Charity work

I usually make pillowcases for foster kids. This past month I got very ambitious. Now that I have the large table for the Juki TL1020, I took home a quilt top to be quilted and bound.

This is larger than a baby quilt, but not quite a twin. I took a chance, I didn’t spray baste. I just put the layers together and ironed. Hoping that would be enough. Then to the machine, where I quilted the seams down with my walking foot and monofilament.

I couldn’t find my machiniger gloves!!! I know I had recently bought a new pair. I threw the old pair out, but no way would I leave myself without gloves. Well I couldn’t find them, so I started quilting without. Ugh! the strain on my hands! I hated it.

So off I went to buy more gloves. Quilt Emporium only had one pair in my size, I need to get more, just in case. I did some ruler work as well as free motion. So much better with the gloves.

All quilted. No, you can’t see the stitching much. As usual, I do a lot of dense quilting. Even on a charity quilt. This is a great way for me to practice, and one always needs more practice. Also, charity is worth the work.

Done and bound. No hand sewing on the binding. I attached to the back, folded over to the front and sewed down. Maybe next time I’ll attach to the front and sew down on the back. Yes, I captured the binding, but it’s not super neat. I guess I put my efforts into the quilting, not the binding.

Don’t forget the label!!

Full quilt. It really is a very nice quilt. Our guild doesn’t give away rejects and garbage.

Close up with matching flower.

I was a busy bee this month. I quilted, I made seven pillowcases. Some I got the fabric, others I cut fabric of my own. And finally, blocks. Every few months we make blocks, put them together as quilts. Who knows, I might end up quilting one of those tops. I did use some leftover fabric from the quilt in the blocks as well. Now, it’s time to go back to my Hawaiian hand appliqué.


Creating continues

I have so many lemons on my tree and since it’s growing in my garden I feel a sense of duty to use them all. So I made another batch of marmalade, this time with grated ginger. I don’t know that I can taste the ginger, maybe I need a lot more. Anyway, most of these end up being gifts, because I’m trying not to eat a lot of carbs – ie. toast. Although I do spread it on chicken, put some hot spices on top and toss in the oven. I also give a lot of jars away.

I love Moroccan preserved lemons. Yes, I can buy some at my local market, but they aren’t very good. Highly processed and not especially tasty. Time to make my own.

I didn’t take pictures of the process. It’s simple, cut the lemons into quarters, but not all the way through. Pack with salt and let sit for a few weeks. One of the recipes recommended adding spices, like a cinnamon stick, bay leaves and peppers. I ran out of cinnamon sticks so put in coriander or allspice instead. We shall see.

Some recipes called for covering the lemons all the way with liquid. Others didn’t, but recommend turning the jars over after a few days. My understanding is that the salt will draw out a lot of moisture.

All I could find at my market were medium sized mason jars. If this is successful, I’ll go buy larger ones. I was only able to squeeze in 4 or maybe 5 lemons in a jar. Once again, these are wonderful when cooking chicken.

Yes, friends can look forward to receiving a jar of these as well…

I am happy to say that between the marmalade and the preserved lemons I probably used 80 lemons. Not bad, but there are still plenty on the tree. It’s a Meyer lemon tree, it doesn’t produce fruit year round, just in the winter. Another thing I might do is juice a bunch of them, freeze the juice in ice cube trays and have them for the summer.

They are starting out in the garage. After a few weeks I’ll move them to the refrigerator. I do need to remember to flip them over in a few days.

While out photographing the lemons, I started taking pictures of the flowers that are now blooming. I love it when a bee photo bombs the picture.


And it’s finished!

I gave Shira her dress, she immediately put it on. Fits perfectly and she loves it.

Yes, she is very theatrical.

Matching with her doll, oops, the image came out fuzzy.

Much better. You can see how the shirts are different but each in proportion to their size.

I made Mary a light weight coat. I might make one for Shira. I have a pattern and the fabric.

Holding Mary up high!

