Friday, September 29, 2006

First Post From Australia!

We're all moved in, and here's me doing my first post from the new house. Just to keep on topic, there are two quilts in the photo: my Wonky Star lap quilt, and my DH Ross' Cowboy Nap Quilt. The container arrived on schedule, there was no damage to any of our stuff, and we got things put away pretty quickly. Just in time to return to California...tomorrow! Then we'll be making the big move Down Under on Oct. 25. Here's my sweetie, Ross, with two of our donkeys. Blossom, on the right, is so jealous she will hardly let you pet either of the other two. Teddy, on the left, is very shy. Stella, the grey one, is nearby, grazing.
This morning we awoke to some spectacular early morning fog in the distant view. Even as Ross took the photo, it began to recede. Just beautiful!
Here's the new living room. Amazingly, all the furniture fit in just fine. It's a much smaller house than our California one, but sending some of our furniture to the condo in Oakland meant that we had enough stuff to furnish both places.
Yesterday we walked down to the bottom of our property, to the boundary. Along the way, our six steers were grazing in the lower paddock. They were very interested in meeting their new owners. Fortunately they were content just to look...I forgot to bring my red cape, so that was good!

The flight to California tomorrow will be always seems harder to go from west to east, with jetlag lasting much longer. But we'll be anticipating a very busy three weeks to get ready for the "final" move, organizing the last paperwork and final vet visits for our seven cats, etc. Time will fly, I'm sure.

I've loaned my U.S. sewing machine to my DIL, and haven't had time to buy one in Australia yet, so I'll be antsy to do some sewing when we arrive back here. Have to content myself with reading everyone else's blogs to see what you are all doing.

So great to be here, and to be settled, at last!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tonight's the Night!

It's off to Sydney tonight, to receive our furniture and household stuff, get the house there set up and ready for us to live in (especially the Internet connection!), and then we'll be back here for about 3 weeks before the really big move with the cats. Poor little darlings have no idea what an ordeal they're in for...we visit them at the Kitty B&B every day for playtime and combing. Just as they're getting comfortable and used to the B&B it'll be another big change...poor babies.

We took our oldest GS to the zoo yesterday to finish celebrating his 9th birthday. Here's a pic of Thomas and me in front of the giraffes. As you can see, it was a GORGEOUS day in Oakland.
Not sure when I'll be able to post again...I think our Internet connection should be up at the house on Saturday, but you know how THAT might, later, Folks...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Quilt for Show and Tell

Here's a quilt I made for a little Aussie friend who is liviing in London for awhile. I hoped it would help him get to know his Australian animal friends as he grows. Actually, he visits Sydney regularly, and now that he's two years old he probably doesn't need a cheat sheet any more.

This quilt was designed using Margaret Rolfe's paper-pieced block designs. If you haven't used her book/disk combo (I have the Australian animals one, obviously), then I highly recommend it.

Oh, and I promised to report on the big reunion yesterday afternoon. What fun that was! There were people there I hadn't seen since I left the ballet company in around 1978...amazingly, we pretty much look like ourselves, only mostly a few pounds heavier and a bit more wrinkly. What a treat to spend time with old friends.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday, Sunday...

Well, I'm going to try Tonya's suggestion and load my photos in the center instead of to the left, and see if that helps any with the spacing problems I'm having.

So let's try putting up Dad's River Dreams Quilt that disappeared yesterday:

Well, that seems to have worked...I think.

So, let's add a couple of kids' quilts I've made over the years. Here's an I Spy for my grandkids. Can you see that I added their names, as a crossword puzzle, among the I Spy squares?

Well, by gum! That seems to have worked, too...thanks, Tonya! Shall we go for a trifecta here? How about a little bluework quilt I did for my nephew. I found on-line coloring book images, printed them out and traced them on white fabric, then embroidered them in blue, setting them in stars afterward. I liked the result, and so did he:

I'm on a roll now! What about one that was WAY outside my comfort zone. I'm not an orange person, but a friend in France had a baby girl. Mom loved orange and lime green, so I challenged myself to design a quilt she might like. Here's the result:

Well, awwwwright! Let's quit while I'm ahead, for today.

I'm off this afternoon to a fun get-together. In another life, I was a professional ballet dancer. My former ballet company is having a reunion this afternoon, at our old rehearsal studio. Haven't seen some of these dancers for years...this should be a lot of fun! Will report more tomorrow.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

And Another Thing!

So, in addition to not being able to load photos once I've started editing my posts, here's another question:

Why do I have such trouble controlling all the space before or after photos? Preview doesn't really get looks ok in the preview, but when I post I have all this dead air I don't want.

I must be a total dummy...sorry, folks! I know it's annoying to read posts that look like mine!

Some Quilts...

So, I started quilting in 1999, and the first few quilts I made were for my grandkids, and a couple were donations to my local humane society to be auctioned.

Then I decided to made a quilt for each member of my family...quite an undertaking!

So, here is one I made for my's a nap quilt...Dad loved to fish, but by the time I made this quilt he was having problems with his legs and couldn't really manage standing in a cold river to fish any more. So this quilt is called River Dreams. Dad used it and loved it...but he died early last year at nearly 87 years. I'm so glad I got to this quilt in time. (Well, the image I put here got erased when I was correcting a typo in the text, and blogger won't upload it again...WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? Makes me SO mad!)

And here's one I made for my DS. He's a lawyer, a big reader, and an Oakland A's fan. So I used Christine Thresh's bookcase quilt pattern to make this quilt. Greg loved an earlier quilt I'd made for us using log cabin blocks, so I used those as the border, and called the quilt Log Cabin Library.

My FIL in Australia was next on the list...he was a book publisher for years, so I made another bookcase quilt for him, but placed photos on the shelves among the books. The photos were from his wedding to my MIL, him in uniform in WWII, family photos, etc. He was so thrilled to receive it he called me on the phone and was crying so hard I couldn't tell who it was at first!

