Friday, August 31, 2007

My Senior Year Project

My quilting anniversary is September 4. This year I will be starting my 4th year of quilting - AKA my Senior Year. Last year I wrote about my plans for my Junior year of quilting.

We're at the Deutsche Bank Golf Championship again this year. Today, while watching Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson play together I formulated my plan for my Senior year of quilting. The good news is one of my readers gets to help me choose my Senior Year Project.

How's that you ask? Let me tell you. I want to be challenged on my project so here is my plan. I'm going to list six guidelines. I want you to choose no more than three of them and send them to me in an email. I will put all the entries into a drawing and on Tuesday, September 4th (my anniversary) I will draw one of them and that one will become my Senior Class project. I will have until June 30, 2008 to finish the project. In honor of choosing someone's name I will make a donation to her favorite charity.

So, without further ado, here are my six guidelines. Remember, you can choose up to three of them. I have listed some suggestion for the choices so you understand what I mean. By no means, I am limited to those choices.
  1. Choose two or three blocks. These blocks can finish to any size.
  2. Choose two or three colors.
  3. Choose at least one type of embellishment; such as buttons, beads, redwork, stitcheries, applique
  4. Theme - should it be for baby? for a girl? for a boy?
  5. Fabric choices - Civil War prints? 30s? batiks?
  6. Type of project - wall hanging? table runner? lap quilt? This is the only choice where I ask that the project not be any larger than a lap quilt.
There you have it. C'mon and make my senior year project a challenge. You have until Tuesday night to enter your suggestions. I can't wait to see what you challenges you come up with for me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good News and Bad News

I was cranky and not feeling well most of the weekend. My thigh hurt and I didn't know why. But my mail box kept me from getting too cranky. I received my Stitchery Swap project from Rose. Isn't is adorable? If you live in the northern hemisphere you need to check out her blog. She has posted photos of spring in Australia and they are gorgeous.

Speaking of the Stitchery Swap Beth in Australia now has a blog. Please check it out here. Be sure to say hello to her and welcome her to the blog world.

Other mail goodies included 12 Barbie FQs from Carol. They won't last long in my stash. I think I'm going to make a simple charm quilt from them or maybe a few small doll quilts. That will be a great way to practice machine quilting.

From Anne I received a goodie package in exchange for a package of fabric. She sent me this lovely FQ of soldier fabric, a pin keeper, some chocolate and a wallet pattern from Lazy Girl Designs.

And if that isn't enough good stuff I won a drawing at Wildcraft Farm. Janet will be sending me her latest Quilt Card pattern. How cool is all of that?

Now for the bad news. The reason I was feeling achy and cranky all weekend is because I have Shingles. Yup, that's right. After an absolutely awful night last night I woke up with a rash on my right thigh, hip, tummy and back. I knew I had to get to the doctor. And, sure enough, I have Shingles. Lucky for me I caught it early and have started the antiviral medicine and have pain medication to help me through the night. At this point wearing anything other than a sundress is uncomfortable. Needless to say I worked from home today and will probably stay home until I can wear something other than a sundress.

So that's my news for today. Hopefully I'm well enough to go the Deutsche Bank Golf Tournament this weekend. I'm ready for yearly Tiger Woods fix.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Do You Like Football and Nickels?

Here is a sneak peak at my stitchery swap project. The complete project will be heading to its new owner tomorrow. Thanks to all who participated in the swap. Several of you have said you would like to do it again. I will probably do one after the New Year. Many of us have joined Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap and I don't want to overlap swaps.

However, I am hosting a Football Season Nickel Swap for my Quilting Sports and Friends Group that doesn't conflict with the Secret Santa Swap. This is a nickel swap where you choose a football team to sponsor for the entire football season. For every game your team wins you do nothing. For every game the team loses you agree to send 8 nickels to the winner. At the end of the season you will send me all of your losing packages and I will swap them out and return your "winnings" to you. I still have some room for a few more players so if you'd like to join send me an e-mail and I will provide you the details.

