Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Day of the Year

So, another year gone by and now we've got another one coming at us, ready or not! I woke up this morning thinking about writing this post--and it's hard to think when there are two ferocious catboys trying to get my attention because, yanno, they haven't eaten for hours and hours and they are just starving... yeah. With two feedersful of dry kibble (two different kinds, who's a spoiled darling?) they still want their morning treat of a shared can of wet stuff and as soon as the light begins to change, they think it's time to get it. Then they do what Simon's doing over there ---> and I'm left to get up and start my day.

I've already done my year-end post over on the other blog, which is my sadly-neglected "photo blog" but which I'm hoping to utilize more in the coming year. We'll see how it goes. This past year has certainly not gone the way I thought it would, but as I look back at it, I'm finding that there are some good things that have come out of it. I really need to focus on the positives instead of the negatives--cliched though that sounds. So my health isn't the greatest--at least I'm on "the right side of the dirt." I've been blessed with a loving and supportive family, who really pulled together to get me through the worst parts of this past year. Now to look forward, instead of backward.

There are some plans afoot for the new year. I signed on to a couple of challenges and I'm hoping to use this blog to document them. One is Take a Stitch Tuesday, a stitching challenge, so with any luck on Tuesdays I'll be posting a photo of some kind of stitchery. This is a corollary to my other challenge, the Crazy Quilt one. (There are links to both on the sidebar over there. I just can't see them to link them here right now.)

That one is really the crazy one! The basic idea is to do one crazy quilt block a month, with the end result being 12 blocks by the end of the year--enough to make a nice sized wall hanging. I thought this would tie in nicely to one of my ambitions, which is to make a crazy quilt out of Bob's old ties. One for each of the "kids." So yeah, seven quilts for seven people. Seven blocks a month. I'm already prepping the ties, and tonight I'll probably cut the backing squares for the project. I'm thinking I'll cut the squares either 8.5" or 9" to finish at around 8" each--so 12 squares would make it 24" x 32" before any kind of borders or sashings. I've got a "few" kinds of threads for embroidery, both hand and machine; I'm not going to limit myself to one or the other. My Bernina 1230 has some "fancy" stitches that should work nicely, and I think I can manage some hand work as well. Plus I have lots of bits and bobs of lace, ribbons, buttons, beads... You get the idea. We'll see how it goes in practice, but this is something I've been wanting to do, and the time is right!

The house is beginning to come together--note I said "beginning." The bittersweet part of this is that I'm really needing to get the house ready to sell, and to make some hard decisions about where I want to move to and what kind of life I want to live. You can look forward to some musings on that topic as I explore alternatives this year.

Physical improvement is also on my agenda. I was doing really well after the surgery in April--managed to lose 10 lbs. It's easy enough to do when someone else is going to the market: give them a list, make sure it's all the good stuff and then just eat the good stuff. Of course, once I could start doing a little more of my own marketing, that went right down the tubes. Those 10 lbs have found me again and plopped themselves right where I least want them! But, they need to leave, along with a few dozen more of their friends. Dr. B keeps telling me that there's nothing more to be done for my left knee, other than replacing it. Well, I'm not going into a knee replacement at this weight. (I don't want to do it at all, but that's another story.) I'm sure the neuropathy in my feet would also be helped by not having to lug around all this extra avoirdupoids. And, I'm trying to exercise a little more too. I got a Fitbit and have been wearing it and I think, starting tomorrow, I'll try logging my food as well as letting it record my steps.

This post is long enough, and if you've stuck to it this far, I'm sure you're ready for me to wish you a happy new year and all the best as it comes roaring around the corner at us. Should be an interesting one, at least!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Audrey at Tea

Audrey at Tea by marie watterlond
Audrey at Tea, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

Took the girls to the Huntington Tea Room for our "annual" birthday tea. A yummy time was had by all. This year we had a special guest--Auntie Jennie was here!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Wild Lettuce blocking

An actual finished object...the Wild Lettuce shawl, pattern by Fickle Knitter and yarn from Little Red Bicycle. The color isn't quite true: in real life it's a very vivid limey green. Hoping it dries in time to wear it to the Fiber Festival in Torrance!

Monday, October 03, 2011


Carpinteria by marie watterlond
Carpinteria, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

Walking down the "main drag" in Carpinteria, we saw t his wonderful bougainvillea glowing in the sun. It was a gorgeous day for the beach!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cousins at The Boat

Cousins at The Boat by marie watterlond
Cousins at The Boat, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

Mini-reunion this past weekend, with the "little" cousins getting together with their "big" cousins! L-R, Abby (age 1 1/2), Nate (3), Audrey (3), Garrett (5), Casey, John, Alyssa and Gordon.

