Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quilt O' Lakes

Hello everyone,
I have been very busy with a quilt for my dad and now that he has it, I can share my photos with you. It all started with one block. "The Mono Block" which I made on a whim... I just wanted to make a word block and I had just visited Mono Lake. It is said "Moe No" not "Ma No". I ended up discarding "Mono" when I decided to make it a quilt with the names of a few of our fishable lakes. Mono Lake is an amazing place but not really fishable. That block will have to become something else.
My dad loves to fish and he recently moved from our area so... a quilt for dad. That is what I decided I should make for my father for Christmas. It turned out to be a monster of a job, everything was wonky. I had to keep telling myself it is OK. It is Folk Art.I started with a few small lakes and then progressed to the longer names.

The hardest part was keeping myself from making the blocks too big. It is easier to make big giant words than it is to make tiny little ones.

The back is actually pieced with a few large pieces of fabric in blues. I only got one photo of the back, dummy me.

Someday I hope to learn how to do a meandering stitch to cover the whole quilt but I just quilted simple blocks around the letters and in the open spaces. I also embroidered "Fishing the Sierras" in one of the biggest spaces but failed to get a photo. In the end I love the way it came out and I learned an immense amount about how to make letters. My next step is to learn how to make a different font. Yikes!

My dad may not use this quilt much now that he has moved to the desert but it should bring him many happy memories.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Bags

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. We had a wonderful time and just like every Christmas before, I am ready for the new year. Christmas is like the climax of the year for me and as soon as it is over, I am relaxed and ready to start planning for the next season. When all the gifts and Holiday projects I have been working on are all finished and delivered, I am left with a huge sense of accomplishment and my brain starts buzzing with new fresh ideas. Yesterday I made out my seed order so I can start my tomatoes and peppers earlier this year and I already have an idea for a new bird feeder.

I have cut some new fabric for a Valentine's Day pillow that I will be selling in my ETSY shop and yesterday I ordered the remaining fabric I needed from here. The Christmas decorations have all been put away and my everyday stuff is back in place. I haven't seen it since September before I decorated for Halloween so it all seems new. I love my system

Now that Christmas is over and all my handmade gifts have been opened by my loved ones, I can show you some more of what I had been working on all year. First up is a very large messenger bag for my crafty Mother. I made it big enough to hold an afghan worth of yarn and I even added a little bag to hold her many crochet hooks.
The zipper in the hook bag was a bit tricky. I have never tried to put a zipper in anything and decided now was the time to give it a shot.Many wonderful hours were spent hand embroidering this little lady in her basket of notions. I loved stitching those spools of thread with a satin stitch. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. The black Ric Rac just makes it pop. Gotta get more black Ric Rac.

Here is look at the inside. It is reversible but the inside is not as exciting as the outside. I used two different fabrics from Heather Bailey.
The bag below went to Amber my niece. She is a fine quilter and I filled her bag with sewing notions and a book full of quilt patterns. I hope she will use it someday.
I used a dark green print by Anna Maria Horner for the inside lining.

My little niece and nephew both received patchwork book bags from me. They are super duper simple and great for using up scraps. I even made a little pocket with their names embroidered on it. Once the bags were complete I filled them with the sweetest books. I had the best time shopping for those books. I really had a hard time keeping myself from buying a copy of each one... for myself! There are some amazing children's books out there.
Here is a look at the bags

The front of Brooke's-
The back-
The front of Jesse's

I used the same lining for both of them.

The back-

The best thing of all is the bags can be filled with a quilt or pillow and they become super comfy pillows. Today I am going to baste and quilt a "Ballerina Quilt" that has been on hold until post Christmas. I am thinking of making a matching quilted bag... we'll see.
I gotta go get some photos of our new fallen snow!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Disney at Night

Here is a quick little photo tour of the lights in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The most terrifying Ferris Wheel EVER! I will never go on it again.Years ago I made the mistake of climbing in one of the cages that spins, ugh. I will never be the same.

