Sunday, December 15, 2013


This weekend I put the finishing touches on this year's Christmas cards.

I hand-colored each with colored pencils.

I tried several different blues for the sky and settled on a light blue because when it mixed with the grey plate tone it seemed like a sky that was threatening to snow.

Coloring each with colored pencils.

Then it was on to putting my stamp on the back, and signing, dating and numbering them all.

Positioning the stamp

The back of the card.

Then using commercial stamps I bought, using a few different blue inks, I stamped the insides with the sentiment "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow".

Signing the inside, too.

Here it is, all ready to be mailed out, as soon as Darrell writes our Christmas Letter.

An edition of 45 

Hoping you have a great Holiday Season
 and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 06, 2013


Sometimes, in life, things outlive their usefulness and are pushed aside by better, faster, slicker.

Sometimes, they are perfect for another purpose.

Weighing down the damp prints so they dry flat.

Thursday, December 05, 2013


Yes, it's time to start on my annual Christmas Card, so making quilts and other things will have to wait.

My biggest hurdle is always the image.  I see such clever things out there, and I think, why didn't I do that?

So, this year I'm going to blatantly steal someone else's idea.

The image I'm using is drawn by me, but it is a direct ripoff of Viza Arlington's image, which you can see at this page on her blog,  Viza is a very talented and creative artist, I love her work.  She also has an Etsy shop, where you can buy her little snowman print.  

I'm using an acrylic plate.  I've done a few zinc plate etchings, but this is a first time with acrylic.  It was really quite simple, and I like that you can paste your image on the back and just trace it, something you can't do with zinc.  I also like using an etching needle because when you make a line on the plate, you get a line of ink on the print.  It's just like drawing.

Last night I made some initial prints and made some adjustments and changes to the plate.

This morning I cut the paper, and after lunch I got about half of them printed.

The plate on the left waiting to be inked up.

I don't use my press very often, this is it an Ettan 24" - very nice.

I place the inked plate into a little cut out in a template on the press bed.

The template has lines on where to place the paper.

The press has several blankets which go over the plate and paper.  When the wheel is cranked the bed moves under the roller and the blankets push the paper down into the lines etched into the plate where the ink is waiting to be picked up.

Here's my stack for the day.  Half way done with the printing of the image.

I originally planned to hand color them with watercolors, but I'm really liking them just like this. 

But, then again, color can really makes things sing....

I don't know....

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 22, 2013


I had originally thought I'd need to put all of the pieces up on the design wall - which would have been very difficult, because it's not really big enough, and the pieces are easy to fall off.  But I don't want to make up a bunch of blocks and then try to arrange them either because I need to see the whole quilt all at once to get a good color flow and balance since I have such a strange assortment of fabrics to work with.

Once I realized that my orignal plan wouldn't work, for the above stated reasons, I realized I could make the block into it's three separate unit-parts (well, nine parts in all).  That way, I could put the pieces up on the wall and still be able to move them around to get the optimum color flow.

So, that's what I'm doing.

It's still pretty slow going, but still fun.

Only two of these are sewn together blocks, the rest are just the separate units - the 4 corner parts, which you can easily see here, the 4 arcs, and the center diamond.  Should be fun to mix and match when I get a bunch made up.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Endolyne Joe's Restaurant has quarterly themes.  Tonight's was 'Quebec'.  There was a giant loon flying through the restaurant with lots of maple leaves and other Canadian things.

The food was simple and excellent.

Happy Birthday Darrell.


I thought it best to make one block to see how it would go.

Luckily I read the instructions from the magazine.  I was all set to do it in a different order.  Their instructions make more sense.  You sew all of the straight lines together first.  You are then left with several long arcs to piece. 

I haven't done much curved piecing.  It's slow going.

First, the center section, all straight seams.

Next, the other two sections, still all straight seams.

Then add the arc to the corner pieces.

Lastly sewing the corner pieces to the center.

Actually, it's not difficult, it's just slow.

And, it turned out exactly the right size - 14-1/2" square (finished size will be 14").

This quilt should keep me busy all winter.  

Remember:  enjoy the process.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I'm not sure I'm going to have enough of the whites and lights of the original fabrics to do all of the arcs and X's.  So, I'm cutting them first.

Only 392 pieces needed.  Here we go.

Saturday, November 09, 2013


I finally decided on the pattern for my Kentucky fabrics.

The pattern was found in a magazine, Quilt Life, April 2013 issue.

I redrew the block in Electric Quilt, making it smaller, so there could be more blocks on the quilt.  

It has lots of curves and odd shapes, necessatating templates.

I asked my wonderful husband if he could cut them out for me.

I printed the templates out with Electric Quilt.  I was thinking acrylic, but he asked if masonite would work, and I couldn't think of reason it wouldn't.  After all, they are just for this one project.  The masonite is easier to cut with his woodworking tools, whereas the acrylic requires special (expensive) blades.  We glued the paper onto the masonite then he cut them out with the bandsaw and sanded them down to the line.  He made it look really easy.

So, here they are:

Weird shapes, huh?

P.S.  I'm such a lucky gal.  Thank you, Darrell.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


It's been a long but wonderful trip to LA and back.  Mom and I enjoyed spending time together, chatting and seeing a few sites.

