Quilts in Jackson

Entry Tile, Jackson, Calif
Entry Tile, Jackson, Calif

Traveling is a good time to get inspiration. Last weekend we went to Jackson for the Native Sons event, Discovery of Gold. I enjoy visiting these small towns in the boonies of California. I always find something interesting.

I thought the tile at one closed storefront would make an interesting row quilt – or the start of a row quilt. Look at the different elements between the ‘blocks’.  I wonder if they relate to the shop’s original owner or wares?

'Checkerboard' pillow
‘Checkerboard’ pillow

This trip, I spent a lot of time on my own because DH had a lot of meetings crammed into one day. Jackson has quite a few ‘antique’ shops. Some are more curated than others. I wanted to visit a quilt shop, but the closest one was 40 minutes away in Placerville and I wasn’t up for the drive. It was fun to wander around Jackson. I found a few gifts, especially a teapot I have been looking for for years.

'Checkerboard' pillow detail
‘Checkerboard’ pillow detail

As I wandered around, my thoughts around Women’s Work and its value (or lack of monetary value) were rekindled. The cushion above had a very depressing price tag on it. I blame Walmart and the Dollar Store, fast fashion and always wanting a deal. $9.95! I couldn’t really take it in, though this kind of thing is why I don’t have a quilt business.

Really, I kept seeing a lot of quilts and quilt related items. I also saw a lot of crochet, but I can’t take photos of everything.

One thing I noticed was a lot of quilts. Not art quilts or high quality quilts, but a noticeable number of utilitarian quilts. After seeing the first few, I started photographing them and thinking about Women’s Work again. I’ll try to stay off of my soapbox, but the prices and the cavalier way in which most of them were displayed makes me wonder again about the value of women’s work. I also can’t help wondering if my work will end up in antique-thrift-junk shops. If the YM doesn’t want my quilts, I hope my nieces and nephews will divvy them up.

Bowl Cozies for sale
Bowl Cozies for sale

Someone clearly sews in one of the shops as there were a number of sewn items for sale, including bowl cozies ($8). You’d have to have a well oiled production line going to make it worth selling these for $8. It is, however, a great way to justify making stuff. I am not sure I would be satisfied making hundreds of bowl cozies, but to each his/her own.


Yellow Pinwheel quilt, folded
Yellow Pinwheel quilt, folded

I enjoyed the simplicity of many of the quilt designs I saw. One of my favorites was a yellow pinwheel quilt. I made a basket quilt with a yellow background once, called Cheerful Baskets, so I have a fondness for certain tints of yellow. The simplicity of this quilt really grabbed me. I think those blocks are about 5 inches, but possibly four inches since they are a 4 patch. The sashing gives the pinwheels space to breathe. The eye can see each pinwheel clearly.

I saw some cushions made with a crazy quilt design that were in bad condition, but still pretty. I wonder if they could have been cut from a crazy quilt?

Dresden Plate Chair
Dresden Plate Chair

Someone had the clever idea to reupholster a chair with a Dresden Plate. I am not a fan of that type of oak furniture, but I think the seat looks cool.

I saw this not in an antique-junk-thrift shop, but a higher end store that takes some stuff from antique-junk-thrift shops and upcycles it. There was only one of these chairs, but it might make a nice start to a collection of them in different woods and styles. The Dresden Plate could unify them.

Squares with embroidery quilt
Squares with embroidery quilt

There was a sweet child looking quilt that reminded me of the Laura Ashley quilt I made for a friend a million years ago when there was a Laura Ashley store in downtown San Francisco. I had just started quiltmaking then and found an early charm pack there. Charm packs as a concept didn’t exist as they do now, so it was really novel to find a pack of pre-cut squares.

Squares with embroidery quilt - detail
Squares with embroidery quilt – detail

The quilt isn’t exactly like mine, but it does remind me of the one I made.

The embroidery is some kind of vine or edge stitch. I like it. It adds interest to the simple design of the quilt, as do the flowers in the fabric. They looked like they were painted on, but I think it was just the printing process of the fabric used.

That violet (or lavender) with the yellow is a good combination.

Yo-Yo looking quilt in Jackson
Yo-Yo looking quilt in Jackson

There was also, what I think was, a yo-yo quilt. It looked different than other yo-yo quilts I have seen. It could be that the gathered side was face down in the display and I couldn’t see them. It is possible that people don’t know that yo-yos are mostly displayed/used with the gathered side up. On the other hand, this could be a completely different type of quilt or a yo-yo variation.

Welsh-style whole cloth quilt in Jackson
Welsh-style whole cloth quilt in Jackson

I also saw, what looked like, a Welsh-style quilt. Of course, it could be a regular whole cloth quilt using a color similar to those used in Welsh whole cloth quilts. I couldn’t see much more than the picture shows, though I did take another photo from farther away that shows a little more of the design. The vines and leaves are really nice.

It is clear that this quilt has been washed, if not used, but it looked to be in good condition.

Basket quilt top
Basket quilt top

I also saw a Basket quilt top. Again, this quilt has lavender. I wonder if that was a popular color in a certain era? 1930s? I know that a lot of 1930s reproduction fabric lines include a lavender colorway. One of the nice things about this design is how some of the baskets fade into the background. It could be from fading or it could have been designed that way. No way to tell.

