Skagit Valley Sprint

Skagit Valley Sprint

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter Arrived...

In the form of snow this afternoon, the weatherman had promised it, predicting a 50% chance, which usually means not even a skiff or a flurry but Mother Nature came through this time in a pinch.  I don't know, I kind of like it, it feels more like Christmas now AND more importantly the temperature raised up to the mid 20's compared to the teens and below that we have had the last week or so!

In honor of the nice chilly day, I decided to try my hand at Olive Garden's chicken gnocchi soup (our OG is ALWAYS packed and impossible to get into without an hours wait) so I try to replicate some of their menu at home...I make my version of OG's Zuppa Toscana, which we all love, but it was time to try someting new. My DH and I  drove all over town trying to find the packaged gnocchi, which was suprisingly hard to find, but was well worth the drive AND my DH liked it, a double bonus!! (the jury is still out with the kids who haven't tried it yet)

Yesterday after work, I flipped through the JoAnn's flyer and noticed that some yardage I have been eyeing was 50% off (okay, truth be told, I flipped through the flyer while at work, but just between you and me, we'll say that it was accomplished during my break...yeah, that sounds good!!) I came home with a bit more than anticipated to add to my stash, but hey...some of it was 50% off the clearance price, now who can pass that up??  I noticed that Flourishing Palms has recently returned from Australia and decided to join the Don't Look Now Joseph's Coat quilt-along with some of her friends in Iowa but wasn't real excited with her fabric choices...I mentioned to her that I have not been too keen on the contents of my stash either, nothing in it seems to inspire me anymore. That is, after being introduced to designers like Amy Butler, Kaffe Fasset and Denyse Schmidt to name just a few, so I have been buying bits and pieces here and there when on sale, something I try not to do except when starting a new project, it just seems that everything in my stash is old and outdated...I still have only admired those designers from afar, due in part to the fact that the local shops where I live are a bit behind the times...they should be popular AND affordable here in about a year or so if I am lucky!

Oh! and last but not least...I have been just looking for an excuse to make an apron (and in true form for me, it is of course not for me- though I REALLY want/need an apron) I thought it might be fitting that since my oldest son's girlfriend is enrolled in the culinary arts program at the vocational/technical school here and someday wants to open her own restaraunt that she might appreciate an apron for Christmas! I have had the pattern for some time now, but with 13 days until Christmas, I suppose that I had better get cracking!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What a week...

There was a bit of progress in the stitching arena this week, despite both kids and myself feeling puny for the last couple of days. I managed to get six of the nine GFG rounds ready for their last row of hexagons while listening to the tv or my iPod,.  I'm just not sure if I like the green...what do you think? The pattern is from the July/August 2008 issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, started late last summer so that I would have something portable to take with me on camping trips.  The method is English paper piecing and I have to say, I really enjoy it!  I'd like to try piecing an eight pointed star with this method also.
This is what the finished quilt  is supposed to look like...I'm getting kind of excited at the progress that has been's almost in the home-stretch, can't wait to see it all put together!  I love the appliqued border...though I have some other flowers in mind...might have to improvise a bit, I think!  Well, would you look at the time?!  11:32 and well past regulation bedtime...Mr InAwe is due home tomorrow evening from Academy, everyone cross your fingers and say a quick prayer that the pass is clear of snow and that the torrential rains have not caused any major flooding along the 250 mile route's been a LONG week and I've missed him!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Seemingly Nonproductive...

I had such hopes for Wednesday, being a holiday from work, in honor of our Veteran's and their service to our country.  I was going to sew, and then I thought perhaps, I would get some sewing done and then, if I got tired of that, well there was always some sewing to be done... But the morning dawned bringing the mother of all headaches and a painfully swollen gland in my neck, not a  problem thought I, I'll just pop some ibuprofen and so I did...nothing, I gave it some time, still nothing and so I went back to bed and napped, woke up and you guessed it, nothing! Here it is, Sunday, I've missed 2 days of work a trip to Leavenworth with my BFF and her Hubby and my SIL's 50th birthday celebration, slept enough for 3 people, taken most of a 5 day course of antibiotics and FINALLY, I feel human again, but alas, I've gotten nothing done. I did muster the strength to make it to Craft Warehouse's Open House last night, they had door prizes every 15 minutes! My Hub-meist being a wonderfully good sport, happened to be standing on #161 and much to our suprise, he won a $10 gift certificate ( which I of course put to quick use)!! I came home with a fat quarter bundle, a 60 degree triangle ruler and some masking tape (well, everything else in my hands was already marked down and you can't let a 40% coupon go to waste) not much of a haul I admit, but the important thing was that I saved over $10, that in itself was worth waiting in line for 30 minutes... So, reflecting on my time at home,

