Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Day In Monterey

This week my daughter had a day with no school and we decided to go down to Monterey.  We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which, when my kids were small, we had membership to and used to visit frequently.  But it's been several years since we've been.  Once I got over the shock of how expensive the entry fee was, we found that we still remembered where things were.  We had a wonderful time exploring the new and familiar exhibits.  Right near the main entrance is the sea otter exhibit and they were feeding them when we arrived which was so much fun.  We regularly see otters at the beach, but it was fun to watch them splashing and playing up close.  

Highlights for me were the jellies, puffins, octopus and aviary. For my daughter, it was the touch pools especially with the rays.

This octopus is huge, several feet long!  He was pretty active, moving around the tank.

Below is the kelp forest with anchovies swimming in a cyclone to protect themselves.  They kept shifting shape, it was completely mesmerizing.  It was just like the fish do in "Finding Nemo" - if you've seen that movie, you know what I mean!

After our visit to the Aquarium, we ate, wandered round some of the little tourist shops and explored this little beach.

Friday, January 23, 2015

On My Worktable This Week

It's been a busy week.  I have a quilt show coming up later in February and I am working hard to build up stock for that.  I feel a bit sad that I am neglecting my Etsy shop but I have to have enough items for the show.  When that is over, I can focus on my shop again.  

So this week I've been working on the embroidered lavender hearts.  All the threads you see hanging are left so I can use them to sew the opening closed once I've stuffed them.  They look so pretty all stacked together.  The colors are soft, Spring-like and luscious!  I have six more to stitch to their backings and then I can stuff them.

Also this week, I finished two unicorn pincushions and two cat ones.  

I sold my last tree stump pincushion this morning, to a customer in Japan, so I have cut out some felt to make some more.  These are very cute and sold well at the quilt show I did in September so I plan to make several more.  

We've been having some very Spring like weather here in California which is nice but we so badly need more rain.  It has been frosty in the mornings but almost 70f by the afternoon.  It is hard to know what to wear!  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Embroidered Heart Lavender Sachets

These are what I am currently working on.  The felted wool fabric is dyed in luscious Spring colors and feels as soft as it looks. The organic dried lavender I ordered arrived yesterday and smells wonderful.  I plan to stuff these hearts with a mixture of ultra plush polyfil and lavender.  The back will be plain white felt.  They are progressing more slowly than I would like but are looking pretty. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

On Sunday we went out for the day to Point Lobos, just south of Carmel.  It is one of our favorite places to visit around here but it seems to be busier every time we go and I feel that it must be a real struggle for the Park System to balance the incredible wild beauty of the Park with the number of annual visitors.  

As we hiked along the cliff path, we saw a pod of grey whales feeding and cruising, a small raft of sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, lots of cormorants, pelicans and a mule deer.  As you can see, the weather was gorgeous, a very nice 60 degrees!  

When we are there, we like to spend time in the coves looking in tide pools and examining the gravelly shore for beach treasure.  I found some small pieces of abalone shell and one that was a heart shape!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Kindness Of A Stranger

One day early last week, I had a really difficult day.  I can't really pinpoint any one thing that made it hard, it was just a convergence of various stresses!  By the end of the afternoon, I had really had enough and while my daughter had an appointment, I popped into the the nearest Starbucks for a cup of hot chocolate.  As I stood in line, irritated because there was a line, (I mean really, at 5.15pm? A line??) the young man in front of me began to chat about the cold weather we were having.  He was about the age of my son and wearing a gorgeous bright orange down jacket.  As I was thinking, how sweet it was of him to take the time to  have a conversation with the grumpy woman in line behind him, we finally reached the counter.  I checked my emails on my phone as he ordered and then I heard him say to the barista that he would like to pay for whatever drink I was getting.  It was an act of random kindness and it made my day.  He'll never know how much that one kindness meant.  It made me pause in my dark mood and think, how can I pass that on?  

Thank you, kind stranger.

Friday, January 9, 2015

On My January Worktable

Happy New Year!  I have hit the ground running in 2015.  I have a quilt show coming up at the end of February and am preparing for that.  I have been making pincushions and working on designs for some other items too.  I have ordered some lovely organic dried lavender to make some embroidered lavender hearts in pretty Spring colors.  I am also working on a custom pincushion for a customer in Australia which is a fun project.  Here are the pincushions I've been working on.


This is the color scheme for the custom pincushion.  It's pretty but as I've been emailing with my customer, I've been shocked at how different our computer monitors show the colors!

These beautiful Spring colors will make really pretty embroidered hearts.  I plan to stuff them with the usual polyfil and some organic dried lavender.  The embroidered pumpkins and Christmas trees were very popular at the last quilt show I did and also in my shop so I'm hoping the hearts will be too.

And finally, we sent off our citizenship application forms!  This is very exciting for us and hopefully the process will go smoothly.

The sun is rising at about the same time as I am at the moment!  I've noticed the evenings are a bit lighter again which I love.  

Stitch-along part 6

  Stitching the ridge tiles to finish the ornament Take one ridge tile and wrap it over the ridge of the roof as shown below.  Using two str...