I received my Pay It Forward gift from Floribunda. It's a gorgeous rotary cutter case - or is it for eye glasses? Either way it's gorgeous. DH commented that quilters sure like to make and use tote bags and carrying cases. I think he's right.

This past week I also received a needlecase from a swap for my redwork group. What a cute case. I haven't filled it yet, but will soon.

It amazes me how prolific bloggers are. During the week I can hardly keep up with all the entries. I read many of them and mark them, but often don't comment until the weekend when I am relaxing. Maybe with summer ending I'll have more time to stay caught up with everyone.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back From Vacation

I think I have finally readjusted to being home from vacation. It's amazing to me that it took me three days to get back into my normal sleep pattern. I actually overslept two days in a row! I haven't done that in a long, long time. Today I was awake at my usual time (6 AM) and I'm ready to spend some time in my studio. DH is going off for the day for some guy time (read that as being a Fantasy Football draft and poker) so I'll be home alone. I love my husband dearly, but I think even he would agree that we are ready for a day apart.

Just a few more photos of our vacation and then I'm done with the tour. First up I'm showing my "nest". I've realized that one of the first actions I take when we enter a hotel room for the night is to set up shop in the chair in the room. This is my nest in our room in Portland. We checked in on Friday and this is what it looked like by Sunday afternoon. Do any of you do this when you are traveling? I bet a lot of us do this at home too.
On Sunday morning I had the pleasure of meeting Donna and Diana from my Yahoo Redwork group for breakfast at Mother's Bistro. The husbands came along too and that worked out great since all of them liked golf and football. Everyone could join in the conversation, including the men's experiences while the women go quilt shopping while on trips.
Monday was our last day in Portland. We decided to take enjoy the International Rose Test Garden. The weather was perfect for walking in the gardens and the roses were stunning. I hope you enjoy these few photos I took of the roses. On our way back to our hotel we found a shopping mall in downtown Portland. While wondering around the mall we found an Apple Store. I had mentioned earlier in the week that I was thinking about buying an iPod for myself. So my wonderful husband told me to pick one out and he would buy it for me for an early (two months early) birthday present. This is the the same husband who is flying my mom to visit me for my birthday because he is going to be in Hong Kong on my birthday. I picked a 2 GB Nano. I loaded up my iTunes on it before we left for home and used it on the airplane. I like it, but I've been having some problems with my ears lately and after wearing the earplugs for awhile the outside of my ears started to hurt. I guess I need to have them checked again.

Well, that's the story of my Oregon vacation. We loved every minute of it and can't wait to go back someday. Thanks for reading about my summer vacation.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sisters and Grandmas

Yesterday we drove from Sunriver, OR to Portland, OR by way of Sisters and Salem. I admit that I didn't plan on stopping at Stitchin' Post in Sisters, OR. I was more intent on making sure I made it to Grandma's Quilting Attic in Dallas, OR. I know that sounds bad. How can I pass up Stitchin' Post? Isn't it THE quilt shop to go to when you are in Oregon?

However, my body had other plans. I had to stop to use the bathroom in Sisters and since we were there I decided I couldn't pass up Stitchin' Post. I'm glad I stopped. I found this gorgeous gray and lavender fabric for my MIL's quilt. Since I've had a tough time finding gray fabric I purchased what was left on the bolt - nearly 4 yards. More than enough for her quilt.

I also found this wonderful pattern for a child's tent, sleeping bag and bag tote. With 5 nieces and nephews under 5 years old I immediately thought how cute these would be for Christmas gifts. DH agreed. We have this wonderfully warm comforter that is beginning to show wear, but is still usable. I've been thinking about making a duvet cover for it and this book is just the ticket to make one. With several patterns for duvet covers and curtains I can redecorate our bedroom in no time. They also mention their book Oh Sew Easy Pillows which I think I'm going to look for to go along with this book.