I guess all was  not a total loss, I did some stitching on my GFG hexagons and got my swap strips mailed off to my partners and in return, ended up with treasures in my mailbox. Now that I am officially on the mend, it's time to do laundry, figure out what's for dinner, get my hubby packed up for a week at the State Patrol Academy for major collision investigation training, perhaps mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies to slip in his bag and then I can play with my new ruler!!! Okay well, since no one is home at the moment, I shall take it upon myself to make an executive decision and put everything else on the back burner and play with the ruler!!! (yes, most excellent choice Andrea, most excellent choice!!) Oh, but before I leave you to play, as I was taking out some trash, I noticed that our recent chilly weather (27 degrees in the am...can you believe that I had to scrape windows to take LB to school twice last week...eek!) hasn't taken the last rose (literally) of summer, nor my clematis that I was sure had been pruned beyond resurrection and I of course, had to snap a picture of them for posterity...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ma'am...Step Away from the Quilt

Sad to report, it has not been a productive weekend, at least where sewing is concerned.  Friday evening after work, I had my hair cut, that turned out well, but I was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening w/the hub-meist.  What I came home to however, were the Bicker Brothers in full battle mode. (the BB's of course, are mythical creatures who sometimes possess my otherwise, fairly peaceful boys, they have not reared their ugly heads for quite some time to my knowledge, but this night...oh yes, this night here they were HERE ) The source of contention was the (in the works) duck hunting trip being planned, with MANY phone calls and IM's between the cousin and a hunting buddy, however, the little brother was told that there wasn't room for him, thus creating strife and strong language, oh it's funny now, but the older brother was stressed out to the max and the LB was in his room sulking. Hub-meist was trying to reason with both sides and was getting nowhere, LB couldn't see the error of his ways and OB couldn't see how they could possibly take anything less than 7 dozen decoys, therefore making absolutely NO room for the LB. When all was said and done, both boys got to go, along with the cousin & buddy all of the silly young men sleeping in the blind that night. Why you ask? well they of course were waiting for the break of dawn to arrive, so they could kerhoom the unsuspecting quackers, lured in by no less than 6 dozen artfuly arranged decoys and some creative duck calling!  Kinda crazy if you ask me, but who am I to quibble??
Before they could leave, however, an impromptu trip to the local Walmart became necessary, when room was found for a box of still unpurchased shotgun shells.  Off we go and are wandering the aisles at 8:45 pm, when what should my battle weary eyes spy?  Only the yummiest excuse for Christmas merchandising to begin the day after Halloween, in my was Ghiradelli peppermint bark!!!

I grabbed a bag, but not before the OB jokingly demonstrated his rendition of me swiping every bag of the delicious splednor off the upper shelf and into the shopping cart and jetting off to the check out before Hub-meist could stop me!!! Funny boy...lucky he has any hair left!!
Saturday required a trip to my OB's/ SIL's house to visit their brood of 8 wiggly lab puppies...oh my goodness, they are SOOOOOO cute, it doesn't make me want one, but it did inspire me to do my part in socializing  the 4 week old cuties, by cuddling, nuzzling, breathing in the heavenly scent of puppy breath and getting my face covered in puppy kisses!
So, today...Hub-meist had to dig a hole & re-do the sprinkler system's backflow preventer to placate the city inspector who is coming to take a gander tomorrow morning (lol...had to laugh that Hub-meist didn't believe that the city would tack on a $1,000 fine if it wasn't done on time....UNTIL, he opened the water bill, that is and then had to do some fancy talking to have it removed!!!) While he was busy with his project, I surmised that it might be a good time to work on my wonky cabins.  I decided to add sashing between the blocks to make the quilt a bit larger, but it looked too plain.  Now, I have been rolling around in my head a way to add some interest to the sashing and played around with that for a bit before settling on my original idea.  Out came the leftover scraps and I set to work, amazingly finishing the first row in no time...the second row has not been so cooperative...I swear that I have ripped out the same block 5 times before the quilt police ordered me to, "step away from the quilt, Ma'am..." so, here I am blogging away, calm, cool and somewhat collected.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Raffle Quilt

Amy of Park City Girl is hosting a quilt festival that I'm sure that you have all heard about...I think that I am the last on the list! But here is the story behind my entry:

