Sunday, July 5, 2015

Independence Day

Happy birthday to our Nation, the greatest country on God's green earth - still, in spite of everything!
God bless America and heal and prosper her.
To celebrate the day I decided to work on a fireworks banner.
 Click here to see the one I made last year complete with LED lights which this one will have also.
And, the Vintage Fan quilt is bound another one moved off the UFO list, yeah!
A productive day.
A day without quilting is a no good, very bad day, LOL!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Finished For Friday, Vintage Fan Quilt

These  vintage blocks came from an estate auction sale, cannot remember what I paid but not very much probably $15-20, and they are hand pieced. Obviously the quilter was unable to complete her work because thirty four fans were pieced with centers no corners, and I machine sewed together another six fans from precut pieces that came with it, added centers by hand with a 30's reproduction and then sewed corners on all of them using Kona muslin.
 The quilt is very square but does not hang against a wall consequently the sides appear to cave in, not so!
 As you can see when I laid it on the floor to photograph, the sides are straight. I frogged the entire stop border, I was not happy with the bump feathers it seems to be harder to make only one half of the bump feather, so I re-quilted the stop border with longarm feathers.
Those you see at the top of the pic above are bump feathers, to make them you "bump" back over the top of every other feather so they are nested together, and they are harder to do than long arm feathers which are quilted separately like those underneath the border in the stop border.
Borders are a great place to practice feathers, particularly bump "feathers" or "over the top" as some call them. For a quite a while I was intimidated by bump feathers long after I had become very comfortable with longarm feathers.They no longer scare me but I am still anxious to practice them as they are far from perfect. However, matching thread is your friend to hide imperfections then  "wave" the line of quilting a little and the eye will be drawn to that movement rather than individual feathers.
 I am more consistent at embroidering provenance on the backing prior to quilting and someone told me recently that quilt historians are begging quilters to place provenance on their quilts. You may not think any of your work will be around in a century or more but neither did the women making quilts in the 1800's! Maker's name, location and the date are the three most important facts then the purpose of the quilt and for whom it was made.
The back ground is tiny peacock feathers my favorite fill design. Originally after about one pass of quilting I didn't like the result and took it off to frog but never attempted to, and a year or so later it didn't seem worth all the effort to take out so much stitching. Back on the longarm it went and I plowed on with the design rather than starting from scratch again.
I am really OK with it and no doubt the original piecer is delighted!
The backing is also Kona muslin I used a wide back 108". I will bind it with the same blue as the stop border.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Quilt Shopping

Of course I had no intentions of buying fabric, or rather I had intentions of not buying fabric-also of course the road to hell is paved with good intentions!
Na -La's in Fountain CO. Springs is Linda's favorite QS, and it is there we went first on Saturday it's a lovely store and the owner, Na-La herself, is a delight, so check it out if you are in the area. 
Of course there was a fabric sale, 60% of end of bolt and 50% off other sale fabrics. And naturally I found some that had to come home with me! Kathy and I were not the only ones to shop I think the others are just hiding their stuff, LOL!
I fell for this adorable fabric, the border print is on both sides of the 45" width.
At first I just thought what a cute whole cloth baby quilt but then Na-La suggested cutting it down the center and adding a piece of a coordinate.
I have decided to make blocks from coordinating colors solids and/or small prints plus this coordinate , I think it will be adorable-now we just need a couple more babies!
I already have one of Angela Walters books and this one was on sale at Na-La's so I snapped it up!
Love this cute wall hanging pattern so I plan to make a couple, I can use something other than the columbines for other states.
Sunday after church and lunch we went to Ruth's Stitchery and aaarrrggghhh, of course they too had a sale, another end of bolt sale. When I saw their Rowe by Rowe H20 I wanted the pattern,  it is really cute.
They have made it a four season Rowe but I am thinking of making four rows one for each season, what do you think? If you want to know more about the Rowe by Rowe H20 quilt pattern click on the link, it's a kind of Shop Hop with a twist, 1200+ stores in USA and Canada participated in 2014 and many more are expected this year.
These were all half off but I purchased end of bolt of the black on black print and the neutral next to it so they were 60% off. The green tree fabric on the left I plan to use for the Rowe quilt and possibly the batik next to it and the Sewing Bee fabric was too darned cute not to have just a yard!
In general I am not a Kaffe Fasset fan but when I was in TX Leslie was using a couple of these that I do really like and at 20% off I got half a yard of each.
Thankfully we only visited two stores and when Linda suggested two more on Monday we ran out of time, whew! No point in placing myself in temptations path!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Stash Of A Different Kind

