Friday, February 27, 2015

On My Worktable This Week

This week has been busy!  As I mentioned in my last post, I've been giving my house some much needed TLC!  I'm feeling quite smug about it!  I finally got this picture hung.  I love these sentiments so much.  I've had it lurking in my guest room for some time because when it came, it was bigger than I expected (about 18inches x24 inches)  and I wasn't sure where to hang it.  It is a chalkboard look on canvas.   It has ended up in my family room above the piano.

I love these sentiments

I had put my Etsy Shop on vacation mode while I prepared for and attended the Quilt Show last weekend and this week I had to go through my inventory and update what was sold out so that my shop was ready for business again.  I've also been photographing and listing some new items.  This is what I've been sewing this week....

......flower basket needle books and tree stump pincushions.

This is Patches.  Both cats are from the same litter but Patches is very chunky and Princess is petite!  Patches falls off things and Princess is very dainty and makes the six foot leap from floor to a high up window sill look effortless.  They both love sunshine and our gas log fireplace!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spring Cleaning And Some Sewing

I've spent the last two days "Spring Cleaning" my house and clearing out "stuff".  Today I emptied all my kitchen cabinets, cleaned and re-organized them and donated things I was never going to use again, like my waffle iron that makes such deep waffles you need tons of batter each time you want to make waffles and a rice cooker that I used to use all the time but was now languishing at the back of the cupboard.  I ended up with a car full of things to donate and it felt good!

I also took some time to walk slowly round the garden.  Is it really February?  It was warm and sunny again today!  Below is the first iris opening up.

And a self seeded marigold, such a cheerful flower!

I have three blueberry bushes and each is heavy with these bell shaped blossoms.  

All my citrus trees which I grow in pots are still laden with fruit (except the grapefruit which didn't have a good year).  They are all beginning to flower.  I love the scent of these flowers but it is terrible for my allergies.

I planted this apricot tree last Spring and it did very little last year, just struggled through the dry summer as a somewhat leafy stick!  So I am very happy to see it has some flowers on it!

The forsythia is just breaking into song.

These geraniums are such a beautiful shade of blue.  I used to grow these in England too and couldn't resist them when I saw them at the garden center last year.  With all this going on in the garden, it is hard to believe it is still Winter.

And finally, this is what I'm sewing today.  I made two of these needle books for the Quilt Show and they both sold so I am making some more.  I am finding this color combination very appealing.  The green felt is a much lighter, softer shade in real life and looks really pretty with the blush pink.  They coordinate with the bicycle pincushions I made that you can see here.  These also sold out so I will be making more of those too!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PVQA Quilt Show 2015, Picture Post

I'm too tired, after two days on my feet at the Quilt Show, to write much so I am just going to post a bunch of pictures!  I tried to take more pictures of  the quilts but the lighting was not good for photographs and most of the ones I took didn't come out.  I met lots of lovely people, both visitors and vendors.  In terms of sales, it was a very successful weekend for me and now I have a lot of sewing to do to build up my stock again!

Here are the cheerful owls I made in Spring colors.  You can read more about them here.  The book corners were very popular, I have about three left!

The lavender hearts smelled wonderful.  At first I had lots of people asking if they could touch so I ended up writing the "Please DO smell the lavender hearts" sign!  More about lavender hearts here.

You can see close ups of the notebooks in this post.

Below is my favorite display in the quilts area.  It is a dolls house type model of a quilt show and those little quilts are all real fabric quilts.  They were pieced and quilted and are about 5x7inches or smaller!  So much work and so cute!

If money was no object, one of these babies would have come home with me!  Beautiful vintage Singer sewing machines, all perfectly restored - they were just gorgeous!

Sadly, these are my only quilt pictures that came out.  There was one fabulous hand pieced and hand quilted little quilt but it was in a really dark corner.  I always love to see hand quilted items because I really appreciate the work that goes into them.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Setting Up

I spent a few hours today setting up my booth for the quilt show at the Santa Cruz County Fairground.  It went very smoothly.  My husband and daughter helped.  My husband had built me a booth framework out of 1 inch plastic pipes from which I hung fabric panels that I sewed to fit.   I think it looks pretty good.  I'll take more pictures tomorrow.

After setting up we drove on to the beach, just a few miles up the road.  It was a gorgeous day and the ocean was beautiful.  

This evening my daughter and I went back to the quilt show for a preview event for guild members.  As we drove west, we watched the sun set and the moon and stars appear.  The sky was stunning, a summer evening sky in February!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Holiday Weekend

It was a holiday weekend here and we spent it in the mountains.  Yesterday we skied, today we hiked.  The snow was packed and icy when we got there yesterday, so we skied for a couple of hours and then left as the lift lines lengthened.  Today we hiked at Big Trees State Park and it was a sunny warm day.   The warmth of the sun brought out the scent of the trees.   Bees hummed happily and busily in the blossoming manzanita bushes, their white flowers contrasting with the smooth red/brown bark of the branches.  We hiked to the top of the hill, to the viewpoint and were shocked at how little snow there was on the mountain tops.  

I'm not embarrassed to admit that we hug our trees.  These trees are hundreds of years old, some of them over a thousand years old.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sneak Peek - Painted Rocks

My brain and fingers were beginning to rebel against all the sewing I've been doing, I needed a break.  Don't misunderstand me.  I LOVE to sew, it's soothing and satisfying but over the last few weeks I've been doing a lot of it in preparation for the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association annual quilt show next weekend.  To give myself a change of pace I painted some rocks. I've been really enjoying the opportunity to simply play with color.  

You can't really tell from this photo, but the best way to paint dots is to use the handle end of various paintbrushes.  Just load up some paint and go straight up and down with the brush. I have a few different brushes with different sized handles.  I also use a foam brush handle for really big dots and toothpicks for tiny dots.  

When I'm finished I plan to give them a coat of varnish to protect them.  I have used mainly Martha Stewart acrylic paints because they are thicker than the other brands and so the dots on the sides of the rocks don't slump.  

Some time ago I came across Etsy shop owner Elspeth McLean.  She paints the most amazing mandala rocks.  They are so beautiful.  Here is a link to her Facebook Page.  I have some more that I am painting and will photograph them when I'm done.  Ok back to some embroidery!

Friday, February 13, 2015

First Blossom

I stepped out of the car this evening after running errands, into that magical few minutes of half light.  The sky was pink and purple with gold streaks and everything was tinged with soft pink alpenglow.  It was almost dark, and as I looked up to admire the sky, I noticed the first open blossom on our tree.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On My Worktable

Here is some of what I've been working on this week.  Firstly a new pincushion design which I am very happy with.  These were really fun to stitch.  I sketched the design and then used a light box to trace the design onto the pink felt.  I don't usually do this but this design is more embroidery than appliqué so it was necessary.  I will definitely be making more of these.  

This hedgehog needle book was a custom order.  

I also made two of these new daisy needle books.  

I have been working on some more notebooks too.  I looked to see what I had left in the way of notebooks for the show next week and found I'd sold most of them!  I sold several travel notebooks at the last show, so I've made a few of those.  These notebooks are pretty small  (actually they are about the size of a passport) and easily fit in a handbag or backpack.

The next three notebooks are a bit bigger.

And finally, here is Patches enjoying the sunshine!

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...