Monday, November 30, 2015

On My Worktable Today

My Etsy shop has been really busy and I need to make more hedgehog pincushions, antique clock face pincushions and magical fairy door pincushions.  Instead, I find myself drawn helplessly to this gorgeous purple felt and the idea of little white bunny surrounded by flowers....

I'm making the sideband of this pincushion using a buttercream yellow which tones really nicely with all those warm coral and orange flower colors.  I thought I'd make the base of the pincushion from the darker coral felt.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get one all finished up.  These little bunnies are really sweet!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

New Pincushion Design

What with adopting our greyhound, preparing for the holiday season, a new part time teaching job and generally keeping things ticking over at home, I haven't done a whole lot of sewing lately and I miss it.  This afternoon I've been sketching a design for new pincushion with a rabbit and flowers.  I'm going to go and choose felt now, while the sun is still shining and I can see the true colors!

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's Been Quite The Few Days......

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  We have adopted this holiday because, really, what's not to love?  It is a celebration of good things, family and food.  We have a lot to be thankful for. 

The day was crisp, making sweaters necessary (yay!) and actually when we went out for a walk, the wind was biting.  We should have put a sweater on the dog too.  I haven't altered these photos.  The sky was that blue, the leaves that vibrant.  

Later my daughter made these name tags for our Thanksgiving Table.  I am a collector and hoarder of craft materials and I have had these cherry veneer leaves in a drawer for a least three years.  The designs she chose were inspired by chalkboard art on Pinterest.  They are really cute, I love how they turned out.  

If you are familiar with them, you will spot the Christmas Crackers on each plate.  I know red isn't a traditional Thanksgiving color, but it's my favorite color and so that is why our table had a red theme this year!  These particular Christmas crackers contained little wind up plastic penguins and in the box was a paper race track.   Imagine, if you will, four adults and a 16 year old, a bottle of Prosecco and the resulting completely mad penguin races on the lounge floor, overseen by a bemused greyhound!  Yes it was fun.

We always cook our turkey on our charcoal grill.  

I wasn't at my best for the big day though which took the shine off it for me.  I am fighting a cold/cough which is making me wheezy and I spent a large chunk of Wednesday night at the Emergency Animal Hospital in San Jose with one of my cats.  She had spent all day Wednesday throwing up, ending up really lethargic.  Our regular vet was understaffed and couldn't see us.  There was an x-ray needed to determine if she had eaten something she shouldn't in which case she would need surgery, thankfully she hadn't or if she had she'd thrown it up earlier.  There were fluids needed because she was badly dehydrated and shots to settle her stomach. Not to mention blood work to check her liver and kidneys.  Then we found out that the x-ray showed her lungs had signs of asthma which apparently affects 1% of all cats and just like asthma in people it can be serious if ignored.  Symptoms, triggers and treatments are all exactly the same as human asthma.  They even make a kitty version of the plastic mask thing small children use to make using an inhaler easier.  

We got home just before midnight with instructions to keep her isolated for 72hours so we could ensure she was eating, drinking and using the litter box.  

We have two cats.  They are 9years old and we've had them since they were kittens.  They hang out together and sleep together so keeping them separate has been tough.  It's been 48hours and although she is much better, she is still not 100% and I may have to take her to our vet to be checked again and then again to talk about the asthma thing.    

And no-one said anything about how much my greyhound might enjoy making blanket forts....  She carries them around the house and collects her toys up and makes forts and dens like the kids did when they were little.  If only she would tidy up after herself!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

This will be our first Thanksgiving as American Citizens although it doesn't feel any different!  We had already adopted Thanksgiving as a day for family and we have much to be thankful for.  If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope your day is full of good things.  If you don't, I wish you a great November Thursday!  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday Morning In The Garden

It's a beautiful Friday here in California.  We have had all kinds of weather this week.  It was rainy and extremely windy at the beginning of the week, the kind of weather that makes me want to drink tea and sit with a blanket and a good book or some sewing.  We've had some frost and in the mountains there has been a good amount of snow. The last couple of days here have been clear and sunny.  The light is golden and this morning Tia and I sat outside and had our elevenses.  

My oranges are almost ripe and the lemons are ready.  One of the lemon trees has flowers and fruit at the same time!  These are meyer lemons, a cross between a lemon and a tangerine.  The skin is thin and delicate and they have a lovely fragrance and sweeter flavor.    They stay perfectly ripe on the tree for weeks so I just pick them as I need them.  What luxury!  I have three grapefruit trees in pots too, all have fruit that is nearly ready.  