My friend Linda with whom we stayed the past week, is a tea lover, never drinks coffee. I on the other hand love both having grown up in Australia we almost always drank tea, even young children were allowed to drink diluted tea with half milk and perhaps a dash of honey or sugar!
I learned to love good coffee in nursing school in Sydney, even way back then the Italian influence had created an espresso culture so that even country towns seemed to have espresso available. When I first came to the USA I was surprised that espresso was almost unheard of in 1970, so it was a real treat to find it on occasion, of course now we find it everywhere on practically every corner.
On our visit to Celestial Seasonings in CO. Springs we were like kids in a candy store so much tea of every variety, many herbal and fruit infusions without caffeine at all and I had to drag myself out of the gift store!
 This was my restrained purchase, most of them on sale because whenever a box is slightly imperfect it is removed from regular retail sale and sold at a discount in the gift store.  Apparently when the company was founded the herbals were all called "infusions" but the public was not familiar with this term so they switched to calling them tea even though many contain no tea at all and are by nature caffeine free.
I was happy to find Earl Grey, my personal favorite I really like the bergamot infusion in this tea. African Rooibus is another lovely "tea" also naturally caffeine free. Chai oh how I love Chai and I have several versions of it, so wonderfully satisfying especially made with milk or Almond Silk rather than water and with a dash of honey it tastes very decadent almost like dessert without all the bad stuff! I tried a new [to me] milk substitute Almond/Coconut Silk and liked it very well, so I will be looking for it in my local stores.
With this new addition to my tea stash I needed to re-organize my current teas and infusions which were tumbled higgledy piggledly on the pantry shelf. The Billy tea is a basic Aussie tea, bulk as is my preference, it is black and only mildly fragrant. Quite an assortment  but that's not all.
In this messy basket above are loose teas many of which I purchase from my local tea shop Souvia where they have walls of tins of bulk teas and herbals which they mix to form different flavors, Earl Grey with lavender is one I really like, it's a very elegant tea. At a local Vietnamese restaurant The Tea Light Cafe, the owner's wife mixes the teas they sell and the pomegranate is my favorite- it is not a caffeine free version.

 More of my current collection two different chais there! The Good Earth is a naturally sweet beverage, quite sweet in fact.
These are plain old black tea bags which DH prefers.
Celestial Seasonings also manufactures a wide range of body care products many of them under the Jason brand and Alba and Avalon organics.
 Having read a lot about all the chemical additives in nearly every product we buy I am concerned not only about what goes into our bodies but what we put on them. The skin is the body's largest organ and as such transfers all the chemicals it encounters. Not much has been talked about in the media on transdermal absorption but my MD and NMD have both warned about several chemicals like sulfates, sodium lauryl sulfate is in almost every liquid soap and shampoo though many companies are getting the word that many consumers prefer products without this particular sudsing agent. There are other efficient sudsing agents but this is the cheapest and so most widely used. I prefer bar soap and avoid the liquids as much as possible, those I buy do not have sulfates, or other chemicals only pure herbals usually organic but that's a subject for another post.
 Aluminum in various forms is in most deodorants and I have been on a search for one that is efficient but cleaner. This one I purchased at Celestial Seasonings is very reasonable and seems to be working well so far and it is summer!
The dermatologist says I should have a body lotion with sunscreen and without parabens another toxic chemical, and this body lotion with SPF at $16.00 is about $6-8 dollars less from the CS gift store than even from Amazon. I have also used their excellent shampoos and lotions, lip salves etc etc plus this body lotion with 15 SPF -prices in the gift shop are way discounted.
Final purchase was these two heat sensitive mugs, the colors change as the mug heats up with the beverage. I flew in without a carryon but I needed one on the return!
All in all I can recommend a visit to the Celestial Seasonings plant any time you are in the Denver/Boulder area of Colorado. Leave room in your bag to add your swag!

Garden Of The Gods

Any visit to Colorado Springs should include a visit to this beautiful place. We drove out there under a lowering sky and clouds that threatened a typical afternoon mountain storm.
We decided to eat lunch and hope it might clear up a little. The cafe has a nice menu and the prices are reasonable, two of us had the Bison burger I chose spicy Elk Bratwurst and it was a little spicy!
The center has a diorama and lots of other interesting information about the area.

You may know that the area inspired a Professor from Massachusetts, Katherine Lee Bates  to write "America The Beautiful".
After lunch we ventured out for a photo....... 
 just in time too, because suddenly in came the storm, thunder, lightning and hail!
Our intrepid driver ran to the car and by the time she pulled up to the curb the hail was coming down and we were soaked within the distance of about ten feet! 
We were otherwise unscathed so laughing we set off for the next stop, Na La's quilt store for a little more retail therapy-but that is for another day's posting!
Sorry, no pics of us all soaked to our skins. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Celestial Seasonings

This was great fun, not only can one taste every tea made at the plant but you may also take a free tour of the facility and watch the entire process of tea making from drying and mixing to bagging and shipping. The aromas were wonderful of all the herbals, but the peppermint room was so potent that there are T shirts in the gift shop that say"I survived the peppermint room"!
Plenty of options for lunch here including a vegan menu.
Another pics of the iconic images on the boxes of Celestial teas.
The Sleepy Time Bear!
An adorable teapot.
Every item made of tea bags!
Tea tasting time!
A beautiful arbor on the grounds. We all made a stop at the gift shop to stock up on tea and tea, related gift items and some of the body care products made here including sunscreen, lotions and even all natural deodorant!