I really like basket block quilts and have only made one. So many designs so little time!

This Quarter Square Triangle quilt is sewn together in a interesting manner. I am not sure if the quilt was pieced and then embellished with a blanket-type stitch or if it was sewn together with the blanket-type stitch. I can see both types of stitching on the detail photo. The scraps used in this quilt are quite bright and cheerful. It might be a newer quilt without fading or it is older and well taken care of.

$4 for ~6 yards
$4 for ~6 yards

Finally, this is what is going to happen to all of my fabric when I die.

I don’t know that there are definitely 6 yards in there as I didn’t open the package. I do know that there were multiple similar packets of fabric. The fabric isn’t to my taste, but if you want some of it go to Jackson and visit Antiques On Main,1 Main St, Jackson, CA 95642. There are multiple vendors with a lot of different stuff. The one in the front on the right side of the aisle is where the fabric was.

One lesson? Label your quilts. Even stitch lettering with your name and the year are better than ‘artist unknown’.

Life Less Tiring

Mother's Day Tulips
Mother’s Day Tulips

I should be less tired, but I’m not. DH was out of town, which should be a good time for me to rest, but I did an extraordinary amount of driving to be with him to attend some events.

Work has been stressful. I am working on getting a new contract, which will be in a different department. This means that I have to prepare my work to hand over to the next person. I know you are thinking “really? again?”. It is the nature of contract work. I am constantly having to get my contracts renewed or find new ones. It isn’t ideal, but I have a lot of flexibility, which I like.

Still it is all tiring and people in the department are whispering about my contract ending, which is just annoying. I am looking forward to some time off.

I haven’t done much sewing except for my work on La Passacaglia. I have had an hour here and there to do some hand stitching. I love that project. I think I will go work on it now.

See you later!

Dresses Again

In 2015, I was in the thick of preparing myself for DH’s organization’s Grand Parlor, where he would be installed as a Grand officer. In that post, I talked about the Marbella dress pattern and getting the dresses made.

I know some of you followed our adventures as we traveled around the state as DH moved through the offices of the organization. One thing i did not do was post about the other dress style that I had made. I went searching for photos of the dresses yesterday and was shocked that I had never posted any.

McCall's Dress Pattern
McCall’s Dress Pattern

The pattern is McCall’s M6958. I have no idea if it is still available or still available under that number when you read this. As i write this in 2020, it is available.

I bought the pattern, because I thought I would be making the dresses and I needed something easy and flattering. As it turned out, I found a dressmaker and didn’t have to make any of the dresses.

The bad part of this pattern is that it has no pockets. I made the Little Cell Phone Wallet pattern** by Valorie Wells so I would have a pocket for cell phone and hotel room key. I thought the cell phone wallet would make up for the lack of pockets.

The good part of the dress pattern is that it has a flat front, which is pretty flattering.  Most of the ones I had made had the cap sleeves.

Hem of McCall's Dress
Hem of McCall’s Dress

To fill out this post, I looked through all the photos I have of the last 8 years of Native Sons events. I found one picture of me in one of the dresses. You can see that I routinely wear it with leggings.

I wear the dresses often. Also, Grand Parlor is coming around again and I’ll probably bring 1-2 along to wear. I think they all need a good press and starch/Mary Ellen’s Best Press**. I might as well do it myself since the dry cleaner is closed.




**I use affiliate links and may be paid for your purchase of an item when you click on an item link in my post. There is no additional cost to you for clicking or purchasing items I recommend. I appreciate your clicks and purchases as it helps support this blog.


Grand Parlor Quilt

At Grand Parlor the candidates for the Executive Board have Hospitality Rooms. The rooms open up at a certain time, people walk around and chat with the candidate and other members of the Parlor. Food and drink is offered and the Parlors vie with each other for the best food. Another thing they do as a fundraiser for their Charitable Foundation is to raffle off stuff. You have seen the pillows SIL2 and I have made. DH’s Parlor also usually has raffle baskets. Other parlors have other things, both big and small. anything from commemorative coins to TVs.

Bidwell Parlor Raffle Quilt
Bidwell Parlor Raffle Quilt

The Parlor across the hall from us had a quilt! It was simple, but pretty amazing. The motifs were made with some kind of commercial silkscreen. The quilt has been washed and doesn’t look faded, so the process seems to be colorfast, at least after the first washing.

This is the second quilt this Parlor has raffled, so they do have some quiltmakers associated with the Parlor. I am not sure I would make a quilt like this, but the gentleman who won was thrilled and the Parlor made over $500, so that is good.

NSGW Pillows

NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Pillows
NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Pillows

We skipped last year, but are back in the saddle this year with more pillows.

NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Fancy Pillow
NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Fancy Pillow

I have to admit that SIL2 did most of the work. I did a little cutting, supplied some fabric, then, was out of time. I had so much to do to get ready for Grand Parlor. I couldn’t get this done. SIL2 stepped in and did the rest. The pillow above looks REALLY elegant. The gold fabric isn’t too showy. It will go well in a really decorated living room.

NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor California Fabric Pillow
NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor California Fabric Pillow

This year we decided to put years on them so they would be more special — limited editions. We used leftover fabric from the shirts we made for DH and BIL3.

