crowds hit so I could look at everything in the Pacific Fabric booth. Then I took advantage of the cheap coat/bag check to store my Pacific Fabrics haul for the day so I didn't have to cart around heavy stuff.

I didn't know they closed promptly at 6pm. We were sitting in the food court chatting and eating and Pencil Girl had to go off to her Satuday Night Quilter's Evening Out show. Kyle and  I got up to go and get my bag and the door was locked. Tight. Then we had to find someone with keys. To open it up - cuz my car keys were in my coat. Just a little adventure....

Long post, too busy to figure out how to make several posts. Thank you for reading so far.
SewExpo is the best sewing show out there and I'm lucky enough to live 2 hrs and 40 minutes away from it.

I'm back on overtime, so my free time has been used up thinking deep thoughts about the future which is creeping quickly towards me. I'm happy the Sewing Gods intervened and made this trip possible.

28 February, 2017

Mystery Quilt Block







My friend, rescued this Blue & White Quilt top and finished it with backing.
No one at Zion Mennonite knows the name of this block.
So I'm throwing it out there.







 It's a square with little triangles attached in this pattern.
This is all hand-pieced. I love all the scrapiness and irregularities.

My friend did all the hand quilting on the finished quilt.

Do you know the name of this block?








I leave you with seriously orange cupcakes. For my birthday boy. It's his last year at Oregon State University (OSU). He's finishing up his Pharmacist residency.

The cupcakes are orange and the frosting is orange. Definitely Beaver colors.



26 February, 2017

Zion Mennonite Quilt Workshop 2017




Lots of photos below of this years Zion Mennonite Quilters Workshop

45 years!
A long-time friend made the above quilts. She likes hand quilting and working in miniature.
She used her vintage Singer sewing machine. quilts,  and doll for the above display.






 I just love applique quilts.
Below are a couple of close-ups of this quilt. Hand-stitched all the way.





 One of my friends, holding forth. The Zion Mennonite Church maintains an amazing array of quilting library templates and books, which you can check out.


 I also adore these postage stamp quilts. Many of the pieces are one inch. Scraps used from feed sacks or clothing articles. In my dreams, I would find the patience to piece all these teeny blocks into something larger.






 I couldn't tell if this one was from a pattern. It combined raw-edge applique with embroidery elements to create a whimsical baby-sized quilt. Love all the scrapiness.



 And, of course, some red work, along with teeny, tiny,  patchwork.






Many of the pieces of this pinwheel quilt are quite tiny as well.
It is hand-quilted and embellished with embroidery





My big fat finger and how big those pieces really are.








 This quilt was all curves and needle-turned applique. Tiny curved pieces on the bias that want to twist and stretch. Truly artistic.

Also hand-quilted with embroidery embellishment.





Wall hanging size

Cute puppy.








 Love this log cabin design


I tried to cull these photos and succeeded somewhat. I hope you enjoyed looking at them.
I'm not much of a quilter, but I do appreciate fine handwork.

These quilts aren't sent out to a long arm quilter, they are nearly all hand quilted, often in a group setting.

Some of the quilts on display go back to when Oregon was settled. Some are from the Aurora colony.


Last years blog post is here.