Friday, February 15, 2013

The Ides of February

With my son and his wife in town to visit their son, they're taking the opportunity to spend some time with the sisters and their families, too.

And I'm tagging along whenever I can!

Today was lunch and celebrating Abby's third birthday at Farrell's. Back in the day, Farrell's was THE place for birthday celebrations--singing and banging drums and dancing and sirens and clanging bells and all kinds of noise and fun. The chain is back in operation and as much fun as ever--so cute to introduce a  new generation to it all!

So here's Uncle Jeff with his little nieces.
And Abby being sung and danced to--she loved the whole thing.
Audrey and Mom checking out the menus.

Note the identical sunglasses-on-top-of-the-head action going on here.
Abby clearly thinks this is a great place, and wow, she has a whole sundae to herself!

She had been thinking about ice cream with whipped cream and sprinkles and a cherry for several days.

Always nice when a fantasy comes through and you get what you wished for!
Also pretty nice when your uncle is visiting!

Abby and Audrey love their "big cousin John" so having his daddy and mommy here is a bonus.  Uncles are really special.

I can remember my uncles when I was growing up--they were great. I had two uncles named Al--these little girls have two uncles named Jeff! They currently distinguish them by "daddy's brother Jeff" and "mommy's brother Jeff" which works as well as anything!

There are lots more pictures on my Flickr page if you want to see more dancing Farrellians, or more cute girl/uncle pics.

Sunset tonight was pretty spectacular. This was taken from the parking lot at Target in East Pasadena.  The temperature today was at least 82. Winter in SoCal.

Meantime Jeff and Marcia were getting reports of snowstorms moving into their area at  home.

Obligatory cat photo:
Check out that handsome tail!

The first Transvaal Daisy (Gerbera) of spring

Oxalis are blooming
Interesting mobile and shadows in the hotel lobby when I went to meet up with Jeff and Marcia yesterday. 

And, I guess winter really is over. Things are beginning to bloom and sprout. Guess if I want to do any winter planting, I'd better get right on that!!
The first daffodil!

And a Happy Valentine's Day to You Too!

The Valentine Birthday Girl
Happy Valentine's Day birthday to  my sweet youngest granddaughter, Abigail! I  heard she had a wonderful day. Imagine being 3 and having all kinds of hearts and flowers celebrations going on...just for your birthday!

There will be a party on Sunday, extra-special because her Uncle Jeff and Auntie Marcia are in town. She has two uncles named Jeff, and they're both awesome, but one lives nearby so she gets to see him pretty often. The other one (my son) lives in Conn. which is not close by at all!

So it's going to be a family weekend for all of us, what with making sure the visitors get to see all of the siblings as well as their son!
Going to leave the Valentine stuff  around over the weekend. Why not? It's cheerful, and besides, I think I might be a little busy for the next couple of days!

So have a nice hot cuppa and enjoy the weekend! I won't promise lots of  pictures--but I have a feeling there will be plenty of them in the next few days!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mostly Monday

Some Mondays, I get to quilt with some good friends, the kind who like me even when I'm grumpy and cranky and crabby.

Which I sort of was today, for reasons that will become apparent all too soon. However, first here's some good cheerful eye candy for you!

This is a quilt that Anne had taught back in the old Bearly Stitchin' days. The pattern is Buggy Barn Quilts' Heart Crazies. Louise had made the blocks and was hoping to get it completed, so Anne brought hers for reference.

Okay, are you ready for this? The reason I was a little--shall we say--frazzled--today?

What you are looking at in this picture (besides my ubiquitous water bottle and telephone) are the foundation papers for my Asilomar project. Louise is taking the same class--Judy Niemeyer's--and we're both making the same pattern, the Celebration Tree Skirt. (Although neither of us plans to actually use it as a tree skirt--more likely as a throw.) When you first open the envelope, it's a bit daunting. Okay, a lot daunting. We decided (after having a few minor freakouts of our own today) that the reason they have us do so much pre-cutting is to get the freaking out over and done with. I have to say that after cutting and trimming all the foundations, I am much calmer and much more certain that I can, in fact, do this.

Of course, I haven't actually picked out any fabric yet, so we'll see what happens with that.

One feature of quilting at Sandy's is that it's doggy heaven. Here are three of the "babies"--two of the pugs and Nora, the Italian greyhound. She really does think she's a pug too.

For perspective, my chair is "below" this picture and Sandy's is to the left. They're curled up right in the middle of the action.

Or, in the case of two ladies cutting out paper dolls  foundation papers, very little action.

So on to some more colorful things, which I alluded to in yesterday's post. Remember I said I thought I would cut up my remaining stash of flannels and just go ahead and make more ragg quilts?

Well, here's Exhibit A. There's a yard of each of these, and if I cut the squares 9" instead of 10", I can get 8 blockes out of each one. That will work!

 Then there's this array. If it looks vaguely familiar, it's because it's the same fabrics I used for Debby's quilt, with the addition of some solid pink and green. I will most likely not use the solids unless I run short of a block or two to fill out a row.

Then there's the next set. These little cuties feature folk art motifs: pears, wispy flowers, houses and trees and cats.