NSGW Grand Parlor 2016 Pillows - backs
NSGW Grand Parlor 2016 Pillows – backs

As in previous years, these pillows will be raffled off to raise money to support kids needing surgery for craniofacial anomalies. You can make a donation to the Cleft Palate Foundation directly (tax deductible) without being at Grand Parlor. Sorry, no pillows for a straight donation.

Rialto Historical Society

Rialto Historical Society
Rialto Historical Society

Last weekend, I went with DH to Southern California for the NSGW SoCal Weekend. They have it every year and this is the first I have attended. I think it was the first time for DH as well. The official events were two dedications, an initiation and a banquet with a local councilman as a speaker. We also went to a luncheon celebrating the $55,000 that the Natives donated this past year to St. John’s Hospital to help the treatment and research of cranio-facial anomalies such as Cleft Palate. This is part of the money we raised at the Hospitality Suites with the NSGW embroidered pillows. DH also took the opportunity to audit the books of two parlors (chapters).

Rialto Womens Club
Rialto Womens Club

The Order dedicated the Rialto Women’s Club and the Rialto Historical Society. After the dedication was over we took some time to look at the historical society’s collection. Of course, I was interested in the quilts.

There were a number of crazy quilts, one was in very fine condition and displayed very well on a covered board (for stability) and hung on the wall.

RHS Crazy Quilt
RHS Crazy Quilt

I really couldn’t believe what excellent condition this quilt was in. I don’t know if it had been restored or not. I suspect it had, because there was no damage at all and you know that the silks of that time were full of lead and thus very prone to disintegrating.

Peacock Cemter
Peacock Cemter

I really liked the center. I HAVE to be in a peacock mode. I don’t even like peacocks. I like the idea of peacocks, but the real ones, while beautiful, make a lot of noise and are messy. Their feathers are wonderful, though, and this embroidered center is one of the most beautiful pieces I have seen. I think the complex simplicity of the design is the genius.

I kind of wish I had taken a more closeup photo so I could see the stitching of the center. I didn’t think of it at the time. It is possible that I will go there again and can look then.

RHS quilt
RHS quilt

There were a number of other quilts. One caught DH’s eye. I really need to make him a quilt of his own as he just makes due with any random quilt on the couch.

I haven’t looked up the name, but I think it is some kind of propeller design. It is made from tumblers and I think it would be a very interesting piecing challenge.

The others I saw were all made into curtains and that was kind of sad. They weren’t especially interesting, but they were old and looked finely pieced. I suppose being made into curtains is better than being cut up into softies.

Political Wifery Dresses

After writing about the Fine Spring Day Journal cover, I went back and looked for a post about the dress made from the same fabric. No joy. I only found my post about the pattern. I thought I would close the loop and show you the dresses.

In the interests of full disclosure, I did not make these dresses. I found a wonderful woman near my old office who not only can follow a pattern, but who is also able to take apart a garment and make a pattern from it. She has also altered a lot of my clothes as I have lost weight.

Fine Spring Day Dress
Fine Spring Day Dress

I went to her to make these dresses, because I wasn’t prepared to do the work myself. These dresses have to fit and I have to look awesome, because, like a rock star, everyone wants to photograph DH and me. Also,, I didn’t think it could possibly be true, but found out that people were keeping track of my clothes. Life in the fast lane is such an adventure.

Anyway, this dress made a sensation. I wore it to the Ladies Lunch at Grand Parlor and I looked really different than everyone else there. The awesome thing about this dress is that I felt great. The style suited me. I really liked the fabric even though it was a bold choice and way out of my normal comfort zone. I felt confident and like I looked good.

Chrysanthemum Dress
Chrysanthemum Dress

I kind of waited until the last minute to get these dresses made. I thought I would find something at a store, but I didn’t and went back to my original plan to get new dresses made. Yvonne worked like a champ and was able to finish two.

The second dress was the test dress. I purchased the fabric, because I love my pal Phil (Philip Jacobs) and this was a different choice for me for the back of the quilt. For a dress? CRAZY! I don’t think I have ever EVER worn a dress this color. Without the fuchsia flowers, there is no way I would have worn this dress.

Again, I had the right shoes and I felt great.

I have to find the right times to wear these dresses again. They are so memorable that people will remember them. I’ll have to pick the right event. When I need confidence, I will wear them.

Marbella Dress Pattern

Marbella Dress
Marbella Dress

A few weeks ago, I heard about the Marbella Dress pattern from Itch to Stitch and went to take a look. I thought it might be a good pattern for a dress for Political Wifery, but didn’t really do anything about it.

This past week I realized that I have three weeks to get my clothes, shoes and accessories in order for Grand Parlor. I will definitely be able to wear one of the dresses from last year, but another one I have worn several times so it is out. Two others are now too big and I don’t have time to get them altered, though that is on my list.

I turned my attention to the Marbella Dress pattern window that was still open in my browser. Since I had last looked at it, they had added a large format file that comes with the pattern. That means no cutting and pasting of pattern pieces together. Also, it took only 2 yards and I have some quilting fabric that could be used to try it out with before buying some super nice fabric to make the actual dresses for Grand Parlor.

I had a plan.

