Monday, February 29, 2016

PVQA Annual Quilt Show 2016

I spent this weekend with my daughter at the PVQA annual quilt show at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.  This was our second year as vendors at the show and I think I enjoyed  this year more.  We met so many lovely people and made a few new friends.  

If you've been visiting my blog for a while, you'll know that I also teach a costume design class and that the show we have been working on also fell on this same weekend!  It was truly crazy but everything got done!  Having both things happen at the same time meant I was constantly torn between what things to work on and when.  It was frustrating at times and I ended up with fewer pincushions than I would have liked but I was happy with how the booth looked and with the product we had. 

My daughter always enjoys meeting other artisans and talking with them.  This year she connected with two vendors, one making fabulous spirit dolls and beautiful shabby chic style items and the other a fabric vendor who teaches college level design (my daughter is hoping to study art at college).  

It wasn't all good, there were some new "square" that was supposed to read the new chip cards didn't read anything at all and we had to input all the credit card information by hand! (I took the old one in on Sunday and it was fine).  And the heating/cooling was very strange in the building we were in.  On Saturday it was absolutely baking and by the afternoon all we wanted to do was curl up under a table and sleep like cats!  So on Sunday we came prepared wearing lighter layers but Murphy's Law prevailed and it was really cold, we spent the whole day shivering and taking it in turns to go outside to warm up!  

This year, I made sure to get enough time to look at the quilts.  The lighting in the Fairground buildings is pretty dire and terrible for photographs.  I thought there was an interesting mix of quilting styles but as usual I found myself drawn to the modern quilts.  These are quilts with clean, bright colors and interesting, often geometric designs.  I totally appreciate traditional quilts too, each represents so much time and hard work.  On the rare occasion I come across a hand quilted quilt, I am completely blown away by the beauty of the hand quilting.

I love the colors in the above quilt and always find myself drawn to tightly spaced, straight line quilting.  

This bar code quilt, really stood out in the crowd!  It is a little hard to see, but the quilting is like the patterns on circuit boards.  

There is a lot of movement in this lovely quilt, and more of that straight line quilting I love!

I can never resist a scrappy quilt either and I know that this pattern is a lot of work.  It is beautiful.

This sand dune quilt was on show at the Morgan Hill show in September last year but I was so busy at that show I didn't get to see it properly.  I love the boldness of it.  

The quilt below caught my eye because it reminded me of the London Underground Map.  I thought it was fun.

I have a lot of sewing to do now to replenish my stock!  I need to take a few days to do some cleaning and sorting out at home, everything got a bit neglected in the run up to the quilt show and the play.  Once things are sorted out here, I have to freshen up and re-open my Etsy shop which has been "on vacation" for the last few weeks.  Now I'm going to make some tea and watch last night's episode of Downton Abbey!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Finished Needle Books

I finished these needle books yesterday and I just love the little keys!  The keys and layered flowers give a satisfying amount of dimension to the covers of these little needle books.  

The PVQA quilt show is next weekend, Feb 27-28 at the Santa Cruz County Fairground and I will have a booth there again this year.  I'm feeling the pressure right now.  Especially with some last minute costume items to tweak and finish up next week before the Lion King performances on Thursday and Friday.  There are just not enough hours in the day!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New Needlebook Designs

When I was rummaging in my jewelry making supplies for something the other day, I came across a package of keys.  Actually if I'm honest, I came across four packages of different styles of keys!  And it hit me that these might make a really cute accent for a needle book.  I could add some flowers, a little lace ribbon......

Today I am planning to stitch these to the rest of the cover.  I prepared the "pages" yesterday evening while we watched an old episode of "Top Gear" on Netflix.  Before I do that, I'm trying to decide whether to add a couple of stitches to stabilize the keys or whether to leave them free to move around.  I will also trim the lace ribbon and add a tiny bit of Fray Check to the cut ends.  I think they came out cute.  They have a sort of vintage vibe.  Happy needle books.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winter Break, Sewing And Staying Sane

Down there in the distance is the lower end of Silicon Valley.   Up here in the hills you could be a thousand miles away from all the hubbub and traffic.  Here there are woodpeckers drilling into telegraph poles, the mournful cry of a hawk and the smell of cows and horses in their pasture.  We often hike up here.  It is close to home but feels a long way away.  

It has been a difficult few days and I am weary of the constant round of giving meds to a reluctant and struggling cat.  She is doing a little better though.  I am trying to be kind to myself, allowing myself to take things a little slower, walk the dog a little longer and keeping my hands busy with sewing.  I've been ignoring the dust and some of the household chores. Lack of sleep is hard.  Giving a wheezing cat a rescue inhaler at 3.30am is hard.  But her breathing is a little easier today.   