About 3 years ago, one of my co-workers announced that she was quitting, shocked as we all were, we were even more shocked to find out that she was quitting to have a kidney seems that she had suffered throughout her life with a degenerative disease that was affecting her kidneys.  At the time, she was having undergoing dialysis daily and it was placing a real hardship on her family.  Being a very private person, she of course didn't want anyone to know what was going on and surely didn't want any kind of sympathy from anyone.  Wanting to help, a group of us got together (finally with her permission) and decided to make a raffle quilt for her, with the proceeds to help defray the medical costs.  We scheduled a work day, where we first shopped for the fabric and then cut all the strips, then bit by bit, ladies would complete "homework" sections and bring them back to work.  I put together the top, another coworker donated the batting and the backing fabric and a friend of a friend kindly gave us a deep discount on the quilting. Then began the arduous task of taking turns sitting in the lobby of the local Joann's selling raffle tickets.  When all was said and done, we raised almost $1400 for our friend, whose transplant was a complete sucess and I am happy to say that she is healthy and active today and had and added a daughter to her happy family. It's amazing to me that so many women (most of whom had no sewing nor quilting experience) were first able to agree on the fabric and pattern and second were diligent in putting it all together so quickly!  It turned out to be a beautiful quilt of which we received many compliments, but most of all it went together with love for another in need.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Almost There...almost

12 wonky blocks, all framed in white, made up over the weekend, with the ever-helpful tutorial by Quilt Dad and I love them!! Now here's the dilemma...I only made 12 when I probably should have done 16-20 to come up with something a little bigger than a lap quilt. Oh...the pressure of a decision (it always seems to come to that for me) should I make 4 more? separate them w/lattice? add a wide border? I guess what I am trying to achieve here is to think out of the box and do something a little different for me...hmmm, perhaps I will ponder for this one for a bit...btw, does anyone know what I did with the battery charger for my camera??? I haven't been able to find it anywhere since we came home from our frolic in the woods...another perplexing : )
Oh, and before I go...did you know that Blue is Bleu , bitty bits & pieces AND Mrs. Schmenkman are all having wonderfule giveaways??? You should go check them out, they include Amy Butler Love!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back To Reality

We are back to civilization...the Bungalow is unpacked, most of the laundry is done, the accumulated dirt has been scrubbed away and the sewing bug has set in. I did do a bit of handwork while I was away, stitching 2 of the dresdans to their backgrounds and managed to whip up a few hexies for GFG while sitting by the fire.
But yesterday, while perusing for the makings for my oldest's Homecoming corsage & boutonniere at Craft Warehouse, I wandered over to the fabric section to discover that they were having a truckload sale!! All sorts of wonderfulness in the form of fabric was piled high and calling my name...I mean, who could resist Moda @ $3.99/yd???I did manage to escape w/ only 2 yards, but it was just enough to get me started on those wonky log cabins I have been dying to make! (and I must say that I made some good progress after I constructed the corsage & bout. in the meanwhile the kids were at the football game and my DH was cleaning the kitchen...he is SOOOO good to me!!)
But now, I have a date w/my DH for a sub & a beverage at the local pizza spot, so I must bid you adieu and toddle off to hop in the shower and make the attempt to beautify myself. On tonight's agenda: get the kids off to dinner & the dance, take MANY pictures, make dinner (nothing in mind there just yet, but it will come to me), relax w/a nice glass of pinot, perhaps a movie and....MORE SEWING!!!
TTFN...and Happy Saturday!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I think Fall is here...

The forecast is calling for snow in the upper elevations of the Cascade Range...4500 feet, I believe that's what the weather report said. I think camp is at or around that elevation (must remember to pack the thermals...) and I must say, there has been a definite nip in the air this week, but I like it really.

Tomorrow we will begin the first day of vacation by heading back to the mountains for the opening of elk season and the official last camping trip or the season.

But first I must report that I have been creative this just hasn't been with fabric! A friend at work asked me to take her daughter's senior portraits and we did just that. It was fun and I think they turned out well, but I didn't ask permission to publish the photos, so you will just have to take my word for it. (just to be on the safe side)

Tonight, however, has been all about cooking and freezing meals for the mountains. Sometimes I think that we eat better when we camp than we do at home. The menu? Well, there is beef bourginnone, stew, swiss steak, salsa chicken, ravioli lasagne, chili, gourmet burgers and deep fried turkey...yummmmmm, it's gonna be good!

Rest assured that I will be taking projects with me to stitch by the fire...a round of cream hexis on the Grandmother's flower garden and hand stitching the dresdans to their backgrounds. It's going to be a busy week, but we are expecting a fairly large group including my parents, my older brother and his son (who currently has chicken pox at the ripe age of 17...poor thing, he looks totally miserable) and my best friend and her husband, oh and of course my brood, darling husband, my 2 sons (and a girlfriend), the pups and myself, of course!

