Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cousins 2015

I have returned from our annual cousins gathering in northern Minnesota. As usual, it was wonderful. We read a book and discussed it, I celebrated my birthday, the fall colors were changing as we watched, the lake was beautiful. All in all, it was a lovely time.

My sister gave me a choice of cake or pie for dessert on my birthday. I chose pie. Yum!

Oops! I have some photos repeated. Oh, well.. it was THAT pretty!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Books: What is Going On?

I HAVE NOT BEEN READING MUCH! I don't know why, except that I've been having a ton of fun sewing. Now I'm once again feeling my urge to read ... hopefully I'll succeed in finishing some books soon.

This weekend my cousins and I have our annual book-club gathering. We read (past tense) The Presidents Club, Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. In my case, I am currently reading (present tense); I am woefully behind. It's interesting, and I'm liking it, but it's fat, and I doubt I'll get it done in time for our discussion of it. Boo hiss, me.

Thank you, dear, patient blog readers, for waiting for me to get a real book review up here. I hope to get back into my habit... unless I choose another fat book that will take forever to read!? We'll see, shan't we? (That fat book about Lincoln, Team of Rivals, is sitting near the top of my TBR pile. What do you think? Go for it?)

Meanwhile, keep reading! Tell me what you've been reading that you love.

Yes, I do have this problem... do you?

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I have now participated in two collage workshops. I'm well collage-educated. I finished the quilt from Jane Sassaman's workshop. I'm almost done with the quilt which developed out of my other collage lesson, given by a local friend.

Here's my Jane Sassaman-inspired quilt:
(photo is kind of blurry.. temporarily can't find my better camera, so this is a phone picture)
Name of quilt: Visiting the Other Earth

This one is my local friend-inspired quilt:
Name of quilt: Tahoe Sky

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jane in Janesville

This week my cousin and I took off on a road trip/adventure to Janesville, WI. From here it was a six-hour drive! We went to Janesville to attend a workshop being taught by Jane Sassaman. I've been a fan of Jane Sassaman fabric, so I was excited to get a chance to meet her and attend her workshop.

First thing we did when we got settled in our hotel was check our smart phones for quilt shops in the area. We found one which is in a woman's basement. She sells fabrics for $3.50-$5.00/yard!! She also has wide and extra wide backs. I found a 60-inch wide fabric for $3.50/yard; most of them were around $9.00 for the extra wides (108").

We kind of went nuts. We found some beauties and had fun piling up the bargains.

Later we went here for dinner. Challenge: try to pronounce this restaurant name! I've already forgotten how to say it. It comes from an old Steve Martin movie which I had never heard of, because I had a toddler at home back then and no time to pay attention to movies. Food was good and very affordable.

Next day, it was off to the workshop. We learned so much and had a lot of fun! These collage quilts are 100% applique, which I never thought I'd enjoy, but I'm starting to get into it! (I had a similar collage lesson recently here at home, and now I'm kind of hooked, although we'll see how much I really do in the future.)

Below: some examples of Jane's beautiful work.

cousin, Jane, me - I'm all hot and bothered in the very warm and humid conditions.

More of Jane's beauties:

After the workshop ended, we took our stuff back to the hotel and spent several more hours sewing in our hotel room. We were able to make some very good progress. Here we are, with our projects not-yet done, but much further along than we'd had time for in the workshop:

Then, on the way home, we took a gamble on a road-side sign and a 10-minute trip off the freeway to check out a quilt shop. It was a very nice one, and we had lunch in this cute little town, too.

Today I spent all day working on my project. I got it all done and am now working on hand-sewing down the binding. Hopefully I can show you the finished quilt tomorrow. I'm happy with it. (Also, thankfully, it has cooled off and I'm no longer sweating. I had to put socks on to keep my toes warm.)

Monday, September 07, 2015

Another Fence Post!

I have been working hard at getting tops machine quilted. I now have a box full of 9 quilts ready to send to Quilts Beyond Borders (and two to go elsewhere)! Two of them were made and quilted by Sally. The others were made and/or assembled by me and quilted by me. It was a good day to do a fence photo session again.

My orange quilt is pictured twice, because I didn't want my last quilt to be lonely. (And that orange one is one of my favorites from the Tahoe quilts I made.)
Last two photos are Sally's quilt backs and then Sally's quilts.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Things That Fill My Days

I was surprised, when I wrote yesterday's post, to see that it had been almost a week since I posted anything here at GiraffeDreams. Life has kept me busy, and I'll talk randomly about what some of those things are and were.

About ten months ago I bought a John Flynn frame for machine quilting. It sat in the box for many months until I finally took it out and gave it its big debut.

It looks kind of cool, doesn't it? But I did not find it very cool to work with. To be honest, I found it to be very awkward, and my quilting on it was terrible. I know I haven't given it much of a try (two quilts, both of which I abandoned and finished my normal way directly on my machine.) One thing it did do for me is help me to realize than my own machine quilting is not as bad as I remembered. It's very basic and unfancy, but not too bad for an amateur. So I think I'll stick with that. I have been working on quilting tops, which I have a LOT of (especially since our vast production at Lake Tahoe. See blog post here.)

I have been very busy with church volunteerism lately. We collected school supplies for a local elementary school, and I put in hours of sorting and packing and organizing that stuff. We delivered it this week, Tuesday, and the school was very happy to receive our gifts. We'll be doing more work with this school in a new partnership that we're all very excited about.

Here are a couple of the quilts that I started on the JF frame and finished on my machine. As of this writing, I have another one being worked on (machine only - no awkward frame this time).

Not too long ago I went to see my mom, and also got to see my great-niece and great-nephew (two of the many). Yesterday, Friday, was g-nephew's 2nd birthday. They are growing up fast! G-niece was proudly holding the new puzzle she got at Grandma's bookstore.

This weekend I have been on the phone a lot, trying to figure out my mom's situation. She has been in a lot of pain due to flare ups of her Rheumatoid Arthritis. My niece and my mother and her doctor and I have been exchanging phone calls, and others have been included in text messages... the upshot is, Mom is doing slightly better now as her meds finally kicked in to help with the pain. She will go in next week to see the doctor. I was ready to drop everything and drive up to help her, if needed, but it looks like she's good for now. I plan to go back and visit in a few more days.

What else? I volunteered to take over half of the Power Point production at church (sharing with another volunteer). I had no idea what I was signing up for! It's fun, and I get to work with finding gorgeous photos, which is a love of mine, but it takes hours and hours of work to produce one Power Point for one church service! I really had no idea... I spent ALL DAY and into the evening on Thursday working on this week's PP. But, hey... come to a church service some time and see what beautiful pictures I choose! Bit of bragging here, but I do love trying to find just the right, perfect photo for each slide. Perhaps that explains the long hours I spend working on it.

This last week I also attended a gathering of our small group, Loose Threads. One of our members taught us about making collage quilts. It was a great day, and I look forward to getting back to my collage. It's still in the design stage, along with think about, ponder, re-work, re-design stage. It'll be a while before I get it done.

Below: S, our teacher for the day; S shows us her Kaffe quilt; C shows us some of the hand dying she has done

And if all of THAT isn't enough to keep me busy, I also have been taking food over to the food shelf, and maintaining the bulletin board on which we record the poundage that has been donated and up-coming food drives and other events.

Whew! I'm wearing myself out just talking about all this stuff. It is one reason why I have not had much time to read lately. Cram in a couple work shifts per week, and my time is gone!

Happy, full days, everyone!