Christmas Tree covered in LED lights.
That glowing blue arch down there is the loop on California Screamin'.

This entrance makes me feel like I am entering Pleasure Island. Although the other side is a bit disappointing, there is just not enough going on over there, yet.
Wouldn't it be amazing if the real Golden Gate bridge was decorated for Christmas?
Main St. U.S.A ...

This photo does not do this tree justice. It was fantastic, the branches were covered in LED lights. I have decided I really like LED Christmas lights when they are outside.

A flower lamp at the Alice in Wonderland ride. Alice has all the cool stuff.
It's a Small World knocked my socks off. Wow. A shot from the train.The Mad Hatter's Tea Party is even more fun at night.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle ... beautiful, magical.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From China to Turkey Disneystyle

I am happy to be home. Our quick trip to Disneyland was extended do to another huge snowstorm which made the drive home impossible for our car. We came home yesterday to 3 more feet of snow. Lucky for us my parents have recently moved to the desert and we were able to visit with them. It was very nice to see them all settled into their new home.

We had a wonderful time at Disneyland and California Adventure, how could we not? It did rain a bit while we were there but it wasn't too cold for us mountain goats. It was really just misting and we thought it added to the holiday atmosphere.
It was a little strange being surrounded by Christmas decorations in a Tropical climate. I took 128 photos on our trip, most of which I won't be showing you because they really aren't very good. I'll spare you, but here are some photos of things you might not expect to see at Disneyland.

Asian motifs and vintage ads-

I have a thing for advertisements.Advertising is really just another form of art. The history behind the ads is what intrigues me. It says a lot about what attracts us and ads on brick walls... even better.Art Deco- Oh be still my heart. I adore Art Deco style and the Tower of Terror is a dreamy example.

These next two shots seem like Gothic examples to me, not sure.

Would you expect to see a Reindeer at Disneyland? I didn't.

Do you remember hearing about the 40 pound Turkey that President Obama pardoned on Thanksgiving this year? Well here he is at the Happiest Place on Earth, although I don't believe that is his Happiest Place. Better than the White House table though!

I'll be back with more photos from our trip later.I better get to work. I am way behind on some of my handmade Christmas gifts and I need to get some packages shipped off and unpack my suitcase.

Have a great day.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Batten Down the Hatches!

It is getting crazy outside. The wind is blowing incredibly hard so I decided I better check on this storm that is headed our way. Here are a few blurbs from the weather channel.




We live west of 395 and at 7500 feet, for those of you who don't know.


Brrrr. I hope they call it a Snow Day tomorrow.
Maybe I'll do some baking.

Edit- They did call it a Snow Day!!!! We have about a foot of new snow. Beautiful.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walt's Birthday

If Walt Disney were still alive today he would be 108 years old. So today I will be celebrating Walt's legacy by watching a couple Disney movies and packing for my trip to *~Disneyland~* next week! Yipee! What to watch? I am thinking Lady and the Tramp and Peter Pan, two of my favorites.

One of the many great things about my childhood was the amount of times I was lucky enough to go to Disneyland. My Mother grew up nearby and she has been visiting the park since it opened. I wish I could go back in time and walk through the Carousel of Progress with her.It opened at Disneyland in 1973, so I was alive but too small to remember. Here is a photo of my cousin, me and my little brother in the Mad Hatters Tea Cups. My hair is unbelievably horrible I think. Ugh. Like it was cut with a Flobee! Remember those?

My sons childhood has also been graced with several trips to the happiest place on earth. Here is a shot of the two of us in front of It's a Small World. I love this photo makes me want to go squeeze my son, which he would Not appreciate at 17. I still love all the attractions... well... I am not fond of Winnie the Pooh's ride or Tarzan's Tree house but as an adult I notice all the details that make the magic. For instance, the photo below is a tiny little nook in New Orleans Square, it is a bit off the well beaten path... well not really, as I took this photo there were crowds of people funneling through behind me I am sure. I could just move in there. So much work has been put into every little thing. It is easy to get caught up with the cost, crowds, and the lines at Disneyland but if you can take the time to stop and really look at the fine details, it is so worth every penny. At least it is to me.
Here is another shot from New Orleans Square. I recently read this quote, which explains it all.

