Thursday, August 31, 2006

Making Pesto today

I should have a food blog instead of a quilting blog! Although I do consider this more of a general duty blog.....

I made pesto today. The basil bush was looking like it needed a good cutting and it is almost the end of the season. There is nothing quite as good as fresh pesto. I will freeze these little containers and we will be able to enjoy some homemade pesto in the winter when there is no basil to be found.

Here is the "after" picture of the basil bush. I should have taken a "before" picture but I didn't think about it at the time. I took just a ton of basil off the bush. We have another pot with basil as well, so there are three different varieties of basil in the pesto.

Since I was standing out on the deck with the camera in hand I took a picture of the lovely blue sky and beautiful sunny day we are having here on the west coast. This is the view from my deck. You can just see Vancouver Island in the very distance.

We have had very little rain this month - which is nice for us but not so nice for the lack of water in some areas. The west coast of Vancouver Island is having a water shortage. A small town (Tofino) that is quite a popular tourist spot is asking all the hotels and restaurants to close up by tomorrow -- Friday. We have been going to Tofino every year for March Break since about 1996. It is a wonderful and beautiful place to go visit. It is very similar to the Oregon coast from what I have been told, although I have never been to the Oregon coast (a place I want to go). Tofino has been always on the brink of water problems ever since we started going there. Hopefully they can get this sorted out, there are alot of people who live there that depend on the tourist industy for income.

I have been busy putting the sleeves on my two quilts for my guilds quilt show in September. I haven't done any more on the JudyL quilt. I will as soon as I get the sleeves finished. The quilt show is in three weeks.

Boy this summer has gone by quickly. It is have to believe another year has almost gone by. Next year (2007) will make it only three years until the Winter Olympics. Our little village is right on the road to Whistler. We are actually thinking of opening up a little B&B for the two weeks the games are on -- I don't think either of us will work during that time. I can't imagine trying to drive around downtown to get to work with the kind of traffic issues that will be expected. And the traffic in Vancouver is difficult now. Well back to sewing on my sleeves. Almost finished! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Four blocks finished

Posted by Picasa Here is a picture of the four blocks that have the borders on them. I quite like the colours.

I was thinking about what Patti was asking "why we quilt" when we were busy cleaning the house today. It is an interesting thing to stand back from something and think about it in a way you never thought about it before.

I have never been an artist person, I couldn't draw a picture to save my life. Musically, I am completely useless as well -- tone deaf, but I love a good melody. I have never considered myself creative or artistic. I was always interest in being a writer but I struggle with writing. Never understood poetry -- I always wished I could. I have been sewing since I was young - making Barbie clothes when I was 8 - but I had never been around quilts or quilters. My Hungarian roots did not included quilting of any kind.

When I discovered quilting I discovered I had a creative side. Like an artist who sets up a canvas on an easel and paints beautiful pictures. For me the fabric was the canvas -- and I was the easel. The easel is supporting the canvas, making it possible for the canvas to become a work of art - an important job. And beautiful fabrics just keep drawing me into them. Sometimes just looking at the fabric make me feel creative.

I had also just moved to Vancouver and just started a new job so I had not met many people, so when I started quilting I started to meet quilters. I found that quilters are the nicest people. They are so giving of themselves to each other, their families and perfect strangers. They will make a quilt just to give it away to a stranger that they know will find comfort and love wrapped up in that quilt just when they need it the most. They will offer you a small bit of their fabric because it will fit perfectly with your border fabric. Quilters are kind and generous and think of others.

Every time I will talk about someone and say " So and So, is really nice, I really like her" my husband would say -- "Oh, she must be a quilter". There really is something special about the people who quilt. I think that is why I quilt.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another hour of quilting

I am finished the 12 blocks that I am going to do. Now I am working on the small squares to go around the blocks. I was at work yesterday so no quilting was done.