I knew I needed to buy lining (I prefer my dresses lined) but knew I had enough fabric for a test run. I started plowing through my ‘backings’ fabric stash to find some larger pieces. We all know that they will be Philip Jacobs or dots. Philip Jacobs won, because I want to make a bold statement. I don’t want to look like a crazy person, but I want to look different and more elegant than the other ladies. Also, I may not even be wearing these test dresses to the event.

Philip Jacobs Floating Mums
Philip Jacobs Floating Mums

One fabric is called Floating Mums Taupe. Taupe, I know. I don’t know why I bought it except that I really liked it and thought it had the elegant feel of a NYC Park Avenue living room.

The other one is daffodils on light blue (tending towards turquoise) scattered over the fabric. It seems to be part of a group of fabric of which I did take a photo.

So I got the pattern printed at a ‘copy store’ and took it to my seamstress. I know you are disappointed that I am not making it myself. I still plan to make that skirt. I just don’t have the time right now.

She took the measurements and will do a test run. It should be, sans lining and zipper ready to be tried on next week.

Tile in Monterey

imagePolitical Wifery is gearing up. Last weekend we went to Monterey to do site visits for DH’s Grand Parlor*. We had to review the various facilities including hotel rooms required for the event. We also talked to hotel event coordinators to give them details about the events.

It was sort of fun even though I didn’t get to visit any quilt shops and my Saturday sewing time was usurped by this task.

I have to say that it was a beautiful day in Monterey and I did enjoy being outside and walking around.

imageOne of the things we did was look at a location for the BBQ. The proposed location is a historical site, which includes the tiled fountain shown here.

The fountain, sadly wasn’t working. Conscientiousness about the drought in California, I imagine. It was still quite beautiful and would be a great inspiration for a border on a quilt.






*For those of you just joining us, Grand Parlor is the Native Sons** annual conference

**Native Sons of the Golden West is a statewide fraternal organization which brings men together to support the preservation, teaching and education around California history. They also have a strong social aspect and support a charitable foundation that gives money to hospitals to support Cranio-facial Anomalies Teams at UCSF and St. John’s hospitals.

Crafting for Politics

DH has to plan his Grand Parlor. This is the annual conference of his statewide organization, The Native Sons of the Golden West. As part of that, I am in charge of organizing some events for the Ladies. I have to create or decide on the following:

  • Ladies Luncheon table decorations
  • Ladies Luncheon party favors
  • Ladies Tea decorations
  • Cocktail party invitations
  • Cocktail party decorations
  • Ball table decorations
  • Who knows what else?

I am not sure this is everything and I don’t have to have everything finished until May 2017. This, endeavor, however has been on my mind since I found out what I have to do. It is reiterated periodically when I am handed a file of random papers or a large envelope appears in my mailbox.

I was thinking of asking you all to make fabric flowers. YOU, of course, would do a fantastic job, but, as you know, the quality of the items received can vary quite a bit and the judgment factor on all of these things will be high. I also wasn’t that excited about fabric flowers looking good enough after transport. I need to do a stellar job. I just couldn’t think of anything else.

Kelly and I went to lunch and I was telling her about my half baked idea. She suggested we go to Michael’s. What a brilliant idea! Why didn’t I think of that? So off we went and we got about a million ideas.

Ladies Luncheon

This is probably the largest and most visible of the events. The Ladies Luncheon is usually a sit down lunch with assigned seating. There are table decorations, which are won at the end of the lunch, raffle baskets and party favors. The raffle baskets are well in hand as one lady already agreed to help. She has done it before and knows what the ladies like. I will have to see about that closer to the date. I should also start soliciting some nice things tht are more to my taste and style for the baskets just to mix it up a bit. Unlike with us, a basket of fabric or quilting supplies or sewing notions wouldn’t go over well. 🙁 Wine, food, kitchen supplies and chocolate are big winners. I am a big fan of nice soap, so I am thinking soap and bath things might be good as well. Cleaning supplies, which were big winners at the YM’s grammar school silent auction, might not project the right tone. I’ll have to get some more ideas.

Fruit crate
Fruit crate

DH wants his logo to be a fruit crate label (BTW, we need a Photoshop Pro to help us with this. Are you able?). I want to continue the theme, if possible, so first we headed to the Micheal’s wood area and looked at crates and things. This Paris crate was too big, but the painting looked like an idea that had possibilities. We could stencil all different California names onto the crates. UGH paint. Kelly, however, is not afraid of spray paint, so I put her in charge of the painting team.

Also, the Paris crate is too big. I would have to fill it with stuff and that is a lot of space to fill.

Michael's: smaller crates
Michael’s: smaller crates

We talked about using flower arranging foam to stick things into, but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have good ideas about what I would put in these crates. Smaller crates were available and there are other stores, so the crate idea is not completely dead.

The other thing is that stock will change. I need to either be flexible about the actual items and make the style the most important. For example, I could think ‘crates’ and just worry about getting all crates of about the same size.

Houston Dress Forms
Houston Dress Forms

I saw the most awesome dress forms in Houston. They were full size and covered in vintage looking paper. I loved the shape, the decoupage and the artistic expression of the female form.

I really wanted to carry one off with me. I don’t have the space in my house, so I left them. I couldn’t find any information about them, which was a shame, but I enjoyed them all the same. I think Friend Julie and my mom got sick of me wanting to walk by them all the time.


