Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #6 - Temple Court

I have another block to share from the Cora's Quilts Spring Sampler quilt-along this week. This is block 6 of 9, and it is titled "Temple Court".

Only a small number of flying geese in this one, but I really like how all the colors are coming together.

Here are all six blocks so far, proudly displayed on my new design wall. It sounds fancy, doesn't it? Design Wall.

This material works great because I can just tack it up on the wall, and my blocks stick to it. I don't need to pin them or anything. And it has a nice white, neutral background for displaying my works in progress.

They do look nice up there, don't they? So I will let you in on my secret... it's just an old picnic table tablecloth. You know, the kind with the vinyl, easy-wipe-up on one side, and the felty stuff on the other. I think I paid less than $2.00 for it. How's that for DIY? And as soon as you are done marveling at my thriftiness, head on over to Cora's Quilts and link up your block!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hiking in the Gorge - Angel's Rest

In honor of the happy coincidence of a 3-day weekend with no previous commitments, we planned a hike with Mike's sister Beth and her fiance Danny. We are lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, and some of the most beautiful hiking around happens in the Gorge. We picked the Angel's Rest hike - a 4.6 mile out and back with some waterfalls, some shale cliffs, and some panoramic views of the Gorge.

This shot is from the first break in the trees, on our way to the top of Cooper Falls.

We crossed the rock cliff, and just a few hundred yards later, Cooper Falls.

This hike is pretty cool because you can actually see the falls from above!

Beth and Danny on the bridge over the creek.

There were so many wildflowers along the trail: bluebells, trillium, irises, lady's slippers...

I have no idea what this one is, but Beth was nice enough to hold it for me so I could get a better picture! This was one of our favorites, so if anyone knows what this one is, please share!

 Queen Anne's lace...

Beth and Danny at the first overlook.

Me and Mike!

This is from the second big overlook...

Mike's selfie...

Beth and Danny
Me and Mike

My silly face. Yes. It looks like that most of the time.

Just a playful shove...

The hike had a section that traversed a shale cliff... very pretty views, and some comfortable rocks on which to take a water break.

We finally reached the top, and the views are truly spectacular!

You can actually see all the way to the I-205 bridge from up here!

There was a friendly neighborhood chipmunk, scamming for some treats.

And Danny...with his fearless free-climbing!

And then lunch at Edgefield McMenamins! Beth decided to try the wine sampler for lunch. Yes... she really is as happy as she looks right now!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #5 - Aztec Jewel

This week I have been working on block #5 from Cora's Quilts Spring Sampler quilt-along. This block has lots of flying geese, so I got to practice those. I am now of the opinion that:

Happiness Is... Chaining Your Flying Geese

See that? Lots of flying geese. Twelve of them, in fact. I highly recommend chaining them when you sew this block!

And I finally got that picture I promised you with all of the blocks together, out in the sunshine, soaking up the vitamin D. Yes, that is my grass. No, it is not always that green. 

I am getting really excited to see the rest of the blocks. I like how the colors are coming together and I can't wait to see what we do next!

Definitely make sure to check out Cora's Quilts to see the instructions for this block, and the schedule for the quilt along!

Friday, May 16, 2014

French Cake Trio Apron - Happy Birthday, Penny!

In between all the blocks for the Spring Sampler, I have been working on a serious hush-hush, big secret project. My good friend Penny (who has made several cameo appearances on this blog including the post from the Lighthouse crafting retreat and the trip to Stephanie Inn) is having a birthday! I know, shocker... right? It's not like we can get away from them. They follow us everywhere we try and hide and pop up on the same day, every year. But I digress... So Penny is having a birthday.

Penny is our Baker of Cakes for all birthdays. Anytime anyone on the Club Green Meadows Women's Drinking Team (we are undefeated!) or the tennis group has a birthday, Penny bakes the most delicious cakes. Even now that I can't eat regular cake (because of the gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free diet I eat due to food allergies), Penny made me a gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free cake for my birthday. It had 8 eggs in it. And it was AWESOME.

So for Penny's birthday, of course she bakes the cake. I know some of you might think that is odd, but really... no one bakes cakes like Penny does. Might as well stick with the best! But I still wanted to make her something like cake for her birthday. Something special. I considered and discarded a lot of options before I came across the perfect solution in the March 2014 issue of Cross-Stitch and Needlework magazine: the French Cake Trio Apron.

Yes, that is me showing off the finished apron. And yes... I am missing the top half of my head. Don't worry, I wasn't using it anyway. And isn't it fortuitous that the missing part of my head is the part with the grey hair on it? Hah!

So the apron is sewn in a soft beige pattern with a light metallic, and has blue trim on the ties and waist. The cross-stitch cakes are set into the bodice:

And I hid a couple of champagne splits in the gift bag, too... because I don't know about you guys, but I like a little wine when I cook!

 And here is the birthday girl herself, modeling her new apron!

Have a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Penny. We love you!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #4 - Around the Corner

I think this is the quickest block yet for the Spring Sampler at Cora's Quilts. It came together in under an hour, but I am loving this color combination. I apologize for the lack of good natural light... another "perk" of living in the Pacific Northwest. We get very consistent yellow light. :)

I am still really enjoying playing with all the batiks colors... this block used two new fat quarters that I hadn't cut into yet, and I am thinking that I might make a couple more of this block to fill out all the blocks for my full quilt. The pink and grey is really pretty.

The next block has lots of flying geese and I am looking forward to the practice! This is a quilt-a-long, so feel free to head over to Cora's Quilts and join in the fun!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Sampler Block #3 - Tombstone

I have a quick Spring Sampler from Cora's Quilts update: my Block #3 is finished! This one is called Tombstone, and I think it might be my favorite color combo so far.

And I was lucky enough to get a sunny day (rare enough here in the Pacific Northwest), so I tacked it up to the shed to get some natural light in the photo!

So here is the quick recap of where we are so far:
Block #1 - Pyramids

Block #2 - Beacon

Block #3 - Tombstone
I can't wait for the next one! And the next time I get a sunny day, I will try and get better pictures of all the blocks so far!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mama Cat and Her Babies: A Framed Cross Stitch

I made this cross stitch for my sister a couple of decades ago... yup, it's been that long... and she has had it and loved it for all this time. Now, however, her house is overrun with boys and testosterone, and she has sadly given it back to me so that we can find a new person to love it.

The design measures 15 inches by 15 inches, and with the matting and the frame, it is 21x21. The glass used in the framing is UV protection glass to keep the colors from fading.

My sister used to have a peach and blue room, hence the colors... but I think they work really well with the design.

I love the little satin stitching on the nose... so cute!

So these precious little ones are looking for a new home. This is posted in my Etsy Store, but if you are local to me and interested, definitely let me know. You can save a lot if I don't need to ship it because of the framing and glass!

Just look at that little face! So stinkin' cute!