I also decided to rearrange my sewing room. I started out with the cutting table in the corner. So I switched the small machine table with the cutting table.

The side leaf that hold the serger can’t be moved to the other side. I was concerned that would be a problem. It actually is better this way.

It is easy to slide the chair between the two tables , as well as slide it up to the cutting table if I want to do some handwork there

I even moved the ironing board. It used to block the dresser. Now I stand in front of the dresser. I know, it’s getting messy up there.

And I completed 6 more pillowcases for foster kids. Next, I will quilt a charity quilt. It’s larger than a baby quilt, but not quite a twin. I need to practice my quilting, having that large table makes it so much easier. Only problem is that I can’t find my machiniger gloves!


Sewing with Shira

Becky and Shira are reading The Secret Garden together. I don’t know if I ever read the book, or just watched the movie. Anyway, Shira is in love with the protagonist, Mary Lennox. She wants a doll. I’m not up to making a doll from scratch, but I am more than happy to get one of those American Girl knock-off dolls at Target and make her some clothes.

We found the doll, then went to JoAnns’ to buy fabric. I thought Shira would take her time, but no, she was very quick choosing fabric. Then it was sushi lunch and back to my house to sew.

I had ordered the pattern online from I still don’t have that pattern, but luckily, at JoAnns’, someone had left out the exact pattern I needed. Also, we decided to make Shira a matching dress.

Circle skirt – done!

On the dolls. I also used up just a tiny bit of the tulle I now have and I made a petticoat, just because.

we found this trim, why not jazz up the shirt. I sewed on buttons, but really, it’s velcro that opens and closes the shirt.

Here she is! It’s hard to see, but Shira sewed flowers and button on the ballet shoes, as well as the button on the elastic headband. I really need to sit down with her and start some serious sewing. She is very ready and excited.

She loves her Mary Lennox doll! Btw, I made her this dress back in November, she has since shot up like a weed. The dress wasn’t that short then.

Here you get a better view of the flowers on the shoes.

Hands up! Everybody! Hands up. I love that Shira is still a little girl, loves her dolls, has quite an imagination. It is a pleasure.

We decided that I would make Shira a dress to match. For some reason there are very few sewing patterns for Tweens. None at the big four pattern companies. Luckily I found something online.

I told Shira that we could use the same fabric for the skirt portion, but that we’d want a bigger print for her top.

Same color theme, but this one has butterflies.

I was hoping to fit the sleeve over the machine, didn’t work. It was too small.

I used the same frilly fringe on her dress. yes, hers’ is a one piece dress, which improbably just as well. I see that I didn’t do a great job of attaching the trim. Oh well, she is always in motion, no one will see.

Back view. Now to give it to her and get a picture of her and the doll in their outfits.


Fixing the Dress

Thanks to my friend Becky for not getting away with it. I was lazy, I didn’t want to fix the belt on the dress. She wouldn’t let me off the hook.

So I followed her advice and made the dress better.

Here it is, now the belt is long, maybe too long, but I’m not changing it again!

I also made a stole, I hope it’s enough to keep me warm, cuz this is it!

I’m actually glad it’s not to big and wide. Proportionally it works well. Big question is, how will the weather be early March in Santa Barbara??? We shall see.

I’m still trying to figure out how to use my phone as a remote.

Another benefit of redoing the belt. The first time I lined it with the linen, this time I just doubled the fabric from selvedge to selvedge. It is lighter and ties much better, giving me better waist definition. Something that is important as I age. With age those young curves recede, so any help I can get it a good thing.

I could probably tie the belt tighter, but I do need to breath.

And finally, yup, I need to laugh more! Well this isn’t the end of the post.

As the days get longer, I now can take the boys back to the beach after I pick them up from school.

I do love the beach. I am happy in the hotter valley. But I am so grateful that once a week I can come down here and bask in God’s glory that is the beach.

And spend time with these two as they dig their way to China, and this without any tools. Next week we need to bring the shovels.


Hawaiian quilt, the Apliquick way

I took a class at Road to California with Rosa Rojas. The woman who developed the apliquick method.