Three hours later we arrived in Dallas, OR and found Grandma's Attic Quilting. What a gorgeous little shop. The shop is wonderfully decorated and one could spend hours looking through every section of the store. I found these Aunt Martha transfer patterns and this heart charm with my name on it. I totally forgot to look for the Oregon greenwork patterns she carries. Oh well, I'll order it when I get home.

Grandma's had lots of fabrics on sale. I purchased a set of 10 FQs from Lakehouse (I think) for $13.50. Those are in the top 2 rows. The other 25 FQs were $25 for 25 FQs. So all together I got 35 FQs for $1.10 each. Not bad.

We arrived in Portland late yesterday afternoon. We hit rush hour/vacation traffic driving from Salem to Portland and it took us an extra hour to arrive in Portland. Last night we went to the Bite of Oregon - a food festival that is on the waterfront only a couple blocks from our hotel. We purchased multi passes so could use the festival as our lunch and dinner restaurant for the weekend. We also went to Portland Saturday Market this morning. I found a cute handmade bead necklace (see photo below). DH bought soap in a log. And we found cute reversible overalls for our twin niece and nephews.

Tomorrow morning we are meeting two quilters and their husbands for breakfast. They are members of my Redwork Yahoo group. I'm sure we'll have a great time.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Retail Therapy in Bend, OR

I decided to go on a mini shop hop in Bend, OR yesterday. The call of shopping was greater than the call of staying in the hotel room all morning.

The first store I visited was BJ's Quilt Basket. This store was by far my favorite. The store is wide open and filled with any fabric you can imagine. Quilts adorn the walls. There is a good-sized classroom. I purchased this Quilt To Go Kit. This is one of many small kits they sell. The kit makes an 8" x 10" quilt that can be slipped onto an acrylic frame. The kits come with the fabric, including backing. I can't wait to get home and make mine. I also bought some purple fabric for a quilt I'm planning for my MIL. If I lived in Bend, this store would be my LQS.

My next stop was Sew Many Quilts. This store was a little hard to find. It's in the back of a small business strip mall and there is no sign on the road. This store has three big rooms, two filled with fabric and one classroom. The fabric selection was great. The displays were nice. The staff was friendly. This was the first store where I have seen Aunt Martha transfers so I bought a package of chef transfers.

Next stop was Pine Tree Quilting. This store is in the downtown part of Bend. Parking was a little tough, but doable. The store is not large and she did not have a lot of fabric. She was very nice and we chatted a little about the weather in Bend, OR.

The last stop was Mountain Country Mercantile. The second I walked in the door I was assaulted by the smell of cats and/or dogs. Now, don't get me wrong, I like animals, but I don't like to smell them when I'm shopping. There was a lot of fabric in this store. Two large rooms, plus a large classroom in the back that also had a wall of sale fabrics. There was an upstairs area that I didn't investigate. I walked through the whole store, but the smell was so overwhelming that I can't imagine ever going back there. I did find the other pattern in the photo above. It's hard to read but you have the option of stitching "For Maid Service, Push The Button, If No One Answers Do It Yourself" of "For Laundry Service, Push The Button, If No One Answers Do It Yourself".

Here are the fabrics I bought. I've loved the jello fabric since I saw it on-line some time ago. This is the first time I saw it in person and I couldn't resist it. The purple fabric is for MIL's quilt. The black fabric has colorful hearts on it. That fabric and the yellow fabric with tulips will take residence in my stash until I decide what to do with them. I bought the green fabric and the cherries fabric thinking I'll make a tote bag for my MIL. She once won an award for her Cherry Pie and is still well known for her pies. This will make a great bag for her to take to the Farmer's Market.