After 9/11, eQuilter asked people to make quilts for older children and young adults, so I decided to make this quilt. On the label on the back I used a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outward to new and larger cirles, and that without end." I hope whoever received the quilt found some comfort in it.

So anyway, I just thought I'd share a few of my quilts. Maybe I'll do something similar for all the kids' quilts I've made in another post...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And Happy 9th Birthday to Thomas!

Today is my grandson Thomas' 9th birthday...Happy Birthday, Thomas! He's shown here earlier this summer, wearing his Sorcerer Cats quilted jacket I made for him. I hope he's having a great day today...can't wait for his party in Tilden Park on Saturday afternoon.

As Time Goes By...

Well, I've been working on the antique quilt remake (I really have to come up with a name for this quilt...maybe it should be AQR till then?) today, and the chain piecing is making me sleepy. It also makes me hungry to work on OTHER quilts.

Before I packed the container for Australia, I made a good bit of progress on a quilt I'm calling As Time Goes By, because it was inspired by the old BBC series by that name. If you've never watched it, you should. Judy Dench and Geoffrey Palmer are sweet, funny and totally charming. Many episodes have them climbing into bed at the end of an evening, under a wonderful old-looking pinwheel quilt. After seeing it many times, I finally decided it was time to make one like it for our bed. So, I started collecting lovely fabrics in soft red-browns, blues, greens and old golds, to combine with Apple Cider naturals and similar neutrals. It was coming together beautifully, and then it was time to pack! I'm wishing I could be working on it as an alternate to the pink and blue AQR right now.

Did I think to take any pictures of the work in progress or the fabrics before I boxed everything up...of course not. But here's the EQ5 design, which is simplicity itself. I think that's what I liked about it, in a way. Sometimes just simple shapes and lovely muted colors are just the thing, you know?

It sort of reminds me of The Little House on the Prairie or something. I haven't decided yet whether it will be Queen or California King Size. The bedroom at the house in NSW is so small that we sent the one queen-sized bed we had down there to use as our master bedroom until we remodel. The one bedroom condo in Oakland has a much larger bedroom, so the California king bed went there, and I saved the Devil's Claw quilt for that bed.

So I guess I can wait to decide the final size for this Pinwheel quilt...see whether it's even possible to BUY a California king bed in Australia...I mean, why would they sell such an item? And of course, a regular king size is totally the wrong shape for my sheets, blankets and oher quilts. Sigh.

And I thought I'd share a photo of some of the little furry darlings, who have been in prison at the feline b&b for five or six weeks now, and have about that much longer before they fly off to Australia. All are doing quite well, except Alfonse, the all black domestic shorthair, who feels very scratchy to be confined with his formerly feral much so, that I've taken to calling him Mr. Cranky Pants. Wonder how long it will take till he's forgiven us for the prison sentence, after he's released at our farm in New South Wales.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bloglines, GRRRRRRR!

I am having SO much trouble trying to make Bloglines work. I loaded the Sub from Blog link to my favorites, and clicking on it seems to take me to the "add this blog to my feeds" place, but then the blog never appears when I click on "My Feeds". Obviously I'm doing something wrong. Can't seem to find much detail about this in the FAQ...any ideas?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Time to Show Some Quilts

Well, let's give this a try. I've been wanting to show some of my quilts, but have had a little trouble getting photos to load.

Here's my most recent completed quilt, The Devil's in the Details. I saw an antique Devil's Claw quilt a few years ago and it stuck with me. When my DH wanted a black and white quilt, I decided to design something using the Devil's Claw block. It's huge! California King size, with enough to tuck under pillows and fold this a bedspread? I guess so...

Well, that one came in. Should I quit while I'm ahead? No, let's go for it!

Here's some blocks I made for a charity quilt, called It's a Dog's Life. Couldn't photograph the entire quilt very well because the detail just doesn't show up in small. So here are a couple of the individual blocks. This quilt would have been nothing without this GREAT fabric!

And here's another from the same quilt:

So far, so good. Shall we try one more?

Well, awright! Let's not push it for today! Anyway, this quilt was a lot of fun to make and I'd love to do something similar for cats sometime. Maybe after the move to Australia I can do something for a humane society there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Good Labor Day's Work

Today was the first day I was able to do some serious quilting since we moved from our house in Novato to the condo in Oakland. It really feels good to be sewing again.

I have this great antique quilt (it's on the container in the Pacific, steaming toward Sydney, at this very moment). Sadly, it's so fragile now I don't like to use it on a bed. So...what else to do but remake it! Here's the design, made in EQ5. Today I made some of the blocks and set 9 of them together. I think I'll continue that way, rather than have rows and rows to deal with at the end. Easier to work with smaller bits and put them together later, I think.

Here's a pic of the 9-block piece I made today:

In the original quilt, the pink middle squares are actually an old red and white calico-like print that has faded to a nice pink color. Trying to find a new pink that would mimic that look proved difficult. Anyway, it is what it is at this point!

I ransacked for a zillion plaids, stripes, dots, etc. in colors like the original quilt. I'm hoping I'll like "my" version as well as the original.

While I'm working, I think about the woman who made the original...wonder who she was, where she got the pattern, and what her life was like.

I think I'm quilted out for today. The quilt I'm planning will be 89" x 89", so I'll be at this awhile. The blocks are 7", and the shot above shows 9 blocks.

Beautiful end of summer day in Oakland. I think it looks like a good day to take a stroll down to Piedmont Avenue and have something yummy for dinner that I didn't have to cook. Better take advantage of this convenience while I have it! Serendipity, the 25-acre farm in Exeter in New South Wales, has no such choices three blocks way!