19 September, 2013

My New BFF, Bonnie Hunter

Me... in the back row on the left, Bonnie is in the second row, just up and to the left of the big red star block.
If you are one who makes quilts, you likely know that BONNIE HUNTER is a seriously big deal out there in the quilting world.  Well,... my Guild, the Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild, contracted with Bonnie Hunter to lead a workshop for us.  How cool is that!!!!  She books her workshops years out, so we've been waiting and waiting for our very own BH Workshop where we were set to make Bonnie's String Spiderweb quilt. We met at a local community center, a place with great light and lots and lots of electrical outlets... all 30 of us!, and we had the most fun day with Bonnie.

I have to say here that I am so incredibly star struck to be in the company of quilt professionals.  It has been my experience that these women are much like all of us, women who are wives and mothers and lovers of all things connected to quilts and quilting.  Bonnie has found her place in the quilting world in a way that most others have not. She is seriously BIG TIME, with features in magazines and a killer website, Quiltville, where she generously shares her free patterns with all of us. She travels all over the country leading workshops for women who are just like me.  She featured our workshop on her blog Quiltville .

As I have mentioned here on my blog previously, I am compelled to make things be "Matchy, Matchy".  I know that I need to just let go and channel my inner "scrappiness", but it's not easy for me.  So a "Toss Your Cares to the Wind" sort of a color scheme (with a big bunch of restrictions.... no reds, no blacks...)  is what I decided to use for my Scrappy Spider Web quilt.

My blocks, as featured on Bonnie's "Quiltville" blog with her copyright and stamp!  Woo-Hoo!!!
Is this my 15 seconds of fame? I'll take it!

I read the directions for Bonnie's Spider Web quilt and wasn't so sure that this was for me.  But really, I'd make just about anything to be in the company of this Quilting Queen Bee!,  so I sucked it up and started cutting up my fabric strips.  I should insert here that I chose a solid background fabric that I think will give me the look that I am going for.  It's that "vintage green" color, often used in quilts from the 1930's, and I am also imagining a solid cornflower blue or a buttery yellow fabric in the border. To actually have a vision at this point is kind of a surprise for me, even before the piecing is done.  I am just rolling along with the creative process here, which is kind of how it should be, I think. Roll on!

A few blocks made by my Guild Mates.  Love the Halloween fabrics!
If a full day of sewing without distractions is not enough, add in that I sewed all day with other guild members, my friends and table mates, Teri W., LeAnne L. and Shirley S.  Priceless! Lots and lots of chatting going on!

Each and every one of my guild mates, all using the very same pattern, made a remarkably different quilt. That's the wonder of this kind of workshop.  We all use the same pattern but our end products are completely original.

Thank you Bonnie, for being a wonderful instructor and such a fine quilting sister!  We hope that we see you along the way again.

04 September, 2013

Appliqué Finished - Still Scrunched

I am finished at last with the appliqué  portion of my "Birdsong" quilt and it is STILL scrunched on the master bedroom wall.  The leaf border on the left is there... it's just folded in. I am almost a little sad to have completed this part of my quilt.  I will definitely be doing more or this needle turn appliqué.

The next step is to add a tiny 3/4 inch border using the above red fabric next to the leaves, then add a 12 inch outer border using this beautiful large blue print.  It reminds me of vintage wallpaper.

I may regret this later but I have decided to hand quilt this baby.  I want to use colored quilting thread on the birds and leaves but don't feel as if my machine quilting skills are up to snuff to attempt quilting this on my machine.  But I'm not so bad as a hand quilter and I am thinking that I have tons of work into this quilt already, and I don't want to mess it up when it comes to the quilting.
I hope to have this thing on the hoop soon.  Wish me luck!

New Digs for the Wet Pets

It's been NUTS around here for the last couple of weeks.  We have been having our Koi pond rebuilt, an absolute necessity, not just a cosmetic upgrade.  Add in five dump trucks, giant rocks, an excavator and fella's here, ready to work,  at 7:00 am.

You know what they say about swimming pools...  If it's something that you want, then it has value, but if it's not, then it's a liability.  The same thing goes for Koi ponds. Our pond, which we love and value, had become a monster liability. A good portion of our large yard was a soppy BOG, thanks to the old leaking pond and stream bed.  Mr. T. and I knew that taking on and repairing such a large project was not within the scope of our expertise, so we sprung for the "Bucks Deluxe" upgrade.  We had toyed with the idea of trying to fix the problems on our own, but know now that we could never, EVER, have been able to fix all of the problems that came to light as the crew dug in.  I was lamenting having to lay out some serious "Green", but after seeing how hard our crew worked, we are happy to write that hefty check!

Happy Fish!

With these upgrades we are no longer tethered to the pond, having to be here, Johnny-on-the-spot, to clean the filter every other day.  We can now go a WHOLE WEEK, maybe more,  without having to clean anything.  And, get this!  The waterfall has a remote that allows us to control the water flow in the falls.  We can have a relaxing trickle,... or turn it up to a roaring torrent! Mr. T., otherwise known as the King of the Remote... is in heaven!  He's got yet another remote to control!  Carries it in his pocket...  He calls it the "Bruce Almighty Button"!

Contemplating Spawning Upstream?

The best part is that our Koi pond is now the killer focal point, the go to place of our yard and garden, a very relaxing, Zen sort of a space to just sit and watch the fish, marvel at the sunset, enjoy a glass of wine and/or smile at Rosie-the-Wonder-Dog, happily rolling in the grass.

Sadly, we lost two fish while they were out in the holding tanks. One was our "original", our big and beautiful Yamabuki,
Pau-Pau, who was the only fish in the pond when we bought the place six years ago.  We are so going to miss her...

We still have lots of work in store for us,  We will be adding landscape plants as well as pond plants.  Since it's sort of the end of the season here for the local nurseries, it will continue to be a work in progress, on into next year.  But we are looking forward to customizing our investment.  And maybe adding a few more fish.