Last night DH and I went out for a "date night". The concierge at the hotel recommended The Blacksmith Restaurant in downtown Bend. What a fantastic restaurant. DH and I like to order Chef's Tasting Menus and we were pleasantly surprised that they offer one and you can specify what you like and don't like. For me, that meant I could say bring on the steak and hold the seafood. We had six wonderful courses, each one better than the previous one. It took us two hours to enjoy dinner. We even got the chef to autograph the menu. I suppose you're wondering what we had. Here's the menu:
  • First Course - Watermelon Salad - mixed greens topped with minted goat cheese, watermelon and basil pesto.
  • Second Course - I had steak adobo and DH had haddock and scallops in a Pinot Noir sauce
  • Third Course - A small pasta dish with house-cured salami, onions, fennel, roasted tomatoes and pasta. This course was very, very yummy.
  • Fourth Course - Pork tenderloin on white beans with grilled nectarines and prosciutto on grilled radicchio
  • Fifth Course - Sliced Top Sirloin with Fried Potatoes with a truffle oil reduction.
  • Sixth (and final) Course - an Almond Tulle Cookie Cup filled with fresh berries topped with a lemon sauce. Very light and refreshing.
Now this reads like a lot of food, but each plate was about a third of the size of a regular portion. That combined with the timing between each course you were able to enjoy each selection without feeling stuffed. I'd go back there in a minute.

Come back tomorrow for more installments on My Summer Vacation. Tomorrow we will be driving back to Portland by way of Dallas, OR and a visit to Grandma's Quilting Attic. I'm excited for that shop.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Know Where I've Been . . .

. . . and I know where I'm going, but I don't know where I am . . .

I said this to my husband as we drove from the Columbia Gorge area of Oregon on our way to Sunriver, OR yesterday morning. This is the view of the Gorge area as we saw it early in the morning. It was cloudy, cold and windy. Too cold and windy for us to take the Sternwheeler boat trip on the Columbia River. Instead we loaded up the car and headed for Sunriver.

The first gorgeous view we were treated to was Mount Hood. This mountain would dominate the first half our trip. We kept thinking we were getting closer and closer to it, but it was always there. The road was curvy, the scenery was tremendous and there was very few signs of civilization.

I made the above statement to my husband at one point because I getting antsy for a cup of coffee and just wanted to know that there would be some towns along the way. About 2 minutes after making that comment we passed a sign similar to the one below. Had I known I was going to pass the sign I would have taken a picture of it. Now I knew where I was.

After leaving the mountains the land became flat, almost desert-like. What a change in geography. Suddenly we came around a bend in the road and the land opened up into a deep, wide valley. Again I didn't know what we looking at, but it was stunning. The road went down into the valley and into the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. This is the view as we came out of the valley.

This morning I am relaxing in my hotel room and trying to decide if I want to go quilt shop hopping in Bend, OR or just relax and do some stitchery. This afternoon I'm joining my husband for a round of golf. Tomorrow we are going to explore Lava Lands in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

And the winner is . . .

. . . I bet you really want to know who won. Hold in, I'll tell you in a minute. First let me tell you about our excursion to the bank. The bank is two blocks downhill from our house so DH used his briefcase on wheels to carry the jar to the bank. The minute we walked into the bank you would have thought we were going to rob it. I guess bank employees don't like people coming into the bank with luggage.

Then we're told that we have to this nifty machine to count the coins, and by the way, there's a 7% fee to use the machine. Of course, if I don't want to pay the fee I can get some coin rollers and roll the coins myself. Forget about it. Oh well, I guess we'll pay the fee.

We stood at the patiently at the machine and started dumping the bottle. Now the change goes in a lot easier than it comes out so there was a lot of bottle tipping going on. Eventually all of the change was emptied onto the little conveyor belt and we watched the digital display get larger and larger and larger.

The final count - $277.03. So the winner, with a guess of $278, is Annie from Annie's Quilting Adventures. So Annie, if you will send me your snail mail address and I will get your prize sent out to you when I return from vacation.

We haven't decided how we're going to use the money on our vacation. It will definitely cover our gas expenses or pay for our couples pedicure tomorrow morning or . . . I'll let you know what we do with it when we do spend it.

Thanks for playing everyone! I'm off to pack for vacation. Oregon here I come.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Last Day for Guesses

You have one more night to make a guess in my change jar giveaway. Tomorrow night I will name the winner. Do you know how much is in ther jar?