Today I walked in the hills with my dog.  The sun warmed our bodies and a gentle breeze created soothing background sounds.  

We didn't walk far, it was too warm.  I tried to get Tia to put her front paws in the pond but she wasn't up for that!  She was intrigued by the ducks though, lots of coot and some bufflehead.  

We crate Tia in the car.  She likes to stand up while we are driving along and this protects her.  

I've been sewing lots of things recently, but mainly just more of existing product designs.  Over the last few days I've finished these vibrant bunny pincushions and needle books and a couple of flower needle books.  I've got some new needle book covers that I am about to start on as soon as I'm done here.  

Time for a cup of tea I think......

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Cat Has Asthma

This is Patches.  She is a 10 year old cat that we adopted along with her sister when they were little kittens.  Recently I had to take her to the emergency animal hospital with some digestive issues.  When they looked at her x-rays, they noticed a problem with her lungs, she has asthma.  

She hadn't been coughing or acting any different to usual apart from the digestive problem.  

I learned that 1% of cats have asthma.  I also learned that there are around 80 million cats in the U.S. alone which means there are a lot of cats with asthma.  Why had I never heard of this being a cat thing?  I did what we all do in this situation and turned to the internet.  It is full of stories of cats being successfully treated.  Our vet has Patches on a steroid pill and a bronchial dilator pill.  She is not really responding to either and pilling her is stressful for us all.  She breathes at a rate of 50 to 60 shallow breaths a minute, it should be about 25 deep breaths.  A couple of times recently she has been wheezy.  Why had I never noticed?  I feel guilty for not picking this up but with no coughing or other symptoms, it was easy to overlook.  Do you know how many breaths your cat takes in a minute?

Yesterday our vet added an inhaler to the mix.  We are supposed to administer this twice daily using an AeroKat chamber.  Patches is a big, strong cat and it is hard work to pill her let alone hold her still enough to do this.  It looks simple when you see the how to videos online.  It isn't.  This is her last chance.  If we can't master this, I think we are heading toward the ultimate Difficult Decision.  We've talked about it as a family because we all need to be prepared.

This chamber works just like the one my kids used when they were little.  You hold the silicone face mask over the cat's nose and mouth for about 10 breaths.  Just like that......  I've managed it once.  

I am by nature an optimist and so I am hoping we can learn to make this a successful part of her treatment and I realize it is going to take a bit of time.  The inhaler itself is appallingly expensive here in the U.S. and I could easily go on a rant about the disgusting cost of prescription drugs here compared to Canada or the U.K.  If this works for Patches, I may have to look into buying the inhaler from a Canadian pharmacy.  

For now, though, it is one step at a time, pills twice a day and trying to use the AeroKat, lots of cat treats and even more love.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Spring Like

It is still early February and much too early to be thinking about Spring.  Our El Nino weather pattern has brought lots of very welcome rain and Sierra snow but for the last few days and for all of this week it is forecast to be in the 70's maybe even 80's.  

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk along the bike and walking trail near where we live. It's a trail that winds through old orchards, open fields, and runs along next to a creek.  The neglected orchard is full of plum trees with small sweet plums which we have picked in the Fall.  Yesterday these trees were breaking out into blossom and the air around the flowers was thick with all kinds of happy thrumming bees.  

In my own garden, there are flowers on my apricot tree!  Surely it is much too early for those?!  The blueberry bushes have flower buds and the cheerful yellow forsythia buds are just unfurling.  I'm not ready for it to be Spring.  I like Winter.  Besides it isn't time for Spring and we will get more frosts and Winter storms and then the farmers (and I)  will be worried because our fruit tree blossom will be damaged and the harvest smaller.  

Meanwhile though, I will enjoy the gift of sunshine and drink my afternoon tea outside on the back step while my greyhound basks on her bed in the sun.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Finished Deer Pincushions

My daughter is getting her hair cut so I have a few minutes that I hadn't counted on.  Don't you love it when that happens, a little chunk of precious free time?! Just long enough to edit some photos and post them here! 

 I finished the deer pincushions that I shared last time.  I enjoyed making these.  Using a completely new color combination made them feel fresh.

The true color of the blue felt is more of an aqua but my neither my camera nor my phone will capture it accurately. 

Fabric And Ink

Fabric And Ink

Fabric And Ink

In the end I decided to go with three simple groupings of flowers and leaves around the sides.  The detailed top is complimented by the simple design on the side band.  


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...