Now that John and Casey are living semi-locally, we're getting to see them more often. It was nice to have Alyssa and Gordon visiting from the east coast. This was Gordon's first visit here so he got to experience a lot of new things!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Little boy, big pig!

That's a big pig! by marie watterlond
That's a big pig!, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

Naters checking out his "year of" animal at the LACMA exhibit--

Pretty darn cute!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Special Quilt

Time for a little photo essay here! These darling people are Pete and Marietta, who have been married for--hold on--64 years, and whom I've known for probably 20 or more. The number of quilts Marietta's made is pretty staggering, especially considering some of the physical challenges she's faced over the years.

Growing older is not for sissies.

The latest threat to her quilting productivity is a big one: she's losing her eyesight to macular degeneration. Enter Pete, who's always been interested in the whole process of quilting--he's an engineer, and has enjoyed learning about all the machines and the mechanics of putting a quilt together, but never felt any need to actually make a quilt himself.

But their grandson is starting college this month, at USC--aka the University of Southern California, which is pretty well known, at least in this part of the world. He needs a quilt to take to college, preferably one that showcases his school, right? Right. So a collaborative effort on the part of the grandparents is making sure he's going to get one. So Grandpa Pete has taught himself how to actually use a sewing machine.

This is one of those "takes a village" quilts--cooperation at a couple of different quilt shops, and lots of determination on the part of the quilters. After several weeks of piecing and sewing, this past Tuesday night the quilt top was completed and has been consigned to the quilt-by-check person. (You know what I mean--the age-old question of hand-or-machine quilting has had a new dimension added to it--now, quilting by check is another option!)

Here's hoping Grandson enjoys his quilt when he gets it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Starting Early

05-2011 001 by marie watterlond
05-2011 001, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

Abby has found some of my more accessible yarn stash, and loves to carry it around, rub it on her face, snuggle with it, and pet it. I guess I'm getting her hooked young!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Simon, napping

Simon, napping by marie watterlond
Simon, napping, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

... on the Lone Star quilt. This one has a braided border made of scraps; the quilt itself is very scrappy!

I'm Riding!

I'm Riding! by marie watterlond
I'm Riding!, a photo by marie watterlond on Flickr.

Abby and her dad with Sister's bike. She was so thrilled to make it move!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back In Action...

...sort of! Yes, that's meant to be a pun: my back has been repaired and I've spent the last two weeks being very very good (or at least trying to) in order to give it time to heal. Today was Easter Sunday and only my second time out away from my comfy chair. The back did beautifully. The knee, however, did not.

I think the warranty on my "parts" has expired.

The knee is an ongoing issue and its pain level is exacerbated by my having to be off ibuprofen for an extended period of time. That's because it supposedly interferes with the healing of the bone grafts in my spine, and of course we want those to take. I did spend a lot more time standing around today than I normally do, so this is to be expected.

It was, however, quite worth it. D4 and E picked me up and we trekked out to D3's where we were greeted by a pair of adorable boys. N8 is really into trains, and there were a couple of new ones in his basket this morning. The bunny also left a coloring book and "magic" pens for G, who can sit and color for an hour or two in total concentration. We had a lovely dinner of baked ham, potato salad (D4 has picked up the potato-salad torch and is carrying it extremely well), deviled eggs and roasted asparagus. D3 had made macaroons, and D4 made adorable cupcakes. I'll try to gank photos to post here--I didn't bring my camera with me, sadly.

So, this is me, once again here, and I'll be trying to post more often. Right now I'm trying to get the knee to stop cursing at me (wouldn't you think being wrapped in a nice warm heating pad would soothe it? Yeah, not so much.) and settle in.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Still Here!

Wow--it's been quite a while since I posted. Guess that's what happens when a person gets attacked by her own back. Yes, I've been down for the count for the last almost-month, 4 weeks today of pain and misery. However it's getting fixed on Monday, so I'm hopeful for good results and am anticipating being back to whatever passes for normal with me soon!

Just wanted to update a couple of things here. First, Entangled magazine is ready for a free preview. Do check it out. It's from Genny Stevens in NZ and I think she's done a smashing job with it!

If you've been following the story of the Great American Afghan raffle to benefit XRX's Sue Nelson, there's an update here. Angela, who won the raffle, is one of my Ravelry and Facebook friends, and I love what she decided to do. I also love that there was such wonderful cooperation and concern all across the knitting community--the nice people at Vogue Knitting helped spread the word and support the project. I have to admit I got a little teary-eyed reading Ben's post.

If I can sit up at the computer a bit later, I do have some "crafty" goodness to share. I did a project for a swap on Ravelry and documented the process, and I've been meaning to post about it. Right now I have a date with a cup of coffee and a couple of hot chocolate croissants!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You CAN Help!