The colours are just blue, red and green so I am just cutting the strips to make the square out of blues, reds and greens. I am enjoying this project. Thanks to JudyL.

I was thinking as I was cutting up my fabric for this quilt that I have a talent that many quilters would envy. Because I am left handed but live in a right handed world I have had to learn how to do many things with my right hand -- but my left hand is still my dominant hand. So -- I can do many fine motor skills with both hands -- one of them being - using a rotary cutter. So I do not need to turn or reposition fabric to cut it - I just cut it with the hand that is the most convenient. I was again thinking about that the other day when I stopped into Fabricland and all the notions were on sale and they were selling these little turning tables for the cutting mats, so the right handed only people could turn the mat instead of turning the fabric. I just change hands.

I am using a bit of this fabric in the "Quilt for an Hour" quilt. I just love this fabric. This is the very first piece of quilting fabric I ever bought. I bought it back in about 1993 for the "focus" fabric for my very first quilting class --a sampler class, making THE QUILT that I just finished this year. I must have bought 4-5 meters of it because I used a bunch of it in the quilt and in the border. I have also used it for various times over the past 10 years.

I have noticed over the years that I seem to be drawn to paisley fabric. I also seem to go to the red/burgandy colours as well but lately I have been buying alot of bright colours - Jane Sassaman, Amy Butler and my last purchase included paisley by Kaffe Fasset.

This piece is the last little bit of it that I have left. I should do something special with this last little bit of it. Maybe make a couple of cushions for the bed to match the sampler quilt. This piece is folded double - so I do have a fair amount left. Hmm - I will have to think about this.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Pizza Stone

One day about 8 years ago (my how time does fly) I was at work and at the time I was working a 12 day shift. It was a Saturday and all the kids were at home. Jim decided (unbeknownst to me) that he was going to make pizza, from scratch. I started to receive a few cryptic phone calls at work around mid afternoon -- like "Do we have cornmeal?, Where do you keep the yeast?"

When I got home from work he had a batch of dough in the big mixing bowl and had the bowl down on the floor in order to kneed it!!

He had spent the entire day on his pizza project. He first had gone to a Italian grocery store about 40 minutes from our home to get Italian salami and parmesan and mozzerella cheese. He got canned crushed tomatoes and olive oil and basil to make the sauce from scratch. He went out into the garden where we had a small pile of Pensylvania Blue stone that we had just purchased for a path, he bleached and heated the stone in the oven, ready to bake the pizza. And after about 8 hours of labour and prep --when I got home from work he was punching down the dough from the final rising. I don't think he had ever made any kind of dough in his life before that day. We had two wonderful pizza's about 8:30 that night.

He has since made a half dozen or so more pizza's on the Penslyvania Blue stone. He did manage to get his time down to about 3 hours prep time!! He hasn't made one for quite awhile though - since all the kids have moved out we just don't cook like we used to.

Reading Leah's blog and remembering the wonderful pizza crust that comes of the pizza stones reminded me of how it all started. We still have our pizza stone and I think it just may be time for another pizza. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

Quilt for an Hour a Day

I decided I wanted to do a scrappy quilt - so I started digging through my bags of strips and scraps. I decided on the Oklahoma Backroads pattern on Bonnie's website -- and I needed 2 1/2 inch strips. I found a bag of 2 inch strips - I thought I had some 2 1/2 inch strips somewhere but I guess not. These strips were from a log cabin strip exchange and the colours are red, blue and green. So instead of the Oklahoma Backroads pattern I decided that I would do the "Quilt for an hour" project, which called for 2 inch strips.

So I pulled a bunch of blues, reds and greens out of my stash and started on Saturday. I am just going to do 12 blocks - I think that I can machine quilt that on my little sewing machine and I was thinking of giving the quilt to a friend who has been diagnosis with breast cancer last fall. She is not doing all that well and she is a really avid gardener and the fabrics have leaves and dragonflies and are kind of "earthy" . So I got this far in 2 hours or so. I am a fairly slow when I sew.

