May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Plan C Trip to the Central Coast

As we know, the best laid plans can easily go astray.  So I try (not always successfully) to not hold on too tightly to my plans.  The annual August trip with the DGDs went all the way to Plan C due to a) a fire in San Luis Obispo County that threatened Hearst Castle and b) two changes to a doctor appointment that Makayla had to go to before school starts.

This trip was built around a visit to Hearst Castle.  Makayla is beginning middle school at Julia Morgan School for Girls next week and she was very excited to see this incredible project that Julia Morgan had taken on.  We added in a side trip on the way home to visit Sculpterra Winery where our dear friend Rob Bentley is the resident artist for all their iron work.

Well.......the Chimney Fire changed plans whether we liked it or not.  The fire which started near Lake Nacimiento spread fast and furiously and was threatening Hearst Castle.  This resulted in Hearst Castle cancelling all tours during the week of our reservations.  We decided we would go anyway and enjoy the delights of Cambria.  The doctor appointments pushed our trip to leaving on Thursday for our three-night adventure to the Central California coast.

The visitor center at Hearst Castle was open, so we were able to go there to see the excellent film about the building of the castle.  Of course, it just made Makayla want to actually see it even more.  We'll plan a trip for another time.  Jim bought Makayla a book about Julia Morgan.
Fire up on them thar hills.

Zebras relocated from Hearst Ranch for safety
 Despite smokey skies and overcast weather, we enjoyed our time in Cambria.  We walked along the boardwalk and perused the little shops in town.  And of course we enjoyed some Ollaliberry pie.

A sweet little hide-away under a tree for viewing the ocean

On Saturday, we headed to Paso Robles to meet Mary Bentley for lunch at the historic Paso Robles Inn.  Then we headed out to see Sculpterra Winery where Rob works and does his art.  The girls were enthralled with all the lovely sculptures and they totally fell in love with Robert.  He showed them all around his shop and gave them lots of bits and bobs of iron to take home to make a mobile of their own.  They want to adopt him as their third grandfather.  Robert has that affect on people.  He is a dear friend and a blessing to our lives.  He and Mary are, as Makayla said,  "Good People".

The Bentley Gates............incredible

Grapes ripening everywhere. Of course we tasted a few.

All kinds of sculptures but of course, this one with a dog immediately caught their attention.

The Classic Sign from when we first knew him in Valencia, CA
You can't be an iron artist without getting dirty.

Rob Bentley.........Good People!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer Here and Almost Gone

It's August......that month that makes us begin to think of heading back to school and all things fall.  But coming up still will be a fun summer trip with the DGDs to Hearst Castle and San Luis Obispo.  Then they are back at school.  M to middle school at Julia Morgan School for Girls and V back at EBI.

I always seem to be distracted by playing with scraps so here is another top which is sitting in the UFO pile waiting to be quilted.
I loved that in May, our cymbidiums were still blooming for my birthday.  The two oldest plants produce lots of blooms.  The newest one didn't bloom this year but I am hoping it will feel comfortable to bloom next year.

Before heading for Quilt Retreat, I went to a workshop put on by our new Alameda Quilt Guild.  There were only 5 of us but we all produced darling Fall Scarecrows.  Mine will be gifted to my sister, Cindy.
I just can't seem to quit making these zippered wristlets.  I love having them on hand to give as gifts and it is worth it to make about 4 at a time.
June found me at the bi-annual quilt retreat put on by Amador Valley Quilters.  It was held once again at Cal State Stanislas where it was hot but the room was air-conditioned.  I did what I usually do and opted to work on my own projects.  I sat with new people and made new friends. Finished a Christmas quilt to give to my Bible Study leader, Lillie.
  The Darling Grand-daughters spent two days having Sew Camp at my house.  We picked out patterns, shopped for fabric, enjoyed lunch and snacks and managed to produce pajamas for both girls.  I set up three sewing machines and we all sewed until we dropped.  Sew much fun!
Just recently, I enjoyed a mini-retreat with my Bible Study friends in Arnold up in the Sierras.  We stayed at Marcy's house where 7 of us chatted and enjoyed fun and fellowship together.  It was hot but her deck was perfect. I am so blessed to have these friends.

And the last of the news for August is the newest member of our family.  We bought a beautiful blue BMW X3.  This is the most luxurious car we have ever had.....lots of bells and whistles.  It's a driving computer.  Elsie, the Maxima is gone and BeeBee (blue beamer) has taken her place.  This car had better last a long, long, long time. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Annual Beach Trip

The Annual Beach Trip to Carpinteria happened for the fourth year.  The DGDs drove down with me and we arrived in time to meet Aunty Cheryl.  Lissa joined us by Tuesday afternoon. To make the week all the more wonderful, my good friends La Donna and Bill Readmond were in Carpinteria for the month so we got in lots of girlfriend time with walks on the beach.  I didn't do too much sewing or have much alone time this year but that was okay.  Being with friends and family was so wonderful, relaxing and good for my soul.