 Lots and lots of cats.


More cats.

Then there's this allover set of squares. These would most emphatically not look very good cut into blocks and sewn into a ragg quilt.

But there's more. Check out t he last picture. By the way, if you want to see these larger, just click on any of  the pictures and it will bring up a slide show of all the pics in the post.

Or click on my Flickr badge up there on the top right, and that will take you to my Flickr page, where I have put close-ups of all of these squares.

Which range from folksy, to charming, to downright adorable. (See: Krazy Kat Lady.)

Now, these are really unsuitable for cutting into ragg squares, since most of them aren't even square!
The largest ones measure about 10 x 11 or so.

These last two fabrics are also not very "flannely"--they have almost no nap to them. So I'm thinking they would probably work in a series of small wall hangings, using some of the other fabrics in the series to make borders and lattices and cornerstones and such. The allover squares would make a good backing for at least one of these proposed wall quilts.

But, I am on a finishing binge, and the only reason I "allowed" myself to be distracted was the allure of using up lots more fabric. So I really don't want to sidetrack my UFO project just now by planning a series of new quilts.

I think I'll promise myself that when I get a few more finishes taken care of--and some of them are S O  C L O S E--then I'll go ahead and do the two simple ragg quilts, and set  the folk art cats aside for later. Another little "reward" when I get some more things done?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekend Wrapup

It was one of "those" weekends, and I am  honestly not complaining. I happen to love cool overcast days, even though the house never seems to warm up. The joys of living in an old house with thick plaster (as in, actual lath-and-plaster) walls.

I generally feel a lot more energetic and motivated when the sky is grey and especially if there is rain failling...

which there was plenty of on Friday night.

It did not stop the Quilknittys from getting together, though... far from it. Nothing like a rainy night and lots of good company to make for a cozy evening of fun!
Deb showed off her lace capelet. It's gorgeous! (But then, so is she!)

She wants to make another one--this one is cotton yarn, great for our SoCal climate except in the winter.  She's thinking maybe alpaca.

Back view of her capelet. So pretty!

One effect of the rain was that Anne didn't bring her machine inside, not wanting to trundle it in through the wet. We'd been joking earlier about how many projects we were bringing, and I'd told her that if she ran out, she could help me bind quilts.

So when I walked in, she immediately started sewing binding on one of my quilts!

Got it finished, too... now that's a friend! (It's also kind of the way we are--doesn't matter so much what we're working on, it's fun to get together and as long as the hands are busy, it's all good!)

Saturday's project was the continuation of the ragg quilt for my daughter Debby.

Well, that was the plan. The Quilt Supervisor appears to have  had other ideas.

However, after some energetic ear skritches and petting, he strolled off and let me get to it.

72 squares. Yup. Cut 10" with 8" batting squares inside.

I did get them X'd and then started assembling them.

With, of course, more help from the supervisor.

It has been brought to my attention that there are an awful lot of cat pictures on this blog, and that I may be straying into Krazy Kat Lady territory.

I think that's not quite right. After all, I only have 2 cats, the fewest I've had in many many years. Besides, they are beautiful sweet cats, and I don't really call them my babies or anything sickening like that.

At least not often, and not where anyone else might hear me.

So. back to the quilt...

The first few rows got the Supervisor's seal of approval.

and here we are as an almost-finished quilt!

Front view showing the seam allowances, which need to be snipped before it gets its wash-and-dry treatment.

Back view will give you a better idea of the color layout.

I did a totally random placement, because I had at most 4 blocks of any one fabric, and that just doesn't lend itself to any kind of pattern.

So there are a couple of places where the colors could have been more distinct, but for the most part I think it's pleasant and harmonious.
And Debby will love it!
To round out the weekend, I managed to get out to brunch with a friend to do some catching  up with her life and times. We went to Mimi's and had the yummiest Eggs Florentine Benedict, with really well-toasted potatoes, lots of coffee, and good chat.

Then I had to have a nap. The pollen count out here has been crazy high, even with the rain, and my allergies have been going nuts. I took a Claritin and even 4 cups of coffee weren't enough to keep me awake.

My evening was spent on a "dinner date" with these two  young ladies, while their parents had a dinner date of their own.  Abby is our little Valentine baby--she'll be 3 on Valentine's Day. Her preschool teacher was a little concerned, because every time she'd bring up Valentine's Day, Abby would announce that her birthday is on Valentine's Day.  Teacher was glad to be reassured that it actually is, and Abby wasn't trying to fool her.


Audrey's pensive look is because she's watching the fish in the little tank just on the edge of the picture. It's the neighbors' and they were "fishy-sitting" while the family went on vacation.

Audrey is 5. Her favorite part of tonight's dinner was the capers in the lemon-caper chicken. (Abby's was the curlicue pasta--she had 3 helpings!)  They even both ate (most of) their broccoli.

So, another weekend in the books. Finished it off by getting out all of my remaining flannels, with the intention of cutting it all up into more ragg quilts. However...

I'll leave this here. It's going to require pictures, and I'm very much afraid that there will be another BIG project in the works once I get everything organized. So that's tomorrow's topic.