From my friend Liz Smith:

A little advertising...The gorgeous Ms Genny Stevens is donating 100% of the profits from her amazing Tiki Mittens pattern to the Red Cross in Canterbury, NZ, to help the folks out there who got a bit shook up yesterday...The mittens are gorgeous, it's for a good cause, and NZ $5 is like 40 cents in Real Money ;) SO HURRY UP & GO BUY... THEM EVERYBODY!
Ravelry is a community site, an organizational tool, and a yarn & pattern database for knitters and crocheters.

The Process Pledge

Today I got a comment on an older post (the one with Baby J's quilt) and tracking back the commenter, I found Rossie's blog and her post on The Process Pledge. It was an intriguing idea, and since I've been working at getting back into quilting more I think it was a serendipitous find.

Here's Rossie's original prompts:

I’ve made a list of prompts to get some process posts going. I will continue to update these prompts as time goes on, based on what I see in blogs, ideas that are submitted to me by email, and also in the comments.

  • Do you have any new sketches to show?
  • Is this design inspired by a past quilt or someone else's quilt you saw (link, please)?
  • Does the color palette come from somewhere specific?
  • Are you trying to evoke a specific feeling?
  • Is this quilt intended for a specific person? How did that inform your choices?
  • Are you following a pattern, emulating a block you saw somewhere, using a liberated process, or totally winging it?
  • What are you hating about this quilt at this stage? What do you love?
  • Did you push yourself to try something new?
  • In working on the quilt, are you getting ideas about what you might want to try next? What? Did you sketch it?
So here we go. I'm hoping that, over the next few days, I can document some of my quilts-in-progress as well as some of my knits-in-progress, and get some posting done as well. (Alas, yes, poor blog has been neglected but maybe I can rectify that!)

As always, there will be way more photos on the Flickr page than I'll put in the blog, so do click through--especially if you also want to see cute babies, cats, flowers and sunsets and all the other things that appeal to my magpie mind!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
Abby's birthday is Valentine's Day, so her party was today. She's sitting on her gift from her auntie and uncle--this wheeled conveyance has lights, music, twirling princesses, a keyboard, in short anything and everything required to be a wonderful toy! She's testing out the features with a little help from her cousin, who was riding it a few minutes before.
(His T-shirt has photos of the Beatles and says, All you need is love.)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Quilt for Baby J

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
My knit group is having a baby shower tomorrow for one of our members who recently adopted a little boy. I finished up this quilt and found a cute little tote bag to put it in, all ready to present to her.

Ragg quilts are great "play" quilts, and this one is also light enough to use for wrapping up baby. The colors are nice and vibrant, and it's been "Abby-certified" and approved.

Here's hoping Baby J and his mama will love it too!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ready to clip

Ready to clip
Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
One of the two ragg quilts, ready to be clipped then washed and dried and washed and dried and washed and dried...

I wasn't quite sure how to put the colors together so they'd be at least harmonious, but I think I'm pretty happy with this arrangement. The checked squares really stand out a lot more than I thought they would, but this arrangement seems fairly balanced to me.

And yes, I did make "twins" out of the two sets of blocks, figuring that if the quilts weren't a good size they could always be joined into one big one. I think this size will work well for a baby/toddler/little kid quilt, though!


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
The other part of the supervisory team. Simon wants to be sure he's up close enough to see that I'm doing it right!

"Step" Cat

"Step" Cat
Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
Hi-Hi, watching me sew. Sitting on this step puts him just above my eye level when I'm sitting at the machine.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
A boy and his new birthday bike. Yes, bike--two wheels (plus outriggers!) cause now that he's 3, he can keep up with the big guys!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Pies!

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
My Xmas present from The Daughters was this "personal pie" baker. Cranked it up tonight and voila! Four little cranberry-apple pies. They only bake for about 8-10 minutes, and it takes just a little longer than that to prep them. Might need to do this more often.

Thinking of mini-tourtieres, for instance, since there aren't too many of us who really eat it. Or any time I have a pie craving.

The jar of TJ's apple-cranberry filling (which is VERY sweet) is probably enough to make a dozen of these little beauties. Yum!

Birthday Boy with Dinocake

People were singing to him! One thing our family is known for is the awful way we sing "Happy Birthday." This was just another outing for the Off-Key Chorale!

But he did manage to blow out his candle, so I guess he can turn 3 now!


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
Checking out the action at her cousin's birthday party.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The First 16-Patch

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond done. Just needs to be pressed. I think what will happen is t hat there will be "trails" across the top of the quilt, since the blocks will form chains in both directions.

