Monday, December 28, 2009

A Great Way To Spend A Monday

time off from work - ya gotta love it
after sleeping in and a late morning smoothie at 11 AM
(thank you Ross),
a day of sewing followed

in between top stitching on the "blue" quilt (and loads of laundry)

i was cutting endless triangles

for an "Optical Squares" curtain panel for the doorway between the master bedroom and bathroom (i'm not sure if 'doorway' is the right term - there is no door, thus the need for a curtain panel)

what was i thinking? this is not going to be a quick little project . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cravings Satisfied

i've been craving some Macaroni and Cheese for a few months now
so I finally made some - it was yummy!

we had a quiet Christmas day and evening

it was a beautiful day

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas - may the birth of the Prince of Peace be ever-present in our holiday celebrations and may His love be the most precious gift that we could ever receive.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Blue Quilt . . . A Really Blue Quilt

Hmm, okay . . . so I'm off to make a quilt to snuggle under in the living room . . . here are the fabrics that I will be using . . .

How did I end up with so much blue?  I went on and on in my last entry about my love for color (and desire to learn more by experimenting with bold colors and prints).  This one is definitely going to be a challenge for me.

Will these colors go with the direction I hope to take the living room? 

This quilt needs a border - even though my attempt at a "fussy" cut for the black border is pathetic!

Hmm . . . here is the quilt top shown in a bit of the living room (with the first quilt I ever made, same basic pattern, temporarily hanging on the wall) . . .

I'm starting to like it more and more . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Weeks of Bliss

The much anticipated holiday vacation is now upon me - finally!  I've started a list of things I want to do over the next two weeks - but first . . . I finished two projects recently.  I thought I'd make a rainbow quilt in honor of my new quilting studio and to symbolize my current journey to learn more about color.  For the time being I still continue to be completely satisfied with purchasing fabric packs online - esp. fabrics designed by master colorists such as Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs.  I am a huge fan of their work - first discovering Kaffe and then more recently Philip Jacobs.  I feel like I'm learning about colors by working on projects that they have designed.  I have all of Kaffe's quilting books as well as his knitting and mosaic publications.  I was buying his books way before I actually ever made a quilt or learned how to knit.  I'm not sure if I'd be so into quilting if it wasn't for their work.  I'm somewhat younger than most quilters I've encountered to date and I've learned so much about the subjectivity of color and fabric design preferences - yet when it comes down to it we're just drawn to what we're drawn to.  I know a lot of people don't like my quilts because they are so busy and so full of so many different colors and patterns.  Yet I don't care what people think - I'm doing this for me.  Most of my fabric purchases are ordered online and when I open up those packages my heart just soars with happiness and excitement.   I decided to not keep the "Raindow" quilt in the studio - currently it's hanging from the upstairs landing.

Then I decided to finally tackle quilting the pink and red quilt top that I finished awhile ago - the one my husband and I affectionately refer to as the "Karen On Acid Quilt".  A very, very colorful quilt!  This one ended up having a lot of problems - log cabin squares cut on the bias that had a lot of "issues".  This is the first quilt with a lot of free motion quilting - still a tough for thing for me and have decided that this will be the quilt for office/studio snuggling.

So, for the two weeks of bliss list . . .

quilting - make a quilt to snuggle under in the living room; take quilt top used in old house as a curtain and make a quilt for the family room; make bedroom striped curtain panel; if time, start Inin's quilt.

read, read, read

redesign and organize blog - and make entries.  read through new book purchase:  "Blogging for Bliss - Crafting Your Own Online Journal" by tara frey

work on garden landscaping plan

breathe, stretch, breathe, stretch

work on the pansy needlepoint

sleep in and go to bed late

go on a walk every day


make soup and learn how to make curry

pray, plan and think about how to take appropriate actions - re: fragile job situation

Quite a list - I wonder how many of these things I'll actually do.  Or maybe I'll just sit and look out the windows like our two new cats . . .

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm Back

Where on earth have I been - can't believe it's been so long since I've written on my blog. Promise to get better!

I'm finally quilting again . . . the move was long and stressful yet the boxes are almost all unpacked

My quilting studio/office is coming together

I went a different route from my last space - lost the green and went with white furnishings and bolder colors

Everything has it's place

I ordered a portable design wall recently and it arrived in the mail a couple of days ago - somehow I now feel like my little quilting studio is complete (for the moment anyway)!

I am so happy to be sewing again

I promise to be back again real soon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Isn't it lovely - this beautiful sampler arrived in the mail this week and, in addition to just being a wonderful addition to my home, it arrived at a great moment (more on that soon). Late last year I was aching for my own "Home Sweet Home" embroidered sampler. I have coveted the one we had growing up for so long and have hinted to my mother that she should leave it to me in her will. Hers is a simple piece and I can't really explain why I've loved it for so long - maybe it's just because it feels so homey and is connected to the homes I lived in while growing up.

I started searching the internet for a pattern to make my own. I came across a pattern at that I really liked. After ordering and receiving the pattern in the mail, and knowing that I had too many other projects going on at the time, I inquired with Susan from T Party Antiques about the possibility of commissioning the project out. She recommended Janet McCaffrey ( who is the artist and embroiderer that drew up the Home Sweet Home pattern that she had sold me. Janet agreed to make it for me and some time later, this is what she came up with. We both decided to bring in more colors with the flowers and I am very happy with the result. (Thank you Janet!)