Michael's mini dress form
Michael’s mini dress form

When I saw this mini dress form, I remembered the Houston dress forms and thought that dress forms as table decorations would be perfect.

The black one I saw at Micheal’s was a good size, but covered in that weird, fake, short, toy fur, thus not perfect for decorating. Kelly, again, assured me that spray painting can cover a multitude of sins, but I don’t think the fur could be painted. Also, they only had one and I need 10-12. Of course, everything is available on the Internet, so I did a search and came up with a lot of hits. None of the sites presented themselves as those from which I could buy 12 paper mache’ dress forms between 12″-18″ suitable for decorating. I have some time and all hope is not lost. I am thrilled to have an idea that seems promising.

Possible Ladies Luncheon table decorations
Possible Ladies Luncheon table decorations

It is probably unlikely that I will turn the cages into anything, but I did like them. The fleur de lis on the top adds to the charm. I would have to figure out what to put inside and how much space they would take up on the table. People still have to be able to pass the dressing and talk over the table decorations.

Favor cans
Favor cans

Party favors are another aspect. Everyone gets a little something so they don’t feel bad when they don’t win the table decorations or the raffle baskets.

We walked down the wedding aisle and saw these cans, which could be filled with something. At a wedding they would be filled with Jordan Almonds. Xanax might be good, but hard to get and an ethical challenge. Bath salts are a possibility. I am almost certain I will get these for the favors.

Ladies Tea

The Ladies tea concept is much more fluid, more like an open house. People come in, have cakes and cookies, drink tea, walk around. They might sit on a couch or chair, but there are no tables or assigned seating.

Wooden trays
Wooden trays

I want it to be a fun atmosphere. These wooden trays could be painted and, perhaps, decorated with a California theme and then used for the cookies and treats. I think they are very elegant. I think if painted the right way, they could be fun and the elegance would add to everything not detract.

I saw pennant kits, pinwheel kits and paper lanterns. I think these will be colorful and great. I don’t need to buy a kit to make pennants. There is plenty of fabric in this house and lots of tutorials online. I can start with them and just keep making one long strand until 2017!

Using Flower Arranging Foam
Using Flower Arranging Foam

The flower arranging foam could definitely be used to hold the pinwheels up. the example (right) also used the fruit crate.

I could also use chipboard dress forms to bring the theme from the Ladies Lunch forward to the Tea… somehow.

Cocktail Party

I don’t think anything pink or cheerful can be used at the cocktail party. Fortunately, the decorations are not that elaborate. I do want some kind of special table decorations. Perhaps more of the scattered around the room type and fewer? Perhaps the cages would work here?

As crazy as it sounds, I am currently enamoured with The Night Circus, a novel by Erin Morgenstern. I am thinking of a black & white theme for the decorations. Black and white stripes?

The trays from above could be used again for the canapes, but these would not be black and white, so perhaps sticking with a California theme would be best. Hollywood opening night type of feeling, if not theme?

I have to deal with the invitations, which need to be engraved (or similar). I don’t think they need to be personalized, but I need to know the time and location so I can get them printed in advance.

As you can tell, I am less sure about this. I have thought the most about the Ladies Luncheon.

Ball Table Decorations

Yes, there is a Ball. It is mostly black tie and my outfit is prescribed. I have to wear an all white dress. UGH! I don’t mind getting dressed up, but white? UGH!I had a brainwave the other day, though. I have a seamstress who has been altering clothes for me as I have lost weight. She could make a pattern and make a dress from it! This makes me feel much better, more hopeful that I won’t look like a big white puffball.

Perhaps the cages will work for the ball? There are many more tables, though, which means 30-40 (or more???) table decorations and those cages are large. I don’t know how we would transport the cages. We might need a U-Haul for all of the decorations.


One big thing is who is going to pay for all of this. There are notes in the papers I have been given and I just have to get the idea into my head and confirm who is paying for what. Having until 2017 means I can use the 40%-type coupons over time to buy various supplies. Of course, I have to pay attention to the stores still having the same item — or, again, be flexible.

If you ever wondered what in the world you would with a smartphone, now you know: take photos of ideas and possibilities so you remember.

I am constantly concerned that my style will raise some eyebrows. I am going with it, though. I am at least 20 years younger than most of the women who attend. I have to do what feels right as well. Regardless, I feel so much better that the decorations won’t be a complete failure and about this whole endeavor in general; I can’t even tell you.


North Coast Visit

Last weekend we headed up to the North Coast again for an annual NSGW event. Normally there is an event Friday evening, an event in the late morning on Saturday and a big dinner on Saturday night. This year the Saturday late morning event fell through, so DH and I had the whole day until 5pm to spend together. It was nice. Not having the normal day-to-day to deal with for a little while makes spending time together quite enjoyable.

We took the opportunity to spend some time in the Eureka/Arcata area. The Young Man got accepted to Humboldt State so we went to take a look at it. We did offer to pay for him to come with us and he decided to go visit his grandma and grandpa instead. We tortured him by sending him a bunch of photos of various parts of the campus in a running commentary.

After the campus visit, we had lunch at The Lost Coast Brewery and it was AWESOME! They had gluten free buns, so I took the opportunity to have my first French Dip in, probably, 15 years. It wasn’t as good as I remember a French Dip being, but I still enjoyed  it. The restaurant had fun decorations, too. There was a pulley system with a giant spider at the end of it and when the door opened and closed the spider when up and down. They also had a number of paper mache animals hanging from the ceiling. It was a little loud, though.