Memory of Walt by Dick Nunis, Theme Park Executive:

"We were redoing the Storybook Land attraction and trying to cut its budget. One of the art directors said, 'Walt, we can just use regular glass rather than stained glass.' Walt said something profound, 'Look, the thing that's going to make Disneyland unique and different is the detail. If we lose the detail, we lost it all."

Well said Walt. Oh I can't wait to ride on Storybook Land, I have to ride it twice, once in the daylight so I can see all the tiny little landscaping and once after dark in order to see all the houses and street lamps lit up. I am grateful Walt stuck to using stained glass.

When I went to Disneyland in October of 2005 I had the privilege of experiencing The Haunted Mansion all done up in "Nightmare Before Christmas" style. I loved it, but not as much as the ride in its normal state. I guess it will be like that again this time but I am going to get to see all of DLand dressed up for Christmas for the first time. I have heard Sleeping Beauty's castle is amazing and It's a Small World is all decked out in holiday cheer. I wonder what other changes they have made?
Two of my favorite things combined, Disneyland and Christmas. Better get busy. I think I'll start with Peter Pan, it has Pirates, Mermaids and Fairies!

Happy Birthday Walt Disney and Thanks for all the fun.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Losing Control

This morning I find myself laughing, thanks to a fantastically creative woman named Vanessa Christenson. Vanessa's blog is an inspiration to me and I can always count on a good chuckle, she is hilarious. She has written a narrative about control and motherhood...I am not going to try and tell her story. It is great, so funny. I'll just give you her link, VandCo. is the name of her blog. Go check it out and for you creative types she has fantastic patterns available in her ETSY shop, UptownJane.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ruby's Button Tin

My Grandma Ruby had a button tin that I loved. That is her in the photo above, standing next to her beloved husband Spencer. She, like so many others who lived through the Depression, was thrifty. Ruby loved Goodwill stores, she even worked at one for a time. She saved buttons from old clothes and new ones that had extras sewn in them. Notice in the photo how the top and bottom buttons on her coat didn't match and she is missing the bottom three altogether. I think she is adorable in that photo.
When I was a little girl I would sift through her buttons and ponder over how old they were. I always had this impression she was much older than she was,as if she was born in 1850 instead of 1915. I imagined she grew up in a "Little House on the Prairie" sort of atmosphere. In some respects she did. I remember her laughing when I asked her if she was from the horse and buggy days. Grandma Ruby would tell us to put our name on the bottom of the things we wanted after she died, so my name was on the bottom of that tin for a very long time, in fact it still is. I have it in my bedroom now, sitting on the old Pfaff Sewing machine I inherited from her. It is one of my most favorite things.
The tin is not only filled with a vast variety of buttons collected over decades but the tin itself is gorgeous. Curvy, with pretty flowers on each side. I love the little gold knob on the lid.

When Grandma died and I had the tin at home, I felt like I had a piece of her with me. I sorted through them and separated them into color groups. Some of them are so incredible I knew right away I wouldn't be sewing them onto anything that I wasn't keeping for myself. I can't let those treasures leave!

I found a couple things in that tin that weren't buttons, a thimble and a ring. The thimble excited me because I like thimbles, although I don't use them. I don't like the way I can't feel my fingertip with a thimble protecting it. The ring is very intriguing to me. You see... Ruby was only 40 when Spencer died in a mining accident in Idaho. My grandma never remarried after he died. There was never another man in her life and this is certainly a mans ring. It looks like a wedding band to me and no one knows if it belonged to my Grandpa. I like to imagine that it was his. I never knew him but I have been told I would have loved him, of course. Funny how a tin full of buttons can mean so much.