And...Speaking of the new girlfriend...darling Shelby...look what she brought home from the store for me! Isn't she the sweetest? I think so!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Blissful Weekend of Camping

Okay, so maybe it wasn't all relaxation, it was actually a lot of work setting up camp, putting up tarps (in case it rains), cutting firewood and arranging everyone's campers for the opening weekend of hunting season (which begins next Saturday) The weather was spectacular with sunny, warm days and cold crisp evenings by the fire. It actually marks the last week of camping for us for the year (really the only camping we have done this year, unfortunately). We spend a week in the woods, all 11 of us (my entire family...Mom, Dad, Older Brother and his boys) by the fire, rising at dawn to frolic in the woods, walking for miles up game trails around the moutains, through the brambles, seeing all of nature, the way most people don't...for me it's new sights and sounds and all of God's glory not seen from a car window, but up close an personal and then returning to camp, dusty and tired to eat awesome food by a campfire (is it me, or does food just taste better when you are camping?) swapping stories of the day (and days past) and just enjoying the company of friend's and family.

To me, nothing beats this view, nothing beats these memories either! Both of my boys and my nephews have grown up doing this as I have...playing in the creek, getting muddy, dirty and then shooting pop cans with their Red Rider BB guns and finally attending hunter's safety class so they can join the big boys on the trail when they were finally old enough. Meanwhile, my mother, sister-in-law (and this year my best friend) and myself bake cobbler in dutch ovens, read, crochet, knit or stitch by the fire...(I've been known to hike along with the guys just because I love a change of scenery now and then)...or we head out in the car to pick chokecherries to be made into jam and syrup, it's absolute heaven!... and it happens again in just 4 more days of work...just 4 more days!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

All By Myself...

On this lovely Sunday, my husband was at work, the boys were at hunter's safety class and I had A LOT of time on my hands...alas, I was all by myself. After throwing together lunches, getting everyone up and out the door, I treated myself to a well-deserved nap (5:30 is NOT my idea of an ideal time to be awake, especially on a weekend) checked to see what you all have been up to, turned on iTunes and broke out the sewing machine.

You see, I have to keep it safely stored under my sewing desk...due my darling rambunctious black cocker,named VooDoo, who thinks it's great fun to chase the cat over the back of the couch, across my sewing desk and around the house...earlier this year, he missed the cat, but sent my sewing machine flying, thus breaking the flywheel and the computer! My DH insisted that I do something that I try to NEVER do and that is to pay full price for anything ESPECIALLY a sewing machine!'s a good thing that I love that dog!!! but I don't think I talked to him for a couple of days : )

Anyhoo...a dear swap-bot partner included some lovely scraps along with the 5" noodle that we were supposed to swap and I decided to put them to good use. And, to kill 2 birds w/1 stone, I put a 4" border around it to allow the addition of some applique flowers, leaves & vines from my new Piece O' Cake book. That way I haven't technically "started" any new quilts! By the time I got the wonky block done though, it was time to p/u my DH from work and wait for the phone call that announced that we have a new hunter in the family!

To finish out my somewhat productive day, I finally decided on a background for the dresdan quilt, but first I had to do a little searching on Ebay for some more fabric. Craft Warehouse only had a little over 2 yds of it and that will only be enough for 10 blocks, I would like at least 12, was hoping for 16-20...but 12 will do!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Unfinished Projects

Speaking of big stitch quilting...

I think this quilt might be a good one to try my hand at handquilting with perle cotton, what do you think? Sad to say it has been sitting around waiting to be quilted for a couple of years now and I solemnly vow before you all to get it quilted and on his bed BEFORE he graduates (in 5 So, does that mean that I need to get it quilted before I make a single wonky log cabin, or a zig zag quilt or finish my dresdan plates, or set up a block for nt applique from my new favorite book from Piece o' Cake? Hmmm...I might have to ponder that decision a bit more!! After all, I did make make copies of some of the flowers that I thought I could tackle and I purchased some fat quarters @ Craft Warehouse during lunch today all because I don't like what's in my stash anymore (now that I am getting a taste for designer fabric, thanks to the lovely fabrics you all are working with on and showing on your blogs) ...Oh, and now that you mention it, there is the yellow brick road that needs borders...and, and, and...I'm sure you can all identify with my plight! I think that I should have signed up for sew and tell to keep myself accountable : ) Perhaps, I should get this posted and plug myself into my iPod and get cracking at the sewing machine, after all it's not going to sew itself is it?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Look what came in the mail today!

Woo hoo! It finally came!!