Tia loves to sleep in the warm sun and gets out on her lounger anytime she can.  Her legs seem so spindly and delicate.  She looks incredibly graceful loping around the garden, less so as she tries to navigate our hardwood and tile floors!  She reminds me of the scene in Bambi when Bambi is trying to walk on the frozen lake.  We have put down some inexpensive runners after she wiped out several times in the hallway.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Very Quick Dog Blanket

We've had our greyhound, Tia for almost two weeks now and it's been a steep learning curve!  Greyhounds have very little body fat and a very thin coat so they feel the cold and then in warm weather, become overheated quickly.  Because of the way their back legs are put together, they also can't really sit in the traditional way we think of dogs sitting!  Instead of sitting Tia will lean against us or lay down.  With such a lean body though, laying on hard floors or the gravel in our garden can be painful so she needs blankets and good dog beds.  

I got a couple of good fleece blankets at Target but I wanted something smaller that we can take out and about with us so that she has somewhere comfy to rest.  

Yesterday I bought some fleece (I think I must have been subconsciously influenced by it being Veteran's Day hence the red, white and blue!) and this morning quickly made a thick blanket.  There is layer of cotton quilt batting sandwiched between two layers of thick fleece.  My sewing machine wasn't excited at this combination but we did battle and I overcame.  

Thank goodness fleece doesn't fray because it meant I could leave the edges raw, it's a utility blanket after all!  It doesn't need fancy finishing although if my sewing machine had been happier I would probably have edged it with some bias binding. Instead, I simply tidied up the edges with my rotary cutter.  

Tia approves! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finished Quilted Table Runner

I'm almost embarrassed to admit I finally finished this quilted table runner recently!  I like to have these cheery pops of color on the tables in my family room and dining room.  They are practical too, and take a lot of abuse in the form of hot dishes.  If they get spilled on, they go right in the washing machine and dryer.  These are table runners for real life!

The dimensions are 12.5inches by 54 inches and I used "Warm And Natural" batting.  As you can see, I quilted simple straight lines.  This quilt will get washed a lot and this kind of quilting holds up well to that.  The design is a small improvised log cabin block and a project like this uses up lots of odd bits of fabric.  I didn't buy much for this, just the wood grain backing fabric which I love and think would make good napkins.....

I know a lot of quilters machine sew their quilt bindings but I still prefer to hand finish mine. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

My Favorite Season

I LOVE Fall.  I love the colors, the light, the relief of cooler days and nights.   This morning was foggy with soft layers of grey landscape, everything damp from the overnight rain.  I walked the dog who was happy to be out, and the beauty of the changing leaves, a dewy cobweb and cheerful pumpkins on doorsteps made me feel deeply content.  

Fall brings bowls of oatmeal with local apples and raisins stirred in, fragrant with cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices.  Fall brings warm golden sunlight, soft misty mornings and rain, such a relief for my parched garden.  In the mountains we celebrate the first snow.  In my kitchen I'm thinking about soups and stews.  I can sit, curled up on the sofa with a colorful quilt, a cup of tea and a new book and not feel like I should be doing something else.  My dog is curled up beneath her own blankets.  If we don't cover her, she'll bury herself in them anyway!

I've just finished reading "When I Found You"  It's our book club selection for this month.  I found it hard to put this book down.  

Briefly, Nathan McCann finds a newborn abandoned in the woods near his home while out hunting one morning.  Amazingly the baby survives and Nathan tries to adopt him but after the baby's teen mother dies in Police custody, the baby's Grandmother decides to raise him.    Nathan makes her promise to tell the boy about him and bring him to meet Nathan when he is older.  The boy, called Nat after the man who found him in the woods, is in constant trouble and when the Grandmother can no longer handle him, she brings him to Nathan.  This is a story about a man who loves unconditionally and never once gives up on a troubled boy.  Everyone should have a Nathan McCann in their lives!   I need to seek out other books by this author.

Now I am reading "Tower of Thorns".  Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors and this is a sequel to "Dreamer's Pool".   I might need to light the fire and make a second cup of tea....

This is Tia in her blanket.  She loves to burrow.  Greyhounds have a fine coat and little body fat so they feel the cold and heat.  She has two blankets like this and drags them round the house to wherever she wants to snuggle.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Three Musketeers

Last night was Opening Night and it was a swashbuckling adventure.  The play is full of funny moments and twists and turns.  I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I haven't read the book (I must!) but it didn't prevent me from following the plot.  

The students have been rehearsing for twelve weeks.  They have had tuition in stage sword fighting from a Fencing Master and it paid off!  The sword fighting scenes, some of them with about ten kids with swords at once were fabulous and they looked like they were having a barrel load of fun - which they were.  Sword fighting has been on my daughters bucket list for a long time so for her, this was the realization of a dream.  

Photos are not permitted during the show so these were taken during rehearsal.  It's so hard to get good photos in this kind of lighting but hopefully these few will give you a taste of the show.  Below are the inebriated Musketeers.  

In the above photo, the King is wearing these gold trousers.  I made big fabric bows for his shoes too, using the same cream and gold fabric.  They look outrageous don't they!  

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...