Plenty of tree climbing happened whenever the opportunity arose.

Made sure to get in lots of ice cream eating

Cheryl enjoyed the walks in the sunshine.

Good friends gathered to share and laugh

School Teacher friends from Agua Dulce Days
The Readmonds are such dear, dear friends

A little fabric was bought here

Carpinteria......the best beach experience in Southern California
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to travel to places like this and to renew friendships.  The ocean is such a restoring place for the busyness of life.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Space

Spring is here and the urge to clean out, dust, and organize has bitten me.  I don't even want to think about how much dust had accumulated in my sewing/office space.  Needless to say, I was forced to take an allergy pill due to the persistent sneezing. I brought DH in for a consult and hopefully future plans will include re-organizing and sprucing up the ironing/workspace area.  
 The ironing board worked as an initial base for a work station but the crossed legs leave too much dead space for good storage.  I am envisioning a set of IKEA bookcases or cubbies to replace the ironing board base.
 I would also like to improve lighting someday.  Right now, I use alot of Ott lights in various places.  Ideally, overhead lighting would be nice.
I still love my IKEA cubbies.  I seem to be constantly rearranging stuff in them.  They are nice and accessible and hold a lot.  Keeping the closet covered with a curtain is a great idea.  Unfortunately, lots of clutter  behind the curtain.  

It is my space, not perfect but there is always the dining room table for big projects. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Conference Bag #2 -- Whoo Hoo!

A couple of months ago I made a Conference Bag from a website called So Sew Easy.  It was available through a series of video tutorials but there weren't any directions to print.  But the pattern and directions are available forever once you order so you can make it again and again. Here is my first one.  I used fabric I liked but I made the mistake of using stripes for the lining and not having enough fabric.  Making mistakes while cutting didn't help.  I pieced fabric together but I wasn't thrilled with the result.  I knew I wanted to make another one using the skills I learned on the first.  This first one does work nicely as a tote for my books and materials for Bible Study.
First attempt in cheery red with a rainbow striped lining
So while at Road to California, I bought material specifically to make another Conference Bag.  This time I wanted a little more sophisticated look.  Over this last weekend, I began the project.  It was time consuming but I wanted to take my time and make sure I was cutting and labeling everything correctly.  Once the cutting is done, the sewing doesn't seem as daunting.  I worked on the sewing over two days and I finished this afternoon.  I added a magnetic closure for the front pocket because I found without a closure, it wants to lean open.  All in all I am happy and now I have a new purse/bag. 
Second attempt a little more sophisticated with a magnetic closure on the front pocket

Friday, January 29, 2016

Road to California 2016 Report

Back from my annual trip to Ontario, California for a quilt conference and show.  I add mini-retreat to it by bringing projects and my sewing machine so I can sew in my hotel room.  My dear friend, Linda Kussoy usually joins me for a few days. 
Enjoy dinner with other quilter friends
A little gift for Linda from fabric that she bought for me last year

Same fabric used to make a tote for me
I managed to not fill my tote too full but I did shop the vendors over two days.  The biggest purchase was a sewing machine table for Makayla and Violet.  I gave them a sewing machine for Christmas.  I bought a bit of fabric, a stitch in the ditch foot for my Bernina walking foot, some thread....but that is about all. 
I only took one class.  The piecing was easy but the layout was a little tricky.  The class was called Incline from a pattern by Natalia Bonner in her book, Cabin Fever.  She was friendly and knowledgeable and the class was fun.  The best part was finding out I was sitting right across from a friend from Friendship Star Quilt Guild.  We renewed friendships and caught up on our lives over the last 6 years.  There was a real blizzard going on in Maryland while we were sewing up a storm in sunny California. 

Teacher, Natalia Bonner and me
Just today I finished up the squares
 My in the room project was paper-pieced stars.  I used a book from Carol Doak that had been sitting on my book shelf for several years.  In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to make a quilt with stars.  I am seeing this as a year long project to make 12 star blocks.  I'm ahead of the game with three made already.  One a month should do it. 

Two stars finished at Road.  Another one already done at home
And I did take time to actually see the show.  I am not one to take a lot of pictures.  As usual the quilts were stunning examples of the creative quilting spirit that abounds today.  So glad to have the health and resources to be able to travel to this show.  It renews my energies each year as I leave rainy, cold NoCA and travel to SoCA. 

And just for fun I wore my sewing theme PJs each night as I sewed.  They were a gift from my dear daughter-in-law, Lissa for Christmas. No picture.  Picture is on the iPad and hasn't been transferred to the computer.