I bought this book about 4 years ago, loved it and then out of the goodnes of my heart, "borrowed" it to someone and then never saw it again, not a problem...but, rather than wait and wait and wait...I just decided to get another one! You all have inspired me to want to really learn needleturn applique, so here it is...I have done a little bit before and found through past projects (a dresden plate for my m-i-law, a ufo (okay, so I am missing just one block) & a grandmother's flower garden that I have recently started) that I like handstitching! After this, I may even try some big stitch handquilting w/perle cotton (no, I WILL try some and perfect some)! Actually, I can't wait to get started...did I mention that I really want to do the wonky log cabins? And, I am signed up on swap-bot to do a 5" noodle exchange?! I love getting treasures in the mail, whether it be a swap or somethin from Alibris or Ebay....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Glorious Saturday!

Did I mention that Fall is one of my favorite times of year? It's sunny and bright outside my window this morning and is supposed to hit 90 this afternoon, but right now, it's a nice crisp 55 degrees, the grass is all dewey...I love it!

I took a half day off yesterday (mental health was the reason), I just couldn't bear to sit at work when my husband was home enjoying the day (and I could be enjoying it with him!) So, my Sgt. graciously let me go at 1pm and Earl & I took off in the car so he could show me a park that he discovered along the Snake River while on a motorcycle ride the day before. Alas, I didn't think to bring my camera...(something I almost NEVER forget) so, I can't share with you some of the sights along the way. I love old barns and there were a few of those (we were in amongst the wheatfields) there were old wooden grain silos, a grange hall and an old school house...

So, I included a barn picture that is from 2 winters ago that I took on the way home from skiing...sadly, it is no longer standing! Anyways, the park was interesting, we are always on the lookout for potential camping spots, not too sure this would be one of them, it was just downriver from Lower Monumental Dam, in the middle of ablsolutely NOWHERE, but just the same, it was a nice green spot on a hot afternoon in the middle of golden and brown fields that have just been harvested. So, we got out, had a look around, cooled our feeties off and headed home again.

And when I got home, I sat down and did a little sewing on my dresdan plates, made a little progress before dinner and then was lured into watching a dvd for the rest of the evening with my hubby, while the kids either went to the first football game of the season or practiced their newfound texting skills with some of their MANY (girl) friends! All in all, a very nice end to the day!

Hope you all enjoy your Saturday...I'm off to freeze peaches and then to get some more sewing done! TTFN...Andrea

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I've been up to lately

Okay, so the finished quilt on the far left was made 3 years ago for a raffle when a co-worker needed a kidney transplant. A bunch of us ladies at work got together, did some fabric shopping, had a cutting day and then people took home projects to complete at home. I put the blocks and the quilt together, a generous friend donated the batting and the backing and a friend of a friend did the quilting for a huge discount...if I recall correctly, it brought in over $3,000!
The dresden plates are in search of a wonderful background...that I don't think I have found yet...most people I have asked think the turquoise is the one, but I am not sure that I love it...maybe it just needs to grow on me a bit...we shall see.
Ah, but now I have found my stash of polka dots, which leads to a whole new ballgame...I think I like the orange or is it the green? What do you think? I am not a person who picks a quilt by the fabric line or has to have the exact same colors as in the photo, I like to play and let the fabric speak to me, sometimes it seems like the fabric and I aren't on speaking terms...

And the hexagons are a portable quilt I started a year ago and have recently become interested again. And yet again, I am looking for just the right fabric for the next round of hexies which is a light color followed by a green, both of which I haven't picked out yet...but I love being motivated by trying to imagine what the next round will look like! Then when that's all said and done, we tackle the applique on the border...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Primitive Youngins
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Images at the Buggy Barn

What a nice afternoon for a 2 hr drive! The weather was nice, a little warm and not too many people, until you went inside to try to buy something that is! So Earl and I wandered around admiring the quilts and picking out our favorites. The quilts were glorious, but I adore old barns too and the road to Reardon is full of them and wheatfields galore.

We wandered around for about an hour and a half while I snapped my fill of pictures, I didn't buy a thing, mostly because it was VERY crowded in both shops and I have no patience for crowds...however, I did get to peruse the patterns and realized how nice it is to actually hold a book that I have been coveting online and look at the pages and then at the price, sigh and gently place the desired book back on the shelf for another time...most likely AFTER I have won the lottery!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I did something "quilty" today!!

First of all, I auditioned backgrounds for my Dresden Plate in progress and then I pressed a few of the spokes...but best of all, I went to the Buggy Barn Quilt Show in Reardon, WA! My gracious husband went along with me, he took a bashing on Facebook, but he is the best! That, and it was a nice time alone in the car just talking and enjoying the golden silence of just Mom & Dad time. I love you Earl, you rock!!