She developed a very interesting method of designing a large Hawaiian block. Each of us designed our own. That was all well and good. My problem here is the problem I have with every single competition show. It’s all about being done in a short period of time. That does not allow for real creativity. But it was a one day class, so I didn’t complain, I did my best.

Here is my design. I did change things in the border. I may change more. We shall see. Where you see the white fusible – that will be the appliqué everything else will be cut away.

At the marketplace I bought another background fabric. Initially I had bought a much lighter purple, but that wouldn’t have the contrast with the appliqué fabric. No worries, that one won’t go to waste.

Section by section, I trimmed, clipped, turned and glued. One thing I love about quilting and especially appliqué is to let things grow slowly. With this method, it is one large stage after another.

Here you can see how much better this bottom fabric works.

Not quite halfway done and I’m getting bored! I want to start sewing. But I can’t, Rosa is correct in her reasoning about how one does this. So I’m following her orders.

Almost there! One section left!

Next stage was to hand baste the appliqué to the background. I love my large cutting table. Made the process so much easier. I have already appliquéd one section down, the top section with the bee needle minder.

Right here. See how nice it looks! No its’ not perfect, but this is handwork, I am not an industrial machine. When completed and quilted, it will look amazing. You may notice at the bottom of the photo, one of the tabs got loose. That’s ok, I’ll simply push it back under and sew it down. Rosa has an excellent glue. I didn’t buy it, I’d need so much for this project and her materials are very expensive. I did buy more of her paper, because it is much better than anything else on the market, and there isn’t a lot. But I manage with Fons and Porter glue. It dried much quicker, but I’ve learned to work with it. I also use Superior silk thread instead of Rosa’s thread. It’s a third of the cost and I don’t see a difference. I understand, Rosa makes a lot of her money selling product, but it is very expensive.

Ahh, I love my macro lens. Look how close, you can count the thread count on the fabrics. You also cannot see the silk appliqué. I really enjoy the hand sewing of the appliqué. Finally I’m at that stage!


Red in New Zealand

You probably thought that I’m done with posts about New Zealand. Nope, I’ve got more pictures I want to share.

I saw this phone booth in Wellington on our first day. One doesn’t see many phone booths anymore. I actually think this one might work! Little did I know that I’d be seeing more and each would be interesting in it’s own way.

Not a phone booth, a letterbox. One of the Brits got really excited. The is old style British letterbox. I don’t know if it was used in NZ, or brought over as an interesting artifact. Looks Victorian, cast-iron and all. The dark square tells you when the mail is collected. I love how it’s locked with a simple padlock. So now I’m looking for red boxes.

Same location, pouring rain, and they have a phone booth. Which leads me to believe that both were brought here as artifacts.

This one was in Arrowtown. From the looks of it, no longer in use.

Queenstown This one does have a phone. Graffiti is everywhere, and no, I don’t like it.

Yup, this is a functional phone booth!

Another functional phone booth, with a beautiful old building in the background. This is in Christchurch. A rather depressing town that is taking way to long to rebuild after the earthquake. I think it is a gallery today. But, you can also see right next door, a pit, waiting for reconstruction.

Side view of the same booth. Since I have red on my mind, I ended up just adding more red.

Like this ‘artwork’. Christchurch has a lot of public art. A shipping container.

I have no idea what the skier on top signifies.

A red cable car in Wellington, because, red.

And finally, nature does red best.

What I find fascinating is that although red is readily available in nature, it is a very hard dye to create. It is very fugitive, meaning it fades quickly or is very unstable. Go figure, once again nature wins.


A fancy dress

I haven’t sewn a garment in quite a while. Is it because of cheap clothes? Or I just haven’t felt like it? Who knows. Anyway, we are invited to a lovely fancy wedding in March in Santa Barbara. I went through my patterns and found a simple 50’s style dress. Off I went to International Silk and Woolens, it is closer to me than Mood or Michael Levines. True to their name, they have wonderful Silk, Wool and all kinds of other fabric.