We left Tualatin, Oregon heading north on I-5 with no plans to stop anywhere.  Maybe a little weary of the road.

I dropped Mom and Reba off at their apartment, said our goodbyes and headed home.

We arrived to find everything at home covered with a bright yellow-green layer of pollen from our Cedrus Deodara tree.  Home Sweet Home.

I had to clean out the van of shipping blankets, speakers and the rocks I had collected along the way, and take it back to the rental agency.  Lucy and I took a bus home.  It is nice to be back with lots of nice memories and an appreciation of home and family.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Mom, Reba, Lucy and I left Redding heading north on I-5.  We got a great morning look at Mount Shasta, with rings of clouds around the top.

Mount Shasta from the south.
The plan was to stop and visit with a friend of Mom's in Medford, Oregon, but it turns out she was unavailable that day, but Mom had a nice chat with her on the phone. 

We pulled into Ashville, a cute little town.  We noticed the Ashville Springs Hotel, a historical site, so we stopped there for a bit.

In the lobby of Ashville Springs Hotel

There are botanical specimens on display everywhere.

There is an interesting display of birds and their eggs.
Back on the road, heading north, we stopped for a picnic lunch at Valley of the Rogue State Park.  It was such a beautiful day.  This area in southern Oregon puts on such a spectacular display of autumn colors.  We were here on the perfect day.
Enjoying her favorite beverage.

The Rogue River

I finally found a nice cache where I could drop my Travel Bug, Mona Lisa on the Road.  I'd wanted to drop it somewhere in southern California, but we never found a cache that was big enough.  This one would do perfectly. 

Goodbye, Mona, happy travels!

After a nice break at the park, it was back on the road.

Looking at everything.

Reba usually rides in a container while in the car.  This was her first time being able to see outside as the world whizzed by.  She seemed to enjoy it.

We made it all the way to Tualatin where we spent the night.

Monday, October 28, 2013


When I asked Mom if she'd like to fly down and ride back with me, I told her we could go wherever she wanted and do whatever she wanted to do.

After much talk and discussion we decided to go to Yosemite, since it was one of the few places that she and Dad had never been to.  Darrell and I have never visited the park either, and he was a little jealous.  We worried about it as we made plans, because of the Government Shutdown, the park was closed at the beginning of October.  The Shutdown actually lasted a lot longer than I had thought it would, but it did open in plenty of time for us to be able to see it.

In the morning as we left Fresno, it was raining.  As we gained altitude the temperature was dropping and at around 4000 feet altitude the rain turned into snow.  We didn't get very far when it started coming down pretty good, covering the road. 

 As we were pondering whether we should turn around we encountered a roadblock that made the decision for us.  They said, no chains or four-wheel drive, then turn around.  Okay.

We were both very disappointed, but what can you do?

Not having any plans at this point, I told Mom about this great little area I knew about, where Darrell and I usually go, to look at birds.  She was game.  So off to Consumnes River Preserve we headed.

This was Lucy's first time at Consumnes, too.

Mom enjoyed looking at the birds and ducks

We encountered a Great Egret standing on the pathway.

It decided to not hang around for any closer looks.

After having lunch and looking at the ducks we headed north on I-5, where we made it to Redding to spend the night.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Today was the day Lucy and I said good bye to Darrell, who is staying to teach a class at Wm Ng School of Woodworking, and headed back home.

But first we swung by LAX to pick up my Mom, and her little dog Reba, who flew into Las Angeles to ride back with me and Lucy.

Got 'em!

We headed north, four girls on the road!

First we had to make our way out of the LA Freeway system.

We drove up to Fresno, where we spent the night.  It would be a good launching point for our trip to Yosemite the next day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


We left Santa Maria, heading south on Hwy 101.

Good morning California!

We couldn't resist stopping for a short walk on the beach as we passed by, somewhere south of Santa Barbara.

Lucy actually enjoyed the beach.
I tried to capture the colors of this seaweed.

Three on a walk.
We had time before we were scheduled to deliver the furniture, so I talked him into detouring off the main road to go through Ojai again.
We got there before anything was open again, so we walked around and found a few geocaches and enjoyed the peace.
There was a banner across the street announcing a Pumpkin Festival that would be today and thought we might go there for lunch, until we found out it was at the local senior center, which didn't sound like as much fun.  We headed out, looking for somewhere to have lunch.  We ended up in Santa Clarita at a Coco's Restaurant.  I was doing a quick sketch before our meal of the people sitting at the table next to us.  The waitress noticed and told me that the girl at that table was sketching us.  How funny.

We headed into Pasadena and since we were a little early for the delivery, we stopped by the Gamble House, since Lucy had never been there (as far as we know).  I think she was impressed.

Darrell went into the bookstore to make sure that had his book out for sale and was delighted to find they had both of them!

We made our delivery in Pasadena then headed south to Anaheim to deliver the rest.
As we left there, with an empty van, we drove by Disneyland.  Hi Mickey!  

We went to Wm Ng's shop to drop off the supplies Darrell would need for his class next week and checked into his hotel.  

We had dinner at a nice Thai restaurant, Lanta Thai Fusion.  Excellent.