Everytime I start a new project Jim will say -- "oh, what are you doing?" Well -- I say " I have decided to make this quilt" "oh, how's the Mariner's Compass quilt coming along? and the blue and yellow one -- and the Dresdan plate one - I really like that one -" and on and on and lists all my quilts that are not finished --- can you believe that! He knows them all and keeps track as to how much I work on them. I think what I need to do is finish the Mariners compass quilt because he really likes that one and that might keep him quiet for awhile. Do all husbands do that? I think I need to ban him from my sewing room altogether. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Canning Salmon

Most of this week and weekend was spent canning salmon. Every year we can about 10 dozen jars of salmon. This year Jim decided to try smoking a few salmon and then canning them so we would have some canned smoked salmon. Altogether 15 dozen jars got canned. So needless to say the house was a big mess all weekend with jars and mess everywhere. The house smells pretty fishy as well.

This is Jim cutting up the sockeye and putting it in the jars.

We have a very small kitchen (not like our other house) and usually he filets the salmon outside. The wasps just go crazy for the salmon and are a pain in the neck to try to keep out of the house. Most of the work was done while I was at work this week. Seems like I worked alot this week. The first day he started canning the salmon he finished up the first batch of jars and put them in the pressure cooker and then decided to cut up a little sockeye for us to have for supper -- he then cut himself so badly he had to go in and get a couple of stitches in his thumb.

Loading the pressure cooker canner.

The pressure cooker is set up outside on a propane burner -- much less smell in the house with the canning going on outside!!
There is Jim's cutting boarding drying off and on the steps are his wet gear -- I'm not sure why the wet gear was out?? Sometime I wonder what really happens when I am not at home. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What I am working on right now

I got the fabric and the pattern for this pin cushion/bag at the Quilting by the Bay retreat that I was at in June. I just finised making it last week. It sits perfectly on the arm of the sofa for my hand stitching (Dear Jane) projects. I have just a few more minutes to finish up the binding on the fish quilt. And I am then going to start on putting the sleeves on the two quilts I am going to put in the Quilt show --- Sept 15-17.
This is also a small table runner that I started at the Quilt by the Bay. I got the pattern out of a recent Quilting magazine - can't remember which on right now. It also has applique flowers and leaves etc on each side and an outer border.

I was planning to do the Sunshine Quilts -- "Quilt for an Hour" challenge but when the instructions came out I had just started back to work - doing a bunch of 12 hour shifts in a row and was not able to start with everybody else. Once every two weeks I do most of my shifts in a big clump and then have a bunch of days off in a row. And with the wedding and vacations -- Arizona and Calgary -- I have hardly been working for the past two months -- so I guess my time of leisure had finally come to an end.

I finished my last shift this morning I have slept most of the day. So now that I am so far behind with the quilt for an hour project -- and I really want to start a very scrappy quilt - one where I just take fabric from my stash (which is in piles all over my little room) and I just sew together -- half square triangles or something. So I think for my quilt for an hour I am going to pick a quilt pattern from Bonnie's scrappy quilt patterns and start tomorrow--- or maybe tonight as I am awake now. I do like the pattern that JudyL has picked out but I will save it for another time. I have picked out some fabric from my stash that I will use for that quilt. Maybe I may start it as well -- but the fabric that I have chosen needs to be washed and I need a background fabric to go with it -- which requires some shopping. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Seattle Quilt Show

The Quilt show is Seattle was wonderful. Some of the quilts were just amazing. I took lots of pictures but I am not sure if I would be breaking some copyright laws to post a few pictures. The large quilt that won the Best of Show had just beautiful machine quilting on it. If I can post a picture of it I will. A lot of the large quilts had been machine quilted - and I am sure they had been done on a long arm because the detail in the quilting was just amazing. Nothing I could have done on my small sewing machine. One quilt that I really like was a Canoe and the quilting on it was so detailed - and it didn't win anything.