Ocean Waves Quilts
Ocean Waves Quilts

After lunch we headed up to Ocean Wave Quilts. DH actually came into the store with me. I really like it when he comes in with me. I told him to pick out some shirt fabric, but he didn’t see any that he liked enough to buy. He was interested in everything and looked around. I didn’t buy much as I really don’t need anything. I just bought a couple of fabrics for projects in process and some of the new rainbow Wonder Clips. I bought the latter because they are so fabulous. I think I spent around $23. You might remember my posts from last year?

Lincoln's Hearse full view
Lincoln’s Hearse full view

Not too far from Ocean Waves is the Blue Ox Millworks. Over the weekend they had an open house to show off a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s hearse that they are building. Creepy, I know.

Next year (I think) is the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s death. I don’t know what it is about death anniversaries… Media hype?

The original hearse was destroyed in a fire in about 1870. For some reason that I don’t know since didn’t read in the article very carefully, the Blue Ox is making the replica. Their shop has some amazing tools and fabulously HUGE work tables. I think safety was good in terms of the machinery, but the place felt old and messy and dilapidated. Still, I like the idea of a place that can replicate Victorian ornamentation and where woodworking is a valued art and craft.

Still DH was interested and he slogged through the quilt store with me, so we went. Also, it is historical, and probably once in a lifetime opportunity. I have to remember to tell SIL#2 not to go near the place with her husband. He will be working in that shop and they will be living in Eureka in a heartbeat if he hears about it.

Google notice
Google notice

We also went to Scottie Dog Quilts. Shockingly, the shop is closed, as in no longer containing anything much less fabric and notions. The property looks abandoned. I finally saw a small note in Google (mobile) that said ‘permanently closed’. I didn’t notice that before. I didn’t really believe it because the website looks completely normal. Finally, I tracked down what was going on on Brenda Lou’s blog. She said that they closed the retail shop last June! So, we drove on and didn’t stop. I hadn’t researched any other quilt shops and one had to be enough for this trip.

I took a quilt look at Google when we returned to the hotel and found Bunny Hop Quilt Shop also in Eureka. We drove pretty close to it, but not right by. It only has a Facebook page, but looks like a real place.  If we head up there next year, I will look into quilt shops more exactly.

Finished: NSGW Pillows

RAL's NSGW Pillows
RAL’s NSGW Pillows

You might remember that I mentioned that I made my BIL give up his winning pillow at Grand Parlor with the promise that I would make him one. The pillow forms were clogging up my fabric closet (and creating or encouraging Fabri-lanches), so I finally got busy with them last week.

Right after Grand Parlor, my SIL sent me the embroideries. She made about five (I still have some generic versions). She did an exceptional job personalizing the two larger embroideries to reflect BIL’s office. I am really pleased with how the logo pillow came out.

First, I had  to get the forms. I went to Joann with a coupon and bought 16″ pillow forms, which BIL favors. I also mentioned the project to my mom and she came over with a travel size pillow form. Suddenly the project went from 1 to 3 pillows!

Next, when I had a few minutes, I cut the batting and pinned the embroideries to the batting. Some of the batting scraps I was using were too small, which required some Frankenbatting. I bought some of the batting tape from the Fat Quarter Shop recently and tried it out. It worked like a charm. Yes, it is another notion and I could have zigzagged the two pieces of batting together, but I this method worked out very well and there is no lump, which I can’t seem to avoid when I zigzag.

Later in the week I started sewing. Pretty much I used scraps from my scrap bin for the strips, which was great. Some of the strips were pieced together to make them long enough, but I had some longish strips from the previous pillows, so there is some continuity.

Again, I used the Pointillist Palette fabric for the back (Mrs. K to the rescue again!).

I hope BIL likes them. I guess I have to go work on quilts now.

NSGW Pillows…Again

As you read this, I have hopefully just returned from another Grand Parlor. With any luck, I did not say something stupid and embarrass DH. With a little more luck and some preparation, I looked nice and people spent a lot of money for Cleft Palate buying raffle tickets to win the pillows. I am writing it in advance so I don’t have to worry about posting wearing high heels and lipstick. 😉

These were on my radar. Really they were. My BIL asked me to make them in plenty of time and I agreed. I really had no mental problem making them. Not much of a problem anyway. I don’t like making pillows and I always seem to have some problem making them. I just didn’t start them.

Eventually, the pillows really and truly entered my consciousness. I asked DH when we were leaving for Grand Parlor. I have been having a problem lately fitting where I am in space and time with the actual days of the week. I am not sure what that is about. I blame the months and a change in schedule. They seem really long lately. Anyway, I asked DH when we were leaving and he said May 18. I realized that I had a week (Yes, 1 week!!!) since we were talking on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

So, I got started. I spent most of the day on Sunday (Mother’s Day) making pillows.

Fabrics for Pillows
Fabrics for Pillows

First things first, I got DH to approve the fabrics. These aren’t what I would have chosen, but he knows the constituency, so I trusted his judgement.

He wanted a color scheme of blue and red and another of blue and yellow. I thought about making sets of two, though I don’t know if that is the way the pillows will be raffled.