Heres the pattern, the fabric for the dress and fabric for a sash and stole. The dress fabric is linen! It is one of those new fangled printing methods, not using screens which limit the number of colors. Although I was surprised to see a very basic repeat in the print. Probably was easiest to do it that way. Yes, I notice repeats, one a textile designer, always a textile designer. As for the silk, once it was cut I was told the price…. my bad for not looking ahead of time. Lets just say it’s really expensive. I haven’t sewn lately, so this covered my wardrobe expense for a while.

I opened my cutting table full length! What a pleasure to cut out a pattern on a nice large table. Getting my money’s worth.

I lined the bodice. I really dislike the facings one finds in patterns. Also, I would have had to finish the sleeve cap somehow. Easiest way is to line the bodice. When I took this picture, I hadn’t tacked the lining to the waist hem, so it’s sort of creeping up along the collar-line. I also hadn’t hemmed the skirt yet.

With the belt tied. I wish I would have checked this belt out better, I should have made it longer, and I clearly had enough silk to do so. Let’s say I didn’t have enough of the dress fabric to line it, I could have gone with lining fabric. Long tails in the back would have been nice. I was just too anxious to start sewing. My bad. I will not only have enough fabric for a stole, I’ll also be able to make a camisole, so maybe I won’t feel so bad about the expense.

Back of belt, not very exciting.

The completed dress from the back. I do love it. This linen is so beautiful!

Front view, sorry, for the scowl, I need to laugh more.

Like here, much better! There is another difference between the two pictures? Can you tell?

I made a petticoat. My first try was waaay to full and goofy. At least tule is very inexpensive…. I’m not sure this is the best petticoat, but it sure does work!

It opens up the skirt, giving it more fullness, which is what one wants in a 50s’ style dress.

You can see here how the skirt poofs out a little. Not too much, but enough, so the skirt isn’t dragging and the bottom has that little bit of volume.

I love the sash in the front. I should be honest with myself. I’m not sure I could have found a more perfect fabric for the sash. So I’ll stop beating myself up and simply congratulate myself for a job well done. I will share pictures when I make the stole.


Road to CA 2020

I went to Ontario twice this week, once for a great class with Rosa Rojas of Apliquick fame. That will be a separate post, all about the amazing class. Then I went back with my son in law and saw the show. Yes, I bought some things, also, another post.

I LOVE the Bob Ross challenge. First of all, who doesn’t love Bob Ross. Second of all, the variety of colors made this a fun challenge. Sorry to say they are going with monochromatic again next year, pink for Princess Diana. meh, I don’t like the monochromatic challenges – boring.

Each piece was very different. I have come to realize, that at a quilt show, it is very hard to look at a wall of small quilts. Sure, each individual one can be amazing, but when there is a wall of them together, it is very hard to differentiate. I think I’d feel the same way if these were all paintings bunched together, one needs some space.

Mosaic! I would actually love to see this in glass tesserae. I think each piece is hand appliquéd down.

Speaking of very fine appliqué. Each of these dots, from the tiny white to the slightly larger ones – are hand appliquéd. Btw, this year most of my pictures are just segments of the quilts. I found myself more interested in the details.

Speaking of appliqué and amazing quilting stitches, who captured this image of my grandson?? I’ll be honest, I am not sharing the names of the quilters. I didn’t even record them. I’m not passing these off as my own, I’m just a spectator at a show. I am sharing the images I like, if you want information, go to the Road2CA website, they have all the information there. I’m not a publisher, I’m not a library, I just viewed quilts I like.

I clearly am intrigued by appliqué this year. This too was hand appliquéd.

I love the colors here, as well as the workmanship. Of course all the quilts were very well made.

OK, so here is a quilt.

and here is the close up of the three dimensional elements.

One of the things I love about Road is that the quilts aren’t political. Sure people can read politics into everything. But there wasn’t anything overtly political. So maybe you think the image of a boy waving the American flag is ‘rightwing’ Or a quilt that spelled out how the chromosomes of Down syndrome look like. Maybe that is too ‘pro-life’ since the maker was referencing her own child.