There were a number of booths selling Long Arm machines. I stopped at one and tried it out. I have never even touched one before. The one I tried was really nice - auto stitch length so it didn't matter how uncoordinated I was. But next to it was a machine that was being guided by a computer. No hands required. Beautiful. $35,000.00 - can you imagine. But I bet for people who do it for a living it would be a great investment. Much easier than standing and bending and guiding the machine. As the Bare Naked Ladies would sing --- "If I had a million dollars".

I like to take the bus trips with the Guild down to the show. It is a nice trip - it always seems to go quite quickly at the border and the border guards, both American and Canadians have always been so good to deal with. (I'm sure they realize a bus full of quilters is very little threat to security!) It is also nice to be able to shop and pick up a bit of fabric and such at the shows. We are not really allowed to bring anything back across to Canada with only a one day stay. I think the border guard really don't have the time to bother with $35.00 worth of fabric when there are more important things to be looking for out there. (I did spend more than that though)

The interesting thing is the booth that I bought the most fabric at was "The Pine Needle" from Lake Oswego - a shop that I was really hoping to go see when I was down in Portland last January. Now I know for sure I will need to go back to Portland. I bought a bunch of Amy Butler Fabric. That seems to be my new "need to have" fabric lately. I usually don't even realize it is Amy Butler until after I have fondled it for awhile.

The other booth I bought fabric at was Bear Paw Quilting Inc. I bought two fat quarters of Kaffe Fasset (which I didn't realize was his fabric until I got home) I don't think I have any other of his fabric. Might need to get some more. I also love the Jane Sassaman fabric lines - but I have a bunch of her fabric already. I was looking at a booth that sold reproduction fabrics - they had this most wonderful Dutch Chintz fabric --I didn't buy any although I really wanted to, but by this time I had really reached my limit. I found their website and they do mail order - they are from Montana. So I think I will order a bit of the chintz........soon.

Of course I also bought a Quilt show bag -- because I always need another bag.

At the Bear Paw booth I found this little needle case. I thought it was such a nice little case. Easy to open and holds lots of needles. It is about 4 inches from the top to the tip. and about 4 inches across when it is closed. So it is a nice size and then opens up and has all these different sections so I can put different needles in their own section.

It is apparently made for the shop by a women that lives in the Eastern U.S. somewhere. It is really well made -- it was $8.50. Isn't it lovely? My find for the day!!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sewing on Binding

One of my favourite things to finally get to do is the binding on a quilt. I love to sit and handstitch the binding to the back of the quilt -- as you stitch along the quilt is just completely finishes the quilts which up until that point still doesn't look right - no matter the amount of quilting on the front. But I hated sewing the binding on the quilt -- esp. that last bit when you had to bring the two ends of the binding together. I have read so many different methods -- some of them as many as two typed pages with diagrams - such complicated instructions. Folding ends back, drawing lines, making spaces in between the ends of a certain width. Too complicated for someone like me who is a bit spacially challenged. Quite often I would just fold the one end inside the other which I had fold at a strange angle.

At the last Spring Retreat I went to I was bemoaning this problem and a fellow quilter announced she had a simple method and she would show it to me when the time came to finish off the binding. Good heaven's -- it was so simple and easy - why do they have such complicated methods for doing something so simple.

So here are the simple instructions for joining the two ends of the binding.

Leave a fairly long tail on each end so they are easy to work with -- 10-12 inches.
Overlap the tails the exact width of the binding. This binding is 2 1/4 inches wide so I overlapped 2 1/4 inches. As you can see in this photo - I just moved the top piece off the fabric for a better view. The binding piece will lay flat on the fabric with only the 2 1/4 overlap.

Then put the right sides together just like you do when you sew the binding strips together to make the long lengths of binding to sew onto the quilt. Then put a pin in the strips -- in the direction you are going to sew and just check before you sew that you are going in the right direction.
Posted by Picasa
Sew the two strips together on the diagonal -- just like when joining all the strips together for the binding -- to get that diagonal seam that will lays flat.