Mrs. K. saved my bacon by sending me more of the Pointillist Palette blue. I know she didn’t even intend to send it for the pillows. It is an old fabric and one that got me hooked on quilt fabric and building a stash. She sent me some reserves recently, I think, as a subtle way of encouraging me to finish the series of Pointillist Palette quilts. 😉 [As an aside, I found some of the blocks for the next in the PP series of quilts which means I can get started on them again.]

She saved me, however, because I am mostly out of dark blue prints. I don’t buy or use them much and whatever I did have I used for the Stars for San Bruno quilts. I didn’t think I had any dark blue and then I saw the one on the top in the above photo. It is perfect and DH approved.

Tension Problem
Tension Problem

I noticed that SIL had a tension problem on one of the embroidered panels. Tension issues happen, even in the best of circumstances. We all know that. I didn’t think that people would notice immediately, but I also didn’t want any awkward questions later.

I had recently used my fabric markers, so I pulled them out. No brown. A number of them had dried up and had to be thrown out. The brown must have been among them. I have another set, but I couldn’t find it, then I remembered the Staedler set I received for my birthday a few years ago.

I carefully colored over the parts of the N (see above in the poppy panel) and the A with the brown. If you look closely you will see that the brown of the thread and the brown of the marker do not match. It is a very slight difference and I don’t think the Muggles will notice.

Then I just started sewing. I forgot to use batting, so the blocks are a bit thin, but I think they will be ok. I’ll try to remember for next time.

Yellow & Blue NSGW Pillows
Yellow & Blue NSGW Pillows

One issue turned out to be that I didn’t have the forms. My SIL bought the forms and originally I thought I would just give her the cases, she would stuff them and all would be well. I got nervous, though and worried that they wouldn’t fit. I needed to check the sizing to be sure they weren’t saggy or too small.

To alleviate my fear, she brought them over and, fortunately, the forms she bought worked with the pillow covers I made. I didn’t have to make any adjustments.

Red & Blue NSGW Pillows
Red & Blue NSGW Pillows

I really had to sew a lot less than I thought. I did a good job cutting the embroideries apart so they were fairly close to the finished size of the pillow forms. I had way more fabric than I needed.

I finished the last bits, stuffed them and took them to Grand Parlor where I told the boys to charge a lot for the tickets. The proceeds of the raffle went to the Charitable Foundation. We had a separate sale of pins and bracelets for Prostate Cancer Awareness (BIL has it).

2014 NSGW Pillows Complete
2014 NSGW Pillows Complete

You can see photos from the event on Flickr or read more about the event on another blog.

Native Sons Pillows

How I Receive the Embroideries
How I Receive the Embroideries

Yes, I am doing pillows again.

DH is firmly ensconced in his position on the Executive Board of the Native Sons of the Golden West, so I was off the hook last year in terms of making pillows. The last time I made them was in 2012. They are extremely popular and I got a lot of questions last year about whether I had made any. It is kind empowering having control of an item that people really want. It is also shocking that others don’t make pillows for this event. People really like them.

DH’s Grand Presidential year is approaching and he needs a Marshall. The Marshall is an Executive Board position in which the guy makes sure he has the names of all the “dignitaries” correct, knows whether the dignitaries have a wife, girlfriend or daughter along as companion and that the AV equipment works at any given function. He passes all the relevant information to the Grand President. This position votes in Board votes and has a say in discussions as well. As I understand it, of course. DH asked his brother, which means there will be a Hospitality Suite this year with all the trappings of a political campaign: portable bar, raffles and lots of hand shaking.

NSGW Pillow Embroidery
NSGW Pillow Embroidery

I was, apparently, first on his list for the raffle requests. His mom and a neighbor always make gift baskets. He asked me at least a month and a half ago to make pillows and he wanted four. No problem, right? Pillows don’t take that long to make, but I always seem to have problems making them. They are also very popular and bring in a lot of money for Cleft Palate. I also like having my work ‘out there’ for the Muggles (as Frances says) to see. The more people we have admiring handmade work, the better.

I immediately emailed my SIL with examples from previous years and she agreed to do the embroideries. She couldn’t do them until May 6 as she was heading off to graduation for our niece in Michigan. No problem.

NSGW Pillow Embroidery
NSGW Pillow Embroidery

We don’t, yet, have a .blf file (I think???) of the logo of the Native Sons, so SIL uses various embroidery motifs to come up with suitable designs for the embroidered panels. The software that works for her machine is so much more sophisticated than the embroidery module on my 9000. I never did get the software for it, but I am glad I didn’t spend the money as embroidery software has gotten so much easier to use, more workable with a computer and, generally, so much more sophisticated.

The bear, the California flag and the outline of the state work well and are popular. Even though we don’t have the official logo, once we add the name, people seem to like these designs.

NSGW Pillow Embroidery
NSGW Pillow Embroidery

While I can take very little credit for the designs, SIL and I worked together on some designs when I was in DC in 2011. The pictures I emailed her were from that trip, I believe, though they could have been from the 2012 pillows. The designs are similar.

I got SIL’s work on the 7th or 8th of May. The first thing was to cut the embroidered panels apart into squares.

Then piece the panels to the right size, then put the back on.