I’m done going to Quiltcon, I got tired of knowing there were rows of quilts I have to avoid – all very political. All very left leaning. When Quiltcon has a pro-life quilt, I’ll go back, but I’m not holding my breathe that that will ever happen.

I like the workmanship, the colors, the designs. The subject doesn’t mean much to me, but one can enjoy the work without being overly concerned about the subject. Art doesn’t have to be cudgel beating people over the head.

There was great piecing as well.

This may be paper pieced. I must say, it was Saturday, the show was very very busy. Even if I wanted to read the labels, it would have been hard to do. I just enjoyed viewing and walking by without an in depth inspection of each one.

I usually don’t like rainbows. This one is enough not a rainbow that I actually really like it. I also like the use of busy prints behind the solid appliqué.

A wonderful old fashioned quilt, combining everything. Even Broderie press. Which is where mostly flowers or birds are cut from Chintz and apliqued on.

Then there is this amazing hand quilting. Gone are the days that I can do this. I don’t think I ever was this meticulous.

Domestic machine quilting.

Very impressed. Once again, I’ll never be this good with my machine quilting. Which is one of the things I love about these shows. It is such a pleasure to see the best of the best out there in the quilting world

I love it when a quilter created more interest with different colored thread.

This was just a little bit of the show. So many people are sharing on blogs and on IG. Yoch and I had a great time. It is always fun bumping into people, some of whom, I only see at this show.


LA Casa Nueva

By the 20th century, the Workman name is no longer associated with this adobe or land, from now on out, it’s the Temples. And there were many of them, so with all the ups and downs of their fortunes, I’m never exactly sure which Temple it is. Well, by the 1920, We are dealing with Walter, who once again owns the land and now wants to build a new house on the property.

Walter and Laura had quite a love story. Just as Walter is planning to build the new house, Laura dies of cancer. He goes ahead with his plans for this house. The house was started in 1923 but only completed in 1927. What I find very interesting about this plaque is that initially he hired the firm of Walker and Eisen. Know for large commercial buildings downtown. About two years later, they will build the Oviat Building and store downtown. One of the first buildings that uses Art Deco as it was originally intended, decorative art within a building. But this is not Art Deco, and Walter went through a number of architects before the very Spanish house was finished.

A lovely walkway from the old adobe to the new Spanish house

The front gate. In true Spanish style, there are tiles.

Here is the impressive front door, surrounded by what we call in the architectural world – Churrigueresque. Yes, that is a mouthful, but it well describes the baroque, heavily sculptured architectural design we see here around the door.

Ahh, look at these doors!

CA is now a very different place. The wood is not native, but it is readily available, for a price. Walter Temple spent a fortune on this house.

An outside balcony with lovely ornamentations.

To the corbels in the dining room. Some mythical creature. Part bird, snake and is that a frog head?

At least this one is recognizable as s knight. Look at that mustache!

I guess this is what we could call the living room. There were comfortable sofas here.

A peak into the breakfast room. Clearly they were going for an updated fancier adobe look. See how thick the walls are? To be able to have that kind of niche, also, it looks like a seashell. There are more images from inside, but I’m keeping the stained glass and most of the tiles for another post.

Out in the backyard, which really is a courtyard that is only open on one side.

I think the house is at least 5000 square feet, it was large and lovely, and on a hot summer day, being out here by the fountain must be lovely.

Here I am, capturing different shapes and styles. The covered arbor (covered by just a few grape vines. The tiled gate and the 1970s’ gazebo beyond.

This was built during the 70’s, once the City of Industry bought the property. It really has nothing to do with either early CA Adobe or early 20th century Spanish revival. But it’s here. So maybe people come and have their pictures taken. I got a close look, it’s certainly not up to the building standards of the Victorians.

So one more post with tile and glass. I do recommend people go visit. The tour was excellent and the buildings were very interesting.