The darker purple fabric is actually quite shaded--you can almost tell in this picture--with lighter and darker areas. It's a McKenna Ryan print, and it has a quote about faith on it. Ought to be interesting when it's a whole top!

Right now, all the pink 4-patches are sewn together. The purples are still 2-patches, but I had to put one block together just to see if it would look the way I imagined it would.

It does.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
My pink and lavender quilt blocks are coming right along. The 6 "picture" blocks have been bordered on two sides, to bring them up to 12 1/2". I did two sides because they were already pretty close to the size I wanted, and putting borders on 4 sides would have made them look silly. So two it was. It will give it a bit of an "attic window" look.

They're laying across 300 2-patches, which will next get sewn into 150 4-patches, which will then become 32 16-patches. Not quite sure how many quilts this will translate to, or if they'll all be used in one quilt. That's to decide later on.

In the back you can see t he flannel squares, ready to be sewn into rag quilts. Oh yes, I do plan to stay busy at the machine! In all of my copious free time.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Birthday Cake

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
When it's a BIG birthday, it calls for a BIG party! I'll post more pictures (or you can check my Flickr page via that badge over there), but here's one of the cake and some yummy lemon cookies...

Dancey Dance

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
This is the companion print to all those 4-patches I'm making--the square can be brought up to 12 1/2"" and then it will match up. There are 6 of them, conveniently.

Also today you should check out my cyberfriend Amy's blog: just for fun, and maybe to enter her contest, too!

Friday, January 07, 2011


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
A quick shot of Abby, playing busily. She's really good at playing by herself, likes to have someone nearby but doesn't really require a lot of "attention." She does like having her picture taken! I took a short video of her and she was fascinated watching it play back inside the camera.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
Who doesn't appreciate a little help of the feline persuasion? Simon thinks he needs to supervise my quilting. (He's supervising my typing right now, or at least warming my keyboard.)

These are 3 1/2" strips--25 each of a pink "dance" print, a lavender "dance" print, a cream-and-pink small floral, and a lavender print. They're going to become 6 1/2" four-patches, which will then be sewn into 12 1/2" blocks. I'm hoping I can get 25 of the large blocks out of these strips, and they'll then be added to 6 more 12 1/2" blocks--which have ballerinas printed on them--to make a 5 x 6 block quilt top. We'll see if (with Simon's help, of course) I can get that many blocks out of the strips!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Roll
Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
For breakfast. Coffeemaker set up, this is waiting. Incentive to get up?

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Cutting Table!

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
Well, okay, so it's my kitchen island. It's a perfect height for cutting on!

Today I had a minor brainstorm and sewed together all the leftover fabric pieces from the flannel squares, and managed to get another 22 blocks out of it. Of course that meant I also had to cut 22 more squares of batting, but now it's all done and ready to sew.

Once the decorations come down from the bar--I'm thinking Wed. night might work for that--then I'll be able to cut on the bar instead of walking around to the kitchen. Looks like my "dream" of a real sewing room is inching closer and closer to reality!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What's Under There?

2011.1.2 003
Originally uploaded by marie watterlond
Simon would like to know if I'm keeping anything interesting for cats under there. He was fascinated with the sewing machine--it's been a while since I've been able to set it up and actually sew at home, and his little cat brain doesn't remember much except his last feeding. Which he ALWAYS thinks was days or weeks ago.

So today I was able to finish clearing off the table in the back room, and set up the sewing machine. I've been cutting squares of flannel and leftover batting so I had a project ready to go. By the time I quit for the night, I had 88 squares layered and ready to lay out to piece together.

I was shocked at how my skills have deteriorated, and I'm sure hoping I can get them back up to par! It's not a question of not knowing what to do--I know how, but the muscle memory that made it so smooth and almost effortless has gone kaput.

Doesn't help when someone--even a little someone--keeps sitting on the squares!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Looking through the window

Originally uploaded by marie watterlond my back door. There's the deck, and a glimpse of the camellia bush. It's been more or less happily living with a deck built around it for the last 27 years--and it still blooms.

There's a closeup of this flower on my Flickr page and on my picture blog. I was mentally composing a very thoughtful post about this tough little bush, and how I really need to learn from it. All that "bloom where you're planted" stuff--you know how it goes.

Then my internet went out, and now I've only got the "wild wifi" that the laptop can catch, at least until Tuesday when my phone company will supposedly be out to fix it. To which I will only say that spending 65 minutes on the phone either holding for tech support, or trying to talk to tech support, can sap the will to live of even the strongest of souls. And mine's already pretty beaten down.

But I'm resilient. It's a new year, and I'm getting this post in just before the end of the day, so hope springs eternal.

And my camellias are blooming, so there's that.