NSGW Pillow Embroidery
NSGW Pillow Embroidery

Go to the conference and have people fling money at the raffle box.

HA! Hopefully I will have no problems.


North Coast Quilt Shops pt.2

A few days ago I wrote about the Ocean Waves quilt shop, which was actually the second shop I visited on our trip to the North Coast last weekend. The first shop, which I really like was Scottie Dog Quilts. For the first time since I have been going there, one of the owners was there and we chatted for awhile while she cut my fabric. I heard her answer the phone “Redwood Sewing Center” and thought “huh?”, so I asked. She said they have a different, affiliated business called Scottie Dog Quilts, but officially the shop was called Redwood Sewing Center. Hhmm. Who knew?

Cafe Apron Sample
Cafe Apron Sample

One thing I bought was a kit with a pattern for a ‘cafe’ apron. It was one of those postcard patterns. They only had them in kit form (no patterns alone) and the kits were more my colors (pink, yellow, etc). I have plenty of fabric to make a few of these cafe aprons, but had to buy the kit in order to get the pattern. Frankly, what appealed to me was the Eiffel Tower fabric, but they were out and they didn’t have dark kits. I bought some yardage of the neutrals/blacks from the Little Black Dress collection to make one as a gift. I may have some Eiffel Tower fabric leftover from my sister’s quilt, but I don’t think so. I think I used the leftovers for the back. Now I have the fabric for two and hope to make them soon, so the fabric doesn’t get lost or used for something else. I have another short apron I wear in my workroom (it was a gift), so I don’t need one, but, depending on how difficult they are, I think these would make nice gifts and, perhaps, a giveaway or officer gift at BAMQG. We’ll see.

Little Black Dress & Lozenge Quilt
Little Black Dress & Lozenge Quilt

It is a small shop, but they have a lot of fabric. I didn’t think I was in the mood to buy fabric, but I did buy a few pieces. They have a small batik wall and I picked out a few pieces just to freshen up my batik options.

I always like the quilt samples they have in this shop as well. I have been, for a long time, toying with the idea of lozenge quilt and the one in the photo is an interesting variation. It is not actually made from a lozenge shaped patch, but from squares, HSTs and rectangles. I am not that fond of the colors of the sample, but that is no problem.

The fabrics I discussed for the apron are shown above the quilt.

Fabric at Scottie Dog
Fabric at Scottie Dog

they had a small, segregated selection of modern fabrics, one Heather Bailey I saw this time was also there last year (used it for the Petrillo Bag). It made me wonder if Free Spirit is reprinting that particular print of if the shop does not sell many modern fabrics?

They also had Mary Ellen’s Best Press in the regular size and a lot of different fragrances as well as a lot of charm packs.

You can also see more of their samples. I don’t remember if those were just decorations or if they were class samples. There was actually a class gong on when I was there. I went into the classroom to look at the quilts hanging there. I listened to the discussion and could only get that I think that was some kind of finishing class – bring your half finished project and someone would help you finish it. There were a couple of ladies doing applique’ so it could have been an applique’ class as well.

Notions Wall - Scottie Dog
Notions Wall – Scottie Dog

There was a nice selection of notions. I bought another pack of True Grips. A few of my rulers still need them, especially the specialty templates.

I definitely think that the notions wall is a telling sign of the type of shop. Some shops just seem to have a bunch fo Dritz notions and that is it. Other shops seem to have a varied selection of useful notions. Scottie Dog/Redwood Sewing Center is a shop that has a variety. It was a small-medium selection, but I think they picked what they thought would be useful rather than ordering a ‘notions kit’, if such a thing exists.

I think I have mentioned before that they sell machines – Pfaffs (perhaps that is why they are officially called Redwood Sewing Center??). I looked at the Pfaffs they had available – about 6 machines – just out of curiosity. I couldn’t tell anything from what I saw and I didn’t ask for a demo.

Towards 30s and Dots Wall
Towards 30s and Dots Wall

Straight ahead and to the left as you walk in is the 1930s fabrics and dots wall. If you turn left from the notions wall, you will also see it. I didn’t see anything that jumped out at me for TFQ, but there were a few dots that tempted me.

The cabinets on the left of the picture are covered with Bali Pops, Tonga Treats, etc. I rummaged through them and was very tempted, but I have a few slated for projects that I have not used yet, so I restrained myself.

Right to the right of the dots and 1930s fabrics was a large display of Bonnie & Camille fabrics. They had charm packs of Scrumptious, but yardage from a variety of their different lines, even Ruby.

You can really see how this shop is just crammed with fabric and everything. I found that to be the case with Ocean Waves, too. I didn’t really get a sense of the vibrancy of the quilting community, but it must be strong to support two quilt shops which are almost within walking distance of each other in the same town.

More notions, patterns & batiks
More notions, patterns & batiks

Taking this picture, the Little Black Dress and lozenge quilt display were on my left.

I liked the Bonnie & Camille quilt and was very tempted by that ruffled bag hanging above the notions. I have a number of bag patterns yet to make, so I refrained from buying that one.

The photo to the right gives more examples of the sample quilts and there is a wide variety.

Scottie Dog Fabrics/ Redwood Sewing Center

Scottie Dog Quilts
301 W. Harris St.
Eureka, CA 95503
(707) 444-9662