About the same time that I commissioned the piece from Janet, I mentioned to my mom about what I had done, again rambling on about how much I liked her “Home Sweet Home” sampler. Well, wouldn’t you know it; she sent it to me as a Christmas gift. So now I have two!
Now for the next part of this story . . . I have been waiting months for this new sampler – not really in a hurry because I had received the one from my mom and have been dwelling in the pleasure of that addition to our home. It makes me smile every time I see it. I actually have been struggling because I couldn’t really think of the right place to put this new anticipated sampler. Then we had some disconcerting news, we just recently found out that the little house that we are renting is in foreclosure and that we would need to move.

We’ve been confused as to what to do – do we just rent another place in our beloved neighborhood, do we move to another part of Sacramento, maybe closer to work? And our work situation is unsure. The contract that both my husband and I work on is up for re-bid and we may find out in the Fall that we don’t have jobs. And if we do win the contract there are rumors that we will move our offices “way out” to Roseville. We weren’t sure if we should buy a home or wait. We didn’t really think we could buy a house because we don’t have a large amount of money in savings – certainly not the 20% that we thought we’d have to have. And then we were certain that we wanted to stay in the downtown area – we love the older homes, the mature trees, the character, the wonderful restaurants and cafes.

Last weekend we ventured out into the suburbs, just to rule out a new home – to confirm that that is not a lifestyle that we were interested in. I have made it my life’s ambition to not live in a suburban tract house, the sort that all my friends and co-workers seem to favor. Well, we did it. We bought a big ‘ole house in Lincoln – it will be ready in September. So, we signed all the papers on Sunday and the new “Home Sweet Home” sampler arrived in the mail on Monday. It was a sweet sign that we are embarking on a good thing and that anywhere that we live can be home. In the long run we will be getting so very much more of a house for the money out in the sticks then we could ever get here in East Sacramento. So now we’re just hoping that our jobs do relocate to Roseville – it will be a much shorter commute! Here’s to hoping and a lot of prayers. And now I definitely have many options as to where to hang this new sampler!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Veggie Pick-up #1

I'm trying to be dedicated to writing an entry this week even though exhaustion has now set in - and maybe the effects of a glass of wine as well. We picked up our first box of veggies this week from the SoilBorn Farms CSA program. Actually using the stuff may be harder than we think yet we are up to the challenge!
There have been many articles in recent times about the benefits of eating local, fresh and organic produce and we followed suit and joined this CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) program. I figured our first box would contain a lot of greens for the early season and boy was I right! We received collards, bac choi, lettuce, arugula, mizuna, green garlic, spring onions, kohlrabi, red russian kale and grapefruit. I was such a dork - I didn't know what half this stuff was and at first I was looking the items up on the internet and comparing pictures to the actual products. Then I remembered a cookbook that I had picked up years ago - 'Vegtables' by James Peterson. Found some pictures and the endeavor went more smoothly after that. I made a yummy taco salad the night we picked up the box (Tuesday - Cinco de Mayo) and then we didn't touch the stuff again until today, which wasn't the best decision. We lost a few things - the refrigerator crisper was already a bit full and a lot of the greens just went in the fridge and proceeded to freeze a bit. What we couldn't use went into the beginnings of our compost heap.
Late today, after a long drive through the country and a couple of hours working in the garden, I tried a few recipes. Actually started some Collards with Ham Hocks before venturing to work outside. I've never made collards before nor have I used ham hocks. I think I've only had collards once in my life! Also made a "Long-Stewed Red Kale" recipe from Alice Waters 'Chez Panisse Vegtables'. Yummy - cooked the russian red kale with bacon, carrots, onions, garlic and topped off with some time cooking in cream (we used soy cream) Very good! Ross loved it, stating that the dish was restaurant quality and then I told him that it was an Alice Waters recipe. Definitely will be making that again! I also sliced the kohlrabi and sauted in butter for about 20 minutes. I'd certainly never heard of nor , obviously cooked with, rohlrabi before. Yet we'll definitely make that again as well. Ross cooked a pork tenderloin and the whole meal was wonderful. We had a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from Revolution Wines (a local urban winery in downtown Sacramento). So we definitely ate a lot of items that were grown and distributed locally. What a fun adventure this is going to be!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today's Completed Projects

Well, the rain is good for a lot of reasons, including giving me a chance to finish some projects. Finally finished the Coneflowers - my first attempt at free motion quilting as well!
I really need to learn how to take pictures - just can't seem to get it right.

Also finished a baby quilt for Prakash and Bindu - very colorful and fun.

Another creative weekend - what fun!

Spring Flowers Before The Rain

Spring's First Bloom

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My First Miniature Garden

I put together my first miniature garden yesterday. It's something I've wanted to try for some time now.
My sister Teresa makes these adorable little people - fairies and wedding cake toppers - I always thought they needed a little garden of their own.
I came upon a sample of a mini garden in a garden antique store last weekend in Sutter's Creek and that was all the inspiration I needed. I dug up some little plants from my garden and also used some bonsai that I already had.I did a bit of websurfing yesterday after I made my creation - who knew there was this whole little community of people that love to make these tiny gardens?I think I've found a new passion . . .
I feel inspired . . .
The garden turned out just as I had imagined it would.