Trim off the excess fabric to have just a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

And the binding finished off the exact right length and lays nice and flat, with a perfect diagonal seam -- just like the rest of them. You can't even tell which seam it is from the rest of the seams.
Posted by Picasa Now -- that just couldn't be simpler. I am so happy with this method. Probably everybody - or should I say - every Quilter - already knows this method and I am just the last to discover it. But in my various books - etc I have never seen this method, and it is by far the easiest way to join the ends I have ever done.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The baby eagles in Sannich

It is just amazing to have watched these eaglets grow from this little falling over babies into full size birds and fly from the nest. They were born sometime in mid April - the exact date is not know. This picture was taken about May 15 - so they would have been about 4 weeks old at the time.

Here is a picture of them being fed by both Mum and Dad.

As they got older they would rush the parents when they came to the nest. The parents would bring the food in their talons. Sometimes if they came empty handed or is that empty talonned - the eagles would rush and grab onto there feet and pull. As you can see them doing in this picture. This picture was taken sometime in June I think. The first Eaglet (Victoria) fledged from the nest around July 12th. The smaller male eaglet stayed in the nest for 2 more weeks. He was smaller and younger than the female, and as a very small eaglet the old, bigger bird would take most of the food until the male got a bit stronger (after a great salmon feed) and could fight back a bit.

And here is what Sydney the male looks like now. I was watching the live feed the day he decided to fledge the nest. It was interesting to see as he would flap his wings - look like he was going to go and then hesitate, walk about a bit - come back to the edge of the nest and think about it some more. It took him about 5 minutes of back and forth to finally decide to take the leap. Boy can you imagine what a leap it would be! A bit of a leap of faith I think.
He has been flying for about 2 weeks now but he is still coming back to the nest and bringing food to eat in the nest, and resting in the nest for long periods as well.

So needless to say I have been spending too much time watching the eagles and not enough time quilting. I have been busy the last couple of days though. I have finished hand quilting my fish quilt and I am now putting the binding on it. I also have started back to work on the table runner that I started the beginning of June. I have also been working a bit on my Blogger site and with great thanks to Patti from Vancouver Washington I have been able to add some stuff to my sidebar!! I'm pretty excited about my new knowlege of computer code (very limited really). But I must get back to quilting. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

Scrap or Stash Quilts

I have decided to join in on the Sunshine Quilts blog for the Scrap/Stash quilt project. I have never really made a scrap quilt, I alway seem to spend hours trying to match fabrics and then always need to go off shopping because I don't have just the right colour of green.

This is a workshop I took a few years ago where the fabrics were all cut into different widths of strips -- from about 1" to 2 1/2" and then the strips were used to make all the little blocks. This was definately scrappy and fun to do. In the end I just put a plain border around it although it was supposed to have more scrappy blocks in the border as well. I thought enough was enough - I would never get it finished if I had to make more scrappy blocks.

I have made a few quilts out of fabric collections -- like yellow/blue and animal prints, 30's fabrics and now the Dear Jane - but they are not really scrappy or stash quilts because I spent alot of time shopping for the fabrics. Although they do have lots of different fabric in them. I have quite an assortment of small pieces left over from these various quilts and those are the pieces that I will use for this scrap quilt. I haven't gone through and picked out the fabrics like JudyL is doing - I will just start grabbing fabric from my piles I think. I really would like it to be truly scrappy - full of bits of all the different quilts I have done.

I again tried to do a little computer code writing for the pictures in the side bar. I am getting closer - I think I may actually figure it out at some point. Boy - it is alot of work and in the end I got a "something" in the side bar -- wrong spot and it wasn't a picture but it was a link to the picture but it didn't work. At this point I just want to conquer this thing more than put pictures in the side bar!!!